Tag Archives: butch

we’re ok / we’re not ok

graffiti of 2 blue and purple birds on a wireThere are days when this phrase flints itself against me, inside the emptiness, inside the loss, all through my body: I’m not ok, I’m not ok, I’m not ok. And what my conscious mind thinks is about how desperately I want to be able to be public with how I’m doing, how I’m sad or angry or lost, how much I miss my family, how broken I feel in that moment, how not put-together and fine.

And then there’s the other side of “I’m not ok,” which is, I’m not safe, I’m not a good person, I’m not someone you want to know or be around. Like something about the very essence of me is not all right. What if I let that feeling fly whenever it pushed through me? What if I let it out of my mouth and fingers?

When I don’t, what I get left with is the hangover from the stuffing down, the hangover from hiding (from) my not-okayness, my humanness. The stiffness and achiness in my shoulders, where I hold the rage, in my throat, where I swallow all my words.

We know that in our culture, women showing rage is not ok. We’re supposed to be good and quiet, cry if we’re upset, laugh a lot otherwise and make other people comfortable. Wanting to be other than that is not ok. Wanting to feel all of our bodies is not ok. Wanting people to take care of their shit is not ok (that’s supposed to be part of our job), wanting to scream or cry in public or wherever is not ok. Wanting to not be safe, to be a danger, is definitely not ok.

There’s a  place that can get unlocked in me, that I still carry from those years back, a huge thick of hopelessness. Hopelessness is ok for women, isn’t it? When it moves out to consume me, I am reminded (“reminded”) that nothing will ever be ok, that no place in the world is safe, that my aches and hollows are meant to be, are built into my system now, are left for me to hold and cradle and love (like a woman does all her babies, right?).

(But isn’t it a radically honest thing to attend to and hold all the parts of ourselves, even, especially, the messiest ones?)

I want to tell you about stone butch and incest survivor femme, stone femme, and when I open my mouth, all the words get clotted beneath the thick mass that lives in the low part of my throat, all those years of unspokens, all those years of holding back, don’t offend, don’t upset, you want people to think you’re ok. I want to tell you about how many different ways stone can melt, transform, unfold, unfurl — and, too, how many different ways it sets inside the body, how it roots in conversation, in distrust, in fear. How our histories, our daily realities, take up residence in our right now and remind us that we are not ok, we are never ok, even (especially!) with this person here who sees our scars and tells us they love them, even with this person who runs their hand over our hardest places and offers to love us anyway, even with the someone who told us we could tell them anything, and then stayed after we did, holding what has damaged us, what could damage us still. I want to tell you about triggeredness that inflames another’s triggers, about days spent throbbing from the deepest wounds getting reopened, about how very common this all is and yet how intimate, individual, personal, just-us it feels. I want to tell you about the tremendous grace required and revealed when we meet each other anyway, when we continue to love each other anyway, not in spite of or because, but with and through.

There’s so much more I want from this writing right now — it needs to be an essay, not a blog post. I want to tell you about all the different ways, shapes, forms that “not ok” takes — what does that mean? I’m trying to learn my own not-okayness, meet those selves that carry my rage, my inappropriate responses, my cattiness, my too big strengths and desires and hungers. I want to tell you about butch strength and femme huger and femme strength and butch hunger. I want to tell you how tired I am of femme-girl-woman being relegated to the hungry open mouth, and I want to tell you about the resilience of allowing oneself to know and speak one’s appetites.

I’ve been rereading Stone Butch Blues, because I’m still searching for old-school femme voices through the mouths of butches: where is the femme’s novel, the book about about pushing through the struggle to live a full life while loving butches? Where are words of femmes who stood their ground, took up space in bars and at women’s/feminist meetings, had to rage on both sides, had so little room to blossom completely, (just as their lovers had so little room to blossom completely), who never disappeared into shadows or straight life? Where are those words, describing how femmes made a life for themselves with partners who needed them to melt stone, and who carried stones of their own, so often untended to? I need that history. I guess I need to know this work leads somewhere. I need to see how my foremothers stood their own ground, raised their voices and energies for their own needs, took care of their power in a community that just saw them as girls, as T&A. Or is that only now? Is that only me? Where are those words? Still stuck in so many of our throats.

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Let’s do this:  Make a list entitled, It’s not ok for me to…. Let yourself write down 10 things that it’s not ok for you or your character to want or think or feel. Then read through your list, and mark one or two that have a lot of energy for you, for whatever reason.

Begin writing with one of those items, only change the first part of the sentence to read, Today, I… (Today, she/he/ze, Today, you…)– and then the words from your list. Write it out as if it happened, with as much detail as you want. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go!

Thank you for the ways you are honest about your okayness — even in the deepest inside places of your own amazing self. Thank you for your words.

Three calls for submissions: Butch/Femme and BDSM writings!

Get that writing in, and pass the word!

1) Daddy’s Little Girl: Butch/Femme Erotica

2) Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology

3) Chorus: The Writing of Femmes, Butches and Transpeople

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Daddy’s Little Girl: Butch/Femme Erotica
Edited by D. L. King
To be published by Cleis Press
Deadline: January 15, 2011
Payment: $50 and 2 copies of the anthology

D. L. King is looking for your hottest butch/femme erotica.

What is it about a pretty girl in a tight skirt bent over to retrieve something she’s dropped? Or that hotter-than-hot butch, swaggering into the bar like she owns it, eyes undressing every pretty girl in the place?

Do butches all worship at the alter of their femmes fatale; do little girls all have a need to serve their, big, strong daddies? Tell me about girls salivating at the sight of well-filled and packed jeans and bois dreaming of having a beautiful girl’s red lipstick smeared across their mouths.

Are all little girls good, or are some of them naughty? Do some butches need the discipline only their lady can provide? Tell me stories of daddies opening doors for their girls, feeding them morsels of the finest pâtes, cherishing and protecting them. Then tell me stories of sexy sirens, luring unsuspecting butches to their demise on rocky shores, hot, confident women in silk and lace during the day who will do anything to serve their daddy’s needs at night–anything.

Send me stories that are sweet, kinky, sexy, romantic and/or dangerous but most of all, send me stories that will singe my sheets. All characters must be at least 18.

Stories should be between 2,000 and 4,500 words, double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman or Courier New. Please indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch and do not include extra lines between paragraphs. Please number your pages. No fancy fonts, no weird sizes, no bizarre formatting, no strange colors, please.

Send your story as a .doc (NOT .docx) attachment and include the title, pseudonym (if applicable) and your legal name and mailing address to butchfemme-antho@yahoo.com. Subject line should read: Submission: TITLE. Please include a bio of 50 words or less. Direct any questions to the same address. Original stories only. (If you are absolutely unable to send a .doc attachment, I will accept a .rtf.)

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Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology [Title Forthcoming]
To be published by Cleis Press in fall 2011
Editor Sinclair Sexsmith is looking for hot, sexy, well-written stories about kinky sex between queer women, from bondage scenarios to power play to role play to sadism and masochism to sensation play, for a new anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica. Looking for characters with a range of age, race, sexual experience, gender identity and gender expression: butch, femme, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, dapper, and others will all be considered. Cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community are welcome. Stories should have strong literary voice, characters, tension, and rising action. All characters must be over 18, prose only will be considered. For examples of what I am looking for, see Tristan Taormino’s collection Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica.
Deadline: January 1, 2011
How to submit: Send your story in a Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 1,500 to 5,000 words to lesbianbdsmerotica@gmail.com. Double space the document and indent the first line of each paragraph. US grammar required. If you are using a pseudonym, provide your real name and be clear under which you would like to be published. Include your mailing address and a 50 words or less bio in the third person. Publisher has final approval over the manuscript.
About the editor: Sinclair Sexsmith runs the awardwinning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica, and Visible: A Femmethology volume 2, Mr. Sexsmith also writes columns for online publications and facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships. Find her full portfolio and schedule at http://www.mrsexsmith.com.

In case you want the link, and the call for submissions, there is also a website:http://lesbianbdsmerotica.wordpress.com/

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BFP Anthology: Call for Submissions

Chorus: The Writing of Femmes, Butches and Transpeople.
an anthology of writing from Femmes, Butches, Transfolks and Queers

Editor: Medusa

Submissions Deadline: December 1, 2010

Anticipated Publication Date: Early Spring 2011

Chorus: The Writing of Femmes, Butches and Transpeople, a forthcoming collection of writing voices from an array of Queer folks, aims to showcase the real ,radical, and retaliatory writing of Femmes, Butches, Transpeople, Queers, and other identities.

Show me your muse, your breakup poetry, your dirtiest smut, your deepest secrets, your short stories. I want your best words, the things you keep sacred when they reveal too much of yourself. Together, our voices will form a chorus of amazing story and song, amazing poetry, and our most magical words.

At this time, I am seeking written word only. Please do not sent photographs, drawings, or printed art. I will be doing a separate anthology for printed artwork at a later time due to printing requirements.

Submissions must be sent as Word Files with 12 point Times New Roman font. Work must be previously unpublished (unless you have written it here on ThePlanet). Fiction, memoir, and short stories must be less than 5000 words in length, typed double-spaced. You may submit up to 5 poems, short stories, essays, pieces of erotica.

Author maintains and controls the copyright of their essay and rights to republish their work in any publication.

By submitting work, you agree that Butchfemmeplanet.com, its owners, Moderators, and participants holds no responsibility for loss, damage, or harm to you or your work.

Send Submissions only (NO QUESTIONS) to butchfemmeplanet@gmail.com You MUST include your screen name, the name you want to accompany your pieces of writing, your phone number, email address, and a short bio that will appear in the book if your selection is chosen to be published.
Please put the title of your work and the word “CHORUS” in the subject line of the email. Please email each piece of writing separately.

Please ask questions in this thread that pertain to this process and I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

Our anthology will be professionally printed and published and will be available for sale on Amazon.com and through order at Barnes and Noble, as well as here on ButchFemmePlanet.com. It will feature a glossy front and back cover and an ISBN number.
The price of the anthology will be completely dependent on how many submissions we get.

Each person submitting pieces of writing who are chosen for publication will receive one free copy of the anthology. No other payment will be rendered.

I am VERY excited about this project and can’t wait to see what you all come up with! I hope that anyone who has ever wanted to see their writing in print will consider submitting for this process.

Good luck!

“Real” Butch

(This is a part of a longer, ongoing work in progress about this transition from feminine straight girl to butch dyke to femme…)

I’ve been defending you a lot recently in ways I never would have back when I was you. You never used the term Real Butch, hated that essentializing, that narrowing of focus, that erasure of all the other queer possibilities of the masculine gendering the female flesh. Nowadays, now and again, I tell the ones who ask me, OK, yeah, I was a Real Butch.

They can’t hear the “but…”         but you do, I know it, I can feel you peeling behind my teeth, wanting to push out the whole story, wanting me to keep on telling it like it was—and is—how there’s no such goddamn thing as a real butch and butch is as ze says it is, whoever’s wearing the skin on that body, but we both know that’s always in question, right?

The truth is I’m still grateful to you for the ways you made me know I could be safe in the world and although just recently we, you and me, got told that we had a privileged coming out because there was the semblance of a community at school when I put 2 and 2 together and got gay and because I came out into a place where gayness was relatively acceptable—we both remember that there was not much safe about my life then and your hands had had to go places they were never meant to visit and you carried all the heavy boxes of our terror and you opened the doors for our future possibility – all the things, yes, that a goddamn real butch is supposed to do. You found a way to fit this me, now, into your curvature and flank, into your faggy footwork on the dance floor under the smoke machine’s smog and the one starry sad set of flashing red green and gold lights at the local bar.

And here’s what I want you to know now: I’m sorry we didn’t make it out any deeper before my plumage and finery found its way back out again, before the girl was made possible again and you had to slide that fine black leather motorcycle jacket off your shoulders for the last time – it just doesn’t fit now; I’d wear it for you if it could. But I mean, I’m sorry that we never found those bars, those old smoky hinges of solidarity where you could have shaped and strapped the hard gear of your masculine future, where you could have butted heads with other women willing to ride the hard truth of this existence; goddamnit, I mean I’m sorry you never got to be a real butch with other real butches, be looked upon as something or someone right not just novel or different or brave or odd or whatever. Not as just a shield, but as a real self.

I want you to know I believed in you and needed you in those years, and, of course, it’s not like I can’t feel how you shaped my walk, or how you get me in trouble still, assuming I can make eye contact with anyone on the street and have it be the right safe thing to do.

Here’s what I mean to say – that there’s never anything false about us when one identity shifts and slides into another. We both know that girl wasn’t a safe place to be all those years and you stepped up like a butch does and you made a handful of things a little safer. I know I’m not supposed to say these things: we spent so much time pulling up the roots of our history to find the nascent butch inside and just look, just look where we are now—