Undetectable=Untransmittable

Yes, I said it.  Undetectable equals untransmittable.  This is a silent secret evidently in the HIV world.  I have known this for a long time, but the stigma around having HIV has kept me quiet about it too.  I’ve been reading a lot on the topic and I think that if people knew this that there would be a little less stigma and it could also lead to more people being tested, more medication adherence, and much more.

What it basically means is that someone who is undetectable (has no HIV present in their blood when tested) for at least 6 months cannot infect their sexual partners.

I am tested every 3 months.  They do two basic big tests.  One is my “viral load” test, which measures the amount of HIV in my blood stream.  The second is my CD4 cell count, which is also known as the “T-cell” count.  This is a measure of how strong my immune system is.  The higher the number the better.

I have been consistently testing in the zero range on my viral load tests now for over 3 years.  And my T-Cell count is always above 600.  (The average woman without HIV is around 500).

So, basically I am not someone who you can get HIV from in a sexual situation.  This is a huge relief to me personally, as that is always a worry with me.

The hardest thing for me about living with HIV is dealing with having to tell a potential partner that I have this condition.  I am very out with my status.  I have  been since the beginning (1992 for me) of living with this virus.  I found out in 1992, but I had had no high risk behavior for 3 years prior to my being tested, so most likely I contracted the virus in 1988-89 when engaging in IV drug use.  I believe I know when it happened specifically because I was always a very careful user, and didn’t make it a habit of sharing needles.

Telling a person who you may become sexually involved with at some point isn’t easy.  There is so much stigma surrounding the disease.  But I have found in my own experience that the more educated a person is in general the more accepting they are – and this is something that many have grown up with and know a good bit about now.  I am always open to questions, and I stay well-informed so that I have accurate and current information for anyone who asks.

Undetectable = Untransmittable

“People living with HIV on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and virally suppressed, are not capable of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner.  With successful ART, that individual is no longer infectious.”

Dr.Carl Dieffenbach, National Institute of Health, 8/26/16

 

I couldn’t imagine dating in today’s world without knowing the status of my partner before we ever had sex.  I urge everyone to be tested.  It’s just normal protocol nowadays and something everyone should do. You can even do home testing now.  It’s become quick, easy and stays confidential.

Would you date someone with HIV, knowing this information above?  It’s a difficult question for many, because we remember when people were dying of AIDS because of this virus.  I remember vividly thinking I was going to be one of them a long time ago.  But now with today’s treatments and good living I am looking at living to a ripe old age and leading a normal life. Thank God.

This Week…

2016-11-05-16-16-15I never title my posts until I am finished writing them.  How about you?  Do you start with a title or the body of your post?  It just occurs to me that maybe I am a bit weird in this respect.

It’s a cold day here in southern Maine.  I been freezing all damned day.  I got up this morning a little later than usual for me….I am usually up by 6 am but today I slept until 9.   Have been fighting being cold ever since emerging from my warm, snuggly bed.  I know.  It is November and I should expect to be chilly.  Doesn’t mean I like it though. And you all know Ijust hate winter anyway…and winter is in the air for sure.  T may even snow today.

I took some time today and stopped at the barber shop and got a nice fresh haircut.  It feels great to have it shaved back to my normal Butch style. Tips #3 blade on top and a #1.5 blade on the sides and back.  Squared off and edged out nicely.  Nothing makes me feel better about myself like a good visit to the barber. I did grow it out to about 3 inches on top….but it was driving me crazy. I do much better with my normal crew cut.  I was not meant to sport longer locks.

I’ve been doing much better this past week.  Been feeling a lot better and have had a good week all around.   Spent a good deal of my days working, which was okay.  I spent some needed time with my Mom and I got things done.

I’ve been chatting with a very sweet woman that I know. I am pretty shy but I’m trying hard. I struggle with letting people get too close to me sometimes.  Hell, all the time!  I am afraid of getting too close and getting hurt yet again. I have stayed clear of online stuff for a good long time now.  The last time I got my heart handed to me it was someone I met online.  I don’t care to repeat that episode. I’ve also decided that you can’t get back together with anyone.  Once you split up its over .  Getting back together is akin to trying to put crap back where it comes from…and that is just impossible.  Thus I am moving into new territory. I am enjoying my current situation and chatting with the new girl.  I do hope it is something I can build on and take a bit further. It would be great to have a steady woman in my life.

Lulu and Nola are doing quite well.  Lu’s itching issue is a bit better with the use of some benadryl and some hydrocortisone spray as a topical treatment. Thanks to those who replied to my blog about the problem.  I have done a lot of research and have concluded it is a dermatitis caused by her being allergic to something. I am just not sure what it issues reacting to. I gather her in a tea tree shampoo which helped her quite a bit.  And whatever it is is not affecting Nola at all, which is great.

The presidential election is this coming Tuesday.  I have very mixed feelings about it. Will be really glad when it’s over…I think.  I am petrified about the possibility of the outcome if Trump gets elected.  I am afraid he will piss off the whole world and make us look like fools.  Not that he hassn’t already done that byeverunning on his platform of hate.  If he’s elected I also fear how much war he will involve us in around the globe.  If she gets in office I am also not sure how I will feel. It’s a battle for sure.  Pour country is perched on the great divide at the moment.

Recently I bought a used Pontiac Grand Prix car.  Now I am not sure about it. I’ve discovered that it’s going to cost me quite a bit to put it on the road and funds are tight right now.  With winter upon me and oil bills coming soon I just can’t afford another big expense .  Social considering selling the car at a profit.  I bought it very cheap in a fast sale from a friend.  I know I can sell I for quite a bit more.  Selling it could help me out with some current bills and oil purchases this winter.  It’s probably my best bet.  I will take a good picture of it and list of online this week most likely.

I have been hanging out with my good friend Linda a lot lately.  It’s nice to have someone around to talk to and to prepare meals with and do fun things with.  She is a very straight friend, which is something I don’t even care about because shesjust a good soul to be around. We do lots of stuff together like visit the thrift stores and ride around town to do errands together.

I am fully back on my hiv meds once again.  That could have something to do with me feeling better as some of the meds are my anti depressants. I have set up my alarm on my phone to remind me to take them and I located my med holders to places where I am reminded too. Ts a bitch to have to take these meds all the time but I was reminded this last week that they are giving me a second chance and also aid in keeping me healthy. My next test and doctors appointment is in December.

OK friends, followers and cyber stalkers I have filled you in on most everything for this week.  I shall wrap it up here and go to co some chicken quesadillas for dinner.  I hope you all have a great time this week!  Remember to go VOTE on Tuesday!  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

 

 

 

Inspirational Butch Authors: My Heroes

I’ve been doing a lot of great reading today and tonight specifically around Butch-Femme lifestyle and dynamics.  I read one article about Butch “peacocking” and that got me thinking, and it lead me to other links to other writings by some awesome other Butch writers.  Yeah, we seem to always be the “others” even in our own community.  Or as one blogger (Butch Jaxon) put it so eloquently, the “other-than’s”.  It’s amazing that I can still read and get so much out of reading anything good about the journey’s of my Butch counterparts.  It always comes to the “I can relate” thus it makes the reading/writing particularly interesting to me.  Personally I choose to write much about my experiences as a Butch so that others out there will know that they are NOT alone, there are many of us; we are legion.  We just have to find better, safer and more accepting places to bond.  Butch bonding is a real experience, and one that every Butch, young and old, needs in their lives.

Recently we lost Leslie Feinberg.  I wrote a short piece about them soon after their passing.  Still, I think about how much Leslie contributed to the Butch / Trans community over the years of their life.  That one book, Stone Butch Blues, had such a wide and deep impact on so very many of us.  Every good Butch has read it, has seen themselves in the pages, in Jesse and in Leslie’s experience.  Every one of us is a good Butch!  If you are Butch, or Trans*, or LGBT you should read this book if you have not already done so at least twice in your life.  It is a piece of literature that changed or at least enhanced and recognized a rather large, unknown number of lives; that made us unafraid, that gave us the power and confidence to be Butch without shame.  If you are Butch and you don’t “see” yourself in the pages of Stone Butch Blues it would be astonishing because just about every Butch I know holds this book out as the virtual “Bible” of Butch.

Here is what Sinclair Sexsmith, author, activist and self-identified Butch, said in one of her recent posts entitled “Long Live the Butch:  Leslie Feinberg and the Trans Day of Remembrance“:

“For me, Leslie’s book Stone Butch Blues invented butch identity. If I had the word before the book, it was only as a slur, only as something nobody should want to be. If I had the word before Jess’s story and her tortured restraint of passionate love, it was only used to describe ugly women, unattractive and unwanted. It wasn’t until I read Stone Butch Blues that I realized it described me.”  Nov. 20, 2014

This book, followed by S. Bear Bergman’s “Butch is a Noun” and Ivan E. Coyote’s “One in Every Crowd” all combined, personally gave me eye-opening and deep inspiration to always be my authentic self, to be comfortable and happy with my own Butch identity, and to share my own experiences in my writing and vlogging.  The three of them, Leslie, Bear, and Ivan have had huge influence on my own writing and I am honored to have had the chance to have met Leslie personally once at a conference.  Bear and Ivan, I still wish to meet and hear them speak in person one day in the near future.

All three are well known, and held in highest regard in the Butch community.  What I would give to be so gifted as to be able to write like they do, and be published as they all have been.  …sigh…  Ah, to dream that big!

So, my last post was about inspiring blogs here on WordPress.com.  That is what got me into reading tonight, and into thinking about my inspirations outside of WP, thus the evolution of this post you are reading.  It is the courage, bravery, and authenticity with which each of them write that so inspires me to strive to be as good a writer as I possibly can be myself, and to more comfortably be my authentic self.  I would like to see more books by both Bear and Ivan, and whenever one comes out I will be right there in line waiting on my own hard copy, believe me.  And I do follow them all on line at their various sites and venues, where both often blog about the current events and their own life happenings.

So, there you have it.  MainelyButch’s inspirational heroes of 2014.  One day I hope to have a book on my shelf written by me, and sitting right next to any one of the above authors’ books.  Dream big.  Rock on.   ~MB~

MainelyButch: Butch Rambles

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The way we are raised, the way we grow up is responsible for forming many of the ways that we think and it informs the way that one looks at the world.

No two people look at things exactly the same. We are taught our manners, our prejudices and our ways as we are raised up from children. Most of us know our family’s prejudices before we are 8 years old and carry them with us into adulthood.

I was raised Protestant and in a very straight home. We were the typical blue collar working class family of 7, married parents, and 5 of us kids. I was the oldest. I caught hell on everything first! I was also the first to go against the ways of that typical nuclear family when I came out as gay at age 18 to the world and 22 to my family.

I’ve had much time for self-reflection in my recent years. I like to think I am a good person, empathetic and sympathetic. Some get this from therapy, talking and conversation. I get my doses of self-reflection through my blogging and writing. I rant and ramble, figure things out, change my opinions and improve myself daily. I always try to look at the other side of things, and not be judgmental.

My identity today is founded partially in how I was raised, and partially in how I have walked the world and what I have come to believe on my own. I no longer hold the same exact values that I once had. I like to believe my values have changed for the better. While I was taught respect and tolerance, I was also originally taught it was wrong to be gay. Imagine how that felt as a young gay person growing up in a place where you knew you were “wrong”.

Thankfully most all people can and do change over their lifetimes. My family included. They are now the most accepting and supportive group of people in my life. Today they don’t see the difference between me and my straight sisters’ relationships – they accept and support the choices and realities of my life and others in my extended family who have also come out of the closet.

I am one of the lucky ones I know. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family in my life. Not everyone is lucky enough to have that dynamic with their own families. I feel for them. I can’t imagine losing that love and support. I can’t imagine not having it, or being exiled from the family simply for my sexual orientation as gay.

In my own case I am not only a lesbian woman, but I am very Butch. This obviously is part of who I am and has been part of what my family also had to understand and deal with over the years. My identity as Butch wasn’t something that I was always comfortable with myself, I tried to hide it in many ways as a young person. I tried to not be as obviously queer…but that was like putting lipstick on a pig…it’s still a pig. And I was still Butch. Being a more masculine woman is just who I am, and always have been.

When I decided to have top surgery earlier in 2014, and went through with it in August 2014, it was a stretch for my family to wrap their minds around I know. They didn’t quite get why I needed to have the surgery for myself. I had always been uncomfortable with my chest, especially looking as masculine as I do and having boobs. It just wasn’t working in my head and I pursued the surgery to correct my body for myself. I feel 100% better with a much flatter chest, and I am more comfortable in my clothing and far less self-conscious about my appearance. My family stood by me and supported my decision, although I do know it wasn’t easy for my mother, still she was there for my surgery and respected my choice. I love her dearly for that.

I have no qualms with the fact that I am female. I am not a guy and I know it. I get questioned often as to if I am Transgender and while I respect that people think that because I have had top surgery that somewhere in my mind I “want” to be male…but that’s just not the case. I am happy being a very Butch woman. I know that within the LGBT community that it’s a popular belief that many Butch lesbians will transition to male. And I have seen more of them doing just that, but not all of us wish to transition, and while I respect everyone’s individual decisions to do so or not, I think that we need to remember that there are many of us Butch lesbians that are now getting top surgery without the desire to transition to male. With today’s medical expertise it can be done safely and if we are uncomfortable why not?

So the myth that all Butch lesbians want to be men is just that a myth. Many of us are just Butch, plain and simple. Masculine women by nature in many cases. I know that I have known that I personally was a masculine woman for most of my life. As a kid I was known as a super Tomboy and as I grew up I didn’t change, I became an adult Tomboi….better known as a Butch woman.

I enjoy my life, I enjoy my sexuality and my gender presentation. If I didn’t like myself the way that I am I would change, right? Right. But I don’t change because this is how I am comfortable. This is how I am meant to be in this life. This is what feels right and good in my mind, body and soul.

I hold a lot of respect for those in my life who are Trans*. It’s got to be one very tough road. I can only imagine if I go through what I do, that they each must have much harder roads to travel. I read a blog about one former Butch lesbian’s journey into transition, here, and it was very eye opening for me – and I consider myself pretty well informed! I hadn’t thought of the need to validate, and other issues that my Trans* friends face daily.  This is a great blog, and I recommend the read for everyone.

It also makes me wonder if my lack of correction with people who mis-gender me is a good or bad thing. I get called sir at least 6-8 times a day (especially at work, I work in tool and hardware sales, so I have a typically male dominated job and I look very masculine. This obviously makes people assume that I am a guy….thus the “sir”. It’s children that don’t get it quite often. I had one boy last week pull the “is that a girl or a boy?” question to his mother, when she didn’t answer and was obviously embarrassed, he got louder and louder, repeating the question about 4 times. She scurried him away and scolded him as she went.

Should I be correcting people? It just seems bothersome to me, and it seems that I would be just inviting discomfort. Who’s discomfort, I am not sure. My own for one. I find it just easier and more comfortable for me to ignore it and carry on with what ever I am doing. At least at work where I am in contact with the person for a few minutes, then may never see them again. I think if it were someone who was in my life on a regular basis I would have to find a way to correct them and leave it as a positive experience. eh…

Some would say “You look like a guy, so it shouldn’t bother you.” And for the most part it doesn’t, I am just wondering if it’s right or not, how I handle it. Is ignoring it disrespectful?

So here I ramble once again…it’s part of my thought process, part of navigating the world and the questions in my head.

What to you do when your alone?

What do you do when your alone?

I spend a lot of my time alone.  It’s something that I have just decided works for me and my life.  I choose to be alone.  It’s not that I have to be at all.  But I value my solitary time so much.  I don’t mind being alone for the most part.  Although there are certainly times when it does suck!

I get to have things the way that I like them, or want them because I am alone.  No one tells me when to do what, when to clean, when to eat or cook, when to do my laundry, when to go to work, …even the dog knows that I am running on my own agenda daily, as I tell her when she’s going to eat and go outside, etc.

I read quite a good amount when I am alone.  I love to read. I absorb so much information and devour knowledge like crazy.  Sometimes it fucks with my head a little, like if I’m reading erotic or  if I read something that gets my brain flowing.  Nihalism Is Pointless’s blog today was one of those blogs for me that got me thinking.

So many of my favorite bloggers have been producing some of their best and most personally insightful pieces as of late across WordPress.  I have to mention several of them here, who are near and dear to this Butch’s heart.

Roxi St Clair you rock.  You’ve been part of my world for a time now, and we have gotten to trust and believe in one another, much through our writings.  You inspire me and you move me to continue to write.  You’ve suffered such loss lately and I don’t know how you are coping honestly, I wish I coul.d   Thank you.

ButchCountry67 I can’t even begin to thank you for what you bring to the blogosphere.  It’s timeless and you write with such heart felt fervor, I just love your blogs.  You dealing with your boy and his brain cancer, the wife now with cancer and the whole place that you take care of up there in cold, snowy Canada.  I commend you for a job well done, for holding it together my Butch brother…and for being so fucking awesomely brave doing it.  I really want to go to Canada and build you that damned shed roof next Spring….I’m serious.  You and I have tons in common with the whole liking to do the Butch chores route…I love reading about your expeditions into town in the wife’s car, and all the funny stuff.  Keep on Rockin it!!

A Boy and Her Dog blog is awesome too.  Another Butch going through the top surgery and the thoughts surrounding it.  She wrote this one piece that I gleaned much from, this is one passage that resonated with me.

What should a butch or genderqueer person expect to get out of top surgery? I will be happy if I can look at myself in a mirror larger than the medicine cabinet, and if I can stand up straight and breathe deep without feeling self-conscious about my chest. I don’t expect top surgery to alleviate my social anxiety or make up for the traumas of my childhood. It will likely complicate my already complicated presence in women’s bathrooms, dressing rooms, and locker rooms. Despite this, I think looking queerer, and less female-bodied, will feel right. At least to me.

That would have been something to think about before I had had surgery!  It never even crossed my mind that it would just further complicate social anxiety like it has.  And I too never expected it to remedy those awkward traumas of childhood.  Yes, it’s complicated things more than anything, but like BaHD I feel right and I don’t care what anyone else thinks personally.  The social anxiety I’ve just gotten used to over the decades of being Butch.  It maybe bothered me a bit more when I was younger, but now I just take the world in stride.  I don’t freak out over being mis-gendered and I don’t let it bother me.  But I know exactly where BaHD is coming from in this blog.

So, now I ask these three Butch bloggers…how much time do you each spend alone?  Isn’t it part of the writing process for us to be loners?  I can be surrounded by people and I still feel alone sometimes.  I’ve always been a sort of loner in life.  Sure I’ve had some sidekicks over time, and I’ve been in relationships that meant less time alone per se, but I have always still found the time to be alone to write somehow.  Hell I’ll do it in the middle of the night if necessary, it’s my therapy, it’s my outlet and my venting system.

I’ve been alone so long this time that I am not sure what I would do with someone being around me more.  I often wonder that days.  While it would be nice to have someone here with me, and I’m not talking room mate or friend, I also wonder if it’s really important or not anymore.  I tried the live-in girlfriend thing last Spring for a couple of months, and it didn’t work out so hot for me that time around.  I just wonder if it’s the person or what when it comes to that, and honestly I think for me it’s the person…I have successfully lived with a couple of women for long periods of time, and I’ve enjoyed it…but with the .  I read this Autostraddle article on 15 things that happen when you move in with your lover.  It was comical, but I swear every one of them is true. People aren’t so different really, it’s just they think they are.

I know that from living with lovers in the past that those 15 things are just the beginning.  It’s actually very fun to live with someone you also love and enjoy being around. But you are bound to get on one another’s last nerve on occasion, it’s just a given.  That’s when you each have these spaces in the home where the other is forbidden to BE when you are there.  My office is my sanctuary here, even though right now I don’t need sanctuary, when I do I have it.  Also my shed is sanctuary.  I love to hang out in my shed…I think it comes from hanging out in the old garage/shed that I grew up with.  We’d sit in there on the mowers and equipment and smoke ‘n joke for hours after school days when I was in high school.  So now I will sometimes go put stuff away in the shed and just chill in there for a while having a commemorative smoke.  I’m weird I know

I also think about my Butch cave here with fondness at how it’s just me and it serves the purpose. I’m not into much fancy stuff, I like rustic and useful.  I like clean and simple living.  I like having a dog in the house and a cat that can come and go at will (which is why I don’t have a cat right now).  I like having the TV on just for background noise, and I like really loud music sometimes.

Once, when my ex-wife and I decided to move in together, after close to a year of doing the dating dance, we had several of those “living together” funny situations.  One was that the books in the living room were all lined up and pushed to the back of the book shelf.  I would come in and they would all be to the front of the shelf, with their bindings lined up on the shelf edge.  I thought, oh the case moved, and I pushed them all back….it happened again, and this time she was there and I laughed and said I think we have an issue with how books go in the shelf….that opened up the whole “toothpaste” conversation and we ended up on the couch talking for a good two hours about everything concerning our living together.  In the end it worked out well as we stayed living together for a very long time.  The “toothpaste” conversation is where you talk about every little thing that your partner does that annoys you in some way.  It’s a healthy conversation to have after a trial period of cohabitation.

Bonus:

First a Wikipedia definition:  A stone butch is a butch lesbian who tops their partner sexually and is averse to sexual contact with their genitalia.[1] Instead, sexual satisfaction is often derived from giving rather than receiving sexual pleasure. Unlike many variations of butch lesbians, the gender presentation of a stone butch is masculine.[2] Stone butches may or may not consider themselves transgender.[3]

Ok, as Butches we get asked some good questions sometimes.  I know it happens to me at least.

So here’s the real “alone” question…..if you are stone Butch…what do you do when you are alone?  Are you still stone?

Contemplate that pearl of wisdom for a second….

………………………………just don’t think too hard, this one will spin a good Butch gear fast.

I was asked this one and you know I didn’t want to answer it by any means….again, another reason to stop using the “stone” word in my identity words.  The question completely caught me off guard, it’s logical, but it’s one tough question for sure, it never even occurred to me before I heard it said out loud.  I can’t even relate to stone now…of course I’m not stone when I am alone….but I’m alone!  I am never good at talking about sex, but I can have sex just fine…and get what I want generally with no problem.  But ask me to talk about it and I go blank as a white rabbit in the snow.  Performance is never an issue, explanation is.  I know I need to be better about talking about it…but it’s just not an easily laid out subject for Butches…am I right?  Yeah I am.

When I am alone I do think about sex sure, but I don’t like jack off ten times a day.  That’s more of a male thing I think.  I love to think about it though, dream about it and if I am desperate for gratification I may just handle it myself once in a great while.  So yeah, if that makes me less than stone I guess I am not truly stone.

I have to say that my HIV status keeps me stone with my partners.  It’s possibly an irrational fear, as the chance of my passing this virus on to anyone is about nil at this point in time. But it’s the mental anguish that I would deal with were it to ever happen that crosses my mind in the moment. As I have said before I have not always been stone, nor do I prefer to be actually, but it makes my life safer and easier somehow.  It’s never been a real issue with anyone that I have encountered, my partners seem to just get it and not bother me about it.  Will I stay stone with partners?  Most likely.

I will not say positively because we all know there are exceptions to every rule.

Some days I just wonder stupid shit like this…and some days I wonder who the hell I really am.

I’m learning about myself all the time.  It’s almost scary some days.

Reminds me of this song

Hyper Awareness of Gender Identity

I had a pretty packed day today.  Once I overcame my Monday blahs and it became Tuesday I found my energy once more and definitely used it up today.  It was an interesting day, and I’ve been pondering some of it’s points tonight, and realized that since my top surgery I’ve been almost hyper-aware of how I am  seen and gendered by various people.  Even those close to me…no especially those close to me.

It’s interesting as all get out, to simply want to be seen and treated as a fairly normal human being, yet locked in a world of gender bias, gender bashing and binary compliance.  But I suppose that we are ALL locked in this same world at some basic level.  When we meet someone for the first time we create a “defining image” in our minds of who that person is.  But first impressions rarely give the complete picture, so if you meet someone who leaves you less than inspired you might want give them a second chance to show and tell you who they really are, or you could be missing out on what could be a good person to know.

So with this hyper-vigilance about the way I am now seen.  I made note today to pay attention and really see what it is that I do and don’t do that leads people to one end of the binary or the other.  From my former written pieces you may know that I do not really like the binary much.  This sort of unwritten law that you are either one or the other, male or female, does not sit well with me.  I see gender as a spectrum; a range of being from one end to the other.   Some people definitively know that they are female/girls/women and some know that they are male/boys/men.  Then there are people like me out here who fall somewhere in the shady gray area in between those definitive marks.  I have said that Butch is my noun; my gender.  It may be difficult to understand if you are on another planet, but I think it’s pretty simple if you don’t try to read a bunch of other stuff into it.  I don’t fully identify with my female body, nor do have many feminine characteristics.  (And I fully understand the biological difference let me assure you.)  Yet, I also do not identify as male.  If we draw a line from one to the other and give it 10 hash marks equally spaced apart and numbered 1 to 10, with 1 being female and 10 being male, I would fall somewhere around the number 8 hash mark, in my opinion.  And I know myself pretty damned good!

I realize that even before I decided to do the chest reconstruction that I was just as Butch as I am now, just with a couple of extra pounds of unwanted flesh.  I have not changed, but my body has been changed of my own accord.  I made the decision that I would be more comfortable living out the rest of my life with the flat chest that I wanted rather than continuing to deal with body dysphoria and all that that entailed.  I think that it was maybe the best decision that I ever made for myself.  Now I can wear my shirts and they fit right, I’m not as self-conscious as I was and I’ve not got the shyness about my chest that I used to have.  Hell, that’s enough all in itself to make me not even question for a minute if I did the right thing!  I definitely did.

Now the way others see me or treat me has changed a little and I am definitely aware of that.  There are friends and acquaintances who have questioned me directly about my choice, generally with the question “so are you transitioning?”  Meaning do I plan to go further and become male or transgender.   The answer is no.  I have no complaints about the rest of my body or my life as it is.  I enjoy being a Stone Butch lesbian – very much!  I would not want to change my sexual orientation even if I could!  Some people say they wish they could be straight, well this lesbian does NOT ever wish that!  And I won’t be transitioning or moving toward becoming any more masculine than I already AM.  I haven’t changed.  My core remains the same; rock solid and maybe with a tad more firm edges now.   My mind hasn’t changed about who I am, and I am very happy with things the way they are now.  Plus, I have always been attracted to lesbian women, and I always will be.  I find no attraction to straight women or bisexual women. Sure I might think one is pretty, but there’s no attraction for me there unless she is pretty, lesbian, and Femme.

Today I had a doctor’s appointment and the clinicians first question to me was “…so are you doing any more surgeries or anything else towards transitioning?”   She automatically thought that because I had gone through with the top surgery that I was going to be transitioning to male.  Ensuing was a five minute conversation, which I had had before with that same clinician explaining that no I wasn’t and this was done completely because I wanted to be more comfortable and less bothered with my breasts/chest.  So that started my day of observation.

I stopped at the store on the way back to my place to meet my mother, and the clerk immediately pegged me for male and I got the “sir” treatment.  I always secretly smile to myself inside when this happens, it’s just somehow comical to me, but I am not exactly sure why.  Some days I like it and some days it’s just whatever it is.  I really don’t care unless they call me “m’am”  I do NOT like that term.  My issues with Sir and M’am go back to my time in the military, coupled with the fact that I was raised in the North and not in the South where those terms are used from the time a child can talk.  I personally find many more southerners using Sir and M’am than I do northerners.

I just want the freedom and the safety with people I care about to just be me.  Sometimes my defining image can come off as much rougher and tougher than I really am.  That pisses me off because it’s painful to be misunderstood and/or judged before I even open my mouth to speak.  I’ve tried to “clean up” my image over the last few years.  I’m a good person, with a good heart and all I want is for that to be seen more.  Everyone has a full life outside of their interaction with you, and when you jump to judge someone too quickly you miss  giving people the room to be who they are, where they are  – which allows you yourself to do that very same thing, because the other person is also creating a defining image of you at the same time.

Later in the day I caught myself in the car talking to my dog.  My mother was sitting in the passenger side and we were driving through town.  I was playfully reaching back to the back seat and petting the dog and I found myself saying “Nola loves her Daddi”  Ah shit.  I cringed – visibly I am sure.  I got quiet…which is what I do when I can’t talk my way out of something.  I know she heard me loud and clear, and I know there are questions in her mind about why I had the surgery, and if I AM transitioning.  I am sure she’s wondering, but I do NOT wish to have that conversation with my mother.  She is the most beloved person in my family to me.  I never want to cause her any more hurt or pain on my account ever again.  But I just don’t want to have a conversation where I would be doing most of the talking and trying to explain a very complicated self to her.  She’s my mom…I don’t know if that makes any sense.

I am careful not to use any male/boi pronouns or words in referring to myself around her.   I’m sure some of that is just pure shame.  I’ve always carried the shame of not being who my parents wanted me to be; of not being the daughter they had hoped to raise.  Even as a child I was well aware of this.  I never looked the part, acted the part or accepted the part at all.  I knew from a very young age that I was different from the rest of the people around me, and I knew I was not supposed to be different somehow.  So it turned into shame somewhere along the way, and it’s not been easy to rid myself of it.  Don’t know if I ever will feel 100% comfortable with my family or not.  I love them dearly, don’t get me wrong, but I know that they have some different ideas of who I am.  As long as they know that my heart is in the right place with them, then I am all good with it just as it is now.

I don’t generally care about what pronouns are comfortable for people to use with me, I actually think it is quite interesting to let people find their own comfort zone with pronouns and me.  If someone wants to call me she that’s fine, I am a she.  If someone wants to call me “dude” I’m cool with that too…I’ve been raised by a bunch of “dudes” and I love them all, so the term has a hint of affection for me.   The pronoun thing is the most confusing I think.  I thought at one time about using the gender-neutral pronouns, but then I think they sound so forced and kind of weird in my opinion, so I nixed that idea right off.  I realize the world needs pronouns though, so that being the case I think I will stick with the female pronouns for the most part.  The she/her/herself.  Just so that I don’t confuse anyone any further by allowing them to use male pronouns.  Words are funny.  Words can cut deeper than any weapon, and they can even do damage when they are lacking.  Guess it’s time for me to just start correcting people, since I haven’t been doing that yet.

Words I am okay with :  Butch, boi, she, her, dude

Words I am not okay with :  lady, girl, pumpkin…don’t I hate it in the FB groups I am in when someone enters and says “hellooo ladies…”  it makes me want to bitch slap them right there on the spot.  Most of the groups do have a rule about this because many Butches dislike being called lady/ladies.  Myself, I always use the word “folks” when addressing a multi-gendered audience.  What is so hard about finding a neutrally gendered word?  Maybe it’s just easier for me because I am so focused on words and what people say or don’t say sometimes.  I’ve learned that there is much said even in silence. And then there is inflection…much can be said by simply changing the way something is said as well.   Like the guy as Spencers tonight, he emphasized the “M’am” when I approached the counter to pay for my belt that took me hours to find.  I heard him, and I made eye contact to let him know that he was wrong.  He quickly looked away and made change for my twenty.  Prick.

Well, that is some of the scattered thoughts and feelings that distracted me during my day today.  Like I said, I was definitely hyper-aware of this today, and thought that I needed to get these thoughts down in a blog for future reference.

Rock on.  ~MB