03/27/2012

i just spent 3 days in a sort of radical queer creative space, learning to make a new kind of art and collaborating with people i fucking adore, learning from people i adore, loving everything, even myself. i came out enthused and invigorated, proud and confident and buoyant in a way i have not often felt like, in the last months (years?). i am crushed out, not just on wanna-be-makeout-pals, but also just friendships and connections built or strengthened there that i hope to follow forward.

please stay with me, my power. the taut of my belly, the thudding of my boots, the hammers in my fingers, the broadness of my shoulders under leather armor, the howl of my singing voice (so rich i can make it ring in my sinuses, and do).

i’ve been walking a lot instead of riding my bike, and it’s been good for me, tho i still have to weather the inner terror of how to greet strangers on the street sometimes, other times it feels effortless. also, if i’m singing we can usually just nod and smile at one another, or mutually ignore. i suspect i have walked 20-30 miles in the last week, much of it singing or talking to myself or just sorting out my brain.

been devouring fiction and poetry and zines like they are the stuff of life. it is the stuff of life, after all. Jeanette Winterson says (emphasis mine):

So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language — and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is.

It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.

music, also. not even those grand affairs like symponies and operas (such old world extravagance, so unfamiliar to me!), but the simple impromptu thrums of blues and punk, their intersections. i am base, i am of the body.

and: i am learning to play the bass, it feels like re-learning how to be in my body, becoming safe there. it is good, so so good. intensely cathartic, grounding. head and heart and body as one, finally focused.

i feel old to be just now getting into the local queer punk scene (i’m 26), but my life is far from over and i am hungry for it, so i come to the table. last autumn i traded some bike parts for a leather jacket to replace the one i’d given away a few years back to my then-lover. it feels like armor, a grounding weight about my shoulders that makes it tolerable to stand in a crowd with strangers touching me, and the music touching me, too, lacing itself into my hips and strengthening them. for a time i had stopped going to any shows (except Babekin and F’s, because they feel so special to me) because i just could not. bear. the crowd. but somehow armor works, in addition to giving myself permission to leave when i feel like it and not feel like i have to stay the distance to the end of the night.

when i feel up to it and can wrangle a friend to brave the masses with, i’ve also been going social dancing for a few hours at a time. another thing i had given up, social dancing. my inflamed joints begin to bother me after an hour or two, and the terror of having to ask people to dance is emotionally exhausting, but it all feels worth it, because the dancing itself is so good. despite feeling like a flaming faggot in the middle of a bunch of normals. it’s worth it, worth it, worth it. and besides: i like transgression.

it is spring, and every day starts anew. sometimes there are bad days. sometimes there are days when i am ready to haul myself someplace and give up, never get out of bed. other days are glorious, filled with hope and creativity and love. and other days still are some mixture, the more likely thing, that i should take what comes and make with it what i will.

-RD

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girls girls girls

03/26/2012

i miss the smell of you on my hands. the first girl i ever. cunt and cigarettes, i never wanted to wash my hands, ever again. we must have been about 14 or 15. i probably had a boyfriend, it seems like i always did at that age, but he was of no account. your face was not pretty, it was handsome. your body was broad and square but thick-hewn, rolls of tender flesh i wanted to put to my teeth (but didn’t). your voice was loud (too loud), gravelly with cigarettes, Boston, whiskey. your biceps bulged under your secret tattoo. you told me stories about your little Sicilian grandmother, Boston, your old life in a gang (i could never tell if these were made up or not).

this was before you and i stopped with the charade of “massages”, before the time you leaned over to a boy you were trying to get at and said, “i used to date girls, but i don’t, anymore. i like the cock.” looking directly at me the whole while.

i wish we had been braver. i wish i had.

i wish you would have told me how to help you come, instead of pushing away my hand with “that’s enough.” exhaustedly. “let’s go smoke,” you said.

let’s not. next time let’s stay up all night. show me how. show me how to touch you. show me how you touch yourself when no one is looking, fresh out the shower and in love with your own body, damp and clean and flushed and slick.

say please. say yes. say no. i can hear you. i am listening. just tell me.

03/17/2012

reflection: trying to coordinate a meeting with the [insert unflattering adjectives here] person who assaulted me is like trying to schedule what time i want to shoot myself in the foot, or be forced to shit in front of an entire jury who will grade me on a 1 to 10 scale of efficiency.

 

03/15/2012

oh right! i totally have friends who will call me by my preferred pronouns/name, and correct their housemates/friends when they call me by the wrong ones. and they don’t even seem to give it a second thought, they just DO IT, as reflexive as kicking when the sweet spot of the knee is tapped. <glow> hooray for humans mutually respecting one another!

shine a light

03/12/2012

sub·ver·sive/səbˈvərsiv/

Adjective:
Seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.
Noun:
A person with such aims.
Synonyms:
ruinous – destructive

Dear ____,
My friend A and I had dinner the last time she was in town. As we sat across the table from one another, she asked me, “How would you describe your sexuality?”
Not skipping a beat, I responded, “Subversive as fuck.”
She smiled. “Can you tell me more about that?”
I made allusion to some of my sexual exploits of the last few years (fisting boys, sucking cock, loving all of it) and we moved on to talking about her recent experiences, and then on to gender (“How’s your gender feeling lately?”).
By definition, subversive means seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution. That sure rings true for my life, my gender, my sexuality.
Most cultures throughout history have had a more complex understanding of gender than the dominant culture you and I are immersed in (see this map for an introduction: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/two-spirits/map.html). For instance, indigenous peoples of the Americas had a variety of genders, and recently native folks sometimes refer to being gay/lesbian/trans/queer/etc as being ‘two-spirit.’ I like this term a lot, though it’s not one I use for myself (y’know, I try to avoid cultural appropriation and all), because I feel like it conveys the complexity of a gendered life that colors outside the boxes of male and female, as well as the duality of my own identity. My friend F sometimes explains their gender identity as ‘a scraggly boy holding hands with a disheveled girl.’ I am like this but not like this, there are different characters but the duality is similar.
I think of my gender identity as oppositional, subversive, constantly pushing. I am part of the new guard of western culture, carving out space (and with it, slowly, safety!) for the other. The gender binary does no one any favors, it excludes the lives, bodies, and experiences of so many people. It excludes me and mine, for sure. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier if I would sit down and shut up, pass. Check the M box or the F box. But ultimately I would be perpetuating a whole host of things I don’t believe in, from the gender binary to the notion that trans people are somehow a shame and must pass. I have been and am all of these things: stone butch, nelly fag, femme boi, drag queen, faggot. Think of me as that crossdressing boy in a sequined dress, all limp wrists and sassy swagger, glitter intermingled with stubble. But think too of the Amazon who removed her left breast with a sword blade so as to better fit her body to her bow, a taut rod arched to defiance. Or sweaty bike boy, grease streaked across the cheek and creased under my nails, grinning and pungent after climbing yet another hill. I am all of these things; look at me not through a box but through a prism.
Gender is dynamic and infinite. What is acceptable now will have changed vastly by the time you or I die, hopefully of old age. It seems my generation is set on deconstructing the gender binary a bite at a time, and I am glad to be a part of that. We make ourselves safe by making others safe, too. You can be a man who cries at films, I can be a boi with bound breasts.
On one of our first dates you asked about my relationship with M and said something to the effect of, “I just kept seeing him treat you like a woman.” I tried then (and try still) to imagine what you meant. How does one treat a woman, specifically? The only things I can imagine are the grossest of things, the purchasing of affection by rings and chocolate, or the domineering of ones partner, all things that would never have even occurred to M. M treated me simply as myself, beloved co-conspirator, hotly desired lover, fellow purveyor of absurdity. And he trusted me with my strength, whether that be my fist inside of him as he came or my strength to weather my life’s trials and tribulations (and there were so many at the time). Thus, I can’t imagine any other way for he and I to have met but as individuals.
It seems you know already that reconciling what you’re seeing is up to you. I am writing this in part because these are things I have needed to put words to for quite some time, but also in part because I want to try to make it easier for you to somehow expand your world’s vastness to include mine. If you are having a hard time seeing me, break out the prism and shine a light–not on either/or but AND.

With warm and fond regard,
RD

learning to ask…

03/11/2012

learning to ask for it, trying not to feel guilty when i receive.

asking for support is like doing a trust fall but you don’t even know if there’s anybody there until you cry out and begin to fall (been falling this whole time). then suddenly–buoyancy, a whole host of hands.

unfamiliar: expressing a need and having it met. not resentfully, but gladly.

03/08/2012

SO ANGRY-SAD-ANGRY TODAY (sangry? is this where sangria came from?). maybe a good day to stand on top of a bridge and scream, and/or smash inanimate objects.

when we have our shedburg, i would like a booth for cathartic smash time.

smash all the manarchists.

Yo survivor: How do you talk about the cycle of abuse with your family? Do you? Do you talk about learning healthier ways of relating to people (boundary setting, coping skills, embodiment, etc)? Do you talk with them about healing work you are doing for yourself? Is there any measure of accountability for past abuse/boundary crossing shit? I mean, with yer bio fam, the ones you still speak to–if you do.

My mother has taken to telling me about the horrible toxic shit my maternal grandmother pulls on her. I’m glad she can’t perpetrate physical abuse on her anymore, but damn that woman still has some power. I told my mam she should just straight up stop speaking to her, but I think that (like me) she gets lonely, not having any family left but me, her partner, and their son. Her partner’s family tried for years to break up their marriage, it seems like it’s only 20 years on that they’ve become a little kinder and gentler.

I just, really. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK PEOPLE? can we just not be jerks already?

It’s more complicated than that, but still.

I understand, I do. It took me years to leave my father’s house, tho I was 18 when I left. When I was younger he would threaten to harm me or my partner and so I felt helpless, trapped–and of course, the law was on his side. And do you know? I love him, I just don’t think it’s safe for me to be anywhere near him/his partner/their little family, tho I have been talking about trying to get in touch with his sisters and our family in Mexico. I kind of want to go travel down there, listen to peoples’ stories, especially the women of our family, who I feel like are too often erased by misogyny, racism, and classism.

And still: I have often found myself in love with people who remind me of my father in some way, many of them positive–some of them less-than. Ho well. Awareness feels like half the battle with that.

Anyways, just needed a shoebox for my feelings, I am so tired of the cycle churning round and round. She also relayed some other dismaying news of the cycle of abuse being perpetrated upon folks of my generation, but I’ll try to let that rest for now, tho it’s nagging at me hard.