Meditations for Queer Femmes – Why Do I Write Things Down and Carry Them Around?

Just last week I was waking up in the middle of the night thinking, “Where is it? Where is it?” That would be my journal, which I just could not find. Yes, that journal, the one in which I write down super private super just mine thoughts as I face all the joys and challenges of my daily queer femme life. The one that rides in my purse or my bag in case I have a moment where I can write, in case something occurs to me that just has to be chronicled. The one I so do not Harriet the Spy want anyone else reading! Ever! Boy, was the loss of this journal stressing me out. I could feel it, smell it, see it – in my memory, that is. I just couldn’t find it.

            “Why do I write things down and carry them around?” I grumped at myself. I decided I would never take my journal out of the house again. It’s too much of a risk.

            Oh, and then one beautiful day, there it was! Tucked away in a bag, tucked away in a corner where I had tucked it away and forgotten about the tucking. I snatched it up and held it to my bosom. I could feel it, smell it, see it! Write in it! I was so fucking relieved!

And the next thing you know, there it was, riding around with me in my purse, in my bag.

The thing is, despite how incredibly vulnerable and upset I felt when I thought I had lost it out in the public, I just need to have it with me. It’s just the kind of wordy nerdy feel it and document it femme that I am. It’s an important part of my art, it’s a way of navigating the world, it’s just how I do and how I want to do. Have to do. And in so doing – in being exactly who I am – yes, I am putting myself at risk.

We must, musn’t we, my queer femme family? We risk, we make ourselves vulnerable, we weather the stress and the worry and the challenges of being exactly who we are. We question the idea of “safe space” as much as we long for it, but we don’t give up.

Darlings, what do you carry with you that is essential to you?

What do you sometimes lose but always find again?

Today, glory in all that makes you truly and femmetastically yourselves.

Can you feel it, smell it, see it?

Oh, glory!

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on December 5, 2022 at 4:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Why Are You Like This?

Sometimes I feel my Grandma Daisy’s spirit rising in me. It’s in the narrowing of my eyes and in the set of my mouth. In the way I rush around cleaning or cooking, fast, precise, taking no prisoners. Grandma was no joke. Once she ditched one of her exquisite pumpkin pies down the disposal when one of us had casually remarked that the pie tasted slightly different than usual. From this former beauty queen and secret smoker, I inherited a stubborn insistence on perfection and the isolation that results. Or rather, let me say, the tendency towards those things – I’ve been in therapy a long time, not to mention all my Buddhist readings, and last but not least, my Al-Anon.

Still. Sometimes I feel her spirit come down over me and it’s like I can’t help myself. “No!” I will say, when my deep-down really wants to say “Yes!” “Fuck you!” I’ll say, when my deep-down really wants to say, “I’m scared, I’m lonely, I need love!”

Why am I like this? Because I come from the people I come from, and they are who taught me how to be a person.

Grandma Daisy was also a voracious and wide-ranging reader, to whom we were always sending books, way up into her nineties. She was an astute political observer – boy, did she hate Nixon! I can’t imagine how she would have cut Trump and cronies up into miniscule pieces and ditched them down the disposal! And she had an enduring, endearing sense of humor. I can see her now, in her powder blue pants suit, her white hair in the same style it had been in for decades, a wee pinch of a woman, snickering and even doing a small bit of hooting at the jokes and absurdities of life.

She rises in me in those ways, as well.

Butterscotch kisses, gumdrops, licorice allsorts, why are you the way you are? Whose expression is on your face, in your movements? Who is directing your actions, those times when you let down your guard, when something takes you by surprise? We do have our default settings, don’t we?

Today, reflect a smidge on some of your influencers, those folks who made up the blueprint you followed without thought to adulthood. The negatives and the positives.

Discard.

Allow.

Say, “No thank you!” and “Thank you so much!”

Be still with the discrepancies and hidden gifts. Complex, maddening, filled with grief and gratitude.

Memorize my sweet wise friend Miel Rose’s prayer that you may have it close at heart for when you need it:

Bless Me, Ancestors

May I live each day

Honoring my connection to you who came before

However complicated

Knowing my inheritance is rich

In both wisdom and wounding

Choosing which legacy continues with me

And which is put to bed

Buried in the healing Earth

May my heart beat in time with those Ancestors

Reaching back

Who lived in a deeply balanced relationship with all things

Those who recognized and honored kinship

Past human relations

Those who lived attuned to the cycles

Through abundance to scarcity

Birth to growth to death to rebirth

Waxing to waning

Let my heartbeat recalibrate to yours

And may this change ripple outward

Creating exponential shifts within and without

I claim you and am claimed by you

And may my steps through this life

Be in alignment with your sacred legacy

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on November 28, 2022 at 3:58 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Here I Am, Here We Are

I thought they knew I was queer. I was acting all queer, the way I always do, and they are definitely queer, with their cute outfits and queer presentation.

“Oh, I miss the kids from when I was the advisor for the QSA!” I said, looking smiling into their eyes.

“What’s a QSA?” they asked.

What just happened? I think my age and femme invisibility won out over any queer markers that I might have, and the young person just couldn’t line up Queer/Straight Alliance with this old gal, just another of the many old gals in the chorus for which they play piano.

I let them know the meaning of those three letters, we laughed, and moved on. And. I still don’t know if they know that I’m queer. Maybe just a nice straight ally? That’s awesome! Way to go! Thanks for your support! Grrrr.

Or, even worse, my queer is perhaps seen to be defanged – what would an old lady like me be doing with radical politics, anyway? Oh, precious. Think of the support and holding that’s lost if you don’t see me! If we don’t see each other across the ages.

This young person is such talented musician, writing a piece for our chorus on homeless queer youth, out there working with youth, representing. Darling, we, too, were once queer youth, and we, too, went through all manner of hardship.

Years ago, with the QSA mentioned above, we were part of an intergenerational event where older queers told their stories, coming out and otherwise. Afterwards, a couple of the dykes confided to me that they’d kept some of the most difficult facts out of the conversation. They didn’t want to upset the kids.

Oh, my sisters, how can we help each other see each other? How can we older queers make ourselves known to our youth, who are necessarily s consumed with their own affairs? How can we become part of those affairs, not because we’re there to simply cheerlead and praise (although we are, of course we are!) but because we know. We have invaluable resource and information to pass one.

Today, break down a barrier, my loves, my queer femme bombshells. Reach across a divide. Write a letter, make a picture, post something, catch someone’s attention for just long enough that there’s a spark, an understanding.

Don’t we know it? Don’t we know how deeply, desperately, decidedly we every single one of us, all across the ages, need each other?

Now and now and now. Forever.

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on November 21, 2022 at 3:58 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Bubbles of Protection

I had a doctor’s appointment last week, one that was making me incredibly anxious. I have doctor PTSD certainly from having cancer, but also, I think, stemming from having had to be in the hospital quite a bit when I was a toddler. Along with the PTSD I almost always am on guard for homophobia, sexism, and, as the years go on, ageism. I can get myself in a right twist about having to see the doctor, even to the point of going into some version of a fugue state that makes it hard to communicate, ask questions, retain answers.

Years ago, at a Creating Change conference, I attended a Radical Faerie workshop about healing, where we all received a small plastic bottle of bubbles. The bubbles had been magicked, and we were told we could use them to protect us when we were about to go into a dangerous or scary place, or even just when we needed a lift from our own or the world’s difficulties.

Just as I was about to leave for the doctor’s appointment, I remembered my bubbles, but couldn’t remember where I’d put them.

Tex said, “I’ll give you butch bubbles of protection.” Taking my hands, she asked me to imagine all the butches in my life who love me, who wish me well, who hold me – my whole and gorgeous femme self – and want me to be well and happy. I closed my eyes and there they all were: dear old friends, who have been there for so many difficult and happy times in my life; newer friends bringing joy and goofiness; the shy butch who approached me after a reading and thanked me for writing a story so close to hys heart; butches I’ve never met, but who enrich my femme universe with their art and existence, and of course, my own sweet butch husband standing right in front of me. I breathed. My shoulders relaxed. My heart slowed to a more steady beat.

I left the house fortified and calm. For once, I was able to totally be myself sitting in that stuffy little room with the doctor, myself and honest, asking for help and listening to the answer.

Tex’s loving butch bubbles of protection helped me remember that my queer community is always there for me to tune into so that I can ground myself, remember myself, honor myself. That same beautiful week, I was in touch with three wonderful femmes, sparkling, vibrant, filled with life. We none of us live in the same town, and one of them I’ve never even met in person, but together we radiate and concentrate a beautiful queer femme energy that makes us stronger and wiser. That helps make us more able to face dangers and disappointments with clarity and resiliance.

Today, my petals, my beamish beauties, be still for just a few moments and breathe in the support of your queer community, the people for whom you shine and who shine for you. Remember what it feels like when your shoulders relax and you know that you are seen and appreciated and loved for being your exact and wonderful own very own queer femme self.

Rest a moment in those bubbles of protection, my queer femme sisters.

Rest and be adored.

Rest and gather courage to carry on.

P.S. I have bubbles! If you, too, would like some actual bubbles of protection, email me with your address, and I will send them to you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on November 14, 2022 at 11:40 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditation for Queer Femmes – Butches and Librarians

Lately, I have been a bit more out and about, not just my routine in-town necessary errands and visits. I’ve gone to downtown Boston, people. Even to a writer’s residency! There’s still a major scrim over everything for me, I mean, a layer through which everything has to pass before it gets to me, muting and distorting information, like whispered words through a mask, but I am doing what I can to motivate and activate.

            My Boston trip was to keep a dear femme friend company as she went to some appointments, so I had a little alone time to bat about while she was otherwise occupied. It was so much fun walking around the city! I stopped in here or there, when I could deal with putting my mask back on (the ratio of store/organization to mask effort is a complex one). One place I absolutely made the effort for was a really fine branch library. They had an amazing book sale, so amazing, I had to limit myself to one shelf, and still came away with a satchel-full. As I was paying, I said cheerfully to the librarian, “Your book sale is SO DANGEROUS!” “Three dollars, please,” she replied. Oh, darn, she wasn’t going to play.

            It reminded me of another time when I was at a lesbo softball game, standing next to a dyke who read butchy to me. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I tried to engage her, as well, and girlfriends, she was for sure not playing. Maybe not even listening! Yikes.

            As I grow older, I find that I’m misread and misunderstood in places that were tried and true for many years. I always forget that maybe people aren’t expecting an older gal such as myself to josh around with them or whatever it is. Flirt, chivvy, joke. It hurts my feelings the most when I try to connect with those I identify as my people – librarians and butchy dykes, for example – but it happens quite a bit with other folks, too.

            At the writing retreat this past weekend, one of the lectures was about the writing process, but, writ large, it was really about the stories you tell yourself, and if they still serve you. The lecturer said she used to tell herself she was just a dabbler in order to get herself to write; seven published books later, she needed to change that story.

            After I left the Boston branch library with my satchel of books, a woman stopped me to ask for directions. As we parted, she said, “Thank you, Mama!”

            Not three blocks later, another woman stopped me. “You got any spare change for me, Baby?” she asked.

            I am. I am both. What a gift to be seen.

            Petunias and dahlias, my most perfumed femme darlings, who are you in your hearts and how do you show it? How do you invite back the love that you need? How have you changed in your bodies, minds, emotions, and how can you accept the new ways that you are seen by those whose company you crave and those passing you in the street? Sometimes, you get that love and that seeing from the least expected interactions.

            Today, if you are able, pause for a moment and think about some of the stories you tell yourself about who you are. Open your hearts to change, to unexpected connection, to your own ability to flower in surprising and gratifying ways.

            Sweet. Oh, sweet!

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on November 7, 2022 at 11:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Yesterday We Bought Some Chairs

               

They were expensive. We’re not sure they’re the right fit for us, for our dining room table, for our house. They seemed good in the store, and the truth of the matter is, neither of us ever wants to spend time shopping, so we just went ahead. And maybe we shouldn’t have.

That morning, we’d been over to the North Bridge in Concord, paying tribute to my aunt’s life.

My Aunt Connie, small-town Iowa girl through and through, was quite sure she’d lived near the North Bridge during the Revolutionary War. When she visited a few years back, she stood on the bridge entranced, remembering seeing those famous events with Minutemen and all the rest unfold. My cousin told me they’d talked about this previous life just a few days before she died. He also told me she’d torn up the obituary she’d worked on over the years, saying all her friends are dead and no one else cares. My uncle, the youngest and last sibling standing, told me there won’t be a memorial service “with some idiot dribbling on,” but that next spring, two of my cousins will take their parents’ ashes to a special place in the mountains.

Yesterday, I gathered late fall flowers, ferns, and herbs from our garden and tied them up with a bit of yarn. Tex and I made our way through the gorgeous day to Concord and joined the many tourists on the bridge. No one noticed as I tossed the bouquet into the slow moving river, and no one bothered us as we leaned on the railing, leaned on each other, to watch until the bouquet had floated around the bend.

My queer femme readers, probably we should have left it there. Remembering family, honoring a matriarch, opening our hearts to the mystery and grief. Calmly moving through the rest of the day with that sacredness.

It’s not that the chairs or so awful, or that we won’t be able to use them. It’s that we pushed ourselves to do something “useful” without really paying attention to this time of loss and necessary grieving. My aunt’s death came on the heels of the death of our dog from which we are still reeling. There is so much loss, in our lives, in the wider world. It’s ok to slow down. It’s ok to be together and mourn.

My mortal queer femme sisters, with your To Do lists and your good intentions, might you not rather put them down for a moment and watch as leaves fall, as the river slowly makes its way to the ocean, as your heart beats to that own unique rhythm no one else possesses?

Today, when the veil is very thin, remember and mourn. Remember and share the memories. Remember and celebrate.

Mortal, all. Human, all.

I hold you and am held by you.

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Who’s In Your Arms?

We came home from Women’s Week this year to a terminally ill dog. He’d been having spells of feeling yucky, but it turned out our sweet Cairn boy was sicker than we knew. We got home Sunday. Vet on Monday where we got the devastating news. A home euthanasia vet on Wednesday.

Thatcher came to us as a puppy 13 ½ years ago, from a breeder in Vermont situated right near Thatcher Brook, thus his name. I carried him home on my lap, wee little fellow that he was. We promised him we would take care of him for his entire life. We knew that responsibility would hold many surprises – both of us have children in our lives, after all, and elderly parents – but we knew we would stay true to our promise.

Wednesday evening, Thatcher snuggled in Tex’s arms. The truly wonderful, compassionate vet administered a sedative. His chewing slowed, he slept. He snored as Tex gently cradled his beloved body. The vet did what she needed to do. Thatcher snored. Then he stopped. I’m weeping as I write this, but we couldn’t have asked for a better, more peaceful death.

As we navigate our way through the grief of losing such a dear friend, I keep thinking back to how completely Thatcher was surrounded by love. Promise fulfilled, responsibilities carried out to the best of our abilities. Safe in his most favorite person’s arms.

These days, for so many reasons – you have your own, my darlings, I know – Tex and I have less vim and vigor than we once did. Our reach is not as long, our capacity for dealing with stress, negative or positive, much diminished. This is a hard thing to parse through, and we make mistakes all the time trying to do more than we actually are able to enjoy. The events leading up to and including Thatcher’s death have given me the inspiration to look inward. Look at who’s in my arms. Recommit to my responsibilities to them. To myself. To making the time and allowing for the energy, which can often mean not doing that next wonderful thing to make room for the wonderful thing already in motion.

Angels and angels, who do you carry with you? Who needs you in ways that no one else can provide? How are you managing? Some of those we hold can’t or won’t reciprocate, I know this. Others, perhaps, hold you just as tightly. Are you at peace with the bundle in your arms, in your heart? Are you holding it in a way that allows you to also tend to your own deepest and most sacred needs?

Today, precious pets, take stock. Readjust the weight a bit, perhaps. Anyone or anything you need to gently put down? Or pick up? Look in your generous, lively, beating hearts, my loves. It’s all there, the information you need.

And you, my queer femme community. Feather light and rock solid.

We are in each other’s arms.

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on October 24, 2022 at 2:48 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Lesbian Laughter

My husbutch and I just spent a week in Provincetown for Women’s Week and an RVW rally. Ok, now, that’s a lotta lesbians! And everywhere I went – walking down Commercial Street, sitting in venues, browsing in Womencrafts, meandering on the beach, relaxing at the campsite – I heard lesbian laughter.

From the big butch bellow to the snide dyke cackle and every giggle, titter, snort, and jiggly belly laugh in between, the streets were alive with lesbian merriment. Oh, what music to my ears it was! The sound of my people gathering together and enjoying themselves.

Sacred space.

There are so many kinds of laughter. The lesbian comedians in the house last week know this. Mimi Gonzalez, Jennie McNulty, Poppy Champlin, Lisa Koch (aka Sister La-BEEH-a), Kristen Becker, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Judy Gold, Robin Tyler, Fiona Goodwin, and Vicki Shaw (best drag king name ever: Mike Hunt) all know that we need to laugh together. Laugh with sympathy. Laugh to help ease the pain (those of us in 12-step know how full of laughter are our healing rooms). Laugh to celebrate, mourn, mend, remember, forget.

The greater the challenges, the more we need to laugh together.

Laugh today, my darlings. Look up any one of the above comedians and have yourself a wee chortle break.

Breath.

Giggle.

Onwards.

Since 2016, I here at The Total Femme have done my best to post thrice a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy Dingy on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on you know when. I’m pulling back the reins now, darlings, and going down to once a week, this Meditation. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your poetry, your musings, your art, your wonderful you, and I will love you and hold you and feature you right here. So let me hear from you! thetotalfemme@gmail.com. And stop by on Mondays for a bit of sacred femme space.

Published in: on October 17, 2022 at 4:48 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – WHAT DAT NOISE?

When my son Seth was wee and my son Owen was even more wee, we went on a camping trip at Yellowstone. In the middle of the night, Owen’s wee but extremely loud voice woke us up.

WHAT DAT NOISE? he hollered, then hollered again. We listened.

Wolves.

The other day, I took a walk on the Battle Road Trail in Minuteman National Park. It was an utterly gorgeous afternoon, breezy, blue, leaves beginning to turn. I could hear woodpeckers, blue jays, squirrels, chipmunks. I mean, I could hear them in and around the road traffic noise from nearby highways, not to mention air traffic from Hanscom Airforce Base. It was that familiar New England feeling of being in a peaceful wooded haven yet surrounded by the human world’s racket.

This was the day after I’d had a routine breast cancer follow up with my oncologist and I was carrying a lot of noise of my own.

I’d taken a work break and forced myself to get out of the house, in part because Tex, my spouse, had asked for my promise to do something beautiful that day. She is well aware of how hard it is for me to shake myself free of the death grip of stress.

Even though I’m holding steady cancer-recovery-wise, I still have a lot of anger. Despair. Wishing I had something concrete to blame, in that human way we all are familiar with. Hard to not blame ourselves. My therapist recently retired, and her parting words to me were: Stop being so hard on yourself! There’s nothing wrong with you!

Still, there is so much noise in my head. Walking. Driving. Eating. Sitting. Some of the time it’s very low grade, but some of the time it drowns out everything else.

Golden, vibrant orange, lovely fall colors that you are my femme sisters, is there also noise around you, in you?

I know there is.

Wolf blessing and loud frightened questions.

Woodpeckers and fighter jets.

Good news and steaming, boiling anger.

As I greeted the ranger dressed like a Minuteman who gave me a cheery wave, as I hopped out of the way of a serious walker who came very close to clipping me with his walking pole as he hurried by, I got to thinking. A bit of meditation.

Well, I thought. Here I am. Is it any less beautiful because a big rig is passing by? I perhaps would enjoy it differently without the air brakes, but I’m enjoying it all the same. My limbs and my anxieties are loosening. I’m more and more in my body and less and less in the What Ifs.

My loves, I know that wherever you are, it isn’t perfect. There are abundant irritants disturbing your peace. But you are so vibrantly, irrepressibly alive in it, in the middle of it, sweet pumpkin pie lattes, alive and bringing all your femmetastic queer delights to the world.

Ah, dearests.

Allow.

Allow.

Let it all sound.

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. Would you like to offer up a Meditation of your own? I would love that! Send it along to me at thetotatalfemme@gmail.com.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three or four times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday, Femme Friday on Friday, and (new for spring 22!) the occasional Sometimes On A. 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.”) And…as I go through life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on October 3, 2022 at 5:11 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Literary Femmes — Else, Femme Forever?

            Let’s keep talking about Elsie, later known as Else. After I posted about this character from Isaac Fellman’s novel, Dead Collections, I continued reading and lo and behold, things began to switch up. I’m going to talk about that, but first I want to talk about me for a moment.

            When I say that I’m an old school femme lesbian, I think sometimes other queers take that to mean that I have really rigid ideas about identity. Like they wouldn’t be surprised to hear something gnarly issue forth from my lipsticked lips that would make them need to say something grumpy about me on social media. I wonder if even my last Femme Friday about Elsie might play right into that scenario. But, my loves, I kept reading, as one should and must and sometimes does, and it turns out that perhaps this character wouldn’t identify as femme, at least not all the time.

“These days,” says the main character, Sol, “the best word for my partner is genderfluid.” Previous to this passage, there’s a sex scene where Elsie asks Sol to fuck her like he would fuck a man. When he does, it’s so super hot and mind blowing and wonderful, but then Elsie says, “This will ruin my life.” Now that’s oppression, the effect of narrow-mindedness, not on Elsie’s part, but on our own queer culture. Elsie’s worried that now they’ve unleashed parts of themselves they’d kept hidden or didn’t quite know about yet, that their community will turn on them. They’ve been perceived one way – a femme who loves a butch – and now they’re acting “wrong” for that identity according to the aforementioned oppression and narrow-mindedness. My tagging them as femme was half hopeful and half recognizing certain things in them that ring femme to me. Even after reading the above passage, I felt like there’s room in Femme writ large for someone like Elsie. I personally used to wear the occasional suit and carry a wallet – I liked the way it let me play with power. I’m also remembering endless threads on butch-femme.com about how there’s not one right way to be femme or butch.

            Femme has never stopped feeling right for me, and I rather suspect I’ll take the identity of butch-loving old school queer femme lesbian to my grave. You can throw as many era-specific qualifiers around it as you want, femme remains the anchor for me. It’s how I queer gender and sexuality. It’s at my core and it’s at the heart of how I am in the world. And sure enough, I’m not certain I could ever pinpoint its exact meaning because it shifts and moves, changing as I change, but it never stops feeling right. I do wonder if that might also be true for this character, but I can’t be sure. And if not, I won’t stomp around insisting otherwise! But there is a point in the novel where Else says that they think they’ll always be femme (I seem to have lost the page number so don’t have an exact quote, but look, I’m posting anyway, go, recovering academic, go!). I wonder if they have kept some of their femme leanings or loves, and that things they treasured about femme have stayed with them. I do believe Else might very well be part of the Femme family, and their journey is precious and lovely to read.

So, once again, deep gratitude to Isaac for loving Else onto the page. For giving them strength and anxieties and grief and horniness and a full and intricate queer life, and for exploring one aspect of femme with respect and joy.

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 life! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three or four times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday, Femme Friday on Friday, and (new for spring 22!) the occasional Sometimes On A. 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.”) And…as I go through life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.