Meditations for Queer Femmes – Lay It Down

I recently began attending Al-Anon meetings due to the struggles of one of our sons with drugs and alcohol. It’s been an incredibly volatile time for me emotionally. While I am so grateful to be able to find loving help, I am devastated by the implications of my femme ass sitting in meeting after meeting: my baby is in trouble; my baby is in trouble.

In one of the meetings, someone said, “I think Al-Anon works for all isms.” Heterosexism, too? I wonder… Along with feeling powerless over substances, I for sure feel powerless over homophobia and every form of industrialized oppression out there. Talk about something being bigger than me! Talk about something causing my life to become unmanageable! Talk about it being way too much for me on my own. Love may be love, but it’s not always – or ever? – enough, and it certainly wasn’t enough for my observant, creative, deep-feeling child not to internalize the cultural and social toxins to very bad effect. And really, are any of us undamaged?

Right after Trump was elected, my butch, Tex, attended a conference where Ayanna Pressley was the keynote speaker. In 2009, Ayanna was the first woman of color to be elected to the Boston City Council. At the conference, she spoke about how she managed to re-enter the fray, every blessed day: every morning she prays and meditates, and every Sunday she goes to church. She urged the shocked and mourning audience to embrace a spiritual practice, to find some way of laying things down. When Tex thanked her for her words later, she asked if she could give her a hug. Of course, Tex said yes, and it was a very sweet hug; a generous and loving gift. We agreed that Ayanna recognized that my butch husband, like herself, is a visible target for bigots, and is someone in need of comfort and love.

We queer femmes are not always visible targets of homophobia, but we are harmed just as deeply by the hate. When we are assumed participants in foul talk or behavior, when we are ignored, when our lives are presumed to be “queer lite” or some kind of experiment or joke, our souls take a hit. Over and over.

I was born in 1962, and in my heart, I am still a hippy child, and my spirituality has to do with nature, natural systems, warm fuzzies, and community. Alas, my intellect, formed in the “nothin’ matters and what if it did” 80s, fights me every step of the way on this. How and when can I lower my cynical shields to find the Bigger that Ayanna spoke about and wished for my butch, that Al-Anon names “Higher Power” and “the God as you understand Him”?

I don’t exactly know, and perhaps you don’t either, sweet femme sisters. Or perhaps you do, and you find solace in a queer femme spiritual practice that blesses you and those around you. For me, in the way of these things, as I try and stay open to what I need, I just came across this quote by the artist Mark Adams: “Our encounters with nature – and animals in particular – reveal in us a rootlessness that is essentially human. Ecologists say that nature is partitioned into niches, roles that each animal or plant is born to fulfill – not exactly a purpose, but a kind of appropriateness for each life in nature. For us, this is a source of envy and awe. Catbirds, bees, toads – they call and navigate with certainty while we spin in bewilderment.”

I’m beginning to understand that it’s ok to recognize the spin. It’s ok to say, “I am so fucking bewildered!” It’s ok to lay it down, even if you don’t know exactly where and how. It’s ok to ask for help, even if you don’t believe in anything other than pain. If that’s all that’s been real to you. All and every one of these things and more are ok, because that is how we begin to heal.

May you continue to heal today. May you allow yourself to dip a toe or throw yourself bodily into the flow of love and spirit and now and art and be. May you find comfort, even if it’s just a glimmer in the corner of your eye. It is there. You are whole. You are beautiful. You are not alone.

Lay it down.

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.”)