Femme FATale


taking space, taking time.
September 21, 2008, 12:32 am
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it’s been a rough week and so i haven’t written much. things have been crazy busy, as i’m preparing to go back east for a week and some to attend nolose and then to visit my family in nj and nyc. my best friend, kelley, is coming to visit my family and i in jersey for a few days, which will no doubt be good for the soul.

as i mentioned in my post a week or so ago, i’ve been having a lot of heaviness on my mind in regards to identity issues, not so much personally as much as how we’re all capable of getting caught up in labeling people based on what we want them to be in this queer community of ours. the range in severity of this can span from a minor offense to something tragic and hurtful, but either way i’m finding it so tiresome lately. more on this later as i develop it. i think i feel, in ways, responsible for some of the above mentioned stuff that i’m seeing in my own life and the lives of those around me and i want to figure out my own place in it before i spew on and on about it.

i’m working on these new methods of really trying to be self-reflexive about the things that bother me, partially spawned by my friendship with e, who maybe will always feel like more than a friend. we both have tempers that are quick to burn, so in the interest of trying to keep our shit on lock this year, we’re being more and more patient with one another and more cognizant about taking time and space when we need it to think our shit through. it’s been working well so far and i feel closer to her than i have in a while which is nice.

i’m finding out more and more lately that one of the most loving things we can do for each other is to know when to take space and sit with what we’re feeling. maybe at the end of a lot of sitting, we’re able to talk things through, process, get things back on track. maybe, we can spend months thinking and come to nothing but what we can say to one another only inside of our own heads. regardless of the outcomes, i can think of far too many times when i should have, or you should have, or we should have, stepped back and thought a little bit deeper about the shit between us, but instead we blurted out a lot of filler without giving things much thought and glossed over the important bits. i’m tired of doing this, so i’m taking space from a few things right now to think more about them. no doubt you faithful readers will get an earful…eyeful?

aside from this heavy stuff, good things: i’ve got a pitter-patter crush sorta thang going on with some handsome butch who lives way too far away but who i appreciate continuing to blow up my phone. i’ve got an achey, but full, heart from spending 2 weeks with my friend emily who has now returned home to san fran. i’m one prelim paper down and the second well on it’s way (i have 3 to complete by november). i just received the most beautiful dress, handmade for me by jane bonbon, which i am far too excited to wear – photos to come, i promise! my students are giving me enough humor/horror to keep me going, i.e. “i thought this was feminist film theory, not race film theory?” “errr…really?” mostly, though, i realized that after quite a few days of not posting, i missed talkin’ to y’all out there. what’s a girl to do without her extended blog family?



these are not playthings.
September 10, 2008, 1:06 am
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i’ve been doing some heavy thinking lately about these pieces of me i hold so personally dear in the depths of my heart. my identities: my assertion of “femme”, my claiming of “bottom,” particularly. with the exception of the last two or three years, these have never been easy words or titles under which i’ve stood. i did not learn these pieces of myself from others. i did not do only as i saw them do and come to these places. they are both identities that, for me, are wrapped in complicated personal histories of a host of things: love, inadequacy, pleasure, guilt, passion, unhappiness, and two hundred other emotions. these identities are not ones i take lightly or for granted.

in short: these are not playthings.

my journey to femme was a hard one ripe with insecurity and an absence of community or language to define who i was and what i was feeling. where i came out as queer was certainly a positive space to do so, but only in particular ways, ways that embraced an androgynous aesthetic that was doubly inaccessible and undesirable for myself.

growing up femme there was heartbreaking.

my queerness was questioned daily by my lovers, friends, my community, the definition of myself by others as nothing more than a “lesbian until graduation”. and i tried, and i tried, and i tried to fit in there, to be that non-femme thing they wanted me to be and even donning sports bras and cargo shorts, i failed. miserably. i didn’t pass as anything non-femme.

i remember, there was this time, friends of mine were throwing a “frat row” party, and all these dykes just slightly amped up their already masculine clothing to get closer to that douchey, frat boy image. i was supposed to do the same. i was able to hold it together long enough to put on those cargo shorts, t-shirt and borrowed a visor from my next door neighbor. but it was actual fucking tears i cried when my best friend told me i couldn’t possibly go if i was going to keep on my make-up. there was no place for that. no mascara allowed. no place even for “sorority girls” at this party either. no femininity. period. i left two hours in, cried my way home, and wrote heart-wrenchingingly in my journal that i wondered if i’d ever find space where i fit. “will i ever be able to make this queerness work?”

that was a breaking point for me. a moment when i realized it was hurting too much to be queer in this way. and i slowly started to let it go and started to embrace my femme. and as i shed that sorry excuse at androgyny i was trying to pull and stepped up to the plate femmed out the way i’d always wanted to be, i met her. this big, ol’ rugby playing butch. this rough, tough femme-lovin’ butch. and i was home. i flourished. things fell into place. and i was accepted, my queerness was embraced in this community suddenly. but then, just as quickly as it was handed to me, it was stripped away in my realization that it was just because of her. because i was counterpart to her uber masculinity that was so revered in that space. i was femme, but not my own.

and this went on long after college. still, i held strong to my femme in the midst of queers completely ignoring and straight up disavowing my sexuality and gender. read me, called me, named me “ally” to my face because i was all girled out at dyke night at the bar. how could i be anything other than straight looking like that, they asked my friends. i cried my way home again.

i am home now though in my skin, in my femme, but it wasn’t ever easy. it’s still hard sometimes, but it’s improved. this things is volatile though and i hold it close to my chest because of everything it means to me; that road was rough, but i don’t regret the conversations with myself it forced me to have, the questioning of my communities it made me do, the loneliness it caused and the absolute joy and love it has become.

my femme thing is not a plaything.

nor is this thing i claim as bottoming. they are not the same, they are not inextricably linked, but they are related in the depths of me. this identity is newer to me than femme in that i have only in the past few years named it for myself, but hardly a new need or want. this part of me that weaves itself between memories and history of myself alone and myself with her and constantly has me digging for evidence of it that proceeded and followed her. proof that this has been me all along. i find it everywhere.

bottoming is not new to me, not new like her and that love whirlwind we had. it is not trendy to me. i do not will it to be radical so that i might have my points raised as some kinky, subversive queer type. i claim this space because of desire foremost and an investment in all that desire contains – respect, dynamic, communication, need. a big part of this is because of having experienced those desires, knowing what it’s like to have them and knowing what it’s like to feel their absence. and this is not to say that if you have not done x, you cannot claim y. more so, it’s a feeling inside me that is very tied to the act of doing and having done, both being undoings and redoings of me.

i come to bottoming first from a place of love – because that’s where it was first really named for me. of giving, of expecting to be valued and respected for this generosity of giving myself, of allowing you to take and experience me. this is not about who gets fucked and who does the fucking, it’s about yielding and holding, ebbing and flowing.

i do not claim this identity as a mere desire to occasionally have a little control taken from me. i do not claim it as something i think i want, but have never done nor thought about beyond actual physical results. i do not call myself a bottom to satisfy an equation of “femme is…” or use it as a way to critique someone else’s needs or desires…

and i wish you wouldn’t.

because this femme thing, this bottom thing, they are not playthings.

these are heart things, soul things, me things and my chest is heavy when they are cheapened by your carelessness with them.