Meditations for Queer Femmes – Dwell

This weekend, my butch husband and I had a most fulfilling moment of marital connection when we spontaneously went through our utensil drawer and rid ourselves of all forks and spoons and knives that were egregious in shape or heft. Almost all of the ones we weeded out we agreed on – it was so satisfying! “Wanna get married?” I asked her, and then, “oh, right, we already are!” And forks and knives are only one small reason that we made that decision.

Here we are where we live. Here we are in our bodies. Here we are with our things, spiritual, mental, physical; all the countless end points and beginning points of all the countless decisions we’ve made over time.

You elements, you delicious and luminous queer femmes with your wisdom and your creativity, your struggles and your efforts, stay centered where you dwell. Think about connection, to each other, to yourselves, to the on high and the deep center. Be there and be grounded for yourselves, whatever that may look like – you are allowed! you are called and held! – so your light and delight sings out to the rest of us. There you are. Here you are. With me, with each other, dwelling in sunshine, in rain, with birds, with insects, caregiving, receiving care, inside and outside and all over the world.

Here we are, here we are, in the new season.

Together.

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

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

 

 

 

Published in: on April 6, 2020 at 11:24 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Queer Femmes Respond – Jeannette Hawley

My loves, let me introduce to you my fierce and wise and loving queer femme sister, Jeannette Hawley. When we were working together with queer youth, I had the honor of watching her connect with queer youth and save lives.

Deep gratitude to Jeannette for joining us here today with her wisdom and her magic, for shining love and hope!

My dear queer femme sisters, witchy, tender, and powerful:

I write to you from a windy hilltop in Western Massachusetts, where the maple sugar season has ended, the sugar shacks shuttered by the stay at home order weeks ago. May we cast our spell of love and endurance, resistance and joy in this time of panicked pandemic.

Three years in to retirement, I’ve taken a job as a receptionist at the tiny community dental center. I dress in bright colors, spike my quiff of hair, and do my level best to bring calm to what is a fraught experience for nearly everyone. On March 10, I was suddenly thrust into the category of essential worker, and my practice manager, a sturdy lesbian who owns a farm with her wife up the road, tells me not to get sick, she depends on me.

A favorite aspect of my job that still remains is that I can efficiently alter patient charts to reflect current gender identity, pronouns, and names, without asking for legal documents. I add an extra twinkle to those interactions.

On March 13, an odd hyper awareness coupled with low grade panic, familiar to me from growing up in an alcoholic home, losing many beloveds to HIV, the aftermath of 9/11, Katrina, and the lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing, began coursing through me. Again the specter of imminent death grins from every encounter.

I recall the soup brigades and volunteers who drove themselves to exhaustion caring for their beloved gay brethren in the last days of their lives. The selfless nurses who worked to create universal precautions to prevent the spread of HIV, all the while easing the pain of lonely men, abandoned in isolation wards. I honor the ACTUP activists who staged die-ins, and offered their remaining days as human subjects to test new treatments. Now is the time for fire-breathing Lesbian Avengers to burn it all down.

At sixty-one, it’s my turn again to use my history as an activist and artist to soothe and encourage my young co-workers. I help by writing telephone scripts that become obsolete almost daily. With every appointment I reschedule, I try to offer comfort.

My beloved husband, who is transgender, saw his immunologist for a severe allergic cough. We are both relieved there was no fever or shortness of breath, but he’s in the high-risk group if he gets infected with the virus. We treasure each day without symptoms, assuming I was exposed back before we had universal precautions at work.

On March 18, a message alert popped up. “Dear Ones, I may have it…” Of course we can’t know for sure, because tests are so rare. Our beloved has such serious underlying health concerns that, even though it is essential she get the test, they would prefer not to “waste” it on someone who probably will die. A week later, the test is positive. My celestial friend who swims marathons on a rebuilt spine, writes glorious epics, teaches at-risk young mothers classical Greek literature. No. I know this disease doesn’t care what we do to treat it, but by sheer force of will, I command her return to health.  It’s now April, she’s out of the ER, breathing still, no co-infection, on the road to recovery.

One of the trans kids who was in our queer youth support group posts that he has tested positive, and is taking antibiotics for bilateral pneumonia. He’s only twenty-three, and has Crohn’s disease as well. I hurl oceans of love to him.

Mykael and I are keeping distance, even at home, because of my work. I miss his touch, so I luxuriate in long yoga stretches and treasure small moments of sensuous pleasure. I strip off my clothes as soon as I come home and rush to my needle hot shower. I open the bathroom window and let the dulcent cool spring air melt onto my warm, wet skin. The sensation of that breeze on my body, wakening every follicle, tightening my nipples, tingling along my spine reminds me that I am a survivor, centered in my own embodied condition.

May the rains of April sustain you.

Jeannette Hawley is retired from her position as the costume shop manager at American Repertory Theater at Harvard. She has worked as a volunteer queer activist for over thirty years, helming Pride celebrations, founding transgender support groups and queer-centered addiction recovery conferences, writing for small queer newspapers, and mentoring queer youth. Fond of lipstick, creativity, gardening, and baking, she dedicates her days now to shining hope and love wherever it is needed.

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 spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 

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

 

 

Published in: on April 3, 2020 at 11:55 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – The Mail, and a Lesbo Sing Along!

Oh, sweethearts, how I ADORE getting mail! I don’t mean on my computer, I mean in the actual mailbox, actual letters. Just last week I got a letter from my femme sister, Liz Nania (go check out her gorgeous art as soon as you can!), so cheerful, so uplifting! She sent me a frazdabulous patch that says FEMME LESBIAN!!! Thank you, Sis!!!

But…do I need to worry about touching the envelope? This article helps me understand the risks.

Joseph G. Allen, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your calm and generous explanation for those of us whose brains are wired to go from zero to one hundred on the panic-o-meter!

Many a year ago, when I was a member of the wonderful Family Folk Chorale, we sang the song “Swimming to the Other Side” by Emma’s Revolution. Now, they are offering all kinds of community building singing and songwriting workshops via yon computer, so check it out, and keep singing!

Pat and Sandy, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your decades of rising up and fighting back and providing love and solace to so many folks! We love you!

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.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Published in: on April 1, 2020 at 3:46 AM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Contain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Queer Femmes Respond

A little over two weeks ago, I gave an Al-Anon friend a big squeeze after the meeting. Now that meeting is via technology, and that hug might be the last one for a very long time with anyone other than my butch husband. So hard to get my head around this! I miss physical contact with people! I’m just one of those touch-feely femmes…

But a friend of mine on the autism spectrum is loving all the video chatting – they say it’s such a relief not to have to look directly into someone’s eyes in order to talk and connect. Another friend says he’s cleaned the whole house and is making his way through his To Be Read pile, blowing the dust off as he goes.

No question that this whole thing is terrifying. But we can keep each other company, and I’m wondering what we can share with each other about how we’re getting through it.

One thing that’s positive for me is that I’m talking to my mom way more than I did before all this. She’s in an assisted living facility, and there are no visitors allowed. I call her every day, sometimes as many as three times, and it’s very comforting to hear the blow by blow of what’s going on there for her as she fields all the changes in routine. I can also tell how comforting it is for her to hear my voice, even if we just run over the same territory we ran over the last time I called. It helps both of us be present and be accepting of the present.

Sweetest scrumptious darlings, what are you doing these every days? What is making you smile and helping you carry on? How are you managing? Call in! I want to hear your dear voices.

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 spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

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

 

Published in: on March 27, 2020 at 3:10 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Homeschooling, No Problem!

Darlings, perhaps your wee sprites are home with you? Perhaps they are not even so wee? Does the word “homeschooling” make you want to run away run away? Please don’t panic! Here are some good and kind words to help you settle in and settle down.

A Potluck Life and Advocates for Homeschooling in Massachusetts, Inc., you each get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your wise counsel, your love of and respect for kids and parents, and your great, big, generous hearts! I love you!

https://apotlucklife.com/2020/03/15/homeschooling-during-covid-19-dont-worry/

https://www.ahem.info/news-archives/2020/20200316_covid_19.html

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.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

Meditations for Queer Femmes — Gentle Homo! Gentle Fem!

Right now things are fucking terrifying, but we are not alone, sweetest darlings.

This morning on my walk, I came across three heartening communications from people in the neighborhood: 2 driveways filled with chalk art saying things like HOPE! LOVE! IT WILL BE OK! DON’T FORGET TO SMILE…AND WASH YOUR HANDS! and then some community-minded wag had pinned a joke to their fence (“What did the hurricane say to the island? I’ve got my eye on you!”).

Strangers are sending us love.

The library is closed, along with all the books I had on hold to be read for my MFA program, so I am reading books from my childhood. Some of them I read to my own kids, but some of them I haven’t read for almost 50 years. Right now I’m about half way through Andre Norton’s science fiction novel Catseye, published in 1961, and the most delightful discovery! Back then, ol’ Andre came up with a really cool couple of honorifics that the people in that far-away futuristic world use: Gentle Homo and Gentle Fem. I hope this information brightens your day as much as it did mine!

I am sending you love.

It is with so much gratitude that I am witnessing the support and sharing of resource from so many people. There is clearly a great desire to help each other and give each other hope. Dear sweet sisters, don’t forget our own inner femme core of strength, either, as that is perhaps our greatest resource. We can turn inward, not to isolate or shut down, but to find succor in our own brilliance and long life of queer magic. It might be a memory from childhood. It might be something you set down earlier but now pick up again, like baking or tie-dying or gardening. Reach out to each other, but also reach out to yourself. Remember who you are and what you have.

You are centered in love and filled with love.

Love,

The Total Femme xoxo

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

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

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Leonard Peltier’s 2019 Thanksgiving Message

For the first time in many years, I won’t be attending the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, MA. I’m sad about this, because it’s one of the most holy days of my years, but I’m just too worn out this year to manage. “You’ll do something, though, Mom!” said my younger son, and he’s right. I’ll read Leonard Peltier’s message, for one thing.

Unsettling America and Leonard Peltier, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your wisdom and your generosity.

https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2019/11/26/leonard-peltiers-2019-thanksgiving-message-walking-on-stolen-land/

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

 

Published in: on November 27, 2019 at 4:24 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – OTL

I once had a student from Korea who was in the States for high school. One day, when I got to his house and asked him how he was doing, he said very dramatically, “I am OTL!!”

“Excuse me?”

“O! T! L!” To his great amazement, I had absolutely no idea what he meant. He

had to draw it for me.

You draw it, too, for yourself right now: write OTL on a piece of paper so that all the letters are touching. There! See? It looks like someone completely at the end of their strength, utterly given over to fatigue and barely crawling along.

I’d totally forgotten about OTL until recently when it floated back up into my consciousness. Darlings, your Total Femme is totally OTL! When I asked the oncology nurse about certain symptoms I’m having, she said they’re probably less from chemo et al. and more because I’m without doubt more tired than I’ve ever been in my entire life due to everything my body has had to get through since I was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring.

“And it’s almost December now!” a dear friend reminded me yesterday. With months to go until my last infusion next spring.

So, my turtle doves, I am going to put some things down for a bit, go to ground. Pay attention to health and hearth.

I’ll go ahead and scribble some bits and bobs to post when the energy and inspiration intersect, but for now, I’m going to release myself from the weekly schedule.

Your precious individual femme lives, your joy-filled and life-giving femme community and the beautiful queer love that you spread every single day live in my heart.

May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be kind to yourselves and may you accept yourselves and your lives just as they are.

I am right there with you.

 

 

 

Published in: on November 25, 2019 at 4:05 PM  Comments (4)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Ground by Miel Rose

This lovely prayer for you today, sweet sisters.

 

May I never lose my connection

With the ground under my feet

May gravity hold me firmly in my body

As I walk my path

Anchored solidly to the Earth

Roots pushing through soil

Nourished by the fertile darkness

Let my chord drop down

Down

Through underground rivers

Through layers of bedrock

Through oceans of magma

Secure in the Core

Connected to the Center

Held and blessed by the Earth

Overflowing with gratitude

Miel Rose is a witch and healer living and practicing in Western, Mass. Check out her etsy store, Flame and Honeycomb: an eclectic line of magical offerings, including sacred votives, herbal skincare, magical honey sweetened chocolates, hand embroidered art pieces and more!

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.”)

 

 

Published in: on November 11, 2019 at 5:07 PM  Leave a Comment  
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