It's obviously been too long since I blogged. My browser didn't even suggest my URL when I typed butch... though good old Kyle popped right up, of course.
2008 is almost over. It's been a big year for me. January never seems like the right time to start a new year, spring would be more like it, and in fact spring was when my new year started in 2008. But with all this New Year's Resolutions talk in the air, I remembered a post I wrote back in April about what I intended for myself and my life once we got back to Boston. So this post is a sort of accounting about a kind of homecoming, because I want to see how I've done. (The stuff in italics is from the old post.)
Friends around whom I can be myself, no playacting, no tailoring my gender to fit what I think they will find acceptable. I want to be able to as boyish, as butch, as gentle and provocative and gallant as I feel. (Extant candidates: just a few. Interestingly, nearly all are fellow grad students.)
Check. Big giant fucking check on this, yes indeed. And it's even more awesome than I'd imagined, and so fundamental that I can hardly remember what life must have been like without any of that. But none of them are fellow grad students.
A safe place to live. Safe landlords, safe building, safe street. I don’t want to waste my time worrying about roaches or fire escapes or drugdealers.
Yes, I think it's fine, perfectly reasonably safe.
Access to activities nearby, ideally by foot or subway. Readings, shows, cafes, bars.
Well, not quite. Some stuff I walk to. I drive a whole lot more than I used to do, but a lot of that is carpooling, so that's fine, and I'm enjoying the driving, too. And you know, being a designated driver is actually helpful in keeping me from drinking more than I should. The subway is a lot more stressful now that I get stared at a whole lot more. Overall, this one didn't turn out the way I'd imagined, but it doesn't make any real difference.
Enough money budgeted to look good and do things. (This has been a major issue for me—having enough money in fact, but feeling compelled to be frugal and save it while hating my clothes and my life.)
Um, yeah, I'm not having any issues with compulsive frugality any more. ::moving on::
A hairdresser I trust. (Major trauma around this one. I’ve actually been told I have too much hair.)
Yeah, I love her, in fact. She's a little pricey (for me, 'cause I'm cheap, not 'cause she's fancy) and I've been flirting with trying a barbershop. But she's also family and it's so, so relaxing to go there. (Next time: Wednesday, thank god! Getting stupidly shaggy at the moment.)
To be a part of organizations, to do something productive, to have interests that pull me outside of myself and my home. (Extant candidates: two different book clubs, one with a queer focus, the other with a professional focus. Need something besides book clubs. Politics? I really want to start acting on my convictions and working for a change. How do to that? Also, something outdoors related? Walking/hiking?)
Check on this, too, though I'm doing a lot more partying and dancing than I would have thought, and a lot less of being the outdoorsy activist type. I guess that wasn't me after all, or at least, that's not me right now.
To have regular, loving, hot sex.
Oh yeah, baby. Like six hours ago. Thanks again for my Christmas present, sexy woman.
To do yoga, eat decently, sleep decently.
Hm, yoga has been a bit intermittent, but I'm doing a bunch of other related exercise things. Eating and sleeping are fine... well, there was a certain lack of sleep this week, but it was a well thought out violation.
To be able to say no to family interactions/gatherings when I need to, and to be myself there when I say yes.
Ok, the first stumbling block. I'm getting there on saying no. Honestly I had no idea what a major issue that was for me, the sense that I just couldn't refuse my mother anything she asked for. But that's getting sorted out. Being myself with my family? It's been a struggle, with some progress. The progress is internal, though--I don't do the destructive femming-out stuff that I used to do constantly, and so I'm not so devastated inside. But that hasn't always gone over well with family members, which has caused its own kinds of stress. I said to FG this morning that I think my family might slowly be realizing what a stranger a I really am , and on some level always have been, to them.
To be busy, to get tired, to have to hurry to accomplish something because my life is so full, rather than doing every damn little thing with the perfectionism that comes from sheer boredom and loneliness.
Oh, this makes me laugh. Busy? Tired? Yes. I think I'm running at N + 2 at least, where N = the number of things I can plausibly handle in my life. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way, not any more.
To have a lesbian context in which to exist, to stretch myself and test myself and be myself.
Interesting to read this... I feel I've found a queer context, not necessarily a lesbian one. And increasingly I think of myself more as queer than as lesbian, per se. Something for a longer, more thoughtful post, perhaps.
To be able to buy sex toys without fear.
My only fear now is for my credit card. Shopping online is fine, and I've stopped in one of our local (good) sex toy shops and browsed though I haven't yet bought anything there. But I'm sure I will, one of these days.
To have –no, to make time for genuinely creative endeavors apart from The Career. Personal/creative writing. Maybe picking up the guitar again. Maybe a creative writing group?
Yes, though all my personal writing has been here and there's been no guitar-playing at all. But the writing I do here is very important to me. And there's the dancing, which has become a significant part of my life. I would like to do something with making things with my hands but that's a long way off for now. There was also our little porch garden over the summer, too, which has turned into an even littler window garden now.
A space dedicated to my professional work—at home or not—so that I can focus on it there and leave it there.
I have the space, more or less. Just a corner of a room but it does stay there. I'm stressed about work at the moment but this too shall pass...
To be able to seek help as/when I need it—counseling, body work, whatever. Not to have to be the Lone-fucking-Ranger all the time who doesn’t need any help. (A big issue for me.)
Well, I hate to end on a down note, but that's still an issue, actually. It's still hard for me to admit weakness or to ask for the help I might really need. That's something I struggle with and I have not found an easy fix for it. We went to a marriage counselor a number of times over the summer and early fall and it was ok... helpful in some ways, kind of useless in others. (The counselor's take on gender identity issues was to ask me if I wanted to transition, and when I said I didn't think so, to figure the matter was completely resolved, to the point of referring to me as a "lady" at one point... just to take one representative gripe.) Anyway we got to the point where the useless outweighed the useful and stopped going but there are still issues out there for me that need addressing.
One of which is that, if I'm going to claim the "decent sleep" thing, I'd better finish this post and go to bed. It may not be too interesting to read, but I'm pleased to discover that I've achieved or made progress on most of my intentions. And in spite of all the difficulties, in spite of everything that's not so great or easy, I wouldn't trade the life I have now for what I had a year ago, not for anything. I love being alive now, even when I'm tired and stressed and up too late.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, warmest wishes to all of you and yours.