Tag Archives: life

Rich

imageslp1bxi04Rich.

That’s the word that’s been in my head and in my heart for the past few weeks. Jingling around like gold coins in a drawstring pouch.

I’ve felt rich in life. Rich in love. Rich in friends. Rich in my writing life. Rich in everything I need.

I have a weekly routine and friends and my writing and enough special days and events to keep everything interesting.

It’s a rich life.

I think about love and how that makes everything richer. How things seem more special when W’s there. The way I can’t wait for her to get home at night so I can tell her about my day and experience it all over again through her eyes.

Of course, my life isn’t perfect. The house is usually a mess and the cat puked under the dining room table and shouldn’t I be due for a pay increase and when will those damn kids get jobs.

But my life is rich. It’s cheesecake and a hot fudge sundae with extra whipped cream and a $20 bill that I found in an old pair of jeans.

And then last night happens, and I am sad and hurt and broken inside. If you read this blog, you are probably feeling the same way.

imageszgi58iwpStill, I remind myself of the richness of my life. Of love and friends and the way they swirl around me like stardust.

This morning, W tells me everything will be okay and that she loves me.

A friend invites me to a drum circle. Other friends share kind words and blog posts they have found to be soothing and encouraging. A friend who runs a local LGBT group sends an e-mail about working together to protect the rights of those in our community. I will attend the steering committee meeting they are holding on Monday to find out what I can do to help.

W will be home soon. We will have dinner together and watch Luke Cage on Netflix. She’ll fall asleep first. I’ll write and read and then turn in for the night. If I can’t sleep, I’ll settle in close to W and the cats piled up at my feet.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to get out of the house and write in the little coffee shop in town. Maybe I’ll see some of my friends there. I’ll be kind to myself. I’ll be kind to others.

And when things seem hopeless or scary or pointless, I’ll take refuge in my rich life.

* * *

What makes your life rich?

Fortune keeper

images2The little white paper slips from fortune cookies are all over my side of the bedroom, scattered like confetti.

W and I will eat Chinese in bed on the weekend and watch a movie. We’ll read our fortunes to each other. I’ll usually toss my mine on my nightstand if it’s good.

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Sometimes travel to new places leads to great transformations.

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.

But then a breeze from an open window or the blast of air from a book being dropped nearby or the wind created by a rustling sheet will cause them to fly into the air like snowflakes.

I never throw them away. Except for the silly ones.

You like Chinese food.

Help. Trapped in cookie.

I’m superstitious. Even though I’ll tell you I’m not.

img_0677Sometimes I’ll bundle up those small white strips and clip them to the filing cabinet near my desk.

All of those wishes and good thoughts in one thin stack.

How can I not have good fortune if I hold onto them all?

* * *

What about you? Do you believe in fortune cookie fortunes? What are you superstitious about?

 

Silent partners

One of our kids was in a serious bicycle crash almost two weeks ago. He spent a week in the hospital. W stayed with him around the clock.

“You make him feel safe,” I told her.

I visited each day.

He was home for a few days but had a setback and is back in the hospital for at least another week. W is by his side.

Once again, I am making a daily trek to the hospital.

W sends me a list of what to bring that day: nail clippers, a travel-size bottle of shampoo from the top of her dresser, Advil.

I usually visit late afternoon and stay until it starts to get dark outside. I run out for whatever the kid wants. It is always sweet tea and something else. Today it was a single glazed donut. I tell him I am going to buy him a Smashburger with cheese and bacon and a Nutter Butter milkshake when he feels better.

W and I sit on the couch in his room.

“What’s new?” I ask.

She gives me the update.

“What’s new with you?” she asks.

I tell her what’s happening at home.

We eat take-out for dinner.

We watch silly videos about Prince beating Jimmy Fallon at ping pong and cats doing silly cat things.

We stare at our phones.

Sometimes I bring the newspaper or a magazine to read.

But mostly we sit without speaking. I might squeeze her hand or rub her back to remind her I am here. That I will always be here, especially in times like these.

I think of our cats at home. The two brothers who silently sit on the pink blanket on top of the washer to watch the birds or on the bed to take a nap or in the window to warm in the sun …

And I remember how lucky I am to have W by my side as life storms by.

 

The starting is the hardest part

I didn’t want to get up this morning. I mean, I had gotten up yesterday morning. Two days in a row seemed like a lot. Like I would be pushing myself too hard.

From my supine position, I balled my hand into a fist and raised it in the air like the angry lesbian I can sometimes be.

Why does my life have to be so hard? I cried. Life is so unfair!

It was like I was at a Melissa Etheridge concert with my raised fist and hot words. Somebody bring me some water!  My mind’s a burnin’ hell! Except I was lying in bed in my comfiest flannel lounge pants and a thermal shirt.

And then I got a shower. And put on clothes. And grabbed a quick breakfast.

I went to my writers group.

It felt good to participate in life.

Sometimes I have to force myself to get out of bed. To go through the motions. To put one foot in front of the other. To have faith that everything is going to be ok. Today was one of those days.

My default is to stay in bed buried under the covers. It’s like a giant womb in there but much drier.

If I’m ever missing, you’ll know that’s where I am.

I had this mousepad made a week or so ago. I try to remember this right before I start writing or before I have to do something else that feels scary.

* * *

What about you? How do you get up when you’re feeling down?

On the verge in 2016

2015 was a pretty spectacular year for your favorite butch blogger.

I landed a publishing contract and my book, Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender, was released on June 26. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s the same day the U.S. Supreme Court issued its marriage equality ruling.

W and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.

images[6]

Call me a sucker for a head of feathered hair back in the day.

I not only survived my first public speaking gig but shined. Like Farrah Fawcett’s pretty feathered hair circa 1974.

I was sitting in my writers’ group right before the holidays thinking about how far I’ve come and outlining goals for 2016. I was feeling joyful and content surrounded by writers who are not only colleagues but friends.

And that’s when I realized how close I am to having it all figured out. To being happy and content in all aspects of my life.

W and I always talk about being “on the verge.” You know that place, don’t you?

Sure, things are good now. But you’re on the verge of something better.  You’re almost there. You’re so close. You just need to figure one thing out, work on that one last thing.

I have this copied in my quote journal:

“I’ll probably really figure out exactly how to be alive right when I’m gasping for my last breath.”

— Jane Hamilton, The Book of Ruth

imagesZY10U456

Do I smell an Emmy? And Tony for the musical version?

I used to think that would be me. Having a giant epiphany about how to live when I’m on my deathbed. It would be so dramatic. Hilary Swank would play me in the Lifetime made for TV movie. The all-flannel wardrobe would be designed by Michael Kors or maybe the guy who designs the Chaps brand for Kohl’s.

I had a real epiphany at my writers’ group that day. We’re always “on the verge.” All of us. At least if you’re growing. That’s life. One verge after another.

The trick is to enjoy the ride.

So, 2016? Bring it on.

* * *

What about you?  What are you on the verge of in 2016?

My butch bucket list

A friend’s husband died a few weeks ago.

We are going to the funeral tomorrow.

I’ve read several versions of the eulogy.

Each time, I’ve been struck by one line.

Bucket listThe man who died was puzzled by the concept of the bucket list.  This was a foreign concept to him, because he lived his bucket list.  As a result, he left this world with no regrets.

I wonder how many of us can say that.

I have always been a late bloomer.  I didn’t come out until my 30s and often regret time lost being young and carefree without a pretty girl or two by my side.

I didn’t start writing creatively until I was in my 40s. I think of all of the blogs and books that I could have written.

But still, I am grateful that I did come out. I feel lucky to have written a book that was published.  I am excited about what the immediate future holds for me as I am challenging myself to tackle things out of my comfort zone like public speaking, mentoring, advocacy and activism.

Today, I am thinking about my bucket list differently. Not as a list of goals to be kept in a drawer and checked off over time but a list of things to do now.  When I am able.  When I still have time.

So, in honor of a friend who knew what was truly important and how to get the most out of life, I’d like to share my bucket list:

Bucket List

  • See Fleetwood Mac in concert
  • Tailgate (and otherwise party) with my Penn State friends as often as possible
  • Write
  • Publish
  • See The Book of Mormon
  • Take W to New Orleans
  • Throw out the first pitch at a baseball game
  • Go on an Olivia cruise
  • Perform as a Drag King
  • Take art classes
  • Learn how to make really good meatballs
  • Go to a strip club
  • Learn how to flyfish
  • Go to Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla.
  • Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Get a hot stone massage
  • Get a koi tattoo

* * *

What about you?  What’s on your list?

Becoming me, un-becoming other stuff

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.  Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

— Unknown

I scribbled this quote on a post-it note a few months ago.  It struck a chord and then got buried in the pile of paper that lives on my desk.

Blank slateI used to think we are all blank slates at birth and that life writes on those slates with chalk and Sharpie markers and spray paint and whatever other art supplies the universe has at the ready.

Now, I’m pretty sure we start out as fully formed works of art buried in blocks of marble.  Life is all about chipping away at that block until we are revealed, perfect, beautiful, glorious.  The way we had been all along.

Yesterday for Mother’s Day, I bought my mom a white mug that simply stated, “You Are a Good Mom.”

I wanted her to know that.  I wanted to tell her sorry for being such a difficult kid.  A moody child.  A girl who was perhaps more boy and who came without instructions.  (P.S. There was no mug that said all that.  Stupid Hallmark.)

I know my mother did the best she could trying to mold me into a respectable young lady.  Some 30 years later, I am still trying to undo all of her well-intentioned doing.

I know I am a challenge.

Climbing fencesIn my wedding vows, I quoted the Melissa Etheridge line: “You found out to love me, you have to climb some fences.”

W commented the other night that she wasn’t doing so well climbing those fences.  (Yes, Glitter-Gate reared its sparkly head once again.  You can read about that here and here.)

“You know it’s me, not you, right?” I asked.

She nodded her head.  She wasn’t didn’t seem convinced.

I try not to apologize for being me.

But I am still difficult and moody.

And there is no rulebook for loving a girl who is perhaps more boy.

Finding love

W texted me from work yesterday afternoon.

“Can we have the same thing for dinner that we had last night?”

“Um, I think so,” I text back.

It is not a difficult meal to prepare.  Breaded chicken tenders, noodles with butter and parmesan, and corn.

Imagine a butcher version

Me, only butchier.

W is struggling with some things these days, so I do what I can to make things easy for her.  I try to have dinner ready when she comes home.  I try to have the house picked up and food in the fridge.  I buy her cards and write her notes and sneak a piece of chocolate in her lunch.  Cooking chicken tenders two days in a row really isn’t a big deal.

When W comes home, I am in the kitchen finishing up dinner.

“Thank you for finding me,” she says.

Online datingShe says it all the time.  It’s a reference to how we met on match.com.  I was the one who sent her a note.  I was the one who found her.

“Someone has to take care of you,” I say.

“I know,” she replies.

W tells me how lucky she is to have me in her life.   The women she works with always tell her they need a Middle-age Butch to do all of the things I do.  Someone to pack their lunches, cook their dinners, pick up their prescriptions, do their grocery shopping.

I am not available.  I am a one-woman woman.

I remind W that she does lots of things for me.

She disagrees.

“It just looks different,” I tell her.

W is the breadwinner.  Because she works so hard, I am able to work from home and take care of things like lunches and dinners and errands.

Foam fingerShe is my biggest fan.  She loves everything I write.  This writer with low self-esteem needs to have her ego stroked.  Often.  Like a giant, needy cat.  Without W’s encouragement, there would be no finished book.

She loves telling people about my book.  I tell her not to make such a big fuss, but inside I light up like a firework.

She tells me I’m cute.  All the time.  Sometimes I even believe her.  She tells me I’m the world’s best lesbian.  But then we all knew that already.

W is the adventurer.  She drags me along on her excursions.  I plant the heels of my Dr. Marten’s in the mud and make things difficult.  But I am always glad to have ventured out and seen the world through her eyes.

She makes me giggle.  If you tell anyone, I’ll only deny it.  And then poke you with a sharp pokey object.

Moths in candlelightShe is the love and light in our house.  The rest of us are just moths.

The things I do can be calculated in monetary terms.  How much would you pay someone to cook your dinner or do your grocery shopping?

But W’s contributions are priceless.  To help a person believe she is a rock star like Joan Jett or Melissa Etheridge and can achieve her dreams is an invaluable skill and service.

It happens.  Sometimes.  When the stars align.  And you find the right person and fall in love.

Snow day

It’s been snowing here all day.

I finished up my work for the week yesterday.  I don’t have anywhere I need to be.  I don’t have anything I need to do.

We have a stocked fridge and full cupboards.  We have beer.

My birthday was on Monday.

My birthday was on Monday.

I made breakfast this morning.  Eggs, toast, bacon and cinnamon rolls with strawberries, OJ and coffee on the side.  I am planning a spaghetti dinner for tonight.

I am still in my pajamas.  W and I are watching season four of The Walking Dead.

The cats are taking their afternoon naps along side us.

This is Bodhi.

This is Bodhi.

Later on, I hope to read the Joan Didion book I’m working on.  I hope to write.

Every once in awhile, I look out our bedroom window and watch the snow.  Each time, I am amazed by the beauty.  The white blanket has created a stillness and quietness that is so rare these days.

This is the view from our bedroom.

This is the view from our bedroom.

I am thankful for this pause in my hectic life.

I will worry about digging out tomorrow.

But today I’m taking a snow day.

* * *

Is it snowing where you are?  If so, how are you spending your snow day?

Stuck and unstuck

Sometimes I get stuck.  Not literally stuck like in a turnstile or a revolving door.  Help.  Stuck.  Can’t pass through.

Or actually stuck while trying on a gold glitter tube top.  (I apologize in advance for the image.)  Aaaaaaah!  Aaaaaaah!  Aaaaaaah!  Butch!  Stuck!  In!  Tube!  Top!

But stuck nonetheless.

Other people never seem to have this problem.  They seem to have it all together.

When I get stuck, I do all sorts of things except try to get myself unstuck.

Some things I might do instead of unsticking myself:

  • Work.
  • Read.
  • Nap.
  • Check my Twitter feed.  Every five minutes.
  • Cook.
  • Eat.
  • Play with cats.
  • Watch marathons of Total Divas.
  • Daydream that I am a little known Kardashian.  Butch Kardashian.

When I am stuck:

This is how I feel when I'm stuck

The only way I know how to get unstuck is to do the thing I’m stuck at.  And that’s the thing I really don’t want to do.

Things I’d rather do than do the stuck thing:

  • Eat hot sauce.
  • Work.
  • Clean.
  • Give a speech.  At a Republican convention.
  • Listen to country and western music.
  • Dance to the song It’s Raining Men.
  • Read 50 Shades of Gray for non-comedic purposes.

So, after I’ve done everything else that I can think of, I’ll do the stuck thing.

First, of course, I’ll make a horrible face and make things seem worse than they really are.  I’m a drama butch, after all.

Butch Smiley Face

Then I’ll do the stuck thing.

At first taking lots of breaks to do important things like load one glass in the dishwasher, organize paperclips and clean cat hair from out of computer keyboard.

And then going back to doing the stuck thing.

Before I know it, my hair is not on fire.  I am not shrieking.

I am just doing the unstuck thing.

I am unstuck.

xx

When all is right in my world, this is what it looks like.

* * *

What do you when you’re stuck?  How do you get unstuck?