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  Leave a Comment  
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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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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Green Burial Council

My father died too suddenly for us to have put a green burial in place, but you can bet that this is smack dab in the middle of our radar screen for my mom (may she live many more healthy years).

Green Burial Council, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your fascinating FAQ page, your incredibly important work caring for the dead, the living, and the environment, and for your compassion and passion for those of us (all of us) who must make decisions about our and our family members’ deathcare.

https://www.greenburialcouncil.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.”)

 

Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Situated

My father’s younger brother and his wife stayed with us for my father’s memorial service. Although I grew up seeing them quite often, it’s been over 15 years since we’ve had any regular communication, so it was a joy to have them in our home. Despite the sad circumstances, or perhaps because of them, we did a lot of recollecting, laughing, and reconnecting. At one point, as we sat in the living room together after another day of planning and errands, I thought to myself that I was happier than I had been in a good long time. Being held and surrounded by family is decidedly good medicine.

Today, they hit the road, but not before I’d taken them around to a few local stores for some last minute shopping. As we went from place to place, I played tour guide: here is a new restaurant run by a family whose daughter used to play soccer with our younger son; there’s the dad of a kid who used to play baseball with our elder son; here is the store with gender neutral bathrooms, thanks to a campaign by my QSA kids; here is a free books bookshelf I established many years ago, still going strong … “I exist,” I seemed to be telling them. “I go deep in this town, and what’s more, I’ve made an impression on this place.”

It felt good to give my aunt and uncle some information about myself, about what I’ve been doing and who I’ve become in the last 15 years, to interact with them on a more equal plane (although I’ll always be the niece, of course). This is especially true because my own parents, even when my father was still alive, are much less able to participate in and comprehend the complexities of my life due to advanced age. To have my aunt and uncle witness my life allowed me to take another look at it myself, which is especially healing as I grieve my father and mourn all the things I wasn’t able to share with him. When a parent dies, I am finding out, part of your understanding of yourself becomes very shaky. After pointing out to beloved family members some of the ways in which my own values and work and presence have influenced the physical place that I live, some of that understanding of myself firmed up a bit.

My very mortal, deeply breathing, altogether human femme sisters, where do you put pieces of yourself? How do you express your passions? With whom do you connect in the place where you live? Where are your sense of justice and your kind hearts reflected? Where is the who you are in the where you are? I know your love radiates out to bless the world. Notice that today.

Honor 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.”)

 

 

 

great delight

Published in: on September 30, 2019 at 4:37 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Room of the Day

When we arrived at the Alzheimer’s care facility, a small sign posted near the door of my father’s room read, “Room of the Day”. I think it was some part of the culture of the facility, but it was striking to us because my dad had died in that room earlier that morning. Me, Tex, and my mom were there to say our goodbyes, grateful that we had been with him the night before, holding his hands and telling him we loved him, grateful that the angel of a nurse who had cared for him assured us that he went out peacefully.

All around us, people with Alzheimer’s went about their lives. Down the hall, someone was screaming with upset; earlier, a man had gripped my mother’s wrist, trying to lead her somewhere, as she kept mildly inquiring, “Have we met?” A woman told me I was looking pretty today; another woman shuffled past, clutching her pillow, going up and down the hallway endlessly. One of my father’s roommates kept going into the bathroom and flushing the toilet like it was his job. Some of these folks had been living at this facility for years; some, like my dad, were there for PT, and were expected to return home.

Dying as he did, rather suddenly, my father was perhaps spared some of the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s, as, on the whole, his life post-diagnosis had been relatively happy. We comfort ourselves with that thought as we grieve.

No matter how hard you try and escape it – and my father had assured us he would live to 100 (he made it to 88) – you will inevitably end up in the Room of the Day. I don’t just mean you will die, as we all will, I mean that someone close to you will die. And then you will need help. As an only child, even an only child with an amazing spouse, I have over and over had to admit that I can’t do it all by myself. When both my parents were in the hospital and I was sick myself, I couldn’t visit either of them. My mother came home; my father didn’t. I regret not being able to visit, but I have to forgive myself, as my father would forgive me. Having regrets is part of the experience of being human, but they are for sure not a healthy place to live, and, in this case, they don’t honor the deceased, nor, more importantly, do they honor the living, aka you and me.

By the time this is posted, I’ll be in the hospital undergoing surgery for breast cancer. It has been a hell of a year for our family, hitting all the big ones: addiction, serious illness, mental health issues, death. It’s impossible to live through all those without allowing others to share the burden. I am finding that with each hug, each offering of condolences, each memory shared, and task generously taken off my to-do list, I feel a little bit better, and even when the inevitable descent into grief comes again, it feels just that much more cathartic and less desperate, less of a bottomless pit.

How and when do you ask for help? Do you know in your body and heart what it feels like to truly accept love and support? These are all questions I am asking myself, as I move through these moments filled with so much emotion and transition, trying not to isolate, trying not to prevaricate, trying not to be foolish and stubborn about what I am and am not able to do, tolerate, manage. And, of course, along with accepting help is allowing yourself to help yourself. I’m writing this post because writing is what I do, it’s my art and my recourse to something bigger and more powerful than myself. The connection I feel with you, my readers, my sisters, whether I know you personally or not, helps me ground myself and feeds my soul.

Prepare for the Room of the Day today, dear sisters. Hug each other, tell each other sweet things. Connect with your ancestors and your mentors; appreciate the weather and be in the flow; eat something delicious and give someone a kiss. Open your hearts, stay curious, and shower yourself with love.

We are here for now, and for now only. It’s a beautiful place to be, and there is such good company.

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 September 23, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Comments (8)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Away from my Desk

The other day I had occasion to use the antiquated expression, “away from my desk”, knowing full well that there’s no such thing any more. I wanted to convey that I wouldn’t be responding to email or taking calls for a few days; that I would be doing my best to be on vacation without the responsibility of work, because that’s what a vacation is, or anyway, what it used to be. That I was going to take a break from the information intake and management which are now seen as a normal and necessary part of daily life.

Along those lines, I was recently reminiscing to Tex how incensed I was to learn that my cell phone also could double as a flashlight. I’m not exactly sure why this infuriated me so much, but it had something to do with how the cell phone had so insinuated itself into my life, how, almost overnight, it had become so imperative that I could never let it out of my clutches, that I had to depend on this small, powerful device for all forms of communication – demolishing, among other things, the need for many of my most beloved institutions, like the library and the post office – and now, for fuck’s sake, it was relegating my handy Maglite to the dustbin??

I digress slightly, but the point is, we’re never away from our desks anymore. We check our phones in case there’s an emergency, or that’s what we tell ourselves, but most of the time, we just want to feel connected, see what’s out there, who might be sending a text, what might be happening in politics, you know. And if we’ve got young kids, or elderly parents, or a struggling friend or relative, well, we really do have to keep an eye on things.

The bottom line is that, these days, we are never not at work.

This is not good, particularly for someone like me who has a hard time not working in the best of cases. I’m so passionate about social justice that I almost never relax, always scanning about for instances of transgression: the homophobic subtext in the lite novel I’m reading in order to relax or the racist character arc in the blockbuster comedy that everyone is raving about. I’m a fun date, let me tell you!

So if I’m already working all of the time and now I have a cell phone that keeps me constantly connected and on alert, do I ever relax?

It’s not easy.

The more tense I become, the less ability I have to put anything down, and that is exhausting. Both my parents have been ill and in the hospital, and because of my own health concerns, I haven’t been able to visit them or care for them as much as I would have done in the past. It’s been hard and yet humbling to let go of some of those responsibilities. To share them. One of the nicest things a nurse said to me recently was, “We’ll take care of your dad; you take care of yourself.” Oh yeah, I said to myself, because that’s the nurse’s job!

Overworked and overextended beloved femme sisters: are you at work? What is your work? Do you have to do it all of the time? What does it look like, what does it feel like, when you put down your work responsibilities – all of them – and take some rest?

Do you feel guilty? Do you have trouble relaxing because of “What ifs” and “I’ll just do this one last thing’s”? What is relaxation these days, anyway? Watching a show on your phone? Scudding over social media ripples and waves?

Even on the busiest day, we might be able to take a few moments to relearn how to relax. Do you remember how, sweetnesses? Everyone does it differently, but breathing deeply helps. Looking up at the sky helps. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spend a little time by a body of water, or in a bit of nature. All of those things remind us of the larger, more profound, ancient natural rhythms. They remind us that we’re part of natural systems much more powerful than any little device.

Darlings, today reconnect to those systems. Breathe deeply. Relax, my cherry pies, relax! Aspire to transcend the overwhelm.

You are blessed and holy and contain resource beyond measure.

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.”)