The Hardest Pill to Swallow: You Have Toxic Traits Too — EvolveYou

I came across this during my reading today…very interesting. I can go thru the list of toxic traits, most of which I am in control of until triggered by some reminder of a past incident, and they all resonate with me. For almost a decade and a half I kept myself in tight check, then I went wild for a few years, acting out because of all I was denied, seeking it elsewhere. Then I settled, did some work on myself, accidently fell in love and it was great for almost 2 years, then one of my old things was triggered, actually 2 of them, and I lost it momentarily. I know it’s going to happen, now I just need to learn new ways of handling it without lashing out at others. This is a great article!!!

I’m sorry, but it’s true. My toxic traits? Well for starters, I solve every heartache by eating my weight in sweets. I also have this habit of lying to myself when it comes to wine. I tell myself I’ll only have a glass. But let’s face it, it’s never really just one glass. I don’t […]

The Hardest Pill to Swallow: You Have Toxic Traits Too — EvolveYou
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World AIDS Day 2018…My Day of Reflection

Yesterday was December 1st, which is designated as “World AIDS Day”. This year was the 30 year marker for observance of this day. HIV and AIDS have been around long before this day was designated to bring the crisis to front-mind awareness.

I was diagnosed in August of 1993. I had been in a “no-risk” space at that point for approximately 3+ years…so, I was infected in the late 80’s. I actually am one of the rare few who know exactly when and where I was exposed to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It was a one-time share of a needle, which was very out of character for me, but it happened due to the situation at that moment. I don’t know if it’s “good” or “bad” that I actually know my infection route. I guess it’s good in the sense that I never wonder “how” I got the virus. Yet, it’s bad in the sense that it makes me “blame” someone else in some ways, when it actually was entirely my choice to share that night and thus my own fault. I have always worked to take responsibility for my own actions and I made a split second choice that night that was the wrong choice and thus changed my life – or at the very least altered the trajectory. We never know what’s going to be handed to us in our lives, we just never know. 

In the 1990’s I lost quite a few friends in the height of the AIDS epidemic. Prior to knowing my own positive status I was working with local organizations to spread prevention information.  In the summer of 1992 there was a March on Washington (I’m sure that many of you remember) and it was one of the very last times that the AIDS Quilt was displayed in it’s entirety on the Mall in Washington DC. I was there that day; I walked the quilt with my best friend, Nancy. I was moved to tears over and over that day. Each of those panel represented someone’s life. Each panel is 3 ‘x 6’ in size, representing the basic size of a coffin. Every panel was handmade by someone who loved that person or even a group of people would together make a memorial panel. There was something cathartic in the whole scene. 

I vividly remember sitting down on one of the benches on the edge of the Mall with Nancy, taking in the enormity of the display. It covered the whole Washington Mall. Quite the feat of volunteerism to get it displayed with huge amounts of care and dignity shown by all of them. The quilt idea was borne of Cleve Jone’s incredible mind. It’s called The Names Project and is still in operation today. The quilt now travels in smaller displays around the country. I’m not sure how big it would be to be once again displayed in it’s entirety. I highly recommend that you visit the Quilt’s page and take some time to look it all over, reflect, learn and NEVER FORGET. 

The display that day brought my mind very close to beginning to think about getting tested myself. Up to that point I had not sought out testing for myself. I naively figured that since I hadn’t been using illicit injection drugs for over 3 yrs. and I hadn’t been sexually promiscuous with anyone who I thought of at that time as a risk, that I couldn’t possibly have gotten infected. That was pretty standard thinking at that time. We have learned so much since! I recall having a physical reaction as I walked through the miles of panels and I shudder to think that now the Quilt has more than doubled in size. It still gets displayed, in partial displays, around the world.

So, that was the beginning of me thinking about getting tested. Finally in July of 93 I got pneumonia and my then therapist urged me to get tested; just so I would at least know if there was any chance I had been exposed during my drugging days. So, in mid-August I visited the Feminine Health Center. I was paired up with a great counselor, Assiah, who interviewed me in-depth about my history and possible risk factors. Then we drew blood and it was sent out to the lab for testing. The whole process I remember cost me $25. But in my mind I was going to come back negative and those who kept urging me to get tested would shut up. The tests at that time took 2 weeks to process and you had to go back in person to receive your results. On Aug. 31, 1993 I went back for my results.  

I was taken into the private discussion room by Assiah. She quickly closed the door, spun around and said “You’re positive.” then burst into tears. I stood there stunned. I didn’t know what the fuck to do at that point. She was obviously upset at having to tell me this news. Come to find out, as she told me later, she had never had to inform a woman of a positive outcome before, only men. And the fact that I was lesbian and was HIV+ was very unique. Lesbians are known to be in the least-risk group for infection and were usually on the front-lines of care and prevention.

I remember sitting down and putting my head in my hands. I was super confused. I felt like I had literally been gut punched and was gasping for air. There was now an expiration date stamped on my forehead. Fuck. I knew this was not going to be a good experience; nope, not good. I asked for a second test and had more blood drawn for it, but I knew the result would still be the same. I now had to figure all of this out. I had to first tell my family, and I knew that would be the hardest thing. And I had to get educated; to learn how I was going to beat this beast within.

I have lots of side stories of telling various people in my life about my infection and how it related – or not – to them and our relationships. My family all gathered at my home at the time, and I told them all together. They, of course, had lots of questions, were very upset and concerned for me, all while bursting with love and support for me. Thank my lucky stars for this, I don’t know what I would have done had my family shunned me, as happens in so many instances. Things would have definitely turned out very differently had that been my case. I am super grateful that it was not, but I feel deeply for those who do encounter that kind of response – especially from family and close friends.

My life changed on that day. It was a definitively distinct change. I could no longer be as casual as I had previously been about love, life and living. I quit drinking immediately. I also discovered on that same day that I am co-infected with hepatitis C, a common hepatitis for IV drug users to contract. I had been an on again off again kind of alcoholic. If I wasn’t shooting hard drugs I was drinking myself into comas. Yes, some serious self-destructive behavior, I know. I figured I wasn’t going to live long at that point. Back then the average time between diagnosis and death was 3-5 years, sometimes a little longer for women. I just concluded that my future was over; I had no future in my mind at that time. But I was determined to educate myself and those around me so I could live as long as possible, as healthy as possible. 

So much has gone on in my life since that hot August day in 1993. Life has a way of changing continuously. We grow. We learn. We lose. We win. And life just continues to go on. I had been handed a massive challenge and there’s nothing that I like more than a good fight! I put my whole being into becoming as educated and informed as humanly possible. I began living a cleaner, healthier life. I learned to love those who loved me with a renewed fierceness and determination. I stopped being a total asshole and adopted a kinder, gentler way of conducting myself. And I fought. 

Today, I am healthy and doing very well. My journey hasn’t been so smooth sometimes; I’ve struggled with addiction all of my adult life. It rears it’s ugly head occasionally and it’s a battle to the death for me. I’ve had many, many good years; fun years and years full of awesome memories and tons of love. I’ve travelled, farmed, built, raised, and let go of things when the time came. I’ve had a couple of spectacular relationships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I discovered real love and basked in it like a snake in the sun. I’ve lived a pretty decent life; being lucky enough to have access to great medical care and the cutting edge in medication I remain healthy and happy.

So, yesterday is my annual day to reflect on these years of living with HIV and to remember those friends of mine who didn’t have the good outcome that I’ve been gifted. I remember their faces, their voices, the laughter and the crying; every one of them beautiful and a gift to earth in their own ways. May they be dancing wherever they are. 

Peace ~ MB

Fleeting Thoughts…that hang around…

I have been doing a LOT of thinking lately; deep thinking, light thinking, silly stuff, and just plain random shit runs through my mind in a constant flow of factoids and ponderings.  Most of it has been the result of changing anti-depressant medication.  Whoa…I didn’t know it would be this rough!  My dreams have been off-the-charts wild as fuck.

Every day is not rainbows, I know. Some days just suck, but we struggle through them toward that time when we lay our heads down at night, close our eyes and hope tomorrow is even a tiny bit better.  We use the resources available to us and we figure it out somehow.  That’s being human.  That’s just part of being alive and living life.

I can be a little complex at times.  I have walked a few different trails in my life and of course, I am the sum of those experiences.  What happens to us sometimes defines us in very specific ways.  I have been thinking about that a lot the last couple of weeks.  Who I am and why I am, crazy shit like that.

My girl is long distance, which has its own set of fucked up challenges.  I miss her all the time, but this is how it works for us.  It’s not perfect, but I love her and don’t want to stop.  She’ll be here for 4 days in a month, I’m so in need of her visit!  Being with her just makes me feel so much better; relaxed and happy.  It’s very hard not being able to be there for her when she might need me.  I can only do so much over the phone, Skype and text…which frustrates the fuck outta me at times.

She works so hard and is managing her daughter with special needs getting to and from school, daycare, feedings, etc…it’s all a LOT for her.  She has some help there, I know, but I still wish like hell I could be there.  I naturally worry about HER health and well-being during all that goes on in her days.  I encourage her to eat and take care of herself, but the stress on her is pretty formidable right now and I feel the tension in her voice.

There are moments when I wonder if managing a relationship with me doesn’t just make things that much harder for her. But I know that we love each other and I couldn’t – or won’t – stop now.  I’ve committed myself to her and will just continue to try to bring good things to her life; make memorable contributions as I can.

Sure, I have my insecurities and I tend to over-think sometimes.  She is very into the “in the moment” mind space. Sometimes that throws me a bit.  I like to think forward a little.  And being a writer and a lover of words, I sometimes either read or interpret their meanings incorrectly.  It has caused me a bit of angst on more than one occasion, and we’ve dealt with it.

Sometimes I’m afraid of loving her so much.  Sometimes I feel a little in the way.  I love her so deeply and really try to keep things calm and focused for her.  The less drama on my end the better, so I stay very chill and think things through.

I’m starting to ramble; my head is so full of stuff lately, and the med changes aren’t helping me much.  Today I was on the verge of tears for a couple of hours after having a negative experience at the pharmacy and with my prescriptions.  It aggravated me so much I drove angrily home with tears in the corners of my eyes.  I hate feeling that way.  Maybe it IS easier just not to feel at all.

 

 

 

Crazy Spring Feelings

I get crazy for her some nights, that urge just won’t quit.  I lay flat on my back, which is how I sleep anyway, stretch out and try to imagine…oops, did I turn off the stove…? Fuck.  And, yes, I generally get up to check if that thought, or a thought about the heat being turned down crosses my mind.  After getting back up to check on things at least once, I settle into my bed, one dog laying by my side and the other laying on my chest.  This is how I sleep every night.  I’m a back sleeper, flat on my back.  I wake myself laughing quite often, and can manipulate my dreams if I try hard enough…it’s a gift I believe.

I got up this morning, turned on my computer and resumed watching a movie that I had started last night – before my eyelids wouldn’t stay open.  The movie was “Below Her Mouth” and is very erotic, sexy and one of the best lesbian movies I have seen done.  Generally when you watch any movie with two women getting it on it’s staged and done by straight men, thus it’s not realistic or true to form.  THIS movie was very realistic, true to form and a great depiction of lesbian sex.  Didn’t look fake at all, which made it even hotter.  So, if you’re looking to get yourself a bit sexually aroused this weekend, check out “Below Her Mouth” on Netflix.  I can just about guarantee you won’t be sorry!

The high winds last week got so bad one night that it blew my bird feeding station pole down, and it’s anchored by a piece of marble…so it has weight, but the wind was so ferocious that anything without deep roots was flying around.   Luckily, I only lost one feeder.  My finch tube feeder was crushed by the pole when it fell.  I just put everything back together and the local birds are now happily snacking once again.

Spring is very slow coming here in Maine this year.  It’s April 7th and it’s 38 degrees, windy, but sunny.  It’s just been a weird ending to winter for us.  Keeps snowing, about every other day we get snow.  None of it is “sticking” or building up; generally it’s gone in a few hours of sunshine.  But it’s annoying as fuck.

I am anxious for warmer days, sunshine and gardening!  I have even mapped out my property in planning out my gardens for 2018.  I do love my gardens, and being outside working in them.  Even weeding has a sort of zen feeling to it for me.  And I’ve been watching some DIY videos about prepping the vegetable garden soil for better growth and production.  I haven’t added compost to that garden since I built it the first spring I was in this house.  So, compost is being mixed in this season, so things should grow good.  And I am planning a long garden down the side of the trailer, coming out about 6′ or so, I bought a bunch of wildflower seeds and am going to prepare that area and over-seed it with a mix of four types of seeds: hummingbird attractor, flowering perennials, flowering annuals, and a butterfly mixture.  This next coming weekend it’s supposed to be warmer, so I am planning to do some outdoor work; raking, trimming and laying some stones I have procured from the nearby quarry.

April 10, 2018.

My girlfriend and I are doing really great, despite the distance.  My heart is really happy about this.  It’s strange to take such a big chance on love again at 56…I seriously thought that this part of my life was pretty much finished.  I never expected to meet Bones.  She’s changed my whole outlook on some things, and I was obviously very ready to make the changes.  I don’t exactly know where we are taking things, it’s complicated in a few ways.  She has a life in Texas, a business and a child.  Right now we are just trying to stay connected daily, enjoying the moments, and not making any future plans.  Living and taking things day-by-day, as they come.  She’s coming back in May to spend some more time with me.  And she’s bringing her daughter to meet me.  I am really looking forward to this next visit!

I’ve really gone out on a limb with this woman.  I’m pleasantly surprised at how well things are going and how deeply she’s affected me.  I’m allowing her past many walls and letting her through the barriers to my heart.  It’s been scary, but worth every wince. She just looks at me and I melt into a puddle inside…the feeling is outrageously delicious.  I long for her touch when we are apart; and I know she’s feeling it too.  That’s the best part.  I feel for people who settle for anything less than this feeling, it’s the best feeling in the world to connect with another person on this level of depth, emotionally, physically and sexually, it’s just phenomenal.

I have opened a new website for anyone interested in Butch-femme connections and conversation.  It’s just getting off the ground.  It’s a membership only site where you join up and create a profile.  I am going to link it here in this post.  Anyone who would like to contribute, participate or even just lurk around until they feel more comfortable, is welcome to join.  The site has been created for women who prescribe to the Butch-femme dynamic mostly, but there are forums for other things as well such as LGBT news and articles.  The site is called Butch-Femme-Perspectives.  Please join me!  I feel that with some effort on all of our parts we can make the site pretty damned cool!  We’ll add and subtract from it as necessary, creating our own unique safe place on the web.

Alrighty, let me wrap this up.  The day is burning away, I need to get some things done outside and am lingering inside just waiting for it to warm up a tad.  Hell..I could be waiting til Thursday at this rate!  Haha…

What does your week hold in store for you?  Any great things happening?  What are you looking forward to?

Peace.    ~MB

 

 

 

Butch Desire

Butch desire is to fem hunger what peanut butter is to jelly; what ying is to yang.

I recently read a really GREAT blog about “hunger”; specifically fem hunger. You can read it here, which is my previous cross post about this blog, and will connect you with this wonderful blogger. The writer is a fantastic femme, who writes with elegance and ease about this topic and many others concerning Butch-fem relationships and dynamics. As with anyone, I don’t always agree with her, but I have found that she quite often stimulates me to write more!  I truly value her opinions and perspectives.

This article she wrote about fem hunger has made me think much about what it is that I, as a Butch who desires that fem hunger, feel and how I respond to that hunger.

Butch desire is the deep, almost primal, need a Butch feels when acknowledged by a femme. It’s the riveting eye contact that conveys the message that they want more; they want to take it all. Butch desire runs deep in the body, and is activated like an electrical current, making the heart race and the breath come in heavy sighs. It’s that desire to be wanted and needed exactly as I am – Butch and proud – not to be told to “tone it down” or hide in any way.

It’s the unending need to fix everything; to make everything good and right for her femme; to treat the femme like the queen of her world, as it should be. Then it’s the aching need to take what is hers; to conquer and devour every savory morsel of femininity exuded by her fem lover, and to do it with force and precision.

“I want you as a woman, not as a man; but I want you in the way you need to be, which may not be traditionally female, but which is the area you express as Butch…….I make it right to want me that hard. Butches have not been allowed to feel their own desire because that part of being Butch can be perceived by the straight world as male. I feel I get back my femaleness and give a different definition of femaleness to a Butch as a femme.”
Amber Hollibaugh, “What We’re Rollin’ Around In Bed With” My Dangerous Desires

Butch desire is the raging need that fills my mind with visions of her, spread before me quivering and waiting for my touch, sometimes gentle and sometimes rough and demanding. It’s the ache in my entire body that is only stopped by her moans, that deep connection we make in becoming whole together, mind, body and soul. It’s her unbridled hunger for being taken and my overwhelming desire to claim her as my own. Butch desire is all of those things, plus much more. From the way it makes me lick my lips in anticipation, to the guttural noises I make as I find my release with her body quaking under mine.

That hardness; the rigidity of our closely guarded emotions, that we keep locked up safe behind our walls of protection, is also our vulnerability. When a femme sees momentarily behind the wall that we build, it’s an intimate and very exposed feeling for a Butch. We do not show our vulnerabilities readily, nor often. Some say we are damaged goods; that our lack of visible emotion and response is from some trauma – or from our “wanting” to be male – nothing could be further from the truth for a truly authentic Butch.  Femmes have a way of seeing through our thinner walls, and of reaching past those super-tender spots without threatening or damaging us.  This serves to heighten our desire; to fan the flames of heat and passion.

Never have I desired to be “male” – although standing to pee is very appealing – it never came to me to transition to the male gender. Femmes get this. They don’t push us to change, but accept us for who we are and how we represent ourselves in the world.  We are women who push the gender boundary and skew the binary; who look, feel and think a bit differently perhaps. There’s a thin line; a boundary of distinction, invisible to most and yet something that we are very keenly aware of as we move about our world.

Being a dominant Butch it’s often assumed that I take on a “male” role in any relationship.  While this has some truth to it, it’s not really that cut and dried; every Butch owns her own butchness – and what that is and how it plays in her life, daily.  Being Butch doesn’t stop when no one’s looking, it’s an authentic way of being in the universe. And it’s that combination of being female, yet very masculine that feels every so right to a Butch – and to her fem partner.  It’s what gives me life and joy in being.

When I am with people from outside of the gay community I am more keenly aware of my differences with them.  Whereas when I am with my counterparts I am much more relaxed and less guarded overall.  The more “mainstream” lesbian community generally frowns on the Butch-fem dynamic, lifestyle and those who partake in it’s beauty.  Sad for them in my opinion.  Lesbians seem to have a real tendency to be judgmental of other lesbians – at least that has been my own observation.  I see more lesbian on lesbian bashing than I care to see.

Personally, I don’t give much weight to their opinions, rude remarks, comments, or slurs of others – lesbian, straight, or whatever.  That’s their business; their own frame of thinking, generally constructed from within their own culture, community and situation in life.  People get hung up on what they do not understand; it frightens them, so they try to minimalize it however they can.  I find this to be a real form of “internalized” homophobia.  Preach about equality, but disrespect those who do the same things you do – just tweaked a bit.  That does NOT make much sense.  And perhaps me even saying this here doesn’t either, it’s MY own internalized phobia of occasionally worrying about what others may think.   And there I will leave it.

~MB

Again on Butch-femme Relationships

butchfemmejpeg1

I have just had the pleasure of reading a most outstanding piece on Huffpost  called “Redefining Butch-femme Relationships”, by Georgia Kollas, writer, Huffington Post blogger, and cultural observer.  I loved it!  It could not have been any better!  I encourage all of you to give it a good read!

Also, Ms. Kollas is a self-identified as a femme, a “strong, badass” one at that!  I love reading about the “dance” from a femme perspective as it’s obviously the opposite, yet the same as my own experience from my stance as a Butch.

To quote one favorite and much agreed with paragraph from Ms. Kollas’s article:

…We are yin and yang – seemingly oppositional forces that are actually complementary and interconnected. We offer a devoted appreciation for the gender expression of the other, an affirmation of intrinsic qualities that make us who we are. Each of us is unique, with our own blend of characteristics along a gender spectrum. We all carry both masculine and feminine aspects within ourselves.

I so agree that we are the “yin” and “yang” in each other’s worlds.  We are the same, yet complete opposites that need on another for happiness and love.  We, both identities, thrive on the energy that our opposite exudes.  As a femme loving Butch, I am very strongly attracted to the softer essence of the femme, and to her fierce badass parts as well.  It’s not just about the sex, it’s about the “big picture” that each of us has in mind.  It’s about the sensuality, both strong and intriguing, that lures us to each other; to desiring to be in one another’s presence.

I’ve always heard the old “mimicking hetero” stuff, even from other lesbian identified people in my community.  And it makes me chuckle to myself because that’s really not what Butch-femme relationships are at all.   As a Butch I do not desire to be or to mimic a man; I am a undeniably a female person who is entrenched in masculinity from within my soul.  I embrace my masculinity, and I love women who embrace their femininity with that same reciprocating enthusiasm – particularly lesbian identified femmes who find my Butch-ness appealing and attractive.

I appreciate the power of a femme; that alluring mystique that captivates my every thought when I am with her.  I love the flirtations and the magic that happens within the Butch-femme dance.  That magic fills my chest with pride; pride for being with such beautiful and sexy woman that makes my masculinity feel so perfect to me.  There is just nothing akin to the exquisite dance that happens when we are connecting.

Another favorite line from Ms. Kollas writing,

I love butch–femme and the particular dynamic that exists when two people are firmly in their fullest expression of their gender and interconnected in a dance of complementary opposites.

I see femmes as precious beings; ones to be protected and to be loved deeply.  As I run my fingers through her long hair, balling my hand into a fist and pull her head back to kiss her passionately it is actually she who controls that very moment, as it is she gives me that power.  There is a power exchange in the Butch-femme dynamic that is fierce, yet so subtle and we feel it deep in our bones; spiritually, emotionally and sexually.

We know the deal, and we’re in-tune as we dance.

Kudos to Ms. Kollas on this wonderful article!

Peace.  ~MB

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Rough Sunday…

It’s Sunday and I’ve felt really down and depressed all damned day.  I just re-blogged a post from Sam Dylan Finch of LetsQueerThingsUp.com, and he really nails it with some great advice and suggestions on how to help yourself when you’re feeling out of whack like I am today.  I even checked out the tele-therapist he suggested, TalkSpace and had a short conversation about rates with them….it’s basically $156 a month for the plan, or $39 weekly billed by the month. Too rich for me today, I just finished paying all my bills and bringing things current so I don’t have much left to be spending on tele-therapy this week.  But, I will be considering – and probably subscribing – this in the future.  I have a difficult time making my weekly appointment with my face-to-face therapist, I’ve missed the last 3 weeks actually and need to give her a call soon.

I’ve been going to my Groups: Recover Together meetings every Wednesday (except when I was away) and I depend on that group therapy and the Suboxone script every week.   I am switching up to Tuesday this week because my best friend also attends Groups and I am having a hard time really focusing on my own personal recovery while worrying about her.  I also find that I can’t really share like I should with her in the same group.  As things stand right now I haven’t heard from her in about 3 days, which makes me very suspicious that she’s fallen back into using.  I tried calling a few times and it went to voice mail after a half dozen rings, so then I started texting but got no reply.  I’ve tried every day, but no response. That makes me super upset.  We are very close – or we were and we even got clean together a year ago on her birthday.  She is usually part of my every day, we talk or text several times daily.  So her ghosting me is a bad omen.

Now there’s been another mass killing, this time in a Baptist church in Texas.  Twenty-six people dead and many injured.  THIS kind of shit has GOT to STOP!  America is becoming very known as the land of mass murder.  Our gun laws are ridiculously lax and our government is control by the NRA (National Rifle Association) and their massive money.  This latest shooting, while it’s horrible, hasn’t been on the news much.  We’ve become complacent, it’s become part of the fabric of life here.  And it’s very sad, and angering.

I must get some sleep.  It’s been a truly troubling day.  I’m hoping that some of the stuff that Sam Finch brought to my attention with his blogs and website will be helpful, but right now I am too tired to do any more today.  I am hoping for a good night of deep sleep and to rest my tired brain.

Peace.  ~MB