Breaking the rules

I just found out that one of my pieces is going to appear in an anthology.

Naturally, I’m excited.

And terrified.

Yes, even butches get scared sometimes.  Especially butches.

We just look like we’re made of bricks.  Under that tough exterior, it’s a different story.

So, what’s the story about being so scared, Middle-age butch?

Fish out of waterWell, it’s a fish-out-of-water tale.  It’s me putting myself on a piece of paper.  My thoughts, my feelings.

I’ve spent most of my life pretending and posing.  Trying to move through life so quietly that I appear invisible.

But this is just the opposite.  It’s shouting or at least raising my voice.  It’s believing that I have something to say and actually saying it and then signing my name above my words so that everyone knows where it all came from.

I worry most about those who know me.  What they will say?  What they will think?

I worry about my parents.  Sure, they know I’m gay.  But that’s about all they know.  They don’t know about my inner struggles.  Or, how I’ve been evolving.  How I now believe that there is a little bit of boy buried deep inside me.

RulesIt feels shameful.  Disrespectful in a way.  Contrary to how they raised me.  I was taught to be quiet and obedient.  To follow the rules: the rules of the house, the rules of society, the rules of gender.

My writing is all about breaking the rules.  It’s about living in that middle place where I get to make up the rules as I go along.

I worry that my parents will be embarrassed by what I write.  They thought they were getting a daughter.  That’s what the doctor had said.  A bouncing baby girl that they dressed in pink.  They did the best that they could.

They didn’t get a rule book either.

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14 responses to “Breaking the rules

  1. Congratulations on being published, and I hope your family can celebrate your voice with you.

  2. Congratulations on being published! So proud of you and so happy you found your voice. Yes, it is scary. When my memoir piece was published, I wanted to take it back. But there’s no going back now. You have much to say and deserve to be heard.

    • Wait, we can’t take back our printed words? I will see if the anthology publisher will print my piece in invisible ink.

      But seriously, I couldn’t have done it without you. I remember how scared I was when I submitted that first piece for critique. I guess it’s all part of the process.

  3. Yep, scratch us and we bleed marshmallow! … epic, huge and wonderful congratulations on your publishedness 😀

  4. Woohoo! **Pompom cheer** Your courage inspires me to remember to be true to myself. I’m thrilled for you, and pray for personal peace. I’ve observed how great accomplishments are always seasoned with some sort of fear. But I’ve also observed the only difference is that the fear doesn’t stop them…and it’s not stopping you. Way to go!

  5. Wonderful post. Congratulations! How exciting for you and brave of you! Pink makes not a woman.

    • Thanks, Willow. It is exciting. I’m not sure about the brave part. Writers just need to write. Which makes all of this as necessary as breathing. Maybe I will grow more comfortable as more of my work appears in print.

  6. Being published is great news. You should be very proud of yourself. Perhaps your parents may actually enjoy getting to know you better? Perhaps they realised long ago that pink just wasn’t your colour and that you suited a different colour that could let out all the sides of your personality and allow that small (or large) piece of a boy out to enjoy themselves?
    If nothing else they should be proud of your bravery in being honest – with yourself, with the world and with those closest to you.
    Inspirational.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Anne. I should probably give them more credit, but right now I’m afraid of hurting them or disappointing them. Story of my life. I know I need to allow myself to have a voice. It’s just a new thing, and I’m feeling very naked and exposed.

      • I can completely understand – but the fact that they had a hand in who you are today (even in some small way) and that you are feeling brave enough to make this step must count for something in terms of their acceptance and understanding of this new information about you. They must be aware that you wouldn’t do anything purposefully to hurt them. You cant help who you are and its just that now the time is right for you to share that a little (or a lot). It doesn’t change who you fundamentally are, it’s just a readjustment (perhaps) of their perceptions of you and you of yourself (since its out there in the open now).
        Surely this additional information about yourself isn’t defining your whole character, and changing it for those who love and know you. Isn’t it adding to the overall picture, perhaps adjusting slightly the tones of the colours that make up that picture? You remain the same person, the same loving, caring daughter who doesn’t want to hurt them and (hopefully) they will remain the same loving parents who want you to be happy – if that means you are happy in blue instead of pink, or flannel instead of silk – will that really matter to them in the longer term. It may be a surprise, particularly if you have done everything so far to not rock the boat /break the rules, but I would hope with time they would get used to it and give you credit for being honest and caring enough to worry.

        Apologies for length of reply – it’s a subject close to my heart given my wife’s relationship with her family.

      • Thanks for this. I think you are probably right … they did have a little to do with the person that I am today. I guess it is just a force of habit — not wanting to rock the boat or hurt anyone, even at my own expense.

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