Friday, March 22, 2013

Femme by birth? not quite.

I am trying to imagine a life without all the tools of a Femme Warrior. No more heels, lipstick, no shaving, no drag show clothes, freaking out over glitter makeup and MAC cosmetics or the absolute RUSH of finding nail polish on sale. It would suck. To quote Kelly Clarkson: "My life would suck without Femme." OK, not an exact quote, perhaps.

I do have some complaints. For one thing, there is a shortage of *me* in the world. I see girls aplenty, but not enough of us are open or out about being gay. That gives me a sense of cooling toward my Femme sisters when they say: "I don't need to come out. My butch does it for us." I can understand that, but what a sense of pressure for one person to bear the outing by herself, and frankly, butches have enough to contend with. I was once, for a brief time, quite *butchish* in my dress and short-short hair. 

I thought while I was 20, I'd get a short pixie cut, but I was 220 pounds, wore oversized hoodies and wide-leg skater jeans and Doc Martins. So...while I thought my Tony & Guy pixie cut was cute, My mother proclaimed I looked like a "dyke." which, I assume she meant "butch," it hurt because I was young and trying new things. It hurt because I wanted to be seen by her as beautiful. My mother's emphasis on beauty growing up was militant. By 14 I wasn't allowed out with her unless I had on makeup. It's ok, don't start crying, Argentina. I really liked my makeup and hair and all that jazz. 

My *butchish* nature started as a tomboy girl, climbing mimosa trees, dancing around campfire and shooting guns with my step father. I knew what a deer scrape looked like by age 6. I could point out a good tree for a deer stand, I knew what foxfire was, [we lived in the Louisiana swamp area] and by age 10, I was schooled in scaling fish, skinning rabbits and I could estimate what kind of pond had either frogs, catfish, bass or crappie. I was NOT a Femme child. I was the most outgoing, talkative little girl and sided most often with mange-ridden dogs and butterflies. Dressing *up* was a sundress and my red cowboy boots. I called them my "shitkickers" and was told by my 1st grade teacher that was "not what little girls were supposed to talk like.-"

Shrug. Who knew? Cuz here I was a little girl and I already had a foul mouth.

The lessons I learned farther down the *butchish* road were from women, who while not always butch or lesbian or even tomboy, taught me to be strong and that learning was the most important thing a woman could do. My grandmother told me she never learned to drive and I had to learn in order to be free. My MeMe Lena taught me to sew, to be gentle with things, to slow down because I  was always in too big a hurry. She also taught me in Taco Bell one afternoon to take back food I didn't like because life was too short to settle for what I didn't want.

My mom taught me things in nature on our walks to escape my often abusive stepdad, who while a great sportsman and outdoors hippie, had his own battles brewing inside. My mom would languidly, as if in a dream, hold my hand and show me tulip trees, explain when the persimmons were okay to eat, taught me to tend a fire, how to reel in a fish slowly, without breaking a line on the pole. She taught me hummingbirds and birds, flowers and leaves, how to listen for the thunder and lightning to tell stories. I knew what time of year it was and can still smell a rain coming. That's intuitive, my grandpa Sam told me. Indians know the weather. We know how to use our sniffers. He knew how to drink whiskey and Budweiser and made the best crackers and buttermilk in a glass over Sanford & Son, too. He showed me how to garden, how to tend a yard. 

It was as if, even amidst such an abusive and tumultuous childhood, people all around me were teaching me things. Our trailer park landlord would know a fight had broken out in our trailer between my mom and Danny when I'd show up one Saturday morning to "help milk cows," there was nothing like kneeling down and squeezing those udders. They were soft and the cows seemed so relaxed. I'd forget all abut how strong I had to be for everyone and just milk and squeeze and the warm milk hitting the metal sides of the bucket always made me happy. Even for a little while. Animals, to me, were my most valued and trusted friends. They talked with smiles and tail whisps and wags. It was a language I knew very early.

My Femme desires came when I wanted to be accepted and cared about by friends in junior high school. I wasn't much of a pretty girl, but I was funny, loud, willing to be ridiculous and I was good with thrift stores. Sill am. I believe I have not only a right to my butch and Femme sides, but that I honor anyone who would have me by not denying both. I will gladly shoot guns or hang out in a tree or put a worm on a hook for a girl. [or a dude, if need be] It's not something I think is unfeminine. I just think it's knowledge and the more of it, the better. Why label that as "girl, butch, Femme, tomboy?"

When I realized I was not ever going to be beautiful, not to me, I developed a shield of flowery dresses, fishnet stockings, cute miniskirts, heels and makeup techniques taught by drag queens on youtube. I learned most about how to be Femme from queens and old women. I think that perhaps says a LOT about my style and Feminine presentation. I am gentle and loving, but loud and invite unquestionably difficult diva moments a lot. It's okay, I know how to behave, too, but given the choice, I'd rather be a mixed bag of obnoxious and crude with a sprinkle of classy dame. The other way around, for me, is just too hard & maybe a bit boring.

Femme to me, is not a closed book. It doesn't end in cold cream at 11pm and it doesn't always start with lipstick. I got dogs to feed, bills to pay, several online side businesses I check everyday, social media and art updates, appointments, gardening, cooking, mending, tending-home, fires to keep going. I run, I walk, I hike. I like poking at things with sticks. I enjoy looking at another woman, the more masculine version of me who probably isn't going to slip into a thong, or a bubble bath, and I like knowing *she* appreciates that I do. (And will, most especially for her.) It's easy to be Femme, alone. I think the task is like any relationship; not to dissolve into a strong personality of one, but to remain autonomously sexy. I see it. I don't want that to happen. I like the contrasting colors, textures and shapes of femininity in those ways. Her up is my down. My pink is her black. Her pocket knife is my lipstick. But I also want to watch the fire with her, both of us warmed by the same flame. I wanna sleep under the stars & feel safe. I want to cook for her, who ever this elusive dandy girl is who can tie a bow-tie and build a good fire.

Femme is important to me. it's my swan song... a late in life lesbian's identity that says "hey, it's okay. you see those girls over there, they know you. they have always known you. they looked away, not because they didn't think you were amazing, but because they knew, even before you, you could't see yourself yet." that identity is the chant of my grandfather's people. It's my beautiful Native American blood, it is distant, but very real to me. As I grow more into this skin, I hear him from above, saying "intuition, kid. It's in the belly." He'd usually then turn it into a play fight where we'd spar in the front yard until my grandmother would break it up with a call for dinner. I never forgot how hard his gut was. I could hit him for days & he'd just laugh.

I'm lucky, really. Even though I do not know what it feels like to be in the tornado of a butch/femme love affair, I have the wisdom of knowing who I am and what I want. It's not an easy thing to explain because even with very few words for my sexual orientation, I am still vehemently not attracted to overly feminine women. It's just... not at all what I like. Let me explain it like this.

Every year my mother has these night-blooming primrose bushes that she has trained to come back. Year after year the things spread and get bigger. They are yellow flowers that open at dusk and once 20-50 blooms are opening at one time, the whole bush shakes. It's an incredible sight as the flowers literally unfurl right before your eyes. Now, come an hour early, you'll see nothing but a bush of wilted buds from the day before. Come an hour late, and it's just a bush of yellow flowers.

But in the perfect cool night air, while they are blooming, it's pure magic. It takes a special in-between time and place to see that magic. I feel like that bush. For years I was just a bunch of wilted blooms leftover from yesterday. Then for a while, I was a bush of yellow bursts of color, but stagnant and pretty. Not much too it. But when I came out in my full Femme lesbian glory, and gladly accepted my Femme stance and my butches appreciated me and showed their support, I was a bush shaking with magical mystery... I was, and am, in that moment, perfect. I can't say if every year I'll come back to that magic. I hope I can plant gardens with my wife someday. I hope for a lot of things, not the least of which is to be seen as I really am. But you know what? I've already won half the battle.

My life would suck without my Femme identity and I can't wait to share that with some brazen warrior like myself who knows her life would suck without being a strong, tough butch. Protectress & Angel; child and mother. We are all these, each of us embodies all points of the divine Feminine... that's what I want and what I need. I'll wait until I have found that. Lord knows, I have waited this long.  & yup... I'm bringing my heels, lipstick AND a lighter. Because you never know. x

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Things I have not done since I became a lesbian.
  • laundry
  • thought of a man sexually
  • written by hand in my journal
  • embraced a love interest 
  • balanced my budget
  • cleaned my bedroom 
  • cooked a big nice meal
  • meditated daily
  • played piano, written anything new
  • planned my garden for spring
  • given much of a shit what anyone thought

Things i have done since i became a lesbian.

  • made art in my studio
  • talked on the phone to another lesbian
  • went out to dinner with lesbians
  • came out to my family
  • hugged all my family members in loving kindness
  • went to UU church
  • hiked/walked/ran 50+ miles
  • lost 5 pounds
  • written numerous times, poems, fictional story and essays
  • read many books on lesbian culture, community & relationships
  • made brownies
  • got my nails did
  • put money into savings
  • had coffee, dinner, went out with friends, been socializing
  • drank champagne without consequence 
  • cried about 10 times
  • continued therapy
  • built more muscle

Sunday, February 24, 2013

backseat, 1992

you were crouched over the white leather seats
a giant oldsmobile and street lamps dripping orange light
through murky windows, "fuck, this thing broke"
i believe i said "let me try" but was thinking
"is it too late to stop, to end it, nevermind, just get it over with"

when you want to see it, smell it
i rinse my brain of fight, i hold my power down to my sides
clenching it in my fists, small and pale
Richie Sambora plays on your mix tape
my heart pounds, everything is loud, even the foggy moon
it moans like a whale
the trees creak, my ghosts move within my body

after, we walk to the river's edge and the smell of dead fish
permeates the air; years later you will ask me to marry you
in a similar fashion, quiet and with great pause,
with river stench awake on the shore
and mud between the soles of our shoes

saying "yes" was an easy ordeal for me. always "yes"
because "no" signifies a terrible resistance to happiness
and hope and belief in boy/girl fairytales.
there is hardly any sweet, delicate sunday afternoon spooning
in the word "no." so "yes" it was

even the dead things understand, washed up ashore,
we long for corporeal mirrors and touch that is warm, words that are soothing
even these small creatures know, there in the depths of
brown river water

reaching out for another
only to return great armfuls of air
is a lonely & unsatisfactory ordeal
even if "yes" in the backseat means we are giving away the last
vestige of a dream

sublimation [stream of consciousness]

what eats at me, is what i most desire to dine with daily.

I haven't felt lately like falling in love with myself. i do the things that need doing, and i smile a lot. but there is a seething and tearing at my skin, something deeper. trust. relevance.

there is performance for family and friends. there is an angel inside me who is sweet and tender.
also, the left out, starved tigress who needs to fuck shit up.
from the inside out, i want to devour, restrain, go for jugulars. hate you. completely rip you open until there is nothing to hide from, not even yourself. violently open your mind and heart.

but i smile, i nod, my way: self-deprecating and awkward as i do, glancing down away, then loud.
i hate this about myself. i want to be the girl not afraid of anything.
instead there are hugs and tears, questions and deep listening.

i talk in kisses.
i write in fists.

i am filled with the angel and devil dichotomy. you want to be seduced [and not] i want to be seduced [and not] so this hummingbird chase, light, deflect, take off, fly away, all day and we burn everything, all the nectar just because our wings beat so fast.

it's never enough and won't be;
interesting. frightening, too.
bad form for a wife. which is why i was shit at that task.
mother guilt. female guilt. shame over not finishing things.
shame over not having a degree. who is going to listen to a woman with no degree, and i cut my throat, rip out the music as if there is none, as if playing by ear is a nasty fault, instead of an incredible gift.

writing is hearing. hearing is touching with sound waves.
i touch her with music, from some soft place i can only find when i am still and writing or creating in deep listening sessions with myself.
i keep fires going and sometimes the fire itself says to me: "ya know? no. i am here to burn, you are there to build rocks around me and i do not want that. i have had that. let's get bruised this time. let's burn to the ground."

i fucking hate being needy.
i think a lot about butches. specificity. the action and reaction of male gendered bullshit, i am suspect. my trust knows nothing about my heart or my cunt. the sexuality of a desire is guilt. sexuality of a brain function is something, i am inhibited about, mores than vagina pleasure. that isn't guilt to me. i feel bad about wanting to taste your head and get into your mind. because it is vulgar and violating and constant, if done well. i did this to men, for money, for what i thought was adoration- i was constantly in control, making the story up as i went along.

omniscient love is boring as fuck.

i don't want to write the narrative of love. i love complex, unwritten, dissatisfactory, gibberish, chaotic, unpredictable, dysfunctional bullshit, noir/black/dysphoric.

i like complicated situations and very complex, smart women.
i like a drinking woman, though i, myself, reserve that for once a year or less.
control, but not bing in it, fear of losing it and loving it. i love being out of control.
i love that shit. i can easily become addicted to that sensation because i am always thinking and reviewing and when i cannot plan or write it or GET IT, just fuck yeah. I want to fuck *that* place in life. where i am about to tear my mind in half, better yet- you do it for me.
so so sick.

i love being drunk and out of control. i love taking drugs and just puddling down on the bed and having my way with you, nothing keeping my hands rigid or soft. wrestle, fight, throttle and take. it's stupid leftover anger/repression and i need to work this out, but i can't get it out. not out OUT.
that's where i must write it. pissing it out, like a dude.
when i stood over that one poor submissive and pissed on him, missing and hitting his eyes. that was awful. a moment of skill which i failed the once, but never forgave myself. he adored me after. but it was not my intention to blind someone for even a few seconds.

i pledged to be a grown woman by now. edging closer to 40. i might sleep a little and camp out in the stars, by myself. that's a good thing to do before i turn 40. i also wanted a degree because i fel weak and invalid when i have no audience. i can eat, dance, work out, walk the dogs, make my art, write- all this alone. the shopping, the caring of the house, the repairs, garden... all these things i do, alone, as a strong fucking woman, but yet- i feel completely alienated from women who make more money, know more, have more education.

stupid guilt. imposed by a societal standard of education.
when education isn't anything to the cunts who creep in and out of classes without interest in anything other than a degree. fuck that.

i am too emotionally generous because when i am angry, i get withdrawn and sullen.
i always think i can give enough for two or three people.
truthfully i am a fucking horrible person. i lie constantly for love.
my words are lies. they sit here, heavy on the screen and pretend i can do relationships.
they sit there, black and blue, like bruised stepchildren in front of a social worker-
but the stories are all false. they hate, they instigate. but they seek pity and difficulty and even though they shit on the couch and slap their mother, these kids, they just keep taking the victim role.
and it's so tempting to keep writing that shit down.
i hate victims. i hate whiney victims but i am the biggest one i know.

i felt sexually excited in church. i wanted to be brave and big for Jesus.
i needed him to see me as a daughter of warriors. my mom said my name "Kelly" meant "warrior woman" and I believed if i fought hard enough, with words, paint, men, sex- fucking and fisting the pain inside me, God would welcome me into his heart. i would think of how Jesus had a penis.
I did think that in church, looking at boys, thinking that i hated them for having it so easy. I could not piss standing up. Classic penis envy.

I was told by my brother the daddy butch paradox is so fucked up.
i agree to some degree it can be, but i want it to be taken down for me,
butch/father/mother and the equal and opposite "femme" self, but i struggle against both. like a packed cock inside foreign underwear. i am somehow in this state of between the male and female, with a phantom cock that needs to be used, touched, choked, subjugated and respected.

i do it in makeup and lingerie and heels for men.
not sure about navigating around a butch female, because that phantom cock is visceral and hunts. i am not that strong in it. not with women. not true, i am.
i do not WANT to be this strong any more.

I want to get the patient, smiling girl into her bed and be completely eviscerated by her great huge butch cock scimitar. wow. that's hard to actually write. nothing is hard unless it's truth. getting somewhere!!
finally.i'll leave it dripping.
like a painting right when it needs to be left.
like a bad, bad girl.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

coming out intoxication

"The world and words fuck each other."-Kathy Acker

I am trying to find the place where my tongue can say "lesbian" instead of hiding behind a computer. I suppose this is rich with sophomoric newly out lesbian ridiculous anxiety, but there it is. I have a very hard time saying I am a lesbian. I usually quell this thirst to admit my trueness in words like "I've come out," [that's very diva-like, anyway, which is my style]. My 1950s and 40s aesthetic is pretty girly. I have to come *OUT* about twice a day, but I had that practice when I had a gastric bypass.

I came out by having gastric bypass surgery in a very big way. With a youtube channel, emails and sharing and lots of pictures of my progress. I have come out similarly, as a lesbian. But both provide me with dread and slight shame whenever I say "I had weight loss surgery" or "I am now a lesbian, and yes, I was married, have a daughter and was engaged not once, not twice, but three times to men. [none of which provided actual marriages]" I am not ashamed of either, but I know what the thoughts are because I had them.

Weight loss surgery is the easy way out.
You will probably gain that weight back.
Why didn't you buy something useful with that money?
You've set a horrible example for women.
What does your body look like naked, with loose skin?

The answers I give if asked usually result in my feeling awkward and paranoid that some stranger is going to go home and Google my weight loss project and find out I was a horrible mess when I had that surgery. They might watch only partial bits and leave out the recovery, the coming to Jesus, as we say in the South, of what that surgery did for me and my whole outlook on life. So while I am not, personally, ashamed, I feel bad for not having the desire in me any more to educate the ignorance. Just judge me, fuck it, right? I cannot possibly make all these opinions go away.

Then I came out. I came out publicly, with love and passion, as a feminist, as a Femme, as a butch dyke loving girly girl who isn't afraid. But really? I am so very afraid. That's what I don't talk about in the narrative of Facebook or daily Instagram photos, or even with Twitter or Youtube. I am out as a LESBIAN and perfectly delighted, but incredibly terrified of the label. What does a 38 year old lesbian even know about this new tribe she has been magically embraced by? I thought I'd instinctually get it. That I'd feel brave and not at all vulnerable, now, that I was just being my correct Femme gay self.


The questions come, much like the weight loss surgery questions.

How long have you been gay?
Why do you like girls who look & act like 'dudes?'
Are you going to cut your hair?
My darling father even told me he didn't care about my gender... as if that was suddenly changing, too?

Well-meaning as the comments and questions are, some I just have no answers for and am not prepared. I have been gay since I had sex with a girl which was in junior high. I was crushed when she left me and dated my ex boyfriend. She had the most beautiful lithe body in her pink swimsuit and I recall her standing on my family's pool diving board in 7th grade, dripping wet, the suit pale pink, and her dark nipples were visible. I was kinda DONE with boys then.

But I was like every other girl in the world: I wanted to belong. I hid from first kisses [sorry Jason] and I lied about sexual promiscuity with a sarcastic slutty authority of someone deeply afraid of being gay. I was hyper sexual for years before I came to another, fully grown woman, married, only to find out she wanted something more and I couldn't do it. Maybe it goes back to the Golden Girls and Bea Arthur? Or maybe it goes back to "Just One of The Guys" when the girl dresses as a dude to go to a school undercover, and in the end reveals her breasts under a tuxedo jacket. I am not sure.

But I can say that my most fond memory of a full blown, hardcore honest to goodness BUTCH woman, was in Wyoming. I was in Girl Scouts and she was a guide. I saw her chain wallet. Her hips, that swagger. No, woman's hips ever did that. None I had seen. EVER. She was pure mythical, magical warrior, full of something not girl, not guy-but butch. That term, I have fallen in love with. I used to shy away thinking it was bad. But believe me, a butch knows what a femme knows; our labels are symbiotic in many ways if we connect. Pure fire.

so Wyoming Butch would walk, talk, laugh, hug, act really immature for her age, and i had never seen anything so fine. i was developing my feminine wiles with boys from emulating other girls my age, and i had really big fancy boobs, so you know, that didn't hurt. but the good hearted, funny butch lady was where i was at, mentally and sexually. i wanted to pull her aside, say "hey, can we talk about what's happening here?" but Wyoming Butch would hardly look at me. I was kinda girly. even though I was funny, too, I didn't want to use a pocket knife on anything or break limbs and make fires. I wanted to watch her do it, sure... but that's it. She ignored me the entire time she was with us.  Except once.

I asked to take her picture at the breakfast table and she stuck out her tongue and had oatmeal on it.
I still have that photograph. I still look at it. It was the playful spirit that I just wanted to sidle up to and just be with, understand, grapple with, feel in the cold night. When we left, and I knew I would never see her again, I went to my sleeping space, a colorful girly sleeping bag, zipped into it, and sobbed for hours alone.

And I zipped my entire life, all my misunderstood feelings into that sleeping bag. I was "bad," I was a "pervert," I dated the most hyper-masculine black athletic or pimped out men you can imagine. I hated women. I listened to rap and to anything violent. I tried to fuck my way out of this head-body-soul disconnect, but I came back to "I am gay" and just shut down. I would have little affairs, no biggie, I told myself, because I was a powerful sex-positive feminist woman. I can have sex with whomever I so choose. Suck it. Then I had my "50 shades of Gray" experiences and more male-centered sex, where it was, or so I thought, enjoyable to be degraded and used, completely disrespected because that edge was something new. Better to go there, with a man, than have a really satisfying relationship with a, holy shit, GIRL.

I still feel guilt over things I did. Places I went, physically, to fix my head. Because tears were weak. I was a survivor. I was not weak. Not even pissing in the street, homeless, because of addiction. I was never going to be anything but GREAT in my head; normal was great. Great meant desiring men, having a family, owning a home and driving a mom car. That's the Femme issue. We are conditioned and raised not as wild free spirited "tomboys" or loners, but as pack girls. Chicks. We like beads and crafts and clothes and hair shit and makeup techniques and Pinterest. But we're gay, too, so where is that safe place with our female straight friends to say "well, I love all these ties, but I only see them on other women in my mind?" thinking about a sexy tie on a butch makes me melt completely. But for 20 years of my sexual experiences, I refused myself that image. [unless I played with it myself, boyish fashion, but it was silly. I am not turned on by myself as a dude... at all.]

Now, though? I put on my girly clothes, and all out lesbian Femme and feel so sexy, so appropriate. Not like a slut for having cleavage, but a girly girl and adored by a butch. Totally different dynamic, and that is just what it is. "DYNAMIC," constant change, a system of progress. An exchange of positive energy, new ideas. I am not just a girl, not how a boy has been allowed to see women his whole life, no. I have new lesbian and butch eyes seeing me. I also see them in ways that are new and fresh to me. The collars and sleeves, the tugging at and wearing of pants, men's underwear. Brogues. Loafers. Boots. It's a drunken feeling, much like watching Wyoming Butch back in 1989. Only now, I am not hiding. Now, at 38, I let myself enjoy the scene and my very strong reaction to it.

I have one more thing to admit before I end my thoughts on being out:

I am a Butch Virgin.

you don't need to understand that, unless you're a butch or femme and you know. "oh." she has never really even HAD that fire she speaks of, and the truth is, no, i have not. i have known it in fantasy land and dream land and imaginary play with my writing stories, but not HAD actual Butch/Femme relations and it is pretty scary. i am kind of a virgin. not in the "Well, I like a Ducati but I have yet to drive one" way-but more in a "I was born with legs and just now discovered i can walk with them, but they are too weak to move."

So I stare at butches. I flirt with butches. I try and look unsuspecting in the coffee shop when a butch holds the door. I try and not focus on my lack of sex, and more on what I know in my heart. We know. When we don't know, life is miserable. [and I was] But now I am alive and while, yes, the very object of my Femme affections is not present in my life, nor do I know what the hell i'd do with her if she were, I am okay. I am fine with all this coming out. I was born alone, I have lived alone, I am alone. But it feels, just, unsettling and hopeful. I hold on to the Femme in me, proud of my bows and curls and rhinestone pins and 1950s pencil skirts and corsets and heels and stockings and fish net. I am quite the fashionista and "femme" is my bag, baby. I have to keep it fresh, for how am I to know?

She could show up tomorrow, in her butchbest or dressed down in jeans, chain wallet and chucks. I want to be the Femme who looks at her and she knows "I am seen." And I want to feel the butch gaze and know I, too, am seen. That's all I can do at the moment. So when people ask why do I like girls who look and act like dudes, all I can say is "there are no words for it. Like there are no words for the feeling when you see a girl or guy you are completely mad about & the air chokes right in your throat and chest and your body responds with a boner or wetness..."

It just is. and I love it. It is mine and all of ours, lesbians, gays, butches, Femmes, subs, bottoms, Doms- straights Queers.

That choke in the chest when you see something you know is your place in the world...
That's got to be right. I know I am somebody because the universe doesn't make too many mistakes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

all i'm in is just skin.

I had a gastric bypass in 2011. It will be 2 years in April and I am not sad about it. I took some power back from losing weight and while I do wish it didn't have to go to surgical removal of my intestines and hacking of my entire digestive system, it is done. Over. I'm okay with what happened, though it took two years of therapy, mood swings, body dysmorphic disorder and three months of anorexia to be at this place.

I documented my journey from the time I knew I'd be going into the room to have my body permanently altered weeks before, to the most current video blog a month or so ago. I have become increasingly disturbed by the sheer numbers of follows and visits to my page. The Adsense google contract alone took me into another level of video blogger. I was making extra cash now, too.

Time has healed some broken & damaged parts of my thinking. Time and meditation and therapy and books and self-introspection and a LOT of fear-facing changed me. I wish my sorry ass had done this before my surgery. But I often wonder if the catch 22 will always be happiness in retrospect. Life is kinda bittersweet, so I am used to happiness as a "reflection" rather than an exact moment or thing.

In my videos, I try to use myself as an example; showing skin occasionally, dressed up and down, relaxed and at my worst, so that there is a narrative that is honest. I answered emails for a long time, but then an exchange back and forth between myself and 20-50 people became an impossible task. I felt ashamed to have begun to want to give back, only to be stretched, ironically, too thin.

Today is no exception. A new follower used her airtime to comment and scrutinize 4-5 videos of me, scattered timeline-wise, from my beginning to one of my worst moments as a dehydrated anorexic. Her comment was "you look so old here" when I mentioned I was sick. First of all, who the fuck does that? Second, who the fuck does that? And dehydrated people who are starving look terrible. But let's not restate the obvious. Did you even WATCH THE VIDEO?

I knew I was sick. The process of a documentary of self is not about fear. It took some huge balls of brass which I carry even when I am playing my own victim in a bad TV show. In many ways, my life was suddenly sprawled awkwardly all over the internet with 50,000 views, numbers, international data, followers and comments, stories, inspiring and sad. I was trying to manage it. So I stopped making videos. I virtually ignore the comments because I gasp for air when I get an email now.

A series of things might run through my mind; "is this gonna ruin my morning?" Am I going to connect and need to help someone, for free, and put off my writing, art, blog, walking, yoga, LIFE again?"  It sounds really shitty and whiney, but it's a reality I deal with. I created it, sure, and a monster it has become. I don't resent it or my followers or the newbies who are looking, as I once did, for inspiration to help them get to a place of self-love. But that's NOT what a gastric bypass does.

Meditation, daily walks, time to reflect, independence, farmer's markets, new friends, coffee... my dogs and daughter, my strength of will, (my body... the last on that list), is what gave me powerful insights and a new perspective. That's a LOT of work out there to teach. I could only do it in sections. But here's THIS COMMENTER, telling me I am looking old. And it hurts. I was so very sick. My hands cold constantly. My hair fell out in clumps and I harmed myself to deal just with the emptiness anorexia caused me.

You say to some of these prospective patients that a stomach surgery is not going to last forever. One day you'll eat candy and chocolate and have hunger return, so where are you going to be? What skills will you have implemented? So I reveal, I just became anorexic and trained my brain to love the hunger. But that screwy thinking made me dead. STILL, some of them [the viewers] are sickeningly obsessed that a fat girl would -and could- become an anorexic. It's like a lottery ticket for fat girls who hate themselves.


Suddenly I found my pictures reposted on "thinspo" blogs, Twitter and Instagram. I had failed not only to help, but I was HURTING these precious girls, who were not even morbidly obese. My body became a source of more pain, not for me, but for others. Poetic justice for a girl who scrutinized other women all day, every day for a long time because I was so bitter. That's as truthful as I can be. I hated other women, was jealous of them, carried the burden of resentment toward anyone thin or pretty or happy. But as I grew to be okay with my own body, I found more self-love. I thought in my later video blogs I had shared this, however, the dizzying reality is that those videos are the least watched. The powerful recovery, the dazzling feminist body-neutral strong woman... I have the numbers. People watch the victim. They LOVE the victim.

I guess in a way, I just have to move on and forget about it. Maybe delete the whole thing, half or a few of the videos. But if you are looking for a magical fix, don't go to a doctor unless it's to get your head aligned by a shaman Goddess, like my therapist truly is. Your body is not a factory of misery. It's not a dissociative  entity. It is yours. You are not completely *it* but to alter it, as I did, isn't the first step. Many will say "this is the last step, the final straw" as I used to tout, but that's complete bullshit.

It's truly not the first step. In hindsight, I could have reached out to my fierce female friends for support. I could have held myself accountable and ate properly. I could have read many more books and walked daily. But I chose that victim script every day. Honestly, until we see powerful happy women with huge round curves, I don't know if we will EVER change the body hatred script among ourselves. It's hard to choose to walk, when your ankles hurt. It's difficult stuff which nobody addresses healthy living as a process of heart, mind and body. [unless you are exploiting morbidly obese people for television purposes] We love a damn before and after shot, don't we?

I hope that you think about your process before you allow a man with a knife to enter your sacred body and dissect and reroute parts of it. I am not going to tell you it is awful and bad, because after my surgery, I had an awakening which I cannot say 100% wasn't due to being thin finally, and feeling worthy. What I CAN say, is that your body is sacred. If you fill it with crap food, sugar, carbonation, processed meat... I do not suspect a knife or lasers entering your intestines is a big deal. It wasn't for me. And that's where we have landed as a society.

Why do we need to shoot for the moon?
We can become alien versions of our humanity through surgery.

I hope you all find light, love and your truth ≈ value. Fat, thin, gay, poor, woman, black whatever you feel holds you back. I hope you turn that beautiful struggle inward and learn to strip your fears bare and relearn what you've been force fed; advertising, corporate greed, medicalization of mental health and spirituality; the processing of food that is killing us all with disease and obesity. All of its bullshit and the sooner you learn it and embrace that, the better off you're going to be. You might even find your clothes are loose because you were out with friends instead of Googling thinspo pictures at midnight on a friday.

Friday, February 15, 2013

timing, pace, relating

"she gives her golden radiance, but carefully, pointedly, promises nothing. all the timing in our relationship has been hers." - susan sontag, personal journal entry, 1970

there is rhythm to affection and sharing. sontag in the pages up to this and after deals with the increasing chill of her lover's touch. the connection seems one-sided and numb. sontag is dealing with this great opening of her real capacity to love fully, and rightly celebrates it for herself as a victory, but the slow unraveling is heart-wrenching. she is also deconstructing the parameters of a film, sprinkled in and out of the passages of despair.  it is remarkable. as much as a journal, it is a gorgeous piece of writing.

honoring my own defeat in risking love with yet another man, and realizing i was gay right before a visa approval and a marriage which would inevitably follow, i identify. love is an immense pleasure, and one i always gave free reign to my psyche to chew completely; with the exception of sex. for me, sex made love harder work, and vice versa. i was, obviously, having it wrong. having the wrong kind of sex with the wrong gender and trying to completely love, still... i was going mad. i went mad. sincerely, most definitely mad.

sontag goes on to write about her lover "C." as only being able to love - and *be* - on an intermittent basis. i also identify with this, from the lover's point of view. i tend to write from an emotional place of personal experience, rather than in a communicative way. i resent it in myself, because art and my love life often so readily hold hands, figuratively speaking. it seems a little sophomoric and a *lot* selfish. but i have been for many years weaving this tapestry with two very incompatible yarns. when i came out as a lesbian, when i felt that to be my truth and said it out loud, wrote it, i wanted to keep saying it, over and over...

"i am a lesbian." there is so much power even in that. am i afraid that, like many of my ephemeral studies, this will be another project? i think to some degree, yes, but only in the sense that the sexual orientation is not new, but the excitement is. i feel a dizzying anxiousness, a giddy naiveté and a celebratory reconnect to my heart. that's good shit. it's a drug for sure, and i want to just stick in the needle over and over, because i am an addict and that's what i do.

i have been really digging in lately, not with needles, but opening myself up to non-judgement. to risk, is to be brave. it's the bravery i want for myself and expect of others. when i see myself as the only brave one in giving my love or my ideas, i am so turned off. a coward, for me, *to* me, is the anti-drug. weakness is fine, vulnerability to intimacy all that, we all have it i think, especially those of us with lots of cock in our walk. but the MAIN thing is digging into my true compass, the truth of what i need hypothetically speaking. i have yet to be with a woman in a relationship that is ongoing and sexual in nature, so it's all "research" then isn't it? i do know what love is, but maybe i don't in the context of my heart and mind and body flowing into that true path.

maybe that's a decision. like staying in love. or continuing to go work at a job. or writing everyday. for a writer, the terrible ache of failure comes not when there are no words, but when there is no flow. no timing. no pace that puts our life into context of other people. it's not so much audience appreciation, as it is- a sacred meditation that makes real synaptic connections. and so, too, is love. that pace, wow. i love it. i anticipate it. i love to feel it and write about it. the story of love is so vastly different for everyone, but i have yet to have that storytelling with the sexual connection. a lesbian connection that, to me, feels so right.

i begin new chapters of my life with learning things i never knew. i pick up a sort of cultural evangelistic approach- i code switch. i walk and dress and think in a complete cinematic way. i become my own narrative because my identity and personality as a borderline is so fluid. but that's my own therapeutic way of unburdening myself with being bored or going crazy. i have to step into a new realm and live there for a little while. immersive and often, drowning. i find that in this state of creativity, my art comes alive. a new series reveals itself. new people. new loves. intuitively i know exactly what moves to make, because i let it be what it is, one day at a time, just like in AA.

so how i relate, and the pace at which i relate to another lesbian might be revealing. i have brain crushes, particularly on accidental elitists. i get crushes on words. i get crushes on the sound of falling leaves. i have crushes on good sumatra coffee with cinnamon sitting on a balcony, like a big fluffy cat, watching the world. these nostalgic fancies are what sinks me into life. without them i'd just hang myself. [i always ask this question when i have been suicidal in the past; "will dressing up as another character help?" and usually i do that, document it. and move on to sleep sometime around 3 am.] the truth is, i am a tough nut to crack, not because i am unlovable or slightly mad, but because of my own shifting paradigm. about the only thing that sticks, year after year, is my relationship with my mom, my daughter and my dogs.

i wonder, now that i have become open to the real chance at loving someone i am also physically attracted to, what will become of the pace and tempo of life? i am already, in classic online fashion, relating to another lesbian, sexually. many others as friends. but i am very certain i do not want to run the pace of these potentially lifelong friendships. it's clumsy and awkward, even just being friends, with other women and always has been. so how do i do this?

i think i find out, first of all, what it means to be a lesbian to me. i mean, i just figured out that two girls can enter a girls bathroom and have sex and nobody thinks about it because girls are supposed to be in there. i am also learning that just because my classic role of nurturing mom to most of the people i care about is rewarding, it isn't enough. i need to let myself be nurtured. i need to be surprised. and i need to, at the risk of sounding crass, get fucked. i have been the dominant partner for so long, controlling and micromanaging details down to "send this email and thank this person" that i am literally exhausted. i have not even cleaned my house in two weeks because i just need that to be okay. i need to just play and rebuild right now.

...just a few things i am thinking about as i come out.

i wonder if i am alone, or if many people have a pace for new chapters of life?
do we change eating habits? clothing.
are these mini-mitzfas throughout life reason enough to celebrate and put on some new music, or take ourselves out to buy a new pair of shoes?

i think so. love is an incredible rite of passage. i am finally open to it, in a real way, with no mask, no armor. i want the exchange of power to be fluid. i want to touch and be touched how women do it. i may have had that in another life, but it wasn't my time to be out of the closet then. i was young. i had a husband. then i had a child. before all of that i was a teenager. i am not certain how this version of myself touches another woman. or even how it feels. my imagination knows though. or at least she thinks she knows. it was enough to risk a lot of my comfort zone to find out. whatever is going on, my body is so tender, so responsive- to music, to art, to sexual fantasy... that i literally feel like electric energy pulses through me. and for a girl who thought her vagina was literally broken and all her dopamine used up- this is quite a magical place to be. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Artist's Life as White Box

when I think of art, the context of where it is at always slightly baffles me. a rauschenberg can be in dallas, huge and high on a wall, or in a back alley and still we will know it as what it is. but that's rauschenberg. take another piece, something by tracey emin and put a bed in a room in a shit part of town and call it what it is: tracey's fucked up beautiful world. a mother's disappointment. but put it in a gallery in london and the context is brilliance. genius. wealth. bravery. money.

i am very interested in how the context of art can change the perception of one piece to the next, one set of eyes to the next- and the very worth of a human life or career depending on how white the box is. a white box gallery, i had the pleasure of destroying in houston with splatters and graffiti on the walls with my collage work in 2007. but the same work in my garage, some 6 years after, unsold, is depressing. a reminder of "when she was good." perhaps, my own ego and need to create, and guilt over not always doing so, has become my lifeblood. typical, as it seems to be, failed and nonworking artists turn curators and critics, intellectualizing & pontificating rather than sitting before a blank canvas.

because the real context for any artist, writer- even lover, musician and or careerist of creation is to wonder if "i'm good enough" and do we, as these lifelong shame-hoarders, have it in us to keep working and keep creating something new beyond what was last season's fascination? cyclical hope is depressing a thought as it is,well, hopeful. that childlike meandering beyond the everyday ho-hum is brave. tracey emin is brave, but to show her rawness, her sadness, that is why she is important. it might not be in the slightest bit universal to some critics, but from where i am, an equally self-obsessed & curiously 1980s-stuck artist, i find her finishing art business that was started in the early century and most people by the 1990s had gotten over. [another neon sign? okay. thanks. moving on.]

we seem to want for ourselves the inspiration and truth others can afford. if i could afford it, i'd be homeless, but that comes with knowing i can slum around and do copious amounts of drugs while coming back to safety. to have gravity. that is what allows a lot of artists to keep working. bukowski once wrote to get a disability check was a poet's good fortune. [paraphrasing] and that is true. in many ways, dropping out of society gave me an education in playfulness and failure that i had never had struggling to piss & shit in a toilet with no running water because i was too broke, too crazy or too lazy to pay the bills.

there is truth in sad art. but put my dirty dildos, empty pill bottles and smash-out cigarettes into the context of a white box gallery room, give it a polished audience in designer sacks and black hipster glasses and year after year, it becomes a sort of universal touchstone- a truth and anchor to ourselves, the hidden grossness of who we all really are when alone. it's not a set decorator's choice, unless she's working on a david lynch film, but it is, it *is* the very grit and grime of our amusing, disgusting lives. and i like that. i love tears. and i adore disgusting.

i like that about tracey emin. i love that about rauschenberg.
and i like it about myself. because artists, whether they like it or not [and most of us HATE it] but we are egoists at our core. we aren't angels. we live in a bubble because once that bubble bursts, there is pain inside the release. it's fucking hard and painful to make art that is really messy and honest. however, the need is there. we have to reveal. we have to disinfect our brutally honest bullshit.

i hope i can start making it. [that kind of art] the handwritten journals over the last year are important to me because i've slowly been bloodletting the emotions and the crossed wires are getting more organized. i am finally out as a lesbian and finally, sigh, out as a failed artist. i hated the work i was doing. i hated the person i was. now, i feel like i can create in a messy studio, throwing my paint and collage work & basically -fundamentally- not care about context. there is daily bread and there is daily "head" and i was giving myself the latter for about 3 years in order to heal and become. but that grind is pathetic. while it has created something new in me now, i want to spit in my own face for losing precious honesty in order to feed a plastic baby doll. the real human, flesh and bone baby over here needed nurturing, yet i was just not the mama i needed to be to myself.

so when people have no context for art, the next time they see "ugly" or something really fucked up looking, i hope they can understand one thing- we are all vile creatures in need of a little release. every piece of honest art has a gross quality. even the most gorgeous painting has a slightbit if adversity it has overcome. we all need to be able to reach that- and invest in it as an audience. how even the ponce of a dapper dan can have a little mud on his shoe. the strongest M&A guy in the world might need a bit of panty-wearing to open his chest to keep breathing. these secret worlds create our humanity. some of us want to tell the secrets- and as artists- it's an ugly job. you have to have an open mind to hear a whispered secret and think about it in that context. like all great secrets, too, you kind of want to share it. so the whispering moves alone a line- and audience and art- are created, as well as the abstract "value" of art is given and rewarded the creator. it's a process that can take a night, a year, but mostly, it gives us the context we all search for our whole lives. being an artist can suck, though.

the pay is shit [unless you're tracey emin] and the work is often disregarded. but while that validation of the white box room can be nurturing, it cannot be the confidence artists need to be brave. those revelations are only in risk. that is a grown-up thing to do, being honest & creating new ways of seeing the world and ourselves... and nothing and no one can give it to us. it cannot have a predetermined price. it has to be *done* and failed. and repeated.

it's negotiated, gently, alone in the lab of our lonely studio.
in the quiet of gardens.
in the heartbreak of lovers.
in the solitude of tears.
in the morning bed, where our journals await us.

in writing because it's what we do; we write.
in making art because without it, we'd cut ourselves off from the feeding and care of the umbilical cord of the art universe.

i am in a public tea room and i hear no voices, but yet, all of the words are slipping into me. the context of creation here, is my attempt at being within the audience, while being completely alone in my head. i like that. the same way i like "cunt vernacular" by tracey emin- it's like saying "welcome to the party, but be warned... this art party is gonna get out of fucking hand and you'll probably make out with someone embarrassing."

but that's okay, man.
it's only art.

Friday, February 8, 2013

susan sontag & coming out

in the last year i have come to some pretty unsettling conclusions. but in a way, unsettling is good. it's freeing. it's hopeful and in that blank canvas there is a potential so fucking scary and elusive and great I can't really explain it. but it's a slow and- then sudden-secretion. it feels like being licked from ear to navel and back, the first time one is succumbed to love. that first drink of heavy wine, drunk on life. that is the unsettling of being in the moment.

what could i do if i let myself stop, for once, caring for everyone else and just really, intently and gently, looked at myself in the mirror? not just looked, but stared? not just stared, but interpreted the meaning behind the fears and tears and all this denial? what symphony can be heard over the fucking denial anyway? i am not the nicey nice cupcake queen. i am the girl who writes too fast for caps or correct punctuation. ain't nobody got time for dat. ha.

i have openly come out as a lesbian. this has been like turning on a bright light and blowing a circuit in four major rooms in the house of my life. but like all unsettling things, it has shown me things; who i am authentically. that i missed writing. that i missed love, real connections with women- and that i was getting to a point of such raw misery that when i was touched, it felt like burning embers on my skin. true beautiful, passion- was not for me. i didn't deserve it. feeling happy and sexy and creative and healthy inside and out [pardon the pun] was just too much fucking GOODNESS. i had no degree to prove i could be, or should be happy. i mean, we all look to rites of passage like diplomas and jobs and babies to sort of bring us into our "self" but there is no great celebration for being gay- except coming out- and that is not hand-delivered in our mailboxes.

even for someone like me, so psychologically advanced in my knowledge, gravitating to a path of authenticity- i did not know for certain, i was a lesbian, until now, 38 years old. i thought the entire hole in my life was a borderline personality disorder. not feeling love, not allowing realness. always wearing masks, but then the mask slipped and get this- it would NOT allow me to place it back upon my face once it had admitted that i *might* be gay. i had dodged this gay bullet for over 20 years, and now i was taking myself seriously. i blamed everything else. my body. my celexa. my boyfriend, then fiancé. my exes and my family. but never just good old fashioned destiny to be a woman who likes women and feels closest to females and is also sexually attracted to their bodies.

i knew men were odd. the men i chose were soft. i liked the fullness of their asses and backs and the pockets of frontal fleshiness call "manboobs" but it never occurred to me these were all nicotine patches for my true orientation. that i craved softness. i needed the intimacy of another woman, how a baby craves a breast, how a lover craves the tenderness of feeling home with their partner. and how dreadful to clinch my heart and not wring it out properly. so i sit here, writing for the first time in many many months... and it feels like i am awake. there is no terror in me to make a mistake. hell, even a mistake with a woman if that is to happen, would be fantastic. because it would be REAL. and that's the really gorgeous part of coming out. feeling i am now able to expect as much as i possibly can hold in my arms- great big huge armfuls of love, not just existing on as little hurt as possible.

that is what coming out means to me. it means i can fully, completely, put myself into my life without any fear. if i fail, i fail as kelly, now. i fail as someone who tried EVERYTHING to be straight and dipped my toes in "bisexual" in order to cope- but now. i am free. do you hear that? I think God loves me gay, too, because i am still here and if there is a universal God, he's not going around killing gays and lesbians- the humans are. we hold the knife to our throats by not coming out. by sinking our consciousness into denial, we are made heavier, sinking more, heavier still, until our last words were "i wish i would have ______..."

regret can be metaphorical for anything; addiction, dreams, coming out, not letting ourselves love, hurting another person because the elixir of adoration can make us drunk and temporarily happy even if it means we're dying secretly. so i am thankful that i am finally not sinking. i am constantly coming up for air, right now, but i suspect that is because i have not a single close friend who is gay. i have clients, acquaintances but not friends. not someone who i could sit and watch a movie with and feel like "okay, that was good, this is friendship." but i see my *people* kind of on the horizon, bobbing in the water on a rescue boat while i am out here waving...

not drowning.