Early Morning Rantings!

Once again I am awakened at 2am, just am not meant to sleep like a normal person should right now.  I wake up and I am just…up…no going back to sleep in the immediate future.

I had a really great conversation with a great woman that I have been talking to lately.  It wasn’t an easy chat at all, but it was good for both of us I believe.  I confided in her a good bit about my addiction history, and she didn’t go running away like a scared cat. Addiction is not an easy topic to navigate and I admire her for her inquisitiveness on the topic, as it is a big part of who I am and why I am.  I look forward to more conversations with her, about everything.  She is someone I very much want to keep in my life.  🙂

Today was a bit hectic, but seriously productive. I worked til 1pm and then got together with my best friend and went to do our Friday afternoon errands around town.  Every Friday we have a ritual of doing this.  It’s called living paycheck to paycheck.  We get paid, go out and pay our bills, do the shopping for our respective households and take care of whatever else needs doing in town.  It is a struggle sometimes, but I make it work somehow.  And I realize that there are millions of others who are making it work this way as well.  It’s not easy in today’s economy or job market to do it any other way – especially if you don’t have a college education to fall back on, which I don’t.  Sometimes it feels likeI am always trying to play catch up on things, but hey, that’s just how it is.  I do alright.

I visited Trader Joe’s grocery this afternoon, I love that place!  I actually requested an employment application when I was checking out, and the woman who checked me out told me it was a super great place to work.  Everyone in there seems pretty pleasant and happy to be there, so they must enjoy the job.  I love the diversity of people in the place, from old hippies, to housewives, to young dykes, it’s just a palate of different people. They must have a really good company equality policy.  I am going to research the company a bit just to be sure that I would be a good fit there.

I also visited Staples office supply store on my excursion about town.  I needed a ream of copy paper.  They had a really good deal on some excellent quality paper that I had to take advantage of!  That is another place I could picture myself working.  Although a bit more “stuffy” than Trader Joe’s eclectic atmosphere, it would be fun.  I was in the corporate business world for many years and used to frequent the place quite a bit for supplies for my company.  I imagine working with people who were doing the same thing would be right up my alley in skill sets. And being the techno nerd that I am, I can imagine I would probably reinvest in the company and that might not be a good idea!  I’d be buying stuff like crazy.

Meanwhile, in Trumpy-land the Twitterverse is running wild with Trumpy stuff.  This Russian connection thing is really getting out of hand, Jeff Sessions needs to resign and a full investigation needs to ensue.  It just has to happen to put this subject into some sort of understandable terms. I was Tweeting with a friend in Texas who is petrified right now.  Being our age and queer isn’t going to be an easy path under Trump as he keeps going along with ripping away our rights and equalities.  It’s also just plain scary as an American, not withstanding being a part of the LGBTQ community!   Everyone seems to feel the impending doom of being attacked in some way by all of the executive orders and wild things that Trump and his team are doing or proposing to do.  I know I’m fucking scared.

Living in Maine has some pretty unique advantages.  Where I live especially because geographically it’s a great spot.  Right between Boston Mass, and Portland Maine.  I can be at the beach in 5 minutes, in the White Mountains in less than an hour and to either of the two cities in about 45 minutes.  Geographically it’s fucking perfection.  Maine also has a good equality rating. I just read an article in the Bangor Daily News about Maine being at the top when it comes to gender equality.  We also have good protections for the LGBTQ citizens here too.  I am glad that I live in this type of state.  From personal experience I can say that there IS really good gender equality.  Maine women are a fierce and tough lot.  Especially those from “down” Maine, which is actually upstate Maine…it’s a Maine thing…those women are hardened by the lifestyle of living in a very rural state, where you have to be fairly tough to survive.  I live in the more populated area, it’s a bit easier to navigate life here, but my cousins are down Mainers’ and they are not to be messed with.  The women are equal to the men up there in so many ways, they do equal work and expect equal pay. And truth be known, I believe they run the whole fucking show!  I have a healthy respect for my down Maine women cousins. They take no prisoners.

I hope your weekend is a great one!  Signing off from southern Maine….Peace!  ~MB

 

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Ahhh..March and Patreon

I’ve been trying to find better venues for publishing some of my blogging work.  Not really the day to day blogs, but more the topic blogs that I do, as well as the political opinion blogs.  I just jointed Patreon, which is a site to promote my work.  I am still in the early stages of working on the Patreon page, my MainelyButch.com web page and trying to tie the three – WordPress, Patreon and MB.com – together neatly.  I would like it to be fairly easy to navigate and would like to make it all work together.

I have been having a real struggle sleeping lately.   I’m thinking that it’s a combination of being stressed out over Trumpy things, a bit of late winter depression and fighting my addictions all kind of piled up on top of one another.  I finally got fed up with feeling so out of sorts and went to see my doctor yesterday.  I am going to see a clinician at Groups, an addiction recovery center here, and hope to get into their long term recovery program.  My intake appointment is on Wednesday, wish me luck.  I have been clean for some time, but I fight like a bitch to stay clean every damned day.  The more help I have with staying the course the better I think.  It’s a life-long fight and one I intend to win.

Trump almost looked vaguely presidential during his most recent address to Congress. I was amazed that he wrote – or at least someone wrote – a speech that didn’t have any bragging about his election win, no dissing the media, and no crying about his inauguration turn out.  He kept things on track and it was the best I have seen him do yet.  I am imagining that behind the scenes there it’s really chaotic when he has his little tiffs and meltdowns with the press.  I bet that someone close to him had to write that speech and then absolutely convince him to behave himself.  The one part that I didn’t like was him using the widow of the Navy Seal that was killed recently in a Trump ordered raid.  Trump didn’t heed the advice of his advisors for that raid, he ordered it and then it turned out badly while he wasn’t even in the situation room to monitor what was happening,  Pathetic that he would try to use this Seal’s widow to garner some sympathy and to try to get some praise for himself for “going after the bad guys”.  There needs to be an investigation into that raid just like there was in Benghazzi, because upper level mistakes were surely made that cost us dearly.

And now Sessions has recused himself from this investigation into the Russian connection to Trump’s campaign.  And he admits now that he LIED to Congress….ooooo….Republicans HATE when you LIE to Congress.  I’m sure that his own party is not looking favorably upon him being chosen as Attorney General now.  I believe there will be a special prosecutor brought in and a full investigation will ensue.  So far we have 3 people, all lying and all about the Russia/Trump tie up.  This isn’t good.  Almost like it’s 1973 again….hard to believe that this is real life in America right now….Are we having fun yet?  haha

Off to my regular job now. It’s a fine day in Maine, the sun just came up and the sky is very pretty.  I can hear all the birds singing – even with the windows closed!  Which reminds me the feeders need filling this morning as I do my chores before work.  Yes, it will be a sunny clear day here and hopefully will just get warmer by the day, as I am sick and tired of winter! I’m anxious to get back outside and rake and garden, do things that are good for the soul once again.

Take care dear readers.  Remember be kind.  Peace.  ~MB

 

 

Daily Post…Things I am Snobbish About…

Lately I’ve had a touch of creative downtime, I just can’t seem to find my mojo in my writing.  I have several theories…one is fear…fear stops our creative juices from flowing, I think I fear writing something that will upset someone, thus the things just won’t flow.  So, in true writers fashion I have gone to writing prompts through WordPress’s Daily Posts and through other bloggers inspirations.

This blog is inspired by the Daily Post prompt, “What are you snobbish about?” Meaning what am I particular about in my life.  I thought this was a good prompt.  I tend to want to believe that I am not a “snob” per se, but there ARE things that I very much am “snobbish” about, and will only have my way, or not at all.  So here’s my list…

1.  My smokes.  I smoke Newport Menthol BLUES and ONLY those.  If I can’t find them I will go without.  Which, if I wanted to really quit smoking, when they stop making them I will certainly become the non-smoker that I wish to be.  It’s ridiculous.  The story goes that I was once temporarily incarcerated in DC jail for getting drunk and acting a fool near the capital…NOT a good idea…anyway, after I ran out of my Marlboro (yup a former cowboy killer smoker) cigarettes I could only get menthols, such as Newports or Kools from the other inmates.  We would play cards or dice (which I got pretty lucky at) for cigarettes.  When my lover at that time picked me up from jail she handed me a pack of Marlboro Reds, and I promptly threw them in the trash, stopped at a quick stop store and purchased myself a pack of Newports…thus I became a full time menthol smoker.  I changed to the lighter Blues, which used to be called Mediums until that was prohibited by the US Government’s FDA, several years later.  I smoke them to this day.  Quite often I can’t get them at many stores as they are not a well known choice, so I have a couple of stores locally that carry them just for me, cuz I am special.  🙂

2.  My coffee.  I am a coffee junkie.  I know it.  The world knows it.  I love good STRONG coffee; the kind that can tend to put hair on your teeth.  I like it super strong and with ONLY half and half creamer and sugar.  If I am out of half and half creamer I will NOT drink coffee.  I hate it with milk, or powdered creamer.  Yes, I will go without if I don’t have the stuff to make it to my liking.  I’m a coffee snob.

3.  Bottled Water.  I will NOT drink tap water.  Because of my compromised immune system and my fear of contaminated public drinking water, and my aversion to chlorinated drinking water I will only drink bottled water.  I can be a snob about the brand too…I prefer Dasani, but I will drink other brands if I can’t get Dasani, just no way am I consuming the tap water anywhere.  Side note:  I once drank water in Mexico…Juarez to be exact…I was sick for days….lesson learned.

4.  Writing Implements, i.e. Pens specifically.  I’m very bad about this.  I will not write or buy cheap pens.  I am addicted to fine writing instruments.  I have a small collection of very expensive pens, Cross brand being my favorite.  I love the way a fine pen feels in my hand, glides across the paper and even the way it looks if I clip it into my shirt pocket.  Pencils also have to be good ones, I don’t like cheaper pencils.  I prefer to have a nice hard #2 pencil, round preferrably, and fatter if I can get them.  And it has to have a good eraser.   I do have some mechanical pencils, but I still prefer the old fashioned wood pencils.  Ticonderoga brand is a favorite, although I haven’t found them in true round.

5.  Paper.  As with the pens, I am a snob for fine writing paper.  I like the super smooth expensive papers.  I am a big fan of the Stone Paper that I can get locally, it’s tough, smooth and just feels good to write on.  I write a lot of personal letters, cards and the such, yes…I am trying to keep the postal service and the letter writing tradition both in business still.  I have a few people (very few) who I correspond with via the mail system.   I hope I never lose my passion for hand writing to people, I just think it’s still a classy and very personal way to communicate.

6.  Socks.  Yes, socks.  I like GOOD socks.  If my socks begin to show any wear and tear into the trash they go.  I like calf high athletic socks or good name brand socks that don’t ride down my ankles, hold their elasticity and color when washed and are mostly cotton in fabric.

7.  Clothing in general.  While I am not a name-brand whore, I am particular about my personal attire.  I am a super snob about my underwear, it has to be Aeropostale boxer briefs, or it’s commando I go. And my undershirts (I wear white T-shirts under everything) have to be 100% cotton, and pure white.  If they get slightly off color they become rags in my rag b bin!  I like most anything that is well made, fits good and is 100% cotton or as close as it can get.   My clothing has to be wrinkle free when I put it on, smell fresh from the laundry, and must be comfortable.  I will not wear uncomfortable clothing.  I’ve even managed to put together enough dressier suits to be comfortable when I have to dress up a bit.  Even down to my jewelry I am particular, I will only wear sterling silver or white gold.

8.  Laundry…I am VERY particular about how my clothes are laundered.  I prefer to do my own laundry as a result.  It’s not only about how they are separated to be washed and dried, by materials and colors, but about how they are also folded and put away into my closet and dressers.  It’s something that is left over from my days in the US Army I am sure.

9.  Steak.  I am a wicked snob about my red meat choice.  I LOVE Filet Mignon (beef tenderloin) and I want it medium rare and cooked to perfection.  My second choice is Prime Rib…au jus….omg, I am making myself hungry just thinking about it.

So those are the things that come foremost to the top of my head that I can be really particular about, or even snobbish.  I cannot think of anything else…except the women I talk to…that I am super particular about…  I am very particular about the women that I will talk to or date…but that’s a whole other blog!  I think with age I’ve gotten more set in my ways about these things, and they’ve become my snobbish habits.  🙂

Peace!  ~MB

Passing of Storme’ DeLarvarie

Storme'
Storme’

The LGBTQ community has lost a legend. RIP  Storme’ DeLarverie  the legendary Drag King, “Stonewall Lesbian” as well as “The Gay Community’s Rosa Parks” Storme’ was a great historical and cultural LGBTQ icon. She passed away peacefully early Saturday morning May 24th, 2014, at age 93 in Brooklyn, NY.

All of the major LGBTQ media outlets are carrying stories about Storme’ passing.  I only wish that I had known more about Storme’ before she died, and had had the chance to meet such a lengendary hero.  Known by some as the “Gay community’s Rosa Parks” and the famous “Stonewall Lesbian”, Storme’s life was a journey unsurpassed by few.  Into her mid eighties she continued to work as a bouncer at a lesbian bar in Brooklyn, NY (Henrietta Hudson’s), known to pack heat and a switchblade she was considered a force to be reckoned with by all.

Storme’ was born of a racially diverse relationship, between a wealthy white man and his African American house servant, in New Orlean’s Lousianna on Christmas Eve 1920. (Wikipedia has this incorrectly reversed).

In the late 1930’s Storme’ joined Ringling Bros. Circus as a jumping horse rider, riding sidesaddle which she hated.  Then went on to further show business performance, including performing in a troupe as a Drag King at the Jewelbox Revue in NYC.  There she joined a crew of 25 men who dressed as Drag Queens, and Storme’, the only woman in the show, donned her prefered masculine attire, as the show’s only Drag King.

She lived at the famous Chelsea Hotel in Brooklyn until she took a fall at 85 and was moved to a long-term care facility.  Alone and forgotten by all but a few, Storme’ granted interviews to several writer’s during her time at the facility, bringing to light how lonely and abandoned our LGBTQ seniors can feel.

Google her name and you will find many stories pertaining to her life, interviews and podcasts of her during her more senior years.  I will spare you listing all of the author’s and media outlets here and leave it to you to take a few minutes of your time today and check out some of our LGBTQ history by looking into Storme’ DeLarverie’s life on this earth.

A historical legend, a cultural icon and one fantastic human being, Storme’ helped pave the way to today’s more open and more equality minded world.

Like I said, I wish I had had the privilege of knowing this fellow activist and performer.  An artist of life, she led a very interesting one herself.  It saddens me that she seems to have been sort of “left behind” and forgotten by the younger LGBTQ community.  I feel even guilty myself, what I know about Storme’ is what I ahve read and researched today.  I was shocked to learn of such a cultural icon in our midsts – that I didn’t already know about!  Loving history as I do, I am ashamed to admit that I do not know enough about my own culture’s history – something I intend to rectify starting now; starting with Storme’ DeLarvarie’s contributions to my / our history.

I could never do justice to Storme’s story here in this blog.  And to truly write about her I would have to do much research – and now it would all be posthumously, sadly. The best would have been to have asked her for an interview, and sat down with her and listened.  I am sure she had 1000 sotries, as complete journeys are made of many stories.  And her journey strikes me as one that should interest everyone in the LGBTQ community.

The Proverbial Line

“Everytime that I am misgendered I am reminded that I do not fit; that I am not this.  I am not that.”

 ivan e coyote from “Gender Failure” (on Youtube clip about ivan and Rae Spoon’s Gender Failure performances).

I can relate with many of ivan’s stories and have all but the very latest (which IS on order!) of ivan’s books.  I am sure that most of you know who ivan e. coyote is but here’s the short, sweet bio from their page:

Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of six collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer.    http://www.ivanecoyote.com/

My chosen community is the LGBTQ – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer -and yes, you may add several other alphabetical letters to it as well, but for brevity here I will stick with LGBT for today.

I have been doing a lot of reading of articles on blogs and websites; in such places as HuffingtonPost.com, Autostraddle.com, in WordPress blogs and other online sources lately.  Most of what I have been reading has been related to gender identity, sexual identity, transgender struggles, and things written by and for the LGBT community and it’s allies.  These topics interest me very much as I can relate to most of what I read in some way or another, and they provoke more thought and inspire me to do more writing myself.

I love to write.  I have written and have been passionate about the writing process since I learned to write as a child.  It’s my passion; my home.  One day I hope to be brave enough to start submitting some of my writings for publication – which has always been my dream.  Writing is a creative art to me, although I write about things that I have experienced, and to explore my own views and opinions about things.  I write about things I am interested in and/or concerned about; things that have an impact on my life, or the lives of people that I love and care for in this world.  In recent months I’ve let my fear of rejection and critical feedback prevent me from pursuing my dream – and often from just simply writing a blog about something that strikes a nerve in me.  I have never felt that my writing was “good enough” or that people would care about what I had to say in my articles.  And I have always been a bit shy about letting people read my personal musings or know my authentic thoughts, views, and the stories of my life and how I became who I am today.

I am inspired today to write this because of all of the reading that I have done over the past week and due to my personal gut response to much of what I have read.  I feel some responsibility as an individual in the LGBT community, to add some of my thoughts and reactions to the articles – and comments left on them by others.  I am concerned about the world, and about my community; about friends and loved ones of mine that also may have read some of the serious hate and negativity that I so uncomfortably read.  I don’t feel that I can just continue to ignore the hot-bed topics that affect me, people I love and my beloved community, by continuing this self-censorship and not saying what I think and feel here.

I have remained fairly silent out of my own fear of the comment gremlins and of exposing myself to the discomfort that I am sure the main writers of the articles that I have read – have gallantly exposed themselves to so publicly.  Yes, they are the creative warriors in my opinion.  They took up their battle shields and stepped into the ring of fire to stand tall for what they believe are their truths.  They all are seeing the situations and battles going on around gender identity, trans identity, gender equality, sexuality and – even though I am sure they have also read some of the hateful stuff that I have read – they were all brave and courageous enough to stand their ground and let their own truths be known. They voiced their own opinions and laid their own vulnerability on the proverbial line.  I seriously respect those writers, even if I do not completely agree with them all of the time, I do very much continue to respect their courage and their rights to be heard.

So much goes on in our world every single day.  The media explodes with a new stories of discrimination, bigotry, ignorance and hate crimes so often now that I think some of us are starting to become numb to the reality of these things; almost to the point of accepting them as “just part of life in 2014” now.  And I personally find that incredibly sad and upsetting.  Those who are speaking out and who are defending our rights, and often even themselves by stating their own views and intentions as individuals, do so with the highest risk of personal attack online by hate groups, hate filled individuals, religious conservatives, prominent political figures and even from individuals and organizations who are supposed to be part of our own LGBT community!  (I am sure the list of attackers is much longer, but I am just listing some of the more visible here)  THAT is why I am compelled to speak out myself, and put my own voice out there too.  Those who write from their hearts and experiences inspire me and I think that every person deserves to – and should – speak out about things that affect them; about their own personal experiences, preferences and no one should have to just accept those assumptions that other people have (or want) to put upon us as LGBT people – regardless of which letter one chooses to stand under.

“It’s not the critic who counts.  It’s not the man who points out where the strong man stumbles or where the doer of good deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the person who’s actually IN the arena; whose face is marred with blood and sweat and dust who – at the best – in the end knows the triumph of high achievement and who – at worst – if he fails he fails daring greatly.”

Theodore Roosevelt speech “Man in the Arena”

I am a Butch Lesbian, very visible, and very proud.  I am often misgendered, and am also often reminded that I do not quite fit into the more mainstream Lesbian community.  My presentation is, and always has been, very masculine; very androgynous.  I grew up in southern Maine, the eldest of 5, my parents were very young when I entered the picture; but they provided a nurturing household full of love and proper lessons that would carry all of us into adulthood with good ethics and fine manners.  Growing up I knew that I was Lesbian as far back as I can remember – although I didn’t know what it was “called” until I heard the word “Lesbian” at the age of about 12 years.  Somehow I knew it wasn’t going to be good if other people knew this about me – ever.  So I learned to keep my secret very well hidden until I left home bound for Army basic training at 18.

I was a serious tomboy growing up.  Mowing the lawn shirtless until I was about 10 was my favorite thing to do.  Pretending I was a boy was my other very well kept secret.  Somehow I made it to adulthood without anyone ever knowing my feelings; my sexual preference.  By the time I reached early adulthood I was hearing the “you should dress more like a girl” thing quite often.  I hated dresses and broke out in hives at the mere thought of nylons – which were popular in the late 70’s thru the early 80’s.  I managed to escape home for the Army, and don that uniform – same for men or women – with much pride.  I came out early in my Army service although it was against regulations at that time, I managed to complete my service commitment without being “outed” and kicked out of the military – which would have completely ruined my family relationship with my father at that time, so it was a good thing I was never discovered!  (I do have lots of funny stories about almost getting caught!)

I tried to disown or hide my gender identity for many years.  I was far more comfortable with being “just a lesbian” than with being identified as “Butch” or “Dyke” (both were seen as derogatory words in the 80’s).  Although it was pretty obvious that I was Butch, I tried to “act” otherwise and hated being referred to as Butch back then.

It wasn’t until around 2005 that I finally came to grips with my gender identity, and started to relax into my authentic self as a Butch Lesbian.  I spent many years agonizing over it; and it caused me much emotional trauma at times.  I never quite “fit” anywhere in the gender spectrum, let alone the Lesbian social scene.  I tried “softening” up my look by growing my hair longer, wearing more jewelry and even wearing some girly clothing – generally shirts, never did I give up my guys jeans!!!

Before the computer and internet the LGBT world was very much smaller.  Our chat rooms were dimly lit gay bars, usually in very seedy locations.  We would hide our cars -never parking “near” the bar for fear of being “discovered” or questioned by anyone about “if” we were “in that bar”.  Even the clothing that some of us would leave our houses in (on our way to the bar) would be discarded and our “bar clothes”, which often would be uncovered in the trunk of the car, usually along with a bag of pot and pack of rolling papers!  My Drag Queen friends would hurriedly apply make-up in my rearview mirror, smacking lipstick onto Kleenex tissues to remove the excess.  Those were the good ‘ole days for MainelyButch, the days of no computer networking.  We drove cars without seatbelts and club drugs and all the while thinking that we were seriously “hiding” our true LGBT selves inside the concrete walls of the Paradox Club.  We had no cell phones.  We used back-door entry ways and sported hickeys covered by a half inch of liquid foundation make up the next morning.  We partied, danced, huffed Poppers, and had sex with wild abandon in the most unlikely of places sometimes.  We had some damned good, rowdy, but loving times.  Face-to-face was how you “met” people, made dates, and had sex…there was no keyboarding, computer monitors, or sexting in that world at that time.

….then September 24, 1982 came and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control in DC) used the word “AIDS” for the first time. Although HIV was not officially declared the “virus that causes AIDS” until May 1986 and On September 17, 1986 President Ronald Reagan mentions AIDS publicly for the first time, and many of our previously happy worlds came to abrupt halts in shock, that soon turned to fear and anger…lots of guys were getting sick, dying and NOW the President had “SAID” the word, and our community was completely changed forever.   I shall save that part of my life experience for future writing, as it is a very big piece of the puzzle of who I am today.  And it is an important part of tragic history of the LGBT community, and deserves it’s own blogging space.

As the internet became more and more popular and I sort of became immersed in the techno-geekery of it, I began to explore gender and all of it’s variants.  I found Butch books, cd’s and with Youtube came short videos – of Butches similar to me!   My comfort level with my gender presentation; with my androgyny and my more masculine preferences, began to feel more “normal” to me and much, much more nurturing to my inner self.  I devoured whatever I could find pertaining to Butchness and my more male presentation.  I questioned myself repeatedly about my possibly being Trans, FtM, but I could not find that comfort in the thought of being a man that I found in being a Butch.  I read the book “Butch is a Noun” by S. Bear Bergman and then I knew my true identity as a Butch. I love that book and I owe a world of thanks to Bear Bergman for writing it and sharing those experiences and views with me.

Now the internet is just part of all of our daily lives.  It’s our connection to the world beyond our front door.  Most of us rely on the web in some way or another to get us through our days, whether we are working or playing.  Us writers retired our old typewriters – which are now considered collector’s items – and gleefully adopted the “delete” button, allowing us to all throw away the white out and erasers!  The day I discovered Microsoft Word my entire life turned up-side down and changed.  I could now write for hours without tearing paper out of the roller and screaming at the typewriter for making mistakes.  I could “save” my work and password protect it so that I didn’t have to “hide” my journals or the folders full of typewritten pages from whoever I was afraid would find it and (gasp!) read it!    Yes, the internet and computers changed the entire world.  Things now move at lightening speed. Hell, by the time I finish this particular piece most of it will either be out-dated or I will have encountered more online that provokes further furious typing across my laptop keyboard!

One thing that continued to evolve and grow is me, myself.  Since I have settled nicely into accepting – even celebrating – my Butch self I have been a far happier individual.  I enjoy my Butch masculinity, the hair on my legs and my deep, raspy voice which used to make me very self-conscious during my years of denying my authenticity.  I only wish that I had found the path to my true feelings and allowed myself to just BE fabulously Butch, long before I did.  I realize that I could have saved myself a ton of emotional pain, and from the self-abuse that I put my body through while I was busy hating it. I am glad that today I understand myself, and I’m proud of who I am; who I have become since emerging from the tunnel of shame and insecurity.

In my personal writing, blogging and vlogging  ( Http://youtube.com/mainelybutch  ) I am publicaly stepping into the ring, or onto a stage, where my own fear of the critics and haters – of their comments and negative remarks, insults and hateful stuff “inspires” me to try to stay “small” in my own visibility sometimes.  I don’t like this at all.  It’s a form of self-censorship and defeats my purpose in writing/vlogging I think.  It makes ME reconsider what I post/write/say or film and that’s just not right in my opinion.  I hate feeling that way, it feels like I am somehow ashamed of myself and my own creative work.  And as a very out and loud Butch I already feel the vulnerability of my own gender presentation, and there is nothing more vulnerable than creating something; putting it out there in the world using our writing craft, and having it attacked and torn apart by those who don’t have the bravery of their own to take up the topic and let THEIR own words voice their opinion publicly for perhaps that same kind of attack; and being told that they aren’t “good enough” or that they are “wrong” in their views.

I try to be aware of my audience and I will even invite the critics  to take a seat.  Just know that while I see you and I hear you, I am not going to be threatened – by negative, argumentative, hateful or hostile comments – into not saying my piece anymore; nor will I be harangued into not being allowed to speak my own truths, and give my views and opinions as well.  You are welcome to come in, but I am not interested in your feedback unless you are in the ring of fire as well; putting your writings and opinions out there for us to all better understand you and where you are coming from with your comments and remarks, and that you are not just sitting on the sidelines making snarky remarks and belittling writers for their views, opinions, choices and/or for who they are and what they may represent with their words.  Particularly those who have the courage and are brave enough to make themselves visible and vulnerable in this community discussion, knowing that they are opening themselves up for possible attack by haters and nay-sayers.

If you have alternate opinions, morally differing views then I invite you to take your keyboard and begin your own piece on what you think of all of this inner-community policing and shaming that has been the topic of many of these blogs – mine included.  I am interested in hearing as many views and serious conversation on this as possible, and while I have my own personal thoughts on most of it, that doesn’t mean that I cannot be swayed to see something from another angle and rearrange a piece of the puzzle in front of me.  I am open minded, and while I am opinionated I am not without the ability to change my mind.

Everyone has a story inside of them.  And each person on this Earth has a unique identity – unique to them and them alone.  There are stereotypes about all kinds of people, places and things.  There are as many labels as there are cans or people to put them on!  Some like them, and some don’t, it’s personal choice; individual preference and no one should just accept someone else’s definition of them, but should create their identity and present it as a masterpiece to the world; creating an identity that they are personally proud to own and wear with courage in the face of fear!  Your identity doesn’t have to consist of a “label” or any kind of “stereotype” – all the world asks is that your identity be authentically YOU.

So, on this rainy day today I have been inspired to dive back into my more serious writing and to improve this blog and it’s contents.  I also want to make sure that fewer and fewer young Butches and Gender Queer people get sucked into that hole of blackness that brings them shame and sadness concerning who they are, where they come from, how they started life, where they are today in that life, or anxiety about their families, friends, and people who love them.  We can all learn from one another, young and old alike; black and white; gay and straight, rich or poor…we all bleed red and cry tears of water and salt.  We are all human beings who have feelings and who feel pain sometimes more often than pleasure.  By keeping open minds and tender hearts we can treat one another with a sort of identity respect that previous generations did not have the opportunity to have for themselves.  But we do need to remember that they fought the battles that brought us to the very place that our community is right now.  They have earned our respect and our gratitude – and our apologies in many ways as well.

“Right now, the endless flap over the gender community’s language is a hot topic, with RuPaul’s televisedshemale and tranny games highlighting the question of who gets to say what in our balkanized communities. The language cops, in this case conservative trans women who object to their use under any circumstance, want tranny and other such words completely banned. I understand the arguments against the insult, but I don’t think these torch-wielders realize that transsexual women do not own the experience of gender crossing or the language created around it. Both the experience and the language have a long and hard-fought history across many groups; our history books are full of these stories. In seeking to blot out our internal language of historical words like tranny, the thought police are essentially burning books, one word at a time.”  Calpernia Sarah Addams, The Advocate

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/04/17/op-ed-burning-books-one-word-time

This excerpt is  from one of the articles that I read in the Advocate today, by Calpernia Sarah Addams.  The full article link is well worth your time to click and read!  The comments from her critics and from her allies too, are numerous and show the passion within our community surrounding the discussion of Gender and the way some try to be the “word or thought police” telling others that they cannot “use” certain words, or that these words are insulting to some.  As Calpernia says, our history shows no one group owning the experience or the language created around gender crossing.  We can’t just bleep out words because they offend – if we did that half the dictionary would be blot-outs and page removals!  We need to be sensitive to our audience and to the very real possibility that there have been experiences had by some that have turned certain words into reminders of hate, bigotry and violence.

Of course, I have certain words that I have chosen not use in my own personal speech or writing vocabulary, because I find them to be offensive myself, and thus choose not to use them.  My vocabulary certainly isn’t devoid of offensive words though, as those who follow me on Youtube can surely attest!  I can cuss like a trooper, and am not always “Politically Correct” but I do try to be “emotionally correct” and not attack anyone’s personal choices.  I like to believe that I do a pretty good job at showing human decency and respect for people as unique beings, regardless of their differences from me, or their differing opinions, views or what I may see as skewed moral compasses.  Everyone should be heard, so that are ALL able to learn from one another; understand our differences better, and build a better, more compassionate, loving and inclusive community.

 

 

 

“Great Blogs Thrive…”

I saw something on Dancing with Fireflies blog that I wanted to re-write to align with Butch Perspectives here:

This is how Crysta on DWF put it……”Great blogs thrive because of comments. Dancing with Fireflies is a community, and you are part of it. We would love to hear what you thought of this article and anything else on your mind.”  (http://Fireflydance.net   or  http://dancingwithfireflies.wordpress.com)

So, I want to basically say the same…I am always about trying to draw more community together for conversation and discussion of important topics to us as the LGBTQ community as well as to us as members of society in general!  

“Great blogs thrive because of comments.  Butch Perspectives is part of the LGBTQ community, and invites you to be part of it – LGBTQ and allies alike – I would love to hear what you think of my articles and anything else on your mind.  Questions and topic requests are always welcome as well!”  ~MainelyButch

Youtube versus Real Life…choices

Youtube, the internet versus Real Life…the two are somehow separate, yet somehow intertwined; parallel universes revolving around your own personal sun.  

I been thinking lately.  I have been on Youtube for 5 years and 4 months now…quite a LONG time for any Youtuber!  I’ve seen people come, stay a little while, do a dozen or so videos and disappear into oblivion once again.  I’ve known a very few who have stuck it out and stayed with it, actually about 5 that I know of right off the top of my head that I have followed since March of 2009 when I started actually doing videos.  It took me about a year to be convinced to join the vlogging bandwagon, and once on board I decided that I actually liked doing them and have pretty much stuck with it.  I have taken small hiatus periods, like 3-5 weeks here and there through the years, but I’ve posted over 1000 videos, some are still up and some are in privately shared space, and some have been deleted now, but I’ve definitely done a boatload!

My videos have ranged in topic from very personal stuff about myself, to answering questions people have asked, to giving my opinion on different things such as news stories, articles, issues within the LGBTQ community, etc – all basically for fun and entertainment, although mostly my own!  LOL  Hell, I’ve even done some more serious “how to” videos on some minor things like pet care.  I have had a blast doing the videos.  I have built a subscriber list of 1389 viewers.  My typical video garners approximately 130 views in the first 2-3 days, and some have topped 5,000 views over time.  I don’t do it for the “views” or “hits”, but more for my own personal enjoyment, for those who are dedicated, loyal followers and for those who come to me with questions or topcs they would like to see discussed by me and others.

I have always tried to be very open and honest in any video I have done.  What’s the point if you are not going to be?  My view is that if you are going to make videos make them so they have a point of some kind and so they are interesting in some way and that keep the viewers’ attention to watch them to the end.  Perhaps I have succeeded sometimes, perhaps I have failed miserably others. Whichever way it has gone, it’s been just fine with me.  I don’t lose sleep over it. I just YT because I like it.  I enjoy most of the people I have met over the years.  I have gotten tons of comments about how this video or that video changed someone’s opinion, view or life in some little way and made their day a tad bit brighter.  Those are the BEST comments to get!  I have made some friends, so damned good friends and I have made some enemies I am sure.  Hey, you can’t please everyone, why even try!  If I were worried about that I would either not post videos at all or make all my posts private.  

I think my vlogging is something I like to remain positive about. I like to project a positive attitude, even if I am discussing a negative topic like a news event about a tragedy. There’s always something to find positive even in the negative.  I try to avoid the negative quibbly stuff, avoid the dramatics and rarely speak about people in any type of revealing way.  Viewers don’t want to watch or hear that kind of stuff so I try to keep it real and be honest in voicing my own opinions, my own views and things deriven from my own life experiences.  I find it more freeing to be this way. I, and I am sure other people as well, can relate to people who they find are real and who they can share a view with or an experience with in virtuality.  I think it’s pretty cool to get other peoples opinions, views and have exchanges that may even change MY view on the topic; maybe change how I thought and that’s what I call growth.  We grow through the exchange of ideas.  

There is a weird paranoia that does come with being a public sort of figure or being in the public eye.  It can and will change your life.  As I have navigated the online world I have met many people, some interesting, some funny, some scary, some I liked and some I did not.  I’ve made some really good friends, and I have had many great conversations as a result.  I have learned as I have gone along, because there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it, there is no instruction manual or care-of guide.  Vlogging helps me get perspective sometimes, and it helps others see my perspective, and maybe further think about their own.  Viewers see some of their problems and answers or ideas about them through seeing and hearing about how I have dealt with things in life.  Sometimes I look back at old old videos and think “what was I thinking!?” because I have changed my view in some way or another, life has gone on and whatever it was became either less important or completely irrelevant.  

I started out on Youtube slowly, and became far more open about myself as time went on.  I have blended my Youtube with other venues, shared the videos in other places and used them for a variety of purposes over time.  Lately I’ve been starting to feel that it may be that time in my life to keep my emotions and more personal things to myself more.  The internet is a rapidly changing place.  

Five years ago Youtube was a MUCH different place; a whole different atmosphere and way of being.  It was much more about personal videos discussing life issues facing each of us at different times and in different places along the path. Today it’s more of hubbub about what the “popular” theme is, how to make money doing videos and who can out wit who.  It’s a bit crazy and not as interesting in my own personal opinion.  Sure, there are still some great vloggers who have remained true to themselves and still do the types of videos that I continue to do about everyday topics. And I will follow those people until they either drop off the tube or I do.  I am finding more negativity than ever before.  I am finding more haters and bullies, I hate to see it happening, but it seems to be just the way of the web-life.  I don’t feel that mutual respect and the kind of trust that I used to feel when the tubes were a smaller, more intimate community, but that I have to be more careful who I share my personal life with these days.  

I will absolutely continue to do videos.  I’m not leaving Youtube or WordPress by any means!  I find it way too fascinating to leave.  But I am going to divide off and make more personal videos available to only a limited, select audience on all of my channels.  Same with WordPress; I will be posting password protected blogs when I deem it necessary to protect my privacy and in an effort to be more careful about who I am sharing my life with in these venues.  I have watched another very well respected YT vlogger do this a couple of times, have to change channels, go private, use passwords, etc and now I know and understand his need to do this periodically.  Sometimes you have to rethink your position and it may lead you to a new choice, a new path or one of better footing in the long run.  It’s not a bad thing, and it could be a necessary thing, as I am finding at this point in life.

The weekend is over.  Mine was a pretty good one – mostly spent working!  I did take some time to relax and accomplish some other things as well. The best thing I did was turn off my email and internet – except for 2 check in’s on Facebook! – all weekend, I won’t even check my email for at least another 12 hours.  I’m sure it’s full, but you know, I didn’t stress about it and it will be there when I get to it sometime tomorrow.  It’s given me time to rethink these things about Youtube and the seeming “need” for an internet presence by everyone here in 2013…I so wish for the simpler days of much less technology!  

In closing, thanks for your continued support and encouragement!  I appreciate every reader.