Femme Friday – tatiana de la tierra again!!

This January I received a beautiful gift out of the blue: Aileen Ochoa (bio below) reached out to me about a previous Femme Friday. Way back in 2017, I blogged about tataniana de la tierra (1961-2012) who was a dear friend of Aileen’s. Aileen wanted to share a recording of tatiana reading the poem I quoted in the post, “Big Fat Pussy Girl.”  She also sent me photos and a letter from tatiana’s mother about her amazing daughter, which I am posting today – a bit of a jump on Mother’s Day, but I couldn’t wait! I will be posting more about tatiana in coming weeks, so get ready for some juicy, sexy, gorgeous Femme Fridays, my darlings!

Deep gratitude to Aileen for reaching out and sharing more about your dear friend. Deep gratitude and love to tatiana’s Mother, Fabiola, for her gorgeous, brave, heartfelt, and beautifully generous letter. Continued and utter gratitude to tatiana for her hot, beautiful, layered, fabulous writing!

The Gift: My Lesbian Daughter

by Fabiola Restrepo, tatiana de la tierra’s mom

(originally published in Spanish as “El regalo” in 1992 in the latina lesbian magazine esto no tiene nombre. Shared also in la Bloga.

Mother’s Day passed and left me thinking about the mothers and daughters who didn’t celebrate it. I think of the mother who let intolerance close her heart in pain and of the daughter who suffers from the rejection. I know the wall this mother builds is made of silence and fear and answers that are not accepted or searched for from within. I know this wall will separate her from her daughter to the end.

When my daughter’s umbilical cord was cut I was fortunate to understand that it was merely a physical separation and that what would unite us later, stronger than a band of fleshy fiber, would be love, mutual respect, understanding, and acceptance. When I found out that my daughter was a lesbian I felt confusion and pain. I knew this was more than a word or a way of. life. I knew how hard society is against this group of people. I knew they were discriminated against and even persecuted at times. I knew this because these attitudes are the ones that I had felt toward homosexuals all my life.

Little by little, without much desire but with great curiosity, I began to learn, to try to understand what it means to be a homosexual. I’ve only know my daughter’s lesbian world. She is a feminist who embraces woman-related issues, including history, submission, and subjugation. She even fights for women’s rights, including the right to abort, which I don’t agree with.

She was one of the editors of the latina lesbian magazines esto no tiene nombre and conmoción (published in Miami, 1990-1996). Her articles were controversial. She is atrevida, daring in the choice of her material. I don’t like some of the things she writes about, like sadomasochism. But I admire her style of writing. And I like her way of delving into irreverent themes, as she does in the poem “The Day I Learned to Pray” and her poem about women with beards. She even lets her own facial hair grow without shaving or bleaching it, which is something that people, including me, don’t like to see or read about.

In other words, we have differences between us, some of them deep. I am Christian, and she is pagan. She doesn’t accept God or Jesus. For me, Christianity is more than a belief. I life my religion. For me, a mother’s love is like God’s love, unconditional above all. I am proud of her and everything she has accomplished in her life, of what she is as a woman and as a person. She had the courage to step forward when many, out of fear, have stayed in the closet, and through esto no tiene nombre and conmoción she has supported her community.

My daughter was born on an early Sunday on Mother’s Day and God knows why she was given to me on such a special day. Since then I’ve been given fine, luxurious gifts, but none of them have every equaled her.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you (or your friend)! 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!

Published in: on March 19, 2021 at 12:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Katalapi Park

Last night, Tex and I took a field trip to Mary Cummings park where we hoped to see and hear woodcocks doing their spring thing. There, at dusk, in a large field next to a horrible parking structure, we heard the PEENTS and saw a few of the birds rising up in their mating display. It was wonderful! And all because back in 1925, Mary Cummings made clear in her will that all her land would be “to hold and keep the same forever open as a public pleasure ground, and to maintain and care for the same in a suitable manner in accordance with that purpose.” If she hadn’t, there would have been no field, no woodcocks, but probably a lot more horrible parking structures instead. The world over, people like Mary have had the foresight and generosity to make similar arrangements, which brings us to Katalpi Park, a nature sanctuary in Puerto Montt, Chile, another wonderful nature preserve.

“The Katalapi Park Research and Education Center is a private protected area,” reads the website, “created to support scientific research linked to the native forest and to teach children, youth, and adults to love, know and value nature. Katalapi Park is an initiative of the Corcuera Vliegenthart Family, owners and directors of the park since 1994. Since 2014, Katalapi Park is a Biological Station of University of Concepcion under the direction of botanist Dr. Alfredo Saldaña. A cooperation agreement has also been signed with University of La Frontera. Since 2017, the park is administered by the Katalapi Park Foundation.”

Parque Katalpi, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you Vliegenthart Family for your foresight and hard work, and thank you my dear old friend Samantha Sparks for your wise, creative guidance as the current E.D.! The world is a better place with Katalpi in it. And I hope to visit one day, perhaps for mushroom season…

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 and pandemic prevent 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.”) And…as I go through graduate school, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on March 17, 2021 at 11:59 AM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Putting My Heart To It

My father always told me that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Algebra, weight loss and a healthy diet, finding a career, making a good life for myself – just put my mind to it, and I would find a solution.

This morning, I woke up with that phrase in my head, “I can do it if I put my mind to it.”

This morning, like every morning, as soon as I got a glimmer of consciousness, I started up with my To Do list. Plus, it’s Monday, chock-a-block with chores, responsibilities, things I want to do, ought to do, forgot to do, someone asked me to do, it would be cool to do, other people do, if I was acting like a grown up I would do …  I felt overwhelmed, angry, ashamed, and exhausted as this onslaught washed over me. It’s a hell of a way to greet the privilege of a new day!

More and more, though, on mornings like this one, I am starting to catch myself, and instead try and just be for a moment, happy to be awake again, happy to be at the start of a new day of possibilities and delights. This morning, I caught myself and thought: no, this – today, life —  isn’t something I can figure out with the power of my mind. I think it works better if I come from my heart.

If I put my heart to it, I can start from a place of peace rather than a place of panic. I can take time to transition from rest to consciousness, connecting with gratitude rather than fear. I can acknowledge, from my heart, that there is a lot to do – there is always a lot to do, that never changes – but that I can use my heart to help ground and connect me to the most positive path, allowing my innate wisdom to guide me.

This morning, I put my heart to it. It’s not that I didn’t feel all those feelings of fear and worry, because I did, but I also said a few prayers and thank yous. I sent love to my family and friends and to the whole beautiful world. My father, the inveterate atheist, perhaps wouldn’t have understood, but, kind and dear man that he was, I know he would approve of putting more love out there.

Darlings, dearests, what might you put your heart to today?

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on March 15, 2021 at 10:35 AM  Comments (2)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Mary Jacobsen’s “The Morning Show”

Always thoughtful, interesting, and kind, Mary Jacobsen interviews fascinating people on “The Morning Show” every week. A recent episode featured Dr. Gretchen Sorin, discussing “her book and PBS documentary, ‘Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights’ which explores the history of restricted movement for African Americans dating from the era of slavery past Emancipation into Reconstruction and beyond to the present. The car, Sorin explains, opened up new possibilities for African Americans to enjoy the open road, and thereby prompted the creation of what she describes as a “parallel, unseen world of black motorists, who relied on travel guides, black only businesses, and informal communications networks to keep them safe.” These guides included the famous Green Book, which helped grant black Americans that most basic American rite, the family vacation. Sorin also addresses the pivotal role cars played in the Civil Rights movement, including their role in the success of the Montgomery bus boycott.”

Mary in the Morning, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your unfailing interest in this big beautiful world, and for introducing us to people and topics that make our lives so much richer!

Link to audio version: https://soundcloud.com/ncmhub/morning…

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 – Ahead

I don’t drive much these days, and today, whilst dropping off some queer books for my dear queer friend, my car died. Neighbors were called upon, and one of them came through with a charger. After trying to get him to tell me what kind of cookies he likes so I could drop off a gratitude gift (he demurred, so bashful), I decided to take the ol’ Femmemobile for a nice long drive to fatten up her battery, so off we went, onto the highway, tirra lee, tirra loo.

At one point, we passed a sign reading “Ahead”. Nothing more, just “Ahead”.

Yes, and isn’t it the truth? So much mystery is ahead of us. There is nothing really to guide us but our own wit and wiles, the wisdom we’ve picked up along the way, and our ability to situate ourselves as comfily as possible in the ever-ticking present.

I’ve lived in this area a long time. When Seth was a baby, he wouldn’t nap unless I put him in the previous Femmemobile and drove. Without quite meaning to, I found myself retracing our old Nappy Drive Route. It seemed like a good time to send him my love and my prayers.

I’ve lived in my body for nigh on 59 years. I’m still learning to listen to, cherish, celebrate, care for. Out there on the highway, pocketa pocketa, it seemed like a good time to look inside and send myself my love and prayers.

I don’t know what’s ahead for Seth, for me, for the two of us, or for you, dearest femme sisters. I know you are managing and negotiating through these almost-Solstice days, handling everything from disasters to miracles. I am so glad to be in your company, and to know there’s a femme bond that connects us as we carry on. And just about now seems like an excellent time for me to send you my love and prayers.

You wonderfuls, you beautifuls, you marvels!

Here we go!

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 December 14, 2020 at 4:27 PM  Comments (1)  
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Femme Friday – Alaina Lavoie

Alaina’s super-adorable picture caught my eye in the summer issue of Boston Spirit, with her sweet smile and marvelous style. Turns out this nonbinary femme is super-accomplished as a journalist, an editor, communications manager, writing coach and more. In the Boston Spirit interview, she was asked, “How does being part of LGBTQ communities impact what you do?” to which she answered:

            It impacts everything I do. Throughout my life, I’ve gone from being ashamed and afraid to being openly queer to completely celebrating my queer identity. I’ve written extensively about LGBTQ+ communities and identity, and I put a lot of effort into making sure the work we do at WNDG (We Need Diverse Books) is LGBTQ-inclusive, from suggesting we change the language “preferred pronouns” to “pronouns” to making LGBTQ+ book recommendation lists for our followers. Being LGBTQ+ affects everything I do, in work and life, even when I’m not conscious of it. (Boston Spirit, Jul/Aug 2020).

Deep gratitude, Alaina, for your celebration of your own and others’ beautiful queerness, and for all the generous, hard, inspiring, loving work you do for our community and beyond. Check out her website here:

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! Sometimes I talk about books, too…

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

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 11, 2020 at 5:11 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Bite the Road and Frank Strona

WHO is that adorable queer in the picture?? I was just innocently batting around the internet looking for a recipe I’d read about somewhere, and up popped this lovely fellow! Turns out he not only offers up recipes, but has a TEDX Provincetown talk about being a Daddy Bear, creating community and more, and does a bunch of other cool stuff to boot.

Frank Strona, you get one pingy-dingy! Thanks for the love you give, the yummy recipe, and the sweet and meaningful TED talk!

https://bitetheroad.com/pastel-israeli-spiced-meat-pie/

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.”)

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Published in: on December 9, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – “Closed Until Further Notice”

Small pandemic scene: on the grounds outside our local library, two long-time tai chi practitioners, all bundled up, go through their moves. The dog and I stroll slowly – he’s a tri-paw, and elderly —  crunching through the thin scrim of snow covering the grass. After our walk, I tuck him back in his seat with a treat, then make my way up to the library for my contactless pickup. But the library is closed until further notice.

Turns out someone who works there tested positive, so they need to shut down for a while, but I didn’t know that until later. At the time, I just took it in my covid stride, even though I really wanted my books. I have books at home, believe it or not, and I figured there was a good reason for the shut down. That’s what we do, these days, isn’t it? Turn on a dime. Make do. Try to hold things lightly. Be more grateful than ever for health and well-being.

Just like the small pandemic scene, this is a small meditative offering. To say I’m with you. Thinking about you, sending you love. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you may find, here and there throughout your day, vibrant, meaningful connection to others, to the world, to your own hearts and souls. You, queer femmes, dearest loving creatures, you are so precious. This post is in celebration of you.

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 December 7, 2020 at 7:35 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – At Capacity

Last night I dreamed that everyone in my life had spontaneously stopped wearing masks and that we were going about our pre-pandemic business just willy-nilly. Every so often I stopped to marvel that no one was wearing a mask, me included, and then I went back to whatever dreamy thing I was doing.

Even in the dream, though, I knew that what we’d decided to do was recklessly dangerous, and that’s the feeling I woke up with, despite how lovely and nostalgic it was to be going around sans face covering.

Last week, I suffered a great disappointment having to do with my writing career. When I got the news, I completely lost it and started sobbing, and the sobbing went on for days. I’m pretty tough when it comes to rejections – writers have to be — but this one broke me wide open. At some point, I realized that I was sobbing my heart out not just about this particular rejection, but also about everything that’s going on and has been going on, from the deeply personal family stuff to local to regional to national to world.

I’ve just been at capacity, and I think I really needed to let some of that grief go.

What do you do, sweet femme sisters, when you’re so full up with despair that you maybe don’t even realize it? Don’t realize it because we’re so good at carrying on, at getting the job done, whatever that might be, at showing up for others and sometimes forgetting to show up for ourselves?

Like so many towns, ours didn’t allow door to door trick or treating, so we missed the yearly fun of sharing information with Tex’s mom about costumes at the end of the night. (Last year, she got a Santa and we got a gumball machine.) Instead, we parceled out candy into 6 little bags, Tex whipped up some water color cards with mask-wearing pumpkins hollering Happy Halloween! and I put on my mask and delivered them to the 6 kids in our immediate neighborhood. Everyone was doing candy search inside, and I even got to wave at a couple of dressed up toddlers (a skunk and a cat, so cute!).

Reverse trick or treating: a quick little idea that we might have dismissed if we’d caved into the general angst. A quick little idea, but it brought a lot of joy. Is there some small connection you can make today, oh, my darlings? To pull you back into sweetness, laughter, love, and delight?

Even if it’s wee, a daily reminder of the positive side of being human can go a very long way. I am going to try and remember that, try to recognize those impulses in myself, and not be so quick to dismiss quirky ideas as silly or impractical. Sometimes silly is exactly right!

May you discover a pround, silly little idea today!

(I know I wasn’t going to post until I got my carpal tunnel sitch taken care of, but I’ve missed you and I’ve missed this practice, and we need each other right now, so I put on my splints and sent you some sugar! Might do it again sometime soon, too… MWAH!!!!)

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.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

Published in: on November 2, 2020 at 4:36 PM  Comments (2)  
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Thursday Means I Love You!

Darlings, hopping back on briefly to let you know about Serenity By The Sea, The Provincetown Roundup:

SERENITY BY THE SEA Provincetown celebrates its 33rd year of recovery, unity, and service for the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gender, Queer, Questioning) community and all of our friends. Provincetown, Massachusetts is the idyllic backdrop for this amazing 5 days of 12-Step meetings, workshops and activities. Provincetown offers a dynamic setting for our exciting, friendly, and diverse weekend full of recovery, growth and spirituality. Many folks come early and stay late, so come spend the week in Provincetown.

https://www.provincetownroundup.org/

I’ll be there! Virtually this year, but I’m grateful for the community whichever way!

Love to you all!

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.”) Right now I’ve got a bit of a carpal tunnel sitch, so stand by for regularly scheduled programming to start back up after my November/December surgeries!