Meditations for Queer Friends – Never Enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me see you shine!

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

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


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