Meditations for Queer Femmes – Contain

As I have mentioned here previously, I’m currently enrolled in a low-residency MFA program, Writing for Children and Young Adults. My advisor has been giving us optional poetry assignments, and it turns out, I really, really like the ones asking us to write haiku or etherees, but don’t like the ones where we’re just given a topic. In some magical way, having a form will suggest a topic to me and then it’s a delicious puzzle how to fit the topic into the form.

Kind of like being confined, I guess, the way so many of us are confined at home right now. I just heard from my mother’s assisted living facility that she’s not going to be allowed out of her room from now on, which is going to be rough on her, nature-loving girl that she is. She’s one of the few residents there who, up until now, was taking walks every day.

I think of my mother’s small studio apartment, with its ever-changing view of a quiet road banked by a beautiful outcrop, topped by lots of trees. With the window open, she can hear the busy spring song of birds. Inside, she has bookshelves filled with her own books – the ones she wrote during her long career as an archeologist – and many others, including all my father’s books – the ones he wrote, during his long career as a philosopher and novelist. She has stacks of professional journals. Files of letters written to her by friends, family and colleagues. She has a phone and I call her every day, usually more than once. The facility provides meals, and takes care of cleaning and giving her her meds. She and I both agree – she’s in a nice place.

Adorable darlings, effulgent spirits, I hope you are in nice places, as well. I hope you can look around at all the particulars that surround you — the books, the clothes, the souvenirs, the art – and say to yourselves, “There’s a lot to work with here!” I hope you can find sustenance and hope in the beautiful, delicious puzzle of our needing to be contained for the time being. Needs must, but we are not alone. We are all connected, in one great gorgeous tangle, and I am sending out a queer femme thread of joy and sparkle to you, in the midst of this frightening unknowing.

You are dear to me. You are contained in my heart.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.




Meditations for Queer Femmes — Calling on Queer Femme Company

Since arriving in Provincetown a few days ago for rest and renewal and the first real vacation Tex has had all year, both she and I have found our tolerance for straight people has taken a serious nosedive. Straight people in Provincetown can come in a variety of flavors, but most of them seem to expect queers to be, if not thrilled that they’ve chosen to partake of Ptown’s pleasures, at least polite. Straight people are used to queers being polite to them. We want what they have, after all – you know, marriage and normalcy which only they can confer — and also, queers so often take it upon themselves to model what a truly “all are welcome” society might look like by lavishing generosity, time and energy on straight people who drift in and out of their lives. The trouble is, as Tex and I discussed on the beach last night, trying not to see the straight couple making out in the gentle evening wavelets, most straight people only know how to take and never give. They actually seem to believe that taking from us is something that we desire and that we should be grateful for. And then they move on, leaving us exhausted and drained and most detrimentally, with little to no energy for exploring and living with integrity our own queer lives. Whatever those may look like, and that’s hard to know, given that we’re almost only ever in straight culture.

I know that my queer femme soul is both inspired and harmed by the anger I carry towards straight people. I am inspired to voice ideas and, if I’m lucky, solutions for myself and for other queers as we attempt to swim with the straights. I am harmed by undying anger, that flares up and has unfortunate consequences. That makes me feel mean and small-spirited and that, ironically, hampers my ability to enjoy being in one of the few places on earth where the culture is about as queer as it can be and where I am so incredibly lucky to be spending time.

Dear, queer femme sisters, I do not have an answer for this anger thing.

I need you to talk to me about what you think and what you do.

Who and what are your supports when you are in the heights of fury?

How do you keep your queer femme soul from being wounded and bled out?

Speak to me, darlings, bolster me with your words.

Out here on the tip of the land, I need your queer femme company.

Every Monday (Tuesday, or even Wednesday!), I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was a fabulous straight femme, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.


Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 8:28 PM  Comments (2)  
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