In the Fog..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace!  ~MB

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Visibility and Family Dynamics

I was intrigued and prompted by a fellow bloggers post concerning her family and how uncomfortable it was for her to visit them.  She identifies as Femme lesbian and fights the Femme invisibility factor quite often – hell daily, like most of our fierce Femme counterparts actually.

Invisibility is not something that I have every had the privilege (or pain) of knowing.  I grew up Butch.  I can show you photos of me at 3 and it was very obvious that I was no normal little girly girl.  I rejected any toy that had a mere hint of femininity.  My toys of choice exuded masculinity by nature, play guns, army toys, trucks, GI Joe action figures (they are NOT dolls!).  I remember one particular Christmas when I was about 4 years old that Mom & Dad gave me and my sister matching baby dolls and little wooden cribs…and I remember my disgust upon realizing this was a toy that I was expected to play with . Where was the big wheel scooter I asked for?  Not on that Christmas list for sure. That doll and crib were never played with. I think my sister delighted in this because it meant she had twins.  Although I did figure out that the crib could be used to play veterinarian and would work as a bed for my sick bears and stuffed puppies.  But she kept the dolly, good riddance.

My family and I clashed quite frequently while I was going through the process of making it to 18 so I could move out.  We clashed over hair, clothes, language, who I hung out with (not a very parent friendly group) and what kinds of trouble I got myself into.  As I got into my teen years I started to realize that I was definitely NOT one of the regular crowd with which I hung out, that I was lesbian and they could NOT know this no matter what.  So I casually dated guys from within the group, and avoided sex like the plague.  Nope, wasn’t going there.  I started to dabble in drug use, it took my mind to places that somehow felt safer but eventually put me on a road to addiction where things got a whole lot harder in the end.

I got used to hiding who I was, it became the norm.  Never did I even once growing up tell a single soul who I really was.  I made it all the way to 18 and into the US Army before I finally met other lesbians and started to relax and began to grow into myself.

My family is pretty huge, and well established in Maine.  I have family all over the state, many in the Unoccupied Territories (UT) as well as in Bath, Brunswick, Bar Harbor and Ellsworth and the surrounding areas.  But my core family; my mom, dad and 4 younger siblings were all right here in southern Maine with me.  I hid my sexuality from them as well for many years.

When I came home from the Army in 1984 I had some choices to make. I was not the same young buck that went in shaking in my sneakers taht fateful day 4 years earlier.  I was not the cocky tomboy they remembered.  I had matured, been torn down by the military and built back up in a different way; with a different mind set.  I was also an adult and had been living on my own had learned how to walk the world by myself and was no longer scared. There was now self-confidence where once had been self-doubt and insecurity. There was pride where once had been shame and fear.  Not only was I a proud US soldier, trained in killing first and fixing trucks second, but I had a personal life outside of my job with the Army that consisted of a very hot girlfriend and a life in the club scene of the 80’s .  While i was on active duty those 4 years I learned, and was taught by others, how to conduct myself on both fronts so that one did no harm to the other.  And I learned well how to compartmentalize those two separate lives.  I figured when I got home I could do the same.  Not so much though.

By this time I looked even more androgynous, well on my way to Butch.  I was a star struck soldier, I loved soldiering and missed it, so I went back in for 2 more years even – right after telling my family my sexual orientation, where I found out that I was actually telling them something that they already knew, but didn’t know how to talk about in 1984. So it was best after telling them and living through some awkward moments and silences that I just turn my ass around and go back home to the Army where I knew how to walk the walk at that time.

Eventually I did come home.  It wasn’t perfect. I got heavily back into my old drug habits trying to mask the pain of figuring out how I was going to live around my family and friends now and also be able to be my authentic self.  My mom didn’t like it then and it took about 5-6 years for her to grow comfortable enough with me to accept me and my lifestyle.  As long as I was happy my parents were supportive, thank God that they came to that place.   Today I tell young people not to give up on unaccepting parents too soon, they may come around like mine did.

My siblings were always my band of brothers and sisters who stuck together no matter what.  They didn’t care what my sexual orientation was, I was their big sister, yeah all 5’4″ of me.  They looked up to me for my Army service and they liked my girlfriends and treated them with respect.

So I never really got to be invisible.  I wasn’t built to be invisible.  God gave me this body, this personality, this way of being and challenged me to live it; to make it work and to show people that difference does not equal less in any way.  As tough as it was to be so visible sometimes I had to do it, I had no choice.  I was mistaken for a young guy from my teens, even with my hair to my shoulders they thought I was just the late 70’s hippy dude.

As I became more comfortable with my masculine presentation I played it to my advantage.  It meant I got to wear the guys clothing of my choice; that no one scoffed at my shit-kicker boots or my wide belts.  Working as a mechanic for a while the grease even looked pretty natural as I slid out from under cars covered in the stuff.  No I wasn’t invisible.

At the clubs that I attended then I was one of a handful of Butches.  Most of the lesbian scene was doing the granola thing or all trying to look androgynous to some degree.  The Butches you knew because we looked just that much different; that much harder, and were called dykes mostly by the others.  I recall the sting of words from others like “I’m not a dyke, I’m just a lesbian”  It wasn’t a term of endearment by any means back then.

Around my family I learned slowly to break them in to who I was.  I tried to act normal.  If there is such a thing as normal.  I avoided PDA with my girlfriends in front of any family member.  I was hyper conscious of that for a few years until I figured out that it didn’t matter, it was my life and I was going to do with it what I wanted, and be with who I wanted.  I moved away a few times to escape the family microscope, Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Virginia, Washington DC…anywhere but here where my every move was seen by someone I was related to or knew.  The geographical changes worked temporarily, but I loved Maine and wanted to eventually settle back here.    And my family, as Mainer rugged as they are and as awesome as they are are very important to me.

Now years later I am back once again, after a short mid-life crisis where I moved away for a while to get it out of my system again out from under the magnifying glass of home.  But it’s different now.  I am 52 and am livning my authentic life as my real self.  I don’t hide from anyone, anywhere, anytime.  I’m mis-gendered daily.  I recently had top surgery to have a flat chest, so the mis-gendering is even more so now.  But I am happier than I have ever been because my family now fully accepts me.  They say they don’t remember when they didn’t.  Oh but I do.

It’s become easy now for me to walk the world proudly.  I have nothing to hide.  I am an authentic stone Butch lesbian, who is comfortable in her own body and mind.  And I would not trade that for eternity.

Although being a vampire stone Butch lesbian would be a rather cool continuation I am sure.