outspokenfemme

Your premier source for too much information

To blog…..or not

This blog is beginning to feel like some of my relationships. “I like you, but I need some space. You make me feel vulnerable and that makes me uncomfortable. Go away you fuckhead. I’m going to go find a different blog, one that gives me all the things you don’t. Wait, don’t go. I was in love with you once. I remember. Can we bring that back for a bit? Naw, nevermind. I’m indifferent to you. But…. I miss you.”

The question circulates through my head on a regular basis. What do I want to do with this blog? How do I want blogging to serve me? Because frankly, it has on occasion, served me very well. But recently, not so much. Probably because I’m not blogging. I blog almost every day in my head. I anticipate blogging and then when it comes right down to it I skip it for something else. Like bed. Or talking on the phone. Or watching America’s Next Top Model. Too bad they already kicked off the hottest chick they had. Well, actually, she quit. She had a drama moment and stormed off sobbing. That’s probably why I liked her. A very hot woman with masculine angles to her face and lots of intensity. Is there anything in the world that is hotter than that? I think not.

But I digress. Blogging. OK, so who the hell is Outspokenfemme? My “About” page tells you that as soon as I figure out who I am I’ll let you know. Well, there are a few things I’ve come to know since I wrote that. It’s not like I didn’t know these things before, it’s just that I’ve clarified for myself what I like to write about. So far anyway. It could change at any moment (I don’t like to be tied down).

Actually, its been a really long time since I’ve been tied down. Decades probably. So I don’t know if I like it or not. I was never really that into it, back in the day when it was all lesbian vogue to do it. Actually, I’ve always found verbal restraint to be so much more delicious. Although I don’t practice it myself. Hence the name, Outspokenfemme. “Outspoken” is putting it nicely. I have to restrain myself in public settings, and at work. But not here. Well, umm, there has been a bit of restraint on here, for reasons I’ve already spoken of (see “You probably think this blog is about you”). Wow, the last part of this paragraph is really tangential. I work in Psychiatry. We LOVE big words.

But again, I digress. One thing for certain: I am femme. Femme lesbian?

1903 depiction of women in "femme" a...

1903 women in "femme" and "butch" apparel (Photo: Wikipedia)

You decide. Every ten years or so a dude blows my skirt up. And most of the women I’m into, or the ones I’m into the most, or the ones that are most often in me…..are dudes trapped in women’s bodies. Well, some are trapped, others are happy to be there. So yes, I’m Femme. And I like writing about Femme stuff, Femme perspective, and The Butches, and the mother fucking Butches. And while we are on the subject, I love sex. Oh and submission. I have a bit of a fondness for that too.

Speaking of mother fucking butches, any butch that sleeps with me would qualify for this title. Because I am, indeed, a mother. A mother whose Baby Daddy happens to be… you guessed it…. a Butch. My ex-Butch, to be exact. Yeah, you remember that lesbian baby boom you heard about? Here’s a little news flash for you. One more subset of lesbian culture about to be introduced. The Lesbian Couple Next Door with the cute baby has occasionally turned into the Broken Up Pissed Off Lesbians in a Custody Battle. We are popping up all over the place, known best and clearly identified by the amount of venom we are able to spew at each other each time we realize we will be in each other’s lives f-o-r-e-v-a. We share the kids, sometimes amicably, sometimes not. We attempt to live together (for the child), we meet new partners (the replacements). We get vivid descriptions of our ex’s actions through the eyes of the child i.e. “I walked into Mommie’s bedroom and she was trying to fix something between the legs of her new “friend’ last nite.. they had a sleepover”. Other mothers (non-bios), sometime referred to as “Baby Daddy’s” (it just makes sense), live with the fear that the bio mom might just up and disappear with the kid one day. All sorts of crazy shit can happen. Jerry Springer comes to mind. Or Rickie Lake maybe. I am a Lesbian Baby Mama. And I like to write about that.

Oh and here is one little twist for you. I am a psychotherapist. I would just say “therapist” but then you would ask, “What kind, Physical?” And then I would say, no, “Psycho”. Being a therapist puts me in a unique position to talk to lots and lots of people about their problems. People are fascinating. I learn so much from this work. I think I’m pretty good at what I do. I don’t have any fancy statistics to show you to prove this. Call it a hunch. Most of what I’ve learned about therapy I learned from doing my own work. I’m a classic tortured soul. And just a titch proud of it. And I like to write about that.

So there you have it. The Femme who loves sex with Butches and packs a  hidden ice pick (I’m kidding!). Sorta. The Baby Mama with drama. The Psychotherapist who contemplates suicide. Do you see my problem? I need three blogs!

The Girl at the Coffee Bean

Yesterday something kind of amazing happened.

I’d been slogging along in my unwell state, avoiding leaving the house except when necessary, sleeping as much as possible to avoid being conscious. And I’ve been really angry. Angry that I am not getting better. Angry at all of the doctors. who have recommended things that haven’t worked or have made things worse. So much anger and resistance. Angry at my Ex for too many things to count. It’s been three months since she moved out and I have rearranged the entire apartment three times now in an effort to banish her energy. I’ve regretted staying in this apartment that we rented together. Her presence is still here as if she scribbled invisible graffiti on the walls.

At the beginning of the month I joined a meditation group on Facebook and began meditating again. Nothing fancy, just 10 to 15 minutes per day. After meditating, it seemed natural to do some yoga so I began doing that too, finding it really quite enjoyable. That led to a Pilates DVD that I have. I moved the most that I have in quite a while, even breaking a sweat. For the nine-hundreth time or so, I was going to take this illness by the balls and squelch it. I signaled to the universe that I was ready for healing. I was able to scrape up a little hope and optimism. I forced myself to get out of the house. I went to choir practice. I also pushed myself out of the house at 7:30 pm to see a friend of mine play guitar in a small concert. That was a mistake. When the pain is so great that you are unable to sit in a chair without twisting your body and wincing, the enjoyment of the music diminishes. I had to leave before it was over.

Asserting my will toward my healing was prompted in part by my second denial from Social Security. I currently receive disability from my prior employer. It’s not enough to make ends meet, and my son’s other mom has been supplementing us so that we can eat and pay utilities. I had hoped social security would come through because although it was less than what I currently get from my last employer, it was possible I would get a chunk of back pay that would help me dig out from under. My Dr. submitted a four-inch thick stack of documentation of my illness. My therapist even chimed in. But it was all futile effort. When Social Security denies you they send you a letter invalidating your experience. They say things like, “You have some discomfort, but you can still walk across a room. You are also able to move your hands. You are depressed related to your condition, but you can still make decisions. Therefore, you can work.” I understand now that obtaining Social Security benefits is a game that you can only win if you have retained an attorney. This was my second denial, by the way, and I’m done. I NEVER wanted to be “disabled” and find the word repulsive if it is applied to myself. When I received that letter, I started thinking, “I have to go back to work whether I’m sick or not.”

Unfortunately trying to recover from chronic illness with sheer will is not very productive. The illness and the healing from it in terms of timelines are completely out of my control. After about three weeks of dedicated yoga, meditation, etc, the pain started moving up into my right jaw and the right hemisphere of my brain. This is not uncommon, the pain moves at will from my right to my left shoulder-blade, and with regularity travels up the sides of my head and neck. That started frustrating me. The pain medication barely touches it. Then there are my thyroid hormones which are constantly in flux. Total thyroidectomy 2.5 years ago (big mistake) and my body has not yet found stable ground except for very few days at a time. I’m either anxious off the charts and so scattered I can get nothing done or severely depressed with little energy to move and accomplish anything. I’ve tried every brand of thyroid and combinations, T3 included, blah, blah, blah.

So that is the back story to my mood state yesterday. I had begun fantasizing about offing myself again, something I thought I had taken off the options list some time ago. When I feel trapped, I fantasize about suicide as an escape. That’s where my mood state was yesterday. But, I had planned to go to Sprouts, a healthy grocery store about 15 minutes from my house. My son’s other mom had given me a check for $100 which I planned to spend there. There was very little to eat in the house and I couldn’t put if off any longer. So off I went, after pushing myself into the shower in the hopes of feeling more alive.

I got there and then I remembered that this Sprouts has some of the worst parking I’ve ever seen. Everytime I’ve been there I’ve had to drive up and down the rows several times, encountering other would be shoppers who had planted themselves near people who might be leaving soon. Every aisle was like that and I was getting quite worked up over it, passing each one of them, determined not to allow one of them to leave me stuck. They were all fuckers to me. Finally I parked out on the street three blocks away not thinking about how I would carry my groceries back to the car. As I left the market, I was encouraged to see that there was a Coffee Bean right next to Sprouts. I’ve had to give up a lot of things that have become luxuries in my current financial state. Loose leaf jasmine tea is one of them. I was hoping I could get some at the Bean.

I made it through the market. I spent $135.00 but luckily I had enough in my checking account to cover the balance. Now I would have to figure out the grocery dilemma, there were too many bags for me to carry three blocks (at Whole Foods I would probably have gotten one bag for the same amount). But first, I was going to reward myself with the Bean. I left my cart with the groceries in it in front of the store. I went in and was looking at the wall of teas when someone who worked there started asking me if I needed help (which I also hate). I told her what I was looking for, but alas the Coffee Bean does not sell loose leaf tea. She showed me a container of jasmine tea bags and when I asked her how much they were she looked it up on the register and seemed disappointed to have to tell me they were $20 bucks. I’m used to that. Real Jasmine tea is expensive.

I decided I would have to suffice with just a cup of tea, and asked her for one, with honey. She was confused at first because she only had bags and she knew I wanted loose leaf but I assured her whatever it was would be fine. She set about making it, and I noticed that the Coffee Bean girl was a stunner. She had dark hair, almost black, tied back under a hat no doubt due to regulations about food. Her eyes were dark and sparkly, almost black. Both of her arms were covered in black and white elegant tats. She wore gauges in her ears, silver and black, about the size of a nickel. And when she spoke her voice was several octaves lower than I would have anticipated. She motioned me over to the side bar with my cup of tea. I was surprised she hadn’t charged me yet, but I eagerly followed.

“How many honey sticks?,” she asked, smiling. I was ready to tell her I would take all the honey sticks she had, but settled on four. A strange feeling was overtaking me, and with it an urge to take action. I started nibbling on the end of the honey stick like a chipmunk but the damn thing wouldn’t budge. “Do you want me to cut them for you?,” she asked pleasantly. “Yes,..please”, I gladly accepted.

That was going to be the end of the exchange. She started to walk away, I stopped her. “You haven’t charged me yet”, I said.

She laughed, “Oh yeah, that.” She took my bills and walked back towards the register. She was delayed for a moment by another customer. Long enough for me to see her oversized jeans beneath her Coffee Bean apron. Long enough for me to feel pushed by some inner something to say what I said next.

As she was giving me my change, I said, “Are you single?”

“Who.., me?,” she asked.

“Um, yes, you,” I said.

“Yes!,” she said unabashedly. She said yes. I didn’t know what to say after that and I stalled for a moment, while she seemed to be making subtle motions for me to follow-up with something to the first question. “Well…, would you like to have coffee sometime?”

Great one, I think, “really smooth“. She works in a coffee shop. But coffee is the only thing I can afford.

“Yes, sure,” she said, “I like coffee even though I’m around it all the time.”

She got called back to the register for a moment. Her manager seemed to be noticing our interaction. She had said she would be right back. I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to think ahead. I went to the condiment bar and got a napkin. You can write on a napkin. Should I give her my number or ask for hers? I wasn’t sure. I didn’t have a pen. I looked around for one. Nowhere. A few minutes later she walked back to where I was standing. She handed me a folded up white piece of paper. Her manager was watching. “Hit me up anytime”, she said. She sparkled and so did I.

I opened the paper when I got in the car. Her number and name were written on it.

The Apartment on the Hill

I’m feeling better. I’m crying less. There is less despair and a glimmer of hope. I’ve written part one of my book even though I thought I never would be able to. Notice the word “thought” in that sentence. I’m becoming more mindful of my thoughts and trashing the ones that aren’t helping. Oh wait a sec, I gotta empty the trash in my brain. “Scrunch, Poof”. Done.

I moved to an apartment about two years ago. Previously I owned a house. Returning to apartment living has been all right except for one thing. I struggle with the lack of privacy that is inherent in apartment living. My kitchen window looks out into the parking lot of the small complex I live in. There are two buildings with four units each, and all are occupied. Because the two buildings face each other, my kitchen window gives me a view of all of my neighbors living rooms, and they get to see into mine too. Yay! Not.

However, on the opposite side of the building I have a deck that goes the length of the apartment. It looks out onto green open space, trees, and distant hills. On a sunny day I feel like I am living in Tuscany.

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The view of the sunrise and sunset are phenomenal.

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From this deck I have watched a baby falcon go from a little fluff ball to a powerful hunter. I have heard night owls calling to each other, one night just inches from the deck railing.

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I can’t afford this apartment, located a half hour outside of San Francisco, but one day I will be able to again. If given the opportunity I would live here the rest of my life. The neighbors are all incredibly nice. I was nervous when we first moved here, my now ex-partner, my son and I. I was worried about how our neighbors would respond to the lesbians with children with two co-parents arriving on alternating weekends. I was also concerned about how our neighbors would respond to the weed smoke that emanates from my deck when I’m out there. I know, it’s the Bay area, but I live in this little encapsulated suburbia full of wealthy white folks. REALLY wealthy folks.

I needn’t have worried. One of my neighbors, whom by all appearances is a Texan good ol’ boy, has helped me out on many occasions when there wasn’t a butch around. He’s even brought us food from his barbecue. Another set of neighbors with a son the same age as mine responded when we called for help. They arrived immediately after the shower door crashed on my son and ex-partner and brought us a big container of soup the next day. (The shower door crashing deserves a post in itself). The family directly across the way have given birth to two babies since I’ve lived here and invited us to the birthday party of their first child around the pool last summer. (I know, we have a pool too!)

A sweet elderly woman lives next door who always stops to ask how we are doing. My son, sometimes without prompt, has helped her carry her groceries up the three flights on many occasions. The single woman who lives downstairs is largely silent (except when she has an orgasm). I envy her inhibition, as my orgasms went from big O’s to little o’s when we moved here because I was so afraid of being heard. Recently we met in the stairwell and she asked where my ex-partner was. When I told her we had recently broke up tears started leaking out of her eyes as she told me that she had also broken up with her boyfriend. We hugged. It’s going to be little o’s for the both of us for a while.

Most, if not all of my neighbors know that I’ve been in ill-health (Lyme disease) for quite a while now. They also know that my ex partner and I broke up and that she dropped a piece of furniture on her foot when she moved out and started yelling expletives in the stairwell. And I know that the Southern gentleman had a heart attack, quit smoking for a bit and then started again. I resisted my urge to scold him. I also know he likes porn as his TV is clearly visible from my kitchen window. Once I lingered over the dishes so I could try to catch the story line. I know that the elderly woman’s heater stopped working recently and she hasn’t been able to afford to have it fixed. I also know that the elderly gentleman across the way who could best be described as “crotchety” helped her out with space heaters.

I realize as I write this how lucky I am to live in such a warm and accepting community. Even if I do get a little paranoid about people seeing my “bizness”. I was reminded of this yesterday when I ran into one of my neighbors, the father of the boy the same age as my son. I was walking to my car when he said, “Hey”, from behind me. I turned around. “You look better…, he paused. “You look healthier”. I was taken aback by this sweet shot of validation from a most unlikely source.

“Th-thank you” I stammered out. “I appreciate you saying that. I’ve been able to put on a few pounds..” I stalled. “Thank you,” I said. His comment really warmed my soul, and came exactly at the moment I needed to hear it.

 

Raw and Naked

I’m in so much emotional pain. This morning my son announced he had forgotten to do something that was due today and he was being very cavalier about it. I know he does this as a defense because I know that he does care, but it just triggered me. My son and his relationship to school are one of my recycling worries. Along with the speeding train that is headed towards me regarding my lack of finances. Along with my health. And all that led to me sobbing about missing my ex.

I’m dying for comfort. I wanted to text her and say, “Please come over”. Just to see her, to allow her to hold me for a while. She said she loved me before she left but I don’t trust her love. I’m not sure I trust anyone’s love for that matter. I feel so alone and so afraid and as if there is no end in sight to any of this. There is no escape.

I have that skin hunger thing, where I just want someone to touch me in a nurturing or loving way. Even if I did text her and ask her to come over there would be some reason she couldn’t. Because I was never important enough for her to make time for me. She abandoned me when I was at my worst. She was unkind on multiple occasions to my son. I’ve been so shut down to her for so long.

I hate her and I love her. I’m still in love with her. Somehow it seems like I want to admit that to myself. I miss her. The house is so dead. At least she brought some movement to the day. Even though I would dread her coming home sometimes. I worry she will read this and hate me. I don’t want her to read this. I don’t want her to have access to my emotional vulnerability because I will never see hers. Fuck her fuck her fuck her.

This is normal, I suppose. This fucking grief. I want to wail and give voice to it but I’m afraid my neighbors would hear me. We are so fucked up in our society regarding feelings. We are so lacking in authenticity with one another. Even Fakebook has become just a news feed of bullshit political ads. I hate Facebook anyway but I still turn to it as if it will give me some sense of connection to the world. It almost never does. My email is just as bad, just ads for shit I can’t buy because I don’t even have enough money for groceries.

Last night I was thinking, “Why did I ask her to leave?” The finances are a complete fantasy land. I’m so stressed about it every waking moment. I left because if I’m going to have a partner I want one who knows how to love and how to communicate love. I didn’t want scraps.

There is this voice in my head, its been there for a long time, I’m not sure how long. It hasn’t been as active lately since my thyroid has improved but it’s still there. This voice is the enemy. It tells me stuff like Lyme disease isn’t real, I created this mess because I’m a piece of shit person. I read somewhere that David Foster is coming out now and saying Yolanda is exaggerating her symptoms of Lyme disease and this voice starts telling me that people are thinking this about me. I feel beholden to my other Ex now because I’m relying on her to make it financially. The voice tells me she is thinking these things, and wondering when I am going to wake up and realize I need to go back to work.

I think going back to work could help me. But when I look at jobs out there I think of how difficult it was to work when I was sick before, how stressful the job was, and how ill-equipped I was to deal with other people’s trauma without allowing it to enter my body. There are other obstacles to working as well. First, my license is in inactive status, I don’t know how to make it active, and part of the process involves paying a fee I don’t have. Plus, if I were to work even part time, I will no longer receive disability pay. Even if I could manage to find a job with low stress, it would have to be part-time, which would leave me in a worse position financially than I already am. I’m not healthy enough to launch myself into a full-time job, especially one that comes with the stress of being a therapist.

In a few days I will get my disability check, and after paying the essential things like rent, utilities, phone, etc, I will again be broke. I can’t move because that takes money too. I’ve looked at every possible way to decrease my expenses.

Another issue since the first of the year is that my insurance deductible was raised to $1900. As a result, I can’t use it. I can’t go to see my Dr, who is so much more than just a Dr to me. She is my guiding light on this path. Without her I feel lost, cut off. And scared. There is just no shortage of financial obstacles. And I suspect there is an element of self blame there. The voice again, saying that this is all my fault. Even though there is no way I could have known all of this was going to happen. I didn’t get sick on purpose, I didn’t ask the tick to bite me. I didn’t ask for all of this physical pain and all the other symptoms I experience on daily basis. The voice says, it must have happened for some reason (i.e. I deserved it). The voice also tells me to quit whining.

I know that self-pity = death and self-compassion = life. There is another voice besides the one I described in the last paragraph and its the one that told me that. This voice is new to me, its only been with me in the last two years. This voice has given me visions and has also given me precious drops of insight. I’m calling them voices because I can’t come up with a better word. The meaner voice seems to deliver thoughts and the more compassionate voice seems to deliver intuitive knowing. The compassionate voice always surprises me, and sometimes frightens me because it is not as familiar. Right now I’m thinking that anyone reading this probably thinks I’ve lost my mind, whatever that means. Also, that’s something I felt that she felt, the proverbial ex. That I was crazy. Because I needed to process things and she didn’t.

I’m going to post this, and after I do, the meaner voice is going to tell me I should never have put my shit out there for the world to see. I’ll freak out about what you all will think of me, that I’m a whiner or that I just can’t pull my shit together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memoir and the Housewives

I started writing my memoir. It’s proving to be very challenging. Someone told me once that there would come a time when blogging would not be enough. I think that time has come. I’ve wanted to write a book for a very long time and now that I have been ill and I’m on a healing journey, it seems imperative.

I am so incredibly lonely. After the initial feelings of relief after ending my relationship, the reclaiming of my space, Christmas, New Years, my birthday and my ex-partners birthday, I landed, splat. Loneliness set in. The apartment echoes. Everyone is depressed, even the cats. The weather has not been helping. The fucking grayness and rain that never ends. Fuck!

The circumstances of my life are scaring the shit out of me on a daily basis. I’m only able to eat, drive and feed my son because my other ex has been giving money to get by on. I finally sat down and added up my monthly expenses, the absolutely necessary ones anyway. I didn’t add in food or debt. The amount of income I receive each month does not even cover my minimum expenses. This makes me sick with fear.

I am so scared.

I feel as if I should DO something. But there isn’t really much I can do at this point, with my health still keeping my abilities limited. ARGH. There are a couple of things I could do. I think my insurance owes me a little for reimbursements. But that means I have to find the receipts. ARGH. I could apply for food stamps. That seems like a monstrous hill too large to get over. Breathing……………

I miss her now. I feel as if I saw her I would instantly turn to sand and collapse into a small pile on the floor. She could be reading this, but I assume not. She didn’t like to read my writing. I think it was boring to her. I don’t want her to be reading this. I’m not trying to play any psychological games with my blogging.

Awhile back I was thinking maybe I would try to be celibate for a year. Then I realized I’ve already been celibate for a year! I was celibate within my relationship. I went with a friend to a LGBT dance for my birthday and there was a woman there who sparked my attention. She had sparked my attention in the past at the same dance some four years ago. She made me feel sparkly inside. I miss that feeling.

I’ve been binge-watching the Housewives of Beverly Hills. I don’t have cable now but I found a way to watch it on my computer. One of the Housewives has Lyme disease. Her name is Yolanda.

I admire Yolanda. Allowing herself to be filmed in the middle of battling Lyme disease which by its very nature is not pretty, is courageous. Especially for someone who used to be a high fashion model. But now her so-called friends are starting to question her illness. “Why isn’t she getting better after all her treatments?” they ask. Lisa Rinna wants to know why she would post pics of herself in the middle of getting IV treatments and then a short time later post a picture of herself on a vacation soaking up the sun, appearing “fine”. Rinna, who apparently did a little research online, suggests Yolanda must have Munchausen’s, a mental disorder where a person makes themselves sick (by taking poison in small doses, or other crazy stuff) in order to meet their twisted needs for attention. In Munchausen’s by proxy, a person makes another person sick, often their own child, for the same goal.

These women have demonstrated in the past that they practice charity. If you asked any one of them they would no doubt be able to produce a list of their charitable contributions. Imagine for a moment that Yolanda was having her implants or her breasts removed because she had cancer. Can you imagine the outpouring of love and support these ladies might offer her? There would be pink ribbons everywhere, and highly publicized charity events galore.

Kyle is convinced that Yolanda is just depressed and makes the suggestion that she is searching for physical ailments to explain her depression. In the episode I just watched, Yolanda was having her silicone breast implants removed because they were leaking. We know now, that Yolanda and David Foster are getting a divorce. So we can presume there were problems going on while the episode was filming.

It was painful to watch Foster’s reaction to Yolanda having her implants removed. In the car on the way there he asks Yolanda if he can put his hand on her breast on the way to the hospital. He’s half-joking, but he is obviously more concerned about losing Yolanda’s breasts than Yolanda is. After the surgery he calls Lisa Vanderpump and says, “Ken, (Vanderpump’s husband), has a better chest now than Yolanda”. Earlier in the episode, Yolanda was commenting on her changing appearance and said, “I’m going to be toothless and boobless”, and Foster says, “Yeah, exactly what I married.” Prior to her illness, Yolanda doted on Foster as if he was her first-born child.

Those of us with Lyme Disease have experienced similar things to what Yolanda is going through. It’s not uncommon for us to have long periods of really bad days interspersed with days where either we feel a bit better or we are pushing ourselves so that we can still feel as if we are still alive. Long before any of us began having symptoms, Lyme was busy dismantling our immune systems and creating the necessary conditions so it could take over it’s host. We are unwilling hosts to a parasitic invader. Once we are diagnosed, which could take up to five years, we begin treatment that initially makes us feel worse. We feel so sick that we cannot believe it when we wake up day after day with our hearts still beating. We’ve faced death so many times now that life has become precious in a way we never imagined before. So if we have a short period of feeling a little better, we soak it in as fully as possible. We are more generous with our love. The compassion we develop as a result of our suffering makes us more easy to forgive.

I don’t want to talk about that anymore.

I’m convinced that my healing involves releasing my true nature of creativity. This is one of the reasons I’m writing my memoir. The thing I struggle with in my memoir, (well there are many things), but one is that there is no instant gratification. After I write something I want to put it out into the universe with the question of, “Um, is this OK?” I’ve discovered tight binds around the truth of my herstory within me and I am working on loosening the knots.

Another major subject change. You’ve probably heard about adrenal fatigue somewhere, right? Adrenal fatigue has been huge in my healing journey. Until I got sick, I tried to cram as much productivity into every waking moment of my life. I drove fast. I walked fast. I was a classic Type A personality. I demanded perfection from myself in all things. I experienced trauma in my childhood that led me to be in a constant state of fight or flight. By the time I got sick I was not taking care of my body at all. I treated it like the old Toyota I used to drive that wouldn’t go into 4th gear anymore and had over 300,000 miles on it. It was disposable.

After I got sick and I started learning about adrenal fatigue, I treated it the way I treated everything back then. What could I take to make it better? A supplement, a pharmaceutical? I tried some things. I still take some of them. But I read one journal article that said the most important thing, and the thing I least wanted to hear. Basically it said that Adrenal fatigue peeps, the Type-Aer’s out there, would not ever truly recover from adrenal fatigue without a profound lifestyle change that many would be unwilling to make.

I’ve thought about that sentence a lot because I know its true. I am willing to make the change, but a few years ago I would have said no way. I’ve been working on it for a while now. I have to be mindful about it everyday. I fail over and over and attempt to be compassionate in guiding myself back on track.

The elements of my practice include avoiding rushing at all costs. This means allowing enough time for tasks like getting ready. I keep an eye on my internal pressure gauge, the one that gives me the most trouble. I am learning to slow down. I am working on giving myself permission to slow down. I can’t afford the adrenaline rushes that come from living life like a baseball game where I am always sliding into base.

My mind wants to get caught on thoughts like “Why can’t I allow myself to rest, or slow down.” I remind myself the answer to this question and many others is it doesn’t matter. Because it really doesn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OMG, I forgot to come out!

Last week was National Coming Out Day. It’s that day when we gay folks make ourselves visible. And then we sit around at potlucks and share our coming out stories with each other. If we are clean and sober anyway. Otherwise we would probably do it at a bar. Speaking of coming out, does every gay person go through a “bar phase?” I want to propose a theory that we do. At least that’s what we used to do, anyway, back when we gay people lived in bars and weren’t on TV and spicing up Bravo and the HGTV channels.

Quick, name 5 gay people who are famous and out. This is for straight folks, too. Ready?

1. Ellen (look at that you don’t even need her last name)

2. Melissa (see above)

3. That retro metro dude that hosts the Bravo housewives’ reunions

4. Martina (see one and two)

5. That well-kempt news guy who looks like he could sideline as a vampire and just came out recently

6. (Look, I could go on and on). Rachel Maddow

OK, that’s all for now. These are just off the top of my head. My list is not all-inclusive. I’m trying to make a point here. Let me see if I can remember what it was. Oh yeah, we gay folks. We are a lot more visible than we used to be.

I remember my first Coming Out Day. It was somewhere in the 80’s. It was my first Coming Out Day, but it wasn’t right after I came out. It had been 7 years or so by then that I had been getting my gay on. I was working at a television station as a graphic designer. Graphic design is one of those careers where you have to work your way up from a cockroach. I was new in the department, and just beginning to prove my worth. I was about as important as the person who holds cue cards. Actually I was probably much less important than that.  I’m not sure if anyone knew I was gay at that time.

In terms of visibility and appearance, most people don’t guess that I’m gay. Some astute observers along the way have picked it up. When I asked one of them how she knew, she said, “There is nothing about you that comes across as if you are trying to attract a man”. That sounds kind of bad now that I write it. But I think I know what she meant. There is a difference sometimes between how a lesbian and a straight woman adorn themselves. Back in the eighties I was a lot more adorned than I am now. But in recent years I don’t usually meet the standards for straight girl adornment. But I guess I must resemble it, because as I mentioned, most people don’t know I’m gay until I open my mouth.

And opening my mouth was what I had decided to do on that fateful day in the 80’s. There were two people in my department that I had decided to come out to. They were both news graphic designers. They were both a good 10 or 15 years older than me, married, and fairly conservative. I say fairly because we were in Seattle. It’s fairly open-minded up there, what with Capitol Hill (where the gays hang) and all.

The news graphic room was separate from the rest of the department, separated by a sliding glass door. There were no overhead lights in there, it made seeing the television screens easier. There was just a big fancy computer that you could design and paint with. I have to admit it was pretty fucking cool. The main guy that did the graphics was usually in there, stylus in hand. He was a very unhappy guy, by the way. Knowing what I know now, I would say he was probably pretty depressed. And news graphics can be very depressing. It’s just one bad story after another to illustrate.

I suspect he did not know what to expect when I came into his cave, sliding the door closed behind me.

“Hi,” I said casually.

He looked up from his computer.

“Um.. today is National Coming Out Day, and I just wanted to tell you that I’m a lesbian,” I said, clearly enunciating the word “lesbian”. That word never seems to just roll off the tongue, like you think it would.

“OK,” he said. He went back to his computer.

I made the same announcement to  my other male coworker. He was a short stout guy who vaguely resembled John Belushi. He was surprised but not at all freaked out. I couldn’t get up the guts to tell my female coworker, who was originally from somewhere in the Midwest and mentioned church a time or two. And that was about all there was to it.

These days, I don’t usually have to tell people I’m gay. I’m pretty out, across the board. My current manager is a lesbian, and a femme one with a butch at home, at that. I mentioned in casual conversation to my previous manager that I was a lesbian, and he told me he was the only straight one in his family other than his parents. Recently at a staff meeting we played the game Two Truths and a Lie and  the lie I told was that my girlfriend worked in law enforcement. At least half the people in the group knew I was gay and thought that my lie was the truth. The other half of the people knew I was gay after that. Family? Check. Neighbors? They probably suspect due to the presence of the butch women who have visited. But I don’t plan to go door to door anytime soon. My kid’s school? It hasn’t come up, and my son’s other mom isn’t around enough for me to have to explain it. This is the area I am often most closeted. I would probably be less so if I lived in a more progressive area.

Oh, and about my coming out story. I was in nursing school, so was she. We had to learn how to do bed baths, and we were instructed to practice on each other. She and I were the first to volunteer. And as it turns out taking a bath in bed can make things very, very, wet.

This post is dedicated to my friend Micki whose birthday is this week. And who helped me come out in a workplace one time when I announced to our coworkers that I played on her team. Gay by association. Happy Birthday Micki!

Does this blog make me look fat?

You don’t have to answer that.

It doesn’t matter anyway because right now, I’m fat. My version of fat anyway, which means I’m on the top side of the 10 or 12 pounds that I sometimes slide between. Since I got old 10 months ago, I’ve gained over ten pounds. And it was right after I came out of a skinny phase. A nice long skinny phase on the smaller end of that slide.

The other day my butch walked up and I was standing naked in front of the mirror and she said, “You are so skinny!”

“Nope,” I told her. “I’m fat. I’ve gained 10 pounds!”

“Well, I don’t know where you put it..” she commented.

Well I know exactly where “I” put it. Or the fat god put it. Or whosoever doles out fat put it. It’s slathered all over my arms, making them jiggly. My breasts, hips, belly, all bigger. I’m all Rubenesque. Old Rubenesque.

I can’t stand how I look in my clothes. I don’t like the way my clothes fit.

Venus at a Mirror by Rubens

I’m not one of those people who wears their muffin top like a fashion accessory. My rule has always been, “Don’t show the roll”. I like my clothes loose, comfortable, a little hangy. And nothing is hanging right now. It’s all overstuffed.

I’ve made a few half-hearted attempts at losing it. I gave up drinking Coke for a few days. Nothing. I denied myself  grande coffee frappuccinos with whip cream and extra caramel for a week. Still nothing. I bought ingredients for salad and watched them wilt in my refrigerator. That damn scale still did not budge.

I gave up gluten. It turns out that gluten is the glue that holds almost every good tasting food together. I gave up gluten for another health reason. But still, you would think if I eliminated all the deserts that I like made of flour, etc. that I would lose at least an ounce! But, no. Because I’m old now, I guess.

Today I drove to Boudin and bought a sourdough bread bowl. I got some soup too, but that was incidental. The bread bowl was what it was all about. The woman behind the counter at Boudin was a visual delight. She was Asian, thin, but looked as if she had a solid center. She was a lovely mix of he and she (I’m an androgyny whore). Her hair was short and shaven on the sides and she rocked some kind of whoop de whoop on the top. Her hair was almost blue-black. Her eyes were full of fire. And her skin was the faintest pink. She was dewy. She had on a tee-shirt, jeans and a belt with layered metal spikes on it. When she went to get me some butter her arm swung across the bar and revealed a black tattoo stamped on the inside of it. For a brief moment I took her in. She was beautiful. She was young, vibrant, fresh and edgy. I didn’t want her. I wanted to be her.

I took my bread bowl out to my car and ripped into it like one of those wild animals out on the Serengeti. A few hours later I sucked down a Coke. Then I texted my girlfriend and asked her if she loved me.

Internal Composting

Today, I took a risk.

I was having a conversation with someone I love very much. We were talking about something obligatory, family business, so to speak. I felt emotion rising up in me, the kind that makes me want to respond harshly. I found I was suddenly feeling short. I said little to nothing in response because I didn’t want to say something I might regret later, even though I don’t know what that might have been.

I was attempting to contain the swirl of emotion that is buried deep inside of me, a compost heap of unexpressed responses to multiple people and situations. There is so much stuff in there that I don’t even open the door to it anymore. But it remains, undaunted, threatening to swell and explode from the pressure of containing it.

My awareness of it allowed me to respond by acknowledging its presence to the person I was talking to. I allowed a bit of it to flow out of me, and I allowed this person to witness this process. It was an alternative to shutting down, or to lashing out with sarcasm tinged with bitterness.

I can’t say that it felt good, but I can say that it felt authentic and grounded. And after my insides felt a little looser, as if I was trying on a pair of pants after losing a few pounds.

And then I began to wonder how it is that I forget so completely that my mind and my body are connected, over and over again. And that every action has a reaction, whether part of my conscious awareness or not. And for a moment I understood why I am not well.

Components

 

I’ve felt like my mom all day today.

I’m irritable and petulant. I put my girlfriend through the paces for no good reason. I’ve been remote, detached from my experience and all the people in it. My skin prickles and my nerves jangle in response to too much sound and too many children. I’m snappy and vocal about my displeasure. I crave silence or at least an ease outside of my carefully constructed glass walls.

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s how my mom used to act all the time. When she was still here anyway. The woman who now occupies my mother’s body bears little resemblance in personality to the woman who raised me. My mom has Alzheimer’s.

This post was just about to turn into one of those little drafts I have lying around that never make it anywhere. Because each time I start to write a post that talks about my mom I go off on a tangent and can’t find my way back. And then I stop writing. The story of my mom and my story about my mom encompasses my life’s work. Everything I am is tangled up in that relationship in one way or another. See, there I go.

I saw a horoscope today. It said that I should start moving the components of my life together, and that it was going to be easier than I can imagine. It’s a lovely thought, but the horoscope was right. I can’t imagine any of it being easy.

My girlfriend and I are both Capricorn. I suspect we are the only two people who could really tolerate each other’s Capricorniness. Today I was fretting about being late to a party that we were going to.

“What time is it?” she asked.

“When we get there, we will be over an hour late,” I replied.

“That still doesn’t tell me what time it is,” she said, being snarky. I could hear myself saying exactly the same thing if I had been the one asking the question. I suddenly understood why people have been annoyed with me under similar circumstances.

“You know, when you act really similar to me is when I like you least,” I said, smirking. We both laughed about that for a few minutes.

I think I will hit the “publish” button now while I still can.

 

Mo’ Mentum

I’m over-thinking my writing.

I’m thinking about it so much that I never actually write anything. Or I write something and I don’t finish it because it doesn’t seem “right”….or well crafted….or meaningful. These little unfinished drafts litter the back room of my blog in a place you can’t see.

I know what the problem is. A blog could be a place where I dash a few words each day. I could tell little tiny stories. I could be frivolous with words. I could afford to sound clunky or use 100 words when one would do. I could risk confusing you or perhaps even offending you. I could draw skeletons of stories that aren’t all fluffed out. I could make spelling and puncuation errors and let on that I don’t know shit about the construction of a sentence, or what a conjunction is. But instead I get caught in ideas that take substantial time to develop and ferment before they are ready to be read by you’s guys. And then I get impatient and my momentum lags and I stop writing because it’s the publishing part that completes me.

You complete me.

So I’m writing this post tonight to let Myself know that I can do anything the fuck I want on here. I thought if I published it, Myself might see it and hear it differently since it’s not coming from Me.

If you have read this and you are not Myself, please just disregard it.

After All We’ve Been Through?

Damn you, WordPress. Damn you for colluding with the universe to try to demonstrate some sort of Zen eternal truth about suffering and non-attachment.

I just spent about two hours writing a post. I used that little shortcut option that is supposed to be quick and easy and that is SUPPOSED TO FUCKING SAVE EVERYTHING AS YOU GO ALONG. I think it even says that as a selling point to use the shortcut. “Don’t worry, we’ll save everything as you type!” You know how cutesy WordPress likes to be sometimes. Sure, I had been suspicious of this option before. I wondered if it really would save my writing if I used that damn shortcut. But I did use it a few times, throwing caution to the wind. And it worked, instilling a false sense of security in me that it was safe to do. Which is exactly what I did tonight, as I began writing my post. I wrote, and I edited, and I was all caught up in my process. And I was sobbing, WordPress. SOBBING! And guess what my post was about. It was about the myth that pain is inevitable (it is), and suffering is optional (not true, as it turns out).

And then I made a fatal error in judgment. I decided to add to my post from one of the other umpteen unfinished posts I have lying around. I switched to the Posts page so I could pull it up, trusting that WordPress would do as promised. I selected, I copied, and had all that text attached to my cursor from my other post. I went back to insert it, and was met with a blank page. Mocking me. Saying, “What was it you wanted to say about suffering and non-attachment?”

OK, WordPress, Universe, and every other force conspiring against me in this moment. This is what I have to say about it:

I’m attached to stuff, you fuckers.

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