This is the post that has me stuck. This is the reason I haven’t posted in so long. I’ve been working on this post for weeks. I keep writing and editing, and I still can’t find the right words. I’m angry. I’m annoyed. Although I can’t exactly put my finger on what’s bothering me so much. Remember the electronic memory game Simon from the 1970’s? All of my buttons have been pushed, and I’m lit up red, green, blue and yellow. This post isn’t perfect, but I need to let go so I can move forward.
* * *
Just when I was starting to get comfortable. Just when I was starting to feel safe and accepted. Just when I was starting to think I’m like everyone else.
I mean, same-sex marriage is now legal in Pennsylvania. W and I took the plunge and got married in October. Just like straight couples do.
I feel welcome in our small town. I am warmly greeted at the veterinarian’s office, at the checkout line in the grocery store, at Kohl’s, at the local pizza place and ice cream shop. Me, a girl, with too-short hair and too-long sideburns.
I never notice anyone giving me the cold shoulder. No one ever shrieks or flees when I walk into a place of business, even when I’m having a bad hair day. Just kidding! A butch never has a bad hair day.
It’s been years since anyone has shouted “faggot” or “dyke” in my direction from the safety of their moving cars.
I had been lulled into a sense safety and comfort much like a baby in one of those automated swings. Silly, butch.
And then someone questioned the value of something I had written because of two reasons: I am a woman and a lesbian. I will call this person Angel of the Bottomless Pit (not real name).
For a few seconds I felt smaller than usual, and my words felt lighter than usual. And then I got mad.
It was a sneak attack. I never saw it coming.
Now, I’m on a mission to get my book published.
I often think of the C.S. Lewis quote : “We read to know we are not alone.”
There is tremendous power in seeing your reflection in the pages of someone else’s book.
tearing up feeling all emotional but not really crying reading Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon’s book Gender Failure earlier this year. I never knew people wrote books for people like me.
I have committed to making a big push to find an agent or a publishing house to pick up my memoir. (If you know of anyone who might be interested, please let me know.) If I don’t get any takers, I’ll self-publish in 2015.
I am now certain of the value of my story.
Of course, it is a story about being gay, being lesbian, being butch. But there’s more.
If you have ever felt different, you will see yourself in the pages of my book. If you have ever pretended to be someone you weren’t, you will see yourself in my book. If you have ever thought there was something wrong with you but didn’t know what, you will see yourself in my book. It is a book for outsiders, loners, those who march to the beat of their own drums. And to the beat of Melissa Etheridge because M.E. rocks.
It is a book for anyone who has struggled with identity, shame, fear. It is a book about finding oneself and shining brighter than you ever thought possible. Bright as a gold button caught in the rays of the afternoon sun.
At it’s core, it’s a tale about being human.
I thought everyone would be able to relate to that.
I look forward to reading your book.
Aw, thanks. I don’t think I’d be as confident about my writing without the support of everyone who reads my humble little blog.
Love this. We can relate to being human, fortunately not everyone has to relate to being an arsehole. I love what you write and value it because, as you shared – I read it to know I am not all alone.
There is that wonderful moment when I am reading something — it doesn’t have to be lesbian or feminist literature — when I see myself reflected in the pages of someone else’s book. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it is magical. I feel connected to that author and not so weird or alone. What a gift to know others share our struggles and triumphs.
keep on! ignore the naysayers shallow and limited views. theyre not worth your energy. keep writing and keep your head up. i look forward to reading your book. you can always do a kickstarter. im in.
Thanks, willow. There’s something called Pubslush that I’m considering. It’s Kickstarter for writers. Anyway, as always, I appreciate your support.
Good for you. Keep truckin’
Count me in, too. Your story is relevant and relatable; your story is valuable, as is its author. Not only that, you’re one of the best writers I’ve read.
Aw, thanks. I’m going to get a big head now.
ignore those negative comments. even if they are saying negative comments, it means they are still exuding effort talking about you and that means you’re doing something right… right?
i’ll pick up a copy when you publish. i think self expression, self identity and just being able to relate to each other is very, very important.
keep on truckin along 🙂 you’ve got a lot of people who support you from what i can tell.
That I do. So many people in my corner. Which is helping propel me forward.
Amen, sister! (I commented already but am not sure it went through so here it is again) You writing is brilliant, your perspective honest, your stories applicable. And you’re right, we all struggle with being able to fit in, which is itself is a common bond. I look forward to seeing you continue with your book and its publication! Thank you for sharing your courage and your story. Love it!
Gee, my head is getting ginormous now. I WILL publish my book and then take over the world. (makes evil villain laugh)
I’m a complete stranger but feel compelled to hug you. Not sure why but consider yourself cyber hugged.
Well, I’m usually not big on hugs, preferring fist bumps and other greetings involving minimal contact. But I will accept your cyber hug. Thanks for reading.
Middle-aged married butch lesbians are not a hot topic. When we write about 50 shades of navy blue, we are really writing about denim and T-shirts. Unless we write porn aimed at heterosexual men, they will not want to read us. I accept this (and the number of google hits I’ve gotten for lesbians having sex with dogs). However, we need to write anyway, even if it is only a niche of “people like us” to read it.
You are a really good writer and you have a story to tell and a sense of humor. Push on, and if you can’t find a reasonable publisher, then by all means self-publish. There is no shame in DIY publishing.
I certainly get that. I never thought my book would be picked up by Random House and prominently displayed at Barnes and Noble. I know it’s a niche book for niche readers. I’m pretty sure my mother wouldn’t even want to read it.
I was taken aback by the remarks as they came from someone I knew and were dispensed during a meeting in which we were to read and comment on each other’s work.
Write on! 😀
I think Butches can have bad hair mornings, but only one a week.
Even when I have the occasional bad hair day, I just roll with it. Pretend that’s how it was supposed to look.
Sometimes it’s the ‘rolling’ (heh, heh) that musses our hair in the first place.
brave beautiful butch…just DO it! they will come. they will read. and you will know that the truth in your honesty and storytelling prowess are valued and revered. you bring smiles. you encourage thought. you bring laughter. you bring tears. you bring compassion. you touch hearts. these things are what the writers message is all about. and if they don’t get it. f.u.c.k.e.m. you always have “us” 😉