Femme Friday – FEMME VACKAY!

Beloveds, you may have noticed the spotty Total Femme action lately…and that is because yours truly needs some serious femme down time. Happily, that is in the stars, as tomorrow Tex and I are winging our way to Taos to visit her family for a couple of weeks. I’m having such a good time deciding what books to carry with me and the right combo of layers to pack and that is about all the responsibility I can handle just about now… I plan to go offline and off into Femme Relaxation Zone, you bettcha!

So let this Friday’s post be a reminder to all of us sweet femme darlings to care for ourselves in little and big ways to ensure that we can keep showing up healthy and ready to rock.

Deep gratitude to every queer who models self-care and who blesses the world with their health and well-being!

Never forget: FEMME LOVE HEAL WORLD

and that includes self-love!

I love you all, and will see you in a few.

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!

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 July 6, 2018 at 9:25 AM  Comments (2)  
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Femme Friday – Femme Role Models: My Grandmother

When I sat down to work on this Friday’s post, Grandmimi popped into my mind and I’m going with it. We come to our femme in so many ways, with so many role models, not all of them queer. One of my femme role models was my mother’s mother, Grandmimi. Sending love to you, Grandmimi!

I learned so much from you. How to pay attention to the needs of other people, how to laugh, how much fun it is to be a ham, the importance of accessories, the joy of lipstick and what it means to be loved without reservation. Even though you gave me a chance, I never had the courage to come out to you before you died. I wish I had. I wish I had given you a chance to love me all that much more. I dream about you so often! And I wrote this small heart piece for you, part of a longer essay on coming into my femme.

Deep gratitude to Grandmimi, who loved her little queer femme granddaughter so fucking much.

BEAUTIFUL

            It’s morning in Sheffield, Iowa, sometime in the early 60s. I’m probably about 8, visiting for the summer. My grandmother is getting dressed in front of the big mirror in the bathroom. I’m sitting on the closed toilet, watching, because at my house, with my no-nonsense mom, nothing this exciting ever happens. Grandmimi pulls on pantyhose, a slip. Her skirt, the matching blouse. A pin, bracelet, her rings. She steps into her high, high heels. Fluffs up her hair, nails it with hairspray. Spritzes perfume. She uses an eyelash curler, mascara, powder, rouge. And finally, she untubes her red lipstick and deftly colors her lips. Now I’m standing next to her. She knows I’m down here, by her hip. She tears herself away from her fabulous reflection to swoop down in a cloud of perfume and hairspray for my morning kiss, full on the lips. Now I’m beautiful, too.

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! How did you come to your femme? How does being femme affect your life? Who are your femme role models? I am so eager to get to know you!

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 June 29, 2018 at 4:57 PM  Comments (2)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Birthrights: Playing!

To be celebrated everywhere, every day, but certainly on Pingy-Dingy Wednesdays: our human birthrights! These include singing and writing and dancing and making art and playing.

I had a wonderful rabbit named Jo Jo in 8th grade – I liberated him from a very neglectful science class and nobody even noticed! Jo Jo was fabulous, and he definitely played and was a joy to play with. One of my favorite Jo Jo play memories is how he would sneak into my dad’s study, creep up to where the human in question was furiously pounding his typewriter, get his attention, lay down some rabbit turds and hare off, his ears flat, in delicious anticipation that my dad would give chase, which my father good-naturedly would do. Thank you, Betsy Vanderbun and Marvin Underfoot (and Diane and Eric) at “The Language of Lagomorphs” for your love and erudition re: yon bunnies and their delightful ability to play with us!

Yippie Skippie!

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 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.”)

 

Published in: on June 27, 2018 at 3:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Oh, let’s just have some truth truth truth from Leah today!!!

Nobody and nowhere is as brilliant as femme genius Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

Deep gratitude to Leah for her generous, unflinching, utterly necessary body of work.

https://truthout.org/articles/to-survive-the-trumpocalypse-we-need-wild-disability-justice-dreams/

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!

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 – Birthrights: Dancing!

Our human birthrights include singing and writing and dancing and making art and playing, and I have been celebrating those here on Pingy-Dingy Wednesday.

I just love these two men dancing soooooo sexy and sweet at the monthly salsa social hosted by LGBT Dance in downtown Toronto. I’m reminded of the vibe at Boston’s own fantabulous queer dance night, Swingtime, and it is a gift to see them enjoying their bodies so much, their own ability to move and connect and float. Thank you, LGBT Dance and sexy fellas! This is dancing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HirrI4g36zQ

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 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 – Lay It Down

I recently began attending Al-Anon meetings due to the struggles of one of our sons with drugs and alcohol. It’s been an incredibly volatile time for me emotionally. While I am so grateful to be able to find loving help, I am devastated by the implications of my femme ass sitting in meeting after meeting: my baby is in trouble; my baby is in trouble.

In one of the meetings, someone said, “I think Al-Anon works for all isms.” Heterosexism, too? I wonder… Along with feeling powerless over substances, I for sure feel powerless over homophobia and every form of industrialized oppression out there. Talk about something being bigger than me! Talk about something causing my life to become unmanageable! Talk about it being way too much for me on my own. Love may be love, but it’s not always – or ever? – enough, and it certainly wasn’t enough for my observant, creative, deep-feeling child not to internalize the cultural and social toxins to very bad effect. And really, are any of us undamaged?

Right after Trump was elected, my butch, Tex, attended a conference where Ayanna Pressley was the keynote speaker. In 2009, Ayanna was the first woman of color to be elected to the Boston City Council. At the conference, she spoke about how she managed to re-enter the fray, every blessed day: every morning she prays and meditates, and every Sunday she goes to church. She urged the shocked and mourning audience to embrace a spiritual practice, to find some way of laying things down. When Tex thanked her for her words later, she asked if she could give her a hug. Of course, Tex said yes, and it was a very sweet hug; a generous and loving gift. We agreed that Ayanna recognized that my butch husband, like herself, is a visible target for bigots, and is someone in need of comfort and love.

We queer femmes are not always visible targets of homophobia, but we are harmed just as deeply by the hate. When we are assumed participants in foul talk or behavior, when we are ignored, when our lives are presumed to be “queer lite” or some kind of experiment or joke, our souls take a hit. Over and over.

I was born in 1962, and in my heart, I am still a hippy child, and my spirituality has to do with nature, natural systems, warm fuzzies, and community. Alas, my intellect, formed in the “nothin’ matters and what if it did” 80s, fights me every step of the way on this. How and when can I lower my cynical shields to find the Bigger that Ayanna spoke about and wished for my butch, that Al-Anon names “Higher Power” and “the God as you understand Him”?

I don’t exactly know, and perhaps you don’t either, sweet femme sisters. Or perhaps you do, and you find solace in a queer femme spiritual practice that blesses you and those around you. For me, in the way of these things, as I try and stay open to what I need, I just came across this quote by the artist Mark Adams: “Our encounters with nature – and animals in particular – reveal in us a rootlessness that is essentially human. Ecologists say that nature is partitioned into niches, roles that each animal or plant is born to fulfill – not exactly a purpose, but a kind of appropriateness for each life in nature. For us, this is a source of envy and awe. Catbirds, bees, toads – they call and navigate with certainty while we spin in bewilderment.”

I’m beginning to understand that it’s ok to recognize the spin. It’s ok to say, “I am so fucking bewildered!” It’s ok to lay it down, even if you don’t know exactly where and how. It’s ok to ask for help, even if you don’t believe in anything other than pain. If that’s all that’s been real to you. All and every one of these things and more are ok, because that is how we begin to heal.

May you continue to heal today. May you allow yourself to dip a toe or throw yourself bodily into the flow of love and spirit and now and art and be. May you find comfort, even if it’s just a glimmer in the corner of your eye. It is there. You are whole. You are beautiful. You are not alone.

Lay it down.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, 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 – Literary Femmes: Celia Roberts in Final Take by Jackie Manthorne

I’ve been bathing in 90s lesbian mysteries lately, just reveling in them. It’s like eating comfort food that’s actually good for you because you’re seen and loved and someone spent her precious, queer creative energy writing a whole book JUST FOR YOU! I love it. Shout out to lesbo mystery writers everywhere, past and present and future! I am your femme fan girl!!!

Deep gratitude to Jackie Manthorne for Celia Roberts, who makes her appearance in the fourth Harriet Hubbley mystery, the one set in San Francisco, where Celia not only shows the young lipstick lesbians what it means to be a hot, mature femme in her 50s, living a full and sexy life, but also proves her mettle as a true blue friend– fuck yeah!!! Sounds like a femme to me!

Celia might be a bother at times and she was certainly audacious, but she also knew how to be a friend. There was solidity about her which came to the fore when someone she knew was in trouble or needed emotional support. Harry wondered where that steadfastness went the rest of the time, and why Celia chose to act so tempestuous. She must ask her some day. Not that she’d get a reasonable answer.

Final Take by Jackie Manthorne, gynergy books, Charlottetown, Canada, 1996

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!

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 – Janine Evers and “The Femme Closet”

I met, Janine, a sister butch-lovin’ femme, in Provincetown, where we had lots of fun getting to know each other at the Ptown Femme Klatsch and beyond. Janine is an absolutely fabulous artist. You can follow her on instagram, or check out her work at

https://www.fourelevengallery.com

and

https://www.facebook.com/janineversart/

Deep gratitude to Janine for her generosity in sharing these honest and soul-searching thoughts on femme identity as well as her own beautiful journey to Femme.

The Femme Closet

This is not an article about clothing: although it would make a fun topic to discuss some of the beautiful, creative, sexy, feminine and diverse wardrobes of Femme Lesbians. This article is about the metaphorical closet; you know, the one LGBTQ people have had to hide in for so very long throughout history, and sadly, often still do. And what I would like to discuss here, is specifically a closet that I’ve found myself in; hiding my true femme identity and desires within the Lesbian community.

A few weeks ago, I was headed down the street on my way to meet up with some Femme friends at a local coffee shop, when I bumped into a couple of other friends on their bicycles. They stopped to say hi, and they asked where I was off to, to which I replied I was off to a Femme Coffee Klatsch where we discuss any and all things Femme. My friends on the bikes, (who identify as Lesbians ), both chuckled… Nervously? Patronizingly? Judgmentally? Perhaps, yet I chose to ignore any possible subtexts in the moment, and instead invited them to join in, to which they chuckled again, and one friend said of the other, “Jill defies labels. And she can rock a dress too!” More laughter and, “Have fun!” they said as they rode away.

Hmm…these are dear friends, who love and care about me, and so surely they meant no harm; just playful teasing. But it felt hurtful, it felt as if I was not being acknowledged or taken seriously by my friends. I did bring this up at the Femme Klatsch, and it was helpful and comforting to learn that they too have encountered that type of…dismissiveness? Homophobia? Lack of acceptance? within the Lesbian community as well. What is it exactly that makes non-femme identifying, gay/queer, label-less Lesbians so uncomfortable with the Butch/Femme dynamic? I’m not entirely sure, but I have also found that not only is my femme identity questioned, so also is who I am attracted to. comments like, “She looks like a guy”, and, “ I don’t get it. If you want to be with someone who looks like a guy and uses a strap-on, why not just be with a guy?”.

My own personal coming out story took a circuitous route. Although I first came out as gay in high school in the late 1970’s, it was not a smooth journey to understanding my identity as a femme lesbian. Growing up in the suburbs of NYC and coming from a progressive background, liberal parents, and alternative school education, I had no rejection from my friends and family when I told them I was gay. I’m very fortunate to have had that loving support and acceptance. Once I’d figured out I was a lesbian I thought it would all be smooth sailing into happy relationships. So when I got to college, I joined the feminist and gay alliance groups to meet others from my tribe. I looked around at the other lesbians for clues as to how to dress, wear my hair, walk, talk, etc. So I cut off my beautiful long brown hair, started wearing non gender specific clothing, tried walking with a bit of a swagger, and joined the women’s softball team. I was not an athlete. Dance and yoga were basically it for me! I had a girlfriend in college who I lived with for two years. She did carpentry, fixed cars, had a natural, subtle swagger, and was good at softball. Basketball too. I found all this, along with other things obviously, very attractive about her, but what I didn’t understand was that in order for me to be a legitimate lesbian I didn’t have to look or be like her. This generic, homogenization of gay women of that era that I bought into not only influenced how I presented myself to the world in my physical appearance, but how I dealt with and expressed my sexual desire. My girlfriend and I, along with other lesbian couples we knew, all looked and acted the same…somewhere along the lines of androgynous to soft butch perhaps, but I don’t think we even defined ourselves as such. It was more that how we were was the ‘way’ to be a lesbian. Interesting that there was room in there to express our more butch qualities, but definitely not our feminine sides. This became increasingly difficult for me, this feeling that I had to repress my more naturally feminine self, and I began to feel really confused about my secret desires for how I would like be made love to. My biggest worry was that I had a desire to be penetrated. If I wanted something inside of me, then I must not be a lesbian! it was very confusing. I honestly don’t think I was aware of strap-ons, or butch dick. I had no clue really. In my next relationship I ended up with a woman who was much more femme than any lesbians I knew at the time. I was drawn to her silky long blonde hair, her sense of style which included pretty scarves and heels or little ballet slippers, and especially her bright red lipstick! What I didn’t understand was that my attraction to her was more about desiring to look like her, than it was about desiring to be with her. After that relationship ended I was left totally confused about my sexuality, and so I thought, “Back to men, I guess.” I wasn’t sure that I was indeed straight, but perhaps, I thought I was Bi, and that it might make more sense for me to be with a man because at least I felt more comfortable in being myself both in my look and persona, as well as in bed.  But the smooth sailing to happy relationships that I had first hoped for once I’d realized I was gay, and then had hoped to find when I went on to be with men again, well, it never happened. After two marriages and two divorces to men, I thought, “something is really wrong with me”. Why couldn’t I feel that ultimate connection I so yearned for?

It was shortly after my mother had died, 10 years ago, that I began to really do some soul searching to understand my feelings and desires that I had so long repressed. Eventually after joining a dating site, and searching through many profiles of lesbians it began to finally become clear to me who I was attracted to…butch women! I began to read some butch/femme erotica, and check out websites that talked about the butch femme dynamic. I finally realized that I wasn’t strange, or perverse, or messed up, and that there were others that felt as I did. I was nearly 50 years old when I came to understand my true identity. These days it seems that labels are becoming dirty words. no one wants to be confined to labels, but rather be fluid in their genders and sexualities. And that’s wonderful! I love how so many young queer people are embracing all the nuances of this. But for me my journey has led me to a label…a very specific one, and it has given me the power and the acceptance that I have craved for so long in trying to figure out who I am in this lifetime, and to finally come out of the Femme closet to own my identity as a Femme Lesbian who is attracted to and loves Butch Lesbians.

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!

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 — Alyssa Camille NAILS it with “Femme Lesbian Struggles”

You know, no straight guy has hit on me in…ok, a long time. It used to happen woefully frequently (I even used to think I was straight, more’s the pity!), but now that I’m in my 50s, I’m not actually seen as a sexual being out in the straight world. Offensive, actually, but fine with me! However, I work with queer youth, and harassment by straight men is a daily horror for them. I adore and appreciate hearing from young queers like Alyssa about how to navigate the current reality whilst femme!

Deep gratitude for Alyssa for her honesty and generosity in sharing experiences and tips, for her nuanced understanding and explanation of life as a feminine lesbian – “no, I’m not going butch later; no, I don’t need to look like Justin Beiber in order to be gay; sometimes I have to act like a bro to get a straight guy off my back; and if you ask me about my nails I’ll just say, “BAHAHAHA!” – and for her sweet love for lesbians and for all queers.

Believe it!

Femme Lesbian Struggles

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!

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 – Birthrights: Writing AND Making Art

Our human birthrights include singing and writing and dancing and making art and playing, and I’m pinging and dinging about them, see if I’m not! StrangelyKatie (Katie O’Neill), you get one pingy-dingy for your sublimely sweet comics. Thank you for sharing your talents with such generosity and love!

This is writing and making art!

http://strangelykatie.com/princessprincess/?pid=206

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 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.”)

 

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 5:29 PM  Leave a Comment  
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