Meditations for Queer Femmes – Femme Birthdays

My birthday is tomorrow – 57 femme years on this earth! Oh, deep gratitude, for sure, but also: every human challenge and sorrow. The full sweep. Birthdays have traditionally hit me hard, as I appear to be constitutionally inclined to focus on the negative, the haven’t dones, the don’t haves. The good news, however, as my therapist is wont to say, is that I linger there less long, thanks to many teachers, many books, many gifts freely given. Many queer ancestors from whom I continue to learn and with whom I continue to think about queerness and other human issues. Many queer contemporaries – including, you, my sweet sisters! – who inspire and accompany me. With whom I can agree, disagree, laugh, cry.

A difference from the birthdays of my youth when I thought I was straight and what a miserable straight girl I was! is that I now face the beamish day as a full-on femme. I’m sort of used to it now, being queer, I mean, although the force of heteronormativity and all is such that I sometimes still encounter an odd quizzical moment where I stop and cock my head like a puppy and think, “Wait – is this really who I am and what I’m doing? Whoa!” But for the most part, I go about everything I do as my queer femme self with my queer femme sensibilities and knowledge and wisdom and creativity and stubbornness and all the rest of it. It’s a daily gift, and a gift to consider on the day of my birth.

Talk about negativity! I’m not even going to list the horrible things that are going on as we speak – you see and think about them enough, and I know you are doing every bit of what you can to counter them, in all the myriad, marvelous ways we queer femmes know how to do. It doesn’t matter what it is; there are infinite ways of translating human love into action and it is always blessed work. The cynic in me, and my long habit of focusing on the negative may whomp me tomorrow, at least for a bit, but I am counting on you. I am counting on me. Let’s together remember that queer femmes – and not just us, but so many other dear sweet humans on this earth – are dealing out, gathering in, showing up, sharing, marching, dancing, making love, writing, arguing, making art, singing, calling out, protesting, celebrating, rescuing, healing themselves, others, their neighborhoods, their cities, the world. We are all capable of healing work. It is our biggest gift and perhaps our biggest challenge, especially now. Today, tomorrow, help me shift the focus. It starts with our birth. It starts with us. It starts right here.

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

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

 

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 8:33 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Ericka Hart

Here’s my challenge to Out magazine for their next year’s OUT100: skip the coasts and concentrate on the south and the heartland. I have no argument that all the fabulous fabulousness coming out of New York and L.A. is important and life affirming for queers, but I also know that work being done, by, say, Southerners on New Ground in Atlanta, is just as important and life changing for queers and for everybody, actually. I would like to see features on rural queers, southern queers, Midwestern queers, queers in all the many, many U.S. places that are not New York or L.A. – I am so grateful and interested in their amazing queer lives and work. And if you just have to mention ol’ New York, stick to people of color.

So Ericka Hart wasn’t featured in this year’s OUT100, but she is mentioned by fashion designer, Becca McCharen-Tran, who worked with her in a recent fashion show. My ears perked up when Tran says, “I have learned so much about how to be a better white ally and how to leverage my privilege from watching her Instagram stories and hearing more of her perspective as a queer black femme.” I immediately stopped reading the magazine and looked up Ericka.

From her website:

Ericka Hart (pronouns: she/they) is a Black Queer Femme activist, writer, highly acclaimed speaker and award winning sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. Ericka’s work broke ground when she went topless showing her double mastectomy scars at Afropunk Fest 2016. Since then, she has spoken at colleges and universities across the country, been featured in countless digital and print publications including Essence, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Refinery 29, and has a running PSA on Viceland. Ericka’s voice is rooted in leading edge thought around human sexual expression as inextricable to overall human health and its intersections with race, gender, chronic illness and disability. Both radical and relatable, she continues to push well beyond the threshold of sex positivity. Ericka is currently an adjunct at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and calls Brooklyn, her partner and several plants (one of which is named Whitney Houston) home.

Deep gratitude to Ericka for her fierce Black Queer Femme generosity, brilliance, courage, and super-sexy body love.

http://www.ihartericka.com/#press

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! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

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

 

 

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 8:03 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Nancy Lord and The Center for Coastal Studies

Tex and I are both reading a recent novel by Nancy Lord, pH, a lucky find for me browsing the stacks the other day at a local library. Set in and around a university in Fairbanks, Alaska, the characters are all involved in ocean research, especially having to do with deleterious changes caused by human fuckery. At one point, one character says something about how 99% of livable space is in the ocean, which gave us both pause. The devastating effect of our reckless behavior with fossil fuels and other shitty, stupid, thoughtless, selfish grabbing, is incredibly painful to contemplate. This beautiful novel, while not skirting that truth, manages to hold up other human traits that are much more positive and hopeful. I highly recommend it!

Here in Provincetown, MA, where Tex and I are spending our vacation, we are at ground zero. The hype around the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s landing is really heating up. Not being talked about too terribly much, at least not that I’ve seen, is the part about how those lauded founding fathers massacred the people already living here and plundered the land and the creatures of the sea, creating damage that effect us all even now. Today, I want to hold up a local organization working, among other things, to both document and educate about the North Atlantic Right Whale, which faces extinction, despite having been declared an endangered species some time ago. The dire outlook on their survival is a result of our and our ancestors’ actions, and we are responsible, in some deep connected ways, to these animals.

Center for Coastal Studies and Nancy Lorde, you both get a pingy-dingy! Thank you, CCS, for your dedication to the Right Whale and to all the other often-slogging and thankless work that you do. Thank you, Nancy, for helping us think about how to continue on in the face of so much soul-shattering news.

http://coastalstudies.org/right-whale-research/

http://www.writernancylord.com/

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

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

iday. Rather than play catch-up in a stress

Published in: on December 26, 2018 at 1:35 PM  Comments (1)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Shrine to Pain

A few weeks ago, we dismantled our son’s room, which has stood empty for a year, his things gathering dust, the posters beginning to sag and rip away from the walls. For a variety of reasons, not all of them happy, he now lives full time with his other parent, but we kept his room intact because of hope, or at least that’s what I told myself. Actually, it was a shrine to pain.

It was also painful to pack things up, but we did it in good faith, with a great deal of love, and in the interests of making the room into a guest room, to be blessed first by my dear mother-in-law, someone who loves us and who loves our son. We had our son’s stuff delivered to him, and we poured fresh energy into his old room, which my mother-in-law happily inhabited for her entire visit here. My other son’s room has been made into my study, in a much less fraught process. We are empty nesters, after all, and we are the ones who live here – it’s ok for our house to embrace us and our needs!

My son knows how deeply I love him – I always tell him this, and I know that I raised him in love. Allowing his room to shift into a more accurate reflection of life as it is today is also an act of love, freeing all of us to move into more healthy relation with each other and with our circumstances. As much as it stirred up regrets and grief, moving the energy also helped me continue to move my own energy towards healing. His birth was a gift; he remains a gift, however complicated our relationship has become. Right where it matters, right in our hearts, nothing has changed.

Dear femme sisters, is there something in your possession that you feel obligated to keep but that always gives the shard of pain lodged in your heart a little yank? A sweater from an ex that’s really cozy and fills a niche in your wardrobe, but that does not have good energy? Cards or gifts from family members who have not had your back or who have actively dismissed or otherwise wounded you? These are all things that might be released, either into recycling or a donation bin, both good uses of stuff that is no longer healthy.

The Japanese always do a good home cleaning before the New Year so they can start things off in good trim. Darlings, do a sweep. Even if it’s just one small letting go, your queer heart will rejoice and beat all that more bodaciously from the release of burden.

Let it go and go lightly into the return of the light and the thrill of new beginnings.

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

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

 

Published in: on December 24, 2018 at 1:15 PM  Comments (2)  
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Femme Friday – Inspirational Books: the bull-jean stories by sharon bridgforth

Oh my goodness. For the Solstice, let’s travel into bull-jean’s world with sharon bridgforth’s performance stories. In the introduction to the book, she says, “with the bull-jean stories I wanted to celebrate the rural/southern working-class Black bulldaggas/who were aunty-momma-sister-friend/pillars of the church                        always been a working part of our community/giving fierce Love with fineness.” This book is prayer and song and queer sustenance, fierce and fine. Below is just a sweet snippet. I hope you buy the book and treasure it as I have.

Deep gratitude to sharon bridgforth for bull-jean and all her people, for loving that queer history and heritage onto the page and into our lives.

———————————-

bull-jean 

slipn in

ever day

5am

 deacon willie/clara’s man

 go git him

 supplies           umph

 everbody know

 nappy love

 be the one filling him sack.

 

 every day

 5am

 deacon willie/clara’s man

 slip out                        bull-jean

 slip in

            clara git her supplies too

the bull-jean stories by sharon bridgforth, RedBone Press, Austin, TX, 1998

 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! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

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

 

Published in: on December 21, 2018 at 5:21 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy Dingy Wednesday – “Coming Out as a Femme Lesbian” by Hannah Cooper

A sweet, respectful and friendly informational post about coming out as a femme. So refreshing!

RUComing Out and Hannah Cooper, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for laying it all out for us. When I clicked the link to your blog, Femme Meets Femme, I was told it couldn’t be found – if you’re out there somewhere and see this, come say hello!

https://www.rucomingout.com/coming-out-as-femme.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.”)

 

Published in: on December 19, 2018 at 4:35 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Maintenance and Weather

We queer femmes can be very busy. We are often doing more than one thing at once – I’m looking at you, girlfriend, with your knitting, your correspondence, and whatever all else you keep in your pursetote to grab when you’re on the train or in a meeting or waiting to get the car serviced… I’m looking at you, beloved, as you grow extra arms and neural pathways to respond to your kids, your sweetheart, that quick finish-up of one or twelve urgent projects, the ten work emails that won’t take but just a moment… Ooh, we’re good at it! But when we are stymied in our desire to proceed full steam ahead, things can go from pretty to miserable in the bat of an eyelash.

There is a certain satisfaction about being efficient and available and good at our queer femme jobs, all one million of them. However. In one of those wonderful topsy-turvy’s of life, you can’t be satisfied with your satisfaction unless you give it a little room.

On Saturday, we put my mother-in-law on the plane, already a bit worried, as the travel time was a grueling eight hours. When we got a text from her saying she was in Chicago and facing a two hour delay while the plane was tended to, we flooded her phone with sympathy. “Oh, it’s all right,” this veteran traveller texted back, “I never bristle at maintenance or weather.”

Short and sweet, my darlings: today, find that space. Welcome the inevitable slowers-up. Drive the speed limit. Look up and out, into the sky. Allow for space. Make breath be everything. Find respite in needing to go slower because of snow or heat or just because it’s such a fucking beautiful day. The more space and time you give yourself to arrive and be and feel, the more you will be able to give yourself. The better you will be able to thrive and gift us all. Slow down just a few, my brilliant zippy kin! There is time for all your femme splendor. Now and here there is time.

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.”)

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – The History Project

This morning at the chiropractor, I spied a lesbian in an adjacent office, a tall, rangy, well-seasoned specimen. Oh, I do love seeing a lesbian when I’m out and about! It pains me that a friend was just telling me about a colleague of hers, a fierce, radical lesbian who teaches at a local university and who told my friend that she feels completely irrelevant these days, when none or her students even identify as lesbians anymore. I know what she means although, happily, I have the pleasure of meeting and working with young lesbians in my organizing and advocacy.

And to the professor’s point, I read in Lesbian Connection that the New Alexandria Lesbian Library in Holyoke, MA has been renamed The Sexual Minorities Archives. I don’t know the full story behind that, but it feels sad to see the lesbian go.

At a recent event given by the History Project, the presenter spoke about the importance of staying independent rather than allowing the archives to be taken over by a university or other organization. “We want to keep the archives available to the community and cared for by the community,” he said. “If we handed it over and there were to be a change in administration, for example, the archive could be unfunded or even discarded.”

History Project, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your generous and fabulous work for the queer community, for keeping the focus on the queer community and in the queer community’s hands and hearts.

http://www.historyproject.org/

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

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

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Mother-in-Law

When I tell people my mother-in-law is visiting, I will occasionally get the questioning look, like, “And how is that for you?” I know that there are those whose in-laws are abominable, but that is far from the case with me. Tex’s charming, loveable, smart and funny mom is a joy to hang out with, and it’s been just wonderful to not only catch up but to dive right into conversations about life and all it contains. Poignant and precious, also, in light of the fact that my own dearest mother is happy and safe, but less able to engage about these topics as she once was.

Yesterday, my mother-in-law and I were talking about a project I’m working on and about her long work history as an academic consultant. At one point, she said, “I’m so glad to have lived through the history I have in my life; it just informs my soul. I’m so glad I lived through Watergate, and I know how awful someone like Nixon can be. And I know how wonderful but deeply flawed someone like Clinton can be…” Her observation helped me think about my project in a different, more intimate way: how do I approach it as uniquely myself, uniquely situated in my own lived history? I am so grateful for her wisdom and her generosity!

Today, my precious femme sisters, I wish for you that the treasure(s) in your family shine out for you, and that you spend a moment or two in gratitude for their brilliance.

Let it inform your soul.

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

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

 

Published in: on December 10, 2018 at 5:02 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Al-Anon

I think, but I’m not sure, that I had some very vague notion that Al-Anon existed before last spring. Some kind of self-help thing, I figured, a twelve-step thing. Like I had any idea at all what a twelve-step thing might even mean. Oh, sisters, how grateful I am now to have so much more knowledge! I’ve been attending Al-Anon meetings since the spring, and have recovered so much love and light for myself, I can’t even begin to tell you.

Al-Anon, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your spiritual, kind and gentle program and for the healing you spread.

https://al-anon.org/

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

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