The Truth Hurts Sometimes

I’ve met more than one woman in my life journey that could not handle all of the technicalities of being with me.  I admit, I am not easy to process.  I have a bit of a troubled history.  Don’t read me wrong, I’m a good person with some high morals and ethics, but I’ve taken some forks in the proverbial road of life that others have managed to avoid.  I’ve had issues with drugs and addiction.  That’s probably the one thing that I’ve struggled with most in my entire life.  When I was young I sought out a safety net for myself and found it substance abuse and the people involved with it.  I wised up in my late 20’s and got clean and sober for many years.  I did the typical “mid-life crisis” shit in my mid 40’s and backslid a bit.

I strive to keep that stuff out of my life now.  I stay away from the “friends” that I have that are involved in that world now.  That’s a big part of how I am staying clean and following the good road now.  I tend to let myself be influenced by them if I hang around them, so now I avoid them and I avoid the whole drug scene.

It’s really hard to meet women as you get older.  Being single isn’t easy in your 50’s, believe me.  But add a history of drug addiction to the menu and it becomes even more difficult.  I completely understand that some people do not understand me or understand addictions.  That is just the way that it is.  When I begin to show interest in anyone I make sure that they know 3 things about me right up front – why?  Because I would rather they walk away sooner rather than after I become attached to them – or God forbid, fall in love with them.  what are my 3 things?  1.  I am Butch and that will never change.  2.  I live with HIV infection, which is under control but it’s a fact of life for me….which leads me to #3…I am a recovering drug addict.

Those 3 facts put me into a whole new space with people.  Either they are able to handle it, and give me a chance, or they are not, which is completely okay.  I get it.  Those are 3 major pieces of who I am.  I can’t hide them very well.   And I don’t want to pretend that I can.  Those 3 things are only a small fraction of what I am made of, but they are important if you are going to be involved with me – or even be a friend to me.  It’s important that you understand that I struggle with all 3 on a daily basis.  That doesn’t mean that I am unhappy – quite to the contrary, I am very happy in general.  But I am well aware that these 3 things make me “different” than the typical 55 year old lesbian with 2 dogs and a college degree.  I bring a whole different scene to the table.

I have lived with my addiction and my HIV for many years.  One lead to the other obviously.  Yes, I was an IV drug user and this is how I contracted the virus.  I’ve been clean for many years, fell off the wagon and got back on a few times.  So what is involved for me is knowing what triggers me to fall off and avoiding it altogether.  I’ve gotten pretty good at that, and I am proud to say that living clean and right is what I strive to do every day now.

It’s not easy being with someone who has addiction in their history, and it’s even harder when you add HIV.   I know the precautions to protect my partner from HIV but there is no protection from addiction.  No guarantee that I won’t relapse again, except for my sheer determination to stay on the straight path.  I don’t know how to reassure someone that I will stay on this path.  I guess they either have to believe me, or not.  There is no magic bullet or cure – for either condition.

I don’t want to pursue anything beyond a basic friendship with anyone who can’t deal with the baggage that I carry.  I know everyone has their struggle in life and their burdens to bear, mine are just a little more difficult for some people to understand, and that’s perfectly fine.  There are zillions of other people out there to be involved with, I am just one.

I have been fortunate to have been involved over the years, with women who gave me the benefit of doubt; who trusted me and tried to understand my complications.  I’ve sincerely appreciated them.  I’ve been lucky.

Right now I am trying to deal with quite a full plate of issues in my personal life.  I’ve avoided bringing anyone else into my life for this reason.  But I so want someone special in my life on a regular basis.  I would like to let down that wall that keeps me by myself.  I’ve punished myself for the past 2 yeas now and I’m sick and tired of it.  I’ve seen people who say they care disappear more than once.  I built a wall around myself, insulated myself from hurt and despair.  But it’s not a happy place all the time.  I want to learn to trust again, and to love again.

I’m a good person, I am strong, sensitive and caring.  I deserve to find someone good who can deal with life with me and who won’t be afraid of my past.  Someone who sees me for who I am now and not who I once pretended to be.  But how can anyone believe in someone who has such a history?  I don’t know if it can be done, which is exactly what I fear the most.  (although my ex did it for almost 14 years and never let it sway how she felt about me…so perhaps it could be possible again.)  I long for a good strong relationship that will endure.  Something beyond “just friends” –dammit, I want to be loved and understood.  Maybe it’s just too much to ask for at this point.

Ok, let me close this up before my mind explodes.  I am trying so hard to just be cheerful for the holiday season, and to keep on keeping on.  But tonight I was reminded of my flaws (see above) and it stung hard.  I am hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst – as always it seems.  Sometimes the truth just hurts.  There’s no way around it.

Peace.  ~MB

Those Darned Definitions…

cropped-cropped-cropped-001.jpgMan!  Has language changed some radically since I’ve been walking this green earth.  Daily I am surprised by the “new” use of “old” words; the newer definitions and meanings of some.  Start with the word we all know and use in a zillion different ways:  Queer.  Now we know the dictionary meaning to be “odd or unusual” to be short.  But then we all know the meaning when it’s used to describe someone’s sexual preference for the same sex…i.e. “He/she is queer as a three dollar bill.”  meaning that he/she is gay…another word…Gay….now that is supposed to mean “happy and joyful” by the dictionary, but when used to describe me it means I like pussy, and I’m a bit queer.

Today’s LGBT world (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, for those who may not really know what the letters represent, seriously.)  Yes, where was I …in today’s world we are constantly changing up language.  It’s a far cry from what it was like in the 70’s when I was growing up.  Or the 80’s when I was just coming out and defying the world with my gayness.

There are so many words now to describe or to define who one is in the world.  I could not possibly do justice to all of them here, but I will take a stab at a few of the more common ones just for fun.

There’s the all famous Butch.  The definition of Butch varies so widely now that I am not sure if I am even still Butch!  Hell, it seemed easy when I finally did define myself as such, it felt wholesome and right.  I was a masculine presenting woman.  Butch.  It is my identity, my definition of me.  But what it means to me and what it means to other people can really be confusingly different.  I define Butch for myself as a masculine woman.  A woman who is more comfortable walking the masculine side of the binary, but who is not a man and does not necessarily want to be a man.  (Some people are convinced that all Butch women secretly just want to be men – both straight people and other LGBT people have been known to say this more than once).  I want to wear my jeans and workboots; flannel shirts are a must to my Butch wardrobe.  I don’t walk like a girl, or talk like one.  My voice is very deep, raspy and quite often mistaken for a male voice on the phone.  Plain and simple for me, it’s just how I was constructed by life.   I am a masculine woman, a Butch to the core.  Of course, this is just my definition and will certainly vary from yours or someone elses.

Femme is another widely varying word.  It’s gained some serious notoriety and popularity in the last 10 years I believe.  We have had the word Butch for so long and it’s been more popular for the last 100 years than I think Femme has been.  In my experience I didn’t really have a word for the type of women that I found super attractive until I discovered the word “Femme”.  To me Femme means a very feminine presenting woman.  A woman who revels in the glories of being very feminine appearing, acting and who is often attracted to her polar opposite – the Butch.  (I know this is not always the case, I am aware that Butch/Femme is only one dynamic, and that there are others, please don’t shoot me).

Now there are all these fun descriptive words that you can throw together with Butch and Femme.  There’s about 100 ways to be Butch or to dilute it, which ever you think is happening. Personally, I think the dilution factor is more of what is taking place.  Historically we know that the Butch-femme dynamic kind of started as a cover so that women could see one another  and appear to be a hetero couple…they were hiding from the law and society basically. There’s a LOT more to the history than this, I am seriously over simplifying here for brevity.

Today we have baby Butches, Tomboi Butches, Soft Butches, Hard Butches, Stone Butches, Daddi Butches, etc. etc.  I am sure I have missed a dozen or so other types here…but you should get the gist of where I am going with this. It’s a hard thing to just say Butch is Butch nowadays, because there are so many layers and depths to each “type”.  If you look in Wikipedia or do a Google search for any one of the types you are bound to come up with more reading than you probably need to get to the point.  You can be whatever you choose, and you can define it in any way you want along the squiggly line of the binary.

Same with the femmes, you have the high femmes, diva femmes, lipstick lesbians, queer femmes, and that list goes on and on as well.  I am not as familiar with it as I am with the Butch side of things, obviously and for obvious reasons.  All I know is that I really love femme women.  And the way they embody their femininity is up to each one of them, they can put on a baseball cap and pull the pony tail through the back and still be a diva femme.  It’s all in the attitude I have come to realize with femmes.  They have this great attitude about femininity and they revel in it.

Today’s younger crowd has a ton of other new words too that I just don’t understand.  I’ve come to the realization that I am too old for some of this new wording. But I want to learn!

Personally, I used to identify as a Stone Butch.  I am not so sure about seriously identifying with the “stone” part any longer.  I’m just not sure exactly what stone means to me now.  I know that I am not a “touch me not” Butch, as the word “stone” is supposed to imply in some circles.  I don’t care for some things; for some forms of touch, but I do like to be loved on quite a lot!  I enjoy sex, and sometimes I think the the inference to “stone” is that he/she is not someone who likes to be touched or who enjoys any kind of sexual touch.  I have to say I enjoy both.  While I have my limitations, and my boundaries that doesn’t negate the fact that I am human and need human interaction and touch.  Hell, I love sex.

Stone is a word that gets thrown around a lot more as I’ve noticed lately. I even see it in reference to “stone femmes” now, which I never encountered before say the last year or so.  I’m not sure of how that definition would read or what it would be.  Perhaps one of you readers have more information on this one, or some anecdotes to share on it.  I see it on Fetlife quite often and wonder about it.

So, these are my more random thoughts for today’s blog.  I was just pondering word-smithing and how radically language in the gay community has changed over the decades. Words seem to come into fashion and fade just as quickly sometimes.  It’s interesting as fuck.  You may see me write a bit more about this, perhaps from a more serious angle next time, tonight I am in a fun mood and wanted to keep it fairly light.

Rock on.

~MB

 

 

 

Some Deep Thinking Lately…

I feel like language in the LGBT community and in general has changed and is continuing to change so much lately.  Every time I turn around the “proper” way to address someone or say something has changed up on me.  I just can’t keep up.  I’ve read a lot about pronouns lately especially.  With the rise in those identifying with the genderqueer label it seems that they like more neutral pronouns.

I for one am going to have a hard time with getting used to this, but I will give it my best.  It just doesn’t compute into proper English when you have to say “They have a cold” instead of “She has a cold” …just doesn’t sound right to me.  But if that is what someone wants me to use, the they/them pronouns instead of he/she or her/him then I will do my darnedest to try to do it.

Labels used to be so simple and now they are so complex.  I haven’t even kept up with them honestly.  Being from the old school of Butch-Femme I know those labels and those that go along with them.  There are so many new labels and words people are now choosing to describe themselves or to identify with, the world is just ever changing.  What was right yesterday is old and out of date today.  And as one gets older, anyone, things change and the way you thought about things yesterday isn’t the same as you may think of the same situation today.

I am accepting that I am getting older now.  I’ll be 54 on January 10th.  I plan to make it a good birthday this year, not one that I sulk through like last year.  I am older and I am wiser.  I am no worse for the wear of another year.  I don’t “feel” my age, or look my age, but I truly am almost 54!

In dog years Nola is getting up there with me.  She’ll be 8 on June 10th of 2016.  And Lulu is just a babe, she’ll be 1 on February 17th.

Age is a funny thing.  You can be a certain age and still not be mature or grown up about some things.  You must have experience in things to match your maturity level of them.  In order to know things, like about love and relationships for example, you must have first-hand experience to fully understand what love or a relationship really is.  That’s probably not a good example.  Maybe a better one is that you may know what a horse looks like, but you don’t automatically know how to ride one.  You must experience and learn about riding to be successful at understanding it and what all it entails.

I’ve had a good 54 years – yes, on my 54th birthday it means that I will have completed the 54th year of my life and I will begin the 55th year….fun way to understand it huh?  Make you feel a little bit older seeing it that way?  Ha!

I have had the glorious opportunity to have experienced many things in my life.  To have learned about various life styles, to have lived in many places and in many ways.  I’ve been richer and I’ve been poorer.  Every opportunity and experience has been one more pebble in the shaping of who I am today.  One just does not just grow where they are, there was a voyage of growth to get you there, and there will be a voyage of change in the future.  It’s inevitable.  You never know for sure what will happen even just tomorrow….you could be hit by the proverbial bus, you could fall in love, you could wake up with a whole new attitude, or it may just be your lucky day…whatever happens, it’s up to us to choose the paths that take us to our desired destinations.

Guess I am just in the mood for some deep thinking today.  I keep thinking about love and what it means to my life.  I was asked today some personal questions about my love life and my sex life by my case worker from FPC who monitors my HIV progression – or rather non-progression in my case.

I came very clean with her today, no lies.  I told her I failed the drug test from pain clinic and that I’ve been battling more cravings than usual.  I told her that I am living single and pretty much hating it; but it is what it is.  She’s a new case worker for me, and thus we had to go through an entire intake interview.

Case workers in the HIV field burn out rather quickly in these rural areas.  It’s a lot of thankless work, and very emotional at times as well.  But back when HIV was more of a death sentence (the 80’s and early 90’s) it was even worse.  The case workers would never know how long their client would live because people were rapidly dying from AIDS. They would try not to get to attached to their clients because losing them hurt so badly.  I worked in the field for a while during that time, and I left doing that work in 1999 after a particularly bad December where I lost several good friends to the disease.  I just couldn’t take the losses one after another and so close together.  That December is known in my memories as the “month of funerals”.

I am going to be seeing my primary care doctor and discussing possibly getting on a program of subutec which stops the cravings and works good for me.  I hope she will be willing to prescribe them for me and that she’ll work with me.  Half the battle of addiction is getting a doctor to work with you.  I know my body well, and I know my addiction tendencies well. I know what works for me and what doesn’t.  Let’s just hope she sees it that way too.  I have had good luck with her in the past working with me, so I think a good conversation about it and some research if she needs would be the beginning of getting a permanent handle on this once and for all.

I really miss Kat and wish she were living closer to me.  She and I talk daily on the phone and computer, but it’s just not the same.  I sent her a little box of presents for Christmas; one box for her and one small box for the grandchildren – all of which I have known from the time they were born.  She has 4 now, 2 little girls (7&1) and 2 little boys (5&3).  Their parents – and Kat – struggle hard to make ends meet there as it’s a pretty job-dead sort of town.  So I try to send little things to make it easier on them when I can.  At least I know that they have some gifts for Christmas between what I have sent and what I know others have sent too.  It’s tough raising children in the old coal country. No real jobs, and very little money there.  I wish they would move away from there, but even that is pretty tough when you don’t have the money to even move!  I wish there were more that I could do, or that some miracle would happen to get them out of there.  It’s got to suck being stuck like that.

I’m ready for Christmas to be here .  I’ve got my shopping done, not that I did a whole lot this year.  I focused mainly on Kat and the kids.  I am looking forward to spending Christmas day with my family at my parents’ new home.  We are making a big dinner and hanging out together for Christmas day.  It should be very very nice.

 

Very Tough Question…

Sorry if posted multiple times
What do you think of trans men and trans women forcing themselves into and eventual shut down- the owners gave up – of the Michigan Womyn’s Festival?

I think lesbian born women have the legal right to exclude anyone who is not a womyn born womyn without facing harrassment, legal threats, to exclude those who are not.

I got this question in my comments recently and wanted to just touch on this a bit.  I’m sure my thought on it will be controversial no matter what. Why?  Because there is no really right or wrong solution to this issue. It’s really a touchy subject no matter how you look at it.

The world has changed.  We now have all kinds of organizations of exclusivity that are being challenged with similar situations as the Womyn’s Music Fesival (WMF) was caught up in with the trans question.

For those who don’t know the very basics it seems that the organizers of the WMF were faced with the question of who is “woman” and who is not.  Since the WMF was supposed to be exclusively for women, some thought that transwomen should be excluded from that definition because they were not women-born-women. It’s very confusing, see?  Now there is huge argument on both fronts.  And then there was the question of if transmen should be included since they were born women…and the confusion deepens.  Finally after fighting legal and ethical battles of huge proportion over this for several years the WMF organizers canned the festival out of sheer frustration I believe.  That’s the situation the commenter speaks of above in a nutshell. Believe me it was much deeper and more technical than that.  It was basically a fight over who and what constituted a “woman” and who/what did not.  The festival boasted a safe place for all women to join together in community for a week every year.  Some felt that that safe space was violated by trans people from both genres.  It was an ugly fight and it’s a very difficult subject.

This same sort of situation is playing out across the world with organizations like the Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts and other gender specific organizations. Some girls want to be Boy Scouts, some transboys want to be Boy Scouts, etc. etc.  Do they have a “legal” right to exclude people based upon gender or genitalia?  Who knows.  I am not a lawyer, and thus can’t speak to the specifics of legality of any of it.  I can only give my opinion.

I never attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.  I only read and heard about it. So I don’t even speak from experience of being there.  I was always under the impression that it was a lesbian festival of sorts.  That was always the impression I got at least.  I wonder if they segragated it based upon sexual preference?

To me excluding people is not much different than segregation. And we segregate constantly everywhere.  We do it by color, race, sexual orientation, religion, social status, and a huge range of other things.  We do it everywhere, all the time. It’s sad. But I also think it’s part of human nature in some ways.  Like people gravitate toward their own kind.  I know that I would be most comfortable out camping with a bunch of Butch and Femme lesbians – which I consider my own “kind” in a way – than I would with a bunch of straight women talking about dick and men. I just would.  It’s all about comfort; what I am most comfortable doing and being around.  And I am entitled to my comfort.  Would I join a club that excluded transwomen/men?  No.  I do not believe that I would.

I bet that at the WMF that people segregated by types/kinds.  I bet Butches hung out with other Butches, that Femmes with other Femmes and that every type of woman had a group that she associated with more than others.  It’s all in the comfort level of the individual.  Diversity is great, but let’s face it, given the choice we all choose and become loyal to our own type.

Now I don’t know about the WMF and what happened there but I know there were some huge arguments around the internet about it all.  I can see basis for argument from all standpoints.  Who is right is still not clear, nor do I believe it ever will be clear.  It’s sad that a solution could not be reached that suited everyone so that the WMF could have continued and could have remained that safe space to express and experience the various types of women that we all are.

The specific exclusion of trans people seems to be blatant transphobia to me.  Not being trans I can only imagine how that would feel.  I can say that if I was a transguy I would not be inserting myself into an exclusively female venue.  Why would a man want to be at a women’s festival?   But if I were a transwoman…I would want to be recognized as a woman and would expect to be included.

These are just my thoughts on the whole thing.  I don’t know the answer to your question, commenter, it’s a tough one.  I wish we could all just get along and have one big camping festival that included everyone!

 

 

 

 

A Little Rant on Butch-phobia

I got a note from a young Butch who is struggling with being Butch.  Sad when one struggles so hard with just being who they authentically ARE. Pisses me off that we have nurtured a lesbian community who thinks that Butch equals male.  Butch doesn’t “equal” male at all, Butch is far more than plain old male, it’s the culmination of masculine female energy and living.

There is so much going on in the LGBT community currently, that things get a bit jumbled in my head.  I have several half written pieces in my cache about various things concerning various LGBT issues.  I mention this because one piece is on “allies” and what constitutes an ally versus what constitutes prejudice and phobia.  I look at it from underneath the proverbial “umbrella” myself.  So my perspective on anything LGBT will be skewed in this fashion; bias to some degree.

Maybe I am even getting a little off topic here now, it’s because when I think of phobia both Transphobia and Butchphobia come to my mind. Because those are the two inside the community that affect me personally the most, thus the two that very first come to my thoughts.  Know what I mean?  Sure you do.  Since I identify as Butch then Butchphobia comes to my mind when we start talking about the various phobias that we deal with as LGBT people…homophobia being our #1.  And then even that doesn’t bother me as much as phobia coming from inside the LGBT community itself – some of that being internalized Butchphobia.

I find that quite a few lesbians are seriously Butchphobic.  They shun the more masculine of us in the crowd.  I’ve had it happen personally, watched it happen to friends and felt the pain that is a result of being dissed by my own supposed “community” members.  I’ve heard it said more than once to me “oh, I don’t identify any way, I am just a regular, normal lesbian.”  to which I always want to say,”Hell yeah that big fat rainbow sticker on your car says ‘LOOK I am normal and regular’ alright!”

And I want to have a big ole argument about this “Normal, Regular Lesbian” title.

I want to know what is not ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ about ME?  Why can’t I be part of the normal/regular crowd?  Are they afraid of me?  (Maybe they fear that my masculinity will be contagious! hahaha  Let me assure you that Butch doesn’t wash off or rub off on anyone else.  It’s pretty permanent.  Same with femmes, it doesn’t wash off like their cherry flavored lip stick!

Is it that I am Butch?  Are you saying that that’s not the norm?  That I can’t just be a regular Butch lesbian?  Cuz that’s what I am; just your regular stock Butch lesbian.  (Except when I am that “special” kind of Butch…you know, like the one you like so damned much, but are afraid of what your friends or family will think, if you ask her out.  Maybe they’ll ask you the old “Why not just date a man?” fall-back question and then you would be some uncomfortable huh?  The femmes that I date have dealt with this question I am sure (because they’ve told me about it).  Dating a Butch lesbian is a bit like dating someone with a lesbian tattoo in the middle of their forehead, it’s usually blatantly visible that they are lesbian. (Now before you railroad me I know that there are straight Butch girls…and other sexualities of Butch out there, but for all intents and purposes of this blog we are talking about lesbians)   So it’s important to me that I date strong minded femmes, because they can handle these rude questions much more effectively, and with some finesse.  I love that about femmes, they will stick up for what they believe in and are loyal to. Bless their steel-plated hearts.

I don’t try to be anyone other than who I am.  I don’t tell you how to identify and you don’t tell me.  I try to be authentic; honest about who I am and how I see things. And I dare to be different.

(….to be continued…)  I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Peace!   ~MB~