Book stress

My book comes out in about a month.



I am so stressed that I have a huge cold sore on my face.  Yep.  The motherfucker skipped my lip (apparently, lip cold sores are for sissies) and erupted right there on my face.  I am like that craggy face guy from The Fantastic Four or the Elephant Man.  I can’t be sure as I have been avoiding mirrors and shiny surfaces.

“Don’t look at me, I’m hideous,” I tell W.

I have forbidden her from making direct eye contact with me.

Actually, I think it’s best that everyone refrain from looking at me or even in my direction, at least for a few months, I suggest.


On second thought …

It seemed like a good idea to write a memoir.  Until right before it’s available for purchase.  Then not so great.  Like New Coke.

I am re-thinking my decision not to use my Middle-age Butch alias.  Or my other pen names: I. B. Butch, I.P. Daily (that was me) and Sexy Handsome Beast.

When I am telling W all of this — 1) don’t look at me and 2) pseudonyms rule — she notes that I am smiling a lot for a person on the verge of a memoir-induced psychotic breakdown.


This is me 24/7 these days.

I tell her that’s normal.  Extra smiling = crazy.  Everyone’s seen The Shining, right?

I don’t admit that I’m excited about the book.  I only admit that I’m nervous.

I’m feeling vulnerable and exposed.  I’m worried about what people will say.  I’m worried about being perceived as a freak — a boy-girl mutant, a girl/boy oddity — to those who don’t understand.

W tells me it’s too late to take it all back now.  The wheels have been set in motion.

I try to remind myself why I wrote my story in the first place.  Through the writing process, I learned who I am, as a person and a writer.

But I wasn’t writing for that me.  The today me.  I was writing for the me who existed three or four decades ago.  The young girl who didn’t know she had options.  Who didn’t know gender isn’t carved in stone.  Who didn’t know she could marry a girl.  Or shop exclusively on the left side of The Gap.  And that the world wouldn’t end if she did those things.  In fact, her world would just start beginning.

I try to remember that my story is important.  That all of our big butch stories are important.  (Silent nod.)  That all stories about those who live in the margins and on the fringe are important.  We are underrepresented in literature and largely misunderstood.

I try to remember that I wrote the book for that one person who will recognize herself in the pages and feel not so alone, at least for a few minutes.

That is the power of books and stories and writers.  We read to know that we’re not alone.

I try to remember all of that as I sit here scared and unsure of my words.

23 responses to “Book stress

  1. Courage isn’t the lack of fear. It’s being afraid of something and doing it anyway. As terrifying as it is to expose your deepest self, you are doing a good thing. Many people will be touched by your story.

    And take lots of vitamin C to help combat the effects of stress.

  2. If only there were books like yours when I was young and confused, older and confused, middle-aged and confused… your book is so so so needed! All the best!

  3. That was an awesome post and exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I’m so afraid at time to say it like it is. Kudos to you. I’m 44 with two kids and you’d think that i’d grown some balls by now. I guess my time is coming. Keep posting. That’s great. Thank you.

    • Hey, thanks for reading. As for the growing balls thing, it’s a slow process. One ball … er, step at a time. And be kind to yourself. That’s the part I always forget.

  4. An occasional butchly squeak of excitement is allowed, once a day, after 9pm.

  5. Ugh those damn stress induced cold sores! I get them and hate them! When I first feel the tingling I pound large amounts (for about 2 or 3 days) of L-lysine. It’s inexpensive and really reduces healing time. It’s a perfectly natural reaction to this impending book release. What if people don’t like it? Does that mean they don’t like me? What if there is more criticism than praise for the writing, does that reflect on me in anyway? Can’t unwrite the book now can you? Just go with it! Have fun with it! If someone doesn’t like it, screw ’em! It’s not their life, it’s yours and just writing and publishing a book is scary! It can be rewarding also. If it was easy everyone would be doing it!

    • Thanks, Rose. I needed that. I will have to buy some L-lysine to keep on hand. Although I’m hoping this will be the last cold sore for awhile.

      Yes, it’s hard putting oneself out there. But anything worthwhile always is.

      So keeping the faith. And feeling grateful for all of the support I’m getting.

      • For what it’s worth I personally and I’m sure all your other followers are cheering you on! I love your blog so any book you may write has got to be fantastic! Keep the first dollar you earn from sales (of the first million) and put it in a frame to remind you when you’re worried about the release of the next book you write! 🙂

      • It’s worth a lot, Rose. This is where it all started. With a few followers who let me know that my voice needed to be heard. And yes, I will keep that first dollar. Already at work on a couple of new projects.

  6. You can do this, baby! Tie on the old cape and be that superhero you know you are. You are one of the bravest people I know and I admire you for putting yourself out there. Those who love you, know and accept you already. Sharing your story is a gift to the rest of the world and guaranteed there’s at least one person out there whose life will be forever changed because of it. Let that knowledge carry you through this time of uncertainty. And your family and friends? We’ve got your back. 🙂

    (Yeah, yeah, I know…Butch Rule #42 – “Don’t call me baby.”)

    • Thanks. Putting on the cape today. Feeling better about things. Just needed a good night’s sleep. Actually, feeling warm and fuzzy today like a giant teddy bear. I know, I know … Butch Rule # 23.

  7. Rose and PK are correct about the L-lysine and vitamin C. Dose up! And You might want to have W teach you some EFT. 🙂

  8. 👊 #yougotthis Be kind to yourself. I’m waiting excitedly for the release & can hardly wait to read it.

  9. You are brave. You are being your own hero. The world needs truth tellers. Playing the Rocky song for you.

  10. Since joining WP and reading the hundreds of amazing stories out here in blogger-land, yours has come to be one of inspiration, joy, serious commentary spiced with the humorous sentiment – cuz we all take our shit too seriously at times! – and most of all LOVE. Love of your wife, family, your critters, and yes, even yourself, under all that middleagebutch rhetoric and self mockery 😉 It’s been a pleasure reading you. Laughter has risen in my belly many times when I felt only the pain of late-blooming. Your willingness to leave yourself open and, as a result, vulnerable to the attacks of the warped in a sometimes depraved society is more then commendable; it’s fucking brave! Ya, you’re a superhero alright! Don the cape with honor and a sense of achievement. This is no small task you’ve accomplished! So be nervous. It’s normal. Be scared. It’s normal. But never forget that you have something to say that’s truly worth listening too. That your voice is the voice of so many unspoken for fear of ridicule, brutality or even worse. That your ability to story-tell in the most poignant and beautifully honest way, is worth the buy and read of your book. (Small word but my favorite four letter!) In short, your voice is not only worth hearing, but NEEDS to be heard. It’s such a lovely, witty, funny, honest and genuine voice. Be proud Middleagebutch. We are 😉 Cyberhugz xo

    • Wow, thanks for YOUR words. I’ve gotten several comments over the years that have helped me realize that my words are important. This is one of those comments. I am remembering why I undertook this task in the first place.

      I’m not much of a hugger, or cyberhugger, but I am sending a big ol’ virtual hug your way.

      Thank you for following me on my journey and shining your light my way.

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