Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Mark Charles, Candidate for President

As part of honoring Juneteenth today, I recommend watching Mark Charles’s video announcing his candidacy for President. Last election, he says, we had the choice between voting for explicit or implicate white supremacy – brilliant. He speaks about many more gravely important issues, as well; I felt deeply grateful as I listened to his sane and compassionate words.

Mark Charles, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your generosity and brilliance and hard work, and for the life- and earth-saving conversation you are inviting us to join.

https://www.markcharles2020.com/

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 June 19, 2019 at 5:28 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Seen, Held, Loved

Last week when I went to get my labs done at the oncology clinic, I rode the elevator down with a pair of queers I know from around. They didn’t recognize me, I don’t think, and I tried to give them a lot privacy, as it seemed one of them was dealing with a recent cancer diagnosis and I didn’t want to intrude. But I did feel great sympathy for them, being just that little bit further along in the process. And I did see them. Later, in the car, I even wept for them.

Every queer I know has stories about being harassed in the bathroom, the changing room, the locker room, and out in public, and femmes who are usually invisible become hypervigilent when they’re walking out with queer friends who are more visibly not-straight. We are always on alert when not on friendly ground (my shoulders drop about six inches when I’m in Provincetown…), constantly having to deal with other people’s reaction to our appearance (or our coming out) and the meaning they slap onto it. Seeing those queers in the elevator, witnessing their uncertainty and pain, feeling so much compassion and love for them, made me think, though. I saw and held them; I’m still holding them, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever know that there was a femme in the elevator the other day giving them so much heart. And that means I bet I get seen and loved on by other queers when I’m out and about way more than I know, that there is queer love coming at me, surrounding me.

Bodacious, sweet o’ my heart, generous and complicated femme sisters, I know you got it to give, but today, remember to receive. We are everywhere and even if we don’t nod or wink, we see each other much more than we might imagine. When you walk out, make room for a little queer love to come on into your queer femme bosom, because your presence in the world is a joy and a blessing, and it does not go unnoticed.

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 June 17, 2019 at 5:17 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Jen Deerinwater

Featured in the Advocate’s July 2019 issue as one of the country’s “Champions of Pride,” Jen Deerinwater introduces herself as “a bisexual, multiply-disabled, mixed race Tsalagi, two-spirit, and hard femme citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.” She is also the founder and executive director of Crushing Colonialism, a collective of multi-media Indigenous artists. In the Advocate, she says, “We have a lot of work to do within the queer community to create equity and justice for all of our people. The issues of biphobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, abelism, elitism, colonialism, fat antagonism, and ageism are far too prevalent within our organizations and community spaces. If we’re not working for the justice of all our community members, then we’re not effective as agents of change. LGBTQIA2S+ rights mean the inclusion of the rights of all our people, not simply the most privileged.”

Deep Gratitude to Jen Deerinwater for her activism and truth-speaking; her fearless and necessary articles such as “How White Feminists Fail As Native Allies in the Era of Trump” “Weeding Out the Allies from the White Saviors at Standing Rock” and “Our Pride: Honoring and Recognizing Our Two-Spirit Past and Present”; for her generous and fierce work with Crushing Colonialism (I love Crushing Colonialism’s statement: We are our ancestors hopes turned into photography, art, film, and the written and spoken work); and for being a hard femme of such brilliance and scope!

https://www.jendeerinwater.com/

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 June 14, 2019 at 4:52 AM  Comments (2)  
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Pingy Dingy Wednesday – Breast Cancer Action

When my kids turned out to be super sporty, I needed to find books by Dave Zirin to help me engage with the endless games, and now that I have breast cancer, I need a way to situate myself, as well. I remember going to a Breast Cancer Action fundraiser with my friend Milva many a moon ago. At that time, I got a nifty button that says, “Rachel Carson Was Right!” and remember thinking how glad I was this organization existed. This very Wednesday, as I head into round three of chemo, I am comforted and so incredibly grateful for their company and wisdom.

Breast Cancer Action, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for educating us and urging us to “Think Before You Pink”, thank you for being there for so many years to support women with breast cancer and their friends and family, for educating us about the deeper and more systemic issues, and for your great big loving hearts!

https://bcaction.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 – Are You Weary?

In her 2015 book, Accidental Saints: Finding God In All the Wrong People, Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Webber shares her “brilliant five-point plan for making it all work”:

  1. Hire an assistant to deal with all my public communications and details for speaking events.
  1. Make coffee dates and pastoral care appointments for right up to the time I leave and right away after returning.
  2. Eat real food.
  3. Get real sleep.
  4. Get real exercise.

Later, she confesses that although the plan appeared to be about self-care, it is actually “just a laundry list of habits I adopted to ensure I could continue to overfunction.” Hmm. Sound familiar?

It did to me! We queer femmes are just so damn good at so many things that it can be nigh on impossible for us to just let it all go for the sake of a rest. The flip side of FEMME LOVE HEAL WORLD is that the need for the femme to heal herself first and foremost might actually get shoved to last and negligible. Especially where overfunctioning brings so many rewards, like visibility, kudos, good feelings about having done good work, a place to wield creativity, kindness, innovation, and queer magic, a place to be seen and needed – all things in very short supply for queers and as seductive as candy – then it can be pretty tricky to understand when it’s time for a rest. Even more importantly, I’m not sure many of us even know what resting looks like, or if we do have an inkling, we are unclear how to rest without feeling guilty and/or getting started on our next project (“I’ll just make a little list and then I’ll go to the beach,”) or, like Nadia, making our R & R just another To Do list.

In order to really rest, dearest brilliant whirlwind femme beloveds, we have to start by putting it all down and leaving it there. Can you believe that if you put it down, it will still be there when you’re ready to pick it up again? Can you trust that whoever you left in charge will be fine with that responsibility, even if they don’t do it exactly as you would? Are you willing to allow other voices, other hands into the mix; to make room for someone other than you to hold some of the jobs that (let’s face it) you actually do perfectly? But even the queen of the universe has to take naps.

Sweet femme sisters, settle in. Settle down. Let your energy sink. Rub your hands together and then put them gently over your eyes (take your glasses off first). Never underestimate the power of a few deep breaths. Reconnect to yourself, to the earth, to the elements and wild things, the beauty beyond what we can grasp, the cosmos. Feel where you are, where you belong, right in the great sweep of things. Natural and part of nature. Embedded in love and light. Give yourself leave to luxuriate in a bit o’ shut eye, as all living creatures need rest. Some serious down time. A restorative snack or bath or dance or stroll. For you, by you, all you. Come back to yourself, and allow for renewal.

You will be stronger, happier, more connected, and more at peace.

Shhh. Femme resting. Sacred space.

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 June 10, 2019 at 4:19 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Alli Simon, Om Girl

First, we heal ourselves, then we reach out to others, and that is how FEMME LOVE HEAL WORLD. Alli Simon is a heart-based yoga and mindfulness teacher who spreads love and healing in L.A.

Deep gratitude to you, Alli, for your joy, generosity, and heart’s work! Thank you for bringing healing practices into the business world (it needs it, bad!), and thank you for specifically reaching out to marginalized bodies, people and communities.

https://www.allisimon.com/about-me

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 June 7, 2019 at 5:26 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Vivek Shraya, “How did the suffering of marginalized artists become so marketable?”

If you’ve ever wondered why queer stories seem to be repeating themselves, and that the stories are often so sad and violent, Vivek Shraya has a few thoughts to offer. I’m old enough to remember when even the hint of queerness in the media was something to be celebrated, even if the character or mention was horrible – at least we had proof that we existed! That time, thankfully, is long past, and queer stories, queer lives, must be told and honored in all their infinite variety. Not so easy, though, when the powers that be are hoping to keep those stories and lives within very narrow, oppressive boundaries.

Vivek Shraya, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for making your own, unique, honest queer art, and thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience. It is immensely inspiring!

https://nowtoronto.com/culture/art-and-design/vivek-shraya-trauma-clown/

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 June 5, 2019 at 9:03 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – When You Turn Into a Magical Unicorn

“Can I tell you something?” The woman helping me at the health food store looks sweetly into my face, and I nod. “I love you!” she says, and then proceeds to thank me, “on behalf of all women.” I manage to smile and thank her for her kindness because I’ve been saying the Serenity Prayer almost non-stop and practicing gratitude like a house on fire, but she is really kind of freaking me out. It’s my first encounter with someone who has lots of preconceived notions about me because of how I currently look, but it is definitely not my last.

How I currently look is bald, baby, bald. Early in the spring, I found a lump in my breast, and here we are now, working hard to usher the cancer out of my body with our era’s most powerful drugs, functional medicine, Al-Anon, a loving spouse, a loving community of friends, neighbors, and family, and the strength and power of my precious femme body.

So I’ve been thinking about visibility. I’ve never been visible as queer unless I’m on the arm of my butch, but now I am extremely visible as someone with cancer. When I go out in public, strangers smile at me with a certain look and offer me lots of compliments and solicitous behavior. They treat me the way I’ve seen my butch and other visibly queer friends treated by straight people who want very much to weigh in on injustice and bigotry by a little bit overdoing it in the support category. Telling folx how brave they are, how beautiful, how amazing. The extra, weird attention is uncomfortable and awkward and is making me revisit my long-standing grudge about how people never see me as queer.

I’ve always had a propensity for an in-your-face queer politics, wanting everyone to see me as queer, all the time. It seemed the best way to get and keep straight people’s attention, to educate them. Also, I’m such a proud femme, proud of my ancestry, my people, my community – I just always wanted everyone to know who I am, where I come from, where I stand. But the bottom line is that homophobia and all its attendant fuckery will attend me for the rest of my life; it’s not going anywhere soon. And no matter what, in your face or stealth attack, there’s no one sure method of educating and spreading social justice glitter. Does it really matter to me personally if everyone sees my three-dollah bill every second, or if sometimes I get to come out to them when it actually might bring us both closer together, or make a bigger impact?

Sweet femme sisters, my darlings, my loves. Today, think about your stealth femme powers and hold them on high. Revel in your sneak attacks. Sing praise to your devious strategies of love. You walk among them and you queer the game and by the time they know it, it’s too late for them to walk away untouched. And make no mistake.

I see you. I love you. You are treasures.

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 June 3, 2019 at 2:40 PM  Comments (2)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Friends of Cape Wildlife

This past weekend, Tex and I were I Provincetown, shutting down our winter rental, soaking up the love, seeing friends, attending the most generative and fabulous Al-Anon meeting ever, and just enjoying the delicious, queer, layered, complicated marvel that is our one of our favorite places in the world. Sunday morning, early, I hied me off on my usual walk down to the Moors and back, and when I turned onto Commercial, I saw a duck walking ahead of me, obviously in distress. Rather quickly, the following sequence of events went down: I caught the eye of a man who’d just parked his car on his way to walk his dog, and we agreed things weren’t right with the duck. He called the cops and I followed the duck. A tradeswoman on her way to work stopped her car in the middle of the street, deftly enacted duck rescue by putting a blanket over it and settling it in a shopping bag, then the two of us chatted about Ptown’s version of Town and Gown (year-rounders and we-just-want-to-be-on-vacation-and-don’t-care-ers) until a young police sergeant showed up to relieve us of the duck and take it to a wildlife rescue place.

I don’t know the statistics, but I’m pretty sure most wildlife injuries and deaths are the fault of humans. We owe it to the world’s creatures – and to ourselves! – to do all we can to help them, from working to abolish corrupt systems and practices locally and globally to responding to individual emergencies wherever we may happen to be.

I don’t know where the young police officer took that merganser (Tex helped me identify the duck when I got home), but Friends of Cape Wildlife is a hub of information for wildlife rescue, and it gets one pingy-dingy! Thank you, thank you! I am incredibly grateful to your dedication and hard work on behalf of all the denizens of the wild Cape.

https://www.friendsofcapewildlife.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 – Boredom, Waiting, Illness, Healing

Way back when I used to homeschool my kids, there was a story going around about one of the many homeschool gurus. This woman was wise in the ways of children, learning, creativity, and play, and I am sorry I don’t remember her name. When her children complained that they were bored, she would respond with a vaguely interested, “Hmm,” and go on about her business. Usually and pretty soon, her kids would figure out what they wanted to do next, and they, too, would go about their business.

Think about now. We are never bored. We are petrified of boredom. And waiting — we still have do that, in line, at the laundromat, before appointments, for the movie to start, but we don’t have to do it with our feelers out, our brains idling in neutral. When we are feeling punk, or are up against a recommended medical test, we never have to check in with ourselves if we don’t want to (and when you’re scared or even just concerned, it’s often hard to check in); we don’t even have to figure out how best to heal or even what being healthy means, because we can look it all up online and chose from among many, many strong opinions on the subjects. Our devices connecting us to the friendly internet skies are always, always there to keep us company. We are not encouraged to let our minds and hearts float free.

This has been a year of many health issues, my own and those of my family. We have spent time doing research, trying one thing after another, connecting to Spirit and waiting for various kinds of information.  I’m using the word “information” deliberately, preferring it to “results” or “diagnosis”, because, when faced with a health issue, we are trying to do our best to suss the meaning out about what’s going on and how we want to proceed in a way that is as much in harmony with our beliefs and best interests as possible. We want to feel centered, surrounded by love and support, and connected to each other and to the great web of being so that our path is wider than a panicked fast track to medical intervention or a relieved denial about mortality. We want to find ourselves in the process.

Time spent waiting can be been both excruciating and mundane. With the help of the Serenity Prayer and a full year in Al-Anon, I have the rudiments of a spiritual program I can use (when I remember!) to slow down my extremely creative, busy and crises-oriented imagination around all this family health stuff. I have work, and my students bring me so much joy. I have chores. I have pets, friends, my kids, books, a new course of studies that will begin in July that I’m deeply grateful for and really excited about. I have my butch husband who is a fucking rock – thank you, My Love! I have responsibilities to and love from my elderly parents, including my mother-in-law who is such an ace at lighting candles and sending healing energy. I participate in the life of my community. I have the practice of this blog and my other writing, and I have a piano and singing and right now I’m sitting in our Provincetown rental looking out at the sea: full tide, a bit choppy, grey, huge, cloudy sky. Earlier, some of the clouds were in spirals – I’ve never seen that before. I am grateful for the sea and the clouds and for the reminder that I am part of all of these natural systems and that we all have a natural system inside of us. Just as in Al-Anon we learn that the alcoholic is not wholly defined by their addiction, despite how it feels, I am allowing that I and my family members are much more complex as humans than simply an illness or an exhibitor of certain symptoms. I am allowing that an illness itself might be a symptom of healing.

Embodied, fragile, infinitely strong of spirit, glorious and beloved femme sisters, today revel in boredom, in waiting. Do not reject it! Leave the earbuds behind on your walk, smile and look around when you’re in line, use the cashier instead of the automated check out, remember: you contain multitudes. Take a moment or more to connect with yourself and with the nature around you, and by “nature” I mean everything, including humans. We are here for such a limited and precious time, my ornery and delightful darlings. We are here. We are here. We are here.

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.”)