To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{February 12, 2014}   Changes

Well, I’m getting married!

Q asked me to marry her just before Christmas, and I said yes. We tie the knot next February, on the anniversary of our first date (so I only have to remember one anniversary). After that, I’ll stay in my house and she’ll stay in her house and we’re good. 😀

Most people I’ve told this to have been like, “Coolio!” The people who don’t say “Coolio!” though, really freak out. It seems I’ve been freaking people out all my life, so that’s all normal. Suffice to say, we’ve got this covered.  😉

It’s quite the jump to go from commitment phobic to getting married. It only took us 4 years. *grins* Five by the time we actually get married! What’s fun is that the law will even acknowledge it now. WOO HOO!

That’s not the only change going on, though. The other big change is that Q has started taking testosterone to look more masculine. She says she doesn’t feel like a man, but she doesn’t feel like a woman. Within about a month of T she started growing facial hair. I figure as muscle develops (she’s started hitting the gym) and hair grows in, and then when she gets top surgery, people will start calling her him, and I’ll switch over. I’ve already started referring to my boyfriend here and there.

She’s having her own things with all this, but I can’t speak for that. What I can speak of is my end of things, supporting my wonderful honey in the changes she needs to make, muddling through my own identity as, to the outside world, it starts to change, and what it’s like.

So far, I’m surprised at how okay everything has been. It’s helped that she didn’t say, “I am a man,” but rather, “I’m somewhere in between, so the pronouns don’t matter.” In fact, when she realized that for herself it lifted a HUGE weight off me. I was no longer looking at seeming straight to the rest of the world. I could continue to use whichever pronouns. Now, I’m getting eased into it, and that’s easier for me. In the end I’m sure effectively the world will see me as straight, but this way I can wade in slowly instead of diving into the deep end.

(I also have to take a moment to say that I REALLY appreciate her support of me, while I’m supporting her. She’s realized this will affect me, too, and has been very aware and we’ve had lots of conversations on it.)

Initially, when Q was thinking she was a man (before she realized that didn’t quite fit, either), Q was saying she wouldn’t ever wanted to be outed as trans. I was really struggling with that, because it was one way for me to continue to claim my own sexual identity. I was at war within myself: part of me wants to support Q and be a good ally, and knows that outing trans* people is, at best, indicative of transphobia in our society. I’m not sure where my outing someone would fall, given my reasons, but it doesn’t matter: it would be encouraging that attitude in society in general. The other part of me wanted to keep my sexual identity. It is as much a part of me as being a man is part of her.

In the end, as stated, Q decided that she was neither man nor woman but somewhere in between, so it became a moot point. (How we’ll maneuver going forward will be something that we have to see as we go.) Since then, there really hasn’t been anything that’s made me hesitate. I kind of am suspicious about how easy it’s been for me, in fact. I keep waiting for something to hit me like a ton of bricks.

Anyway. The allied femme’s intimate dealing with trans in an SO. I’ll attempt to keep you all updated more than once every six months. 😉

JB



{October 25, 2013}   When research strikes

Hi, all!

This year has been something else. I’ve pretty much settled into my femme identity with no more trauma, which is nice. Things occasionally come up around gender or sexual inequality, but mostly little things that I post to Facebook or campaign about elsewhere.

And, a lot, I haven’t had time to write down anything that isn’t a burning desire.

Anyway. I do now. New issues! Ones that aren’t really femme or lesbian, but definitely sexual identity. So I might as well unpack those, right? Dust off the FemmeMobile, folks… 😉

I wrote a book! (Uh, that is, another book!) I don’t know how popular it is yet, as royalties won’t come in for another month, but it’s getting ace reviews from both reviewers and readers. You can check it out here, on Amazon, where it has some fabulous reviews. 😉

I need to talk about some of it for this all to make sense, so in short, it’s about someone getting into BDSM (mostly the BD part) with some friends of his. (Also in small part, it’s my response to how horrible “50 Shades of Gray” was. I mean, really, that book was about how to be in an abusive relationship, and how, if you’re interested in kink, you must be broken. Fuck that shit.) I did research. I wrote the book. It was beautiful. My butch (the same one I started dating over three years ago!) read it and was like, “So… honey… this is some fun stuff. :D” Ahem. Yes. >.> *grins*

Now I’m working on the sequel, which I’ve had a harder time with. A character in the book, London, who was just kind of bossy has decided that she wants to Dom. I’m not a Dom. I did some ‘net research, started writing, stalled out, started again, etc. Not sure what was wrong, I finally stopped, re-read “A Little Weird,” realized in part what was wrong, complained to a friend that I hadn’t found a book on BDSM that really helped me, and was loaned copies of “The New Topping Book” and “The New Bottoming Book.”

I’ve now read “The New Topping Book” (which was AWESOME, btw, and I highly recommend it for anyone who’s curious) and started “The New Bottoming Book,” (less important for my novel, as really I need to shape a top, not a bottom). It answered a lot of the “Ehhhhs,” I had in writing the second book, so with a much clearer idea of what I need to be shaping, I’m all set.

Allllllll of that is to say that I did this research because I was idly curious and thought it was a fun take on a story (also, I like empowering underdogs, and after “Shades” I think of healthy kink as an underdog) , and now I’m like, “Gosh, I have a lot to think about.”

Today is the first day of my period, so I’m a little low energy. I’m also coming down from a big weekend. I decided to finish “The New Topping Book” today, and pretty much just bulled through it. (It’s an easy and entertaining read, so that helps!)

Hm. I’m not sure how to continue here, so I’m going to back up and turn sideways.

I think I learned, growing up, that weakness was bad. My mom was a caretaker, but for all the wrong reasons. She’d fix things or arrange things or organize things for someone, help them with their life, but she’d be angry and resentful about it and never tell them. It left me with this mindset:

I never want to ask for help, because it is never freely given. I never want to show weakness, because then I’ll have to fend off those who would help and be angry with me for it, and do so in a way that won’t hurt them. People who care take of others can’t be trusted: they secretly hate it.

Also this:

If you ever have some time for self-care or downtime, do not use it. Find something “productive” to do.

I’ve realized aspects of these things before, but never quite as full blown as I’m realizing it now. I think I have the Topping Book to thank for that. One of the sections that really hit me was the idea of a top’s limits; that part of their job is to know their OWN limits. That it’s not just the bottom that sets limits, but that the top needs to know what they can and can’t do. You may or may not have noticed, but a lot of what a top (or a Dom) does is care taking. Be in charge, including comfort and aftercare and cuddles if that’s what your sub needs. This is exactly the kind of thing I avoid needing, but I’m definitely subby. (I don’t know how subby; I haven’t experimented enough. Luckily Q seems eager to experiment with me! Anyway, there’s definitely that inclination, though.)

In reading about tops being responsible for knowing what they can and can’t do, I had a realization: I might not understand why they would WANT to take care of anyone, but I can accept that it’s their job to say, “No, I don’t want to do a scene where I push you hard and you need aftercare, because I don’t have it in me for aftercare right now.” That it’s NOT my responsibility to feel guilty for needing help. That it’s okay to have downtime.

What a concept!

In reading the topping book, it also suddenly occurred to me that it’s okay for me to know my own limits in every day life, and to take care of myself. Gasp! You mean, today, when it’s the first day of my period, I’m tired and crampy and a little emo, it’s okay to stay in my PJs and take a hot bath and even go back to bed for 30 minutes?! I like the fantasy of letting a top (that I trust to know their own limits) pamper me like that. So why couldn’t I pamper myself like that? Why isn’t it okay to practice some self care?

Sometimes I have “sick days.” When I’m tired and stressed and I can’t take it any more, I cancel everything and watch movies. I’ve been getting better, too, about taking time off. (I’m self employed, so this takes real determination.) I’ve been doing much, much better at it. But there’s almost always a level of agitation or guilt or “shoulds” that go along with it.

Today, in reading the topping book, it was like hearing permission to be weak and vulnerable and have down time. It was this amazing idea that someone else could do that for me, could insist on it, without feeling burned out or resentful. That they might GET something from it, in fact. And if they can do it for me, and it’s not only okay but expected and praised… then why can’t I do it for myself?

In sex instead of life, there’s another aspect to this. I really don’t understand the urge to dom/top. I can accept that others have that urge, even if I don’t at all get it, and be glad for that. But between the aforementioned aversion to care taking, and the lack of understanding, I have personal concerns. Like, what if Q wants me to try topping so she can try bottoming? What if she gets angry and resentful at topping because I’m… I don’t know, too subby? (When I think about this rationally, I realize we have EXCELLENT communication. I don’t really believe this would happen, because she’d tell me something was going wrong first.)

Anyway, these are things I’ll have to think about and discuss with Q. Some part of me feels like I SHOULD at least try topping if she wants, and the gut part of me knots up at even thinking about it. (This is hilarious, as I’m rather a leader type in everyday life.) I don’t know if it’s a holdover from my gazillions of other sexual issues, or if it’s because I associate bottoming with girly genders (which Q is not, and it kind of a alarms me to think she suddenly would be — though I don’t think that’s how it works…) (also, I realize I’m totally gendering here, and that’s not a good thing. Believe me, you don’t have to point out the negative use of stereotypes, I’m aware of them.). All stuff to start processing.

Oh yeah, and did I mention we got engaged? 🙂 More stuff to process! And some other stuff, too, that isn’t mine to talk about just yet… ayup, life is changing. I’m definitely going through… something. The planets are aligned or somesuch!

J



So, my cousin posted this thing on Facebook.

Wait, back up. You should know that both sides of my family are socially and religiously conservative. That one set of cousins (as in, the children of one particular aunt) has broken with the family conservative-Catholic beliefs to say, “Actually, maybe teh gays aren’t all that bad. In fact, they might not even be ‘teh gays’ but be actual people. WE SHALL TREAT THEM THUSLY.” A few of the others simply are loving and I don’t actually know where they stand on religious-political issues, but they do talk to me about my life and ask me with big beaming smiles about Quin, so I have no problem with them. (This is a little contrary to what I’m about to say. I’m still puzzling it out.)

But. There are another set of cousins that are really anti-gay marriage. They post anti-gay marriage things on Facebook periodically. Mostly they’re consumed with pro-life stuff, so the gay marriage stuff doesn’t come up so often, but now and then…

One of these cousins posted some speech the Pope gave with the comment, “Thank you Pope Benedict!” The speech was, in part, a reaction to the school shooting. The title (which pretty much captured the story) was “Pope Says: True Peace in the World Requires the End of Abortion and Gay “Marriage”.”

Because clearly abortions and gay marriage were on that guy’s mind when he shot all those kids.  */snark*

Anyway, it wasn’t the Pope’s statement that bothered me — I know the Catholic stance on both those things — it was my cousin’s sharing it with the comment, “Thank you Pope Benedict!” It was her making that statement despite knowing I’m gay and in a long-term relationship.

I wasn’t sure what to say. Whether to let it slide as her opinion she’s entitled to, or whether to step forward. That’s a hard line for me to see, the difference between opinion and bullying, and worse, she’s family. I don’t want to create family fights.

I very nearly said nothing. My mom raised us while keeping the peace in the family. She said (and this was true) it was so that we could make our own decisions about whether or not we wanted those family members in our lives, without her burning our bridges. But what I learned, and am slowly unlearning, is that you should keep the peace in the family AT ALL COSTS.

I’m also a big believer in complicity by silence. Er, not that you should do it, but that it happens all over. I’ve been working really hard not to be complicit by silence. To speak up if I hear someone being hassled or bullied, and to call people on it when I hear hateful or predjudiced language being spewed. But here’s the thing: at what point am I being complicit by silence vs just acknowledging that people have their own beliefs?

And here’s the other thing: is it even good for me? I think it’s good for society for people to speak up. But I did speak up yesterday, and I didn’t sleep last night. I was in a state of high anxiety most of today, thinking about her possible responses and my possible responses and whether or not I was going to catch flack at Christmas, where I’ll see her, and so on. (As it turned out, she didn’t respond at all.)

BTW, my response was: “You know… I just don’t think the downfall of civilization is caused by my loving and possibly marrying my girlfriend. That action would, however, stabilize and give more support to her two kids’ lives, which seems to be what Benedict wants, anyway.”

So… I guess I’m actually here asking for opinions. When do you speak up? When would you like to see people speak up, in an ideal situation? When “should” comments slide? I’m still not sure if I did the right thing or not. I can’t say I did the wrong thing, but I can’t say I did the right one, either. It doesn’t help that this is family, so there’s learned and familial issues there, anyway. But at least if I had a better understanding, I might feel more confident about saying something vs keeping quiet.

At least I have realized one thing for sure: I no longer have qualms about inviting some of my cousins and not other cousins/aunts and uncles who aren’t supportive of gay marriage, should I ever get married. And I’m finally realizing that if that creates family rifts… I’m okay with that. I’m not even doing it because I feel angry at them, which I expected. It’s more like, “Well, why would I invite them? They would be there out of obligation, not because they were happy for me. I want to share it with the people who would be happy for me. And if they’re angry because I didn’t count them admist those numbers, I’m sorry for that, but I don’t think I’m wrong. And if they are happy for me, and are sad they didn’t get to share, then I’ll apologize and we’ll bond. Or we won’t.”

It’s kind of freeing.

J



{June 19, 2012}   Father’s Day

A couple of weeks back, S (Q’s 8-year-old daughter) looked up at Q and said, “Should we get you father’s day cards?”

Now, I wasn’t actually there for the conversation, but it was relayed to me thusly:

S: Should we get you father’s day cards?
Q: Well… I suppose you could… why do you ask?
S: Because even though you have a girl’s body, you’re more like  a dad.

She was right! Kids are smart like that. They’re not all caught up in ‘supposed-to’s like the rest of us are.  A few days later I picked them up from school (something that only happens rarely), and asked them if they still wanted to get their Mutti a father’s day card. To resounding yeses, we headed to CVS. J (Q’s son) went through several cards before finally, frowning at me, said, “These all say ‘father.’ But she’s our Mutti.” I told him it was okay, she’d understand, and we could always cross “father” out and write “mutti” instead. Apparently satisfied with this answer, they both picked out cards and then announced we should get Q a present, too. They bought Reeces Cups with their own money, and off we went.

Q gets a little resentful over mother’s day because people forget about her. She sends cards and well wishes to her friends, butch and andro alike (I believe I’m pretty much the only femme in her life), but doesn’t get any back. Last year her brother sent her flowers, which was a BIG deal. Then again, I wonder how many people remember at all. I send a card to my folks on their respective days, but not anyone else. Hmmm.

It also occurred to me that in another couple of years, I might well be “eligible” to be getting mother’s day cards of my own. That kinda freaked me out. I think I wouldn’t mind if everyone forgot. >.>

It’s funny; I was also the one kid in the family who DID NOT WANT KIDS, KTHNX. And I’m the first one to end up with them… This amuses me, though I’m still not sure it counts as they’re part-time kids. Also, I didn’t have to deal with any of the crappy baby ages. (I know lots of people say that’s their favorite part, but I like kids best once they hit 7 or 8. Then you can DO STUFF with them!)

Anyway, now I’m starting to ramble. Life continues on.

J



{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.  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



{November 17, 2011}   Awesome kids, and unrelated sex fun

Yesterday this blog got 26 hits. I have no idea why. But hey, I won’t complain! 😉

So last weekend Q and I went to Q’s ex to pick something up, and the kids were having  a playdate. The ex pulled us aside and said that she’d told the twins we were coming, and Jake (who will be 8 in Feb) went to his friends and bellowed, “My other mom is coming! She looks like a boy, and that’s okay!”

8 year olds FTW.

(None of the kids cared. *laughs*)

Anyway, also last weekend Q and I were again too tired for sex. There’s been a lack of sex in our lives lately, because of sheer exhaustion. Anyway, I didn’t really want to watch more TV, and I kinda wanted to mess around, so I suggested we pull out the sex cards, a normal deck, and play poker with the sex cards as chips. Q added sex scratchers, and we played! After a bit we decided that we could choose one card from the ones we won to cash in each round, but whatever activity could only last two minutes. It was awesome! (It also ended in sex, which was a bonus. ;))

It was a far cry from times when I could barely talk about sex, much less suggest anything or choose a card to suggest something I actually wanted.  It’s pretty awesome. AND, we had so much fun! What a great way to spend an evening. 😀

J



{October 7, 2011}   Cross posted to my other blog!

Y’know. The one about my whole life. 😀

My sister got married! For more hilarious stories on how awesome that was, click above. For the gay bits, read on!

For me, the best part of the wedding was the pressure to get married. Crazy, right? Who likes that, after all? It’s definitely not something most single people look forward to when they go to a wedding, but for me it’s a sign that my extended family is getting over the fact that I’m dating another woman, and they’re treating me like they would any straight niece or cousin. It was AWESOME.

Q didn’t show up until Friday night (the wedding was Saturday, and I was there by Tuesday.) Mark and Cathy — my favorite aunt and uncle — were there before I got there.

Things have been a touch strained with Mark since I started dating women. I knew they would be, but hoped that, like so many other things, he’d do the flip he does sometimes and end up in my camp. Usually, once something becomes personal to him, it’s not so bad! For instance, despite being rabidly right-wing, he’s pro-choice. My mom used us girls as an example one day, and he changed his mind completely on his pro-life stance. Things like that.

But religion is a strong factor, and he’s conservatively Lutheran. His wife, Cathy, has a gay sister — which hasn’t actually helped my cause, because her heart’s been broken by women. Never mind that everyone has their heart broken, Mark just sees this as proof that it’s not good to be gay.

Now, note that he’s never been anything but nice to me about it. It’s not what he says, but what he doesn’t say: he doesn’t ask how my love life or my girlfriends are, or if I’m dating, or anything else like that. He’s always kind to the people I bring home (all two of them, yes, shuddup), and he never says anything bad. Cathy told me once that he’s just worried for me, because being gay is a harder path in our society than being straight, and he just needs time. That’s okay, but I’ve still sort of been… waiting.

Anyway, Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, and Quin flew in right after it. I was talking about her — all week I kept trying NOT to talk about her, because it seemed like every other line out of my mouth had to do about her — and Uncle Mark was tipsy. He told me in that solemn-tipsy way that he really liked Q, because anyone who could make me that happy was good people. He (and my Aunt Cathy, at separate times) then proceeded to ask me if we were getting married, and if and when we got married could he play? (He played at Chelsea’s wedding, as she was walking down the aisle.)

I was totally touched. When Q got there, he was thrilled to see her. She danced with my Aunt Cathy at the reception, and Mark gave her a nickname: Rug Cutter. He even did his fist-bump with her; both are signs of high approval! And we were invited by both of them — again, separately — to come visit this spring. YAY! Everything very nicely fell into place, inside me. It was awesome. 😀

Hilariously, despite KNOWING who Q was (in part because I was introducing her as my girlfriend), another cousin (sort of — my second cousin once removed) said it was nice meeting my friend. *amused* That didn’t bother me: I was really only worried about my Uncle Mark, and the rest I know how they’ll react. It IS nice that everyone, even the people who strongly disagree and fear for my soul, are being sweet. (My aunts weren’t always nice to my mom, and she wasn’t even gay!) Mac was kind enough to sit Q with people who’d like Q and she’d like them, so I had no worries there! (My bff, Danny, was at that table too. Mac told me at one point, “Yeah, I sat Q and Danny together. Then I realized that the only other gay person at the wedding was also at that table, and I thought, ‘What is this?! The gay table?!’ So I switched him.” I nearly died laughing.) One of my favorite cousins even came over and introduced herself to Quin while I was off doing something, but that wasn’t a surprise: I knew she’d be fine with everything. 🙂 For all that I’m generally sure my aunts and uncles won’t approve but will at least be polite, I’m equally sure my cousins will be awesome!

Also, speaking of homophobia and weddings, check this out! I can marry either of my cousins Chasen or Taylor (my two unmarried male cousins), but I can’t marry another girl. So, so wrong.

Ugh, so annoying. Here, have this much more entertaining wedding picture. This was one of the weddings I went to this summer, where I was the bearer of the ring bearer. 😉

Ha! I love that picture.

J



This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:



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.  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)



{June 15, 2011}   Sundance Saloon!

If you live in San Fran (or the surrounding area, as I do) and you enjoy dancing (which I do) and your boifriend happens to get you hooked on two stepping (which Q did) and you’re queer, than The Place To Go is Sundance Saloon, which offers gay two stepping, line dancing, and lessons every Thursday and Sunday.

I’m not a total extrovert like Q is, and I can’t always handle the crowd, but I do enjoy it a few times a month! One of my favorite things, though, is to people-watch.

Now, this isn’t much of a surprise to people who know me. I LOVE people watching. I’ve been known to wander downtown and sit on a bench just to watch people. I make up stories for them and histories and imagine what’s going on. I laugh at the kids and little dogs and cringe when a pedestrian walks into traffic without looking. I love people watching! There’s such an amazing variety of people! I love them.

Sundance tickles me pink. Occasionally Q will head off to dance with a friend, and if I have a chance to have a break (I don’t always; I know enough people there now that often someone asks me to dance if they see I’m free) I like to tuck myself between the wall and whatever is sticking out (there’s like, one tiny table, a square thing people sit on, and a giant wall for the fan), and just watch.

It’s amazing, and I love it. Not just because I’m people-watching, but because I look out at this sea of people, and I see all the variety I would normally see, and I know — these are all queer people.

My favorite is watching the older gentlemen, (It’s mostly gay men) the gentlemen of color, and the one person who always wears a sparkly hijab (I believe that’s what it usually is — sometimes it’s a western-style dress or a toga). Those are my favorite people. In part because they aren’t the people you see in the media. Before I started coming to Sundance, somehow my perception of gay men was… well, Hollywood.

EXACTLY LIKE THAT. ———————————————->

If you had asked me, of course I would have said that queers come in all shapes and sizes. I know queers in all shapes and sizes! But if I’d pictured a group in my head, they would have all looked like this.

That’s part of why I like seeing the people at Sundance. They look like normal people. They look like people I could get to know and have fun with and generally be friends with. They are attainable, and they’re familiar enough that I feel like I can be part of that.

There’s something else, too, though. The elderly gents, they’ve lived through much harder times than I have — and they’re still out, proud, dancing and enjoying life. The men of color, they’ve lived in cultures and subcultures that are far more difficult than mine, and they’re still out, proud, dancing and enjoying life. The person in zir hijab, I’m sure ze deals with much more shit than I do, and even in ze’s own queer community — and he’s still out, proud, dancing and enjoying life.

These people give me hope. They make me feel like, even if this country regress or comes to a stand still for a while, even if I deal with occasional shit or want to kick in someone’s kneecaps on a butch or trans friend’s behalf, even if I am sometimes made to feel like a second class citizen… I don’t have to let that defeat me. I don’t have to let that disappointment be my life. I don’t have to hide who and what I am, just to appease others. And I don’t have to be ashamed or afraid.

It’s those people, the minority groups, that really amaze me. I love watching those people at Sundance. I love seeing the elderly man dance with the person in the hajib, and they laugh and enjoy each other and have fun, and then move on to the next dance with someone else. I like knowing that even though they’ve maybe lived a hard life, they haven’t let it beat them down.

It reminds me that, whatever happens, I can still make the choice to stand up, be proud, enjoy my life and the people in it, and that I don’t have to live in fear and hiding.

See? This is why I love people watching. 🙂

J



et cetera