Meditations for Queer Femmes – Away from my Desk

The other day I had occasion to use the antiquated expression, “away from my desk”, knowing full well that there’s no such thing any more. I wanted to convey that I wouldn’t be responding to email or taking calls for a few days; that I would be doing my best to be on vacation without the responsibility of work, because that’s what a vacation is, or anyway, what it used to be. That I was going to take a break from the information intake and management which are now seen as a normal and necessary part of daily life.

Along those lines, I was recently reminiscing to Tex how incensed I was to learn that my cell phone also could double as a flashlight. I’m not exactly sure why this infuriated me so much, but it had something to do with how the cell phone had so insinuated itself into my life, how, almost overnight, it had become so imperative that I could never let it out of my clutches, that I had to depend on this small, powerful device for all forms of communication – demolishing, among other things, the need for many of my most beloved institutions, like the library and the post office – and now, for fuck’s sake, it was relegating my handy Maglite to the dustbin??

I digress slightly, but the point is, we’re never away from our desks anymore. We check our phones in case there’s an emergency, or that’s what we tell ourselves, but most of the time, we just want to feel connected, see what’s out there, who might be sending a text, what might be happening in politics, you know. And if we’ve got young kids, or elderly parents, or a struggling friend or relative, well, we really do have to keep an eye on things.

The bottom line is that, these days, we are never not at work.

This is not good, particularly for someone like me who has a hard time not working in the best of cases. I’m so passionate about social justice that I almost never relax, always scanning about for instances of transgression: the homophobic subtext in the lite novel I’m reading in order to relax or the racist character arc in the blockbuster comedy that everyone is raving about. I’m a fun date, let me tell you!

So if I’m already working all of the time and now I have a cell phone that keeps me constantly connected and on alert, do I ever relax?

It’s not easy.

The more tense I become, the less ability I have to put anything down, and that is exhausting. Both my parents have been ill and in the hospital, and because of my own health concerns, I haven’t been able to visit them or care for them as much as I would have done in the past. It’s been hard and yet humbling to let go of some of those responsibilities. To share them. One of the nicest things a nurse said to me recently was, “We’ll take care of your dad; you take care of yourself.” Oh yeah, I said to myself, because that’s the nurse’s job!

Overworked and overextended beloved femme sisters: are you at work? What is your work? Do you have to do it all of the time? What does it look like, what does it feel like, when you put down your work responsibilities – all of them – and take some rest?

Do you feel guilty? Do you have trouble relaxing because of “What ifs” and “I’ll just do this one last thing’s”? What is relaxation these days, anyway? Watching a show on your phone? Scudding over social media ripples and waves?

Even on the busiest day, we might be able to take a few moments to relearn how to relax. Do you remember how, sweetnesses? Everyone does it differently, but breathing deeply helps. Looking up at the sky helps. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spend a little time by a body of water, or in a bit of nature. All of those things remind us of the larger, more profound, ancient natural rhythms. They remind us that we’re part of natural systems much more powerful than any little device.

Darlings, today reconnect to those systems. Breathe deeply. Relax, my cherry pies, relax! Aspire to transcend the overwhelm.

You are blessed and holy and contain resource beyond measure.

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.”)

 

 

Femme Friday – Theresa Pergola

Today, The Total Femme has a nice, friendly natter with Theresa Pergola.

Deep gratitude to Theresa, for sharing her story and for being a fierce and fabulous member of this rare breed!

TTF:    Tell us a bit about yourself.

TP:      I came out when I was 27 years old. I was dating a guy when I met my first butch. I led a very sheltered life early on.  I knew I was more “open” than my peers about sexuality but I didn’t know any gay females in my teens.  I befriended a lesbian at work and I started to address the feelings I had throughout my life.  Then it happened – I saw a butch who caught my eye and had a visceral reaction –   something I had never felt before with men. That’s when I knew I was 100% queer and I never looked back. I spent 10 years with that butch and had triplets with her. She passed away a couple of years ago but she will always remain an important part of my life.

TTF:    When did you start identifying as femme?

TP:      I started identifying as femme a few months after I came out.

TTF:    What is your femme coming out story?

TP:      It always gives me a chuckle when I think about my femme coming out story.  When I first came out I thought, in order to be visible in the community, I had to “look like a lesbian.”  I got a buzz cut and stopped (gasp!) wearing make-up.  I never felt so out of sorts.  Then one day I went to a Butch-Femme group meeting at the Center in Manhattan.  It was there I found out there were other women like me who embraced all things feminine AND there were counterparts who LOVED that about us. I was never so happy – I found my tribe!

TTF:    What does “femme” mean to you?

TP:      Femme is an identity.  It is being feminine while queer. It is reclaiming the feminine stereotypes and making them our own.

TTF:    Has your understanding of femme changed over the years?

TP:      I have learned that being femme is more than just wearing high heels and lipstick. It is about owning the power of my femininity, it is about being a nurturer at heart, it is about loving everything that makes me a sensual, feminine being. It is about being the ying to the yang of an MOC person.

TTF:    Who are your femme role models in the present? The past?

TP:      My femme role models are the other women I have met in real life and on social media who embrace being femme and support each other, sharing our experiences and challenges. Victoria Darling so eloquently helped to define stone-femme identity and I am grateful for all she contributed to the stone community. I have bonded with femmes around the globe, like Vivianne Ward from Australia, who is full of class and grace. I have a dear femme friend Jenny Smith who I adore and spend time with. I have also been lucky to meet my other New York sisters, Elise Birn and Carolyn Tresca. These women are so important to me because no matter where we are from, we have a deep understanding of one another that no one else has.

TTF:    Do you have a femme community? Why? Why not?

TP:      I do have a femme community thanks to social media. I am in several Facebook groups that are just for femmes. I recently got together with two other femmes from one of the groups and we ended up having a 5-hour lunch because it was so nice to bond and we had so much in common.

TTF:    Have you encountered issues in the wider queer community as a femme?

TP:      I actually identify as a stone-femme.  Many people, even in our community, have a mistaken sense of what that means.  Many people equate stone-femme with “pillow-princess” and that is just not a correct definition. It is hard for stone-femmes to explain who we are because there is so much judgment out there and the boundaries are different for each of us.

TTF:    Talk a bit about “femme invisibility”.

TP:      I have always been open about my identity and sexuality – with my family and friends, at work, and elsewhere.  I try my best to be visible and help people understand that queer people come in all shapes and sizes. Except, however, when it was not safe to do so. In that case, I think that “femme invisibility” is a luxury our counterparts do not have.

TTF:    Anything else you’d like to share about your life as a femme?

TP:      I want to share the importance of seeking out other femmes for friendships. We are a rare breed who share unique experiences. There is nothing more precious than being able to connect with someone who shares so much in common – it is a connection beyond compare!

 

Therresa Pergola.jpg

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

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.”)

 

 

 

Published in: on September 13, 2019 at 12:07 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Bloody January Again!

I grew up listening to Flanders and Swan, a very funny (although, unfortunately, also occasionally racist and misogynistic) English musical duo. One of their most amusing bits is “A Song of the Weather”, which starts by describing the misery of January, goes on to describe the misery of each miserable month, and ends with, “And then: bloody January again!”

Life for we queer femmes, though intrinsically fabulous, of course, is not always sweetness and light. How could it be, given that we belong to the human race? Emotions and situations are part of the flow. This weekend, the flow took me through the muck and mire of grief, anger, denial, upset. Being the intellectual brat that I am, I just wanted to figure things out and feel better, but emotions don’t work that way. “People are always telling me how bravely I’m facing this,” a femme friend with a chronic illness tells me. “They don’t see me lying on the couch bawling my eyes out for three hours at a time…” Which is probably what I should have done this weekend, given that you have to let that sadness out, but the most I managed was the lying on the couch part. Bloody January.

People tell me all the time that I’m a warrior and that I’m going to kick cancer’s ass. I know they mean well, but what if I’d rather be a lover than a fighter? What if I just really wish I didn’t have to be dealing with cancer at all? Both things are true. And whatever difficult situation we queer femmes may face at different times in our lives, our culture and perhaps our personalities, perhaps our families, our friends, all encourage us not to linger in the “bad” emotions – you know, the ones I was grappling with this weekend. But there are no bad emotions – they all exist for a reason – and there are definitely times when lingering there is exactly what’s needed.

According to the empath, Karla McLaren, when emotions are honored and listened to, they help us move in a healthy manner through whatever it is life has brought our way. She writes that “[g]rief enables you to survive losses by immersing you in the deep river that flows underneath all life. If you can’t move into your grief, you’ll only experience destabilization and dissociation in response to the shock of loss, injustice, inequity, and death, instead of being cleansed and renewed in the river of all souls.” And anger? “When your anger flows freely you won’t even know it’s there; it will simply help you maintain your boundaries, your inner convictions and your healthy detachment. Free-flowing anger will allow you to laugh compassionately at yourself and set your boundary mercifully because both actions arise from the inner strength and honorable self-definition anger imports. When your anger is not allowed its natural flow, you’ll have trouble setting and maintaining your boundary, you’ll tend to dishonor or enmesh with others, and your self-image will be imperiled by your reliance on the capricious opinions of the outside world.”

Our psyche provides us with these tools, our emotions, to guide us in navigating the flow of life. The more we fight, try to reason our feelings away, try to squelch them with whatever distraction we favor (food, for me, is an excellent distraction), the more they’ll warp and morph and come back all the stronger. So, my cranky, pissed off, grieving femme sisters, today let yourself go with the flow. Let your emotions take you where you need to be. You may not like the way it feels and you probably aren’t all that psyched about hanging out there; it may not be what various authorities recommend, but listen to your own queer femme heart and go where you need to go.

Instead of scolding yourself as you bawl your eyes out, or throw things, or open another bag of chips, keep yourself company in your misery, treat yourself with that magical queer femme compassion you lavish so freely on the world and on those you love. Wrap yourself in that healing love. Another femme friend gave me the book, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff, and here is an exercise from this lovely book that you can use when you’re down in the thick of it. Not to rush things along, but to honor what you’re feeling and to give yourself love love love.

Hugging Practice – One easy way to comfort yourself when you’re feeling badly is to give yourself a gentle hug. It seems a bit silly at first, but your body doesn’t know that. It just responds to the physical gesture of warmth and care, just as a baby responds to being held in its mother’s arms. Our skin is an incredibly sensitive organ. Research indicates that physical touch releases oxytocin, provides a sense of security, soothes distressing emotions, and calms cardiovascular stress. So why not try it?

            If you notice that you’re feeling tense, upset, sad, or self-critical, try giving yourself a warm hug, tenderly stroking your arm or face, or gently rocking your body. What’s important is that you make a clear gesture that conveys feelings of love, care, and tenderness. If other people are around, you can often fold your arms in a nonobvious way, gently squeezing yourself in a comforting manner. You can also simply imagine hugging yourself if you can’t make the actual physical gesture.

            Notice how your body feels after receiving the hug. Does it feel warmer, softer, calmer? It’s amazing how easy it is to tap into the oxytocin system and change your biochemical experience.

            Try giving yourself a hug in times of suffering several times a day for a period of at least a week, Hopefully you’ll start to develop the habit of physically comforting yourself when needed, taking full advantage of this surprisingly simple and straightforward way to be kind to ourselves.

When we queer femmes can honor our emotions – all our emotions – we are in better balance with all that is, and that is a place of power and love. Be in your power today, my beauties.

I love you.

https://www.last.fm/music/Flanders+and+Swann/_/A+Song+of+the+Weather

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.”)

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Hello, Room

As the summer comes to an end, as the difficult side effect from chemo are slowly leaving my body, Tex and I are making an effort to regroup and plan for the coming months. We’ve been so preoccupied with caregiving and healing respectively that the yard and the house are looking pretty sad and neglected. The changing season and the cooler weather pep us both up and we’re trying to channel that energy, take things one step at a time, rather than rush in and get completely overwhelmed trying to clean everything up at once and get it all back into working order.

Transition is a regular and healthy part of our queer femme lives but change is not always welcome or comfortable. One of the things Tex and I were acknowledging this morning is that we both need to take it easy, not rush into our tasks as if we had the energy and wherewithal we did before this very difficult summer. We are both still healing and recovering; we have changed in how we are able to access and use our strength. Tell that to my brain, though, which is busy loading up a staggeringly lengthy “To Do” list. To stay a little more clear, to understand and meet my responsibilities more realistically (and therefore to have a better chance at completing the most important tasks), I need to take it slowly, come at things from a place of gratitude and balance. Oh, darlings, isn’t that just so much more easily said than done?

I have a very vague memory of some kind of interior decorating advice from way back in the day that had you stand in the room you were doing over and say, “Hello, room.” I’m not sure what happened then, but I love the idea of introducing yourself to the space you spend so much time in. I learned in Japan, also way back in the day, that regular upkeep and cleaning of your dwelling was a practice of love and gratitude for the shelter you were lucky enough to have. My current tai chi teacher, Master Lin, recommends aligning yourself with the essence of whatever space you happen to be in by taking a few moments to allow your energy to sink and connect upon entering.

As Tex and I go about reconnecting with our dwelling space by beginning to lavish more attention and love upon it, I am calling on all these teaching of bringing a practice of gratitude to the daily and the mundane. Rather than focusing on the negative, Cristin Frank recommends in her book, Living Simple, Free & Happy, stand in the room you’re de-cluttering and/or redecorating, and really focus on the things about it you already like. Cupcakes, do you know, that had never occurred to me? This house, the house where my babies grew up, where I spent many difficult years with my ex; this house that Tex and I have fretted is haunted and filled with unresolved grief, is actually a lovely place. Or anyway, there are lovely things about it. And those years are gone and both of us are committed to health and art and community: these can all be reflected in the beautiful house we are so lucky to have.

What happens when we start with gratitude, my beloveds? So many of us queer femmes may not have been raised to count our blessings – I know I wasn’t. There was always something I needed to do more of, less of, differently. And I think it is particularly difficult to focus on gratitude during times of transition because that is when we want to cling to the familiar, and in this culture, finding fault and being negative is deeply ingrained.

Look up and look around, dear queer femme sisters. Wherever you may live, there are small, wonderful surprises; there are quaint details that delight you; there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of lovely, comforting aspects if you will only clear space for them to introduce themselves to you. Starting there, your tasks will become more clear and more doable.

Gratitude is in your grasp. And transitions mean you are alive, progressing, and have the opportunity to grow. Hello, room! Hello, healthy queer femme life.

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.”)

 

 

Published in: on September 2, 2019 at 1:46 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Saminta T. Williams

Saminta is a lesbian femme who is featured in Curve magazine in a beautiful article highlighting her wedding to lesbian stud/dom, Charlotte R. Williams. From the article:

“Lesbian visibility is important in bridal and lifestyle imagery because being a triple threat in America ain’t easy,” says Saminta.

“We need more images of our community for the next generation and those to come. Besides—we are currently here, we been here and we gonna be here in the future, and we deserve the same respect and positive representation as anyone else.”

Deep gratitude to Saminta for sharing her special day with the lesbian community. Congratulations to Saminta and Charlotte! May their years together be many and fabulous.

http://www.curvemag.com/Lifestyle/As-Seen-In-Curve-The-wedding-Of-Saminta-And-Charlotte-2441/

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

 

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.”)

 

 

 

Published in: on August 30, 2019 at 11:35 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Latino Outdoors

It’s hiking season here on the East Coast, and I am feeling my oats! Time to get out there and tromp about… Inspired by an article in AT Journeys, and feeling stroppy about the way outdoor activities of all kinds wear white faces, I’ve been focusing on outdoor organizations of color here of a Wednesday.

Latino Outdoors, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your work decolonizing nature, the innovative way you connect people and healthy ideas, your commitment to social and environmental justice, and your beautiful outings!

http://latinooutdoors.org/

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

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.”)

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Solid State

Now that my final chemo treatment is completed (Aug. 14 was Blessed Numbah Six!), now that I’m starting to crawl out of the dismal realms of chemo country, I here and again find myself skirting panic (or sometimes not). Cancer panic, that is; panic that the cancer will return. Turning to The After Breast Cancer Treatment Survival Handbook compiled by Margit Esser Porter for comfort, it is disheartening to see how many entries there are by women who have had one, two, and even three reoccurrences of cancer, breast and otherwise. I mean, fucking hell! Just about now, still weighed down by post-chemo yuck, rough enough all on its own, it’s torture to think I might have to do this again at some point in the future.

Butterfly babies, marvelous femme fancies, you don’t have to have had cancer to fear insult and injury to your solid state. To be alive is to roll the dice, no matter how hale and hearty or challenged by any of the millions of things that can affect the living. Genetic, environmental, cultural, familial; we are walking always in great uncertainty, and we all know stories like the one a friend told me recently about her dad. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and when she started doing some research, she realized that throughout his life, her dad had done everything recommended to prevent dementia.

Reading the aforementioned book, published in 2000, I had occasion to be deeply grateful that my treatment for breast cancer comes in 2019, when so much more is known about my particular configuration of the disease. The kind of tumor I have was, not so long ago, considered particularly tricky, but now there are extremely effective immunotherapy drugs that make my prognosis much more positive.

From another book I just finished reading, the historical novel In A Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse, here is the main character, Charles d’Orléans, just as stuck in his time and place as we are: “Must he always allow himself to be ruled by others, was it his fate to be goaded along just those paths which he did not want to take?” In 1410, for a nephew of the King of France, life was indeed circumscribed by position, the political climate with its endless machinations for power, not to mention the usual vagaries of personal constitution, natural disasters, and illness. And yet, Charles still managed to write some of the loveliest poetry in the French language*, which he did while imprisoned in England because of his political importance. He was able to devote himself to his art in a way that he probably wouldn’t have been able to manage without this enforced solitude.

We are accustomed to finding fault with everything in our life, something capitalism and its minions encourage. It’s difficult not to focus on the negative in this time of endless acquisition and disheartening world conditions. Even when there are victories, we find ourselves saying, “Yes, but…” as if the only thing that matters is total perfection, as if there is never a right time to celebrate, relax, and congratulate ourselves on the hard, positive work we’ve done. As if that isn’t an utterly important part of the cycle.

Today, my sweetest of solid state queer femmes, spend half a mo’ focusing instead on what being alive today affords you, gifts you, loves on you, surrounds you with. Think about opportunity and gorgeousness. As simple as a paean to pluots (first sold in 1989), as complex as gratitude for being alive at a time when your work on climate change has the chance of having immediate and dramatic impact, today there is unbelievable beauty and bounty, completely dependent on this Right Now.

My loves, you are blessed to be alive in this pulsing, glittering moment. Breathe deep. Notice. Accept and dive and delve into gratitude.

I am right here on my knees beside you.

 

* one of his poems is even included in Jean Orizet’s Les cent plus beaux poèmes de la langue française (The One Hundred Most Beautiful Poems in the French Language

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.”)

 

Femme Friday – The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying To Tell You by Karla McLaren

Ooh, I haven’t done a book in a while! My darlings, this is a good one! If you find yourself jumpy and afraid, even though things are going well and you keep trying to tell yourself it let it go; if you are robustly chanting the Warrior Spirit Prayer of Awakening thus:

MAY ALL BEINGS BE GRANTED THE STRENGTH AND DETERMINATION AND WISDOM TO EXTINGUISH ANGER AND REJECT VIOLENCE AS A WAY

and still finding yourself supremely pissed off all of the time, do take a look at Karla McLaren’s fascinating and extremely sensible book about emotions. Thank you to my sweet friend Miel Rose for recommending it when I was trying to find a healthy way to work with grief!

“The socially accepted view is that there are good emotions and bad emotions,” she says. “These categories have a bit of interplay, but basically, good emotions are the ones that make us easy to be around, while bad emotions are the ones that shake things up.” Food for thought, right?

And, she says that strong emotions help provide “protection, deep cleansing, and strengthening of the psyche” as well as increasing “people’s ability to stay focused in their own bodies.” Trauma, our cultural training and so much more keep us away from our innate understandings about the purpose of emotions, but this book guides us in opening back up to our own human wisdom and offers a gentle, profound healing path.

Deep gratitude to Karla for this lovely book!

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

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.”)

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Outdoor Afro

I love Outdoor Afro so much. One of our human birthrights is to honor the out-of-doors, to be able to find sustenance, succor, rejuvenation from Mother Earth and all her wonders. For all the usual fucked up reasons, this birthright is often shown and offered mainly to white people. Outdoor Afro defies this idea that “Black People Don’t Camp” and wisely and enthusiastically addresses the fact that “[f]or black people, feeling welcome and safe in the outdoors isn’t a given”.

Outdoor Afro, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for the beautiful work you do, for your open-hearted, gorgeous, sacred connection with the out-of-doors, and for the love story that you write every day!

https://outdoorafro.com

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

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.”)

 

 

 

Meditations for Queer Friends – Never Enough

For a long time, I owned a non-fiction book called, Never Enough, something about the state of the current U.S. culture, or maybe about dieting; I can’t quite remember. It came on a lot of moves with me, but I never ended up reading it. Finally, I gave it to an academic friend who was working on a project we both thought might benefit from this particular book. Just this past week, browsing the bookshelves in a local Goodwill, I came across this same book and started laughing. After I gave it away, I didn’t miss it, didn’t give myself a hard time for never reading it – the title was enough for me to think about. And here it was again: NEVER ENOUGH. I laughed to see an old friend; I laughed because I know more and more each moment how truly enough there is.

How do we find ourselves in the onslaught of information? The siblings in M.V. Hughes’ wonderful autobiographical trilogy beginning with A London Child in of the 1870s have very few books, but they make the most of them. They memorize Alice in Wonderland and use Lewis Carrol’s brilliance to enhance their own imaginations and ideas about the world. As related by Jan Morris in her book, A Writer’s House in Wales, the publisher Rupert Hart-Davies used to say, when people asked him if he’d read all his books (thousands and thousands), “No, but I’ve used them all.” And Jan Morris again, in her early 90s, writing about her beloved library in In My Mind’s Eye: A Thought Diary, makes good and wonderful use of all of her books (thousands and thousands), from just admiring them, to pulling them down and browsing here and there, rereading them, keeping a beat up copy of Montaigne’s collected essays in the car to read when stuck in traffic jams, to using one particularly huge atlas to prop up a wonky table leg. Similarly, though I never read Never Enough and probably never will, the idea suggested by the title has informed my own thoughts for years about what it means to be human, to be alive right now, in the age of FOMA (Fear of Missing Out) when one must grapple with the interminable, siren calls demanding one’s attention nownownownow.

We often hear, “Be you, girlfriend!” or “You do you!” which sound well meaning but can often be used sarcastically. But who else can we be? It just seems so awfully hard to get there. And yet, we possess the ability to be us, it’s a human birthright. Anyone who spends time around young children knows that each individual child is drawn to certain things, is able to pick out areas of interest despite what must be a totally bewildering morass of information coming at them every minute. For my elder son, it was construction machines, for my younger, farm animals – as soon as they had found those areas of interest, they never wavered. Of course, things get more complicated the older you get, but that homing instinct must always be present, if only we can quiet ourselves down enough to listen for it again.

Even if we know and begin to honor our own unique and individual interests, it can be hard to stick with them. People we respect, movements we believe in, school, the media and on and on give well meaning or casual advice that can derail us for years. Personally, I had the distorted voices of my parents ringing in my ears for decades, pushing me in directions that were often the exact opposite from those in which I actually wanted to go. The curse of this only child! But I expect most of we queer femmes have similar voices, and they are awfully hard to ignore.

My examples here are mostly from books, femme bookworm that I am, but you, bodacious and delicious femme sisters have your own beacons in the chaos. Jan Morris is joyously and tenaciously herself, happily detailing her touchstones from literature, travel, family life, connection to animals (particularly her dearly departed Norwegian mountain cat, the inimitable Ibsen), to history, and on and on. Whether or not you agree with some of her thoughts (and I don’t), she is solidly, beautifully, inimitably herself, and this is immensely heartening. Inspiring.

Gorgeous ones, we do not need to wait until we’re in our 90s to be us. Femme angels, born to bless this world, listen through the noise and find those most beautiful tones that make up your one and only and unique song. Take joy in who you are. Be proud. No one else has your particular talents, your way of interpreting a situation. No one else can offer the amazing and inventive interpretations of the here and now. Gather your femme bravada around you, spread your love, be you.

Let me see you shine!

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.”)

 

Published in: on August 19, 2019 at 4:45 AM  Leave a Comment  
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