Meditations for Queer Femmes – Good in an Emergency

I have always prided myself at being good in an emergency. An early memory of this skill is when I was around 10. A friend and I were doing a little dawn skinny dipping at the beach when we noticed a local man watching us creepily from the shore. Our clothes were near him and it was getting lighter by the moment. My friend panicked, but I immediately came up with a plan: we march determinedly out of the water, as quickly as we can, ignoring the stupid guy, snatch up our clothes and run. We did it and it worked. Thank goodness!

There’s something about an emergency that focuses my attention and calls on my problem-solving skills in a very satisfying manner. I almost kind of like it. Everything else falls away, there are no distractions, just the one thing to deal with. In a way, it’s easier to deal with an emergency than to parse through the increasingly baffling mega-ton of stimuli thrown my way during any dull day. I understand and sympathize with those folks who routinely manufacture emergencies, who crave that excitement and challenge. I wonder sometimes if I might be one of those folks myself.

In Al-Anon, I’ve learned that the only thing I can control is my own response to things. Lately, what with one thing and another, I’ve been observing myself as challenge after challenge pops up in my life. Health challenges, my own and those of others in my family; troubling and dangerous local and world events; relationship challenges, and it goes on and on. There are no shortage of challenges! In reaction to these, I can flare and run into the nearest phone booth to change into my super hero outfit (and very fetching it is, too!), feeding my ego and rushing to the rescue, or, maybe, I can try and be a bit more mindful. Disrupting quieter, more generative and soul-nurturing daily rhythms and activities such as tending to my art, keeping up with friends, taking quiet walks, meditating, reading (ok, I never stop reading, never mind that one), in short making sure that I keep weaving sweet threads of consistency rather than giving all my energy to a mindless drop and rush, rush and drop, serves me and those I love so much better.

Magical queer femme sugar plums, I know you see the suffering and that you, too, reach out to offer succor. Your healing presence in the world is beyond compare and brings so much relief. Today, though, my most excellent dears and darlings, spend one quivering butterfly-wing moment sinking down into the steady heartbeat of day after day after day, sun and moon and wind and rain. Earth abides and you abide here on her. Abide a while and reconnect to that immense calm.

That way, my hope for you and for me, is that after the emergency – and perhaps even during – we never lose sight of that immensity. We never completely lose ourselves.

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

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Regroup

Lately I keep using the word “regroup.”

“Let’s sit down and regroup,” I’ll say. Or, “After that, we can regroup and go from there.” “I just need a moment to regroup and I’ll be right with you.” Why am I so in love with this word lately?

When I was much younger, I was always talking about sitting my butt down and “getting my life in order.” I really thought I could do that – it was just a question of making a few lists and having the will power to follow through and everything would be smooth going, baby – but I am just that titch wiser now. I think my urge to regroup is related to my youthful desire for order, though. Coming at it a little differently. Now it’s less about imposing order and more about pausing, listening, learning, taking stock. Gathering the wherewithal, knowledge, and strength to carry on.

Middle age and beyond has brought a grand panoply of life. Sighs of exhaustion, frustration, ecstasy, wonder.

Met the love of your life but she lives two states away and you can’t move because of a custody agreement?

Regroup.

Family catastrophes involving kids, parents, spouse?

Regroup.

Cancer diagnosis and the ongoing aftermath?

Regroup.

Worldwide pandemic?

Regroup.

Regroup in order to calibrate the new information with the old steady me, that heartbeat of self that never dissipates, no matter how smallsmallsmall her voice becomes.

Owen, our 23-year old, is about to roll off to Japan, following his heart to a place he’s dreamed about living for years. He’ll be on his own for the first time in his life. We were talking last night about how exciting it is that he’ll be able to learn about himself in solitude, from small things like how he likes his kitchen arranged, to deep philosophical ideas and how he handles life with no interference from family or roommates. My wish for him is that he grows in his understanding of who he is and that that knowledge surrounds and carries him, through all the rigors and joys.

Regrouping for me is about touching in again to my knowledge of self.

All these things that have happened to, in, around, and about me: I know I’m still steady.

I know I’m still in there.

I just need a moment to regroup.

You, my queer femme posse, you busy, lively, lovely doers and goers and fixers and creators and lovers and believers, go there with me now:

pause and breathe

pause and close your eyes

pause and hear your unique and precious heartbeat

pause and regroup, my sweethearts,

because no matter what happens

your core of majestic femme, your wisdom

stays molten and alive.

Gather yourself.

Listen to that heartbeat.

Regroup.

And carry on.

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

Meditations for Queer Femmes — Just A Question

Like me, my father was a writer. His approach to his art, though, was really pretty harsh. “It’s just a question of will power,” he would say. “Just a question of sitting down and getting it done.” Throughout his life, that’s what he did, my driven parent, setting himself a writing task, flogging himself unmercilessly until he’d completed it. Then, on to the next and the next and the next.

It was a method that worked for him, but as hard as I tried – and that’s pretty hard for an only child who wants nothing more than to please and be like her dad — it didn’t work for me. I was left with unfinished projects and a poor opinion of myself as someone who had no will power whatsoever. A bad writer, in other words.

It took years for me to understand that I’m just a different kind of writer from my dad. Different. Not bad. For me, it isn’t just a question of sitting down and powering through. Well, of course, sometimes it is. But before the sitting down might come the drifting around. The taking a walk. The talking with other writers. The reading, the hanging out with friends, the cooking. The making room for thoughts and ideas, the ones bubbling up that can’t be forced. In other words, doing what my dad might have called goofing off. But if I push the way my dad pushed, I’ll wear myself out. The writing I do won’t feed my soul in the way I need it to so that I am inspired and refreshed and can go on writing.

Art, writing, living: I just don’t think it’s just a question of sitting down and getting it done. It’s not just one question at all, but a series of calls put out to the universe and so many, many ways of listening to the come back of hints, suggestions, inspirations, surprises. So my darling and femme flowers!

Let us here together listen. Relax our shoulders. Smile up at the sky. Meander.

Close our eyes and allow it all for a moment.

May you revel in it, your unique and happy, your beneficial and beloved dearest and situated place in this ol’ wide world.

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

Published in: on April 25, 2022 at 9:27 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — I Can See Myself in You

“Would you read this?”

We were in a thrift store, in the book section, having a blast.

At first glance, I wasn’t sure about what my friend had found for me. Take This Bread: The Spiritual Memoir of a Twenty-First-Century Christian by Sara Miles, seemed at first glance to be a book by a Christian for other Christians and therefore not really for me, but then I read the back. The author is a white, left-wing dyke journalist, raised athiest, who has a conversion experience after she randomly walks into St. Gregory’s, a groovy Episcipoal church in San Francisco. Now we’re talking!

Heck yes, I’d read it!

Raised as an athiest myself, I’m always interested in religion and faith: why do people believe the things they do and how does it help them live their lives? Sometimes my interest is completely pruient, like when I read about cults, charismatic leaders, and their bizarre goings-on, but I also like more nuanced and sober discussions of spirituality. And I was up for having this lesbian, whose identity so closely mirrors mine, talk to me about how come she ended up loving Jesus. Not to convert me, but just to talk about it.

It turns out, her faith has a lot to do with food, bodies, and community. I love those things, too. She wants to serve and to live among people of all kinds, not just others who agree with her and with whom she has most things in common. Me, too!

“It was a hunger that had to do with the bodies of strangers,” she writes, thinking about what brought her to church, to running a food pantry, “with offering everything we had, giving away control, and receiving what we needed to live. Communion. I wanted communion.”

That sounds a lot like what I want to do with my own writing, with my activisim, with my life. And it turns out, I do have a little bit better understanding of her connection to Jesus, although I don’t think it’s for me. I do get the visceral desire for connection, though, not just to other people, but, for me, also to the natural world, to all the creatures and plants and bodies of water and the earth.

It’s humbling that I can see myself in someone who believes something I’ve never felt a pull towards, that I pretty much fundamentally don’t even get. Humbling, and kind of cool, too.

My sweet seekers, my divine darlings, in which alien mirror do you see a glimmer of yourself today? What is making you stretch? What is something you’d never thought had anything to do with you that can give you a sparkle of inspiration? Faith that isn’t yours but that communicates something meaningful, as long as you stop for a moment to listen with an open heart?

Where do you see your human-ness reflected today?

And from there, take a leap, let yourself revel in the question: What is the conversation you want to have with the world?

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

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Think Again

The other day I drove down a street I don’t usually travel, and as I went over a bridge built over a culvert, I passed a middle-aged white man, rather sunburned in the face, who was holding two signs, one in each hand so you could see them coming and going. They said:

THINK THIS BRIDGE IS SAFE? THINK AGAIN!!

When I first thought about writing a post inspired by this guy, I was thinking about how my life can feel rather directionless or without rudder and how interesting it is that there are people like the bridge guy who seem to have a very, very clear idea about what to do with their time, intellect, physical and mental energy. A singleness of purpose, which, while kind of appealing to someone like me who’s always questioning if I’m doing the next right thing, can easily turn into an unhealthy and even frightening obsession. (That same week, for example – not like you really need an example these days — I’d driven through a nearby town center where a Trump-sign waving older white guy was screaming, “WOMAN!!!” at a passing driver, for some reason that made sense to him, I suppose.)

When I first started thinking about this post, I wanted to ask you, fearless queer femme sisters, about the touchpoints in your own lives, the things you keep coming back to, the places where you meet yourself over and over again and know who you are. For me, part of the answer I think is about the lens through which I view the world, my interest in what makes community, what role art has in healing, what is justice, history, family. Being curious, trying to be fair and kind. Refocusing on the complex and joyful rather than the negative and simple. I wanted to ask you what your passions are and how you keep them from overwhelming you, from becoming the only thing you focus on. I can get very caught up in my head and way too interested in what is wrong with everything, for example. I have to then further catch myself and gently redirect.

Along with my curiosity about passions and anchors and joy – and truly, I would love to hear from you! — I’ve also found myself thinking a lot about that bridge. The one we think is safe but isn’t. There’s something really wrong with the foundation, I expect, and it could give out at any moment. Maybe right when you’re driving across, thinking only of heading over to the farm to pick up your flower share and will you get more zinnias or go for the sweet-smelling carnations? And maybe you’ll be hurt and maybe you won’t, but things will be shaken up and in the aftermath a safer bridge might be built, or maybe something even more wonderful, like the stream being allowed to run free and wild.

Tex’s mom had a stroke when she and her husband and Tex were on vacation together. She recovered almost fully, and made it home safe and well. Today, though, she’s back in the hospital for something else that may or may not be related, and Tex and I have our healing candle burning again and are discussing whether or not Tex might need to make another out-of-town trip.

We’re thinking again about what we thought we knew. I was just listening to a Pema Chodron talk where she says you can meet the inevitability of impermanence, of dying and death, with curiosity and even joy, because this is the way things are. She says it way better, of course, but I’m mulling it over. I’m remembering my father dying, how engaged he was. He knew we were there, but he was busy. I don’t think he was scared, it didn’t seem like it; it was more like he was very occupied with something very important. I’ve had deep, painful regrets about not staying with him that night, but right now I’m thinking that it’s ok. He would have wanted us to take care of ourselves rather than stay overnight in that facility where there were no beds for us or even comfortable chairs (I was still undergoing cancer treatment, my mother was mentally not well, and Tex was exhausted with caregiving). I know he knew we loved him. Maybe I can let go of some of my guilt.

Maybe I can think again about something I thought was really solid but isn’t.

And maybe you can, as well, dear, dear complicated and beautiful beloveds.

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

Published in: on August 16, 2021 at 4:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Where Am I In All This?

The pandemic took me in a lot of ways, but one of them was not cleaning out, sorting through, getting rid of accumulated stuff in the house. In fact, I probably brought home a few things that you chucked out onto the curb. A tasteful bag that says I LOVE IRELAND for example (I gave it to my son, Owen – he was ecstatic! — so maybe it doesn’t count?), as well as a couple of lovely old-fashioned soup bowls that we use almost every day (while you now have lots of space in your cupboard for your modern matching set).

This very morning, I walked by another clutch of temptation, the dregs of someone’s yard sale arranged attractively on the lawn. I stopped to browse, that old urge to rescue and find a fun use for surfacing most dreadfully. But I walked on by! Calmer thoughts prevailed, I am happy to say. I walked on by, bringing to mind how many things I have squirreled away in my own house, waiting to be discovered, rescued, found fun uses for. Even set out on the curb! Or otherwise redistributed. Is my zine collection from the 90s still ok up there under the eaves of the attic? Wouldn’t it be fun to flip through Rachel Pepper’s zine, Cunt? Or one of my old favorites, Office Supply Junkie? Ah, those were heady days! And given I haven’t crawled back there to look at them in, oh, 15 years at least, perhaps they could be moved on to a more appropriate and useful location? If the meeses haven’t gnawed them up for nesting material, that is. I could go up there now to find out! (Maybe later.)

No matter if you cleaned your abode down to the nubbin or if you’re still up to your eyeballs, you have your stuff around you, queer femme phoenixes, and it might have something to tell you. As we transition into whatever comes next (today is the Solstice, after all), what can you divest yourself of? What might you like to see again? What makes you sad, or happy, or deeply relaxed? Might you let one go, repair another, put the last on your alter or give to your friend who needs it because she’s going through a hard time?

We are always changing, ever moving, loving, living, breathing works of human beauty and wonder. I know however, that the space where I live is not always a reflection of that change, that movement, and I can feel very stuck, energy-wise. Today, darling ones, look around, really look. Breathe. Feel all parts of yourselves, inside and out. Ask yourself: Where am I in all this?

Proceed with all love and queer femme blessings.

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 June 21, 2021 at 11:13 AM  Leave a Comment  
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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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Queer Femmes Respond – Liz Nania on Art During the Pandemic

Back in May, Liz very kindly dropped by to talk about public speaking and her response to the pandemic; and I’m so honored to have her back again today!

Deep gratitude to Liz for her dedication to art and soul, for sharing her most recent Speaker Sisterhood words with us, and for responding with such nuance, vulnerability, and love to the times we live in now. And for sharing pages from her sketchbooks! Breathtaking!

Do you have something in your life that’s just for you; something you do on your own that feeds you, maybe keeps you sane, or possibly just fascinates you? And do you find yourself, during COVID-19, fighting yourself to do that thing?

For me, that’s my art-making. I’ve made art continuously since I was little. As a kid, I’d come home from school and hunker down with some crayons, glue, paper, toilet paper rolls, whatever was handy to make something with. As a teen, a time of turmoil for so many of us, the high school art room was my sanctuary. After school I’d go home and embroider one of my drawings onto my denim shirt, or crochet a really ugly sweater vest with long, tangled fringe. In my senior year, after filling out college applications for art school behind my father’s back, I managed to get a scholarship to the art program at Boston University. Four years later I became an art teacher in elementary schools, then in junior high, and then with adults.

Eventually my career as an art teacher ended, but I continued making art for myself. There were many years of painting, then designing metal and rhinestone jewelry and tiaras, which became a small business for several years. Now my primary art mediums are painting with wax and mixed media, and also fiber art, where I make collages using vintage textiles and embroidery.

Of course, there are always side avenues to tempt me. For a couple years, I’ve been fascinated with books, especially making books by hand. And that seems to be my most guilty art pleasure of all! As a productivity junkie, this one really trips my alarm system. These books I make become sketchbooks, and I fill them with little paintings, notes, sketches for future projects, or collages; but mostly, just abstract colored ink paintings, totally spontaneous, completely intuitive, made without one bit of forethought or any plan at all. Page after page of loose, slightly landscapish paintings in a hand bound book, that no one will ever see. It’s very easy for me to do. It takes no planning. In fact, the ease of it sometimes makes me uncomfortable: am I a lazy artist? Am I not challenging myself?

Since COVID emerged in March, I feel absolutely exhausted at the thought of starting a big painting or a month-long fiber art collage, the stuff I usually love doing, (and also work I feel “justifies” having my art studio space.) In daily life, and in the art studio, I often feel like I’m slogging through two feet of water; life just takes more effort. Lately, all the art I can manage to do is make sketchbooks and fill them up.

Meanwhile, my Productivity Demon goes absolutely batshit. He screams, “What a waste of time! You have a beautiful art studio, and all you want to do is doodle with colored inks at your desk! No one will ever see them! They’re not even good art! And making your own sketchbooks? Cutting all those pages, figuring out how to painstakingly stitch them together, making the covers, hours of technical labor that you’re not very good at, and so SLOW! Who CARES? For godsake, you could buy a blank sketchbook in a minute, like you used to do, and be done with it!”

My Productivity Demon is the brother of “The Art Committee”. The Art Committee always has tons of helpful criticism while I’m making art, trying to dissuade me from ever enjoying or appreciating my work. They’re relentless and sneaky. And mean! They work devilishly hard to suck every ounce of joy right out of anything I do on my own, anything that’s only purpose is actually, joy. And play. They tell me, if you think you’re a serious artist, then you know the only Real Art is work you can exhibit or sell. Huh, that’s a good one, because it’s COVID-19, and nobody’s actually buying art. But that doesn’t stop the Productivity Demon!

So I get derailed, and I try to direct my art attention towards other things, anything but filling up sketchbooks with private paintings. I’ve got a long to-do list! And we’re in a pandemic, and I’m unemployed, and now my career is in jeopardy, and I’ve been taking care of my mom which is a challenge, and we’re on the brink of an election which could extend the reign of an ignorant fascist who is hurting and killing people, and running our country into the ground. This is a lot.

Suddenly, talking about my art feels trivial. Our country is in crisis. And, so is my little world. So, for me to keep my head above water and connect to peace and happiness on any ordinary day, I’m drawn to the little things; the latte my husbutch, Sandy, makes me every morning – the blue jays and cardinals we know by sight, and have named, who come to our railing for their breakfast and dinner; hot days at the beach – online concerts – neighborhood walks and bike rides, and occasional backyard visits with local friends on weekends. And making little books, personal and intimate art, never to be seen or judged or sent into the marketplace. Just small wonky books filled with notes and paintings of inner landscapes, my own personal inner landscape of the moment. I still don’t know exactly why I make them. But I’ll sit down at my desk with my mixed feelings, the Art Committee and the Productivity Demon hissing from their perches in my brain, and I’ll grab a paintbrush and just dip it into the ink.

About her art, Liz says: Much of my painting is abstract, but I do create some representational work, too. My art explores love, time, celebration, being a woman and a lesbian, social commentary, and other things dear to my heart. And my textile art is unapologetically feminine; it’s even more girly than I am!

See Liz Nania’s work: www.liznania.com, and on Instagram at liz_nania_art.   

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

Published in: on September 11, 2020 at 11:34 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Queer Femmes Respond – “COVID Consumption” by Jill Klowden

Many a year has passed since Jill and I first met as new lesbian moms creating community for ourselves and our babies. We remain connected by so many shared memories, challenges, joys, and sorrows, and by our powerful femme sister love!

Deep gratitude to Jill for her beautiful, wise words, her vibrant queer and healing presence in the world and (lucky me!) in my life!

COVID Consumption

I have become a consumer of books, of loving looks, of love, of phone calls, zoom calls, of homemade food, of neighbor conversations, of long walks, deep breathing, long slow stretches and mindfulness

I am a giver of time, an ear, a glimpse, a touch, a vision, an angst, of good food grown from my garden, of poetry, cut flowers and backyard yoga

I am a holder of space for growth, exploration, development, laughter, deep dives into racism, into the meaning of life and of its counterpart, the non-meaning of everything

I am no longer a consumer of two showers a day, perfume, clothes, dry cleaning, high or low fashion, gas, nail salons, hair cuts, eating on the run, flying by or stopping by.  

I am a holder of space for intimacy while impotent, change that is unintended, intentional living, tears, grumpiness, sadness, grief, fear and loss…and love. 

Jill Klowden is a long-time public defender, an activist for Black lives and humanity, a queer mom of two compassionate humans, an ecstatic recent grandma – a “queerma” – an unabashed lover of people and all things beautiful, a faithful partner, a mindfulness practitioner, motorcyclist, a Jew and a proud fem.

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

Meditations for Queer Femmes — Catbird Morning

This very early morning on my walk, I almost bypassed the park, thinking the grass would be too wet, but then I remembered there’s a whole fenceful of blooming honeysuckle so I backtracked. There was a catbird on the ground in front of me, a beautiful, sleek, grey lovely. It hopped and flew a little, but didn’t fly away. I followed. It hopped onto a rock at the entrance of the park. I followed. We continued until it did finally fly off, right over the magnificent honeysuckle. I stood smelling and listening. The honeysuckle was full of bees.

I have been roiling with grief and anger, sometimes unbearably. All my life, I have had these spells, but they’re so much more epic these days, or rather, what sets them roiling is so huge. I can’t argue myself out of them, I can’t bust out a toolbox and fix them (although I have many tools, collected over the years, that come in handy), I certainly can’t “be reasonable” – I just have to get through and to get through I sometimes need to sit and sometimes need to move.

Lovely queer femme sisters, you too have sorrows and we all have the sorrows of the wounded world. May you connect with her and with yourself as best you can today, even if it’s the teensiest of direction switch. She is in you and of you and around you. The moon is growing and the Solstice resonates and illuminates. May you be human today. May you be reminded.

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.