Wha’ You Doin’, Girl?

 

So, I know I’ve been quiet lately, I’ve been really, really busy, and frankly, the neighborhood isn’t what it used to be with the moving-on of our most prolific and spot-on feminist blogger, but I had to post this.

Because after three days, I’m still angry as hell.

I’ve been reading a series that I stumbled across with a butch protagonist. The first book was excellent, the second fumbled a bit but recovered, and the third skirted the edge of the Cliff of Disaster. On top of that, the supposedly-lesbian author of the series dropped a scornful line or two about butches in each of the books, leaving me puzzled and a little hurt, to be honest.

I mean, just because your character has long hair, it really doesn’t change the fact that everything else–what they wear (including boxer briefs, for god’s sake), is employed as (she’s a PI), says or does with her girlfriend–makes her any less butch, and I’m thinking “what the fuck, writer, your character is a butch, do I really have to tell you that?” And there are even more butch characters in supporting roles.

So, they’re quick to get through, and free to read through my electronic reader, so I soldiered through the fourth, but here’s the kicker—the fifth book. The one where the lead couple goes on vacation because they’ve ‘lost touch’ with each other and it’s supposed to get them back to ‘that place they were before.’ And then the GirlFriend/lover tells the Not-Butch Butch that she won’t feel like the NB-B really loves and trusts her until she can fuck her with a dildo. Now, it’s been made clear that the NB-B does not ‘do’ penetration, other than fingers, and that is a VERY REAL BOUNDARY.

Lots of real-live women don’t care for penetration, straight or gay, and that’s to be respected. GF wants to take her to a doctor to figure out ‘what’s wrong with her,’ so yeah, put the NB-B up in stirrups to let some stranger diddle around in there, that’ll fix her.

Because she’s the picture of frigidity and, of course, that’s a problem.

Yet, here we are.

And at this campground in the woods is a lesbian therapist/psych counselor (how convenient), and those two women gang up on the NB-B and tell her—get this, because this is where I threw my Kindle across the room (the first time, anyway), that she won’t let GF fuck her with a dildo because she’s ‘uneducated’ in the ways of the world, having not attended university, or in the ways of relationships in general.

OMG.

Apparently, when you’re in a relationship, you lose your body autonomy. Who knew?

But wait, there’s more.

Next, they tell her that she will lose her GF and Life as she’s come to know it, with all the comforts her relationship provides her (GF is stinking rich and backs her company and lifestyle) if she doesn’t let GF fuck her with a dildo.

OMFG. (And this is where I threw my Kindle a second time, and I really wished I’d never picked it back up, because now I’m peeking through my fingers as I read on).

Because just wait, there’s MORE!

She’s left alone to simmer in all that, and SHE BUYS IT! SHE BUYS ALL THE BULLSHIT!

AND SHE LETS HER GF FUCK HER WITH THE DILDO! And she’s smiling about it, because she ‘saved her relationship’ but the whole time, I’m cringing, because you can feel her discomfort even though she’s smiling, and it was all COERCIVE AND DISGUSTING and nothing that EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD hasn’t had said to them at one time or another, but ESPECIALLY AND PARTICULARLY BUTCHES!

And now, I’m really pissed and broken-hearted because I watched a writer break a damn good character and reinforce age-old male/cotton-ceiling bullshit in a book apparently written solely to do just that, because after all was said and done, it was a book about people being dicked, pegged, whatever you want to call it, with no mystery, no real story, other than breaking that butch and fucking her with a dildo.

So, lastly, if you are a writer, and you recognize this book as your own, you are no advocate of lesbians–or any woman at all for that matter—and, as a writer of butches and women myself, I would appreciate it if you just take a seat.

Take all of them. And keep the word ‘butch’ out your mouth.

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Moving On

So, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything in this space, nine months gone, to be honest, and writing, like most things that are a hobby or a habit, tends to get rusty when it’s not practiced with any regularity. I’ve been in the midst of several time-consuming processes, of learning a new set of skills at work, moving to a new home, and sorting through a massive and eclectic amount of personal belongings, furnishings, and effects that I have carried with me for forty years, as well as furniture and knickknacks that belonged to my parents, passed down to me.

Here’s the reality:  I don’t want any of it any more. I moved into my new digs a month ago, I intentionally chose it because it is smaller by half compared to my other house, and I took only the things that I have used on a daily basis for the past year. I have embraced minimalism as a Way of Life with this move. It also makes it a lot easier on anyone who has to come into my space, when I am no longer here, to sort and sell and donate the remainder of my life, the things that only once mattered to me. Morbid thought, I know, but worth considering for the sake of the poor soul who’d have to decide what to do with all the ‘stuff.’

Because if I am totally overwhelmed by the amount of personal belongings I have collected over the years, how would anyone else feel about it? I imagine it would be easier if one was detached and had no relevant history with these things that I once thought beautiful, and lovely, the mix of things that had stories attached:  presents from girlfriends past, reminders of trips and holidays, and all the other reasons one receives gifts from others. So, here I am, or rather, there I was, surrounded by the whispers of others, by the memories of people who are no longer around. And I was leaving it all behind.

The thing is, I could never forget any of them. I couldn’t possibly.

At this time in my life, I have started new endeavors, exciting prospects of what I’ve always wanted to do. I am standing at the “jumping off point,” at the top of the trail that is my own version of Independence and there’s no room here in this new place, on this new journey, for reminders of “what’s done is done,” because they are over and done with, and I really am moving on.

The World Series and Elections

Well, I hardly think this requires a ‘spoiler alert,’ it’s been on the news and every social media platform you can name–the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night, taking ten innings to break their tie with the Cleveland Indians. They won in spite of play being put on hold for seventeen minutes for a dousing rain, in spite of a one-hundred-eight-year drought (or curse, as many have called it) since their last World Series win, in spite of their controversial pitcher blowing their two-run lead in the eighth inning.

So, here’s the thing. I didn’t see it. I watched Game Seven from the beginning, had watched the series from Game Four, but I didn’t have a dog in this fight, not like I’d used to. I followed baseball years ago, actually followed the Cubbies when their lineup consisted of a majority of traded or free-agent former Atlanta Braves players, but I hadn’t watched a televised game in years.

This was history in the making, though. Both teams had gone without winning the Championship for decades (and decades and decades). Generations of families had rooted for these teams together, and many of those family members have passed from this world without seeing either take the win.

History.

And when the rains came and the officials called a weather delay and the tarp was rolled out by the grounds crew, the announcers said play was expected to resume in thirty minutes. It was already past quarter-after-midnight. I was tired, I was agitated after watching the Cubs lose their lead, and I was not sure I wanted to watch them be denied once again, so I went to bed.

Just before I drifted off, I thought about the race to the finish and how maybe this game was good practice for next Tuesday night. Election night. Another night that will be one for the history books, no matter the outcome. This time, though, there is a lot more at stake. Could I watch the results, rolling east coast to west coast, as the states report their counts and the electoral votes are tallied? I suspect there will be a teetering of the lead as the polls close across the country, states going ‘red’ or ‘blue,’ and I just don’t think I would sleep at all if the worst predictions come true. So, frankly, it may be wise to go to bed, to get the last good night’s sleep I may get for a while.

I will probably place a moratorium on my use of social media and TV viewing for that night. I’m planning on a nice meal, maybe I’ll read a book, listen to music, and then go to bed none the wiser. On Wednesday morning, I’ll learn the results, at which time I hope to find that my country remains in the 21st century, and not that it has become Germany in the 1930’s.

Fingers crossed.

Nineteen Days

Was it cruel or was it kind?
You know the Universe
can be a fickle bitch
with a wicked streak sometimes.

Our paths, misaligned,
but passing by
close enough
for that fine-tuned pitch,
the hum between us,
to resonate into the very marrow
of our bones.

Crossing borders
as our boundaries
melted into sand,
we were unable to ignore
that pull towards the source.

Stretched out, we lived a lifetime
of nineteen days,
a life together
between two lives apart.

You told me from the start
that it would end
and warned me not to,
but I fell for you.

I know you knew.

Nineteen days.

You fell, too.

We talked, whispered,
and you showed me the Truth,
made me swear I’d look for you
in someone else’s eyes.

I promise, I promise, I promise.

Nineteen days.

I promise.

But she won’t be you…

Heart in Pieces

You came to me,

tearful,

like a child would,

their favorite toy

in pieces,

holding out your hands,

showing me

your broken heart.

 

I took the puzzled parts,

exchanged them for another,

mended,

its scars apparent

and thick.

 

And when you walked away

whole, and able to love again,

you never realized

that I had merely traded

your fractured heart in pieces

for the one

that was once

my  own.

The Closet

This closet of mine is empty,

and has been, for years,

balls of dust and detritus

rolling to the corners

when I open the door and look in,

confirming that it is truly vacant,

and there’s nothing left inside

that needs to be aired

in the light of day.

 

So, if it’s become too great a burden

and you want to let it go,

I’ll let you store your pain in it…

NC Legislature Passes ‘HateBill 2’

This is a piece on the NC Legislature’s recently-passed ‘Restroom Law’ that I had written in the week it was passed and signed into law. In the time since the passage of HB2, Gov. McCrory has attempted to back-pedal on the intent of the law, signing an Executive Order that tried, poorly, to ‘clarify’ the bill, resulting in a deeper pit of shit from which he cannot extract himself.

Over the past few weeks, this state has lost millions upon millions of dollars from the loss of a number of potential businesses, meaning a huge loss of tax dollars and jobs for under- and unemployed residents and vendors. It may also lose millions of dollars in federal aid, if it has not already, funds that impact a number of programs and businesses statewide.

Not that this state really cares about that. The Republican legislators prefer a large, poorly-educated voter base over an educated middle class, and that is reflected in the cutting of education funding over the past two decades. A full reading of the bill will also provide information as to what the legislature is actually hiding (and, in my opinion, the absolute and entire reason for the bill itself) regarding workers’ rights–they now have absolutely none in this right-to-work state, thanks to this bill, and attention is being deflected away from those actions with the ‘bathroom’ shenanigans laid atop them.

Admittedly, there are ‘pockets’ of liberalism in the areas surrounding the universities and the few larger cities in the state, with populations bolstered by out-of-state students and residents transferred in by large corporations.  Not far outside of those cities, however, less than twenty miles in many places, are the rural areas where the majority population of the state reside. The area east of Raleigh, extending from state line to state line (a portion of the state I am extremely familiar with), is agrarian-based, where the ‘Religious Right’ is the ruling class, and is why this state is so deeply mired in the bigotry and contempt that has long been its history.

_________________________________________________________________

“Who needs dystopian novels when we can just read the news?”–this isn’t mine, credit to whomever it belongs…

 

I’m sad. And mad. And I am too damned old for this shit.

I live in North Carolina. I am a butch lesbian living in North Carolina. And I’m really, really pissed, but, strangely, not surprised by the heinous actions of the NC legislature. I have lived here long enough to know that this state has been heading in this direction for the past twenty years.

From “Complacency Kills:”

I’m in a small, rural, southern town in a ‘red’ state, a state that has a legislature comprised almost solely of white men who are trying to pass laws that would turn back time, take the state and, in their last, best hope, the country, back to the 1950s. They are trying to legislate my people back into the closet, and, being ‘female,’ back into the kitchen. Trying to legislate the poor back into the fields and the warehouses by gutting education funding. Trying to rig elections by passing the ‘first cousins’ of Jim Crow laws. Their ‘rule of law’ is based on the Bible, or rather, their interpretation of it, where they, as white men, are at the top of the heap, standing on the backs of the people who’d elected them, their sheep, easily frightened by the slightest noises of the things they don’t understand, do not wish to comprehend, or even acknowledge. 

theautonomousbutch.wordpress.com

 

I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know if there are enough people in this state to turn this around, understanding that the world is not just as ‘black and white,’ ‘male and female,’ as so many here would like it to be. The legislation passed by the predominantly-Republican legislators literally undoes decades of fairness in employment laws and wages, as well as the ‘restroom issue.’ The deed is done, for now, and I believe that it is not going to change until an Appellate Court and/or the Supreme Court of the United States hears a case that challenges this law, either from here or from another state.

From the time I was a teenage lesbian in the ’70’s and, at that time, living in the State of Georgia, wearing the typical jeans, boots and flannel, I have always been a little nervous about using public restrooms. I was relieved when, on road trips, I would find myself alone in the ladies room of whatever fast-food restaurant or service station we’d stopped at, moving fast to get in and out without encountering another woman. When that was managed, I could literally feel the stress leave my body as I walked out. On the occasions when I was not alone, I would wash up and leave without making eye contact, except for a few glances that let me know that I was being suspiciously appraised, and found lacking.

 On more than one occasion, when I was younger, I’ve had women, usually older, say, “Excuse me, this is the ladies’ room.” “Yes, it is,” I would reply, then smile. The looks I would receive following that were sometimes sneering, sometimes tight-lipped, but always disgusted. They were aware of my ‘femaleness’ after I spoke, but I wonder how many of them would have liked to tell me to grow out my hair, wear makeup, a skirt, hosiery, and heels, so that I would not look so ‘mannish.’

Today, however, I’m in North Carolina and, with those encounters in mind, I think that if a man was found in the ladies’ room, a man who entered said facility with the intent of doing harm to a woman, any woman he encountered would not be afraid to 1) call him on it, 2) give him a beat-down the likes he has not received since his mother or grandmother last whupped him. See, I know the women in this state and they work hard. They are tough. I just wish they believed themselves to be that way.

The NC Legislature believes, however, that ‘women and children need protection,’ that only they, as white men, can give them, from ‘bad’ decisions and ‘dangerous’ situations. And that is the plank this whole ‘restroom’ mess of hatred rests upon and hides behind; first, that men think women need ‘protection,’ and secondly, that men think women are only just above children in the Male Hierarchy of Human Value. This is a trope (I’ve heard this word more in the past month than I’ve ever heard in my life) that is perpetuated by the White Male Patriarchy (another term that I am thoroughly sick of), and it is drilled into little North Carolina girls’ heads from the time they are old enough to recognize the difference in the sexes. It is perpetuated from the start and, as these women grow up and move through their lives, it is reinforced from all sides by their church-based communities.

And that is what makes this fight so damn difficult.

Far too many women born and raised in this state seemingly believe that they need protection, not just from anyone not straight, white, and male, but also from themselves, as seen in the ‘War on Women’ regarding birth control and abortion. These women are given no faith in their own ability to make decisions for themselves, and they acquiese to the whims of their ‘betters’ on every matter in contention, letting ‘the men’ make laws regarding their bodies and their lives, with only a few taking a stand against them for themselves. Incredibly, there are women in the NC Statehouse, holding high office, who rgularly vote with their male counterparts to pass such atrocious legislation, siding with the oppressors of all beings not white and male.

It is a present-day Stockholm Syndrome compounded by a real lack of education, both scholarly and worldly, and the nationwide scholastic testing results bear this out. Admittedly, these are harsh words, and I’ll insert the required ‘Not-All-Women’ here, but I see and interact with these people every day, as I have for the past twenty-five years. I make this point to say that far too many of  the women born and raised in this state have and will vote in the same manner as their straight, white male fathers, husbands, and pastors, because they truly believe what they’ve been told their whole lives–that they are only being ‘protected,’ that whatever ‘it’ is, it is ‘for their own good.’ 

How gallant of these straight, white males.

I don’t know how to ‘fix’ that, either.

I can only hope that North Carolina will be where the LGBT Community and its supporters take a stand, in a way that mirrors the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro in the 1960s. The predominately-white male NC State legislature needs a reminder of its own history, because they obviously did not learn it well enough the first time.

Still, once again, because of this mess, I suspect that I will be closely scrutinized when I use any public restroom in the State of North Carolina. I believe that an altercation is far more likely to occur, given that the white male population, old and young, righteous and ‘in charge,’ will use this law as permission to put their hands on me and demand that I prove my ‘birth sex,’ in whatever way they may deem necessary in that time and place.

Ignorance and fear make people do terrible things…

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Thankfully, there have been calls for ‘sit-ins’ and lawsuits have been filed by several groups to seek relief from the courts but the law essentially stands as it was written, even with Gov. McCrory’s hastily-written, changes-nothing Executive Order. Some may protest the claims I have made above, that women are ‘brainwashed’ into believing they are unable to determine what is ‘right’ for themselves, to make their own ‘Life’ decisions, and that people who believe in the full intent of HB2 allows them to physically stop me, or anyone else they may decide is using the ‘wrong’ public restroom, but I stand by my assertions and words, determined by my own interactions and observations, and by the actions best displayed by Trump enthusiasts at his rallies. They are all of the same ilk.

ALSO: In addition to noting that women had voted for this bill (following the Republican ‘party’ line), I was also truly shocked to learn, nearly ten days after the bill’s passage, that this group of cowardly legislators, working quickly and in the dark, also included eleven Democrats, six of them male, elderly, and black. This was left out of nearly every news account I had read up to that point. I found the information in an op-ed piece and the writer speculated that the Democrats’ votes were cast at the behest of the pastors of their respective churches, but I still find it amazing that, within that group, is a once- and still-oppressed minority that would willingly turn on another, and do so ‘in the name of Jesus.’

Or, maybe I should not be so naive, that these men would so quickly forget their own history in this state, or perhaps bigotry only exists when it is levelled directly at them. The Human Race has long had a ‘Hierarchy of Value’ when it comes to the people who comprise it, using skin color and religion as its quide to ratings’ worth. I find it disturbing, though, that an elected official would be so quick to discount another human’s value at a time when everyone not white and male is trying to ‘matter.’

I am quite sure that this entire piece will truly offend some people, but they should only be as dismayed and disturbed as I was when this legislation was passed and I was made aware of those behind it. I know that I should not fear my government but, given the circumstances, I have no reason not to, as both a worker and a lesbian. 

BD

Highway

This old North-South highway has been a part of my Life

twice now, I’ve lived on its edges

but in different places, different States,

different Lives.

Sometimes, when it’s late

and I’m tired, sorrowful,

I wonder…

if I was to stand looking down that southbound lane,

would I connect with that girl,

the one who, in the dark heat

of that summer night long ago,

paused on its asphalt,

and looked North,

her hopes stretched out like that ribbon of road,

Or has too much time passed

to catch even a glimpse.