I Don’t Know WTF To Write.

But, damn, do I miss it. I miss mind dumping and writing essays and asking questions and cracking jokes. I miss dissecting bullshit arguments and linking to the people I find rather brilliant.

I miss blogging.

And I’m slowly coming back to it.

A Mind Dump: Hetero Men, Ending My Gaycation, and What If He Wants to Watch?

(I know I pretty much never write here any longer. Consider this my return.)

I have a lot of moments of sheer brilliance while in the bathroom. Don’t we all? In the shower yesterday, washing my baby fro, I thought about what happens when a heterosexual man tells me “lesbians are cool,” or something similar. As if being a lesbian (cisgender specifically, as trans* identified lesbians are often not on the straight dude’s radar) is somehow a pair of sneakers or a hoodie or some fucked up slogan tee shirt. Like someone’s identity can be or is trendy. Not a good look, straight dude(s).

Of course, these conversations have been had plenty times: male gaze, blah blah blah, I’m a person and not a fantasy, etc. But it’s pulling at me specifically because I am a queer identified (pansexuals, stand up!) woman who’s been seriously considering ending a self-imposed gaycation. That is, I stopped dating hetero men for a while — because I often found myself being stressed out by the dynamics of navigating these dealings outside of a fuck buddy relationship. I often found myself chirping up to defend and explain queer folks, queer culture, etc. It became exhausting. I chose to take a step back. Maybe I was too sensitive. Maybe it felt like too much work. “You can’t make everybody get it,” I’d tell myself. It was/ is true. Everyone isn’t gonna recognize their privileged thinking and or behavior. Everyone isn’t gonna stand down long enough to understand that intent doesn’t make oppressive behavior any less oppressive.

So, here I am, thinking maybe I can take another swing at dating straight men. And then the alarm bells go off in my head: BUT THEY’RE GONNA FETISHIZE YOOOOOU! Because some folks don’t get the complexities of queer identities. Because some folks (straight and gay alike!) still think bisexualiy is the place you go before you’re “just all the way” gay or something. I’ve basically given myself an unreasonable amount of around feeling safe when entering the dating world.

I decided that, instead of building my angst, I should identify what’s bothering me, and see if I can’t navigate it on my own. Here are my concerns, in no order of importance:

  • I am queer, and automatically perceived as a threat to any/ every heterosexual man’s sexuality.
  • I have to explain myself, and maybe even justify my existence to somebody.
  • If he asks to watch me have sex w/ another woman, what do I say?
  • I can’t bring these motherfuckers around my queer friends, I’ll feel like a traitor/ asshole/ saboteur if I do. I can’t prove that someone’s an ally, or that they are “okay” or cool.

I had to stop myself. Where was all this coming from? The short answer: kyriarchy.  The long answer: what I’ve lived through, what I’ve seen happen with other folks, what folks have told me about their lives. Because many USians are socialized to regard the experiences/ viewpoints of white hetero able bodied men as the norm, any single person who does not fall in line is considered “other,” right? So I’m black, fat, queer, and not interested in centering a worldview that counts me as less important. There’s friction. And I’m not afraid of friction. I just don’t know if I want to be The One Who Teaches You Better.

That is, I have made it a point to build a community of loving, affirmative folks around myself. Folks to whom I don’t need to explain my queerness, or answer questions like, “Why would you date a woman who dresses like a man, instead of an actual man?” or “What do you mean ‘self-defined woman’?” I’m tired of that. That’s the world I live in any damn way. I feel like I deserve sanctuary in my interpersonal relationships.

So I guess it could be argued that I ain’t for everybody. And I know I’m not. It would seem, though, that the thing that most sticks in my craw: what I do in bed w/ another consenting adult — regardless of gender identity — isn’t for anyone but the two of us. It’s not for anyone else’s enjoyment, not for anyone else’s pleasure, unless we make it that way. Further, the idea that anyone should watch two cis women fucking suggests specifically that the relationship between these two cisgender women is sexual only. That there is no romance. That emotional intimacy can only take place in a relationship in a cis hetero relationship. Not true. I mean, I know that. But why do I HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE THIS?

Ugh. More later. I’ve been at this an hour already and have somewhere to be.

couldn’t have said it better myself!

my big sister omi just laid it allllllll the way out in this blog post.  (i’ve italicized it for clarity between it and my own words.)

12.12.2009
an exercise in restraint
i’ve done a bit of meeting and greeting lately. feels good. i am grateful for the confidence and clarity it’s brought. plus, i haven’t done deep visualization in a long time, so it’s been catalyzing.

it’s also reminded me how impatient i can be in the “will he/won’t he call” stage.

typically, i don’t mind doing a little legwork if i think the guy’s worth it. if you want something, go get it, right?

since i’m nearly always operating from my intuitive, heart-self and not my head, i often see and am attracted to said potential. therefore, my natural inclination is to give them what they need without deep regard as to whether or not they are able to return the favor. i always get the basic, “decent guy” packaging, so they are at least willing to try to reciprocate.

unfortunately, where i can get ocean-deep, they often flounder. and that’s when things fall apart. so i’ve decided it’s probably better to step back and let them show themselves first.

now more than ever, i am totally focused on cultivating intentionality in my relationships–even in the beginning stages.

love can come and will be reciprocated as applicable. i’m open to that. and i’m still gonna get mine when i want it. however, there will be no commitment without real, tangible outcomes, and i have no problem stating that very clearly.

you want me? that’s sweet. prove it.

over the last thirteen years, i’ve learned three big lessons: first, there’s a thin line between mysterious, creative depths and the masking of unearthed and unacknowledged pain. second, if i need a crowbar and forceps to approach your psyche, it’s not gonna work. third–and probably most important–a well-rehearsed melange of coping and defense mechanisms is not a personality.

lots of really “nice guys” have all that going. in spades.

so, yeah. i’m ready to hop back on the merry-go-round.

…just understand that i am heavily armed.

this goes, for friends, too. shit.

after much contemplation, i’ve realized:

i’m everything i could ever want in a mate. & i’m not mad at that. not one bit.

i’ll be marrying myselves sometime between my 30th birthday & the day i die. invitations pending, i suppose.

i contain multitudes. (affirmations/ mantras)

i believe in the infinity of myself.
i am never alone.
i am love and i am loved.
my steps are ordered.
i belong to no one but myself.
i am light; i attract light.
peace of mind is my birthright.
my gifts are mine & mine alone; no one can take them from me.
my timing is the right timing for me and my affairs.

dulled my senses & blurried my sight.

& i used to love HIM . . . meaning god. as a man. because i was raised christian, and therefore any idea of a woman in the bible (from what i was taught in 2 years of christian day school) was never really positive. the first woman mentioned in the bible is eve. and eve instituted the downfall of mankind by eating the apple, etc. i was never taught, in my schooling (or my home discussions, or in church) about positive women in the bible, aside from the virgin mary — who was really just a vehicle for the christ. she was insignificant. she did not matter. and, it was implicit that she did not matter. i’m sure that in some situations, it was plainly stated that since she didn’t ‘save anyone’ that she wasn’t of any import. and mary magdalene was a whore — she couldn’t have possibly been an actual apostle or jesus’ wife. and so on, and so on.

so, being the me i was at 14-18, i had to think twice about all of that. every time i went to church and was told that i should feel the presence of god the father, i would feel numb. i would feel like i wasn’t getting everything i should have from that spirit. if it makes any sense at all to anyone besides me: i felt like i was getting an abridged version of god. like there was more to the whole experience, something people weren’t talking about or even thinking of in their own ruminations on the creator.

so, i strayed from that path i’d been told to follow. i went to a quaker school, participated in a guided meditation group (complete w/ chakra cleansing!) led by a former nun who worked as a teacher at my school, and read about religions that were not anything like christianity. i wasn’t particularly moved, but definitely intrigued. and i noted that i only felt connected to any higher power when singing or surrounded by music — secular or religious. i was concerned. because of the teachings i’d had as a little kid, i thought something was wrong with me. that something was broken. that god could not reach me because i was not right or pure.

per anyone i’d ask, or any research i’d done (by reviewing sermons) the alternative to feeling the way i did was throwing myself fully into a faith practice that never felt 100% right. that didn’t make sense to me, either. so, i drifted.

and then i read it: i found god in myself/ & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely

it meant everything all of a sudden. it meant freedom. it meant i needed to learn about oshun, i needed to research ishtar, and that maybe lilith wasn’t just the name of some music fair.

& then i learned that god isn’t male or female, necessarily. something a christian minister once told me was that the god of your own understanding is the god you serve. purely. truthfully. honestly.

& through orisha worship, through ancestor reverence, through living my life in a way that makes me feel full and right?

i saw the divine. she, the divine feminine. he, the father. the holy spirit. i touched it. it filled me up. i saw the balance, i saw both sides.

(this is likely going to be fleshed out later, to tie back into the title. but gimme some time, my laptop ain’t shit and i’m moving!)

the hierarchy of food.

i used to be a vegetarian. or, i should say, a pescetarian. i didn’t eat birds, cows, lambs, sheep, deer, or pigs. i ate lots of vegetables, lots of meat substitutes, etc. i drank lots of water. i thought i was healthier than meat eaters to some extent, but i was largely a veggie because i was disgusted by the idea of consuming flesh. it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. i went back to meat, cuz i love chick-fil-a.
i never really thought much about it, until sometime in 2006 when i became a vegetarian more or less by default. i couldn’t afford meat. and i didn’t like to cook it, then eat it. so, i very rarely prepared meat at home — i’d have pre-cooked, or somewhat processed (lots of stuff from trader joe’s, maybe a cheesesteak from a local spot) meat items. but one day, i started getting really sick. i was diagnosed with IBS and though there’s no real treatment for it, i did what i could to lessen its symptoms and impact. less stress, etc. but it got worse, especially when i finally returned to ‘regular’ food.

about 6 months after my first visits to the GI doctor, it really started to click: i ate a handful of pretzels. i was sick for two days and had hives on my arms. the pretzels contained wheat and soy. i assumed it was wheat, though i’d long ago suspected that soy was giving me lots of womb issues. so, bit by bit i had to eliminate things in my house. no more faux-meats (except for quorn products, which are often gluten free and soy free but not always vegan), no more bread, pasta, etc. i had to stop eating a lot of different prepared foods, as they almost always contained soy. soy lecithin, soybean oil, vegetable oil . . . the list goes on and on. i had to change how i ate. when i was broke, the cheapest things to eat were always pasta and baked tofu & veggies with some discounted tomatoes made into a sauce. i had to change that. i had to eat rice noodles. i had to use mushrooms, squash & zucchini when i prepared my ‘broke bitch’ food. i was cool with that. less food prep was involved, etc.  but the more i thought about it, the more frazzled i became.  why? because the things i could eat were very limited.  if i were hungry and on the go, i had to pray that i’d find something that didn’t involve eggs, soy, wheat, or dairy. because, of course, when you eat one fucked up thing there’s always another two or three or ten lurking behind. i am allergic to fish. i don’t eat eggs, because they make my stomach hurt (but i’ll eat something with egg as an ingredient, i.e. a gluten- and soy-free cake that has egg in it).  and so on.  i had to describe myself at one point as a vegan meat eater — that is, when i felt comfortable with my food restrictions enough to eat what i could, instead of what was available.  sometimes, the foods that i am most allergic to are the least expensive (see: ramen noodles — not that i ever ate them regularly — and lunchmeat & bread), depending on where i am (i live within walking distance of two supermarkets where i’m able to get what i need).  i wondered how this impacts folks who don’t have the same resources i do.  what if i come to a place in life where i no longer have those resources? and what’s caused these reactions? am i “lesser” for not choosing to be a locavore, vegetarian or vegan?

i don’t argue w/ the veggies/ vegans anymore on the animal cruelty tip. my reasoning is very simple. being who you are, in this country, in this place, in those clothes, etc. means you are dominating someone else on this planet. whether it’s a fellow citizen or a sweatshop worker, a child laborer, a kidnapped female sex worker, or war prisoner, you dominate with everything you do. if you desire to advocate for the lives of farm animals instead of human beings, i can’t stop you. but understand that it’s all connected. industrial farms are no different than puppy mills, no different than the factories that employ the people who make the nikes, et cetera. yes. i know this. but if you’ve never been allergic to fish, soy, eggs, milk, and wheat (possibly all gluten, including oatmeal), i don’t think you have room to talk shit about how someone chooses to get their protein. my sister, for instance, is allergic to mushrooms, tomatoes, soy, fish, eggs, dairy and onions, but can eat wheat.  tell her she needs to be a veggie, and she’ll laugh in your face. it’s her choice (as well as it is mine, and my mom’s, and anyone else’s) to get her protein from lean meats from locally raised animals, if from local farms at all. shit.   usually, people take care of themselves, the best way they know how and are able to.  we have to be equipped to do these things, right? 

** sort-of sidebar: animal cruelty is reflective of larger and deeply-rooted societal issues, in my opinion. how many ‘famous’ murderers first practiced on animals? how many people who are ill equipped to adequately deal with their own emotional shit pick on defenseless, smaller, or supposedly subordinate beings?  isn’t destructiveness of what can be broken down usually the result of a feeling of disenfranchisement elsewhere in one’s existence? wouldn’t that help to explain why dog fighting is so popular in working class communites and communities of color? **

so i’m saying, it’s taken me close to 12 hours to write this blog post.  and i don’t feel any closer to a conclusion.  i feel like choosing to be a vegetarian or vegan or locavore as a means of protesting big business farms/ food distro is a great idea. it is impactful when part of a bigger organizing.  i feel that by itself,  it falls short in some ways. no method is perfect. i also feel that it is classist, or at the very least excludes persons whose resources are severely limited. it is no secret that, in this country, the ‘healthier’ food options available to us are often more costly than the ‘regular’ food options. what do you do when you make “too much” for food stamps? what do you do when that $8 worth of antibiotic-free, free range, hormone-free, vegetarian-fed chicken is not enough for you alone to eat for more than two meals? i don’t know. i suppose it’s the same thing as understanding and implementing environmental justice instead of simply ‘going green’ in the hood.  you kinda have to see the bigger picture in order to even come close to knowing what your work is going to do.

and on another note, you can’t tell people how to live the best life for themselves without knowing intimately what their situation is. i’ll never forget the sideways look i got from someone for talking about how good bacon is. at one time, i didn’t eat pork or red meat because i was so thirsty for an identity i thought that super bohemian afro queen of the universe might suit me — and what better place to begin than with my food choices?  it failed. because i wasn’t coming from a place of my own understanding, but instead doing something that i thought would ally me with other folks.  i’m older, wiser, more traveled, and a lot more mellow.  i come back to the same thing i’ve said repeatedly to folks about my life: what’s right for you is not always — and sometimes never — right for another person.  we do not have the space to judge. we have the space to be ourselves, and live our best lives. and if we are truly concerned with that, picking on someone for eating meat (or not eating meat, or being homosexual, or being trans, or being a person with a disability, or WHATEVER) isn’t going to fucking matter.

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