Meditations for Queer Femmes – Femme Weather

Having just returned from big sky high and dry utterly gorgeous Taos, New Mexico to extremely humid, green and wet New England, I’m extremely aware of the weather. My body responds to the shifts in climate in so many ways. For example in New Mexico, my joints were eased to the point where I even found myself jogging a bit on my early morning walks, glorifying in the shadow of Mount Taos and her sisters. Back East, I’m logy and my joints protest – even sitting here at my desk can crick me up but quick. In both places, if I pay attention, I can adjust my activities to accommodate my body’s needs so that I feel at home.

My mother-in-law, who has been vacationing in Taos for over 20 years, told us a story about something that happened when she was staying in a B&B one winter. The unpredictable and wild snowy weather had made it impossible to travel, so folks in the B&B were stuck in town. One upset guest, a middle-aged white man, stormed up to the owner of the B&B and demanded that she direct him to a place where things in nature were more to his liking. She regarded him calmly, and perhaps with some compassion, and replied in even tones, “This is the weather we’re having.”

My mother-in-law also told a story about friends of hers who retired from San Antonio to a small town in North Carolina and proceeded to foul their new nest by presuming that their big city experience and know-how would be welcomed with open arms by the local yokels. Predictably, they were unable to make a comfortable home for themselves in that community. Talk about not paying attention to the weather!

Although I use the term “queer community” because it’s a handy shortcut, I think we queers are pretty far from recognizing, learning from, delighting in, and having each other’s backs. Queer weather differs immensely depending on your locale or your feed, and not enough of us are paying attention to each other and to the same basic information. But femmes can help encourage a sea change. Observing, assessing, bringing strengths to bear, according for weaknesses – we femme weather girls are adept at using these skills to get at the heart of things. We know or intuit that the weather, natural or human, is caused by and is a part of much larger systems, and thus is never targeting individuals, although individuals certainly could be and often are in direct personal danger if they ignore the weather around them. Everywhere, I see queer femmes gifted with the ability to revel in rainbows, dance between raindrops, and batten down the hatches when we recognize the signs of an impending hurricane.

I often hear people thanking their lucky stars that they live in states or cities where they feel relatively safe to be queer, with all the implied scorn and fear for places where the weather is very different. But different kinds of weather bring out different kinds of survival skills, and wonderfully different kinds of joys and triumphs.

Sending love and admiration to femmes all over the world, in all kinds of weather. Your dedication to queer joy and to queer reality; your fortitude and creativity; your great and loving spirits inspire me and keep me honest.

I honor you today.

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 – 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

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Femme Love Heal World

I just read an article in the local paper about two parents of color whose 4th grader had been called racist names by classmates. One of the way the parents responded was by applying for and receiving a grant from a local education foundation to make a series of posters celebrating people of color in STEM, to be displayed at their child’s elementary school. The school happens to be the same one my college-age sons attended, as well as the site of a project colleagues and I worked on that is funded by the same educational foundation: the Rainbow Alliance, a pre-GSA. Middle schoolers had told us that bullying around LGBTQ+ issues begins in grade school, and this is one of the ways we responded.

          Do these stories sound familiar? I mean, in that members of the targeted population are the ones doing the innovative and creative work, responding to the bullying and effecting positive cultural change at the school. This is so often the case!

            I was so glad to read about these parents and already have ideas about how we might combine forces to make even more of an impact. How about including some LGBTQ+ people of color in STEM? Whatever we might come up with together, we will be more powerful together, not to mention feeling less alone. This is exactly the kind of collaboration and connection I am always looking for in my organizing work.

            I’m now remembering back to when I was part of a UU church congregation and we had a gathering of queers in the church one evening, a pot luck. There were a couple of straight, cis, white men, also members of the congregation, who took it upon themselves to show up and work quietly in the kitchen while we queers chatted and enjoyed ourselves. It was an amazing moment for me. Although that church and I parted ways when it finally became crystal clear that this Welcoming Congregation was actually dedicated to assimilation instead of radical change, one of those fellas washing up that evening is now my most trusted straight colleague. He knows how to listen, ask, offer his considerable organizing expertise, and then step out of the way, unless, of course, he can be useful on chore roster! I learn so much from him about being an ally myself.

            In addition, we queer femmes do our own hard work, every day, so that we can live and love as fully queer, fully ourselves, healthy and vibrant, and this gives us an understanding of the kinds of indignities and worse faced members of other minority populations.

Today, dear, busy, thoughtful and kindhearted queer femme sisters, celebrate what you do to support and spread love to others on the front line of oppression, violence and hatred. Who do you see that others don’t?

            I’m not suggesting you take one yet another project, because I suspect you’ve already got more than enough going on. I want you to care for your precious queer femme selves! I’m just hoping that today you will honor those connections, those points of contact: a smile, a shared glance, a quick word, an “I see you!” nod: all of these are part of the love you spread, and are part of the beautiful queer femme healing that is your birthright and your gift.

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.”)

 

Femme Friday – Me and You, the Femmes We Are

I began the journey to the femme I am when I read The Persistent Desire, when I read Stone Butch Blues. I knew I was a butch-loving femme right then, as those stories went straight into my soul.

When did you know? How did femme knowledge come to you? Was it when you read the Femme Shark Manifesto? How do you define “femme”? How do you spell it? How did you become the femme you are?

Does femme help you orient your life? Like a north star, a beating pulse, a bubbling spring? Does it show you what direction to go in?

What does femme mean to you?

The femme I am has everything I read and observe swirling around in my head as I try to make sense of what it means to be alive right now, to be queer, to be turning 56, to be the parent of adult children, the femme wife of my butch husband, the middle-aged daughter of old parents, observing my children mature, my husband sometimes creep, sometimes leap into her wisdom, and my parents inhabit the outer reaches of old age with grace, anger, humor and bluff.

The femme I am is a mentor to queer youth, an elder, even, a femme of a certain age.

Who is watching your femme, drawing sustenance from you? Who needs you? Who do you need?

The femme I am is often lonely for community. The femme I am is both safe and unsafe. The femme I am wonders what rights look like when they’re not just stuff the status quo has, but are actually about true equity for all living beings. The femme I am seeks comfort in sometimes healthy, sometimes unhealthy ways.

Where do you find comfort? What are your femme theories, your femme art, your femme work? What is femme to you – a side dish, the main dish, the dessert? Who can you talk to about femme? Who is interested? Who thinks it’s sexy and endlessly, deliciously, entertaining? What have you learned about femme that is so precious, so profound?

As I grow older, femme, my femme, expands and deepens and becomes more complex, holding worlds and worlds. The femme I am contains multitudes.

Does the femme you are sustain you? What are your latest theories about femme? Your discoveries and intuitions? What makes you laugh and shout with joy?

The longer we are femme, the more we discover. Femme will never get used up; we just keep finding out more about it.

And so here we go, sweet femme sisters! Into 2018, full of femme love and power.

You and me.

Me and you.

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!

Meditations for Queer Femmes — Stream of Consciousness on the Services of the Pervert, Continued

Until childhood is freed from repressive contracts of innocence and ignorance and until the family as an institution is neither romanticized nor sentimentalized, society will seek, require, and even demand the services of the pervert. –Eric Rofes, Status Quo or Status Queer? A Radical Rethinking of Sexuality and Schooling, 2005

Queer femmes are magicians, mistresses of subterfuge, and supremely in your face. Queer femmes are perverts. We are perverts who no longer waste our time and energy being in service to and trying to change the homodestructive status quo. We are perverts, loudly, proudly. Because what is a pervert other than someone who bends, twists, evades, and decimates the rules? Rules made by straight white cis men in their fury and ignorance and lonely paucity of spirit.

We queer femme perverts no longer try to fit in: we flame and glitter for no one but ourselves and those we love. Our love is perverted and huge. Our perverted love defies boundaries.

Queer femmes are true to our perverted gifts. We use them to call our own to us, to bolster perverts everywhere. We use our perverted femme magic to find our own perverted femme path and we tread stompingly in wedges, running shoes, pumps, jellies, orthotics, Doc Martins on the pervert path to glory, submission, domination, sexual satisfaction and everywhere coming up rainbows.

We queer femme perverts dig deep into our perversion, coming up with rich, life-giving thoughts, actions, memories, access. Our perversion, the brilliance of our perversion that interrupts programming as usual, that intersects with the fight and glory of perverts of other stripes and journeys, and that makes us magicians and connects us to the holy.

We say FEMME LOVE

We say FEMME LOVE HEAL

We say FEMME LOVE HEAL WORLD

There is no limit to our queer femme pervert power.

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.

 

 

 

 

Femme Friday — Queer Femme Rising! An Interview with Sable Twilight

Sable and I met in the Radical Faerie Heart Circle at Creating Change, where we shared such lovely moments together. I am so thrilled to welcome her to Femme Friday, and am moved and inspired by her responses sparked by the following interview questions:

 “When first I found femme, I…” (thank you, Radical Faerie Heart Circle, where we were asked to complete the sentence, “When first I found a faerie…)

 Can you talk about how your understanding of “femme” has evolved over the years?

 Do you see femmes as being able to contribute something unique in this time of upheaval, danger and protest?

 Who are your femme role models?

Deep gratitude to Sable Twilight for these illuminating words!

 I am Sable. Sometimes Sable Twilight. A queer, femme, trans woman in Denver, Colorado. I currently work as a program manager for the transgender programmers a local LGBTQIA+ community center in fair sized Midwestern city Some of the additional identities I hold are white, middle class, temporarily able-bodied, born in the United States, college educated, mid-forties, and with English as my first language. And these are the lenses of understanding and relationship from which I approach my understanding of femme.

When asked to write about myself for Femme Friday, I was not sure how to approach it. While I had thought and read a bit about femme in terms of activism, visibility, and political, social, and spiritual dynamics, I had never really given voice or word for to how having a femme identity relates directly to me. I think, in a lot of ways, femme invisibility has been so strong, so powerful that it has been invisible even to myself for much of my life.

I think I have actively identifying as femme for about six years now, though reflecting back, I can see signs where I have always been femme. I consider myself more of a business femme, casual femme, witchy femme, and occasional pajama femme than high femme. I think one of the most empowering things I have done for myself, in relation to my femme identity, was to recognize how femme can manifest in many different ways and in many different dynamics. Initially when I started thinking of myself as femme, I would compare myself to other people I identified as femme. And I would often judge myself a bit harshly for not having enough of what I perceived as the femme trappings. Eventually I came to realize that, for me at least, femme was more about a relationship with myself, the world, and the universe. For me, femme about fluidity: in my relationships, in my identity, in just about everything. I think that is what makes femme such a challenging to define, because it can be such a fluid and unique for each person.

For me, my femme identity is as much a spiritual one as expressive one. As part of this acceptance of the diversity and fluidity of femme, I have sought to understand it’s diversity and fluidity in the universe and in the divinities I work with. As well as the above social identities, I do identify as a seidr worker, volva, energy worker and as such I have been feeling for a while there is sort of energetic shift I have been feeling in the world, a sort of rising femme energy. I have at times call it Queer Femme Rising, in recognition of the Queer Masculine or Homme energy which I saw developing from the queer (both literally and figuratively) creative movement of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. In a similar vein, I have seen this slow manifestation and growth of a femme dynamic manifesting in the world in an ever-growing manner.

As I have been working through my own connection of my femme identity and how it relates to my spiritual path, I have been working through some of the ancestral and cultural trauma embedded within the femme experience. I have been examining the intersection of femme oppression, cissexism and transphobia, queerphobia, capitalism, colonialism, racism and white supremacy, and xenophobia as sort of an extension of a core anti-femme need for rigidness and absolutism. I have begun to understand how femme passion and sexuality, youth and aging, the womb and death, nature itself have been perceived as this uncomfortable threat to the dynamics of patriarchy, control, and exploitation.

I think femme and the sacred femme and the queer femme have a lot to offer during this time of turmoil. They empower and inspire an embracing of change and diversity. And I think from that embracing of diversity opens the possibility for understanding the world and finding new path. For me, femme inspires a certain sense of hope and deep down caring, compassion, and love for the world, as well as a recognition for the need for action.

I think one of the biggest challenges femmes face is femme invisibility. We are everywhere but sometimes is it difficult to recognize one another. This is of the reasons I have been looking at the concept of the femme spiral. As told to me by a femme friend, this is the idea of putting some form of spiral based art, such as a tattoo, on the inside right wrist. The idea is it become a means of recognition which honors the diversity of our experiences as well as the often-cyclical nature of our existences.

I think it is important we stop harming each other. Stop committing lateral violence on one another. And to recognize we are all carrying within us generations of collective trauma. I feel the greatest and most damaging harm committed to us through the burning times and colonization was the internalization of the oppressor and then using that internalized force to regulate and oppress one another. It is time we start to heal our wounds and reclaim our internal power.

I have so many femme role models. They range across the femme spectrum – the high femmes, the punk and working class femmes, the corporate femmes, the Goths, the pajama femmes, the hidden femmes and the public femmes, the queer femmes, the femmes who embody their identities as an act of femme resistance. Even those most handsome of dapper gender queer, trans masculine, and non-binary femmes. They all inspire me and empower me when I allow myself to honor and recognize them.

I do find a lot of everyday empowerment from the Goddess Freyja, who, for me, is a representation of fierce femme, empowered sexuality, internalized beauty, and shaper of one’s own world, path, and destiny. And Freyja is just one representation of femme empowerment. The power of the scared femme is transcendent in countless divinities, both cultural and personal, across time and cultures. Ultimate I seek to see each femme I meet one of my femme role models.

In between work and letting myself relax with the occasional video game (yes I am a proud gamer femme as well), I have been throwing myself into the online course “The Burning Times Never Ended: A Story of Disenchantment and Re-membering Resistance” (http://callingourselveshome.weebly.com/the-burning-times-never-ended-re-membering-resistance.html) as a way to reconnect with a queer femme past which forces of patriarch and capitalism tired eradicating. And as part of my own spiritual journey, I have working through the book “Lifting the Veil: A Witches’ Guide to Trance-Prophesy, Drawing Down the Moon, and Ecstatic Ritual” by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone. I enjoy watching Steven Universe, and I think it holds a lot of value in terms of representation and empowerment. I look forward to the next seasons of Sense8 and HerStory. For femme inspired musicians, I am most definitely a fan of Miranda Sex Garden, Siouxie and the Banshees, Sleater-Kinney, La Roux, Carina Round, Ayria, Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows, Jill Tracy, and so many other wonderful artists.

sable twilight

“Just on the border, Of your waking mind, There lies, Another plain, Where darkness and light are one, And as you tread the halls of sanity, You feel so glad to be, Unable to go beyond, I have a message, From another time…”

-ELO “Prologue” Time

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. Suggestions welcome!