Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











{May 1, 2010}   Self-revelations on being a lesbian and femme

I’m on a kick.

I tend to obsess over things until they bore me. Sometimes, this can take weeks or months. Most of the time, it annoys the hell out of the people who love me. I just have to understand hows and whys and whats-its, I guess.

This time, it’s a dual-layered obsession. Layer one – how the hell did I not know I was a lesbian earlier in life? Looking back it’s just so painfully clear to see, and it’s no wonder that the most common reaction when I came out to everyone, friends and family alike, was, “I know. So?” and “I can’t say I’m surprised.” My own mother said, “Why didn’t you just tell me ages ago? I’ve been asking you for years if you were gay!”

I have no idea. Not that it matters for anything, it’s just a source of intrigue for me. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by lesbians. We’re talking early age. And I think I was maybe 6 when I had my first “real” crush (as real as it can be that young) on a high-school basketball player named Lani, who was my inspiration for piercing my tongue more than ten years later in 1999. In college, I surrounded myself with dykes – we took over a corner of the floor in my dorm and named it “Dyke’s Corner”, even though I identified as bi and dated mostly guys. And every single guy I ever dated was kind of effeminate. Ok – my ex-husband and I were often mistaken for a lesbian couple, and now he prefers to dress in women’s clothing and wear makeup. And I was in that relationship for ten years.

The other layer, layer two – the whole butch-femme dynamic. In my last post, I said, “The whole butch-femme thing is kind of silly,” and then I went and discovered a blog post complete with a youtube video featuring a tribute to all those rockin’ femmes out there, embedded here for your viewing pleasure:

As I watched that, I couldn’t help but feel like Ivan was talking to me – or, well, people like me, anyway. And it’s true that ever since I’ve been with Pickle, I’ve actually felt like a girl, more than I have other times in my life. And it’s something that I struggle with. I used to fight wearing dresses and makeup. I now find myself fighting that little part of myself that kind of still wants to fight, but not really. That little part of myself that says, “Hey, wait a minute, you never liked this before, what are you doing??”

Pickle says I do it for her, because I like to get all sexied up for her. In a sense she’s right, I do love the way she looks at me when I’m all purty. But I do it for me too. It’s like I’m reclaiming a sense of my identity that I lost touch with long, long ago.

My daughter’s a girly girl. Purses, shoes, make up, dresses, the whole nine. I never knew where she got it from. My mom has told me over and over again, “You were like that too. I don’t know what happened!” I disturbed my mother with my desire to wear frilly party dresses, just like J.J. disturbs me with that same desire. And that child taught me to start carrying a purse. Which I still do only on rare and reluctant occasions.

So maybe femininity is more hard-wired into me than I thought. And maybe that explains why certain “types” of women have always caught my eye, and it’s not the soft, sparkly, made-up type.

Maybe the whole butch-femme thing isn’t so silly. Maybe Pickle’s right. Maybe I was still thinking like a straight person, trying to draw lines that weren’t really there. I thought it was silly because I couldn’t understand why lesbians stereotypes had to fit a heteronormative standard. I couldn’t understand why there had to be an equivalent to a dude and a chick in a partnership involving two women.

I’m pretty sure I was overthinking it. I’m pretty sure it’s not like that at all.

I love women. So what if the woman I love, and the women I’ve liked before her, tend to be a bit boyish? It doesn’t mean I’m trying to replace men with women… I just think there’s something sexy about my girl in a baseball cap or fedora and tie. But she’s still a woman – she’s got all the parts, she’s got the chemistry, and she’s soft, so soft, and she smells so good.

And I don’t have to limit myself to only wearing girly clothes just because I’m with a girl who dresses like a boy – I’m happy wearing my cargo shorts and t-shirts around the house. But I don’t have to limit myself based on a preconceived and poorly understood notion of gender roles, either. And I don’t have to care about reinforcing stereotypes held by the straight world. And I don’t have to limit myself by identifying as femme – calling myself femme is just one more way to describe myself among myriad others.

She thinks I’m hot in a skirt and heels. I feel hot in a skirt and heels. Who cares what the rest of the world has to say about it?

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woolverine says:

You go and be who you want to be! I identify as butch because it’s how I feel, even when I’m wearing one of my 5 prs of Mary Janes. Identity is so much more than how we dress and whom we date. And I love people who aren’t afraid to change over time, to cross lines, to blur and expand expectations. Glad the video spoke to you – it surely did to me, but in a very different way.

Jenn



Exactly… I tend to overthink things and make them more complicated than they need to be. Even when I’m in my ribbed tanks and baggy jeans, I’m still femme inside. I hate labels, I really do; at the same time, though, I’m a classifier, an organizer – everything in its place and place for everything. Until I go and mix it all up again, that is 😉



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