Pingy-Dingy Wednesday: Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

I have recently taken a vow not to buy any new books nor take out books from the library until I have read the many, many, many, many books here in the house that are in the house expressly for the reason that I want to read them. I promptly broke my vow yesterday by taking out of the library an excellent book, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality by Jordan Flaherty which is helping me think about my organizing work and is just a bunch of fun to read. But tomorrow I can re-hew to my vow, and I will, oh, I will! Now that I’m done confessing, let me direct you to this week’s fabulous read:

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your tireless efforts to keep us updated and reading queer!

https://caseythecanadianlesbrarian.com/2017/08/21/8-awesome-asian-canadian-queer-books/

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ 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 and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes — Brilliant

For a really, really (and I mean really) long time, the light in the basement laundry nook was broken. Even though I went down there multiple times a day, early in the morning, in the evening and at night, we just never got around to tending to the light. I would forget about it, Tex would forget about it, and for a really, really really long time, I did laundry with little to no illumination.

Finally, the stars alligned, I managed to clear enough space in my brain and perhaps the Goddess gave me a bit of a kick in the butt to where I managed to call our electrician and she came over and fixed the light. It was amazing! I could see what I was doing!

Even now, though, I’ll go downstairs to do the laundry and start feeling my way around like Femme Magoo. Then I’ll suddenly remember that I can turn on the light, and…ah!

So many of us queer femmes can get to feeling incredibly isolated with our knowledge, our wounds, our desires, our work, our relationships, our families, and all the rest of it. It is a kind of unrelenting spiritual darkness. And while the dark certainly is a place for renewal, growth, and rest; a place where we can connect to spiritual mysteries, at a certain point, you have to let the sun in.

We can turn on the light for our queer femme souls by reaching out to each other. By insisting that others see us for who we are, by which I mean letting people know how we identify, even if you’re sure the person won’t get it. I mean, they can go home and look it up! We can relieve ourselves of the responsibility of educating straight people and even other queers. We can turn off our work brains and allow ourselves a little R and R. We can spend time with children, animals, out in nature, looking for silly and fun local events that honor food, community and the changing seasons. In this area that might include watching a 400-pound wheel of cheese go rolling by (The Cruocolo Cheese Parade of Concord, MA), a road trip to Orange, MA for the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, or getting your butt over to Nantucket for the Cranberry Festival.

Queer femmes, burst forth like fireworks into the fall! Shine the light, turn on the light, be the light. Sparkle, glitter, flame. Laugh. Laugh some more.

You are so brilliant.

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

 

Femme Shark Friday – Fuck Yeah! We are all Femme Sharks!

Deep gratitude to all the femme sharks, to Leah, to Zuleikha, and to you and you and you and you!

FEMME SHARKS DON’T EAT OUR OWN.
FEMME SHARKS LIKE TO EAT THOUGH
FEMME SHARKS RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES COME IN ALL KINDS OF SIZES AND EACH KIND IS LUSCIOUS. WE WORK TOWARDS LOVING OUR CURVY, FAT, SKINNY, SUPERSIZE, THICK, DISABLED, BLACK AND BROWN FINE-ASS BODIES EVERY DAY. WE REALIZE THAT LOVING OURSELVES IN A RACIST/SEXIST/HOMO/TRANSPHOBIC/ABLIST/CLASSIST SYSTEM IS AN EVERY DAY ACT OF WAR AGAINST THAT SYSTEM.
FEMME SHARKS DON’T THINK ANOREXIA IS CUTE.
WE THINK EATING A BIG-ASS MEAL IS SEXY.
WE SAY SCREW “HEIGHT WEIGHT PROPORTIONATE PLEASE” IN CRAIGSLIST WOMEN SEEKING WOMEN ADS AND IN LIFE.

WE HAVE BIG MOUTHS AND WE KNOW HOW TO USE
THEM. DON’T FUCK WITH US! ASK US IF WE WANT TO FUCK THOUGH !

FEMME SHARKS WILL RECLAIM THE POWER AND DIGNITY OF FEMALENESS BY ANY MEANS NECCESARY.
WE’RE GIRLS BLOWN UP, TURNED INSIDE OUT AND REMIXED.

FEMME SHARKS ARE OVER WHITE QUEERS OBLIVIOUSNESS TO QUEER OF COLOR, TWO SPIRIT AND TRANS OF COLOR LIVES.
WE KNOW THAT WE ARE A CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
WE’RE OVER WHITE FEMMES AND BUTCHES WHO THINK THAT FEMME ONLY COMES IN THE COLOR OF BARBIE.
WE’RE OVER BUTCHES AND BOYS AND OTHER FEMMES TELLING US WHAT WE NEED TO DO, WEAR OR BE IN ORDER TO BE “REALLY FEMME.”

FEMME SHARKS RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES, BUTCHES, GENDERQUEER AND TRANS PEOPLE
HAVE BEEN IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR SINCE FOREVER.
THAT BEFORE COLONIZATION WE WERE SEEN AS SACRED
AND WE WERE SOME OF THE FIRST FOLKS MOST VIOLENTLY ATTACKED
WHEN OUR LANDS WERE INVADED AND COLONIZED.
FEMME SHARKS WON’T REST UNTIL WE RECLAIM OUR POSITIONS
AS BELOVED FAMILY WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES.

FEMME SHARKS AREN’T JUST DIMEPIECES AND TROPHY WIVES
FUCK THAT!
WE MIGHT BE YOUR GIRL,
BUT WE’RE OUR OWN FEMMES.
WE RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES ARE LEADERS OF OUR COMMUNITIES.
WE HOLD IT DOWN, CALM YOUR TEARS, ORGANIZE THE RALLY, VISIT YOU IN JAIL, GET CHILDCARE HOOKED UP, LOAN YOU TWENTY DOLLARS.
FEMMES ARE WELDERS, AFTERSCHOOL TEACHERS, ABORTION CLINIC WORKERS, STRIPPERS, WRITERS, FACTORY WORKERS, MOMS, REVOLUTIONARIES DEDICATED TO TAKING THE SYSTEM THE HELL DOWN SO WE CAN BE FREE!

FEMMES ARE LEADERS IN TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS/ DEFENDING OUR QUEER AND TRANS OF COLOR COMMUNITIES.
WE USED OUR STILETTOS AS WEAPONS AT STONEWALL.
WE WERE THE TRANSWOMEN WHO FOUGHT BACK AT THE COMPTON
CAFETERIA
WE’RE THE GIRLS WHO STARE DOWN ASSHOLES STARING AT OUR LOVERS AND FRIENDS ON THE SUBWAY.
WE WALK EACH OTHER HOME
ACT CRAZY ON THE BUS TO GET ASSHOLES TO MOVE AWAY
AND KNOW HOW TO BREAK SOMEONE’S LEGS
WE SHARE WHAT WE KNOW.

FEMME SHARKS STAND UP FOR THE NEW JERSEY FOUR AND EVERY OTHER QUEER AND TRANS PERSON OF COLOR IN THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX FOR DEFENDING OUR LIVES.
WE BELIEVE IN SELF-DEFENSE AND SELF-DETIRMINATION.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A RIGHT TO DEFEND OURSELVES AND OUR COMMUNITIES
AGAINST ANY KIND OF ATTACK-
FROM ASSHOLES ON THE STREET
TO RACIST WHITE CLUB OWNERS WHO WANT THREE PIECES OF ID
TO FOLKS WHO INSIST THAT WE’RE STRAIGHT.
TO PEOPLE WHO TAKE OUR LAND.

WE REMEMBER OUR DEAD- SAKIA GUNN, GWEN ARAUJO, AND MANY OTHER QUEER AND TRANS POC WHO DIED BECAUSE OF RACIST, HOMO/TRANSPHOBIC VIOLENCE
NOT AS A POLITICAL STATEMENT
BUT AS WOMEN WE LOVED IN REAL LIFE
WOMEN WHO COULD’VE BEEN US OR OUR LOVES.

WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE LEFT OUT OF “THE STRUGGLE.”
NOT THIS TIME.
WE’RE NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE.

FEMMES GODDAMN WELL KNOW HOW TO STRAP IT ON, CHANGE THE OIL IN THE CAR AND PUT UP SHELVES.
WE CAN DO ANY GODDAMN THING WE WANT!
THAT’S WHY WE’RE FEMME SHARKS!
FEMME IS NOT THE SAME THING AS BEING OUR MOMS
FEMMES ARE BEAUTIFUL AND STRONG WHEN WE BOTTOM
AND WE’RE HOT AS HELL WHEN WE TOP
OUR BOTTOMING AND TOPPPING ARE BOTH GIFTS TO BE MET WITH RESPECT.
WHEN WE TAKE OUR LOVERS FIST ALL THE WAY INSIDE
ASK FOR WHAT WE WANT
BE THE BEST DIRTY GIRL
OR MAKE OUR LOVERS FLIP
WE’RE A FUCKING MIRACLE.
IN THE WORDS OF JILL SCOTT, “YOU GOTTA DO RIGHT BY ME. IT’S MANDATORY, BABY.”

FEMME SHARKS SHOP AT ROSS, FOXY LADY, VALUE VILLAGE, THE HM $5 RACK, TORRID AND THE DOLLAR STORE , AND KNOW HOW TO SHOPLIFT
WE CONCOCT BRILLIANT STRATEGIES TO LOOK FINE
ON TEN DOLLARS OR LESS.
WE’RE ONLY “INVISIBLE” IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOOK FOR US.

WE TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER
RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES ARE EACH OTHERS’ WEALTH
HOS BEFORE BROS, ALWAYS!
FEMME SOLIDARITY AND LOVE FOR EACH OTHER
IS A REVOLUTIONARY FORCE
WE BELIEVE IN GIRLS LOVING GIRLS, RESPECTING EACH OTHER’S BRILLIANCE
NOT FIGHTING OVER BOIS OR BUTCHES
NOT TRYING TO BE THE ALPHA FEMME
WE’RE ANTI-DRAMA
BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF COMMUNITIES THAT HEAL HURT, APOLOGIZE, LISTEN TO EACH OTHER AND MAKE THINGS RIGHT.
WE BELIEVE IN BUILDING OUR QTPOC COMMUNITIES STRONG

FEMME SHARKS WERE THERE WHEN FRIDA KAHLO HOOKED UP WITH HER
GIRLFRIENDS
WHEN JOAN NESTLE, CHRYSTOS, JEWELLE GOMEZ, ALEXIS DE VEUX, SYLVIA RIVERA, DOROTHY ALLISON, MINNIE BRUCE PRATT AND AMBER HOLLIBAUGH MADE QUEER FEMME HISTORY
WHEN ZAPATISTA WOMEN HOOKED UP
WHEN OUR COUSINS WERE MAKING OUT IN THE WOMEN’S SECTION OF THE MASJID
WHEN OUR GRANDMAS AND QUEER AUNTIES SNUCK OUT AT NIGHT
DIDN’T GET MARRIED TIL LATE- OR AT ALL
HAS A BEST GIRLFRIEND
AND STOOD UP FOR HER
FEMME SHARKS WERE THERE.

FEMME SHARKS ARE IN THE BODIES OF COUNTLESS SEX WORKERS, NEIGHBORDS AND LADIES WAITING FOR THE BUS AND IN THE LINEUP AT CENTURY 21.
AT RIIS BEACH, FUNKASIA, LOVERGIRL NYC, BUTTA, MANGO, MANHATTAN’S, DESILICIOUS, AND BIBI!
FEMME SHARKS LIVE ON THE REZ, IN CAPETOWN, NEWARK, OAKLAND!!!!!, THE SOUTH SIDE, NEW ORLEANS, COLOMBO, JUAREZ AND BROOKLYN SUBURBIA, THE FARM, AND LITTLE SMALL TOWNS.
WE’RE IN FOSTER CARE, THE PSYCH WARD, JUVIE, AND ABOUT TO BE EVICTED.

WE ARE SURVIVORS WHO ARE MORE THAN WHAT WE SURVIVED.
WE ARE FIGURING OUT HOW TO HEAL
AND HOW TO MAKE IT SO THAT NO ONE
WILL HAVE TO SURVIVE SEXUAL VIOLENCE EVERY AGAIN.
WE BELIEVE IN THE TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF THE SYSTEM AS WE KNOW IT
TO MAKE SOMETHING MUCH MO BETTA
AND WE BELIEVE IN MAKING OUR OWN WAYS TO FIGHT AND RESIST
ON THE DAILY.

A FEMME SHARK IS ANY GIRL
WHO IS TOUGH, HUNGRY, FIGHTS FOR HERSELF AND HER FAM
AND IS WORKING ON BECOMCING THE KIND OF GIRL
WHO FINDS GOD IN HERSELF
AND LOVES HER FIERCELY

WE’RE YOUR BEST GIRLFRIEND AND YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE

LOVE AND RAGE
THE FEMME SHARKS

FEMME SHARKS ARE ON PATROL!
JOIN THE MOVEMENT! SHARK SHARK IT UP!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, EMAIL

THEFEMMESHARKS@GMAIL.COM

Written by Founding Femme Shark Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

The Femme Sharks are an idea that was dreamed up by SBBFFF (Slutty Brown Best Femme Friends Forever) Zuleikha Mahmood and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in March of 2008, Oakland, CA.

This work is shared under a Creative Commons license- feel free to share if you give credit where cred is due.

Thank you to Bevin Branlandingham over at QueerFatFemme for reminding me about this femmepassioned manifesto! Bevin, your Femme Friday day will come!

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess (or a whole frenzy of Femme Sharks!). I want to feature you! Email me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me feature your beautiful, unique, femme story!

 

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Cindy Blank-Edelman on LGBTQ-Friendly Psychotherapy

I wonder how many of us have had really, really bad therapy. Like you find yourself spending the entire session explaining to your ever-so-interested shrink what a play party is; why drag is important to you; why you say “dick” and not “toy”; what ace or intersex is. What femme is and then what femme means to you. Seriously, what good is finally getting yourself to go to therapy if you can’t be fully yourself in your sessions? If you are constantly having to explain your daily reality to someone who thinks it’s odd, quaint, fascinating, or not-quite-normal? I know someone who is so isolated that they continue going to their straight therapist because they’ve spent so much time with her already; time spent educating the therapist on queer issues, doing intensive groundwork before the two of them can even get down to therapy business. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories, as well, like the one where the butch goes to the highly-recommended queer therapist and is asked in the first ten minutes, “So, have you thought about transitioning? Because many people find the issues you’re talking about disappear when they transition.” For those of us whose queer identities can’t be synched up with “normal” straight behavior, those of us who aren’t “just like you” queers, finding smart, caring, skilled therapists can be pretty daunting.

Cindy Blank-Edelman, you get one pingy-dingy for your level-headed, kind-hearted, step-by-step blog posts about what a queer client should look for in a therapist.

http://blank-edelman.com/blog/2015/08/lgbtq-friendly-psychotherapy-part-1/

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 and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on September 13, 2017 at 2:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Insufficient

We are desperately trying to make our abusers love and accept us when they do not love and accept us, when they do not love and accept us without them doing their work, and you can’t do their work for them. I don’t care how much you want to love them into being. They have to do their own work, and so you have to really insist upon only living within the vibration of love. Love that changes, love that confronts, love that holds you, love that allows you to make mistakes but only within love. –Re. angel Kyodo williams, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.

How do we queer femmes make sense of our wounds? The daily micro- and not-so-micro-aggressions, the generational trauma of queers in general and queer femmes specifically? How many of us grapple with multiple layers of rejection, ignorance, outright violence – physical and mental – from our families of origin, our ethnic and racial cultures, the white supremacist powers that be, and even, poignantly and heartbreakingly, from other queers?

In Episode 101 of Star Trek Voyager, Seven of Nine begins to hear the voices of people who had been her victims when she was part of the ruthless Borg Collective, you know, the ones who say menacingly, “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” Seven of Nine was herself a victim of the Borg, assimilated as a child. She has been liberated by the intrepid crew of Voyager, and is trying to learn how to be herself, to be an individual. To connect with a group of people out of love, loyalty, and inclination rather than force. As a Borg drone, Seven believed herself to be perfect; the Collective changed her body with Borg technology and when she was working in tandem with millions of beings in order to achieve the subjugation of all sentient species it certainly must have been a pretty big rush. Up until now, Seven has regretted her liberation and mourned being severed from the perfection of the Borg. She finds life on Voyager clumsy and annoying. “Insufficient!” she often raps out, finding fault with just about everything. Now, faced with the pain of all those victims, she in turn begins to feel her own pain. She sees that, despite its appeal, the perfection she still strives for could never help her weather this level of woundedness: the realization that she was and is a victim, a victim who went on to cause immense harm to others.

Like Seven of Nine, we queer femmes are victims of the greater culture. Yearning for perfection – or acceptance, anyway — we may try as hard as we can, day after day, to get things right, to be exemplary, to do our part. “If they just see how much work I’m doing,” we may think, “they’ll have to respect me!” We don’t do this work to harm others, of course, and yet, we may very well be causing harm to ourselves. We can find spaces in which we are welcome, where we appear to be loved, but so often it is conditional: as long as we are satisfied with what the status quo has to give, we are welcome. As long as we do as they do, we are loved. Insufficient!

In the end, Seven comes through this very challenging time with the help of her friends and colleagues aboard Voyager, in all their imperfection. She is allowed space, time, assistance and encouragement to begin asking and finding answers to those questions that are the birthright of every one of us: who am I? how do I best express myself? how do I live a life that is genuine and useful and satisfying? who are my friends, lovers, colleagues – the folks who see me for who I really am and who love and accept me, who are not put off by my imperfections, my differences, my quirks and queerness, who are able to hold my entire self?

As much as we queer femmes may desperately hope that our jobs, our places of worship, our neighborhoods, schools, friends, and families see us in our queer wholeness, this is so often not the case. We may feel stuck where we are, willing to put up with what we have because it’s better than a knuckle sandwich (as my Grandpa Doc used to joke). As Rev. angel Kyodo williams says, however, might we put our hard work into finding community where we are truly valued, where we can truly flourish? Where the love we get and the love we give is sufficient, is far more than sufficient?

May we find these healing, challenging, beneficial communities. May we embrace one another without condition. May we flower.

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

Femme Friday — tatiana de la tierra

tatania de la tierra came stomping into my life with her big femme feet through her essay, “A Latina Combat Femme, Her Shoes, and Ensuing Cultural Identity” in The Femme Mystique, edited by Lesléa Newman. When I went out internet questing to find her for a Femme Friday feature, I was devastated to learn that she crossed over the rainbow bridge in 2012.

Reading her friends’ testimonials, as well as perusing her work and writing, it is clear that tatiana’s queer life enriched the world immeasurably. Her fearlessness, sense of humor, sense of the sacred, her love of lesbians and lesbian sex, of her Latinx culture and soul, her generosity in sharing; tatiana, I didn’t know you, but I miss your presence here in this plane. RIP, dear tatiana. And I think we all know what the “P” stands for.

Deep gratitude to tatiana de la tierra – big fat pussy girls make the rockin’ queer world go round!

 Big Fat Pussy Girl

(excerpt)

This is what happened.  Me, my cunt, and Margarita—that’s her name—we started getting intimate.  And Margarita would say stuff to me, like, Ay mami, que rica que tu eres.  And she’d be kissing on me and touching and swooning and I let her.  And she’d be exploring me with her questions and with her tongue and with her nose and with her fingertips and when her fingers finally got there, right there to my cunt, ahí, ahí, Margarita said, Papayona, mira esta papaya tan sabrosa que tienes…Papayona.

Papayona.  Big fat pussy.  She said it.  She named it.  I didn’t just have any pussy.  I had a big fat pussy.  And this was a good thing.  Papayona.  Bigger, softer, better.  Papayona.  Wider, deeper, wetter.  Panochota, 3X double-wide extra padded. Chochachona.  Big fat pussy. Queen-size cunt.  A whaler of a cunt, the cruise ship of cunts, the World Wide Web of cunts, the Cadillac of cunts, the castle of cunts, the eagle of cunts, the Jupiter of Cunts.  Papayona.  The Library of Congress of cunts.  Papayona.  The Disney World of Cunts.  Papayona.  The Sonora Matancera of Cunts.

Los invitamos a vivir emociones de otros  tiempos. Señoras y Señores, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the immense pleasure of presenting to you the Dean of Cunts, the world-wide famous Sonora Papayona with original arrangements and the best digital sound, con ustedes, la Sonora Papayona, the grand orchestral pussy of the 21st century.

Pa-pa-pa-papayona, que ricura chingona
Pa-pa-pa-panochota, una tremenda nota
Cho-cho-cho-chocha chochona que niñita tan mona

Big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl

Got the fattest shiniest pearl
Got the deepest oiliest well
Got the sweetest lingering smell
Got the prettiest prettiest shell
Got the prettiest prettiest shell

Big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl
Big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl, big fat pussy girl

12 de agosto de 2001, 1:48 a.m., buffalo, nueva york

–Porcupine Love and Other Tales from My Papaya.  Buffalo:  Chibcha Press, 2005.  5.  Also recorded as:  “Big Fat Pussy Girl.”  Vagina Dialogues: A Queer Review. Compact disc recording. Hag Theatre, 2002.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com.

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Vu Le at Nonprofit: Absolutely Fabulous (or is it: And Friends?)

Keeping it sooooo real about non-profit work and the absurdities, frustrations, humor and sublime connections we experience every day, Vu: you and your fabulous unicorns, your excellent sense of humor and your sweet and loving dedication get one pingy-dingy!

http://nonprofitaf.com/2017/08/charlottesville-and-a-time-for-gracious-anger/

And the EDs among us simply must check out Vu’s Executive Director Happy Hour Toolkit!

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 and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes — “The Hard Answers”

Relationships with friends, family members and lovers; what to do with one’s queer femme life; why and why and why…we queer femmes crave moments of respite where we can recalibrate, breathe, sit in peaceful contemplation. I hope this poem I wrote for my butch husband early on in our relationship, will afford you one sweet moment.

The Hard Answers

The hard answers must

lie somewhere between

brook trout and mourning doves.

 

Elusive and sweet,

the wild fish flick their tails

and vanish in the dappled water.

Pursuing them through brambles,

you might go gloriously in

over your waders. You might

hook one, lose one,

not get one at all.

 

While back in the burbs,

evening and dawn,

the mourning doves chortle

their comforting song:

Close your eyes, close your eyes;

open them now, open.

 

The hard answers swim in and out

of focus, enter our thoughts when

we’re dreaming, escape us at dawn

only to reappear again after

we’ve made love, fought,

laughed so hard

we’re both weeping.

 

The hard answers can’t be anticipated

or rushed or pulled from nowhere.

They gleam at us briefly,

a ray of sunshine catching

the brook trout’s fin.

They steady us through the days,

cooing: Time to sleep;

time to rise.

 

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

Published in: on September 4, 2017 at 2:48 PM  Comments (4)  
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Femme Friday — How to Hostess a Femme Klatsch

Would you like to gather queer femme community around you?

Would you like to share food, stories, ideas, supports, fun times and laughter with other queer femmes in your vicinity?

Are you curious about all the different kinds of queer femmes out there and would you like to form a more cohesive network of queer femmes to bolster and inspire and possibly fuck things up?

If so, then the Femme Klatsch is for you! Liz and Constance and I have hostessed a few Femme Klatsches, and we highly recommend this low-key yet powerful way to connect with other femmes, combat femme invisibility, and open up avenues for queer femme personal and political growth.

Here’s a quick Femme Klatsch guide:

  1. Decide if this will be an open invitation or if you would like to start with a group of femmes you know or know of and go from there.

We suggest that if you issue an open invitation, drill down on the agenda for the evening to keep it focused on femme issues. Of course, if you just want to hang out with a group of femmes and talk about whatever topics come up, that’s fine, too! Oh, and you don’t have to call it a Femme Klatsch, of course, if that doesn’t resonate with you. I’ve got a grandmother theme going here at The Total Femme, and a Klatsch makes me think fondly of Grandma Daisy’s Club evenings, when the ladies of her small southern Iowa town would get together, play bridge, nosh bridge mix, and just in general get up to things. Pick a name that works for you, or feel free to use Femme Klatsch – the important thing is to get together with other queer femmes!

  1. Find and book a public meeting space at a time that works for you personally (it’s not usually worth spending a lot of time trying to find a time that works for everyone, given how busy we all are).

Public libraries usually have community rooms that can be booked free of charge for community events; sometimes cafes have nice big tables that could work; if the weather is nice, a park gazebo might do the trick; if you’re lucky enough to have an LGBTQ+ Center in your area, they would have rooms. We suggest starting out in a public space, especially if you’re putting out an open call. You can always move to meeting in people’s homes later, if that seems like a good plan.

  1. Commit to providing some finger food, a beverage or two and a wee bit of decoration and/or crafty things, if you are so inclined.

You can invite people to bring crafts, and also provide some adult coloring books (why not Tee Corrine’s Cunt Coloring Book, for example??) or other little bits and bobs for folks to fiddle with. People can feel shy, especially at the first meeting, and having food and activities can help put them at ease.

  1. Plan a flexible course of events for the evening.

Liz, Constance and I all really wanted to have discussions centered on femme identity, femme resistance, femme resilience, etc. We introduced ourselves and these ideas both in the email invitations and at the first meeting of the Klatsch. We found that it really helped to have a bunch of direct questions to spark discussion, especially since femmes at the first Klatsch were shy; some were even uncertain if they were “allowed” to be there, to which we answered, “If you were drawn here, you are where you’re supposed to be!”( Sample questions below; tailor them to your own needs, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own.) You could also gather femmes together for a specific event, like you want to go to a demonstration together or you want to do work for a certain local charity or you want to make art together, etc., in which case, you’ve got a built in plan for your gathering.

  1. Send out the word!

You can do an event page on social media, send out a group email, even put up fliers around town – whatever will work best in your community for gathering up the queer femmes! We have an email list, which includes femmes who aren’t physically here in this area; we want to hold them in our femme circle and invite them to join in the conversation, even if we don’t get to hug them at the Klatsch.

  1. Plan the next Klatsch at the first Klatsch.

If the format worked, keep it the same. Or, folks might prefer to get together at someone’s house for a potluck, go out dancing together, meet at an art exhibit, etc. – whatever works! We do recommend that someone be in charge of planning/facilitating each meeting, otherwise things can get lost in the shuffle of our busy queer femme lives. For us, meeting once a month has worked so far, with a hiatus in August.

  1. Let The Total Femme know how it’s going!

We hope your Femme Klatsch is just wonderful! We sure would love to hear about other femme uprisings around the country and world, so please take a quick femme moment to let us know how it went. Write to us at thetotalfemme@gmail.com. Who came? What did you talk about? What happens next?

Sample Femme Klatsch questions (you can write them on the back of postcards, write them on slips of paper to be pulled out of a purse or a hat, or come up with your own unique delivery system!).

What feeds your femme?

Do you feel invisible?

Who are your femme role models?

Do you ever hide your femme?

What is your femme coming out story?

Do you have femme friends?

What kind of femme are you?

What does “queer femme” mean to you?

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess (or a Klatsch thereof!). I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com.

 

Published in: on September 1, 2017 at 10:44 AM  Comments (1)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — “Waking Up from the Mind of Whiteness” by Rev. angel Kyodo williams

I became aware of the work of Rev. angel Kyodo williams from a book (remember them?) I found in a bookstore (remember those?), a book I had desperately been searching for without knowing it existed: Radical Dharma: Talking Race. Love. And Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD. As much as I love my Pema Chödrön, I have been yearning for queer voices, along with the voices of practitioners of color, to give my readings of Buddhism depth, context and political weight. I am so grateful to East End Books in Provincetown for stocking this book, and to the authors for being so generous and loving as to discuss the topics that most white, straight, cis practitioners are way too uncomfortable to bring up. Read Rev. angel Kyodo william’s brilliant piece, “Waking Up from the Mind of Whiteness”  for a taste of the kind of essential discussions you will find in Radical Dharma.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, you get one pingy-dingy!

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 and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.