What’s between your legs? And why does it matter?!

A conversation happened today in which the subject of the events going on in the US was being discussed. I was present but not part of the discussion but when a remark was made that we didn’t need to worry , up here in Canada, and especially here in this city because, after all… there weren’t really that many gays. As a matter of fact, this person said, she didn’t even know anyone who was gay. Well, hold on there…now I was part of the discussion, thank you very much.

After outing myself and being open that I have many friends and chosen family who live in the states and that they have very real and very founded fears for themselves and their lives, not to mention the potential ramifications on their employment and basic human rights, I explained that it wasn’t something that was just an issue in the states. That as a gay woman, in an openly lesbian relationship with another woman, safety IS something that is a consideration, even in Canada.

I was told bluntly that, as a “straight looking feminine woman” I don’t look like a “real gay person” and therefore, I don’t have any reason to be afraid for what is happening in the US since the election. Sadly, this is not the first time – or the last probably – that this sentiment is voiced.

As a Femme dyke, I know that I am very often misread as being straight. I also know that I am always quick to openly correct someone when that assumption is made known. One reason for that is for that exact point – because I don’t look like what some uninformed or unexposed people would expect a gay person to look like. So, in my little way, in my predominantly safe area of the world that we live in, I try to do what I can to expose people.  It’s often frustrating and feels like one step forward two steps back as I see a stranger being dismissive or worse yet, seeing someone who has been working to understand and accept suddenly come out with a remark that is born of long standing beliefs that are, clearly, not as changed as I had hoped.

Later in the day, a small remark from a co-worker about someone who may or may not “be a man” sparked a remark back from me that asked the question “what makes a person a man or a woman. If they say they’re a man, then they’re a man”.

I was frustrated and upset from the earlier conversation and would normally have let this go but not today. So here’s my little roller coaster of “nope, not dropping this one today”, it’s time for a bit of a rant…

*disclaimer, this is in no way comprehensive, it covers just what I ranted about today in person with my co-worker, notably, masculine/feminine and the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation*

What defines a person’s gender? Or their sexual orientation? Or their self identity? Or, or, or….? Spoiler alert, aka the short answer: Not you.

The terms masculine and feminine are not gender specific. They are simply terms that are used to categorize certain traits, mannerisms and characteristics of behaviour and appearance or presentation. Yet they are so often used in such a limited, and limiting way that it’s harmful.

We are taught from as far back as we can recall that a person is labelled as a boy or a girl because of what they are born with between their legs. Along with whatever parts are visible is the expectation of how they will dress, behave and what what roles in society they will fit into. All based on genitals. That’s a lot to live up to based on physical presentation. So what if what a person is, who they are, is not what society says they should be, based on what is between their legs and on their chest?

What do you do with the little girl who wants to ride dirt bikes and play ice hockey instead of ringette? Or the little boy who loves to match his socks to his shirts and draws intricate doodles of flowers. Both of these examples by the way are of children that I knew when my kids were in school, and in both cases, it was the parents who were far more judgemental than the other kids.

Ok you say, some people are gay and that’s ok. Ah, but what if these little kids aren’t gay? What if they are what they are in their expression of themselves and it has nothing to do with who they will be sexually and/or romantically attracted to when they grow up? A person’s gender identity and their sexual orientation are not the same thing.

How do you classify a masculine woman; one who identifies as a woman, has the commonly accepted physical aspects of female (pssst, I mean a vagina) but who is more masculine than feminine in her dress and mannerisms.

How do you classify a feminine man; one that has a penis – so he must be a man (because that is, of course, how you determine these things after all) but his mannerisms and way of dressing or acting would be more commonly called feminine?

Then add in the aspect of sexuality and sexuality orientation.

What if that masculine woman isn’t a lesbian like you thought she would be when you slotted her into that category in your mind? Because all women who dress and act more “like a man” must be lesbians. Just like that woman that you see in feminine dress and make up must be straight. Maybe, maybe not – on both accounts. Oh but what if that pretty, feminine woman has a penis? She might, or she might not. How would you know, and why would it make a difference to what you see her as. What matters is how she sees herself and how she lives her life.

What if that man who is so feminine, and who you assume must be a gay man, isn’t? What if he’s a straight man who is, just simply, more feminine that what you think a straight man should be like? Oh but wait, what if he has a vagina? But then again how would you know, and what would it matter.

So many what if’s! So many varieties and options and possibilities! What if you just accepted a person as just that: a person. My sexual orientation has nothing to do with how I interact with someone in day to day life. Neither does my self identity of gender. Unless we are looking to hookup or date, it just doesn’t matter. It’s really that simple.

You may now unbuckle and get off the roller coaster. The tilt-a-whirl is just around the corner, I’ll meet you there for the next ride 😉

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Picture this

My new little foray into more image and less words for the lolabits expression can be found at my new blog site, such stuff as dreams. Still very much keeping up this site, but sometimes a picture can speak louder than words and sometimes words just aren’t needed so this new exploration fills that gap for me :).

For those of you that aren’t on my Facebook feed or haven’t seen it, a little invite to come stop by and see what it’s about.

Lola

This could become a “thing”!

So today is my birthday and, unlike most years, I’m embracing it in ways that I normally wouldn’t. I’m not one to put a lot of significance into acknowledging or celebrating it. It’s not a day that has usually had much recognition, by myself more so than anyone else. I don’t mean it in a way of saying that I feel like it’s been ignored or that it’s been a negative thing, it’s just the way that I’m wired for it. Some people make a huge deal out of their birthdays, and that’s all good, I’m just not one of them. I had actually kept my birth date off of social media for years because I don;t like a lot of attention being paid to it, usually.

Last year was a bit out of the norm for me. My partner did make a deal of. She treated me to a surprise night out at an amazing show and a wonderful home-cooked dinner. Being made to feel special was a new experience for me. The way she did it was the best and I loved it’s simplicity and it’s personal nature. It felt good to feel good and to celebrate something that is so intrinsically personal and all about me. Not an easy thing for me to understand.

This year, from the moment go this morning, it’s been a new experience. I’m not “doing” anything for my birthday but I am “being” different today and how that is feeling to me has taken me by surprise. It began though, before today even. Last night I took the time to pick up a couple of things while I was grocery shopping. Items that would help make an already planned and looked-forward-to dinner even better. Items that will compliment the scrumptious pasta sauce that my sweetie sent me home with from the weekend.

I took the time to think of how to make my planned experience even better.

I took the time to think of myself and how could I could make myself happier.

I put my attention on myself.

That’s a big thing. That’s not something that is my usually way of being and thinking. Felt good though.

I woke up this morning and made myself coffee and took my time getting ready. I actually dawdled and sat and scrolled through social media and smiled as I saw messages and wishes for a happy day.

I made a conscious and very intentional decision to pick out something to wear that I loved and that made me feel good today. Why? For the unheard of reason that I decided that I wanted to feel amazing today and that I deserved that.

What a concept! One that, as simple and easy and obvious as it sounds, isn’t one that I operate with as part of my life usually. It’s not anything as dysfunctional as “I hate myself” (most of the time) but it’s just that I don;t register on my own radar for doing something, anything, for myself beyond necessity and basics.

Being, what I would consider self indulgent, or even just being attentive to what will put a smile on my face or make me feel good inside or out doesn’t exist for me really.

But you know what? I have spent the day (so far! It’s not over yet!) paying attention to myself and putting myself and feeling good foremost in my mind – even while working a full day and getting things done!

I’ve taken the time to indulge in thinking about  myself and in recognizing that my feeling good is important and worth spending time and energy on. This may have to become a daily thing, it feels so good. This could become a thing!

Miscommunication by Generation Gap

*her (client, early twenties)* “excuse me, do you have the wifi password for here?”

*me (working, nearing mid forties)* “Of course, it’s (I pause, giving her time to get ready to type as she is holding her device in her hand, at the ready) Spine, with a capital S, pound sign, zero, zero, seven.”

*her* (typing, she stops and looks at me) “is pound with a capital P too?”

*me* “Nope, I mean the pound sign, not the word pound. You know, the “number” sign it’s called too. It’s Spine, with a capital S, pound sign, then zero, zero, seven.” (I smile)

*her* blinks and stares at me, silent.

*me* stares back, smiling, silent

*her* stares back and smiles

*me*Would you like me to write it down?”

*her* “That would be great” she beams.

*me* writes down “Spine#007” and hands her the piece of paper.

*her* “Oh, you mean a hashtag! That symbol is a hashtag, not whatever you called it – a pound? It’s a hashtag. It came out a couple of years ago.” She smiles.

she hands me back the piece of paper as she starts typing and turns to sit down.

*me* “Yeah, thanks” I smile back.

#itusedtobecalledsomethingelsereallyitdid

 

 

i want you to

i want you to read with your eyes closed.

i want your senses to play musical chairs and have sight be the one left standing, walking away alone when the music stops.

allow the letters and syllables and lines on the pages to be nonsensical to you as they are felt and not merely seen.

let your fingertips dance over the smoothness of the words, barely caressing them as you pull them in closer to you.

grip them harshly, devour them and savour them.

decimate them with your lust for what they harbour.

feel how they squirm under the intensity of your scrutiny and discovery.

revel in that feeling.

i want you to see the words with the depth of so much more than simple,deceptive sight.

feel the words, don’t interpret them with intellect.

taste the bitterness of them rise up in your throat as you try to swallow them down and make them disappear when they’re too much.

bask in the discomfort they show you as they rip away where you hide.

be terrified of their depth, and their height, and leap into them anyways.

relish the sweetness of them as your tongue embraces their offerings to your soul.

watch goosebumps appear on your flesh as their libidinous morsels send shivers down your spine.

i want you to be deafened by the pounding of your heartbeat as the words make you want to turn and run, uncertain if you want to leave them behind you or cleave to them and hold on for dear life.

i want anger and beauty and pain and brilliance to course through your veins.

ink, the blood of your syllabic circulatory system.

Sunday Night

The ferry terminal is far behind me.

The car ride home full of me singing alone, too loudly.

To fill the silence left after I dropped you off.

You are on your way back to your home.

Miles from mine.

The signs of your presence meet me as I walk through the door to my apartment.

Reminders of you, of us, greet me.

The jumble of bed sheets that speak of our last few minutes in each other’s arms.

Your pants lie on the floor where they were tossed.

The shirt that smells of you resting on my pillow where you left it for me to find.

Knowing that tonight I won’t have you in my arms but this will give me something to hold to until the next weekend is here.

Your toothbrush in the bathroom will stay where it was left.

Waiting for you to return.

I will look at it every morning and night, a constant promise that you’ll be back.

My fridge, full of leftovers from our meals this weekend, that are your way of making sure I’m taken care of by you even when you aren’t here.

“I love you” spoken with plastic containers and aluminum foil.

Your eyeglasses rest on the bed side table.

Making me smile as I remember how you took them off and put them aside so I could more easily kiss you in bed last night.

Reminder and promises are what I have tonight.

They make me smile as I look forward to next weekend.

A Year of Yes

A year of saying yes starts today.

It was 25 years ago today that my life changed forever (happy birthday today to my oldest!) and it’s as good a day as any for me to start another step on my path. Seems kind of fitting somehow actually.

A concept that was introduced to me by my partner and something that has taken hold in my musings.

To say yes instead of no or maybe. Not something as sweeping as saying yes to everything that comes my way; I’m wanting a shake up in how I live but I’m not completely off my rocker, thank you very much.

Essentially how I see it is simple. To make a conscious decision to not stay stuck in patterns of behaviour that have become unhealthy and limiting to myself. The only way to change is to change. It really is that simple.

It’s not saying yes to every option I am presented with or with every opportunity that comes my way. What my year of yes will be is taking the chances that I would normally knee jerk into a “no”. It’s not letting my fears or reservations make my decisions for me like I have been. It’s being conscious of choosing to nudge myself outside of the comfortable areas that I have come to hibernate so well within these past few years. It’s not automatically shutting down an opportunity that excites me because I’m nervous or uncertain. It’s feeling all that and deciding to do it anyways. It’s trying something when I’m not sure if I’ll succeed or not. It’s seeing risks and taking them.

It’s more than saying yes to invitations, it’s also saying yes to what I ask of myself. It’s not limiting myself and my growth anymore due to fears or insecurities. It’s believing in myself again and my potential and letting myself rise to the bar that has no set height except for where I set it…. and I’m tired of keeping it set as low as I have. It’s telling myself to shut up when I say I can’t or shouldn’t. It’s saying yes, you can and you should, and you will.
Is it scary? Yes. Look, I said it… that wasn’t too bad 🙂