And I don’t wanna miss a thing…

It’s a nice cool 61 degree morning here on the coast of Maine, albeit a rather overcast day.  The clouds gathering above me in the sky are heavy and full of rain – which will surely soon be pouring down upon my thirsty gardens and lawn spaces, thankfully.

I am up. I got up at 4:30am after a few short hours of sleep.  I’ve been having the most insane dreams lately.  I’m not sure if it’s med related, stress related or just that I am fucking weird.  Again last night I dreamed of being in the Army once again, and this time being deployed to control riots surrounding the Charlottesville white supremacist rally.  Yes, my dreams are overlapping into what is happening in real life here in America.  If I were able I would re-join the Army in a heart beat, but I’m aged out at 55.  Even so, I still dream of being in uniform again every now and then.  I often lament that I should have stayed my ass in the military until retirement.  But back in the mid-80’s when I finished my tour of duty the climate around being lesbian and in the Army was not good.  They were still in the midst of having monthly “witch hunts” and “round ups” of gays and lesbians to throw out of the service just for being who they were.  I narrowly avoided a couple of those round ups because I did not use my real name back then.  Off-post I had an entirely different identity; living stealth in order to maintain my position with the Army.  I did not want to have to explain a discharge that was other than honorable to my father – a man I feared and respected; a man who said I did not have the “balls to join” the Army…yeah, I was busy showing him what a damned good soldier looked like!

…and I digress…

I was saying, it is a fantastic start to my day here.  Life has been changing lately for me, as I mentioned briefly in previously posted blogs here.  I’ve been making changes, still growing and just relaxing more into myself and into life.  I’ve been trying hard to become more aware of myself; of my internalized phobias, and trying to work on those. We all have them, we try to deny it but it’s a fact.  I’ve been trying harder to think about what other people are going through or are concerned with and to be empathetic to those things.  I think it’s making me a better person.  I hope it is.

I have been getting out more the last few weeks.  Doing more by the way of social sort of stuff.  Generally I keep quietly to myself.  But I have realize that this isn’t doing my psyche any damned good.  Thus I have made more of a concerted effort to socialize and get the hell out of the house days.

On the 10th I went out to The Old Ferry Landing in downtown Portsmouth, NH with my whole family for a birthday dinner for my mother.  The Landing is right on the Piscataqua River, in Portsmouth Harbor.  It’s the very spot where the old ferry would land to bring passengers and freight back and forth across the river between Maine and New Hampshire up until the first draw bridge was built in the 1930’s.  So it’s a very historic spot, and when I am there I imagine what it might have been like for my grandmother to ride that ferry to town, which she did back then.  So it’s like walking in the footsteps of my ancestors.

Right next to the landing is the home of the Moran Tugs.  These tug boats are used to guide commercial vessels through the channels of the Piscataqua, one of the fastest current salt water rivers in the world, and through the two draw bridges that span the river.  There is a 3rd bridge, the “high level” we call it, that is high enough to navigate ships beneath, so it is stationary.  Right now the “middle bridge” of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, is being replaced.  It’s quite the project building a new draw bridge with all of today’s technology incorporated into it.  The project is the talk of the seacoast at this time.

Here are some good pictures of me, my family, the restaurant and the tugs.  Taken with my new Moto phone’s camera.

And while I was in the city (Portsmouth) I happened by a little shop that is owned by a dear old friend of mine. She is actually the woman who worked at the clinic where I tested positive for HIV back in 1992.  She is the one who had to break the news to my bewildered ass.  And I was the first woman she had ever had to tell they were positive.  So we have a sort of bond because of this happening to us back then.  We have always stayed in touch on the fringes, seeing each other at various outings, like Pride, Women’s March, and others.  Well, she dragged me into her little shop, which is for femmes let me tell ya, it’s full of jewelry, scarves, and hats…oh the hats…seems they were having a little “hat party” at the moment that I happened by on my way to the Ferry Landing.  Once inside they took great glory in having a Butch in their midst.  I got flirted with and poked fun of and then THIS happened: Ang Hat Pic

Yep, they made me try on one of the foofy hats…and they sure did get a laugh out of it, as did I.  I graciously allowed them to take this pic…so here it is for prosperity…and you all get a good chuckle out of it too.  🙂

This last Saturday I went up to celebrate my neices’s birthdays – Kyle and Meagan are both 23 this year…oy vey…and they often celebrate together as they are only 4 days apart in age.  Yes, 1994 was a very busy year for my family! lol.  It was the year I became an Auntie.  Auntie Butch…go figure. One of the proudest times of my life.  Here are some pics from the pool party we had Saturday.

Yes, it was complete with fresh off the boat Maine lobsters!  And they sure were great.  They are hard shell right now and full of good meat.  I had a fun time sending pics of them to my girlfriend and freaking her out…she’s never had a lobster.  Soon…very soon.

Yes, you read that right.  Girlfriend.  I formally asked her to be my girlfriend.  Hey, it’s the Butch way, you got to be respectful; not assume anything.  If you don’t ask; if you don’t together label what you have then it’s not official.  That’s my code anyway.

I’ve known this woman for close to a decade now…she’s been right in front of me and I just wasn’t ready…and in reality neither was she.  Both of us were on other paths; going through other things of our own and were just aware of each other on the fringes…but come to find out we WERE both aware…

The last 10 years I have been involved in some not so good situations.  I was with one woman on and off for many of those years.  I thought we would be together basically forever, but she met a man and realized she wasn’t who she thought she was.  Did it hurt?  Hell yeah.  But I don’t want anything to do with a woman who may be the least bit straight in any way, shape or form – not even a little bit.  So that ended, and ended very abruptly.  It’s for the best, I was “settling” I now see.  I didn’t have that passionate love for her that I need to have for the forever woman in my life. Then I started to get involved with another woman, but turned out she was so deep in the closet that she was kissin the back wall hard…So, yeah, I had some fuck ups along the way here, but it’s all behind me now.

I backed off dating completely; just gave the fuck up and figured I’d just be happier sticking to myself and not getting involved with anyone, it seemed to always be just too damned complicated.

That worked for a good while…then she somehow got my attention and things turned in a different direction. We got to just casually talking at first, and then it became clear that we had both been stealthily following each other for almost 10 years…interacting on rare occasions, but just enough to stay in touch.  We began daily conversations, got into some pretty deep stuff from both of our lives.  Both being bloggers and being each other’s followers, we knew quite a bit about one another; each had watched the other go through a myriad of struggles over the decade. We filled in those blanks; those things that we didn’t disclose in our blogs, the intimate details…lots of very personal stuff we have shared.  I’m not afraid of her hurting me, I’ve let that wall down and damn, it sure feels great.  To finally have someone who I can trusts with my heart.

Fast forward a little bit and I have really connected with this great woman.  She has stolen my heart…in a very good way.  She makes me smile, laugh, think and want to be all that I can be for her – and for myself.   I keep pinching myself to see if this is real; to see if I am really awake and that this is happening for us.  We’ve gotten really close, sharing our fears, our dreams, and our mutual affection for one another.  I haven’t felt this way in a very long time….like since 2007…and I don’t exactly know where this journey with her will take me, but I am sure going to find out.  I’m not letting go now for anything…anything.  I’ve needed her for so long, and now she’s right in front of me right where she belongs.  In my heart and in my arms.  I don’t wanna miss a minute of this…

More on this to come…I am sure as rain.   Peace.  ~MB

 

 

 

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Depression, Meds, and Life Stuff…

It’s the end of July 2017…it’s a cool, rainy day here in southern Maine.  I am wearing a long sleeved T-shirt and jeans because it’s too cold for anything less!  I’ve got the windows shut (most of them) and the doors closed today.  Brrr.  This weather is just strange for this time of year.  Normally it’s 90 and humid as fuck.

Well….that got me far…I started this days and days ago.  Just never got back around to finishing it up.

I’ve been in a serious funk for about a week.  I’m in the midst of switching up my anti-depressant meds, for those of you who can relate, it’s not a fun time.  Your brain gets to depend on those chemicals to stay in balance.  So when you remove them things get a bit haywire.  I’m just lethargic and without any kind of will to do anything.  Living is a chore.  But, I’m not one to quit, so I’m hanging in and waiting on the new medication to be approved.  Fucking insurance companies.  They hold our lives hostile at times.  Evidently this new medication I am going to be taking, Trintellex, has to be pre-approved by my insurance company.  It will be a week tomorrow that I have been waiting.  And 3 weeks with no anti-depressants in my system.  Depression takes different forms for each of us.  With me it’s the lack of desire; the lack of enjoyment of life that really manifests.

I have a ton of shit to get done around here.  I’m behind on my gardening and the lawns really should be mowed tonight.  It’s 5:30pm now, so I am thinking that I will get ready and mow the lawns around 6:45 when the sun is setting and it’s at it’s coolest – and yet still enough daylight to see.  Normally I do enjoy mowing and grooming the yard.  It always makes me feel good to have it looking neat and tidy.  It also gives a temporary sense of accomplishment and well-being.

The veggie garden is going gang-busters.  It’s producing lots of nice cucumbers and zuchinni squash.  Tomatoes are green still, but will ripen soon (I am personally NOT a fan of tomatoes, but I grow them for others).  My herbs are really growing well.  I am not sure how to dry them, but I am going to research it and dry what I can for future use.  I have basil, rosemary, mint and others.  Damn, see I can’t even remember simple words at the moment, I had the list of herbs in my head and I cannot bring the names of them to the forefront of my brain to type here….another side effect of depression and lack of medication.

I have been researching some herbal anti-anxiety remedies, since I am banned from any benzos now.  I can no longer get the lorazapam or xanax.  So, I found two that are of interest to me.  Here are two pics of the bottles that I took while I was in Walgreens waiting for my weekly script.

I think I’ll get both of these products this week when I stop in there again this Wednesday and try them out.  Herbal is better than nothing I suppose.  And the valerian root extract that I tried made me kind of sick.  I didn’t get the relaxing results, but I sure did get a stomach ache and headache.  If you know of any really good ideas for anxiety reduction – besides meditation and reducing stress – those things are a given, and it’s not that I want to be under stress any more than anyone else does, but in order to live this weird thing that we call life you must be under pretty much constant stress.  You have to survive, and that in itself is stressful.

Ok, I’m off to mow those lawns….rawrrrrr!  Peace!  ~MB

Re-blogged….an old video I did…

Wow!  PurpleSage blogged this video of me talking about Growing Up Butch…this is like almost 10 yrs old now, but it is all still very relevant.  It was fun to see it again.  You can also see it on my YouTube channel.  Thanks PurpleSage!  Love ya all!  Peace!  ~MB

This is a video by the excellent vlogger Mainely Butch! This made me think about whether I could describe what it’s like growing up femme. I think that would be hard to do though. Women describe what it was like growing up butch by naming the reasons they were different from other girls. So how […]

via Video: Growing up butch — Purple Sage

In the Fog..

That’s where I have been lately…in the fog.  I’m feeling a whole slew of ways.  Emotions are such fucked up things most of the time.  I’ve been trying like hell to sort through them all, from those feelings of loss, to feelings of renewed strength.  It’s no easy task.  I’ve been burying most of my emotions for months now…and the build up is working it’s way towards either an implosion or an explosion…both are pulling in equal directions!

I haven’t been writing much at all.  Which is VERY unlike me.  I have always written at least every other day…but for some reason I am avoiding the keyboard, the phone and the pen/paper like mad.  So, tonight I am determined to do some writing here; to sort through some stuff.  You are welcome to read along, but let me forewarn you that this may be a bit discombobulated or it may make perfect sense…THAT is yet to be seen.

What’s been going on in my life?  The same daily struggles of course.  Working my 3 days a week, puttering around the house.  Playing in my gardens.  I’ve been laying pretty low, not causing much commotion – as if I could!  LOL  I like things rather quiet.  I enjoy my home and spend a good amount of time here, working around inside and out.  Making it as nice a home as I can for the dogs and I.

I’ve been trying to talk my best friend in to moving in with me, her and her 2 cats.  It would make life so much easier on both of us, sharing expenses and being company for one another.  But she has her house that she owns, and one of the cats is very old and she’s afraid that he will not adapt to new surrounds this late in his life.  I say he will.  But it’s just not happening.  So, I spend most of my evenings alone, chatting on FB messenger with friends, or watching TV, reading and sometimes writing.  I’ve been pretty absorbed in US politics…a whole other topic for another time.  The last 2 days I have had to back off and take a break from it…it’s just so incredibly chaotic over here in the USA…incredibly fucked up to put it bluntly and honestly.

Been doing some thinking about people that I miss in my life.  Wishing that there weren’t so many good-byes.  But understanding that that is just part of life.  People come and people go.  Some stay a while, some retreat quite abruptly.  I miss the Spanish chick, still.  And I miss a couple of other’s who have dropped out of my life.  But, alas, life does go on and whether those people are still in it or not is completely up to them in most cases.

I’ve changed in the past couple of years — doesn’t everyone change with time?  I am more sure of myself in knowing what I want and don’t want.  What I don’t want is “temporary” people in my life.  I don’t want to play games, or pretend to be someone I am not just to make someone else comfortable. I don’t want to be used for any reason.  I am a strongly opinionated person, I have good morals and ethics that I am committed to and I will not waiver in my commitment to them for anyone.  What I do want is more truth in life.  Genuine people who care about others and are not self-centered or self-absorbed.  I like people who are engaged in life, who read and stay informed about what’s going on in the world, who understand that all of our lives are intertwined and connected.

I had a young friend just come out to her family today.  It was really super sweet, they stepped right up and were whole-heartedly supportive of her!  Insuring her that they love her and are proud that she found her voice and exited the closet!  Her mom is a very good friend of mine, and she called me today to talk about it, to insure herself that she had responded lovingly enough!  I thought THAT was awesome of her!  My young friend is just 21, she’s got her whole life ahead of her and now she can move forward without that nagging “fear” of being “found out”….we all know that fear, and how paralyzing it can be.  Coming out is a very personal thing, and is not always received like this one way, with love and dignity.  Sometimes it goes in the opposite direction, sadly.  I’m just happy that this one went so well!  I am always happy to support and mentor young LGBT folks who contact me, and I knew that this one would eventually do so..it was just a matter of time.  I have known her all of her life, and could see that she was struggling with this over the last couple of years specifically. But I thought it best to let her come to us, instead of confronting her on this very personal issue.  In the end this is what happened, and everyone is doing great tonight!  Welcome to our community young Ash!  🙂

Took Lulu and Nola out for a walk around the neighborhood tonight.  We all needed to get out for some exercise and fresh air.  We waited until around 7 to take advantage of the setting sun and cooling off of temps.  Even Lulu actually WALKED on her leash today! That’s progress as she would rather be carried most of the time, lazy baby girl!  She walked with enthusiasm today!  So I have decide to make it a nightly thing, to help us get in better shape.  Nola and I could stand to lose some weight and Lulu needs to fatten up and get some more muscle.  So this will definitely benefit us all!  Nola and I are both getting older and it’s not easy to keep the weight off of either of us.  I personally could lose a good 25 lbs and be a lot happier with my appearance.  Nola is about 22 lbs.  She should be more like 17…so she has a proportionate amount of weight to lose, at least 5 lbs.  We’ll keep you posted on our progress.  I am going to buy a weighing scale this weekend.  I don’t even own one now…but need one to keep track of our progress.  Yeah, it’s gotten that bad!  I usually lose it faster in the summer, but it’s not happening this year like it has in the past.  So the weight war begins….lol

So, it’s a nice cool night.  I am heading to  bed soon, to cuddle with the pups and get some rest.  Tomorrow I have a bunch of little things to get done around here and then I have doctor visits on Wednesday; work Thursday and Friday and then do it all over again.  I am planning to go to the beach this weekend.  Not sure which one yet, but I’m definitely due for a beach day with the dogs.  Sun and surf on the agenda!

I’ve been talking to one woman lately about feminism and Butch bashing.  It seems that she’s involved in a group on FB that’s mostly femmes and they discuss femme lesbian issue and ideas.  She tells me that there is some “Butch bashing” going on lately.  And that some of the more extreme feminist leaning women have been saying things like “why date a woman who looks like the opposition?” (meaning men I assume).  I find that quite insulting.  That is bashing in it’s finest to me.  I found that to be a new insult, hadn’t heard that one before. Especially from a femme identified person.

You would think that if they were part of the B-F community that they would understand by now that saying that is just not right.  I am told the people saying this are more for femme to femme play, and relationships, so this may explain the odd statement, although it makes it no more less hurtful.  I do not view men as “opposition” at all.  There’s a little bit of asshole in everyone of us.  I try to view and treat people as I wish to be treated.  With respect and compassion.  Yes, I am Butch.  I am masculine in presentation and mannerisms.  I tend to push the binary very hard.  If someone finds this offensive, or to be emulating their “opposition” then that’s on them, and I don’t care to have it in my life.  I am who I am.  Butch and proud.

Do you have any examples of Butch or femme bashing?  I’d like to hear from others on this topic.

Peace!  ~MB

Role Models

So, I got up on Monday and made the decision in my head to drag my ass out of the stupid funk that I had gotten into, change my attitude and to have a good week.  And…it worked.  I’ve been very upbeat all week.  And tonight I even invited my parents over to my place for a small backyard cookout.  It was awesome.  They even seemed to relax and enjoy themselves.  The place looks mighty good, and they were pretty impressed with all the work I have done and how it looked.  That made me very proud and put a big smile on my face.

For my whole life I have been trying to please my father.  I don’t know why; perhaps it’s because he is my father and I have the utmost respect for the man.  As a young person I envied him, emulated him and secretly wanted to be just like him.  Of course I was too young to understand all that that really entailed – like now I know I don’t want to be just like him.  He’s politically my polar opposite, and I could never go there.  But as a man of principles and eithics I always put him on a pedestal and tried to live up to what he wanted…or what I thought that he wanted from me.  In my 30’s I realized this constant need to please my father had been a real problem for me all of my life.  Therapy opened that door for me and taught me a lot.  Yet, still today it gives me much pleasure when he is pleased with me for some reason.  I’m sure the therapist would have a lot to say about it still.  I also fear the man immensely.  I fear his anger, his disapproval and his hate.  I avoid him most of the time, but there is a part of me that would really like to be closer to the guy.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster for me, one I am sure I will continue to deal with until the end.

Role models are important to young people.  When I was growing up I had my parents as role models.  Like any child I watched them intently and copied those things that I admired in them.  My Dad was a super strong dude, a Marine, then a cop, then a builder and business owner.  He is the epitomy of masculinity.  As a youngster I already understood that I was attracted to women, I thought at the time that I was supposed to be a boy and some mistake had been made.  I felt like a boy.  I acted like a boy.  I tried to copy the masculine traits of my father.  Many times I remember standing in the bathroom door watching him shave.  Is there really anything more masculine than shaving your face?  I think not.  Each pass of the razor over his face would make this “szzzh” sound as whiskers yielded under the sharp blade.  I always wanted to shave…to make that sound and feel the razor on my skin.  Of course, this desire kind of dissipated as I grew older.  I eventually became aware that I am female and that wasn’t going to change, but that I could still be as masculine as I felt and that it’s okay to just be me.

I get notes from younger LGBT people occasionally talking about how they need good role models in their lives.  Often these kids are secluded in more rural parts of the country where there isn’t a visible gay community of any kind for them to reach out to.

I sympathize with them because when I was growing up I didn’t have any other lesbians around me to reach out to either.  Always knowing that I was different from the other girls I hung out with, and hiding it like hell.  I wish that I had had role models, that I could have come out at a younger age and not had to go through all the crap that I put myself through when I was struggling with my own sexuality, thinkin I was going to hell and that I was some kind of freak.  It would have helped me to know that I wasn’t alone in the world, like I felt I was.

In today’s world we have the opportunity to BE good role models for those young LGBT people coming up behind us.  They are watching us.  They want to know what to do, how to do it and what needs to be done.  They want to carry on the legacy, the pride and the fight for equality.  We need to be aware of them; encourage them and nurture them.  It is our job to show them the way and to explain to them where we have been; where we came from.  We need to remember that the world has become more open than it ever was when we were growing up and coming into our own as adults.  There are new dangers out there now with the internet and globalization of things.  But there are still the old dangers too…the hate, the hippocracy, the homophobia and the violence.  Keep them alert, aware and yet don’t embed them with unnecessary fear of being themselves.

We each have a story, a history, and a way of being in this crazy world, it’s important to pass that knowledge on to the future.  In being role models we need to tell our stories, tell how we dealt with things, how hard it was and how rewarding it is.  We need to pass on the pride of the LGBT community; pride in overcoming so many obstacles and in living loving lives despite much of the world being against us.  And show them that you can lead a great, productive and contributing life no matter who you identify as.

So that is what I think about when I think about being a role model to younger LGBT individuals.  I want our community to be more cohesive, to come together and to be a stronger voice for all.  And I want those who are younger to realize that community is important and supporting one another is vital to our mutual survival.  What do you think?  Are you being a good role model for those who look up to you in life?

Peace.  ~MB

Our Stories…an inspired post

I have been blogging now for so many years that I really have to stop and research when I first started…I think it was sometime around 2005 that I first started blogging on AOL.  It’s been a good amount of years for sure.  I printed out all of my AOL blogs when I stopped using AOL, so I have them in printed form – just not in digital form.  I am thinking about this because I have been reading MiddleAgeButch’s blogs on writing our stories, which are really excellent blogs!

Telling our stories is an important thing, especially to leave marks on the history of the LGBT community.  I write because I love to write; it’s an outlet for me and if I can tell my story and it helps even one person along the way then I will have made a small difference in the world.  Everyone has their story.  I have mine and you have yours.  Sometimes we can relate to each other through our life stories; finding common threads and experience.  We can all be storytellers.

My story is about growing up feeling very “different” and not understanding exactly why until I became more aware of sex and sexuality.  Then it hit me that I was lesbian.  I remember looking the word up in the dictionary. “Ah Ha! That’s me”  My story is about holding that secret very closely, with a lot of fear and anxiety, for many years.  It’s about coming out in a time when it wasn’t cool to be gay.  And about life before we knew what HIV &  AIDS were, never realizing that life was about to completely change for so many of us.  Some chapters are about dealing with emotions and feelings in all the wrong ways, about drinking, drugs and wandering in the wrong directions.  Then you get to chapters of growth, acceptance and realization.  All of the stories of my life have brought me to where I am today.  And today is a good day.

I love reading the other author’s blogs on WordPress.  There really are some super writers on here.  I follow quite a number of them, and while I don’t get to read every entry every day, I do catch up with my favorites every week or so.  Some I do read daily when I can.

I think it’s really great that so many LGBT people have taken to blogging and writing down our stories for the world to read.  It’s important to the coming generations to be able to find us through our stories and to understand the history of our people.  I know it has been life changing for me, in many ways, to read the stories of those who fought this battle before me, of the Stonewall Riots, the Butch-femme histories of the early 20th century.  I always look to read as much from other Butch-femme lesbians as I can.  Some of my favorite reads are “Stilettos and Steel,” “Stone Butch Blues”, and “Butch is a Noun” and “Tomboy Survival Guide”…all of which are stories that address various periods and what it’s been like being Butch during them.  All have made great contributions to the history of the LGBT movement, in my opinion, and I would highly recommend them to young readers looking to know more about our history.

I was also reading another blog about people we admire and the qualities that they typify that we admire in them.  I found it to be really intriguing.  So I made my own lists of people that I admire in my life, and what I admire about them.  Because those are the qualities that I want to have myself, to make myself a better person.  I think it’s important to occasionally take a personal inventory of ourselves and do some hard thinking about how we are presenting to the world around us, and if it’s enough or if we need to tweak things up and make some changes.  Changes are not always easy, but they are a necessity in life.  AND you can always make the choice to change.

So I made a copious list of the qualities and traits that I personally want to have.  I am going to post it on my desktop where I can see it everyday and be reminded to live up to them.  I’ll let you all know how it goes.  I like to think that I already have many of these qualities, but it’s good to remind oneself.

I was talking with someone today about how everything happens for a reason.  I think that’s kind of a lame old line actually, but there is some truth to it I am sure.  Where I am in life today is exactly where I have put myself.  You get no more than what you put into something.  I’m pretty contented, but will always strive to make things better, and to be a better person for it all.

What makes me think of all of this is a very close friend who is having some really tough times right now and conversations that I had today with her.  She’s saying crazy things like “I’m done.” and “I am giving up.”  Words that scare me into thinking she’ll do something crazy.  I would be devastated if anything were to happen to her.  She’s very special to me, and someone I depend on in my life.  Right now she’s having some financial troubles and I am sure she’s feeling overwhelmed and under a lot of pressure because of it.  I am not in a position to help her out or loan her the money, which makes me feel bad.  I wish I could help her in some way other than just giving her advice and trying to help her get through it.

I want her to look at her life and see all of the positives and not just the current negatives.  I know it’s hard when the negatives are staring you right in the face though.  I been there too.  But you can’t just give up and throw in the towel.  You have to work things out, and sometimes it’s hard and you don’t want to do the work, I know, but it has to be done.  Hopefully she will get some rest tonight and will have a new outlook in the morning.  I am hoping that she will come by for coffee in the morning so that I know she’s okay.

It’s all part of the story of our lives…these day to day happenings and problems.  Hopefully better things come in the future.

 

 

 

 

The Gender Revolution?

It used to be so much more simple!  It used to be that you were either gay or straight, period.  Or at least that is how it was in my world growing up in the 60’s/70’s and partying my ass off in the gay bars in the 80’s…it used to be easier I believe.  I’m not knocking anyone’s gender or orientation choice here, just saying that it’s gotten VERY confusing for me.  I was just reading this article on npr.org titled “A New Generation Overthrows Gender” by Jon Brooks.  It was posted on Facebook, thus I clicked the link and knew I was in a world of word trouble immediately. 

First word I came across that is fairly new to me is “agender” – which according to the article means neither ale nor female.  The particular person in the article used the pronoun “they” instead of he or she.  Ok, so I am really, really trying to be okay with this.  I am really trying not to be internally phobic, or form an immediate opinion – because I know I don’t like it when people do that to me.  BUT I just don’t get it. 

Second word I came across related to this is “Transgender”.  Thank God.  A word that I know and can understand to some degree.  Transgender meaning someone who has changed from one gender to the opposite gender.  Transitioned.  More on this later. 

Third hurdle here “gender-fluid”…which means (according to kid in the article) that you feel like a guy or girl at different times.  I can somewhat relate to this.  There are definitely times for me that I get this twinge of feeling like a girl, but normally I just feel like a guy – although I know I’m a girl.  Confused yet? 

Fourth stumper “non-binary gender” meaning not female and not male according to the binary gender scale.  I’ll see if I can locate a picture of that old scale before I publish this.  But it’s like if you give Female a 1 and Male a 10, and you rate where in the scale you may fall or feel that you fall. 

Near the end of the article they bring up “gender non-conforming” – which I can definitely fully relate to.  I am one who does not conform to the gender norms of female.

And of course we have the weird word “cisgender” meaning you identify as you were sexed at birth – either male or female.   

Then it dives into Gender Vs. Sexual orientation Vs. biology….yes, it gets very in-depth for a minute here:

“Gender identity is different from gender expression, being different from biology” says Adam Chang, a consultant with Gender Spectrum, a provider or gender identity resources and services in Berkeley, CA.  “Identity is what you know in your heart and mind, and expression is external – hair, makeup, roles you take on in society.

“Biology of course, means physical attributes that have always been used as a proxy for gender,” Chang says.  “And all of those are different from sexual orientation.”

((HOLY SHIT BATMAN!))

Chang goes on to put it this way:  “Sexuality is in and of itself not enough information to reveal a person’s gender identity.”

I am 55 years old.  I am Butch.  I have said before that Butch is my identity.  Lesbian is my sexuality. Female is my gender.  Even THAT feels confusing at times.  I’m SURE it is confusing to those who don’t know me, or anyone like me.  Simply put, I’m a Butch Lesbian.  Lesbians are women (females) who prefer relationships with other women (females).  Or so it is in my world today.  There are so many new words that I can’t possibly keep up anymore.  Especially living in rural America where most of my contact with the rest of the LGBT world is via the internet.  Where we have no real “formed community” to fall back on or to learn alongside. 

I have seen a LOT lately about our youth and transitioning genders.  It worries me a little because the human brain is not fully developed until around the age of 25.  This is part of why we make so many stupid choices and dumb decisions when we are in our teens.  I’m afraid that if kids (under 21) are looking at things like transitioning physically with surgery and drugs that they will be doing things that are not reversible in their young futures.  AND I personally just don’t think they are old enough to be doing things like surgery or hormones. 

THAT is my personal opinion on it.  I understand that we are seeing a sort of “gender revolution” happening, that kids have access to all sorts of information that we did not have when I was growing up.  I never even knew the word “transgender” existed or that people could even change genders if they wanted to.  Sure, I was a tomboy, and there were times I am sure that I wished I was a boy, but I am happy with being a woman today and who know what I would have done had I known or had the means as a kid to change my gender.  It would have been a tough one for me I bet.  So, in many ways I am happy to have grown up when I did before all of this revolution and changing stuff came to the surface. 

I have young female friends who are considering transition.  One, in particular that I am thinking about.  I have been trying to be a good Butch role model and influence, answering questions and being a bouncing board for her venting.  But she is edging closer and closer to transitioning.  She’s now 17, I’m just not convinced that she should make that kind of a life altering decision before she’s 25.  Now, saying that I don’t see any harm in her presenting as she wishes.  I am just against early surgery or hormones. 

I know some will disagree with me.  It’s the elephant in the room sometimes even.  I am not anti-trans, and I have many trans friends who I love dearly for exactly who they are.  I respect their choices and decisions.  But most of them that I know made those decisions in adulthood, not in a pre-pubescent fog of “who am I?” or on a whim to fit in with the “in” crowd, or do the new fun thing. 

My fear is that the kid does this, transitions, and then at 25 the kid looks at every adult in her life and gets very angry at them for not stopping things until she was really old enough to make that kind of life-altering decision.  Know what I mean?  Adults are supposed to protect kids from themselves; from making irreversible mistakes, and what if transitioning turned out to be just that mistake that the kid makes and regrets at maturity?  I would hate to be in those shoes. 

Kids are maturing way faster than ever in todays world.  Information travels at lightening speed through the internet and across the world wide web.  We know things that we never knew, and probably never would have known, had it not been for the interenet – some good and some bad.  I think it’s great to explore sexuality and gender and to discuss our views based on the information at hand.  I just hope these kids today are doing their research and not just following a fad that could leave indelible marks.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about suicide rates (40% of trans-identified people attempt suicide), sexuality, and society.  It seems that while many more people are adopting identities of various names across the gender spectrum, that fewer are actually physically transitioning now.  Perhaps that is because we are making it okay to be who you are without having to completely change your body.  All in all it’s a very good article that everyone should take 20 minutes to read and gain some knowledge from.  I do think it’s very cool that kids are encouraged to live as their authentic selves, to express themselves and to be who they ARE in the world.   

So, check out the article and let me know what YOU think.  Peace.  ~MB

This is a highly controversial topic and I respect that everyone has their own opinions and views.  Please be respectful of everyone reading if you comment, which I invite you to do, below.