Meditations for Queer Femmes – Seeing Femme

I’m old enough to remember being stunned with delight to see k.d. lang getting a shave on the cover of Vanity Fair, lo, these many years ago, and am still riding high on the thrill of Lena Waithe’s gorgeous cover feature in the same mag just recently. Go, queer representation!

And.

I have been thinking about audience. When a butch is on the cover of a big ladies’ magazine, what is the message? Who is that cover talking to? We butch-loving femmes can certainly groove on it and squirrel our well-thumbed copy carefully away as a treasured keepsake, but are we included in the gambit? Do we even want to be?

I am grateful for and in awe of show business butches like k.d. and Lena, whose perseverance and incredible talent are epic. They deserve every bit of cover time and everything else they get for their work and their dedication to their art.

In addition, I know that k.d. and Lena are being their authentic queer selves in the artistic milieu that they love. It is inspiring and fabulous and it gives me strength and hope, and I believe k.d. and Lena are speaking to me and to other queers, as well.

However, I don’t believe mainstream media is thinking about me at all. Mainstream media is only ever thinking about and talking to its market audience: straight people.

It would certainly be exciting to see a femme on the cover of some magazine you flip through at the supermarket check out counter, but you know what? That might entail some explanation on the part of the magazine. It would certainly require a more nuanced understanding of the fact that there’s more than one kind of queer, and would mean giving up relying on a shorthand representation of queerness, where butches and effeminate gay men are always doing the heavy lifting. I’m not holding my breath, and at this point, I’m not even interested in taking on that battle, because mainstream media is not my friend. Never has been.

Queer femmes are constantly being told by straight people and even by other queers that we don’t look gay. What does it mean to look gay? Are there rules? How many of us queer femmes went androgynous or even butch when we first came out because that’s what we thought we were supposed to do in order to signal to other queers we were now part of the club? How many of us now dye our hair purple or make a point to always wear some kind of queer marker like rainbow jewelry or a gay t-shirt or buttons and still get pegged as straight every day, every day? How many of us continue to feel isolated and freaky and, miserably, can’t even recognize each other?

The skanky hands of the Media Man are not going to hand us deliverance, beautiful queer femme sisters. We must talk to each other, make art for each other, be visible in any way we can and open ourselves to queer femme community, and queer community in general, where we can explore our full selves. Be fully femme. Be fully queer. Only we can define that, through exploration and community and self love.

Today, I invite you to gaze with love upon each other. To gaze with love upon your unbelievably queer self in the mirror. Find each other, celebrate each other. Revel in the nuance, the infinite variations on the queer theme that we know in our own queer femme lives. Let those revels radiate outward and inward, nurturing your heart and mine.

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.

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 – One-Minute Practice

Just in the nick of time, Constance Clare-Newman came through as my guest femme this Monday, as I am running on the fumes of fumes… Many thanks to Constance for her care of and love for queer femmes — me included! — and for her wisdom of body, mind and spirit!

Pleasure, not Perfection – a One-Minute Practice by Constance Clare-Newman

We all deal with the instinctive fight/flight /freeze pattern to some extent every day. Whether it comes from deadlines, too much traffic, noisy neighbors or from internal expectations of perfection, this contractive pattern is a human reaction.

If we can bring our habitual reaction of tightening and contracting into our awareness, then we can take a moment to pause, to rest in acceptance, and then to choose another response.

We can choose something more effective, more balanced, which also happens to be more pleasurable. Pleasure in stillness and in movement can often be a guide toward efficiency, and grace.

As you read this, ask yourself—Can I let my head balance with delicacy at the top of my spine? Can I let the floor (and chair) really support me? Can I sense my whole back? Can I allow my torso to respond three-dimensionally to my breath? Would a smidgen of internal mobility feel good in this stillness?

(If you answer no to these questions, it is time to take a break! If you can take 20 minutes, listen to this: https://www.constanceclare.com/constructive-rest/  )

If you answer yes, what else would feel good?

How about releasing my hands into spaciousness, even as I type or mouse? Letting my eyes, mouth, jaw soften? How about taking a couple of seconds to let my deepest values come into my awareness?

As you move into other daily tasks, can you let that movement be pleasurable? Ask yourself—What pace would feel good right now? Can I hold my pen (or cup, or tool, or instrument) with a little less effort? If so, can I sense how it creates ease elsewhere in myself? If I give up my pre-conceived idea of perfect posture or form, and rather, invite a pleasurable balance, what does that do? What would it be like to stay connecting with ease and grace and pleasure even in the challenging moments?

More “One-Minute Practices” here:

https://www.constanceclare.com/category/one-minute-practices-from-constance/

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.

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 May 21, 2018 at 9:33 PM  Comments (3)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Birthrights: Singing

In the last Meditation for Queer Femmes, I mentioned some of our human birthrights: singing and writing and dancing and making art and playing.

Tex and I had the good fortune to see “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami” last week, and we have been discussing and thinking about it ever since. Grace, you get one hell of a pingy-dingy! Thank you for everything, everything.

This is singing. Mit ein bischen Deutsche!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzmZC_WanTU

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.

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 May 16, 2018 at 5:12 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Queer Femme Blessings

Oh, ho, ho, and don’t you know this butch-lovin’ femme dearly loved seeing Lena Waithe on the cover of Vanity Fair last month! Jacqueline Woodson writes gorgeously and pointedly about Lena and other black women, including queer black women, in tv and Hollywood. At one point, she quotes Ava DuVernay, the director of “A Wrinkle in Time”, who says, “If no other black woman makes a film more than $100 million past me for another 10 or 15 years, if no other woman wins an Emmy for writing, for the words that come out of their head, then we’re kidding ourselves that we’re in a moment that makes any difference than momentary inspiration,” and Lena adds, “…There’s a transition of power. But we still aren’t in power.”

Oh, how I wish all the money used to make the fucked up, throw-away white penis films could go to women of color artists – what a bounty would grow from that and how much more glorious the world would be! I loved reading this article, for the hope and the wisdom and the queer women of color brilliance, and for the thoughts this particular conversation sparked for me about my own queer femme art and power. What does that power look like? And looks are important, because out and about, most people, especially straight people, think that I look straight. That I read straight. But just because straight people may think I look like them doesn’t mean I want to be like them. It doesn’t mean I’m lusting after even one of the boring toys in their pissy little sandbox they’re so busy defending and bragging about. The toys they think I want so badly. Ha!

What I want is to be part of shifting the paradigm, offering art and community and healing that’s not based on enclosure and a model of paucity. I want harmonic vibration and new ways of looking at old problems and coalition building and joy and fucking and naked sailing and making a fort in your living room with your sweetie and getting in there with the dogs and eating really fun food and maybe having a little nap together. I want to sow inspiration and love and creativity and make people laugh and do belly breathing and help each other shake ourselves free of oppressive systems and get right after connecting to our birthrights of singing and writing and dancing and making art and playing.

And you know what? That’s what I am. That’s who I do. That’s what is here on Planet Femme, and you are, too, you do too, because queer femmes have those capabilities and those magics and that is how we bless the world.

Sweet femme sisters, today take some time to honor the blessings you bring to your family, to your community, to the world. Remember our sage and honored grandmother, Audre Lorde*, and don’t try to measure those blessings with the sorry-ass tools of the status quo, either, because those tools will never be able to do you justice and they’re for shit, anyway.

But I see you and I take your glorious measure and I am grateful.

Thank you, queer femmes! You are beyond compare.

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.

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.”)

*“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.” –Audre Lorde

 

Femme Friday – Cammie Scott is a Femme Lesbian

What, you don’t sit around trying to track down queer femmes on the internet? ‘Cause I do! And let me tell you, sometimes I come up with some very odd things that actually aren’t what I’m looking for, but Miss Cammie is just the ticket!

Deep gratitude to Cammie for saying “femme lesbian” about 800 times (it’s a phrase I can never tire of hearing!), for femme lesbian persistence in the face of what she calls “common nuisances” and I call rude and assholic behavior, including from folx who should know the fuck better, for gracefully handling an extremely lively phone, and for her generosity in telling it like it is for (say it with me) FEMME LESBIANS!

Femme Lesbian Struggles

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!

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 Wendesday – Drag King History

I know not every queer femme is drawn to butches romantically, but I hope that we can all revel in and celebrate the queer history represented in this delicious project! And for those of us who do love the butches…YUM YUM!!!

Stalwart anonymous team at Drag King History, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your dedication to documenting and holding up the history of male impersonators in order to hold up and celebrate today’s community of drag kings!

http://dragkinghistory.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 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 May 9, 2018 at 5:07 PM  Comments (1)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – “Decolonize Your Diet” by Linda Black Elk

I was raised in a family where we all ate our meals reading our separate books at the table. I still derive comfort from reading as I eat, but I have learned to be more respectful and aware of what I am consuming. For a nation of folks who are on their phones as they eat, or watching tv, reading, or having what my butch husband calls “a sink sandwich” (grabbing a quick bite in the kitchen) and just generally being dismissive and ignorant about the complex systems behind what it is we’re putting in our mouths and why, this article is a loving wake up call.

Linda Black Elk, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your compassion, wisdom and gentle teaching. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some lovely and tender dandelion leaves out front I need to go harvest for supper!

https://lrinspire.com/2018/04/22/decolonize-your-diet-by-linda-black-elk/

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.

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 May 2, 2018 at 4:43 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Lesbian Bed Death

Remember the cartoon from the 90s where two lesbians are fucking so hard that the bed breaks, and the title is “Lesbian Bed Death”? Was it by Jennifer Camper? Fish? We couldn’t quite track it down, but I thought it would be a cute title for a recent reading and discussion of lesbian smut at Womencrafts in Provincetown. How wonderful that this mostly tongue-in-cheek idea turned into something sublime: an evening of sharing lesbian stories.

There were 10 of us sitting in a circle in this store, holy lesbian ground, ages ranging from 40 on up. We began by opening up discussion on LBD – is it a thing? Do we still need to talk about it? We heard from one of the older dykes about discussions and workshops held at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival; we talked about varying levels of hormones and energy and the effects on our libidos; about the ins and outs of dating these online days; we touched on the long history of butch/femme and other topics of lesbian sexuality. Then I read one of my stories and we talked some more.

We smiled at each other as we talked and listened, and we laughed a lot. It was intimate, cozy and oh so dyke-y. There were shortbread cookies in the shape of pussies and as we were winding up, I blew bubbles of protection over everyone (given to me by a Radical Faerie at the Radical Faerie Heart Circle last year).

The evening started out on a slightly tentative note, but as we warmed to each other, it was as if we were all remembering and trusting again what it’s like to experience this kind of connection. It was the willingness to be open to the energy in the room, to trust and to be honest about our pasts, our questions, our sexualities, even if just for a couple of hours, that made the event so special. For all our different histories, we made room for each other. I was facilitating and also reading, but this did not feel like a work gig for me, it felt like home.

Today sweet femme sisters, remember what it feels like to have respectful and loving queer conversation. To feel held and honored by other queers – not because you’re just like them, but because your story adds to their stories and together we make queer history. Remember what it feels like to reconnect to your queer soul in the company of other queer souls.

May your lives be graced with this precious respite.

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.

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 — Christi Belcourt

In honor of the rain, in honor of the ocean, in honor of transcendent art that honors the Beauty, today’s pingy-dingy goes out to Michif artist and activist Christi Belcourt. Deep, deep gratitude!

http://christibelcourt.com/artist-statement/

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.

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 April 25, 2018 at 5:34 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Looking for Femme

In the haiku spirit of my dear friend Bill over at View From the Mantelpiece, here are a few queer femme musings in an era where the term FEMME has been popping up everywhere, even on mall t-shirts.

are you a real femme?

everyone has been asking

lovers and others

 

define femme for me

I can’t tell you where to look

or who really knows

 

my femme or your femme

our heartbeats so out of synch

periodically

 

the question lingered

answers came sporadically

femme growing older

 

unraveling femme

like a tisket a tasket

go deeper, go hard

 

funny you should ask

in the 90s I was so

cock sure of my femme

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.

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.”)