Meditations for Queer Femmes – Always Being Everything

Women’s Week in Provincetown, MA is always a highlight of my year. One of the highlights of this year’s Women’s Week was Mimi Gonzalez’s writing workshop. One beautiful sunny morning, we met in the parlor at Roux, a lesbian-owned inn on Bradford St.. There were about 10 of us, including the owners of Roux themselves. Mimi started out by welcoming us, letting us know that she wanted to create safe space for us to be in community, and that she was offering this workshop in that spirit, passing on love she herself received in her recently-completed MFA program.

Quoting the gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you,” Mimi asked us to give ourselves the gift of being present, of bringing forth, especially if we’ve denied this impulse in the past. Then we did a free-write responding to the prompt of centering yourself in space, landing in your body, where you are right now, and how you feel. We were asked to keep the pen moving on the paper for five minutes.

Sisters. Five minutes. In just five minutes, I brought forth so much. An excerpt:

The sun on our backs coming into this orange room onto Mimi’s beautiful curly hair and I am here with someone from the publishing panel and a femme colleague and my friend from the Fun Run and am I here as a writer or as a teacher? Observing Mimi’s generous, lovely, sweet presence as she welcomes and loves us into this space – can I just be a writer? Do I always have to be everything – writer, activist, teacher, editor, professional queer? Can I give myself the gift of coming right into my writer’s soul and the soul of my writing – what I have been praying for?

It was Tex who pointed out to me that I’m always working. It just never occurred to me that taking notes on books and newspaper articles, analyzing movies and tv shows, jotting down things heard on the radio that connect to projects I’m working on, or may work on in the future, was work. It’s just how I do, how I relate to the world. But it is work, and it can also get in the way – ok, it almost always gets in the way – of relaxing, just being, just experiencing. One more email, one more note, one more intense discussion about my theory on this or that public figure or movie… This happens so frequently that Tex asked to implement a No Intense Discussions First Thing in the Morning rule so she could get out the door to work in good trim, and I do my best to comply, despite being READY TO ROCK when I wake up, partly due to not being able to turn off my brain.

I would not be surprised if many of you, my queer femme sisters, sometimes find yourselves in a similar dilemma, especially about the more quiet parts of your natures, say, the part of you that would like to finally plant something in that sweet patch of earth outside, or take time to learn more about the utterly amazing horseshoe crabs, or write or draw or just sit and be for land’s sake – anything that requires shutting off the busy and drawing down deep on the soul.

Busy is rewarded, and queers seem to be particularly prone, thank you homophobia, heterosexism, misogyny and all your foul relatives. We feel the pull to provide, model, mentor, teach, accompany, rescue, proclaim, produce, react, educate, and on and on, when maybe, just maybe, all of that could be accomplished in dropping everything but one thing. Not forever, not for always, but for sometimes. Can you give yourself the now-and-again gift of “just” being a gardener? A lover? A poet? If so, the energy that is flittery and far-flung, your precious, unique, amazing femme energy, will pool and thicken, turn rich, potent, delicious. Don’t think product; think connection. Connection to systems of love, bolstering them rather than armoring up and fighting systems of oppression. Of course we need to do both. But personally, I spend almost all of my time on the latter instead of the former, when I am beginning to understand that the former is the one that can really fuel revolution.

My darlings, today honor your revolutionary femme energy with the soul-nourishing freedom to be still. Go deep. Be and be and be just one thing today.

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.”)