In the past two months, I’ve resigned from two major positions that I’ve held for the past few years: Media Chair on the BUTCH Voices Board, and national women’s coordinator and New York City coordinator for the Body Electric School.
There are various reasons for both of these resignations, and I’m not sure how much to really go in to here, so I’ll opt for very little.
I’ve loved working with both of these places. Body Electric, I have loved you since I set foot in my second workshop and cracked open my whole body and let something new flood in, some sort of pleasure-spirit cocktail that got me high and holy and eager for more. I’m still open to being a part of Body Electric in some form, but I’m no longer coordinating workshops (this October’s Outside the Boxes workshop will be my last one).
BUTCH Voices, I have been so touched and relieved and humbled to get to know all of you board members and advisory board members and steering committee folks, and I am lucky to have you as friends now, after doing this amazing community service of putting on the 2013 national conference. Media Team, special shout-out to you and all your amazing work you put in to our look and feel and communications. Thank you.
I’m so glad I did it. I’m glad I said yes to both of those, I’m glad I served those organizations. But unfortunatley, neither of them are sustainable financially, because the amount of work put in isn’t equal to the compensation I receive. It’s not just monetary compensation, and I didn’t go in to either of those jobs expecting that—but it’s also community compensation, contacts and networking, energy, gratitude, friendships, experience, and all those kinds of things. And it just hasn’t been enough.
Maybe it would be enough if I was sustaining my own financial self, but I’m not. I need to be more careful about all those hours I’ve spent volunteering my time and giving my time away for very little. I need to make smarter financial and energetic decisions. I need some serious self-care time, as I continue healing and moving forward from this transition.
And! I have some exciting new things in the works.
I’m finally starting to treat what I’ve been calling my “freelance” work over the past four years or so as an actual business, and trying to make some decisions accordingly. I’m doing a lot of re-visioning and planning in order to re-launch my business in three parts: writing, teaching, and coaching.
I recently got new business cards, which are actually bookmarks, and they are focused on this three-part business strategy thing:
They’re bookmarks that double as business cards, or business cards that double as bookmarks. What? It’s not like you have to identify as just one thing, anyway.
Want one? Ask me for them next time you see me in person, I’m carrying them around pretty much everywhere.
I’ve also got some new plans brewing to continue erotic embodiment workshops and collaborations, but nothing is official or public yet, so I’m just going to be secretive and let you know that new things are growing, and hopefully I will tell you lots more soon.
I’m excited for these changes! I’m not sure if they’ll work or not, but I want to keep trying. I’m practicing being determined, keeping my tenacity up, building strong movement forward.
Tags: body electric, bookmarks or business cards?, boxes is almost full actually so if you want to come you should sign up soon, business decisions, butch voices, gender jokes, I probably need to get some other job but we'll see how that happens, outside the boxes, quitter, quitting, writing teaching coaching
To Love You
An adventure for which I
have been preparing, long before
we met. A practice in honesty
with myself and others. A crow
bar opening my ribcage wider
than I thought it’d go. A pill I swallow
to make all the colors brighter.
A zipline I can’t let go of for fear
of plummeting back to where
I’ve already been. A breakfast
in bed, lazy, perfect on a weekend.
A heartbeat to which I can count out
a 4/4 rhythm and always
carry a bass line. A harmony.
A tune I can almost make out of
a song I know so well but can’t
quite remember. A return to
myself. An exercise in becoming
supernova without exploding.
A crazy idea that just might work.
An adoration. A prayer with my whole
body, starting at my lips. A midnight
candlelight canopy garden of treasure.
A menagerie custom made for me.
A secret I hesitate to share because
I want to cherish it enough for the
whole world. A promise, but I’m not
yet sure for what. An anchor in my
marrow. A pen full of ink and not
enough paper. The slick oil of finger-
prints on glass. A smooth river stone
large enough to balance on one
foot. Lit birthday candles that won’t
blow out. A hike into the shady forest
with a picnic and a fairy tale. Your skin
shined with sweat. A relief. A tribute.
An ache that fills me more than any
ache should. A symphony of leaves.
A choir of hiding places. A quilt from
old tee shirts. Look, that’s from my
first concert. You saw that same tour,
but we didn’t know yet
what that meant, either.
Tags: metaphor, my boy rife, overdone, poetry, revealing probably too much, unsustainable, what it means, who knows
Tags: character study, conflict, everything has changed, I'm happier, making peace, responsibility, struggle, what the fuck, who am I now
Tags: breakup, feelings feelings fucking feelings, it's that simple, kristen, making peace, reconciliation, seeking ... something, self-destruction, what if I lived in joy
Tags: advice to myself from me, all those things, breakups, fear, fucking wallowing ugh, go easy, I am so angry, I don't know if it's helping it might be making me feeeeel it more but what else is there to do?, I don't want this, I'm being so dramatic but I can't stop the fucking feelings, let go, making peace, my heart is so broken, relationships, still trying to write through it, this is everything
Dear Mr. Sexsmith,
My butch lover refers to me as gorgeous, luscious, beautiful… [but] I just don’t think those kind of descriptive words work for her. What would you suggest? Thanks!
My personal favorites?
Some more ideas?
Striking. Charming. Dazzling. Gentleman. Stud(ly). Rough. Tough. Hero(ic). Attractive. Big.
And, do delve a little deeper:
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling someone masculine gorgeous or beautiful or any of those words. (I don’t know if I’d use “luscious” … not sure what it is exactly, maybe it implies curviness to me, and it wouldn’t resonate if someone used that for me. But I can think of some very luscious butches who would probably like that word used to describe them, so don’t take my preference as the norm.) I think we separate complimentary words by gender, and while many people have certain resonances with certain words regardless of their gender identity—and I think those should be respected, and it doesn’t really matter if the words someone likes happen to all fall in one generally gendered category or not—I think it’s good to take a look at why some of them resonate over others, and whether that’s personal preference or cultural habit.
I remember reading somewhere that “men want to be powerful, women want to be beautiful,” and while I think there’s some heteronormative/patriarchal/misogynistic deconstruction that should probably happen around that idea, I also think it is largely true and reproduced in this culture. And, I think we tend to compliment along those lines when we’re talking about complimenting someone feminine verses complimenting someone masculine. So first of all, women are powerful and beautiful, men are beautiful and powerful, genderqueer and trans and butch and femme folks are powerful and beautiful, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being both. In fact, I think it’s a radical act a) to recognize that our gender roles operate by trying to keep men striving for power and women striving for beauty, which reinforces the kyriarchy, and b) to intentionally break those gender roles by complimenting people for the incredible, sparkly, dazzling things that we notice them doing, by which we are touched and changed.
I think this topic of complimentary words warrants a fascinating conversation between partners. E.g., “Hey, when I use words like attractive and sexy and beautiful when I describe you, do you like that? What kinds of words do you like to be called? Are there words that I call you that sometimes bug you? Isn’t it interesting that certain words are reserved for femininity and others for masculinity? Would it feel strange if I called you pretty/strong/luscious/my hero?”
Brainstorm. Make a list. Do some google searches. Ask around to your friends next time you’re out and about and see what kind of lists they make of compliments for their girlfriends/boifriends/partners. Go back to your partner and try out some of those words, see what the response is. Maybe they just don’t like their body to be talked about or commented upon, even if you are in awe of their gorgeousness and want to tell them so every day. Maybe they like certain words to be used and they just don’t know why, but it makes more sense and resonates deeper. That’s okay. Listen to each other.
I like to use words that have the intended effect, and if I intend one thing and they take it another way, it isn’t actually effective, even if I intend it to be so. And regardless of gender identity, I like to call people what they want to be called.
Would y’all like to weigh in on other complimentary words for butches (or for anyone, for that matter)? What words do you call your butch lover? What words have you found that butches like to be called? What compliments stick?
Tags: beautiful and powerful, butch identity, butch words for beautiful, call people what they want to be called, communicate, compliments, conversations, dazzling sparkly things, gender identity, kyriarchy, listen to each other, personal preference vs cultural habit, radical acts of compliments, semantics, words
Tags: floating man driftwood hooves silent rotten ivory half-blooded dragged fish lights wound rain moon liquor living goodnights beat radio lantern marking, grace, grief, healing, heartbreak, making peace, sometimes this is all I can do, things that toss around in my brain, trying everything I can think of, word pool, writing, writing prompt
Tags: attempts to apologize, feeling all the feelings, forgiveness, grief, guilt, journaling, just trying all the possible routes, making peace, maybe peace won't come this way, peace comes the hard way, please I need more peace some peace something, the category formerly known as omphaloskepsis, ugh serious naval-gazing
The last thing we packed up: Mom’s rhubarb-raspberry crumble.
The ferry; our early morning departure from Juneau.
After sleeping on the ferry, we get on the road. Moonscape + roads near Skagway.
Then we got to the Yukon, and got a flat tire. Camped for the night and headed on to the junction the next morning … | Where we got the tire patched. Nothing around for miles.
Stopped for some of the sights. This is the signpost forest in mid-BC
Saw some herds of bison!
Baby bison! | Scenery. Seriously. The road just went on and on and on.
Just … beautiful.
Camped at Laird Hot Springs.
The path to the hot springs | hot springs!
QUINTESSENTIAL ROAD TRIP PHOTO (it’s a smushed bug, for the record, not bird poop. An epicly big bug.)
The driving-to-Alaska bible, aka The Milepost | Mile by mile
Women/men? Rest stop bathroom in southern British Columbia, Canada
I took this just to show you, to make that random reference in My Father’s Son make more sense.
breakfast. every. day.
We didn’t miss the entire berry season! The boy was sooo happy.
blueberries (by the handful!) | blackberries | loganberries
nom nom blueberries | “ohh I don’t feel so good.” | blueberry tummyache!
Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park campsite in Heart O’the Hills, my favorite campsite on the trip. The trees were so huge.
Hammocks are the best | Gourmet camp cooking
Old growth, so beautiful | “Four legged frolic” came up as a word in dirty pictionary (also called Pervartistry). I mean who calls it a four-legged frolic? Well, shit, I’m going to now, that’s for sure. Also, note rife’s drawing skills.
Best breakfast ever! With my good buddy Dr. G in Sequim before we got on the road to Oregon | Arriving in our Oregon hotel, first thing I did was unpack the toys. A real bed! Luxury!
Tree in Oregon farmland
us, somewhere | wine tasting in about four different Oregon vineyards
Sunset while arriving in the Bay Area | Realizing this was the first time I’ve driven after dark in more than six weeks
Tags: alaska, camping, eye candy, how I spent my summer, how was your summer?, I can't believe we did that, instagram, oregon, photo essays, photographs, road trip, so beautiful, there's more on instagram, time to be done with this backlog of photos, washington, yukon
Tags: fuck this, making peace, metaphor, poetry, practice practice practice, rambling journally things, recipes, writing