Archive for the My Personal Views On Queerness Category

Queer Ramble…

Posted in My Personal Views On Queerness on November 18, 2008 by boychick1

I’ve never wanted a “normal” existence — the heterosexual model. Marriange, 2.2 children, white picket fence in the suburbs. Never. Wanted. Any. Of. That.

Weddings and baby showers (especially) cause me mini panic attacks, I avoid them whenever possible – may break out in hives.

No, no, no. I’m queer – I’ve always been queer (for awhile I just thought I was straight queer) and it turns out I am queer, queer – I kissed a girl and I liked it – queer.

Still this Prop 8 business and the rest of it bothers me because this is basic…civil rights for all the citizens of the United States is basic. We can’t and should not hand out civil right to some citizens and not others. That is wrong.

That. Is. Just. Plain. Wrong.

And I like what Wanda Sykes has to say and she’s right — this is not about California, we are going to get civil unions (marriage) in every state of the Union.

Now. We have elected a President that has said he believes in equal rights for all citizens, has mentioned gay Americans in nearly every important speech including his acceptance speech. We have a majority in Congress.

The time is now — not for the states to decide either. If you are a state in the *United* States of America – civil unions in every state.

Period. It’s simple. It’s time to rally and keep rallying until we get this President and congress we elected on board by providing every U.S. Citizen with the basic civil rights this country was supposedly founded on.

Now on being queer — that is mostly easy – political climate and all.

Finding someone to be queer with?! Well damn it feels damn near impossible of late. Either women I want to see (aren’t interested in me) or woman interested in me are not ones I am interested in. Match.com is a vast, vast wasteland.

So it’s hard to find someone to be queer with…I have this life that is going really well on so many levels except on the dating thing. It’s depressing and what do you do.

You go out again I guess…and again…and again. I worry that I will never find the kind of women I want to date in Lansing (or Michigan in general), or maybe even in the midwest.

The sun is shining, the air is super crisp, snow on the ground – bills to pay and work to do.

Enjoy your day…it’s time to get after mine. Send me a queer woman (or several) – you know the kind that want to date other women they have things in common with and an attraction to. They know what they want and they can state it. Simple. Clear. Fun.

Cause you know I’m fun — messy yes, sentimental yes, intense ya I can be – but ultimately fun and funny.

Caio’

(here’s the whole version of Wanda Sykes speech)

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These boots are made for walking…

Posted in My Personal Views On Queerness, Personal ramblings on August 11, 2008 by boychick1

So we’re in the Aut Bar in Ann Arbor and my new friends are quite intrigued with my history – of course they are, they’re lesbians. And lesbians don’t have boundaries. “So Janet did the sex blow your mind” – T. asks. “What”? “Did the sex blow your mind, you’ve been with men longer then we have, so did sex with women blow your mind”?

(and nah you won’t be getting my whole response, neither did they).

But yes and no…I came out in mid-life (oh yeah, oh yeah Mid-life Clarity) and coming out, and dating has been a series of mis-adventures. If my cruel and humorous streak ran deeper I’d blog about them. Well it does run deep but I am not going to blog about them.

Not all of them anyway.

But it’s been exciting at times, humorous, infuriating and frustrating. No violins to strike up, no poetic tributes to love as gentle as an ocean breeze that swept me away to the sapphic island of happily ever after…

Nope, nope, nope nothing like that. In fact the first woman I kissed remains one of the worst kissers I have ever locked lips with. Locked lips about sums it up, her’s were locked – tight. I leaned in and kissed her. Hmmm. I tried again. Hmmm – ok I’d have more fun kissing the Queen. It was that hopeless of an experience. I called it off that day, it was that unremarkable. YES we had to discuss it for weeks (lesbians).

No dating woman has been on many levels just like dating men – it’s hard to find someone you connect with on every level physical, emotional, intellectual. It’s really not that different – men vs. women – except with women you talk about why it isn’t working way more.

Still I must really be gay – as all I’d like to do is go out and have more, and more really bad experiences with women. Sigh. How cynical of me.

And despite all of my strong, courageous and inspiring words and thoughts (some of which appear on this blog and you claim to visit me to read them) well hell – lately I am frustrated and lonely.

Frustrated…lonely. Still cute as a bug’s ear, full or rapier wit and smiling but alas frustrated and lonely. The not dating hiatus is getting really, really old.

I’m ready to write the poem of waves crashing on the beach, ready to strike up the violins – have my heart skip at least a few beats.

Feelings and unpleasant feelings – ones that in the past would have left me picking up a cigarette, or having a drink, or consuming too much ice cream. Now? Well now I dial up or e-mail one of those bad experiences to ask “hey want to do that all over again – I’m sure it would be better this time or at least better than nothing”?

Of course it is stupid but when humans have feelings instead of sitting with them all the way through to the other side we have to do something to make them go away.

We smoke something, or reach for something to drink, or pop a pill, or chase the wrong girl or we just buy too many shoes on Zappos.com.

And that is where I fell victim again, I am really ashamed of myself – when will I ever learn? I beat myself up, I repeat the same mistakes, there must be a 12 step program somewhere to help me, some fellowship?

But you know – sometimes you just really need the right shoes to chase after the wrong girl.

Frye Harness boots – next time she groans and asks over and over again “are you a bad girl”? I’ll just say, “what do you think, just look at the boots”.

Living in the margins…

Posted in My Personal Views On Queerness, On Poetry, Personal ramblings on May 30, 2008 by boychick1

So I have finished my workout at the YMCA and now I am in the sauna – the dry sauna is admittedly my reward, the best part of going to the gym. I’m laid back, bare ass naked with Melissa Ferrick’s 70 people at 7,000 feet streaming, a bit too loudly into my head. When boom – interruption. Girls squealing and running in from the pool – they sound in that 4-6ish age range running, laughing, shouting. The voice of an adult…”girls in the showers and NO ONE is to go in there”. Based on the sounds of the voices I am quite sure she is referring to the saunas. I am relieved, admittedly I hate when kids run in and out of the saunas. I turn up the iPod even louder thinking about how wonderful is it to be so hot, my tight muscles relaxing…the sweat is beginning to pour off. I keep whiping my face and pushing my short hair back and off of my forehead. I can hear the girls but I am doing my best to tune them out. Relax, unwind, sweat.

Suddenly I hear a piercing shout, an alarm call, uttered with the shear, sincere force of a four year old panic. “boy, Boy, BOY”. And more squealing, then a knock on the sauna door (the sauna I am in has a glass window). Suddenly I realize the “BOY!!” they are referring to is me.

Ha. I pull up the towel to cover my ample and generous bosom that is obviously confusing and scaring the children. I hear the adult moving outside, I hear a muffled “he covered up” or that is what I imagined I heard. I hear the sound of an adult reprimanding them and telling them to move along, get dressed and so on.

After some more sweating – I got up and left the sauna. I walked out and there was this adorable little girl who was still quite clearly confused, she was still staring at me.

I wanted frankly to open the towel and flash her …say “see – girl” but I didn’t think it was a good idea for a queer woman to flash children in the locker room at the Y. I could’ve said “don’t you see my toenails and the pretty pink polish?!” But instead I just smiled and headed for the showers.

40 years ago, 30 years ago, even 5 years ago having a little girl scream “BOY” would’ve been devastating now it doesn’t particularly bother me. While I know I am a woman, reminded lest I forget at least monthly – I think of myself as genderless. And I prefer it that way – not to be easy to label, or define, or stereotype. Just another queer human being. Or more preferably just a human being.

That’s my life in the margins – and one tale for this week of living in the shades of grey.

Andrea Gibson’s new book arrived today titled “Pole Dancing To Gospel Hymns” and I’ll leave you with this poem from the book. It’s so nice to know I am not alone.

Swing Set

“Are you a boy or a girl?” he asks,
staring up from all three feet
of his pudding-faced grandeur.

I say “Dylan, you’ve been in this class for three years
and you still don’t know if I’m a boy or a girl?”

“Uh-uh.”

“Well then, at this point I don’t think it matters,
do you?”

“Um…no. Can I have a push on the swing?”

And this happens every day.
It’s a tidal wave of kindergarten curiousity
Rushing strait for the rocks of me,
whatever I am.

In the classroom we discuss the milky way galaxy,
the orbit of the sun around the earth or…whatever.
Jupiter! Saturn! Mars!
“Kids, do you know that some of the stars
we see up in the sky are so far away they’ve already
burned out?
What do you think of that…Timmy?”

“Um…my mom says that even though you’ve got
hairs that grow from your legs
and the hairs on your head grow short and pokey
and you smell really bad like my dad
that you’re a girl.”

“You’re right. Thank you, Timmy.”

And so it goes.
On the playground she stares up
from behind her pink powder puff sunglasses
and asks, “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No,”

“Ohhh” she says. “Do you have a girlfriend?”

I say, “No, but if by some miracle twenty years from now
I ever finally do, I’ll definitely bring her by to meet you.
How’s that?”

“OK…can I have a push on the swing?”

And that’s the thing.
They don’t care.
They don’t care.
We, on the other hand…
My father sitting across the table at Christmas dinner
gritting his teeth over his still-full plate
his appetite raped away
by the intrusion of my haircut.
“What were you thinking? You used to be such a pretty girl!”

Frat boys drunk and screaming
leaning out the windows of their daddies’ SUVs
“Hey are you a faggot or a dyke?!”
And I wonder what would happen
if I met up with them in the middle of the night.

Then of course there’s always the not-so-bright-enough
Fluorescent light of the public restroom,
“Sir! Sir! Do you realize this is the ladies’ room?!”

“Yes, ma’am I do.
It’s just I didn’t feel comfortable
sticking this tampon up my penis
in the men’s room.”

But the best is always the mother at the market,
sticking up her nose
while pushing aside her child’s wide eyes
whispering, “Don’t stare, it’s rude,”

And I wanna say, “Listen, lady,
the only rude thing I see
is your paranoid, parental hand
pushing aside the best education on self
that little girl’s ever gonna get
living with your Maybelline lips, Stair Master hips
synthetic, kiwi, vanilla ‘spilling beauty.
So why don’t you take your pinks and blues,
your boy-girl rules
and shove ‘em in that cart
with your fucking issue of Cosmo,
‘cause tomorrow
I start my day with twenty-eight minds
that know a hell of a lot more than you do,
and if I show up in a pink frilly dress
those kids won’t love me any more or less.”

“Hey…are you a boy or a…oh, never mind,
can I have a push on the swing?”

And someday,
When we grow up,
It’s all gonna be that simple.

Living in the margins…

Posted in My Personal Views On Queerness, On Poetry, Personal ramblings on May 30, 2008 by boychick1

So I have finished my workout at the YMCA and now I am in the sauna – the dry sauna is admittedly my reward, the best part of going to the gym. I’m laid back, bare ass naked with Melissa Ferrick’s 70 people at 7,000 feet streaming, a bit too loudly into my head. When boom – interruption. Girls squealing and running in from the pool – they sound in that 4-6ish age range running, laughing, shouting. The voice of an adult…”girls in the showers and NO ONE is to go in there”. Based on the sounds of the voices I am quite sure she is referring to the saunas. I am relieved, admittedly I hate when kids run in and out of the saunas. I turn up the iPod even louder thinking about how wonderful is it to be so hot, my tight muscles relaxing…the sweat is beginning to pour off. I keep whiping my face and pushing my short hair back and off of my forehead. I can hear the girls but I am doing my best to tune them out. Relax, unwind, sweat.

Suddenly I hear a piercing shout, an alarm call, uttered with the shear, sincere force of a four year old panic. “boy, Boy, BOY”. And more squealing, then a knock on the sauna door (the sauna I am in has a glass window). Suddenly I realize the “BOY!!” they are referring to is me.

Ha. I pull up the towel to cover my ample and generous bosom that is obviously confusing and scaring the children. I hear the adult moving outside, I hear a muffled “he covered up” or that is what I imagined I heard. I hear the sound of an adult reprimanding them and telling them to move along, get dressed and so on.

After some more sweating – I got up and left the sauna. I walked out and there was this adorable little girl who was still quite clearly confused, she was still staring at me.

I wanted frankly to open the towel and flash her …say “see – girl” but I didn’t think it was a good idea for a queer woman to flash children in the locker room at the Y. I could’ve said “don’t you see my toenails and the pretty pink polish?!” But instead I just smiled and headed for the showers.

40 years ago, 30 years ago, even 5 years ago having a little girl scream “BOY” would’ve been devastating now it doesn’t particularly bother me. While I know I am a woman, reminded lest I forget at least monthly – I think of myself as genderless. And I prefer it that way – not to be easy to label, or define, or stereotype. Just another queer human being. Or more preferably just a human being.

That’s my life in the margins – and one tale for this week of living in the shades of grey.

Andrea Gibson’s new book arrived today titled “Pole Dancing To Gospel Hymns” and I’ll leave you with this poem from the book. It’s so nice to know I am not alone.

Swing Set

“Are you a boy or a girl?” he asks,
staring up from all three feet
of his pudding-faced grandeur.

I say “Dylan, you’ve been in this class for three years
and you still don’t know if I’m a boy or a girl?”

“Uh-uh.”

“Well then, at this point I don’t think it matters,
do you?”

“Um…no. Can I have a push on the swing?”

And this happens every day.
It’s a tidal wave of kindergarten curiousity
Rushing strait for the rocks of me,
whatever I am.

In the classroom we discuss the milky way galaxy,
the orbit of the sun around the earth or…whatever.
Jupiter! Saturn! Mars!
“Kids, do you know that some of the stars
we see up in the sky are so far away they’ve already
burned out?
What do you think of that…Timmy?”

“Um…my mom says that even though you’ve got
hairs that grow from your legs
and the hairs on your head grow short and pokey
and you smell really bad like my dad
that you’re a girl.”

“You’re right. Thank you, Timmy.”

And so it goes.
On the playground she stares up
from behind her pink powder puff sunglasses
and asks, “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No,”

“Ohhh” she says. “Do you have a girlfriend?”

I say, “No, but if by some miracle twenty years from now
I ever finally do, I’ll definitely bring her by to meet you.
How’s that?”

“OK…can I have a push on the swing?”

And that’s the thing.
They don’t care.
They don’t care.
We, on the other hand…
My father sitting across the table at Christmas dinner
gritting his teeth over his still-full plate
his appetite raped away
by the intrusion of my haircut.
“What were you thinking? You used to be such a pretty girl!”

Frat boys drunk and screaming
leaning out the windows of their daddies’ SUVs
“Hey are you a faggot or a dyke?!”
And I wonder what would happen
if I met up with them in the middle of the night.

Then of course there’s always the not-so-bright-enough
Fluorescent light of the public restroom,
“Sir! Sir! Do you realize this is the ladies’ room?!”

“Yes, ma’am I do.
It’s just I didn’t feel comfortable
sticking this tampon up my penis
in the men’s room.”

But the best is always the mother at the market,
sticking up her nose
while pushing aside her child’s wide eyes
whispering, “Don’t stare, it’s rude,”

And I wanna say, “Listen, lady,
the only rude thing I see
is your paranoid, parental hand
pushing aside the best education on self
that little girl’s ever gonna get
living with your Maybelline lips, Stair Master hips
synthetic, kiwi, vanilla ‘spilling beauty.
So why don’t you take your pinks and blues,
your boy-girl rules
and shove ‘em in that cart
with your fucking issue of Cosmo,
‘cause tomorrow
I start my day with twenty-eight minds
that know a hell of a lot more than you do,
and if I show up in a pink frilly dress
those kids won’t love me any more or less.”

“Hey…are you a boy or a…oh, never mind,
can I have a push on the swing?”

And someday,
When we grow up,
It’s all gonna be that simple.

Coffee, Music, Taxes and Our Good Bodies.

Posted in Music, My Personal Views On Queerness, Personal ramblings on April 12, 2008 by boychick1

In my twenties, working as a creative director I’d start work at one o’ clock – working until 9pm. Get home or go right out from work. We’d hit the clubs (my musician, artist, designer friends) staying out nearly all night. All of us so queer, confused, fucked up and passing out in various beds. Up at noon – coffee and cigarettes – repeat, repeat, repeat.

Eventually friends move, I bought a house and grew more respectable. At least I got up earlier – still to several strong cups of coffee, turning on the music and ahhh that first cigarette of the day. Sucking it into my lungs was one of life’s best moments.

Of course it was killing me but at the time – ahh the pleasure.

Now at 45 she still wakes up fairly early 6-7 ish, still has that strong cup of Starbucks (now it’s decaf), the music goes on, the laptop is turned on…no cigarettes. It’s been three years or more since I have touched one and the notion just doesn’t cross my mind. When it does it’s very rare and surprises me. I was dating a smoker a bit ago and it worried me I’d start again. Instead I quit them both, or they me? Doesn’t matter.

But here I am – up with a great cup of coffee and Katie Sawicki. I could resist no longer had to download all of her albums …I had a single free download from iTunes so I downloaded her song “Tuesday” well every time I heard it, I had the greedy, compulsive need to have MORE. One addiction transferring to another. Well this one is healthy for everything but my credit card.

Art moves me. And I need to move today – as I have not done one thing, not a lick, to have my taxes done. What day is it? Never mind…I don’t clean a house, I am not organized, I have not done a thing. It’s a big box of crap and misc. receipts, Turbo Tax and hoping I have the cash to pay. Might be filing for an extension. “Your reason my dear”?! “Oh me – I am a disorganized genius fuck up and have a problem with authority, so I passively ignore government, rules, don’t call my mother as often as I should etc.”.

Frankly I would like to send in the following…(instead of a tax return)

“Dear Sir/Madame-

It seems my government wishes to treat me as a second class citizen who is not affored the same legal rights in employment situations, who cannot marry in 49 states, who can be murdered for being queer and yet my murderer is not responsible for a hate crime.

As my status as a queer American = fewer rights than the rest of the population. I will refrain from paying my taxes until such time that you are able to figure out a fair and reasonable discount for my situation.

You see I don’t feel it’s fair to pay the same thing for less.

Respectfully-
me”

…I swear if I was not responsible for all of these little lives residing here with me, I’d send it and encourage all of us to do the same. Maybe that would garner a little attention?

I got so far off the track with this rift (and it was fun) so I will toss up another post on good bodies. It’s coming, it’s coming.

Thanks for visiting —
janet

With A Woman On Each Arm – or maybe it’s in each ear.

Posted in Melissa Ferrick, My Personal Views On Queerness, Personal ramblings on April 6, 2008 by boychick1

I negotiate my life with a woman on each arm. They walk with me every day and certainly tickle my ears. Lucinda Williams and Melissa Ferrick have carried me through some rough and exhilerating times.

I tend to think people visit blogs to learn of our common humanity, one another’s struggles and success. Struggles for whatever reason being more interesting to most of us. And that said it has been hard for me to type out introspective confessionals – primarily because they feel very, very self indulgent.

After all I am not a young girl growing up in a brothel in India, a woman trying to avoid being raped in the Congo or huddled in a ditch in Baghdad. How dare I say I think of my life as hard? It’s not something I could say to any of them.

The last five+ years have been difficult though. And music has carried me through much of it. Music has always been important but became increasingly important when I struggled (and succeeded) in kicking a 20 + year, over a pack a day smoking habit. Puff, puff, puff. During that time I could not sit still with myself — I had fallen in love with a woman a few years before who was not interested in me beyond a friendship, I had come out and was wrestling with many things, mostly how to stop obsessing over her.

A little invention called an iPod pumped the music of these amazing musicians, mostly women, into my head as I walked, and walked, and ran, and walked. Not really sure if I was moving towards something or away from something but I knew I could not sit still
with myself. So when things became too much I would put on my running shoes, grab the iPod and leave the house. Sometimes out for two or three hours and ended up miles away from home.

Music saved me. That’s too dramatic – music helped save me. I think Lucinda Williams more than anyone else in those years carried me along (or I carried her along).

Recently I have been immersed in the music of Melissa Ferrick purchasing far more than I can really afford, then finding myself downloaded just a little bit more. I also admire the lives these woman lead, or the ones I imagine they lead, after all I don’t know them. But I admire the independent artists, like Melissa – when after being dropped my her major label Atlantic, went out on her own with no budget and started her own label. Doing over 150 shows a year for the last decade. Putting out so much great, great music on no budget. A woman, a guitar, a truck – wicked determination and talent.

On my own level I have now had my own decade long career with big ups and downs. Ten years ago I left a very lucrative job as a creative director/merchandiser when my boss, mentor and best friend died after a long battle with breast cancer. I stayed in that job for about another year but then resigned as it was too painful for me to continue.

I left knowing I had to work for myself ( I was exhausted and a mess, certainly in no shape for a traditional career) and I left deciding I would train dogs professionally. It was difficult and initially a financial disaster. Somehow with help from family, cashing in my IRA and so on I made it through those years making 10,000 or 15,000 a year. Kept my house, my car and so on. Eventually my business became one of the largest in the area seeing over 500 students a year in classes and working with another 100 or more on a private consultant basis.

At about that time – the time the business was really taking off, I was offered a job with a Humane Society as their Behavior Program Manager. Having volunteered in animal welfare and feeling like a social advocate by nature I took it. I walked into animal sheltering and handed them my business and mailing list. Instantly the shelter had a good behavior program/class program and had a program that actually worked below it’s allocated budget and made money. Each year experienced, despite a horrible Michigan economy double digit growth.

And I worked my ass off – literally – stressful, difficult work. For many reasons that I am not going to go into in this post (but will eventually). I have done almost every difficult job in sheltering.

In any event at some point in my career, the structure of the organization was changing. Management staff was leaving due to the E.D. Positions were changing. And in that process I recommended my position expand to one of Director of Behavior and Humane Education Programs.

It was during that process that I enjoyed learning (oh my tongue is way lost in my cheek) that I was not considered a candidate for humane education as I am “unmarried and childless” i.e. “gay” (left unsaid) “How would the parents of the children relate to me”, was a concern of my E.D, as well as the V.P. of Operations.

We are after all perverts ready to convert children to the homosexual agenda and sleep with goats (or did I just want to marry my dogs)? Oops, oops angry digression but I am over all of that, really I am.

Needless to say after some soul searching, thinking, much crying, no plan and a day spent literally clutching my chest due to the pains I had in it – I quit. I resigned end of story. Not really but enough of the story for one day.

And I went back to private training but now of course I was competing with my former employer, in a struggling economy, with more trainers in the area then ever before. A few ugly rounds there. It has been three longish years — I think I will see over 500 students this year (that is the goal, that’s how it’s looking), I can’t take anymore walking clients, and get probably 6-10 calls a day and a similiar number of e-mails. Not out of the woods but each day it seems to be improving. In an area with one of the worst, if not the worst economy in the nation.

But it’s been a struggle and when I feel sorry for myself I think about how a middle aged woman should not be just finding her sexuality, establishing a whole new social life, establishing herself in a career all over again and la, la, la. Having lost parents, becoming estranged from siblings, and friends and careers.

But that’s my life, and that’s todays confessional and reflective dribble…these woman carry me through their art. Art carries me, courage, integrity, compassion, authenticity. That is what I feel when Lucinda Williams or Melissa Ferrick stream through my head – and I feel more authentic, braver, more compassionate.

I feel their strength, I feel my own – I feel like we talk and walk together from the darkside of the heart. Where we learn all of life’s most precious and beautiful lessons. And we walk into the sunlight together.

Or at least with the break of spring finally here, I walk around in the sun with them all fucking glorious day long. Taller, stronger…turning the corner on what are and will be the best damn years of my life.

Thanks for reading.

Love-
Janet

Maybe It’s A Smith Thing

Posted in My Personal Views On Queerness on February 11, 2008 by boychick1

This from Patty Smith…

“I have always said … that I was beyond labels, beyond gender, independent,” Smith said, noting that at home she listens to everything from Richard Wagner’s operas to American folk.

“I sing all kinds of songs, whether it’s a Neil Young song or a primitive version of a Puccini aria,” she said. “I’m a great punk-rock guitar player, but in terms of music, the things I aspire to are infinite.”

the rest of the article is here.