Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – LexPride

Just a couple of years ago, LexPride came barreling into existence in Lexington, Massachusetts, with its one-word mission: EQUALITY. From working with the schools and local government to setting up a support group for LGBTQIA+ teens to establishing a Lexington Pride celebration to organizing a Lexington Transgender Day of Remembrance event and much, much more, LexPride is the organization that keeps finding more to do, and more importantly, has the energy and drive of its co-chairs and members to keep offering skilled, imaginative, politically savvy and nuanced programming and organizing.

LexPride, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you, for your great big heart and your amazing accomplishments. Lexington, its surrounding communities, and even, perhaps, the world are the better for it!

https://www.lexpridema.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 – The Facts of Life

At the oncology clinic last week receiving my infusion of chemo lite and immunotherapy drugs, I overheard one of the nurses telling another about a certain patient, the wacky Barbara: “I was talking about an iv, and mentioned I was having a little trouble getting it in, and Barbara goes, ‘That’s what he said!’”

Oh, hello, straight ladies, getting up to shenanigans here in Cancer World!

Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought there was such a huge gap between no-cancer and cancer. That the world would change completely and for the horrible worse if I got cancer, or any of the other dire illnesses I could hypochondriacally imagine grabbing me.

Well, yes and no. There’s a lot of pressure from the medical establishment for you to act as normal as possible and to carry on as if you were healthy – as if you are going to be healthy again, really – and that’s understandable, I guess, since their job is to heal you. There is also some denial on my part, as it’s just hard to understand that abrupt jolt from healthy to dealing-with-a-dread-disease; hard to understand and a little bit hard to believe. So sometimes I have trouble remembering how sick I am, but, sheesh, it would be hard for me not to know I have cancer, what with the whole chemo/being bald/getting ready to have radiation and so on.

In spite of all that, the thing I’ve learned most poignantly is that I’m still the same person, right down to the bone. I’m still a complex, comprehensive, complete queer femme. The things I think about, want to write about in my fiction, the essence of myself, are all still the same. Not that I haven’t been worked on by being this sick. Not that I haven’t thought about mortality in a slightly different way. Not that I’m not still scared, depressed, and angry about having to blast off so suddenly to the Planet of Cancer…but I don’t feel like I’m going to have to move here permanently. One of these days, I’ll be an ex pat, and life just continues to move on.

Pema Chodron says, “I find it extremely comforting that there is no getting around the facts of life,” and I know just what she means. Illness is a fact of life. Me and Barbara and countless other folks have cancer – it sucks, but it’s a fact of life. And it doesn’t mean that shenanigans get shoved to the side, either!

Sparkles of existence, my darling queer femme sisters, there is always something going on in our lives. Breathe deeply. Give thanks. Your queer femme core revolves in your very essence, always bright and healthy and filled with every blessing. Close your eyes and imagine cupping your hands around it. Feel how warm and marvelous it is?

Today you are fully yourself, and oh the wonder of it: you are alive!

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 October 28, 2019 at 3:15 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Apocalypse, Darling by Barrie Jean Borich

Queer femme Barrie Jean Borich’s latest book, Apocalypse, Darling, is a sumptuous read, loosely structured around a wedding she and her spouse attended in Indiana, but encompassing so much more: growing up in the industrial landscape of Illinois and Indiana; the effect of industry on landscape and heartscape; being queer and femme in the Midwest (and in the world); not to mention a conversation and continuation of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”.

Barrie Jean was a Femme Friday femme a while back, and I am honored to feature a sample of her work today. Congratulations on your beautiful book, Barrie Jean. Deep gratitude!

(Barrie Jean and her spouse, Linnea, are meeting the bride’s sister for the first time.)

Well hello, Linnea enunciates, as the lady leans closer. You must be the lady, she says, of the house. Linnea possesses the social charm to pull off phrases like lady-of-the-house without sounding foolish.

The lady blinks at Linnea’s cropped gray hair – the same cut as usual, nearly a crew cut. She had it trimmed by her favorite barber before we left Minneapolis. The lady blinks as Linnea continues. I’m the groom’s daughter. She is practically shouting at the blinking lady, who clutches her cocktail, who blinks and stares again at Linnea’s bristled hairline.

 

This lady’s smile is wide and static. We know this one. We’ve seen this before, though not so much lately as we did in the old days. She must not understand why this smiling man has introduced himself as a daughter. She has that look of one hypnotized by thunder. Linnea’s arm is outstretched. The lady speaks without parting her teeth.

I don’t know, says the lady, what we’re talking about here.

Apocalypse, Darling by Barrie Jean Borich, Ohio State University Press, 2018.

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 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 October 25, 2019 at 5:42 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Vat of Grief

Tex and I were lucky enough to be at Women’s Week in Provincetown last week, and Thursday night we stopped at the Gifford House for Darlene and Monica’s singalong. Two dykes, one guitar, and a line up of songs from Elle King to Stevie Wonder. Sitting with a glass of wine in front of the fire with cheezy gay D & A art all over the walls listening to stripped down acoustic versions of love and revenge and party and girls and suddenly I was filling up and spilling over, I mean crying.

“I have a vat of grief inside me,” I told Tex, and I do. It’s not just the breast cancer diagnosis I got last spring and it’s not just that my dad died last month, although those are definitely top layers. Surrounded by other queers in this bar, surrounded by dykes all week, I was feeling, I was free falling (they sang that one), I was buffeted and messed about by emotion, more than just my personal stuff.

The vat of grief that all of us queers carry that has to do with our inherited pain along with the pain we’ve survived and are surviving. We’ve all had to work so hard to be us, no forget that, to even figure out who the us is, after being told our whole lives that what we like and who we might be and become is wrong. After having been given such distorted views of ourselves. After isolation, bullying, closeting, hypervigilence, addiction, abuse, dissociation, depression, anxiety – and what didn’t happen to us, happened to people we know and love and definitely happened to our ancestors. We queer femmes may be carrying grief about how the world treats our butches, or about how misogyny affects our own lives and those of all we love, or about how we couldn’t figure out we were queer until well along in years and now we can’t figure out how to find a date. We carry on and are brave and sometimes don’t even recognize how much grief is with us – we just get used to it – but then something hits a nerve and the burden is right there.

When I told Tex about the vat of grief I’m carrying, she pulled me into a hug and said I could just allow the grief to flow, in whatever ways I wanted. I love that, because it’s not a facile “there, there” but rather an acknowledgement that my feelings are not scary or a burden, but something natural. Part of being human. And that they will shift and change if I allow it; they don’t need to stagnate.

Grief isn’t bad – no emotion is bad – so it’s definitely ok to sink down when those feelings come over you. Pushing grief away will ensure it comes back, perhaps in a more severe way. After I cried that little bit in the Gifford House, there was room for me to feel the joy of Darlene and Monica’s music, the joy of being in Provincetown with the art and the sea and my people.

Delicious and marvelous my darlings, your grief is utterly allowed, it is completely healthy and human. It is an appropriate response, but it is not the all or the everything. Let it come, let it flow. Honor your grief today, sweetest of peas.

Honor your grief, and honor the emotions that come after.

Honor the continuous flow.

 

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.”)

 

Femme Friday – Kayleigh Marie

About a year ago, Kayleigh wrote to me on a much-neglected email account, with kind words about one of my stories. When I finally checked that account and wrote back to her, I was delighted to learn that she was interested in being featured on Femme Friday!

Deep gratitude to Kayleigh for generously sharing her story and her thoughts with us here on The Total Femme!

You asked, What does femme mean to me?

Well, to me, femme means: A woman who is very much in touch with her softer nature, a woman who sees herself as a soft blank canvas but takes out her brush and creates the most beautiful picture that she has ever seen, she is the blank canvas, and the brush is her potential. It is her make up. She can be whoever she wants to be and seeks great pleasure in doing so.

The clothes that she wears on her back are not merely pieces of material, they are part of her identity, she wants to wow, she wants to be noticed, she wants to look in her mirror and smile back at what she sees and feel that thrill in the pit of her stomach.

But who is to say that all femmes have to be just a fluffy, soft pillow princess with nothing about them but make up and clothes and beautiful hair?

Take me for example, I’m 28, I’m ALL of the above: I feel inconvenienced when I break a nail, I throw a fit if my hair doesn’t stay in the position that I have trained it with 3 cans of hairspray and I swear to almighty god that I’m not going out tonight, my brand new 6 inch heels can remain in their box because somehow it’s all their fault!! I am a femme, spoilt, princess little brat! But alas, that isn’t ALL of what or who I am. There is more to me than all of that. There’s alot more to all who identify as femme.

My coming out as femme story: hold on for this one, you might want to grab some tissues.

So, as a little girl, maybe around 6 or 7, I was much more of a tomboy than I ever was a femme. You’d see me climbing trees, you’d see me climbing people’s balconies like I was auditioning for the remake of “The Planet Of The Apes”. I outran many old, angry men, brandishing sticks and telling me to get to school, (they often called my school and told them that a troublesome child kept playing “Knock Down Ginger” and throwing herself over the balconies and getting away. Knock Down Ginger is a British Term for knocking on people’s doors and running away).

Even as I got older, 12-13, I was still doing this. I was a physically underdeveloped teenager, childhood was a very tough time for me. I didn’t fit in anyway, I had long, mousy brown hair with a very dodgy cut fringe (we all know what mums can be like when they get their hands on a pair of scissors: they suddenly think that they’re John Frieda but their work says Edward Scissorhands). I was skinny and the clothes that I was dressed in (not through my own choice) were usually 3 sizes too big and very boy-ish. I hated them. I had to wear shoes that weighed more than I did; I’m surprised my skinny legs could even lift with those things on.

I envied the girls at school. They wore make up everyday, their hair was always perfect, their clothes were beautiful, and then there was me, always watching them, always sad, always wondering why I was ugly and couldn’t be like them. I wanted to look like them, to be girly, but mum never allowed it. The saddest part is that, I really was beautiful, I just couldn’t see it then. When I look back at old photos of me as a teen, I was so pretty, so naturally pretty. I had these big blue eyes (that even to this day, when people meet me, one of the first things they say is that I have beautiful eyes) I had perfect skin, so smooth, I never ever suffered with acne, I had the cheekiest smile that melted hearts, with little, faint dimples in my cheeks that made my smile worth so much more. But again, I couldn’t see it back then…….

It wasn’t until I reached around 14 years old that I saw my potential. I was at secondary school and each term the school published a magazine, featuring all that they had to offer. A few of the students were hand picked to model the sportswear. Of course, I wasn’t the first choice, but because one of the girls dropped out, she begged me to take her place, probably because I was the only girl left in my year that could fit into the size 0 clothing that had to be modeled.

So I took the job. I had make up professionals fussing around me, hair stylists, it was REALLY overwhelming! I felt so important that day, and when I looked in the mirror after they had finished, I couldn’t stop staring at myself. I looked like a girl. A girly girl, a femme, and all of the girls that didn’t even notice me before sure as hell noticed me then. They wouldn’t associate with somebody like me in reality but just because I had half of the Mac counter on my face and my hair was braided into a snake around my head, apparently I fit in?!?!?!

But right then and there, it wasn’t those girls who made me realise I could be more, it was the girl staring back at me and wanting to stay looking that way forever! I loved the make up, I loved the hair! I had a new found respect and admiration for who was looking back at me. And to this day I have remained as feminine as I became that day and I love it. I include photos in this post of myself, ranging from when I was around 5-14 to now.

You asked: If I am a femme who is romantically attracted to butches to discuss it.

Well, you know, I never started out that way. I was always attracted to girly girls, to femmes, especially when I was in school — that’s when I fully began to explore what it was that I was feeling whenever I saw a girl half dressed in the girls’ changing rooms. I was very confused about my feelings towards girls because I couldn’t understand them. Lesbians and gays were a taboo in my family, it was never discussed. But I remember looking at one particular girl (she was a great friend of mine, and still is to this day), she had jet black hair, she was tall (everybody was tall in comparison to my tiny teenaged self), she was SO beautiful! You know that kind of beautiful that really stops you for a moment and makes you wonder how that kind of beauty really exists? And not only that, but she was beautiful inside too, and she didn’t even know it, she was just so oblivious to it all.

I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 19. I had been in an abusive relationship with a man for 5 years previous to that because I believed it was the norm. I stayed in denial about my sexuality for so long. My tastes changed when I started to explore my sexuality. I had believed that a femme was absolutely my type, but getting older, my sexual preferences changed. My desires changed. Femme women didn’t make me feel how I felt whenever I saw a butch walking by me in the street, or in a bar. My stomach would knot up so hard that I’d feel like I wanted to throw up. I’d fantasise daily about butch women, about how they could pin me to a wall and take charge of me. I loved that feeling of losing all control to a fierce, manly butch but with all of the needed attributes of a woman. I have dabbled in BDSM and nothing could get my juices flowing (quite literally) more than the sight of a butch. I know that butches hate to be stereotyped, but it’s very difficult to not envision the chequered shirts, the baggy jeans and the short hair cut when somebody simply says “Butch woman” but to me, that is incredibly appealing. The sexual appeal is carnal for me. I want to be tamed, I want to be put back into line.

Most that identify as butch just have a way about them that screams power and domination and that is the biggest turn on for me.

You asked: Who are my femme role models in the present, or in the past? 

I mean, I don’t think I ever really had or have a role model. There’s a difference between admiring people and then seeing them as somebody you would aspire to be. I lean towards admiring people more than aspiring to be like them or to have their nature. My only role model is me, to be better, to try harder in life, to love others more and to love myself better for the woman that I am. I have come along in stages and I look back at how far I’ve travelled and realised that there may have been a time in my life that I wanted to fit society’s perfect mould of who I should be and who I should look up to but no amount of chains or cable ties could hold me down and stop me from breaking free to being who I want to be. I am my own femme role model. I always have been, it just took me several years to see it.

And lastly, you asked if I wanted to share anything else with the readers of the blog.

All I can say is: It’s great to identify as something, but don’t let an identification be all that you are. What does it truly matter who or what you identify as? Do you love yourself? Are you happy within yourselves and with the paths that you have chosen in life? If you are, then don’t allow a label to determine what you do with yourself, don’t let a label determine the people that you surround yourself with. Just be you! Embrace you! You’re all beautiful and you all have something so special to give. Yourselves. And if that isn’t enough for others, then they are not worthy of your time or your presence.

Lots of love, Kayleigh. All the way from the U.K.

So, my bio: I’m Kayleigh Marie, Born in the U.K, in the south east of England.

 Music is the biggest interest in my life. I’ve written music and lyrics in college in Canterbury where I studied for just over a year.

I trained as a chef 6 years ago. It was a bit of a fluke, I started as a pot washer but within 6 months I became a chef. I worked at a hotel for 3 and a half years but I knew I wanted more. I travelled to the channel islands alone in 2017 and worked in a Michelin starred restaurant.

Food and music motivate me. Eat well and sing well. 

If you ever get to study Cher, study her. She is an inspiration and I have tickets to see her in this fall!

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 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 October 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Comments (2)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Virago and Virago Modern Classics

I must have found the first one at a booksale, perhaps even in Provincetown, but ever since, I’ve made it a habit to look for Virago Modern Classics, for that distinctive green stripe on the cover that means the novel is written by a woman and is almost certainly some kind of wonderful. Currently, for example, I’m reading Hester by Mrs. Oliphant, first published in 1883. Not only am I exposed to Mrs. Oliphant’s scintillating vocabulary, I am thoroughly enjoying such passages as the following:

Many people no doubt have waltzed with very little inclination for it, people who were both sad and sorry, disappointed, heartbroken; but few more reluctant than Hester, who felt her position intolerable, and by whom the complacent injustice of it, the calm assertion that such blind adherence was all that was to be looked for from a woman, was more irritating and offensive than can be described. Was it possible that he thought so? That this was what she would have to encounter in the life she should spend with him? Her advice, her intelligent help, her understanding, all ignored and nothing wanted but a kind of doggish fidelity, an unreasoning belief? Hester felt it cruel to be made to dance even, to be spun through the crowd as if in the merest caprice of gaiety while at such a crisis of her fate.

Other fabulous Virago Modern Classics I recommend are: Frost in May by Antonia White; Mary Lavelle by Kate O’Brian (a lesbian, unless I’m much mistaken); The Friendly Young Ladies by Mary Renault (more lesbians); and Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy. With almost 700 titles, though, including some children’s books, you will surely be able to find your own favorites!

Virago and Virago Modern Classics, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for seeking out and publishing or re-issuing work by such amazing authors. My life and those of countless others are the richer for it.

https://www.virago.co.uk/imprint/lbbg/virago/page/about-virago/

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 October 16, 2019 at 12:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Anchored

The other day, I had a great morning of self care lined up: appointments with my chiropractor and acupuncturists, then my beloved Al-Anon meeting. What happened? I woke up with vertigo and made the difficult decision to cancel everything. I stayed home. I rested. When I started to feel better, I resisted the urge to hop up and start working on one of my many neglected projects. Or anyway, I tried to resist! We queer femmes can be very busy, and it’s hard to turn that shit off.

Self-reliance can skate extremely close to isolation. I know I can be extremely stubborn about asking for, accepting, and even understanding that I need help. The toddler declaring firmly, “Me do it MESELF!” comes to mind. When I do finally cop to needing help, I usually look elsewhere. We’ve been trained to think that reaching out to other people – experts, doctors, counselors, friends – is the best and most effective way to receive the care we need. We forget that we also have inner resource.

That morning of canceled appointments, of resting, of taking it way down, I did end up doing something: I wrote this post. I also read a lot. Reading can certainly be an escape activity for me, but it’s also part of my art: whenever I read, I’m taking in tone, language, characterizations and so much more, all information that informs my own writing. And writing is what anchors me to this earth, what I have received as a gift from the universe and what I give back to the universe. More and more, I am finding that when I can anchor myself in my art, my gift, my blessing, I am able to keep a clearer head about what I need to do to take care of myself.

Today, my queer femme cupcakes, honor your inner resources, the ones that you so freely give to others: caring, listening, problem solving, sitting with, empathizing with… Turn them on yourself in the gentlest, most generous fashion.

Today, and every day, remember to count on yourself the way you can an expert, a friend, a family member. Call on your own resources, not because you’re all alone and there’s no one else who can help you or understand you (an easy place for all of us queer femmes to go), but because you trust yourself and because you are a trusted member of your own support team. Because you know, deep down, what it feels like to be anchored, to be in synch with the universe and with yourself.

The resources you’ve gathered over a lifetime – turn them on yourself today.

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 October 14, 2019 at 11:09 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – The Femme You Love

The femme you love, you’ve never met her. She wrote one of the most treasured books on your bookshelf, though.

The femme you love smiled at you at the lesbian event way back in the day, when you and she were the only dykes there wearing lipstick and skirts, and when the flannel shirt dykes were giving you the hairy eyeball. Later, you ran into her at the library and got shushed so many times by the librarian that you had to take it to a local café and now you’re best friends.

The femme you love is dedicated to her art and you celebrate together at her exhibit. She uplifts you. She reminds you to recommit to your own art, your own beautiful and unique queer femme gift.

The femme you love went through a rocky patch in her relationship. You listened and sympathized. You felt honored to have her to cry on your shoulder.

The femme you love cooks you dinner when you were sick.

The femme you love supports your career and understands how infuriating it is to be a queer femme in the workplace, faced with misogyny, homophobia, and heteronormativism. The two of you commiserate together every week when you get together and bake cookies.

The femme you love bakes cookies like a genius.

The femme you love helps you foment revolution.

The femme you love makes mistakes, and there are times when the two of you need a break from each other. Even after years, though, when you get back together (and you always do), it’s like you’d seen each other just yesterday. You pick up right where you left off.

The femme you love makes you laugh harder than anyone.

The femme you love lives really far away and you hardly ever see her, but knowing she’s living her large and in charge best queer femme life way over there makes you happy every day.

The femme you love is a healer and a poet.

The femme you love died before you were born, but her influence on your life is profound, and you are so grateful.

The femme you love challenges you and argues with you and wraps you up in her big, huge, adoring personality. You can trust her with anything.

The femme you love loves you just as much as you love her. You can’t imagine life without her.

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 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 October 11, 2019 at 2:11 PM  Comments (6)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Forgiveness vs. Accountability

Earlier today, Tex was out and about doing some tedious errands, when she heard her name called loudly, and was suddenly being rather overwhelmed by the mom of a trans kid I’ve worked with in the past. The proud mom was desperate to show Tex a picture of said kid. Tex ended up telling her, “It’s a nice picture, but it’s Anna who knows your son, not me.” When Tex told me this story, my first thought was to feel a little embarrassed, thinking that I wouldn’t have reacted like that (of course not – I’ve known the kid in question since he was in third grade, and have had several intense conversations with the mom). My next thought was that Tex was right to remind the mom that her relationship is with me, not with Tex. Tex, being the more visible queer, is often put in the awkward situation of representing the queer community or being asked to give random straight people a “queer blessing”, which is what I think this mom wanted. And that is tedious and often qute rude and inappropriate, as it was today.

Despite over 20 years of parenting, I still have trouble distinguishing between being forgiving and holding people accountable. Certainly there are times when people need forgiveness, especially if they’re going through hard times. Just as certainly, there are people who take up way too much room and everyone benefits from them being asked to rein it in. I can get really caught up in trying to figure this stuff out: take Naked Hot Tub Man, for example. He lived a street away from us for years, obnoxious as hell, arguing and upsetting his neighbors with his antics, playing bad rock and roll at high decibles whenever he had a party and fired up the hot tub on his deck. “Oh, yeah,” one of these neighbors said to us one time, “he’s been like that since grade school…” When, perhaps, sad things happened in his family? Who knows, but the point is, even Naked Hot Tub Man has a complicated history, and I was usually tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. And, Tex would add, wounds and difficulties are still not an excuse to act like a shithead, especially when you are a grown adult.

As you go about your beautiful, varied lives today, my beautiful, varied femme sisters, I invite you to observe your interactions with others. Are you too kind when it might be more productive to hold the line? Are you too harsh when it might be more gracious to allow for imperfections? It can all be such a muddle, my darlings, but perhaps the more we observe, the more we will gain in the small wisdoms of being human in community.

May queer femme magic accompany you!

 

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.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that magical unicorns cannot always be welcome and ready to engage with those who find them so magical.

Published in: on October 7, 2019 at 5:26 PM  Comments (2)  
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Femme Friday – Literary Femme, the Girl in “The Rock Wall” by Peggy Munson

Some erotica is tongue in cheek or light hearted or downright hilarious. Peggy Munson’s story “The Rock Wall” is none of the above. Tortured, hot, poignant, opaque, and did I mention hot?

Deep Gratitude to Peggy Munson for the Girl, who is so complicated and needy and whose relationship with her Daddy is labyrinthine and layered and troubling and fascinating. And sexy as hell.

           Some days, I hate everything about Daddy. I hate how orphaned I feel when Daddy goes to work. I hate how Daddy can choose the simples onomatopoeia and roll it off the tongue, so that cock sounds as hard as it is. How I sit all day with that word jammed in my head, cock, Daddy’s cock, Daddy’s hard cock, spreading out with acres of modifiers, until it becomes Daddy’s hard cock that isn’t fucking me. I hate it that I am so Electra. I hate it that Freud is on my shoulder and that he told me so. I hate it that I need a Daddy. I hate it that words never add up to cocks.

            –“The Rock Wall” by Peggy Munson, in Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica, edited by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press, 2010

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 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.”)

 

 

in Sometimes She Lets Me

Published in: on October 4, 2019 at 6:07 PM  Comments (2)  
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