A bilemma

I’m so happy to be back “home” right now. Quotations necessary because I don’t have a home right now.

I’ve expanded my tindering to men and women, if only to explore all sides of me and maybe see what others see in me. Hence why I’m back tonight after my first date with a cis straight guy from Tinder, and hence why I dragged myself to the nearest queer bar to nurse a beer, hug myself to myself, reassure myself that I’m safe, and talk with an incredibly charming, much older butch.

The guy I met up with was easy going. I wasn’t not attracted to him. But by the end of the evening, when we were at a punk show and he was standing behind me rubbing my shoulders, I felt suddenly claustrophobic. I gave him a hug and told him to enjoy the rest of the show just before I bolted. On the train, I wanted to cry. I was shaking. I made it all the way to the queer bar and sat down with relief, nursing my $3 beer and letting the evening sink in. He hadn’t even kissed me; all he did was barely more than friends would do to one another.

I texted two friends about it, one of whom is monosexual and didn’t understand at all the need to explore other genders; and the other who tends toward the monosexual but gets it. I think a big part of biphobia in the queer world is just not understanding the ways in which experiencing different genders are inherently different experiences.

I don’t get it. Alright, some more context: I have been (very explicitly) texting another cis straight guy from Tinder. It gets me so hot and bothered that I sometimes have trouble concentrating on work. He asks me about my preferences, turns my individuality into something fun/cute/sexy, and makes me feel really validated. I, on the other hand, imagine myself relinquishing control, giving it up to someone else bigger and more masculine, and playing to my own strengths in a cishet context for the first time in my life (rather than trying to be someone else within that context). I wish I weren’t into it, but I am. I wish it were about dating someone, but it’s not: he’s got no redeeming qualities. We’re supposed to meet up in a few days, quite honestly just to have sex. I’m not sure yet if I’ll go through with it. It makes me feel really dirty and guilty, especially as someone who identifies as a queer woman, to talk about hooking up with someone so overtly heteronormative; but at the same time undeniably excited. In immersing myself in queerness, cisheteronormativity has become taboo. In discovering sex that respects others’ bodies, being used on my terms feels like a way to reclaim my own body from other peoples’ terms.

Why is it that one guy rubbing my shoulders is more invasive than another guy sexting me? What will happen should guy number 2 and I actually meet? (I predict I will be into it, and then run outside to cry soon after.)

Where does that leave my sexuality, that I can date women but I can’t date men but that I want to sleep with men but also the thought of a man’s hands on me makes me want to curl up in a tight ball, retreat into a shell, and never emerge?

Do I really think that hooking up with, or even just getting a shoulder rub from, a man would be simpler than hooking up with other genders?

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On female friendship

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I don’t always make the best friend. I rarely trust someone, no matter how long we’ve been friends. It’s definitely my worst quality: that I’m always just a little defensive.

Several times in my life, my social life took a big hit. Some were subtle and I didn’t notice them happening: I suddenly found myself entering middle school and my best friend wouldn’t say hi to me anymore, or my friend’s mom died and I didn’t know how to be there for her until she broke down crying and all her pain came up one day and I realized that for those 12 years of friendship I didn’t know her at all, didn’t know what being a friend really meant.

But then between those two events, at the end of high school, my kiss-virgin friends and I were struggling to keep our friendship going strong through tides of hormones and the desire to fit in and not be left behind and be assured that nothing was wrong with us. Assurance we couldn’t get from each other, that we could only get from boys. There was nothing we could do for each other. We didn’t realize it, but we drifted apart.

Aside from one of us, who had a high sex drive from a young age and therefore was bound to explore her sexuality at a younger age, none of us had been kissed going into senior year. And then my first kiss ended in disaster; after he cheated on me in the worst way, I realized I was in over my head with a boy who pushed me further than I’d expected, and I was unprepared to deal with the consequences. It was just oral, and it would be another 4 years before by straight definitions I would “lose my virginity”, but at the time I had done away with a huge chunk of innocence so that by the time it came time for the “real deal”, it would in fact turn out not to be much of a big deal at all. Virginity is a myth, and if I ever lost it, it was long before I actually had “sex”.

Anyways, there I was amongst friends who had no such worries, no such experience, no fear of bumping into anyone in the hallways, no uncomfortable flashbacks. My experience with a boy had changed me, and they did not and could not relate. I felt isolated from my security blanket, all in the name of exploration, and by the time we left for college I was actively avoiding them.

On top of all this, my male friends were pursuing my friends and I felt left out of that whole clusterfuck; I wrote about it at length in my journal and took my anger out on them. We had boys on the brain, but in my brain things were totally different than in their brains. Boys had intruded on our innocent friendship, and we couldn’t get that innocence back.

Whew. All this to say, I understand why, looking back, I started pushing away their friendship, why I felt isolated, why female friendships ceased being important to me, why when I got to college all I wanted to do was ingratiate myself with guys, distance myself from women, and create a world for myself in which there wasn’t a whole lot of emotional intimacy at all. True I made some close male friendships, but to me they’re never quite the same.

These past few years, I’ve gotten closer to my female friends. Exploring my queer sexuality and freeing myself from heteronormative expressions of womanhood have allowed me to be free with people in ways I haven’t been since high school. It’s been 10 years since high school. And I’m finally consciously putting friendships first.

Last night, hanging out with my high school friend, we acknowledged a time when we weren’t the best of friends. We were open about it. All she said was “I don’t think I was a good friend back then,” and I said I didn’t think I was a good friend to her either. That was the whole conversation. But it felt so good.

 

 

I got a free copy of Stone Butch Blues!

Something exciting happened yesterday in my quest for more brain fodder regarding gender: I got a free PDF copy of Stone Butch blues! Leslie Feinberg, “revolutionary communist”, is one of the most influential LGBT activists. I’ve been looking for a copy of Stone Butch Blues for months, but it’s out of print and copies are selling for $150; money that isn’t going to a particular cause, or to Feinberg zirself. But nowwww I have it in PDF and I’m so excited to read it; it’s on my computer, which unfortunately means I’m torn between doing work and reading SBB.

I’ll write a post with my impressions soon.

A gender rebel’s gotta do what a gender rebel’s gotta do.

I’ve been doing some mindfulness stuffs, as part of a new years resolution I’m undertaking with a friend to meditate and/or do yoga regularly. As a naturally anxious person, I tend to just stew with the thoughts in my head, and most of them are pretty mean. For anyone who is curious, I personally like the super straightforward interface of calm.com for relaxing background sounds and a timer; there are also guided meditations. Nothing spiritual or touchy-feely. Just you doing you, for 2-30 minutes. (If you do 2 minutes nobody will judge you. But it’s awesome, seriously.)

The meditation I try to do is about being gentle on myself and letting myself feel the things I feel. That’s the only reason I’m still thinking, “Okay. Let’s explore this whole gender bullshit.”

I started with dresses, and then cut my hair, and then slowly stopped wearing dresses except when necessary, and then started binding, and then started experimenting with men’s clothing, and now most of my clothing is men’s. It’s a weird progression and has really thrown me off.

When I cut my hair into a pixie cut, I thought that’d be okay. But then suddenly my feminine clothing seemed too feminine in juxtaposition; so I tried styling my hair “pixie” but wound up giving up on that and letting it go androgynous. Then I tried androgynizing my clothing and it felt good. Every step seemed to get me closer to recognizing myself in the mirror. I started exploring how comfortable I am being perceived in different ways. I’m sure I was perceived as ugly at some points along this path; I didn’t like that. I wanted to flirt and be acknowledged. It’s shallow, I know, but I can’t help it. I’m sure i was perceived as confused. I didn’t like that either. I want to be seen as a secure adult, and I’m such a long way off from that.

The reason I feel the need to explore gender is that with this progression has led me through anxiety and depression to a point where I can live with myself, where I more or less recognize myself. So I don’t know if this is where I’m settling down, as an androgynous female with very open views of stuff, or if I need to go further.

I want to know now. I don’t want to wait 6 years to figure things out. But for now, things are getting better, and as a side project to my life it’s not half bad. So maybe I’ve reached the end of the road; but I need to see this through.

I like a few things now: 1) I attract open-minded friends (or repel the closed-minded ones). 2) I am treated as an equal by guy friends and find it easy to be myself around them. I think they think of me as a lesbian but I’m not shy to disclose my mixed dating preferences. So I guess that’s all cool, and maybe I’ve settled down in a place that feels good for now.

If I keep saying to myself, “This is stupid. I’m so foolish and selfish for going down this path; people must know I’m in a quarter-life crisis…” then I’ll never see the end of this road. No, I have to be nice to myself. I’m not stupid or foolish. I’m me. And I am not the most graceful at life but it’s my life to be not graceful at!!

I’ve pushed through a lot of discomfort to get here. When I sly-ly began exploring everything by wearing a men’s t-shirt here and a sports bra there, I had intense anxiety about wearing it in public. But I pushed through. And I feel myself walking taller, feeling prouder, being lighter. And still, I feel I have a ways to go.

A gender rebel’s gotta do what a gender rebel’s gotta do.

Duuude I got nominated for a “very inspiring blog” award!!

Thank you MainlyButch for the nomination for the Very Inspiring Blog award! I write so much fluffy crap here and simultaneously reveal very little about my actual self, I just feel bad you guys have to read all this… but I’m psyched that someone found it worthy of an award.

So, again, thanks. 🙂

Alright, not sure how this works entirely but here are the rules:

The rules of this award are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
Display the award on your post.

2. List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do.

3. State 7 random things about yourself.

4. Nominate other bloggers for the award.

5. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post.

6. Proudly display the award logo (or buttons) on your blog, whether on your side bar, ABOUT page, or a special page for awards.

Aiit, so you wanna know 7 random things about me? Here’s a peppy song to listen to while you read the following:

  1. At the peak of my ice skating career (I was 8) I could do a waltz jump.
  2. I once farted during a grad school recruitment. Loudly.
  3. I own a coloring book and I don’t care who knows it.
  4. When I was little I kept a pet ant for 3 days… I called him “Antie”. We traveled a lot so we weren’t allowed to have real pets. I didn’t have ready access to anything furry, so I took in Antie and we hung out for a while. He liked me I think. He had a very expressive face.
  5. Some people are “ocean” people and some people are “mountain” people. Some people are both. I’m very strongly a “mountain” person.
  6. When I don’t eat, I get really hangry. Seriously. I love eating. It’s the best thing in the world.
  7. I often worry that I’m selfish. Everyone is a little selfish, but I live in fear of acting out of self-interest and harming those I care about.

Alright, the nominees are:

Alrigt I’m not sure how this works. But here ya go:,

Standup comedy recap: Tig Notaro and Aparna Nancherla

If you didn’t know already, I really love Tig Notaro. She did an incredible set last night in the city, and I got to see the show! The theater was full of queer women, but the audience was diverse beyond that.

Her opener was Aparna Nancherla, who is a depressive with a hilariously self-depricating take on it. She said things like: “Don’t you hate… that’s all I have for that one.” She joked about suicide, and days where nothing happens, and awkward times with her therapist, and ways to game the system so she can get “all the pills” prescribed. The child-like intonation in her speech contrasted beautifully with her dark humor. Oh yeah, she also pulled a bunch of receipts out of her pocket. It was funny, I swear; I guess you had to be there.

Notaro’s set was a lot lighter in contrast. She did a few of her classics, like the “reminiscing about one second ago” laugh, but she had a lot of new stuff that was amazing, like getting “gay buried”. And I’m super impressed when a comedian interacts with the audience so seamlessly. And when they spur of the moment take their shirt off revealing their scars from a recent battle with cancer. And when they get several hundred people to sing “yellow submarine” with them. Again, you had to be there.

Some classics, from the both of them:

Aparna:

Tig:

Enjoy.

Earth-friendly menstrual products for your duderus

Ever since Tina said “duderuses” on Bob’s Burgers I decided to use it all the time.

I won’t tell you what time of the month it is because this is the internet but I’m eating a lot of chocolate and I feel fat and I’m turning into a monster, as all duderus-containing people are wont to do. We are all chocolate-eating fat-pants-wearing weepy messes for a whole week. RIGHT?! JKJK.

But seriously this chocolate is great. And I’m not wearing my fat pants but I’m wearing a big fuzzy hoodie. And I’m NOT TURNING INTO A MONSTER OKAY!?!

But seriously. I’m not eating chocolate. Even though it is great.

You know what else is great? The environment. In an effort to protect it, I use a bunch of hippie things. I used to have a Diva Cup, but it didn’t ever work quite right for me, and when I couldn’t get the stem clean (it’s a hollow tube thing) I wound up tossing it because I’d been using it for 5 years and that is approximately a LOT in tampon years, so it did its part. So now I have the Lunette. It’s a bluish color, no hollow stem, and it fits my anatomy pretty well. And it came in a blue bag instead of a magenta floral one… although when it comes to menstrual cups I don’t care if the marketing is cutesy as long as it makes them un-scary enough for more women to want to use them.

I recently discovered this weirdo cup called the Femmycycle that I want to share. It looks like an alien condom slash mini terrarium slash itty bitty gold fish bowl. Has anyone used one of these? Curious! When I’m thru with the Lunette I’m thinking of trying this. Technological innovation in the menstrual cup department makes me SUPER EXCITED because it means people with brains talent money and resources are not afraid of our scary dudterus-having bodies.

Even though I don’t mind frilly marketing if it gets people excited about using reusable menstrual products, I hate pink and white and swirly reusable pads because I have to look at that every time I have to pee. So I found a few for you duderus-having people who want something more gender-neutral, mostly on Etsy, like this navy blue set.

Or Johnny Depp:

Anime fan? Cupcake fan? Cartoony clouds and paper airplanes? The Wings of Love Etsy shop has so many designs that are NOT pink and floral.

And I can’t resist linking to this one, because everyone loves penguins. Everyone.

That shop also has themed ones, which I think is going a little too far: I’m having a period, I don’t need to go all Martha Stewart and match my tablecloths to my pads. But maybe YOU want to express your love for thanksgiving or halloween.

Or maybe you hate your duderus and you want it to stop bleeding so to get back at the damn thing, you just want to let loose a bunch of spiders on it! Or spiderMAN! Or skulls and crossbones because everything is the worst!!

Wait. Wait. This… right here… has to be my favorite: a bloodspatter print reusable cloth pad!! I hope they bought the fabric that way…

Anyways these are just some of the ones I like for myself. There are artsy ones, comic ones, cutesy ones, patterned ones. Nothing particularly butch (except for this dapper gingham and this argyle number), but still… Etsy is way better for this stuff than anywhere else I’ve looked.

I wonder how many people will find this post by looking up “duderus”.