I’ve been having a rough go of it lately.
I either want to stay in bed with the covers pulled up over my head, or I want to run through the streets in my flannel-lined cape punching bad guys in the face and saving the world. Biff! Pow!
Then out of the blue, two people sent me e-mails and told me they had been impacted in a positive way by things I had written.
And I felt better. Calmer. A little bit like a superhero with a magic pen making the world a better place in a different way.
So, my posse of wonderful, beautiful people, here’s your challenge for the week:
Reach out to one person and say something nice about him or her. You can do it in person or via e-mail or text, if you’re a giant introvert like me.
We can all use a boost these days. And kindness is infectious.
You’ll feel like a superhero and so will the person you’ve bestowed a nicety upon.
What are you waiting for?
Up, up and away …
To the Batmobile …
Flannel Files Powers activate …
* * *
What did you say? How did it go? Tell us about it.
Posted in Life, Uncategorized
Tagged Batman, depression, gay, kindness, lesbian, LGBT, superhero, superheroes, Superman, writers, writing
Yesterday was not a good day for your favorite butch blogger. I pretty much sat around in my pajamas clicking the refresh button on my Twitter feed. It was not pretty or handsome.
But then W came home and I vented. I started Maggie Smith’s The Argonauts before I went to bed. And I was like hell yeah, because words and ideas and poetry and unapologetic truth telling. The world needs more of that right now, if you ask me.
And then I started thinking about #PressOn, which is a campaign to support facts by paying for journalism. It’s critical right now. So, pubs like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian … and Teen Vogue, they need our support.
That’s right, Teen Vogue. They’re kicking ass these days in the world of journalism. With a bold lip, but kicking ass no less with in-your-face articles like “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America.”
Teen Vogue, Vogue, Vogue
So here’s my offer. Are you the parent of a young feminist? Do you know a young feminist in the making? Teen Vogue says the magazine is appropriate for those 14 years of age and older. Keep in mind it is a fashion magazine but does a good job with politics, LGBT issues and self-identity. Drop me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll pay for a gift subscription to Teen Vogue for your fierce, fresh youngster.
Because words matter. And the truth matters.
* * *
What are you reading these days?
Posted in Books, Life, Uncategorized
Tagged #PressOn, books, facts, gay, giveway, journalism, lesbian, resist, story, Teen Vogue, truth, Twitter, words, writers
New look. (Seriously, how cool is that cover?)
Today’s the big day, folks. The second edition of Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender has launched with my new publisher, Regal Crest.
The book has added content. Count ’em, nine new chapters.
And while I’m bragging, the first edition was a Golden Crown Literary Society award finalist in the category of creative nonfiction.
A big thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way by liking my posts and reminding me that I have a voice and that my words are important. You guys have always made me feel like a big butch rock star.
If you bought a copy of Leaving Normal last time around, thanks! Consider picking up a second copy for the added content or donating to your local high school or LGBT group.
A bunch of you have been patiently waiting for the second edition. You can order a print copy or e-book through most online book vendors. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon and Bella Books.
If you’d like a signed copy and maybe some free butch swag, you can send $16.00 via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. The book costs $12.95, plus $3 for shipping.
Also, reviews are so important. They help with visibility on sites like Amazon. If you’ve read the book, please consider writing a short, honest review. It will only take you a minute or two and this butch will be very grateful.
Posted in Being Butch, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Gender, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged books, butch, gay, gender, lesbian, LGBT, transgender, writers, writing
My dad took me and my brother to an old theater in Reading, Pennsylvania, to see Star Wars. We sat in the balcony. I was ten years old.
I remember being captivated from the beginning when those now-famous words scrolled across the screen. I liked the scene in the cantina with those crazy aliens and that funny, tinny music playing in the background.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched Star Wars since 1977. My favorite scene became the one with the garbage compactor. “Into the garbage chute, Flyboy,” Princess Leia says to Luke as she shoots her laser gun at the Stormtroopers, transforming from rescuee to rescuer, from damsel in distress to take-charge badass.
I replayed that scene over and over in my head. “Into the garbage chute, Flyboy.” That was the kind of girl I was when I played with the guys. That was the kind of woman I wanted to be.
When I got older, I idolized Carrie Fisher the author. She was a brilliant writer. If you want to learn how to write memoir, read Carrie Fisher. Her words were sharp and cutting, vulnerable and honest. The humor was so dark, you never knew whether to laugh or cry. I always did both. She wrote with the bravery and balls of Princess Leia. “Into the garbage chute, Flyboy.”
I read a lot of books. Most I recycle, handing off to friends or family, or donating to Goodwill. I keep some of Fisher’s books in a small, neat stack on my bookcase mixed with books written by a few other authors. My stack of weird books. They are the books that told me it was okay to think the way I did. That it was okay to be different. They are the books that gave me permission to be myself.
It’s been a tough year for losses. I lost two of my heroes earlier this year when the wrestler Chyna and the musician Prince died on back-to-back days in April.
And now Carrie Fisher.
I like to think they left me a little of their magic when they departed this world. A little of their bravery and in your face badassery. That it fell like stardust and caught on the inside of my sleeve or the back of my pants and clung like specks of glitter.
And that when I need to be bold and courageous, it will be there, giving me a needed push.
“Into the garbage chute, Flyboy.”
* * *
What about you? Who will you miss most from 2016?
Posted in Books, Life, Movies, Uncategorized
Tagged badass, books, butch, Carrie Fisher, Chyna, death, gay, lesbian, LGBT, loss, magic, memoir, movies, Prince, Princess Leia, Star Wars, writers, writing
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.
Still, 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?
Posted in Depression, Friends, Gay & Lesbian, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged cats, depression, fear, friends, friendship, gay, kids, lesbian, LGBT, life, love, marriage, writers, writing
I attended a creative nonfiction conference this past weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. W and one of the kids came with to enjoy my big, fancy hotel room.
I left the hotel room early in the morning while the two of them slept in. I popped in from time to time to use the bathroom or check in on them.
“You look so happy,” W said.
I couldn’t lie. And I couldn’t stop smiling. I was in my element. I was with a bunch of other people nerding out on using white space in an essay or the ethicality of composite characters in memoir. There was a entire panel discussion on truth in creative nonfiction.
We were all fangirl/fanboy when memoirist Mary Karr delivered the keynote Saturday evening.
Before we left for the conference, I was having second thoughts about attending.
“I’m not good with peoples,” I told W.
“You’ll be fine,” she said.
And I was. I had two of my writer group friends with me, which made things easier. I didn’t have to assume wallflower mode. Which is a good thing because none of the walls were flannel covered.
Plus, many writers are introverts, which meant we could all be awkward with one another without judgment. (Looks at floor.)
My writer tank has been filled.
And I’m still glowing from the weekend.
* * *
What about you? What lights you up?
Posted in Life, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged books, conference, creative nonfiction, friends, happy, Hippocamp, introverts, Mary Karr, memoir, writers, writing
This morning, I camped out at Panera’s.
I was focused on writing a new story but my ears perked up when an older woman a few tables away started talking about President Obama’s mandate that all schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice.
My new favorite notebook. Oh to be as dashing as this zebra.
It was the word “transgender” that caught my attention and caused me to reach for my rainbow zebra notebook.
She said the word like this — TRANS gender? — as if she were angry and it weren’t a real thing. Like fat-free butter or a lesbian who has never attended a potluck. I avoided looking at her, but I imagined her shrugging her shoulders and making a sour milk face.
“All it does is cause more strife,” she said.
I wanted to tell her about the strife I feel as a butch woman when I’m out shopping or to dinner and need to use a bathroom. About the strife I feel when I have to determine whether I can skip using a public restroom and make it home in time.
Um, hello, that doesn’t look like me.
About the strife I feel when I open a door emblazoned with an image of a person in a dress with an impossibly round head and arms thick like salamis and the word “WOMEN” or “LADIES” printed below and prepare to be misgendered and humiliated.
About the strife I feel when I rush to the first empty stall and hold my breath and let out a tiny puff of air when I lock the door and hear the click of the slide bolt.
About the strife I feel as I wait in the stall and try to pick the right time to leave. Now. No, not now. Now. This time for real. 1, 2, 3. Now.
About the strife I feel when I notice my heart beating too fast in my chest.
About the strife I feel as I try to blend in when I’m at the sink washing my hands, even though I haven’t been able to blend in for most of my life.
About the strife I feel as I fast walk to the door and try to look “natural,” whatever that means.
When I am safe on the other side, I wonder why using a public bathroom should cause anyone so much strife.
Posted in Being Butch, Gay & Lesbian, Gender, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged bathrooms, butch, gay, gender, lesbian, transgender, writers, writing
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.
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
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?