Sudden Awareness blogged “Talking Tough” and asked this question:
Why do we value strength so much that it is one of the most frequently
cited attributes used to define our ideal selves?
Butches are generally seen as strong. Rough, tough and resolutely strong. It’s been bred into us seemingly, either from our bio-parents or from our chosen influence(s). Ask any Femme what she likes in a Butch and she will most likely say “I like how they are strong and tough.” I believe that it’s a Butch and masculine trait to be the strong; to be the stronger person in most relationships, particularly when that relationship is of romantic nature, but also when we are in the presence of anyone who seems to need our strength to help them. Butches inherently like to be helpful, to solve the problem, to be the cure.
To me that strength has to come from a few various places inside of me. Physically I am not that big at 5’3” and 150 lbs., but I am body-strong. Even through fighting chronic pain in my c-spine and lower back I can still push myself physically through tasks that require brute strength – and I pay for it dearly later.
The mental side of my strength is that I am pretty absolute in my thought process. I have convictions that I stick to; ethics that I follow and cherish. I love to solve problems; to challenge my mental capacity to see the issue and the solution in one vision. I adore learning and look for every opportunity to advance my knowledge in just about any topic area.
The emotional side of strength is my secret weakness. Emotionally I usually feel a bit stunted in my growth. I found, from a very young age, that showing any kind of emotion could be viewed as a weakness; a character flaw of sorts. I rarely cry as I see crying as a true weakness in just about any form. As a youngster I never wanted my father to see me cry for fear that he think that he had raised a “sissy baby” who would cry if she was upset or sad. Thus I built this brick wall over my tear ducts and refused to cry. Even when it would be appropriate to cry, if I get teary eyed I feel the shame of weakness in the tears.
The blogger Sudden Awareness brought this question of Butch strength up in their blog. Also saying they were going through this rediscovery of authentic self. I was also writing on this subject, and pondering my strengths and weaknesses in this life. As you have heard me speak of in past blogs, I am a true believer in being one’s authentic self and it’s something that I am vigilantly aware of being in my own life. I have been going through some changes within my own world as of late, and have been trying not to lose my authenticity in those changes in any way.
Life should never stay the same. Evolution means that we continue to morph and grow each day of our lives. Each day we can be open to learning something new, discovering or rediscovering ourselves in things that we read, see and experience in daily life. I live by the motto that if you are not growing and changing that you may as well be dead as it’s the same thing. I have always said that the only time you do not grow as a person is when you are cold and pushing up daisies in some field of squared off stones.
My own life has changed radically over the last 8 years particularly. I left a world that I had become very comfortable inside of, and ventured into a community that shuns me on a daily basis singularly on my appearance as a masculine Butch personality. If I meet another lesbian who asks why I want to be a guy I am going to throttle her for assuming things she does not know, and for putting her ignorance into words so effortlessly.
Sometimes I feel like every decade of my life has been a bit of a kind of separate life; a slice of time in one life. Each decade has had its defining moments, and it’s ups and downs, ways of being and ways not to be. It’s with this current time that I feel that I have truly stepped into being my authentic self – lock, stock and barrel.
I have never felt comfortable in the LGBT community because of the separation of the Butch-Femme crowd from the rest of the lesbian social circles. I have always found this odd in so many ways. I’ve experienced lesbians who have been actively afraid of the Butch – Femme dichotomy to the point of feeling threatened in some weird way. They seem to be afraid that by associating with us that they would somehow be seen as traitors to the rest of the women who proclaim lesbian as their sexual identity. Often we are accused of re-enacting the heterosexual norm with our more decisive roles and ways of being Butch and Femme. To me it just seems ridiculous.
I am Butch, always have been and always will be. I don’t disrespect anyone for being who they are in this life, and I hate it when people try to instill their insecure values upon me. I will continue to be my authentic Butch self, and hope every person on earth is given the freedom to be their own selves as well. It takes strength and fortitude to walk through life being something that other people dislike or despise. I’ve experienced both, plus being something/someone that people also hate just for who I am as a Butch. My own security in myself is based in my strength as an individual; as someone who is proud and will not be bullied into being any other way.
Butches have to have strength and be resilient to deal with their own parts in the LGBT community; to survive under the trans umbrella as masculine of center on the binary scale. Our strength is something that we are forced to have and something that keeps us safe inside of ourselves. The strength to get up every day and know that even our own community has issues with us and our gender identity can be dismaying to most, but to a Butch it’s just another part of the challenge that keeps us towing the proverbial line.
Inside of the Butch-Femme dynamic Butches rely on the strength given to them by their Femme counterparts many times. Femmes while being more delicately presenting are very strong in heart and conviction. A Femme can be a fierce enemy or a fierce ally. Believe me you don’t want her as an enemy! A Femme can make me feel incredibly strong, while I also know she realizes that I can also be incredibly fragile at the same time. My masculine presence is threatened every day, and that alone requires a kind of strength to deal with that I cannot even begin to explain.