My Butch Musings Today

I’m not sure exactly how to write about this, or what I want to say, so we’ll see how it goes as I type on here.  Let me say that I am just me, and these are my personal thoughts and opinions.  I know there are many varying views, and I don’t know that any particular one of them is “right” or “wrong”.  And let me say up front that I love and support my trans friends and allies, and I always will.

Caitlyn Jenner.  She has been the woman of the week in the news, her doing the cover of Vanity Fair, and doing television interviews and stories about her coming out, and she’s been talked about in many of the blogs that I have been reading too.  Friends have asked me what I think about it all. because who better to ask than the local Butch lesbian about this? ha!  I think it’s comical that when anything happens in the news concerning any kind of LGBT issue that people come off with the strangest questions to us just because they see us standing under the umbrella of LGBT.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks watching as Bruce Jenner disappears and Caitlin Jenner emerges on the cover of Vanity fair…and sort of as a sex goddess of a kind.  Annie Lebowitz’s photography is amazing, and I am glad it was she who got to shoot these photos, good choice Caitlin.  Coupled with your association with names of fame, from Kardashain to Jenner, from Bruiser to Caitlin, the choice to reveal Caitlin as this impeccably groomed prima donna cannot be outdone, in my opinion.

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this.  That is my answer to my questioning straight* friends. I give straight the asterisk because I am not even sure about that anymore!  What defines straight now?  It’s all become so confusing, all of the terms and words have changed, all of the prerequisites seem to have changed too.

What does it mean to be a woman now?  How is it defined?  And who gets to define it?  I used to think that being a woman is shaped by a certain kind of experience living as a gendered individual, among a community (women) who share those accrued experiences, both positive and sadly many times negative.  It’s always been a sort of uphill battle to survive as a woman in this world of inequality.  And now it seems that there is some re-defining force at work that is trying like hell to change everything.  I’m just not sure what to think anymore.  I guess I have many more conversations to have and reading to be done to figure some of this out.

I do realize that I am walking a thin, thin line between female and male I know.  I am often mis-gendered as a male and it doesn’t bother me.  When I am gendered properly as a female I know instantly that I have taken second place somehow. Women have always been made to feel inferior to men.  It’s been that way since caveman days.  It’s a weird feeling, and one I struggle with daily many times.  Some days it pisses me off, and some days I don’t really care one way or the other.  I am just me in this world, just me.

I read and watch on TV all of this stuff about “living in the wrong body”.  This is something, that as a non-trans person I could and can never understand.  I don’t know what that feeling is like, nor do I claim to know as I have never felt that I was in the wrong body, but I did not like my breasts, so I had them reduced drastically.  My chest is flat now, and my body feels right to me.  I am a woman.  I suffered all of the things that women suffer through gender experience, including the push to be more “feminine” at times.  I never wanted to be male, but I never liked being “feminine” either.  As someone said recently somewhere that I read “nail polish wears off”.  This sounds weird to me, because I think that who one IS doesn’t wear off.  I look into the mirror every morning and I see a masculine Butch woman, raised female by experience and culture.  I see the scars of living in this female body; one that belongs to me, and is unquestionably the right one for me.  The scars of living in the wrong body are more invisible to people, and I am not sure what that looks like.

I look at the photos of Caitlin now and it’s amazing.  What can money not do? According to the photographs I have seen she is strikingly beautiful.  From the perfect hair to the perfect waist and ample feminine cleavage.  It’s hard not to be jealous in a way, she has achieved that perfect female/feminine body; the body that she wants and feels comfortable in from what I am reading/hearing.  This is something many women work a lifetime to get through a variety of sometimes wild and occasionally means (i.e. botox and illegally performed surgeries/procedures).  Caitlin chose professionally treatments and surgeries to bring out her feminine side.  I, myself, chose surgical procedure to be less feminine.  Funny what we will all do to achieve our goals.  And how vastly our goals are from one another in this world.  Everyone has their own agenda and desires, and everyone should be able to act on those desires if they are able.  I feel lucky that I was able to get my chest surgery done, and I always feel happy for other Butches who get it done and like me feel it was the best thing they ever did to improve their body image and divert some dysphoria.  And I feel the pain for those who want it done and can’t yet get there.

Now these are all just my musings; thoughts and opinions of a very socially isolated Butch.  I wish I had someone who could explain many of my questions to me, and help me better understand not only this but myself as well.

Jamie (A boy and her dog) recently attended a conference (see blog) and speaks about this social isolation.  I don’t know why some of us socially isolate.  I know for me it’s partially because I now live in an area where there is no real LGBT community to speak of.  Those that are here are partnered up, settled down and don’t really interact with one another in any type of organized atmosphere, i.e. there are no gay bars, no clubs and no recreation centers or LGBT organized events.  For the first time there is going to be a Gay Pride festival here at the end of this month, WOW!  That is actually exciting to me, and I am sure to many others in my area.  I am planning to go, and I know I will run into many people that I used to see years back at the bars (when there were some here!) and on the softball fields (lesbian cruising spots). If U-haul were smart they would run a special on local moving trucks for the following week!  I wonder if they ever considered having a booth at the Gay Pride festivals?  Now, that’s a funny thought!  (hahahaha!)

At the end of the blog Jamie says:  “I need to stop apologizing for identifying as both butch and transgender. I need to stop apologizing for not having it all figured out..”   This line caught my thought process by surprise.  I do this too.  And I need to stop and realize that maybe no one has it “all figured out” ever.  We are all just works in progress.  Maybe we are all just like worker ants building and rebuilding ourselves daily; doing what has to be done.  Everyone’s brand of Butch is different, and as the world turns it seems to get more and more difficult to decipher where the lines get drawn sometimes.

I have actually been working on my own social isolation alot in recent weeks.  And have reached out to quite a few friends lately.  I am blessed to have some awesome people in my life, that’s for sure.  I’m pleased that I can call them friends and that I feel valued by them.  I’m going to join a couple of them for Boston’s Pride this Saturday, which should be loads of fun!  I’m sure I will come back with many photos and a story or two to tell next week.  I am going to meet my friends in Amesbury and take the T in to the city, that way no searching for parking or looking for the “lost car” at 1 am when we are trying to find our way out of the city!  I’ve done that before, it’s not fun!  haha!

~Peace~

~MB

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Tomboy to Butch…My Story

Anyone else relate to being a tomboy?  Being trans and being a tomboy / gender non-conforming child often go hand in hand, but often the two are mutually separate…     a question posed by janitorqueer on their blog.

Growing up I constantly fought with my parents over my clothing choices, they wanted me to dress in girl clothes and I wanted boy clothing. From as early as I can remember, probably about 4-5 yrs old, I would always go for the more boyish looking items in my clothing…the little jeans, the coveralls and t’shirts.  In the summer it was cut off shorts and as boyish a shirt as I could find.  Yes, I was a tomboy for sure.  From the very beginning of my conscious existence I wanted nothing to do with girl things, period.

My parents made me keep long hair until I was about 7.  The summer of that year we moved to Troy New York to an old farm and Mom took us to get hair cuts, I was allowed to cut my hair to a pixie cut….as one can imagine, this did wonders for my ego, as well as my tomboy status.  I was in heaven with that short hair cut.

Was I aware at the time that I was a tomboy?  I’m not sure of that.  I definitely knew that I felt different from the other girls. I didn’t feel like one of them, like a girl at all.  I felt more like a boy, and wanted to be a boy for a long time.  Maybe I never out grew it even.  I loved hanging out with the boys, doing the boy activities like playing Army or cowboys and Indians, apple wars (our farm was a former orchard) and building tree forts.  I could throw a baseball from center field to home plate with no problem, and did I love my sandlot baseball games!!!  I was also leader of the pack so to speak, I would step forward to organize games and activities like a boss.

I think as time went on and I advanced through school grades my tomboy image became more apparent to those around me.  Kids don’t gender each other negatively as much.  But once they begin to form opinions and take on their parents’ prejudices around the age of 10, things change.  It was around then that I really began to notice that my dressing attire was more boyish than the other girls.  I always knew that I was Gay anyway, even way back when I was small my little fantasies were of me and other girls, never of boys.  I would secretly pretend I was going to marry a girl someday.  And my little games of house, where I was always the husband, always included kissing the girl who was my pretend wife.

High school was rough for me.  I was well liked, don’t let me mislead you on that, but I was different.  I was a rough, tough and tumble sort of kid.  I never grew past 5’4″ which I hit my Sophomore year of high school.  I hated girls clothing; loathed it especially bras.  I didn’t like the fact I was developing breasts, and they were a pain in the ass.  My father noticed my dressing habit and insisted that I wear dresses to school 4 days a week (this actually happened in 8th grade), and I could wear pants on Friday if they were girly pants.  I went ballistic as you might imagine.  I even took it so far as to run away from home for 3 days, living in the woods by our information center and having friends bring me food – little bastards also set me up to be captured on the 3rd day!  I wanted to wear jeans, I wanted to dress my own way.  If I had had my choice back then (late 70’s) I would have shopped exclusively in the boys department.

I started to run with a more seedy crowd about then.  I started to smoke cigarettes and pot.  I had dabbled with cigarettes that I used to steal from my parents’ supplies before that, but in high school I started buying my own packs.  I had my own money because I got my first job at 14, my freshmen year, at a small take-out food place and I worked as much as I could. I also started to notice girls, and had several “girl crushes” along the way.

Having my own money source changed things considerably.  It felt good.  My parents were not rich, they were struggling, working class people, trying hard to raise 5 kids and keep the house they owned in one piece.  My Dad was the epitome of manhood.  He worked his ass off at usually 2 jobs, night and day, and was never home.  I was personally petrified of the man.  He had a temper and his lectures were harsh.  Never did he strike us kids, but we were always afraid of his wrath, his restrictions, and his authority.  My mother would say “wait til your father gets home.” And we would literally beg and cry at her not to tell him of our infractions. And my mother was the ultimate working mom, somehow always there when we got home from school days after working all morning.

So, anyway, having my own money around then changed things because I could fund my own growing bad habits, pay for gas for friends cars, and buy some of my own clothes — clothes that I wanted!  It was around this time that I bought my first pair of boots, shit kickers we called them.  They were brown suede hiking boots with red laces.  Thus began my boot fetish.  I was never again without a good pair of boots.  And there were the hip hugger jeans, that my parents hated and I was forbidden to wear to school.  Still I could not wear denium to school, that would last through my senior year.  I was allowed to wear corduroys, which were styled just like Jeans and made by Levi’s even.  I would frequently sneak a pair of jeans to school in my backpack and change before I got to school grounds.

In High School I was in charge of making it to school on my own.  I had 3 choices of getting there.  I could ride the bus with the little kids and get dropped off at the high school, or I could get a ride from my friend Vernon in his cool brown Chevy pick up truck, or I could ride my 10 speed bicycle.  Walking wasn’t an option, as it was several miles to the school and I would never have made it on time.  Although there were many days that I walked home from school after detention period. I usually skipped the bus option, because I could ride with Vern and get stoned on the way in.  The 10 speed was my second choice, and I used to revel in the ride.  It was great first thing in the morning, as the cool sea air made the ride pretty pleasant.  The freedom to be myself was slowly coming to me.

In school I was a troubled kid.  I made B grades though, and some A’s.  I was running with the wild crowd though.  I did try playing sports for a while, but I was a gawky kid.  I didn’t feel like I fit in with the jock crowd at all.  Plus the locker room was a VERY uncomfortable place for me as I was super body conscious.  I gave up sports my sophomore year after the season for softball ended.  The rest of high school I just concentrated on trying to make it through to 18 so I could flee this small town that I lived in.  I tried dating boys, but I hated it because I knew it wasn’t me.  I discovered that the store near the ball field was owned by two “lesbians”….first time I heard that word I knew I was one of them.

I had encouraging teachers at school who knew I was prone to trouble and who seemed to care and tried to keep me busy.  My art teacher encouraged me to love my art work and my English teacher pushed me to write and helped me develop a passion for writing.  My shop teacher loved that I loved wood and metal shop so much that I never skipped his class!  Algebra was an epic fail for me, but consumer math I excelled at and got straight A’s…I could work with accounting but not with X=Y crap.

At this point my typical dressing style was corduroys (per parents) or jeans, a button down shirt and a dark brown corduroy jacket, styled like a jean jacket.  It’s all I could get away with with my parents.  And those glorious hiking boots.  I was fairly happy with this, until the day I got called “lezzie” by one of the guys in my gang.  That day changed things a bit.  He said it because his girlfriend was my best friend and we were both tomboys, hung out together all the time and were inseparable, he got jealous I think, and thus in front of the rest of the gang called us a couple of “Lezzies”…I was mortified and felt so exposed.  I had the typical girl crush on my bestie, but never had I pursued that crush.  That was basically the end of us hanging out together so much.  And the beginning of me realizing that I had to cover my tracks or I would be “found out” that I really was a lesbian.

I graduated from high school at 18 1/2 and was super eager to get out of my parents house.  The drinking age was 18 and on my 18th birthday I had one hell of a party at my house, with my parents permission.  I had taken to hanging out with my buddy Billy, racing around town in his jalopy cars and smoking pot at Dead Duck Inn, which was a park near the water.  I was a hell raiser and bound for trouble.  Billy was safe for me, he liked me I know, but I knew he was too shy to ever try anything and I could be my tomboy self with him.  Still to this day we are friends.  Our parents always thought we would marry, until it became apparent I was lesbian.

After I graduated I went buck wild and moved in with my then boyfriend Christopher.  After a couple of months of drug fueled nights and scary days, and him wanting to have sex and me not wanting to have sex with a guy.  We had a big fight and it turned violent.  I had to flee the house, and I felt that I needed to get out of the small town we lived in quickly.  So I joined the US Army and was a soldier 3 days later.

The Uniforms made me happy, dressed like all the guys.  The boots made me happy, my boot fetish got bigger.  The guns made me happy, and the crawling through the woods and fields, sleeping in foxholes and avoiding sniper fire all made me incredibly happy.  I was a tomboy in my total element, and I loved it.  Those years of sandbox Army were paying off.  I even started playing Army softball, with a bunch of other lesbian identified women.  Some were also tomboys, and some were not.  But most all of them were secretly lesbian, as the Army at that time frowned on women sleeping with women.

There I met my first real lover.  She was a blonde girl from Pennsylvania and was more girly than me, but still not too girly and I liked that.  She complimented my tomboy stature quite well I thought.  She introduced me to sex, gay bars, and Jack Daniels whiskey.  And by this time I had completely discarded any clothing that resembled girly clothing from my wardrobe, except the necessary evil under things.  At that time it wasn’t really known that I could get boxers or boxer briefs and be more comfortable, it just wasn’t done then.  The early 80’s were not fun times for LGBT people, especially those of us in the US military uniform.

Around that time I heard the word “Butch” for the first time….other than as my Dad’s nickname….used to describe the tomboyish women in my Army unit.  And I knew that that word described who I felt that I was…Butch.  I didn’t use the word to identify myself for several more decades, as it was a more derogatory term for quite a long time.  But I always knew it was my true identity.  I didn’t feel female, nor did I feel male. But I was somewhere in that gray area in the middle.  I for years refrained from using it to identify myself.  I was made to feel that my masculine presentation was somehow wrong, even though I was just being me; just being myself.

Years later, decades later actually, I would understand the Butch-Femme dynamic, know the history of my people and be proud to take “Butch” as my gender marker.  Going from easily being called Tomboy to being called Butch was as simple for me as someone going from being called a girl to a woman.   It felt right, it felt strong, and it felt like ME.  I am Butch.

Response: MichFest and The Controversy…Who Qualifies as a Woman?

Ah, the infamous Michigan Women’s Music Festival is approaching (I believe it’s in August, don’t quote me)…and this the “war” of who “qualifies” to attend and who does not has begun…or actually just continues.  I am writing today in response to the posting by ButchFemmeListings concerning the controversy over attendee qualification.

First of all let me say right up front, I have never attended MichFest nor do I seriously think I ever will.  Simply because of the piddly in-fighting and what I believe is unnecessary arguments over “who qualifies as a woman”.  This has been going on for years from what I have seen, and my reading about it year after year and my reading the rants of feminazi’s about excluding Transwomen from the festival has left a sour taste in my mouth.   That and I don’t do extremely well in large crowds, especially when you combine tons of estrogen, alcohol and tempers, it just turns me off, so I elect not to attend this festival.

That being said, I would like to chime in with my two cents about this controversy of TW (Transwomen) and WBW (women born women) – the two camps of contention.  It seems that the WBW do not recognize TW as women thus they do not feel that the TW should be allowed inside of the exclusively women’s festival, which is billed as a safe space for ALL women. Yet, one camp of women seem to not recognize another camp of women as women…does that make any sense??

As ButchFemmeListings had to say:

After all we have read and heard on the topic, it seems to us it has been established that there are two camps, and we think it has also been established that neither side is going to see the others as the right path; each side has grown in a different LGBTQ/socio-political environment and time, and thus each side’s needs are DIFFERENT.

CAMP CHANGE: mostly under 40-ish folks who think Michfest should change, get up with the times and be for anyone who identifies as woman/womyn.

CAMP HONOR: mostly over 40-ish folks who think Michfest should respect the past and continue to be for womyn-born-womyn as it always has been.​

If we go by this scenario I should be on the side of “Camp Honor” at 53, but I am actually going to stick my neck out here gladly and say that “Camp Change” is the best idea.  And is spelling women with a y really necessary?  I mean it is a WOMEN’s music festival, I don’t think that they exclude straight women, nor is it exclusively LGBTQ (although that is the main focus, we all know).  It’s a big gathering of women and women’s bands/artists such as Melissa Etheridge and others who appear to entertain the crowd. Last year they had bands bow out over this big “controversy” about allowing or not allowing Transwomen to attend.  (Bravo!)

Some say let each group create it’s own event.  Separate us, yeah that’s the ticket.  Like we aren’t already a very fragmented LGBTQ society here in America.  I am definitely against the separation idea.  I actually believe they should open it up to all women – regardless of the “born with a vagina” or not.

I also have another question, I haven’t seen addressed in this particular blog..what about us who don’t pass easily as women, like me?  I am super Butch, have had top surgery and take low dose testosterone….does the “Camp Honor” still recognize ME as a woman?  I would think so, but I am leery of this already.  I am thinking that my masculine presentation may put some women out; make them uneasy that I am too masculine for their girls club.  (That might concern me more if I were to really want to GO to this thing).

I find festivals to be very clique driven to begin with.  You have people who will divide themselves by class and interests, you’ll have the singles looking to hook up for the weekend, the hard core partyers just there to see how fucked up they can get, and the other various little social cliques….I’ve never done well in the clique societies.  I am a loner, and while I make friends easily I am not interested in dealing with the bullshit I would have to watch and be exposed to if I were to go.

Here in Maine we have an LGBT camp out that focuses on outdoor adventure sports called Camp Camp.  It’s a well organized all inclusive camp where the focus is on outdoor sports and adventure.  It’s probably not as interesting as the full on party atmosphere of some of these other festivals such as MichFest.  I’d rather spend the extra money and go up to Camp Camp…IF I were really interested in going at all.

Around New England there are tons of these fesitvals from P-Town’s Women’s Week in May to Boston Pride and The Pool Party in August.  There is something for everyone, and MichFest should be also an event that should catch up with the times in my opinion and welcome all women identified individuals.  It’s time to stop the in-fighting about genitalia and gender, and start to accept people for who they are.  Not just at these fesitvals and parties, but throughout the LGBTQ community at large.

What do you think?  ~MB

Here is what MichFest’s leader has to say, I agree wholeheartedly with this.

http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=67561

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~

Sunday Summary

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I attended a massive family event last night.  I was pleased to notice that I am not the only LGBT person there anymore.  My family and friends circle has grown and expanded, and now there are several of us who identify along the spectrum of LGBT.  My niece and her girlfriend and their new puppy were there.  It was fun to see them, young and in love like that.  And there were others, so I wasn’t alone anymore like it used to be years back, when I was the only lesbian in the crowd.  I love that we’ve diversified like this, and that it’s such a non-event for everyone involved.  No one is treated any differently, it’s an equal-love situation for all.  It warms my heart to have such as loving group of family and friends in my life. I truly am one lucky Butch and am blessed beyond belief.

One little boy came up last night and asked the dreaded question….”are you a boy or a girl..?”  He was too young for my standard answer, so I just laughed and answered him simply.  Had he been 3 years older he would have gotten a mini lesson in gendering people so quickly.  But he was a little shit, maybe 4, with a crew cut and his little hands stuffed deep in the pockets of his little jeans.  He looked so cute, and so sincere in asking me.  It’s funny, we teach our children that there is this binary, you are either one or the other.  It was obvious in his question that he had never met anyone quite like me where I present with such androgyny that he could not tell my “real” (I use that word lightly) gender.  I could not explain “Butch” to him, or the fact that my gender lays in the gray area of the binary.  One of my nieces was there listening to he and I’s conversation, and she was snickering to beat the band. It was cute, and funny, but not all at the same time.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to identify as a transguy.  At least then I could just have told him I was a guy.  But I don’t identify as male by any means.  Our beings have 2 maps, one is the physical map of our bodies that says what gender we are, and the other is a mental map that tells us what gender we are.  For cis-gendered people the two maps line up and they instinctively know they are male or female.  It’s a no brainer.  But for us gender bending people, it’s not such an easy line up.  While my maps pretty much match, I lean way over toward the more masculine end of the binary scale.  Now that I have had my chest surgery my maps line up far more closely than before.  If I identified as male mentally that would not be the case, as I would still have body dysphoria – something that I no longer have now.  I’m fine with my body just the way it is now.  I have no wish to be male in body, or in mind.  I’m all good being my bad ass stone Butch lesbian self and walking this world just the way that I am now. I’m kind of a hybrid…the best of both worlds – and sometimes the worst..hehehe…

So, I haven’t heard from the girl I was seeing briefly for a couple of days now (the woman formerly known as Dream Girl), so I assume it’s pretty much ended with us…which kind of bums me out, but hey it’s her choice.  She told me she was just too busy and too stressed out.  But like everyone has told me repeatedly, when someone wants to be with you and likes you they make time for you regardless and if they don’t, then you don’t really matter to them.  So, if I don’t matter to her then I don’t need her in my life wasting my time and energy either.  Plus, it wasn’t like I was asking for a ton of face time either, just some daily dose of her in some ways…texts, emails, Skype…fucking something just to let me know she cared and was thinking of me occasionally would have been nice.

It’s really too bad, because I really was into this woman, and that doesn’t happen for me often.  I could have been very good for her, and we could have been good together.  But, hey, it takes two to tango.  She just didn’t want to dance.  And honestly, it takes a good B-F dance partner to handle me.  It’s not that I require a lot of maintenance, but I do expect daily communication and interaction.  Period.  Tired or not you better find time in there somewhere to be texting me and letting me know that I still matter.  Hell, my days get extremely busy too and I can find spots in there to text my love interest, no matter what, just to let her know she’s on my mind and in my thoughts daily…it’s not so hard to do.

It’s not like we were seeing a whole lot of each other anyway, so I wouldn’t really call what we had a “relationship”.  More of a sort of casual dating thing, with a little sex involved.  We actually only spent 3 times face to face together, and the rest of the time I tried to keep up via Skype, emails and texting.  But it was ME doing most of the work to keep the lines of communication open even a little bit, so I felt like in the end I was chasing a ghost for no reason.  She wasn’t responding and when she did it was short and to the point, never very affectionate at all but very cold and distant.  I was trying to get to know her better, and she was avoiding allowing me to do that.

In the end, I told her I would not chase after her anymore and if she wanted me in her life in anyway that she would have to contact me, which I truly meant.  I felt like I was a total pain in her ass with my texts.  And dammit I was nice.  I tried to leave her to her work and tried to stay low when I knew she was working or busy, but my patience was all for nothing in the end.  She didn’t even have the guts to write and tell me what the hell was going on with her or what she was thinking about us and seeing me.  She just stopped texting me, poof.

I don’t know how people can do that in life to anyone, just vanish.  It’s disrespectful, it’s gutless and it’s wrong.  I’ve never had it happen before, usually there is some final conversation or something, but hey, there’s always a first time for everything, right?  In hindsight I can see that she does have many issues, but I was there and willing to be involved nonetheless, and willing to talk to her and try to help her think stuff through…it wasn’t enough evidently.  I just wanted to get to know her much better, and see where it went from there…not such a big deal really.  She just decided not to let me in, sad, but her loss in the end I believe.  I’m definitely worth a hell of a lot more than being treated like that.

Another blogger on another blogging site, wrote recently about formerly being a “runner”, and I have spoken about this before myself.  Both me and the other blogger had similar experiences where things would become difficult in a relationship and we would run away from it instead of dealing with things maturely and head on.  I was thinking about this, in light of what’s going on in my life today, and realized that that part of me is gone too.  It’s a maturity thing I think. I’m sad to say I am finally mature enough that I understand that relationships are work and it’s not always roses.  Things can be good, bad or difficult, and you still have to work through them because running away doesn’t do a damned bit of good.  I guess we all live and learn in life, and as I get older the lessons become more clear and easier to understand.  That’s one good thing about life experience, and of changing and evolving as a person, you can look back and see your mistakes and know what not to do in the future.

Now, one of the things that I have learned as of late….do not write about who I am dating or seeing in this blog.  So this will be the end of that type of stuff.  I’m going back to keeping my intimate life very personally protected.  I used to be really good about this, but I started to write a little about my dating life recently, and I see now that it is just something I need to keep in my private blog and not in this pubic forum.  I figured I did owe my readers an end to the story of my recent escapades, since I started writing about it and know some people who follow me and are closer friends and care about what’s going on with me.  I may write about relationships and dating, but I won’t be referring to anyone in particular anymore.  It’s just not worth it and in some ways I just need to protect that aspect of my life a bit more now.  It’s all good though, I have plenty of other things to write about !   Peace.  ~MB

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The Scorn of Labels, Identifiers and Belonging

(I have about had it with being scorned for identifying as Butch….dammit. ~ MainelyButch)

“It isn’t an elapsed time since birth, sometimes, but the elapsed-time-since-rebirth since one’s heart and, not incidentally, loins make themselves known” (S. Bear Bergman, “Butch is a Noun” Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010)

I hear the words all the time “we are all just lesbians, with tits and vaginas and we like other lesbians, we don’t need and shouldn’t use labels”.  It is an oft repeated and misused cry of not belonging; of not knowing where one belongs or how one identifies.  Maybe it is shield used as a defense, as a place to hide and think that they are not judged or seen as anything but just lesbian or gay.  They claim to walk a line of indifference, not aligning with any one group.  But when you ask who they are they will tell you perhaps “Irish, English and Hispanic” or any other ethnic or cultural background.  Why they are afraid to also find an identifying place under the vast LGBT umbrella, I do not know or understand.  I don’t understand them not identifying with something as much as they claim not to understand my identifying as Butch.  I am sure the topic will continue to be debated and chewed apart at every opportunity, so here is my take on the topic .

There are some in the LGBT community that speak harshly about the labels and identifiers that others of us use in our choice of vocabulary. They rebuke the use of any labels, claiming it sets us back and divides us somehow, and I deny no one their own opinions at all.  Noteably,  I have noticed this especially true of the Butch, Stud, and Femme identifiers.  Somehow others feel, or seem to feel, threatened by the words themselves.  Do they stir up images unkind to the mind of those who do not understand them? Is it that not understanding our worlds as they are known to us and us alone that frightens them somehow; that makes them want to take away our words for ourselves?  Do they see it as some attempt to make them identify too?

I hear the often verbalized words,  “labels, I don’t identify with any label” and “labels are for soup cans” – which is true because the label helps you choose your favorite kind of soup, as our identifiers help us find those and find those which we favor in flavor.  Without those soup can labels you may be wind up eating cream of mushroom, when you really wanted tomato and basil.   Those soup can labels have a vital purpose, to delineate our choices; as do our chosen labels and identifications.  It’s good to know when another identifies such as I do, to know we have a comraderie and that we possibly have similar thought patterns and likes or dislikes.  It gives me and others a place of belonging, where we can openly be the style of whatever label best fits us, and gives us guidance to be the best we can be.

Butch – Femme has given a rich, rich contribution to LGBT history.  There is no actual handbook on Butch-Femme contributions, no handbook of how or why we choose this lifestyle.  (*although there are many good reads which I will list after this piece)  Many say we are mimicking the heterosexual norms.  But I say that we all live by examples absorbed from childhood experiences and life knowledge.  My role models were a very solid heterosexual set of parents, my mother embodying the strength and fortitude of a strong Femme – something I now seek in my own partners. And my father the epitomy of masculinity, strong and true gritted, someone I emulated and strove to be like all my life.  I knew from a young age that I was lesbian, and that I was decidedly Butch.  There was never ever a question in my mind.  Yes, I knew I was/am female, with a female body and all the appropriate birth parts, but my mind was something different than other female minds.  My mind was influenced by higher testosterone levels as a natural occurrence, as well as being surrounded by high levels of testosterone based people such as my father.  I am sure the combination has much to do with who I am as a Butch today.  I know it has much to do with how I treat a woman – in the absolute best and most respectful ways possible, coveting her femininity and softness as something I want desperately in my life – but beside me, not inside me.

You can scorn my use of the Butch identifier all day long.  I shrug it off because I know you do not really understand – either me or the word itself.  It’s simply due to that understanding that you feel you need to rebuff my attempts to belong to my own group.  You may not know where you belong, you may fell trapped in limbo and wish you could figure yourself out as I have done with myself.  Perhaps it’s that you envy my guts for having the fortitude and foresight to really know who I am and where I fall in the binary scale of feminine and masculine.  My clarity is palpable, and this scares many.  For without fear they would not scorn.  Scorn itself is quite simply born of fear and not knowing.  It is natural to fear the unknown, the unthinkable and the different.

 Perhaps one day they will allow themselves to find their own people, to identify as someone who is part of a group, whether that is simply the human group, or a specified group, race, creed, heritage, kind of group, they belong somewhere, and others no right to deny anyone else of belonging, of identifying and of living as they choose to live.

As a stone butch I cannot identify with the straight up lesbian label.  It does not fit me.  My ideas of relationships with other women, sex and being are not the same as someone who is middle of the road, sort of what I call the granola lesbian.  She may feel neither feminine nor masculine.  She just likes women; is into same sex relationships and is happy to just be herself, however that manifests for her.  Personally, I tried to identify with that variance for many years, actually to the point of doing much unnecessary and deep emotional harm to myself in the process.  Because it was not and is not how I am wired.  I am wired hard Butch.  The masculine wire in my brain is much thicker, more of a pipe than a wire, than the thin thread of femininity.

Yes, I am woman.  I shall never deny that fact.  I was born a girl.  I have girl parts.  I do not see them in the same way as others much of the time.  The feminine feels uncomfortable and wrong for me personally.  Yes, I toy with gender, I allow my own natural masculinity to shine through, I do not stifle it  or tone it down one iota.  As I will not be or try to be anyone that I am not.  I am who I feel inside that I am, and I am proud to be Butch.  Proud to recognize my Butch-ness and let it control me and continue to make me exactly as intended.  No, I did not learn Butch from anyone.  I did not learn masculinity, but I did emulate and strive to be the good parts of masculine. The one difference between men and Butches is just that, we can inhabit the masculine in ways that are comfortable, not forced. Men may be made, a virtual fact of nature, but Butches are born, absorbing that which is right for each of them personally and leaving the crap right on the floor – the macho attitude, the underlying tilt toward more internal anger, violence and anything remotely negative about being wired as a biological man. 

So, in wrapping this up, I stand firmly in my Butch boots.  I cannot explain to someone who just doesn’t get it that this IS just me, this IS who I am and no one has any right – or reason – to question that or to challenge it in any form.  All I can hope is that with time and experience that every person finds who they really are inside and allows themselves to freely recognize that, to revel in it as I do and to be the happiest they can be by being just who they are in life.

I harbor no ill feelings towards those who rebuff my gender, my sexuality or my identification.  I do not always agree with their styles or choice either, but I keep mum generally and  I only ask for them to learn tolerance, respect and to live and let live, as I do with them in mutual respect.  I will not force my labels upon them, and they hopefully will not force their opinions of labels on me.  It doesn’t matter anyways, I am just Butch. And this Butch is strong, resilient and knows who she is at her core.

 

Related reading/reference:

“Butch is a Noun” 2006, 2010 by S. Bear Bergman, Arsenal Pulp Press

“Missed Her” 2010, stories by Ivan E. Coyote, Arsenal Pulp Press

“Dagger”  1994 by Cleis Press Inc.  Edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie, Linnea Duc

“Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme” edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011

“Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity” 2006 edited by Matt Bernstein Sycamore, aka Mattilda, Seal Press

“Butch/Femme: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go” 2002 Edited by Michelle Gibson, Deborah T Meem….co published simultaneously as “Journal of Lesbian Studies” Vol. 6 Number 2. Harrington Park Press

“Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender” 1998 edited by Sally R. Munt, Cassell, London/Washington