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.

blips of knowledge, the way i see it.

(because twitter has more or less ruined my ability to write full paragraphs unless i’m absolutely livid, i write in blips now. lord help.)

– broken ppl make broken homes. not divorces. not single parenting, or non-cohabitative coparenting.  broken ppl.

– maybe you can’t stop cheating on your partner cuz you never wanted to be monogamous to begin with.  & maybe you’re afraid to speak up. that’s nobody’s issue but yours.

– if you have babies w/ someone & don’t wanna fuck w/ them anymore, make sure your breakup is from them & not the kids. (raise your hand if you’ve had or presently suffer from the absentee parent blues & love that absentee parent but can’t fuck w/ em.)

– the reason i’m not laughing is because that shit isn’t the fuck funny. do better.

– to my fellas: if you’re that worried about kids being used as a ploy to get your money, put on a condom or get a reversible vasectomy. go half on her IUD, pills, or patch. shut your bitch ass the fuck up. (this one is a paraphrasing of something that fiqah said to me today.)

– to my ladies: motherhood is not the default. neither is monogamy. if you aren’t sure, make sure you wrap that shit up, b. please. cuz the fallout is not worth your sanity. the default breakup setting as of late seems to involve (exclusively) the leaving of mama holding the bag. not okay. not okay for you, for the kid(s).

– sometimes, the asshole is the person you like better. just watch yourself. don’t be surprised if/ when they do some asshole shit.

– grief is a motherfucker. when guilt rides its back, you’re in trouble.

– issues of race don’t ever boil down specifically to black versus white. they don’t. because black and white aren’t the only races. next!

– motherfuckers get really scared when you take your power, reclaim your space, and clean house. let them.

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.

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more on food stuff.

i read the comment left by ‘the vegan’ yesterday. and i read it again and again. i was going to respond directly to the comment but felt another blog post brewing. it’s ranty. it’s emotionally charged, because this is my life — and the very real lives of other folks — that i’m talking about here. so, here goes.

i don’t know if i wasn’t clear enough in this post to begin with, but, thanks to lovinginthewaryears’ comment i’m reminded that i never said once in this entry that i am as anti cruelty as i possibly can be. i’ve been ruminating on anti-imperialist action in my life. as a woman of color, my body is considered territory more often than not (ppl trying to decide how/ when/ where i ought to reproduce, for instance). i see similarities btwn the colonization of brown bodies and the functions of industrial farms — not just on the reproductive tip. i don’t agree with unnecessary brutalization of any being. however, if an animal has to die because its flesh feeds me — and anyone else — i can’t say it’s not necessary. i believe that less torturous methods can and should be used in farms, but because agribusinesses are running things, it’s not as likely to happen in the states. it’s just not. the work needs to be done by ALL people who are concerned to change he face of farming here. the same ppl who approve and encourage these practices — for they can hardly be called animal husbandry — are likely the folks who approve & encourage GMO plant life being part of the foods we eat. given that corn, soy, and wheat are the most used grains — and also have the highest percentages of GMO specimens — wouldn’t it be safe to say that we can’t eat the grains either? what about the farms that spray their tomatoes w/ salmon cells to protect the tomatoes from cold temps, so that they’ll grow when said tomatoes are not even in season? maybe i’m rambling. but, i feel that the whole system functions the same way. the prison system, these jobs, the government — it’s all the same shit to me. same cycle. so, to that end, i suppose we’re all working on whichever facet vexes us the most. that still doesn’t give anyone the space to condemn anyone else for surviving the best way they can. and that has nothing to do with knowledge of what’s ‘better.’ if they can’t do it, does it matter? i’d like for someone to trade me my food allergies for their diet CHOICES — dripping in privilege as much as racism/ sexism/ classism/ ableism — and tell me i’m wrong for eating chicken. go to the ER with your mom at 3 in the morning because you don’t know why she has hives and can’t keep water down, and then find out that it’s because of soybeans, which are virtually everywhere, and tell me she’s wrong for eating what doesn’t make her seriously ill.  i cannot and will not be sorry for being  a meat eater. i cannot and will not limit my diet to impossibly expensive gluten- and soy-free flour choices so that i can make my own bread.  i will not subsist on beans and rice forever just because it’s a vegan dish. for WHAT? when people who look like me are dying just as immediately or as slowly from drug addiction, abuse, police brutality, and violence against one another? no. sorry. not gonna happen. the quality of life for underprivileged (or poor or lower class or whatever words we use to dehumanize the situation) people has as much to do with the food choices they make as the availability of quality food. at the end of the day, the suburbanites have just as shitty food choices when you really think about it.

at the end of the day i refuse to be sick for anyone. i don’t care how wrong it is or isn’t. i’m surviving the best way i can.

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.