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.”)

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes – “The Embrace”

Today, with George H. W. Bush’s 94-year old body lying in state in Washington, a man who will be remembered for how little he did during the AIDS epidemic, let’s send blessings to lovers and friends lost to AIDS with Mark Doty’s exquisite poem.

The Embrace

by Mark Doty

You weren’t well or really ill yet either,

just a little tired, your handsomeness

tinged by grief or anticipation, which brought

to your face a thoughtful, deepening grace.

 

I didn’t for a moment doubt you were dead.

I knew that to be true still, even in the dream.

You’d been out – at work maybe? –

having a good day, almost energetic.

 

We seemed to be moving from some old house

where we’d lived, boxes everywhere, things

in disarray: that was the story of my dream,

but even asleep I was shocked out of narrative

 

by your face, the physical fact of your face:

inches from mine, smooth-shaven, loving, alert.

Why so difficult, remembering the actual look

of you? Without a photograph, without strain?

 

so when I saw your unguarded, reliable face,

your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth

and clarity of you – warm brown tea – we held

each other for the time the dream allowed.

 

Bless you. You came back, so I could see you

once more, plainly, so I could rest against you

without thinking this happiness lessened anything,

without thinking you were alive again.

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 3, 2018 at 4:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Creating Change 2019

Well, folx, it’s getting to be that time again; time to hunker down with hundreds of queer organizers, activists, teachers, artists, educators and more to reconnect, get inspired, talk about sex, healing, fun topics, difficult topics, share information, laugh our asses off, and give each other so much love.

It’s a little bit up in the air if I’m going to attend this year, but even if I don’t, my heart will be in Detroit, this January, especially with my brave and brilliant colleague Mimi Gonzalez as she presents her generous and much-needed workshop, “Truth and Reconciliation: Healing the MichFest/Trans Divide”. I love you, Mimi!

Not everyone can get to the Motor City this January, but here’s a challenge: what will you do in the spirit of Creating Change? Let me know! I will be dreaming and taking action right along with you.

https://www.creatingchange.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 – Queer and Clear

Aspiring to keep business hours with my email: M-F, 9-5. Thank you for your patience!

 My signature line is a small step in giving myself more mental space. We queer femmes are so dang busy. There’s just a lot to keep track of, in so many arenas. We’ve got our families, our jobs, fields, interests, and more to ride herd on, and then there’s all the queer stuff: shows, books, all the kabillion things online, and news, news, news. The more we see, the more there is for us to do and think about and the less time and space there is for us to settle down and reconnect to our most sacred and enduring femme heartbeat, that queer engine keeping us afloat.

I’m old enough to have lived through many of the changes plaguing us, from typewriter to keyboard, from letters to email to however people are communicating today, from phone to PHONE, from books to e-readers, from vinyl to however people are listening to things nowadays. It’s been utterly insidious, the creeping crud of technology lapping at our ankles, our knees, our asses, rising higher and higher, and even a proud luddite femme such as myself finds herself gasping for breath. And now, as my butch and I face more transition than we’ve run into in years, prioritizing our own dear dreams, our health, our marriage, and honoring the gifts we’ve been given in order to gift the world, are all we’ve been talking about lately. Doubling down on these imperatives is impossible with all the noise. An example: as thrilling as it is to know about umpteen new queer shows, I am learning to just be content that they exist. Rather than figure out how to find them, let alone make time to watch them, I would rather put energy into unsubscribing to all the stupid things we already have, given that those subscriptions come at a steep price, and wouldn’t I rather be: meditating, doing something outdoors, making love or cooking or doing a puzzle with my butch? Fuck yes! So I choose not to invite them in. This can be hard, really hard, seeing as how I grew up and came out with such an incredible deficit of queer, but it’s worth it, especially since I am now dedicating myself to turning inward. To honoring my simplest self.

Who are you, my dear femme bunnies, deepdown in your queer femme souls? When do you let her come out hopping, ears flopping? Despite the ever-increasing hoopla, there is still so much time. So much space. So much quiet. It just takes a slight shift in focus and there it is again, in the sunrise, in the full moon, in the scooting clouds. Make time to notice passers by, the little girl who smiles at a dog or has a full-blown and very public tantrum. So delightful! And all so much a part of our world when we notice, a direct line to our own precious queer humanity.

Today, my darlings, try turning it all off and then peeking inside your rich and marvelous queer femme dreams. What you find there is medicine. Is sustenance. Is gold.

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 November 26, 2018 at 5:27 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Wisdom from Chrystos

As we approach the National Day of Mourning, I have been rereading and meditating on Chrystos’ 1988 book of poetry, Not Vanishing.

Here is the intro to that beautiful book:

Because there are so many myths & misconceptions about Native people, it is important to clarify myself to the reader who does not know me. I was not born on the reservation, but in San Francisco, part of a group called “Urban Indians” by the government. I grew up around Black, Latin, Asian & white people & am shaped by that experience, as well as by what my father taught me. He had been taught to be ashamed & has never spoken our language to me. Much of the fury which erupts from my work is a result of seeing the pain that white culture has caused my father. It continues to give pain to all of us. I am not the “Voice” of Native women, nor representative of Native women in general. I am not a “spiritual Leader,” although many white women have tried to push me into that role. While I am deeply spiritual, to share this with strangers would be a violation. Our rituals, stories & religious practices have been stolen & abused, as has our land. I don’t publish work which would encourage this – so you will find no creation myths here. My purpose is to make it as clear & as inescapable as possible, what the actual, material conditions of our lives are. Hunger, infant mortality, forced sterilization, treaty violations, the plague of alcohol & drugs, ridiculous jail terms, denial of civil rights, radiation poisoning, land theft, endless contrived legal battles which drain our wills, corrupt “tribal” governments, harassment & death at the hands of the BIA & FBI are the realities we face. Don’t admire what you perceive as our stoicism or spirituality – work for our lives to continue in our own Ways. Despite the books which still appear, even in radical bookstores, we are not Vanishing Americans.

Deep gratitude to Chrystos, for their poetry – I urge you to read “I HAVE NOT SIGNED A TREATY WITH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT” this Thursday – and for their generosity and wisdom and love of their art.

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 November 19, 2018 at 4:58 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – The Femme in the Picture

This year at our annual SAGE Table, we asked participants to send in pictures so we could have a slide show. There were some really cute ones, of kids at the Drag Prom, family shots, dykes with their pets, and more. Throughout the evening, though, I kept an eye on one particular black and white photo, probably from the 1950s. In it, a butch/femme couple faces the camera straight on, not really smiling, but looking pretty satisfied with themselves.

Last night’s beautiful photo reminded me of other old pictures of queer folks from the past. In these photos, queer story shines out at us, still brilliant, but also so mysterious. What were those daily lives like, after the camera snapped and time continued on its way? I especially love coming across old pictures where there is a femme, like the one last night. I always wonder, who was she? How did she experience herself as a lover, a partner, a participant in a life she was almost certainly not expected or raised to live? What did she call herself? What did she call her lover? How did they talk about who they were and what they did together?

I imagine she was sometimes, maybe often, angry at the isolation, the cruel messages from family and society. I bet she got pissed off at her butch here and again, who would have had her own struggles. And I also see joy in those old pictures. Defiance, a cheeky “we’re getting away with something and you can’t stop us” attitude that I recognize. The way it all falls into place as you find yourself, body and soul, in the arms of the kind of person all those men never were and never could be and then that person revs up your turn-on higher than it’s ever been revved before.

Did the femme in the picture think about how precious she and her queer friends and lovers were? Did she know, in her femme heart, how much a part of nature her queerness was? Like Anna in The Well of Loneliness, did she make every effort to embrace and find beauty in the hidden world she now had access to?

We know so many sad stories, the drinking, the violence, both within the queer community and coming from straight people, the isolation, mental and physical illness brought on or made worse by the ravages of oppression, but that wasn’t everybody’s life every single minute of every single day.

When I look at her smiling or hugging her butch or cutting up with friends in wild costumes or kissing the head of her little dog, I want to allow the femme in the picture to have had a full, complex life. Not just a trajectory of grief, and “oh it must have been so hard back then aren’t you glad we live now and there’s equal marriage.”

The femme in the picture certainly had her sorrows, but I know in my own queer femme heart that she also had sweet get-togethers with friends she loved, good relations with at least some of her family members, acceptance into a community where she was appreciated and seen for who she was. Oh, and didn’t she have a whole lot of mind-blowing sex, honey baby? She did, of course she did.

Deep gratitude to the femme in the picture. Her life is an integral part of the queer femme history that blesses and informs our present-day queer femme lives. 

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 November 9, 2018 at 5:17 PM  Comments (4)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – FREE LEONARD PELTIER!

The National Day of Mourning is coming up, and for as long as I’ve been going to it and for much longer than that, a letter from Mr. Peltier is read, and, as we march through the streets of Plymouth afterwards, we chant, “Free Leonard Peltier!” May this be the year that Mr. Peltier is there in person.

Leonard Peltier Freedom Riders, both two- and four-legged, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your dedication and fortitude; thank you for your giant hearts and the love you bring.

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/leonard-peltier-freedom-riders-reach-white-house-after-1-500-mile-spirit-ride-aZX2UJuTHEqGHBvOoApb4w/

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 – Crow Prayer by Miel Rose

For the earth, for each other, for community and caring, here is a prayer by my dear femme sister, Miel Rose. May our collective love align with the power of the universe to shift us all towards deep and lasting healing.

Bless Us, Crow

Let us find the right tools

For the right job

At the right time.

May the faith we hold in ourselves

And our own capabilities

Never waiver.

May our connection to Source

Remain strong

A constant line to nourishment

To wisdom.

When we are bogged down in the details

Let us gain inspiration from you

And fly to the tallest vantage

To survey the whole.

With hearts overflowing

We thank you.

Miel Rose is a witch and healer living and practicing in Western, Mass. She offers her gorgeous wares, femme-made and filled with femme love and healing, including hand embroidery, sacred votive candles, altar cloths, skin medicine, magical honey sweetened chocolates and more at her etsy store, flame and honeycomb.

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 – Ironwood Pig Sanctuary and a little Wendell Barry

I often say to Tex of an evening as we’re cleaning up after supper, “I wish we had a nice little pig!” (“I don’t,” is the inevitable reply.) But if we had a nice little pig, we could feed it our scraps, just like we did at Camp Plantation, my hippy farm camp: all leftover food went into the pig bucket and from there, into the pigs. Alas, Tex is right, having a pig in the ‘burbs would not be practical, but I can at least support this amazing pig rescue place:

http://www.ironwoodpigsanctuary.org/

Also, when I hear about the latest horror inflicted on all the animals on this planet, I can recite “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Barry to give myself the strength to keep showing up and putting one foot in front of the other for all the creatures with paws and claws and hoofs and fins who are so precious and so vulnerable.

Ironwood Pig Sanctuary and Wendell Barry, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for the hard work of rescue and art with which you grace the world.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

–Wendell Barry

from Collected Poems 1957-1982

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 – Our Cherished and Neglected Gifts

For me, creativity is paramount. I am an acolyte and a worshiper of creativity. It was a beautiful moment when I realized that my creativity permeates everything I do, that it’s not just for my writing. This freed me up and helped me understand that I haven’t been wasting my time when I’m not able to write; I’ve still been accessing a bubbling well of creativity, a well that will never run dry.

However, even though, like love, creativity is unlimited, what I have trouble remembering is that I have my own physical, emotional and spiritual limits. If I spend hours and hours dreaming up more and more exciting and unique projects for my students, I go to bed never having touched the YA manuscript that is waiting patiently for me. If I can remember to trust that my creativity will be with me when I’m teaching, which it pretty much always is, then even the most mundane lesson will become exciting and useful, and the energy I still have can be used on my most cherished and neglected gift, writing.

“Why do I run from what I love the most?” Tex lamented to me the other day. She’s been drawing and painting again, something she’s always loved but had neglected for many years. “So why is it so difficult to just draw?” I don’t really know, but it’s certainly something I ask about my own writing. Is it that I’m afraid I’ll fail? That it will suck me in and I’ll never want to do anything else?

Perhaps it has something to do with being someone, like Tex, who is blessed with multiple interests, especially when some of those interests, like teaching or organizing, are rewarded so tangibly in that I’m paid for my work or I can see the results of organizing an event for young queer people very clearly and right away.

Not so much with writing. It’s hard, it’s lonely, and a lot has to be taken on faith: I truly believe that there are readers out there who feel a little less alone because they read one of my stories and felt a connection, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever really know the exact impact of my work.

A lot of the time, my many interests feel like noisy fledglings, all demanding to be fed. It’s exhausting! If I take on the role of mama bird, I can never settle down, since if I stop stuffing worms down the babies, they might die. But hold on, maybe that’s the wrong metaphor. Gems. What about gems? Gems never stop shining, even if they get buried in the dirt for a while. And even if you never go back to them, someone else might dig them up later and they will shine for that person just as much as they ever did for you. And if the other babies aren’t going to die, why can’t this harried mama bird choose to surrender to the love of her life? Choose to drink those deeper draughts that nourish the more complex and difficult creative work of writing?

I wonder, femme sisters, what is your cherished and neglected gift? Whatever it is, would you, for me, brush off the dirt, give it a little shine with your sleeve, and hold it up to the sunlight so that we might all bathe in the radiance?

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 29, 2018 at 4:26 PM  Leave a Comment  
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