He sat next to me on the BART. I was reading and I could feel him studying me.
“You’re beautiful,” he said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“I might be gay,” he said, “but you’re beautiful.”
“It’s ok, I’m gay too,” I said.
“Really? You’re gay? That’s amazing, that’s wonderful. Do you have a girlfriend?” he said.
“It’s complicated,” I said. He nodded.
“It’s my birthday,” I said. “It’s midnight. Right now, it just became my birthday.”
“Why are you alone on your birthday?” he said.
“I spent all day running around with friends,” I said. “I wanted to usher in this new year by myself tonight.”
“How old are you?” he said.
“26,” I said.
“You are so beautiful,” he said.
“I wish I could be alone,” he said. “I’m in love with this guy and as soon as he loves me back everything will be okay.”
“You don’t need him,” I said. “You’re just fine without him. You have your life to live.”
“I’m 22,” he said.
Yeah, I said. You’ll be just fine.
You are a gift, he said. I’m not going to forget you.
And then he smiled and said, know something funny? You didn’t usher in your birthday alone. You ushered it in with me.
I’ve been beating myself up lately because it feels like really, the only thing on my mind that compels me to write is fucking rape, and then I get like, “who wants to read about that? who comes here to read my navel-gazing about how fucked up I am and how I can’t stop obsessing about a stupid event that happened ten fucking years ago? and why do I need to dwell on it anyway can’t I fucking move on with my life?” and the truth is my life has moved on, and it also hasn’t. And the same people who were interested in reading about my relationship and my random thoughts about queer politics might or might not be interested in reading me process my trauma, but that’s not my problem. And processing this rape isn’t really only just processing this rape but it’s about processing how everything in my life before and at the time was already brittle and it’s about trying to piece those things together so that I can figure out how to want, fully, to be alive.
I saw this the other day and was like, yes. This is my anthem.
The past two weeks I’ve been on the east coast and have spent a bunch of time with friends of mine from college. These friends were the very first people in the world who knew about my rape other than my rapist and the nurse at Planned Parenthood a few weeks later who, when I went for STD testing, knew immediately what the situation was just by looking at me, even though the whole reason I waited a few weeks was to avoid just that likelihood. But otherwise my friends in college were the very first people I ever told and it has been so strange now, at the ten-year mark, to revisit my relationship to it then. In ways I can’t believe how much I was able to separate myself from myself, how much I clung to this “this fucked up thing happened but it is in the past and anyway now I’m stronger for it” fucked-up survivor narrative which is now the whole reason why I have so many problems with the word “survivor.” Cuz in retrospect it doesn’t really feel like I survived it feels like I was just getting by however I could, and in college, my m.o. was like, I just gotta have a normal life, have real friendships that are meaningful to me and I can’t fuck them up by dumping some insane fucking trauma on them. I was also scared, I think, because I didn’t know what would happen to ME if I actually started really talking. When I was in Boston last week I spoke about it a bit with my best friend from college who is actually the first person I ever told about it and she said that yeah, it had been clear to her at the time that I hadn’t really known how to talk about it, how to be both a person who was still reeling from this nightmare AND a person who could be normal and thrive. And I of course remember still having intense flashbacks during those years, especially the first two years of college, and just not being able to move for hours, days, but not being able to even think about telling anyone why.
I guess I had a lot of internalized shame and to be honest I guess I still do. Otherwise I wouldn’t be feeling disgusted with myself for continuing to use this blog as a platform to write about this stuff. And if anyone else who has ever experienced any kind of sexual trauma or violence were to say to me that they felt shame around talking about their experiences I would SO VEHEMENTLY reject that without skipping a fucking beat, and so I’m trying to have that same graciousness with myself. And it makes me wonder how in another five years, ten years, how I will look back on myself now and think, “how did I do it? how did I survive?” the way I’m looking back now at college. I try to remember when and how it started getting easier and I can’t even force my mind to go back there without feeling like I’m going to throw up so I don’t know how to figure it out.
In early May, I went to a queer dance party in Oakland and left early by myself because I was feeling tired and drained, and I was followed by two assholes who were bantering with each other about my ass as a piece of fucking meat and I turned around and yelled at them to fuck off, yelled as loud as I could and was so angry. And rather than leave me alone they shoved me against a building and one of them went through my shit and stole all my cash and the other one went through my dress and stole my body. He couldn’t get a full erection (evidently my fault because I was a “fucking pervert dyke”) so he decided his hand was good enough. The whole thing lasted all of about five minutes and I am insanely proud of myself for staying in my body and not abandoning it. I stayed put with all my might. And I consciously decided at some point to just cry, thinking that maybe if I let it all out and just let my emotions be what they were, maybe it would stop them. So I did, I cried and crumpled to the ground and begged them to stop. And the one going through my shit was like, “this isn’t fun anymore, let’s go” and they left. And I felt broken and shaken and flattened and disgusted and terrified and humiliated, but I was like, whoa, I’m still here. I’m all here. And I called about eight different people to try and connect with someone, to stand up to my inner voice that wants me to isolate, cuz I was like, I am not going to do this again, I am not going to go through this alone. And I am so proud of that.
And then last week I was with my dad in my hometown and we were driving back to his apartment but there was some sort of race or parade or something through my town so he had to take a weird route and he drove right down that street and passed right by the spot where my rapist watched me run by him from his car ten years ago. And my clueless father took us right down that street and I have very intentionally avoided that spot for ten whole years. I haven’t been to that spot since it happened. And it’s funny because I was just thinking recently about how maybe I would want to pay that spot a visit sometime, maybe by myself or maybe with someone close to me, but maybe just by myself and sit there and rock. I thought maybe it would be good to confront that and see it as a regular spot on a regular street in a regular town. But the very second I knew where the car was going, I started throwing up and I had to frantically open the car door and lean out and puke on the street while my baffled father tried to figure out what to do. I couldn’t even talk to him I couldn’t even think, I just had this total panic meltdown and every tiny millimeter of my body needed to get the fuck away. And it was raining and we got back to my dad’s place and I couldn’t go inside, I needed air so I walked to the playground at my old elementary school and sat on the bench in the rain and stared at the playground that I used to play on before, and I tried to connect to a time before everything, when I would just play, on that very playground, with the same (child) body I have now.
I’m struggling. It’s like time is fucking around with me and has decided that it doesn’t need to move in a linear fashion, it doesn’t need to make things easier for me, it doesn’t need to be predictable and it will just do whatever it wants so-help-it-god. And I’m left trying to pick up the pieces and make sense of it all. Sometimes though it feels like even picking up the pieces is too much work, let alone the making sense of it.
One of my very favorite bloggers, and someone who in the meantime I feel really close to, wrote recently about a particular memory of her own trauma, a very specific memory that always flattens her and leaves her shattered. And someone commented, and said to her, have you ever asked that memory what it wants? Asked it why it keeps coming back? Cuz maybe if you can figure that out, you can give it what it wants and it will eventually stop coming back.
The simplicity of that stunned me. What does it want, this part of me that keeps poking and prodding and sticking, and what do they want, these images and memories and body-memories that keep revisiting? I know I need to figure that out. The thing is, the only way I’ve really known how to deal with it has been to push it away and say “no, you are not allowed.” I’m so terrified of giving it space and letting it in, I’m so terrified of what it will do it me and by syllogism, what it will do to everyone in my life.
In the meantime, I’m on the plane to Berlin right now. By the time I post this I will be there already but I’m writing this on the plane. And for the next three weeks I’m hoping that whatever part of my brain it is that is rising up and needing attention will just quiet down so that I can get some rest, get some space, and maybe then try to start figuring this out when I get back.
Also, sorry for saying fuck so much lately. It just sorta happens.
Okay. So, recently, as in a few weeks ago, I got married. I married a gay guy, and I did it for reasons that are advantageous to both of us, and they have nothing to do with feelings. It is, essentially, an arrangement that gives me health insurance (so I can get an invasive surgery that I need to get) and gives him significant material benefits that I won’t bother to go into here.
Although it’s a good story on its own (I met him on a Tuesday, we married on a Wednesday, we had to do the whole ceremony and we giggled the entire time, we even drew up a pre-nup and had it notarized all within eighteen hours between meeting and marrying), I’m bringing it up because it has made me think about something that had already been percolating but that this “getting married” really made real for me. It’s made me think of a LOT of things, actually, including the absurdity of government having a hand in this kind of ridiculous institution. But what I want to talk about here is queerness, femininity, and “visibility.”
See, when I got married, I had to get a ring. I had to get a ring because I had to go with my husband into his place of work and waltz around as his wife for two days while getting his marriage all legitimized and getting my and his benefits solidified. My ring is a $20 simple sterling silver band that’s slightly too big because the kiosk at the mall didn’t have my size so I had to go a half size up. And I kind of love this ring. I don’t love the RING, itself, as a piece of jewelry, I mean it’s fine and all, totally unoffensive, but it’s not particularly lovable in itself. What I love about it is what happens to me when I wear it. What happens is, when I’m wearing it, I feel like I have this inside joke with myself that no one else gets. Not that anyone really notices it, or thinks about it much if they do notice it, but that’s almost precisely it — in a way, it’s like the ultimate symbol of straightness, of heteronormativity. A wedding band, right? And so when I wear it, I “pass” as a regular ol’ married woman. I’m a wife. I’m a straight, blond (oh yeah, my hair is blond now), young, hazel-eyed wife. But the thing is, the joke’s on them because they don’t even know there’s any joke. On the surface I would appear to be one, totally comprehensible, sensible thing and yet? I’m so *not*.
And I guess what it did for me in a way was release me from this idea of “visibility” as my aim. It’s like, ok, I look fucking straight. So? And, to whom? Why? And does that even matter? And the answer is, no, it doesn’t. I actually don’t give two shits whether I’m comprehensible, and I don’t think that comprehensibility or visibility as an aim of queer politics is even particularly desirable. I mean, look, I spent years trying to figure out how to be queer, how to be the “right kind” of queer for the straights, how to be the right “wrong kind” of queer for the other queers, how to (and yes, this is a pattern in my life) liquify myself and take up the shape of whatever space I’m in so as to fit right in. To me this has been partly about attaining a sense of belonging (where since adolescence I’ve tended to acutely feel like I dis-belong). And it’s also been about safety, majorly. Like I’ve got this deeply internalized sense that passing and fitting in are the best way to stay safe. Physically safe, sexually safe, emotionally safe.
So what the hell is my point? My point is, I guess, to repeat what I said before, that I don’t think that comprehensibility or visibility really ought to be a desirable aim of queer/femme politics. Like, what does that say about my relationship to the world if the way I organize myself in it is to best appear a certain way to it (or parts of it)? What that says is that my sense of self comes from outside, comes from how others perceive me, or rather comes from how I imagine others perceive me. And that’s bullshit because, honestly, I don’t think there’s any such thing as an “authentic self” or essence of self that can be authentically reflected or portrayed by your outer appearance. I don’t think there’s any way that every part of who we are will ever be visible to/perceived by/comprehensible to “the world” or “people” or whomever we are aiming to be seen/perceived/comprehended by. And like, if you think about it — when we try to be visible or try to be comprehensible, what is it we’re really reaching for? How do we measure what constitutes visibility? What are we reproducing in that effort? When we aim for inclusion, what remains excluded? When we use certain markers or norms or standards as a way to stay safe, what are we committing those who don’t/can’t access those same standards to? How are these standards also silently determined by whiteness, straightness, cisgenderness, upper-classness, ableness? Am I making any sense?
What it’s about, to me, or ought to be about, is just whatever the fuck we want. I just want to feel moderately okay in the world, and I want to measure that feeling according to my own feelings about and perceptions of myself rather than others’ feelings/perceptions of me. Like, I don’t want to seek to look a certain way in order to feel safe or to belong. Instead, I’d like to seek to look a certain way because it makes me feel bold. And by bold I don’t mean daring, flashy, fancy, etc. I just mean, I want to strive for a feeling of taking up space in my body such that my body feels strong, solid, present, and so that I can in turn try to think beyond a politics of comprehensibility and make room, in my own mind, for the immense possibilities that queerness presents to the world in all of its bodies.
Right, so the wedding ring. Yeah, it makes me feel like laughing hysterically when I have it on because everything it is supposed to symbolize — undying love and commitment to another person for a lifetime — is just totally irrelevant for me in my life right now. Instead, for me, it symbolizes this juxtaposition of who I was raised to be versus who I am; it symbolizes my own freedom from the ties of certain expectations; it symbolizes my commitment to myself that I am capable of making my own way in the world; and it symbolizes that I don’t give a fuck whether I’m “visible” or whether I’m “comprehensible” because honestly, it’s too much goddamn work and it’s not work that I even support.
There’s a lot more I could (and maybe will) say about this stuff in relation specifically to femme politics and femininity. But I’ll save that for now.
The end! You may now congratulate me on my recent nuptials.
EDIT: Someone just alerted me (god y’all are quick, that was like half an hour) to this post on femmetech.org on “deprivileging in/visibility” which is very much along the lines of what I’m getting at only she does it much better and with way less rambling. I don’t agree with everything she says but I do with a lot of it and I’d like to think about it more… hmm…
Today, my friend told me that they marked me as queer right away. I asked what it was that made them think that, and they said they couldn’t place it. Something about posturing, or something.
Score! I’m queer-ifiable!
And then I went home and told ML and she was dubious. And spent twenty minutes messing with my hair to try to see if she could make it look “more queer.” Apparently it needs to be “piecier.”
Evidently, whether you “look queer” to someone is entirely subjective. Who knew?!
Today was the first day of my summer practicum — at a grassroots coalition of women prisoners. This summer so far (oh my god, I can’t believe it’s already almost halfway over) I’ve been devouring everything I can on prisons, the PIC, the military/police/penal state, race gender and prisons, the War on Drugs… The more books I read and documentaries I watch and conversations I have the more overwhelmed I feel and also eager and urgent about the problem of our prisons (particularly in California) and the havoc they wreak on those inside and on those of us outside. I feel stuck about how to write about those things on this blog but I do want update here more often than once a month, which is what I’ve been doing… I’m thinking maybe I’ll try to do once a day, just whatever’s on my mind.
What’s on my mind right now, other than women in prison? Well, I’ve got a 12-week-old kitten named Gilda batting at and chewing on my hair right now, which I read on the internetz means that she loves me; evidently she’s grooming me. She is a menace, a devil and an angel all at once. She is happy and loved, and also keeps us up half the night. We don’t have the heart to lock her out of the bedroom from the beginning of the night, but it inevitably means that we are up at some point in the night to her batting at our ankles and pawing at our faces and squirming in our bed, at which point we grumble and try to ignore it until we’re fully awake and finally get up and throw her out of the room. (Not literally.) Still, I am in love with her and when ML and I drove down the coast on Sunday to wander the salt marshes and go to the beach, we both missed her! A cat! I’ve never understood the pet bonds that people develop because I’ve never had a pet before, but I get it now. She’s a member of our family.
However, I promise I won’t bore you daily with tales of her mischief. Maybe weekly though :)
One of the more established interns at the prison coalition is queer, and I feel like I have a “be her” crush on her. Have you ever had that problem, where you can’t decide whether the gal you think is really hot is someone you want to “be” or someone you want to “do”? It took me a bit when I was younger to sort that out, and sometimes I think there’s still some gray area. Well, Ari is a “be her” crush, I’m pretty sure. Not that I know for sure that she identifies as femme, maybe she does maybe she doesn’t, but she is obviously queer, and not butch or masculine and I studied her trying to figure out what the cues were for me that she’s queer because it was so obvious to me. Other than my gaydar, I think it was a combination of a subtle energy and some visual cues: the slightly asymmetrical haircut with a tiny shaved part on the front of one side and bleached wingtips on one side; several small tattoos; skinny jeans with muscle tank + a few dangly necklaces… It’s interesting though, because despite the “be her” crush I think that I won’t really ever read that way. I’m too girly-feminine. I don’t mean pink and bows and hello kitty, I mean just a more conventionally feminine presentation. I don’t have tattoos and despite the fact that I know I mentioned here a while back that I was thinking of getting one, I’ve pretty much established now that I’m not. I feel torn between wanting to adopt a marker of something that is pretty ubiquitous among “my people” now (by which I mean my queer demographic, not all LBTQ folks in general) and wanting to also not just follow along in that regard. So until I feel more secure in my own queer presentation and don’t feel as concerned with whether I’m mark-able as queer, I think I will hold off. For me, being visibly mark-able isn’t really a good enough reason on its own to get a tattoo. In addition to not having tattoos, though, I tend to think that I otherwise lack some of the subtle identifiers that even I don’t quite know how to place. What is it that marks people? I know I’ve talked about this before; it still occupies me!
My hair is continuing to grow; I now have a platinum streak on a dark cherry angled bob. I’m continuing to try to get to the bottom of what I, personally, am drawn to in terms of style. Pin-up, yes, absolutely; I’d like to incorporate that into my daily get-up more. I know I feel happier and more together when I do, when I take the time to dress myself with care. It’s a matter of time, I guess. But I should do that.
What are the things you do, on an average, casual day, to articulate (visually) your gender? Whether femme or other?
First order of business: pin-up photos. Some of you might remember that for Christmas, ML gave me a pin-up photo shoot, and I finally did the shoot at the end of February and got the photos back last week. There were a bunch that I really liked, and I’ll post a few of them here. I’m a little excited about this because it’s the first time I’m exposing my FACE! on my BLOG! I feel pretty okay about that, and in some ways I think that it’ll enable me to feel freer posting here about whatever, because it’s just ME, it’s not me-posing-as-someone-cool-on-the-internet. Not that I pose or anything, but I do sometimes get anxiety when people figure out who I am in real life, then I’m all “OMG I’m so not as cool in real life as I lead people to think on my blog.” Which, intervention! That is not the way I want to be. So, yay, pictures!
The photos are all courtesy of BombshellBetty.net. Betty is awesome, and the photo sesh was a LOT of fun!
So I’ll post a few here, and then you should go over to my Facebook profile to see some more!
UPDATE: The swimsuit is by Fables by Barrie and they have ridiculously adorable sailor swimsuits, plus other awesome pin-up type clothing. I seriously can’t wait to wear this to the beach this summer.
PS: You can click ‘em to make ‘em big! Eep! My face is so big! Also, I’ve already had a question re touch-ups: these photos are not touched up at all, the reason my skin looks so glowy is because of the fantastic photographer and the lighting!
So yesterday was Christmas; I’ve been in upstate New York for a week and this year is every bit as hard as last year in terms of dealing with the parents’ divorce (they just signed papers last week) only worse because my sister isn’t here. My mom kept talking to me about her frustrations with Dad and his family (his brother and sister joined us for Christmas last year and this year too) and finally I had to ask her to stop. Look Mom, I’m really happy for you that you left this marriage; you were suffering a lot and Dad wasn’t getting it, refused to take you seriously. So, I’m glad you are flying solo, getting excited about online dating, trying new haircuts, backing off the family responsibilities you’ve always bent over backward to try to hold together. And yet: the man you are walking away from is my father. I can’t walk away from him, wouldn’t ever walk away from him, despite my very complicated relationship with him. So hearing you talk so casually and insistently about putting distance between you and his family… aches. And it makes me brittle and tense, like I’m betraying half of myself to listen to it. I miss my sister, because she gets it.
The husband of one of my graduate school friends died suddenly, less than a week before Christmas. It’s continuing to make my head spin and my stomach churn. I just saw him. Less than a week before he died.
I’m a freak in my family. Breakfast Christmas morning centered around my dad, uncle and brother all trying to complain to me about the various ways queers make them uncomfortable, assuming, I guess, that I’m not one of them. Or that I should be wary of being one of them. Seeking my agreement, “yes, butch women are too masculine, I know, it’s weird, they’re just internalizing masculine tropes blah blah, right, lesbians who are femme [don't you see me? oh, I forgot, I cover myself up for you] are just insecure and they really just are trying to provoke men, and yes, effeminate men are overly dramatic, ‘too much,’ aren’t they annoying?” Instead I get defensive, feeling attacked and wanting to run away to my beloved queers of all persuasions and demonstrations. Not a one of you is too much, not for me, I don’t care how much the world sneers, you. are my family.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal passed, and while I am pro de-militarization, I think it is so important for anti-war and anti-militarism queers to recognize how important the military is as a way to make a livable life, for queers and others. I am glad that queers in the military are now legally protected. I am okay living with perhaps a contradiction that I wish the military didn’t exist and that I’m still rejoicing the repeal of DADT.
My insurance company, already too expensive and only covering 70% of medical services, denied a whole series of claims from this fall for necessary treatments. From one day to the next I am suddenly over $7,000 in medical debt. Pre-existing condition. I do not understand how people can seriously oppose the health insurance reform this year.
I went to church on Christmas Eve for Midnight Mass (Episcopal version), as always. It’s the one service of the year I still like to go to. I’m not remotely religious, nor do I support the church in general. But I did grow up attending, and sang in the choir, and the Midnight Mass has become deeply embedded in my Christmas memories. It was this year the one place I didn’t have to feel tense, sad, uncomfortable, or responsible about or for anything related to my parents’ divorce. I found out that the reverend of the church has some kind of cancer, which unexpectedly brought tears to my eyes. Though I no longer consider the church important to me and hardly think of it these days, that man is kind and caring and the absolute embodiment of what a good church leader ought to be in my opinion. He has (despite, I understand, some disapprobation from the congregation) adamantly supported Gene Robinson (the gay Episcopal bishop in NH) and parted way with my diocese because of it. He has been an important person to my mother and has watched me grow up. When he stops presiding there, I will stop going back altogether.
So this year Christmas has somehow seemed like a year of various losses. I feel melancholy now; ML is off with her family, my sister is on the other side of the Atlantic, I’m struggling to keep my dad a part of the family somehow, and I’m trying, not for the first time of course, to wrap my head around illness, death.
And yet. I have a home in San Francisco. I have friends, I have a girlfriend who is also my very best friend in so many ways. I can’t wait to go back to school in January; I have a community that is challenging and supporting and able to hold all of me however I show up. I have this space, here when I need it (and I want it more and more), always supportive. So, I’m okay.
I hope all are well. <3
I’ve been feeling pretty politicized, lately, which has contributed to my not writing as much here (that, and midterms, obviously). What I mean is, this blog has been, for most of its life, an account of my personal life. My verrrrrry personal life, haha. The main reason for that, I think, is that since this blog began, the stuff in my personal life has been the most interesting stuff going on for me. I was working a job I didn’t care for, hadn’t situated myself squarely in any community in the city (part shyness, part being busy, part general feelings of liminality), and was spending most of my intellectual brainpower, outside of work, on thinking about my relationship and my burgeoning personal identities (primarily femme, but also, in smaller ways, “survivor”, feminist, queer, sex-positive…). Thank God for all of that, and for this blog and all of you, because it enabled my mind to continue to open up and expand when my work life was encouraging it to stay stagnant.
Now that I’m full-time in a graduate program (having lost my part-time work, eep. I really need a new part-time job…), it’s like my mind is blowing up. It’s brilliant, it’s like a re-birth. I’m navigating new relationships with classmates and professors, which is time-consuming and exciting. I’m reading a TON of stuff, mostly assigned, but I’m amazed that the assigned reading is actually motivating me to go out and read non-assigned stuff, both for context (e.g. Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge) and just because it excites me (e.g., Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, which, GO. READ. I’M SERIOUS.). I’m writing a lot for class. And I’m having a ton of conversations both in and outside of class, about things like what I posted about in my last post (which, don’t worry, I’ll be doing follow-up posts on) and about other things: midterm elections, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Tea Party, local politics. (Y’all, San Francisco just passed the most effed up bit of city legislation: Sit/Lie, a law that will *criminalize* sitting on city sidewalks, for any reason, which is ableist, classist, and a total betrayal of our city’s history and the folks that made SF the “free love” city that it is.)
And I’ve hesitated, I guess, to write about all of that stuff, because it’s not my personal life. It’s not just about my own personal identity anymore, but about my identity in the context of larger social and political forces, and just about those larger social and political forces on their own. I feel a bit strange about starting to use this blog as a sociopolitical soapbox (to be clear: when I talk about social politics, I’m not really talking about partisan politics (except in the context of these midterm elections), but I guess something more like progressive identity politics. I’m just not sure this is the platform for that. But you know what? It’s what’s on my mind, so I guess I’ll just roll with it. We’ll see what happens. And for the record, I love feeling more politicized. The blood in my body feels quicker, I feel more alert, more purposeful, more engaged with the world. I’ve been sharing a lot of stuff on my personal Facebook page, and I think I might start moving some of that to this blog’s Facebook page as well because I want to start having those kinds of conversations over here, too.
In the meantime, life’s pretty good. The weather here is gorgeous. Halloween came and went, and I stayed in all weekend; it was rainy and cold and I wasn’t feeling well anyway. ML is super busy with grad school applications and preparations, but this week we’ve actually managed to have dinner together every night so far, which is very welcome after three weeks of hardly eating together at all. My midterms are over and I’m already swallowed in more reading and beginning to prep for finals. I’m frantically trying to find part-time work but haven’t had any time to put into the search. This week, hopefully. Anybody have any Bay Area progressive connections?
One last thing: Apparently, the Giants won the World Series. I think I was probably the last person in San Francisco to find out. I truly live under a rock in many ways. But guys, the city erupted. It was almost as bad as Massachusetts when the Sox won in 2004. Sports fans!!!
PS: My next post, currently in draft form, is about the consumerization of femininity. It’s been fun to think about and write. I’ll finish it up and post it in the next day or two. Can’t wait to hear feedback…
Midterms, y’all. I forgot what it’s like. I’m coming up for air.
I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately. I’ve been thinking about queer as a politicized identity: what does it mean to me to identify as queer? In what ways is it more than just a sexual orientation and is, in fact, in many respects a way of life? What are ways that I resist heteronormativity in my queerness, other than just by “happening” to be partnered with a woman?
I’ve also been thinking about: femininity, specifically my femininity. (Are you surprised?) What I claim as feminine, what its history is, what it’s a resistance to. How so often the presumption is that femininity is something imposed on women, by men, as if men were actually creative enough to invent femininity from scratch, as if femininity weren’t something that many folks feel inside, and figure out ourselves or as community how to express.
In relation to femininity, I’ve also been thinking about ways that women are constructed consumers in our society, and how there are many ways in which femininities in the US are compulsorily consumerized. How that’s a class issue, because it renders working class/poor women who can’t afford all of femininity’s trappings less feminine, or even un-feminine. I’ve been thinking about the ways in which I participate in this (make-up, shoes, grooming, home-prettifying stuff, kitchen gadgets…) and about how I can be in resistance to this without relinquishing femininity itself, without even necessarily relinquishing make-up, shoes, grooming, etc.
I’ve been thinking about how much “visible” queerness is marked by class, whiteness, gender non-conformity, age, location. And how privileging visible queerness as the only way to be truly “radically” queer renders marginalizes so many folks who live queerness in many multi-faceted ways.
I’ve been thinking about how it’s necessary for transmasculine/masculine-of-center/butch/genderqueer folks and transmen to be allies to ally against misogyny, against the massive trivialization, sexualization, objectification, and derision of femininity. But how it’s also so, so important for cisgendered feminine women to be allies to our gender-”transgressive” partners-in-crime.
I’ve also been thinking about fun stuff: about sex, and ML’s and my forays into Master/sub-type dynamics, which I still really want to write about. About Thanksgiving, and how ML and I are, like last year, going up north a few hours to celebrate together and also to celebrate 2 YEARS together, this time to a little cabin in the woods with a hot tub (what else could we possibly need?). I’m counting down the days… I’m thinking about making pumpkin bread and mulled cider this weekend and having classmates come over for “study group.” I’m thinking about making butternut squash soup tonight for dinner… mmmmm…
So, you see? There’s quite a lot going on in my mind. I’ll be back in short order to turn some of it into something of substance. <3