I finally got around to getting my website up, for those of you who are interested. There are links to my book for sale and there is some general information available about up and coming books. Most of the things I write appeal to the gay community, but not all.
I did a short bio on my homepage. Am I the only one who hates that and doesn’t really know what to say? While I understand the necessity of shouting out to the world when you have things you wish to promote, like books and yourself, as an author… I really hate it at the same time. I’d much rather write about someone else.
In the past few days, I’ve been promoting my new book a lot and using my facebook page to do so. I am now getting “poked” by some girl that I am about to officially start to consider a stalker. I find getting poked by someone that I don’t know to be offensive. Anyone else feel that way? I keep hoping if I ignore her, she’ll quit.
So the pages are done, for now. I feel that it will be an evolving process. I have other things I should be working on but can’t get motivated right now. I’m ghostwriting a book and I need to have it 80% by Monday. I can see that I am going to have to work all weekend at this rate. In all honesty, I’ve learned to write very quickly in order to make up for my procrastination at times.
To be fair, I did just move to a new city and I’ve spent some time recently getting to know my way around and seeking out clubs to join, so that I could meet new people and make friends. I’ve been distracted with getting to know my new surroundings, but I need to get my work done too. (I say this as I glance over at the pile of dirty dishes in the sink). In all honestly, I could occupy myself for the next 3 hours just cleaning and doing odd jobs but I’m not going to.
I’ve been invited to an open mic night in downtown next week. I plan on going and I am planning on reading something I wrote a long time ago. I’m going to copy it here, and you can tell me what you think:
When I Was Just A Little Girl I Asked My Mother What Will I Be….
…and she told me, not normal…..
Yesterday, I took a day for myself. I had a lot I needed to do! I needed to get my cell phone turned on, before my close friends all started pounding on my door. My dogs were out of food and the cats were nearly out of food.
In recent days, my email has been full. I have had an average of a hundred emails per day to sort through, since announcing my trip and beginning to make plans. Sorting through it has become monotonous already. I enjoy responding to people who have things to share, so don’t get me wrong, it is worth every moment I spend…but I think I may need an assistant before this is all said and done?
These were all things on my mind as I walked yesterday. I try to exercise….mostly because I like to eat more than I like to exercise. I have had a battle with weight my whole life. As I stood, waiting for a traffic light to change yesterday, I realized that my Body Mass Index was within 1 point of no longer being considered obese. This is the first time in my life that I’m now officially, “just overweight”. I’m eating a cookie as I write this….I’ll walk it off later.
I thought about a lot of things yesterday. I thought about what makes me who I am, and then I thought about “who am I, anyway?” I walked eight miles yesterday and I had a lot of time to think about it. I remember when I used to wear my hair a little longer and I considered myself more of a “soft butch”. I thought about whether or not it had changed who I was on the inside? Maybe who I was on the inside had changed and this affected who I was on the outside? That is really food for thought.
After pondering the mystery of what made me butch, I came up with a lot of thoughts. I’m going to try to put them into some sort of order here, though it may not make sense to all of you.
I remember as a child, preferring jeans and jackets that looked like boys’ clothes. I remember a jacket that I had in the sixth grade. It was grey, with scarlet sleeves and looked very much like a boy’s letter jacket. I loved that jacket. In a strange way, it defined me that year. I felt like I was who I should be when I had that jacket on. I strutted a little taller and felt a little broader. I felt strong and invincible. That was a stark contrast to the way I felt when my mother took me shopping for my first bra, just a few years before that. I was humiliated, embarrassed and wanted to just die the entire time. I didn’t want breasts. I prayed that they would never grow. Other girls wanted them, talked about them all the time and I did not understand. I was mortified at what happened to my body during puberty and I considered it an assault on my being. It shattered the very foundations of who I thought I was. I could no longer avoid it…..I was a girl. I had physical proof and I hated it with a passion.
My mother used to insist that I had long hair. For many years, I had hair down to my rear end and it was all her doing. I hated every moment of it. I hated having it washed and brushed. I hated the pony tails, the pig tails, the bangs that were so long they had to be pulled back with barettes. I had barettes in every color, every style and shape. I hated those things with a passion and the day I got my hair cut short I enjoyed tossing them in the garbage. There was no long goodbye, more of a quick good riddance.
Once, when we were shopping at a Kmart and my mother was trying to interest me in some clothes and I was grunting back at her, a woman near us said “boys, they are so hard to shop for…blah blah blah.” I made the mistake of grinning. My mother lectured me all the way home (15 miles) about how humiliated she was and why couldn’t I at least ACT like a girl, dress like a girl, etc. Things only got worse.
When I was in the fifth grade, my mother had to have a complete hysterectomy done. I don’t know why, parents don’t share details with their fifth graders about such things. All I DO know is that I spent that school year being screamed at. I was told that I made no effort to be a girl at all. I was told that I looked like a boy, I acted like a boy and I even ate like a boy and she hated me. I remember one day that I was eating a sandwich, with my brothers and my dad, at the table. Mind you, I was always a large person. When I was in the second grade, my hands were already large enough to palm a basketball. Not a small basketball, a full-sized regulation basketball. So, eating a sandwich was really NOT a two-handed job for me. I remember eating my sandwich, with one hand and minding my own business, and all of a sudden my mother unloading a barrage of insults, right down to “You can’t even eat a God-damned sandwich like a girl! What is the matter with you??” I remember looking at my dad for some support or an explanation and all I got was him doing his best to stay out of my mom’s way. She was on one of her tirades and in our house, you tried to stay out of her way. Unfortunately, I was, more often than not, the object of her tirade. It wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I realized that she was feeling like less of a woman because of her hysterectomy and she took it out on me, because I was not the least bit feminine and it killed her.
Many years later, she finally apologized to me for her treatment of me. She told me she didn’t ever support me or create an atmosphere where I could have talked to her. She also told me that I was her independent child. Her oldest child had a disability. Her youngest child was a baby and very much a momma’s boy. She acknowledged this and told me that because I was independent, I was the one she never worried about and she didn’t realize how wrong that was until after my father died and I was the only one of her three kids who was really there for her. To this day, writing that makes me cry. Tears run down my face now, as I think about how she FINALLY got me, and then she only lived about six months longer. Still, I honestly feel vindicated in so many ways. She realized how she treated me and, for once, I knew it wasn’t all in my head. She admitted to me that she had suspected for many years that I was gay and she never could deal with it. She told me that there were times she looked at me and just hated me. To her, I symbolized something that she had done wrong. That is hard for me to write, but it is true. There are people who are going to read this that knew her and are going to find this hard to believe. All I am going to say to this is for you to stop and think about how outspoken she was and her ‘cussing like a sailor’ and it really shouldn’t be THAT big of a jump for you to hear her screaming at me because my hands were too big. My mother also hit me. I was slapped, punched, pinched and had my hair pulled too many times to count. I had my glasses broken once because she punched me square in the face. I had to lie at school and say that I did it, because I was threatened at home if I told on my mother. My father came in my room after she had punched me and broken my glassed, to find me scratching “I hate Mom” on my desktop. He just said, “Don’t let your mom see that.” He didn’t say or do anything else. I remember realizing then that he was afraid of her also, on some level, and that he didn’t blame me for hating her.
Something much harder for me to admit is that part of me is glad that she died when she did. I realized this not long after she died and as hard as it has been for me to admit this to a few close friends. It is more difficult to put the words in writing for the world to see. It’s true that the day she died, I cried because I felt so robbed. She FINALLY admitted to me that she treated me like shit and then she up and died! A deeper part of me, a child that was hurt and always afraid of being slapped or screamed at, took a very deep sigh of relief and relaxed in a way she never had. I started biting my fingernails when I was three years old. I once asked my therapist what made a three year old do this and she simply answered, “extreme anxiety. Is it possible that you never felt safe?” Those words were quite an epiphany to me. A blow and an open door all at the same time. I had never really felt safe to be me. I truly don’t think that I could ever be who I am today, if my parents had both lived longer. I was forced to learn to rely on myself. I was forced to grow-up in many ways and I was finally free to deal with ME.
So there I was, barely thirty years old and suddenly I was free to be me, for the very first time in my life. I no longer needed to worry about what my mother thought about me. In the end, she had finally given me her blessing and my father had never outwardly judged me, but he had never taken my side in her tirades either…so I always felt betrayed, where he was concerned. All of a sudden, I had neither of them to answer to, to prove anything to, or hope for anything from either. Suddently, I was on my own completely and I wasn’t really sure where to begin.
Enter depression. I had more reasons to be depressed than any doctor or shrink could possibly diagnose. How do you undo YEARS of emotional abuse? YES…the words are hard to say, but my mother was an emotional abuser in the worst way. So there I was, as an adult, still EXPECTING it from someone. I don’t think I was ready for a relationship at all…but maybe I needed to have those relationships that failed to realize that I deserved better? I accept my responsibilty in the relationships that failed, because I was always enabling them to do the things that they did. I had one girlfriend who treated me just like my mother did. It felt like “home” so I stayed….far too long. Then I had a girlfriend that was far to codependent and I fell into is too easily. I accept that I needed to be needed and I let it happen. It was unhealthy, but at that time, neither she nor I were very healthy, emotionally. I am still friends with her, to some extent. She has grown into a very wise woman now, as I hope that I have grown also. We were kids then, and we were the blind leading the blind in every possible way. My last long term relationship was absolutely full of growing pains. I was growing emotionally and she seemed to be retreating. I was facing my demons and she was still hiding from hers. We couldn’t get along because we were just in two completely different places in life. I accept that I made mistakes and that I probably should never have let myself get involved with her to begin with. My gut tried to tell me something was way off in the beginning and I didn’t listen. She had a lot of things to come to terms with in her own life, and so did I. Neither of us was there, emotionally for the other. I’m not sorry for the six years we were together, but I AM sorry that I wasn’t a WHOLE person and neither was she.
In the eleven or so years, since my parents died, I have slowly been evolving. I only recently realized this. I had never fully embraced who I was. Recently, I’ve had a few people look at photos of me from my younger years and say that I was definitely butch, even then. I never called myself that. I called myself a soft butch in recent years, and before that….well, I was just a lesbian. I did not label myself at all. I payed no attention to butch or femme, I was just “me”.
As I walked yesterday, I thought about how much I had changed in the last year, since Melissa and I broke-up. I smiled as I realized I had FINALLY embraced my “inner butch” and outwardly laughed when I also realized that my “inner butch” was embracing my “inner girl” and I am not ashamed of it! I cut my hair in a crew cut…..I’d do a flat top, but I haven’t perfected that barbering skill yet (I’m working on it). Yet, I shave my legs, my arm pits and even my arms….cause I think my tattoos look better clean shaven. <smiling to myself>
I’m a walking contradiction and I know it. I like to look rugged, but I love a good thrift store shopping spree with the girls….I just shop the men’s department. I like to work on cars, but I also like to hang photos and paint and decorate my homes. I will lay carpet, tile a bathroom floor, replace a toilet, crawl under the sink to fix the plumbing, and then soak in the tub and buff my nails to a shine and slather myself with Oil of Olay afterwards. I use men’s shampoos, soaps and colognes….but sometimes I treat myself to a bath with lavender.
I go to the store about twice a year and buy 6 new sport bras in a range of colors, I shop for underwear at Walmart and I chase women who buy theirs at Victoria’s Secret. I buy sport socks a few times a year in white and black. I have 3-4 pairs of dress socks in various colors to match my pants. I own one black lace bra for those “rare occasions” that I feel comfortable enough with someone to share my “inner chic” with. It mostly lays in a drawer and reminds me that I CAN wear it if I want to. I have a bag under my bathroom sink that I keep make-up in…..just in case. I have come REALLY close to throwing it out recently, but still can’t make myself do it. A small part of my “girl” I cling to? Perhaps?
My closet is FULL of shoes and I recently discovered that I owned more pairs than a femme gal I know. I was shocked and entertained by this fact. I have counted them to get an exact tally…..3 pair of slippers, 3 pairs of flip flops or sandals, 9 pairs of tennis shoes, 3 pairs of men’s dress shoes, 1 pair of women’s dress shoes, 3 pairs of boots. I think that adds up to 22 pair of shoes? I believe that my “inner chic” likes to shop for shoes and my “inner butch” prefers tennis shoes and men’s dress shoes? If I count my roller blades, it is 23 pairs and they are also men’s sized. I wear a size 11 MEN’S shoe. I couldn’t have ever been girly if I wanted to. Does anyone REALLY wonder if I wasn’t born like this??
Sometimes, I feel like a person who has two personalities that I am trying to integrate on a daily basis! Each and every day, I learn something totally new about myself. I am, only now at the age of 42, coming to terms with who I am and what makes me comfortable. I am comfortable with short hair. I am happy smelling “sporty” and I’d RATHER wear men’s clothes. Don’t limit me though! I get rebellious if you try to tell me what I SHOULD look like! I have women’s clothes and I like some of them very much! I have found SO MANY femme women that have tried to limit me in what I wear! It’s almost like a reverse prejudice, in a strange sort of way. I have a women’s red jacket that I love, and when I wear it with a white or black botton-down shirt and a tie, it looks very butch. I have my own sense of style and I really don’t care if it fits one mold or the other. I know what I do and don’t like. I don’t want anyone, especially a femme, to tell me I’m not “butch enough” for her. I’ve been in bar fights, with men, and won….I KNOW I’m butch enough, honey.
I have a thing for bags. I love messenger bags, shoulder bags, duffel bags and back-packs. Is this some primordial feminine urge to have a purse? Gawd I hope not! I also have a thing for watches and I only wear men’s watches. The bigger they are the better. I have right now….8 watches, and I’d have more if I could afford them. One girlfriend found it to be quite anal of me that I even slept in my watch, showered in my watch and always had to know what time it was. I am not wearing a watch right now at all….but my Casio G-Shock is within my view. <smiling> I crack myself up.</smiling>
I like shiny things. I get distracted by “bling”, I used to think that this was my “inner chic” but hey, it COULD be my “inner gay man”? I mean…I used to color coordinate my closet from whites on the left, to darks on the left. All my botton-downs had to be ironed and hung in the exact same way on the hangers. I think that this says that I may have an “inner gay man”? I don’t do that anymore, by the way. One day, I just went in there and jumbled everything up….it was hard, … but it HAD to be done. I have since given up ironing too. I’m a slob now. Have I mentioned that I am VERY sarcastic?
I don’t personally give a shit if you call me he or she, him or her….I KNOW who I am. I don’t need anyone else to validate me, at this point in my life. I am not going to lose my temper if you don’t call me what I want to be called. I don’t see the point in that. I would say to my butch brothers and sisters that you shouldn’t lose your tempers or your patience either, take it as a chance to educate someone. If they forget, forgive them. If they are a friend, love them. If they are not a friend, strive to make them one. Have you noticed that most people find it hard not to reach for a hand extended in friendship? Sometimes, we should just suck it up, put our own ego aside and just “be”.