good morning good morning from the chilliness. I was not up nearly as early this morning as I was yesterday, and that’s all right. I did wake up with a bit more motivation and energy than I’ve had in a few days, and that feels good. I have come to trust and lean-into the sinking-down that happens for me in December; I get quiet, move more slowly, read a lot more.
A year ago, today, I wrote here in this blog:
I didn’t let you help, not then, and I’m sorry. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that, these 15 and 20 years later: how to lean, how to say, Yes, I’m not ok. Yes, I need you. Please, I need help.
The more comfortable I get with my girlhood, after seriously striving to embody masculinity for almost a decade, the less able I am to describe it — girlhood — with any kind of precision: Well, a girl’s a female-bodied person, unless she’s male-bodied, and she likes dresses and pink unless she hates them and prefers skinned knees and tree climbing or none of the above or all. Well, it’s clear, isn’t it, that the girl’s the softer one, right? Except I’ve stroked some pretty soft boys — and met girls rocked hard like stone and the girls are the ones who cry right except when they don’t and the boys do and I’m done with layering on description and definition: femininity likes frills and adornment and paint and frivolity up to and until and unless and and it digs its unpainted nails into thick rocky soil or, yes, knows perfectly well how to turn a phrase between a girl’s or a boi’s legs and sings its songs with abandon until and unless it remains silent.
There’s no sure thing about femininity and masculinity for me anymore — not about either except in the know-it-when-i-see-it sorts of ways and even that is all up for interpretation and assumption, those kinds of grabs. The things that say boys are strong and girls get carried have never seen me (or you, or him, or hir) carry a box of books wearing four-inch heels and who cares if its girl or not except
I do. I thicken into the femininity my stepfather wrought for me, the tough bitch smart broad high femme ball buster prima donna that he was always just the right man for: it’s that last part, of course, that leaves me nauseous, that wrote me into boyhood, into all the masculinity I’d always already carried, all my life — they just called it tomboy but I took it out of my back pocket, fluffed it out, slicked it on and called that leather jacket and jeans and boots and shorn shorn head strong and safe
(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?