Meditations for Queer Femmes – Vat of Grief

Tex and I were lucky enough to be at Women’s Week in Provincetown last week, and Thursday night we stopped at the Gifford House for Darlene and Monica’s singalong. Two dykes, one guitar, and a line up of songs from Elle King to Stevie Wonder. Sitting with a glass of wine in front of the fire with cheezy gay D & A art all over the walls listening to stripped down acoustic versions of love and revenge and party and girls and suddenly I was filling up and spilling over, I mean crying.

“I have a vat of grief inside me,” I told Tex, and I do. It’s not just the breast cancer diagnosis I got last spring and it’s not just that my dad died last month, although those are definitely top layers. Surrounded by other queers in this bar, surrounded by dykes all week, I was feeling, I was free falling (they sang that one), I was buffeted and messed about by emotion, more than just my personal stuff.

The vat of grief that all of us queers carry that has to do with our inherited pain along with the pain we’ve survived and are surviving. We’ve all had to work so hard to be us, no forget that, to even figure out who the us is, after being told our whole lives that what we like and who we might be and become is wrong. After having been given such distorted views of ourselves. After isolation, bullying, closeting, hypervigilence, addiction, abuse, dissociation, depression, anxiety – and what didn’t happen to us, happened to people we know and love and definitely happened to our ancestors. We queer femmes may be carrying grief about how the world treats our butches, or about how misogyny affects our own lives and those of all we love, or about how we couldn’t figure out we were queer until well along in years and now we can’t figure out how to find a date. We carry on and are brave and sometimes don’t even recognize how much grief is with us – we just get used to it – but then something hits a nerve and the burden is right there.

When I told Tex about the vat of grief I’m carrying, she pulled me into a hug and said I could just allow the grief to flow, in whatever ways I wanted. I love that, because it’s not a facile “there, there” but rather an acknowledgement that my feelings are not scary or a burden, but something natural. Part of being human. And that they will shift and change if I allow it; they don’t need to stagnate.

Grief isn’t bad – no emotion is bad – so it’s definitely ok to sink down when those feelings come over you. Pushing grief away will ensure it comes back, perhaps in a more severe way. After I cried that little bit in the Gifford House, there was room for me to feel the joy of Darlene and Monica’s music, the joy of being in Provincetown with the art and the sea and my people.

Delicious and marvelous my darlings, your grief is utterly allowed, it is completely healthy and human. It is an appropriate response, but it is not the all or the everything. Let it come, let it flow. Honor your grief today, sweetest of peas.

Honor your grief, and honor the emotions that come after.

Honor the continuous flow.


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.”)