To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{April 7, 2012}   Just a wee bit broken.

When I was sixteen (maybe seventeen?) I had my arm in a sling for six months. We couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong with my shoulder. We finally decided a rotator cuff tear, and treated it with physical therapy knowing that someday I might need surgery.

For that six months, I learned how to do things with one arm. I could type one-handed like a demon, I’m telling you! I could mount a horse, ride (even somewhat direct reining — where you use two hands) with one hand, do homework with one hand, everything. Which isn’t to say it was the easiest thing it the world, but I figured it out.

The sling was great for attention, too, and sometimes I loved it. I decorated it with buttons that said things like “I am eruditer than you.” I was happy to tell people, in gruesome detail, about my shoulder injury. I even learned how to turn a conversation to it, if I was feeling ignored.

It also hurt. I wasn’t in a sling for nothing, and ironically it turned out (when we finally figured things out) that the position the sling held my arm in made it worse. I had muscle cramps so bad from pain that it pinched the nerves, so I’d get sensations like a hot brand down my arm and into my hand and fingers. It was Not Pleasant. There were times I couldn’t sleep, and times I couldn’t think because of the constant ache. I still live in fear that it’s going to come back. (For good reason; it occurs occasionally — and when I say ‘occassionally’ I mean “it hurts a few times a day, but only really gets annoying a few times a week, and every few months it ramps up to I-can’t-sleep-because-it-hurts for a night or two — despite the fact that I’m anal about my PT. It’s been about 14 years.)

I was careful of it. Bumping it hurt. Jigging it hurt. Leaving it too still for too long hurt. I was constantly aware of it, and constantly careful of it.

I was broken. Not broken in the hand-wringing, despairing sort of way. Broken like, “Gee, this doesn’t work so well. Hmm. Let’s do the best we can, and be aware that it needs a little extra time and care. And sometimes sit down and be sad, but other times show it off. But always, always, have it on your mind and be aware that it’s not like everyone else, and everyone else will probably forget and might occasionally do something really stupid, like clap you on the back. So be wary.”

I’m feeling that way a lot lately. Broken. It sounds melodramatic, but I can’t think of a better analogy. I don’t feel like my life is terrible, or that I need to sit and weep (though I am a little emo from being overworked). Sometimes I show it off, and sometimes I need TLC, and all the time I’m aware of it and wary of what people are going to do, themselves unaware or forgetting it.

I’m remembering things lately. They’re on my mind. Like my awesome cousins who were so great about me bringing my girlfriend to Christmas dinner, knowing the rest of the family would Not Be Okay With That. Like my mom, who really couldn’t care less what gender I date (OMG she LOVES Q, which is vaguely terrifying to me), but is also sometimes casually — and in a way, I suspect purposefully — oblivious. Not like, “I don’t want to deal with your gayness,” but like, “I’m going to pretend like I don’t see why you’d even care to hear this and isn’t your aunt so silly for even saying it, but I’m still going to tell you your aunt says you’re welcome to come to Thanksgiving dinner and they love you regardless. Isn’t she silly? Of course you know that and/or don’t care.” (This from the Baptist aunt, if my mom can be trusted. Which… she can’t always. I swear, she hears the most interesting things that people didn’t mean, and she honestly believes she heard it…)

Articles and things on acceptance are making me cry regularly. I always think that things like that are an indication that I have something I need to deal with, and sort of I do. But it’s not my immediate family — they’re awesome — or my friends — also awesome — where I feel the lack of acceptance. Or maybe it’s just that stories about people being supportive make me cry. Or maybe the lack of support in society makes me feel unacceptable. Or– I don’t know.

Part of it is me. Ever since I was a little kid, stories about people being supportive have hit me really hard. REALLY HARD. I don’t know why. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s hardwired into me. Maybe I had a non-supportive past life. I dunno. I just know that they’re like crack for me. They fill something that feels unfilled. They put paste over something that feels broken.

Right now, that sense of broken-ness is coming in the form of gay stuff. I’m not sure if I like this. I mean, before it’s always been a nebulous thing. Now it’s specifically gay stuff.

It’s still a muddle in my head. I know this: I feel broken. I always have. Now I can put a finger on the spot and say, “Here. This sexuality bit? This is what makes me feel broken.”

I’ve learned to work with it, and I’m good at it. Sometimes I show it off to people, to make them coo or to piss them off. Sometimes I give myself extra pats and TLC. I’m always aware that some people don’t know and others don’t remember, and will say and do stupid things that I have to protect from, never meaning harm. They don’t understand what it feels like, because they’re not broken in this way. ย Which is funny; everyone has something like that, but I often think we aren’t careful about other peoples’ broken bits. It really is just like that sling.

I have to remind myself that everyone has things they feel broken about. Things that don’t fit what society says we’re supposed to be. They’re not skinny or not Christian or not white or not male or not not not… I wonder if they feel as broken as I do, or if they shrug it off. (Of course, I imagine they shrug it off, and I’m the ONLY PERSON WHO FEELS THIS WAY. Riiiiiight.) Though I know the answer to the question, I still find myself wondering: if we’re all broken in some way, why is it so hard to be compassionate for others who are broken in ways we might not understand?

I’m ready for this ache to go away. I am overworked and running too much lately. I’m hoping next week, which should be calm, will help. But in the meantime, the ache in my broken bits is keeping me up at night.

J

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So, the other day I was headed to SoCal, about to hop on a plane, and I realized I’d forgotten my book. Oh woe! So I grabbed a lesbian romance off one of Q’s shelves, No Strings by Gerri Hill, and proceeded to read.

About halfway through No Strings, I saw the final Harry Potter movie. I quite liked the movie, but was a little disappointed at the lack of a complete Draco character arc, made more obvious when even Neville got a character transformation. (Generally speaking, a full character arc happens when the character’s behavior/attitude/emotion changes: Neville went from geek to hero, Harry had a complete hero’s arc, as did Snape, Dombledore and — well, most people. Ron went from bumbling bafoon to knight, Hermione from bossy brat to person-Harry-couldn’t-have-figured-things-out-without, and together Ron and Hermione went though a romance arc. Draco, I realized, wasn’t likely to have a hero’s arc — though he could have pretty easily — but I figured he’d have some arc. Instead, he’s the same sad little coward character walking out of the movie he is walking into the series. This made me really glum, because of all the characters there — except maybe Voldemort, but obviously his character arc was a mortal one — Draco had the most potential for real change.)

Feeling put out that the character with the most potential for real change didn’t get any change, I emailed DK, who was way into HP back in the day and likes the things I like, and asked for some Draco fic that had a complete character arc so my craving was satisfied. DK delivered! Among other things was an awesome Harry/Draco slash fic. (Slash indicates queer-of-some-sort romance, be it lesbian, gay, or trans.)

So I read this novel-length fanfic that had several complete character arcs (very well done; I understand the author is published now, and I might just look up her books) and was also slash.

THEN I went back and finished No Strings.

I quite liked the first half of No Strings, all the character development stuff and then them getting to know each other. Then the romance-plot stuff kicked in, and I pretty much skimmed through the rest of it. This is normal for me and romance novels; I like the bits learning about the characters, and I don’t really bother with the romance part. I started writing romance novels because I was writing slash, but slash is… different. Reading slash and reading romance right on top of each other really brought it home for me. DK linked me this blog post not too long ago, and most of it I’d already sorted out, but one thing in there — I think it was in there — was talking about how slash isn’t set into a specific genre formula yet, how you can do pretty much anything you want. Not so with romance. I also find it interesting that the lesbian romances I’ve read are definitely romance novel formula, but the gay romance isn’t. Often, yes, the published stuff is, but then you have books like mine. By Degrees is about overcoming major past trauma (the death of parents), opening up your emotions so you can come to grips with the fact that you’re gay and you can have sex and feel again. Oh, and by the way, there’s a romance that is the catalyst for that plot. In the Rough is about dealing with more past trauma (I have a theme, okay? *grins*) so he can get his shit together and take care of his daughter. Oh yeah, and on the way he realizes he’s in love with his best friend, but has been ignoring it because of self-hate due to — you guessed it — that past trauma. Off Trail is about learning how to trust again and letting people in to help, and the guy he lets in to help just happens to be the guy he falls for. This is definitely more romance-novel than anything else I’ve written in the gay world.

Then there’s the Dragon series, which is all action/adventurey, and in the midst of their action and adventure they start to fall in love.ย  If I look at my fanfic — the stuff I write not to get paid for, but just because it’s fun — while romance features heavily in it, usually the romance is what’s happening around the main plot. Often the romance is either a catalyst or the result of whatever is going on, but the main thing is what’s going on. In Naruto fic that was Kakashi being insane, in Star Trek it was Kirk and Spock on the run while Kirk has amnesia, in X-Men it was Rictor dealing with child abuse and in X-Men: First Class (if I’d ever gotten around to writing that, which I didn’t) it was multi-pronged: Moira finding Charles, Charles dealing with being a paraplegic, Darwin coming back to life, Alex learning to control his powers and Hank coming to terms with his fuzzziness.

I started writing romance because I thought I WAS writing romance, but the more romance novels I write, the more I chafe. I realized, when I read those two books side by side, I wasn’t writing No Strings back when I was thrilled about writing; I was writing Harry/Draco. Not romance, but slash. The closest thing I’ve found to it in published books is a Tanya Huff book, The Fire’s Stone (very awesome; also the heroes are gay, woo hoo!) and various Sharon Shinn “romantic fantasy” books. Which makes me wonder… have I been very stupid?

I’m looking for an agent for my hetro paranormal romance novel right now. I’m sorta-kinda working on the sequel to it; I had a trilogy planned. They all interest me, but none give me that fire fanfic used to give me. I’ve often thought it was just because, well, fanfic is easier. You don’t have to create the people or the world, you can take what’s been given and run, there’s a built-in audience with, let’s face it, low expectations. Definitely easier.

I’m also working on a fantasy novel. I have little hope that it will get picked up or published anywhere, to be honest, because it’s kind of bizarre and not easily niched. Publishers don’t like that. But wow, I think about it all the time. I can’t sleep for thinking about it. I’ll stop writing for a few days because of stress or businesses or whatever, and when I come back it’s easy to just pick up and keep going. I don’t look at the clock a million times or check my word count to see how far I’ve gotten. There’s a (gay) romance in it, but the main point of the story isn’t the romance. This is how I felt about fanfic, but it’s not fanfic: it’s just as hard as creating anything else from scratch.

What I’m going to do is keep writing it, finish it, and start looking for an agent for it. Then I’ll decide whether to pick back up the romance sequel or write either a sequel to the fantasy (already plotted…) or a new fantasy. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. On a practical side, it means I’m probably going to remain training dogs to pay the bills… and I’m so tired of that. I just want to be writing. On the emotional side, at least I’ll be thrilled about what I’m writing, rather than in this occasionally-excited, kind of pleased, wondering when I’ll be done state. I’ve really missed being thrilled.

Maybe it’ll work out. I don’t know. I’m just feeling a little frustrated, I guess.

J
(cross-posted to my everyday life blog)



{April 19, 2011}   Protected: Moving Forward

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I’ve noticed, over the last month or so, that my sex anxiety has been ramping back up. I have no idea why. I’d like to say it’s PMS, exhaustion, stress, or something of the sort, but I haven’t been PMSing for a whole month, I’ve been reasonably well rested, and not stressed out.

There are certainly reasons for it, if I stop and think about it.

1. Q and I have been dating for almost a year, now. o.O I keep expecting that the honeymoon phase will end, and either we’ll have less sex, or I’ll want less sex and have to deal with saying ‘no’ and OMG what happens then? Now, neither of these things have happened, but I think I’m expecting it so strongly that I’m seeing it, even though it isn’t there. (Just when I come to grips with the idea that things between us will change over time, and that’s okay, I realize I’m not okay with ME changing over time. At least, not in an area where I’m already feeling fragile.)

2. I’ve been having anxiety dreams/waking nightmares. I don’t like talking about them. In fact, I’ve never talked about the content of them to anyone, just that I have them. Someday, I’m going to have to talk about them, and I’ll realize they’re not so bad and it was really just a boogeyman in the closet — open the closet, and it goes away. But today is not that day. Let’s just say, the nightmares aren’t helping my sex mindset.

I’ve been staring at this screen for fifteen minutes now, and I can’t think of a damn thing else to say. I’m just very tired of this. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

J



{December 1, 2010}   Sexual growth — slowly, slowly

Hi, everyone!

I’m not sure where to start. Talking about my sex life is still difficult, even in a situation like this where I’m not talking about sex, specifically, but my attitudes toward it and the dynamic between Q and I.

I’m pleased to say that things are going well. I’m talking and expressing myself even in the moment, and I while I’ve been embarrassed a time or two, I can’t remember the last time I panicked and froze up. ๐Ÿ˜€ Q is awesome, thanking me when I express myself to say I don’t want to do something, because then she knows that when I do do something, it’s because I want to. ๐Ÿ™‚ The hardest things are still for me to say I’m not in the mood without feeling guilt (ha, most of the time we’re agreed on that, though!) and suggesting something new-for-the-moment (ie, shifting positions, whether or not we’ve done that position before).ย  BUT! I’m getting better. Much, much better. ๐Ÿ™‚

What I find is really awesome, though, and the reason I started writing this, is that Q and I seem to be at about the same levels. I’m not saying this well, but bear with me.

When we first started making out and I was struggling with girl bodies, she was just learning to trust me and didn’t want me playing with her girl body. By the time I was relaxing and becoming more confident (or at least curious!), she was starting to trust me. We moved into that space at about the same time, really.

It’s happened throughout our NMDS (that would be our Non-Monogamous Dating Situation *laughs*), up to and including the other day, when I woke up ready to play and she was still sleepy. I woke her and took charge, and had the confidence to do so, and she trusts me now enough to stay lazy and sleepy and let me be in charge.

I did have one moment where I wavered, but Q realized it and made little encouraging noises, so I knew she was interested. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I have had way too many people be uninterested or interested but not show it, so now I’m a little gunshy.) (Ha, who am I kidding? I started out gunshy; it’s amazing I try at all! And probably says something about the strength of my libido!)

There’s a new snag for me, which is that I can’t quite bring myself to suggest any other forms of sex. Um. I’m totally going to cut this now, to give myself the illusion that people who don’t care won’t read it…

Read the rest of this entry »



{November 23, 2010}   Things I Hate #357834

I saw this on The Femme’s Guide (see sidebar):

Try flirting heavily with a feminine, woman-identified person that you encounter and admire. If she refuses your attentions on the basis of being straight, you might try a line like, โ€œOh, wowโ€ฆitโ€™s just that you look so queer. Your ___________ and your ___________ and the way you walk and everything. My mistake.โ€

I suppose it’s supposed to be cute, reversing the ‘I’m sorry, I thought you were straight because…’ line, but… well, I hate it when people assume straightness on me (or assume I like femme women, which I actually get a lot more despite dating Q).ย  I mean, they’re essentially arguing with my gender presentation and/or sexual orientation, or at best they’re telling me I’m presenting wrong. It’s not cool.

If I don’t like it when someone does it on me, I don’t think it’s okay to turn it around and do it to someone else. Tempting, sure, because maybe if I did it to them they’d understand — but that particular person probably hasn’t done it to me, and telling someone they’re presenting themselves wrong if they’re trying to present as not-queer (which they’d be dong, if I’m standing there telling them that all these things seemed queer) is really… well… hurtful. I guess I feel like, just because it happens to me doesn’t mean I should do it to someone else.

I suppose I could look at this less melodramatically, and say, “They’ll just assume I mean that it’s about me, why I misunderstood.” And maybe they would. But I do tend to assume the worst case scenario, and go from there. (Plus, ‘less melodramatic’ isn’t in my vocabulary at the moment; I’m PMSing. ;-D)

J



{July 17, 2010}   Butchsexual.

So, wow, things are happening and I’m not even sure where to begin.

In that last protected post, I talked about internalized misogyny — the dislike of women, the belief that women aren’t as good, the feeling of women being unclean. I’ve known I’ve struggled with this for some time. Heck, I was a teenager when I first became aware of what I was feeling. Do I want to talk about this? I’m not even sure. I’m not even sure it’s something I really have anything to say about, except that it’s there. I can point to a few causes that probably add up together, but that doesn’t help me solve it. It’s gotten better over the years, and it’s much better right now, though I am my own worst enemy (I push myself way too hard, add stress on stress, and then it just gets worse instead of better — but I’ve had some awesome discussions with Q, due to my protected post, and that’s easing off, too). Do I need to talk about this right now? I don’t know. Do other people struggle with this? With the female body being icky or whatever? It seems like most lesbians I talk to love love love the female body, and it’s part of what made me second-guess my own sexuality for so long. If I didn’t like it, surely I couldn’t like women, right? Is this really unusual, or do people just not talk about it?

I was watching porn with Q the other day (I BOUGHT PORN. Well, she bought porn, but I went into the adult shop! And had an opinion! And the ground didn’t swallow me up! And the lady at the counter liked my hair!) and I thought, “Hmm, this would be so much hotter if one of those people was butch.” It was like a mini-epiphany, even though I’ve known it for a while.

We were watching gay porn, with hot guys, and I STILL wanted one of them to be butch. I’m still not in the least attracted to feminine women, though I can easily acknowledge that some of them are quite pretty. It’s just not my thing. And honestly, I haven’t been attracted to a guy in months, now. And before that one guy, it had been months again.

My mini-epiphany? Was just that I really like butch women. I’m butchsexual. I don’t like other women, I apparently don’t like guys. No wonder I had such a hard time figuring myself out.

Geez. I’m not sure any of this is really more than blathering, at the moment. I’m exhausted, I’ve been doing promo ops for my new book, working on a column for Geeking Out About…, dog training at twice the levels I usually do, not particularly sleeping well, and being very, very stressed. It’s all piling up, so now the little things are seeming like big things, and I have no time for blogging, and when I do have a minute I forget what I was going to blog about. >.< Some day I’ll have a chance to go through my drafts and put something thoughtful up. Some day. >.>

J



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{May 1, 2010}   Post of topic-leaping

Okay, so a friend of mine posted this video, and because I think it is the funniest shit ever, I’m posting it everywhere. You can get more information on it, or you can just know that a troop in Afganistan got bored and made a video for Lady Gaga’s song, Telephone (that’s the work safe version, btw).

People! I get it now! This is why gays aren’t allowed in the military. If straight men turn this fabulous, gay men would tear the place apart. (This should totally be a recruitment video, btw. Join the Army! It’s like Glee, but far more entertaining!)

I was also thinking about the movie, Kissing Jessica Stein, (why didn’t any of you warn me it was terrible? I’m so disappointed in you. Don’t try and tell me you didn’t say anything because it came out almost a decade ago. That’s no excuse.) and I decided that it’s really even more insulting to straight women than lesbians. You know the biggest thing I remembered from the movie? The very last bit, when they have lesbian bed death, Jessica goes back to the boy, and the other girl gets to roll around having hot sex in red satin sheets. What do I learn from that?

1. Lesbians get to have decadent hot sex in red satin sheets. YAY! GO, US!

2. Straight girls shouldn’t try to be gay. They also cause lesbian bed death. Oh yeah, and apparently have no sex drive.

Right.

Now, onto a Very Important Topic: FLOWERS! As in, I had a PSMy day, and I bought myself some flowers. They’re bright and cheerful, and they’re now sitting in a vase. Yay!

Butches, take note: flowers are always good. Actually, maybe everyone should take note. You know what flowers say, when your loved one is having a bad day? They say one of two things:

1. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, and I know you enjoy bright cheerful flowers so I went and got you some!

or,

2. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, but I couldn’t afford the Harley that would really make you feel better, and you have so many colonges already that I wasn’t sure if I could find a decent one, so I got you flowers! I hope you understand the intent. Let’s go have sex. (That last part should only be applied if you are actually in a sexual relationship with the person.)

So, yes, flowers. Good for all occasions! And they don’t even have to be expensive! That’s what grocery stores and Trader Joe’s are for! Sure, they’ll probably wilt by morning, but they were pretty that night. YAY!

In still other news, my friend DoctorLady stopped seeing a guy who was a homophobe (you can read about that discussion in her blog — I nearly burst something laughing) and I have an evil sort of “mwahahaha” feeling at being the person she referred to. See, she asked me several days ago if I would mind if she mentioned me and Q to see how he reacted, and I said, “Go for it! :DDD” (Yes, with that amount of smiling. What can I say? I kind of like being a shit disturber.), so she did, and he had a bad reaction, and they’re no longer dating. I’m sorry she didn’t find an awesome guy, but I have a bizarre sort of pride at being the tool to find out about his unawesomeness. Go figure.

In still OTHER news, DK sent me this kick ass study on femme as a gender! I swear, that study could have been written about me! I have so much to say about it that I’ve been trying to figure out the best way of starting. I think I might just have to go through the study bit by bit, and have a lot of blog posts about all the things they talk about. ๐Ÿ˜€ Anyway, suffice to say my femme experience is very common, and I’ll tell you all more later. ๐Ÿ˜€

In the final bit of vaguely-femme news, I was talking to my mom today about all the blogging I’ve been doing, and how it’s been helping me work through some issues. She asked what issues? So I kind of went, “Well, stress, sex, identity stuff — like whether I’m bi or lesbian — that sort of thing.” To which she made one of those “labels don’t matter,” comments. Our discussion went something like this:

Mom: Why does it matter? Whatever label you choose, you’re still you on the inside.

Me: Yeah, but it matters. It changes perceptions–

Mom: Ah, so you’re worried about how other people see you.

(Note: This is A Bad Thing in our household. You should be strong enough it doesn’t matter what other people think about you! While I do agree to a certain extent, I’m trying not to kill myself over it.)

Me: …yeeeaaah, and it changes my perception of myself.

Mom: So you’re letting other people dictate your perception of yourself? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change you.

At this point I began ranting about community and the way you get treated and the pros and cons of bi vs lesbian and so on and so forth, and throughout the whole thing I could hear her voice in my head going, “You’re letting other people dictate your actions. This is weak. It shouldn’t matter. Everything you’ve said is a co-dependent action, trying to curry favor from society.” None of which is true, but I kept hearing it because that’s my mom’s kick. By the end of my rant she sort of made agreement noises, but they sounded more like, “I’ll agree with you to get you to stop ranting, geez,” than, “I understand, even if all I understand is that this matters to you.” *sighs* So that hasn’t helped with the bugged, PMSy feeling all day. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (Though I did have a BRILLIANT moment, imo, when I compared identity stuff with her favorite thing, archetypes. Archetypes are patterns in our life, and if you know what pattern you have you know how to stop it from happening. I talk about how some butches — the ones I’m attracted to — have a knight archetype, for instance. I compared changing an identity label to getting the wrong archetype pattern. This is the point at which she was like, “Okay, okay,” so I’m hoping I’m wrong about the tone and she actually did get it.)

I love my mom, I really do, she’s an amazing person and she’s taught me a lot, but every so often I talk to her and all the old perfectionist, drive-yourself-to-death, do self-improvement all right, all the time tendencies resurface. Humph. I’m going home next weekend. Should be interesting.

In the same vein, she says Q sounds fascinating. *amused* I’m a little afraid. ;-D (They both have an in-charge, occasionally OCD streak. I can’t decide if they’d get along famously or kill each other flat. As Q and I aren’t so serious that a trip to the in-laws is in order, it’s not something I really have to worry about atm.)

Now! I’m off to watch TV and attempt to turn my brain off. Woo hoo!

J



et cetera