Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
Here it is! The sixth annual holiday gift guide for those of you who need some inspiration for the holidays. You’d be surprised how many folks tell me that they (or their partners) are lousy at gift-giving … it is definitely a skill that, like any skill, gets better when worked on, and it’s something that I love being good at. Sometimes my gifts are duds, but I try and have had some good wins this past year.
A tiny piece of advice? The best thing to do is to hone your observation skills, and keep an eye out for things that they covet, and do a little poking around to see what it is about that shirt/dress/accessory/handbag that is so appealing. It took me a long time to figure out that what Kristen loved most about the purses we kept looking at was a kiss clasp (and then a little longer to figure out what the name for that metal closure dohickey really was), but then I found a really great purse for her last year during the holidays.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Occupy movement lately … I think it’s really important to put our money where our mouth is and to shop locally and buy from indie and queer artists as much as possible this holiday season. It really does make a difference to make some specific choices about what to do with your money. Spend the time to find things locally, if you can. Spend the time to shop at independent stores. I know it’s more time consuming, but sometimes it can be really easy.
I’ve tried to link to as many local, small business type of places as possible. Sometimes I’m linking to Amazon not necessarily because you should get it there (though if you do, and use my links, thanks for that—I do get a teeny little kickback), but because I’m trying to show you what the product is so you can go find it at whatever source you might have near you.
Hope it is helpful!
THINGS I’M WISHING FOR
‘Cause Santa, I’ve been a very good boy.
A black leather belt (with a removeable buckle), also called a “belt strap,” usually comes all by itself for around $20. I love belt buckles. I have a bunch of belts, but somehow I am missing a good solid black leather belt—and I mean good leather, I bought one last year maybe that ended up being “man made leather” and has frayed and broken down and warped and feels lousy. So here’s some suggestions: Easy, simple distressed leather belt from Amazon. Beltmaster has some good ones in various styles. A nice one on etsy that comes with a buckle, very plain and simple, comes in nice color options, great to start somebody out with a belt buckle collection if they haven’t started that yet. And last but not least, if you’re looking at this for a kinkster, you might consider scrapping the interchangeable buckle belt and just going for a bondage belt from Aslan Leather. Don’t forget, you might have a local leather store! Shop locally! And if you want to get them started with a belt buckle collection, too, there is every kind of belt buckle imaginable on etsy. Whatever their interests, just put that + “belt buckle” into the search box and you’ll find something rad. (Bird + belt buckle; car + belt buckle; bicycle + belt buckle; you can even get ‘em customized.)
Neckties … Kristen at some point said she’d never know which to get me, since I have so many. I said, you know, it’s not so much about getting me some special one that I don’t have as much as it’s about picking out one that you like, which will remind me that it came from you when I wear it. She has since bought me two that I really like, a lavender one with filigree that I wear frequently and a striped bowtie that still needs to make its debut. I would love a few more bowties for my collection. I keep going back to thetiebar.com because they have great sorting options, but there are also plenty of local stores and discount outlets (Filene’s, Century 21) that are excellent tie sources. I tend to prefer non-silk ties these days because the silk ones are a little more formal, but then again a good silk tie is pretty darn great. A good tie bar is also a great thing for someone you know with a tie collection … I’d love one with something fun on it, like a personal message on the back (etsy has everything), or little flame.
A really good bottle of whiskey is always a good gift for me, right size and color, as they say. I like having a little bit of a whiskey collection around … and I haven’t tried the Maker’s 46 yet, though looking forward to that. I’ve been collecting a bit of the whiskey accoutrements lately and have some really nice glasses and a small bitters collection, but I’d still like a big ice cube tray that will make extra big ice cubes. If the whiskey drinker in your life doesn’t have any bitters yet, the Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters are the classic. Pick up an awesome book about bitters while you’re at it.
My cufflink collection is still in progress, I don’t have very many, though the ones I have I really love. I went to get a pair the other day and realized they’re scattered all over the drawer where I keep all my accessories. I could really use a nice box to keep ‘em in. And of course, etsy is an amazing source for custom and indy artist cufflinks, they have every type of thing there you could want (and a few you—or I, rather—would certainly not want, like I just caught a glimpse of molar cufflinks). Cuff Daddy has great options, too—I’m still lusting after these Superman cufflinks.
On the more expensive side, I’d love a pair of leather chaps. But I don’t even know where to start to get those … probably the Leatherman here in NYC. That goes on the dream wishlist.
I’m kind of going back to the old staples of butch accessories here, I realize, but these are actually the things at the top of my list this year. I tried to give some ideas and options and not just say “a belt” and “a tie.” Hope that is helpful!
Toys that deserve to be in your toy chest
What’s that? You want to turn it up, buy some explicitly sexy stuff? Oh yes that is a great idea. Here’s a few suggestions for my favorite stuff.
Liberator silk binding sashes. Especially lovely if she (you) likes to be dressed up as a present you (they) can unwrap. Can also be used as a belt for a little black dress. You know, just sayin’.
Aslan Leather Handy Cuff. I am kinda in love with this thing right now.
The new Pete packing briefs from SpareParts (the ones who make that Joque harness that everybody loves). These are comfy and awesome and perfect for a little soft pack. Get ‘em at Babeland or your local sex-positive feminist queer sex toy store.
I’m in progress of building a Cock Confidence Product Guide, where I’ll have a bunch of cock-centric stuff listed, like harnesses and accessories, all of which I recommend highly. So if you’re wanting something in that arena as a gift this holiday, know that is coming soon (and why they’re left off here).
See also: 2011 Valentine’s day gift ideas for more sexy things.
things I’ve bought kristen that were a hit
I can’t tell you what I’m planning for her this year (obviously, she reads this site), but I can tell you some of the wins from the past year, and I’ll link to the places I got ‘em. Mostly Etsy.
I’ve been keeping an eye on these ever since I saw Natalie Portman’s Lolita clutch while she was promoting Black Swan (remember that? I remember looking it up and it was like $258052) and I found an amazing Etsy store I kept checking back on periodically. Eventually I saw a cookbook, with a checkered cherry lining, and it was perfect. Book purse by prettytheory.
Hanky flowers by Shilo McCabe, aka kinkycraft—she’s on vacation until 2012! But you can be notified when she comes back and this is a necessary gift.
Custom door knocker earrings by bestnamenecklace. Kristen’s say “feminist.” (Sadly, I don’t have a great shot of them and she’s working late today, so I’ll have to get her to model them later.)
Glass cake stand. Tons of places make these, I think I found the one I gave Kristen at Century 21. Here’s one on Amazon. I worried it’d be frivolous and just take up space, but we use it all the time, kind of as a bread box.
Don’t forget the dirty books! Makes great stocking stuffers, if, you know, you’re into that.
You may also want to check out the gift guides from years past, since often they aren’t date-specific anyway and there might be some good ideas here: 2007 gift guide, 2008 gift guide, 2009 gift guide, and 2010 gift guide.
Alright! That was all I wrote—now tell me, what do you really want this holiday? Any gifts you are particularly lusting after? Any gifts you gave in the past year or so that were particularly well-received? I’d love to know more gift-giving secrets or tips, if you’ve got ‘em.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.
I find myself thinking about this quote often lately, the “queer, divine dissatisfaction” frequently bouncing around in my mind. There’s something up with me these last few months, something askew, something just not quite right that I can’t place.
Despite that my writing and freelance design (did you know I build websites professionally?) work is going quite well, despite the launch of Butch Lab last week after three months of work, despite having my very first erotica anthology in the works and the inbox filling up as the deadline approaches, something still feels unsatisfactory.
Unlike many folks, I actually enjoy the winter holidays, and I’m having a good time building a home out of my lovely apartment that I share with Kristen, especially since my former roommate left and we have the space to ourselves. It’s our first winter holiday season together—I haven’t been going back to where I grew up the past few years and Kristen decided not to go this year, so we are going through our families’ traditions and choosing our favorites, making up some new ones as we build our life together.
I feel better and better about New York City, I never would’ve guessed I’d be here this long and despite traveling to the West Coast four times this year, I had a dream a few months back that I had to move back to where I grew up, and I was all for it, excited to be returning, until I realized I would be leaving New York. No more Sideshow, no more readings at Happy Endings and the Bowery, no more D train across the Manhattan bridge and events at the Center, no more Lesbian Sex Mafia, no more Kelli and Cheryl and Dacia and Mamone and Anne and Em and Grace and Diana and IDP and Prospect Park. And I panicked, in the dream, and yelled NO I’m not ready! and I woke up realizing I really wasn’t. I’m not. My Brooklyn freelance life is great, the best way I’ve lived in New York so far. I’ve been in the same apartment for three-plus years, longer than I’ve lived in any single place since the house I grew up in. I’ve been in New York five and a half years, and I left Seattle after being there six and a half years, so I’m getting close to having lived here longer than anywhere else. And though I thought I’d be way ready to go after this long in this concrete jungle, that I’m staying and making a life here actually feels pretty good.
And hi, have you seen my very sexy, gorgeous, radiant girlfriend? Not to objectify her, except well, yes, to objectify her just a little, because she likes that and I generally have permission to do so here in my little online world, and because her sexy gorgeousness is just one part of her and one part of what I’m madly in love with about her, other things being: her adventurous baking experiments, her kitchen tenacity in general, her extraordinary ability to communicate emotionally, the way she can work a room at a party, the shade of blue her eyes sparkle when she’s excited, the shade of pink her skin flushes, her high high sex drive, her openness to playing, how determined she is to make a place for herself in the world, how incredibly thoughtful she is at making the people around her feel comfortable and safe and interesting, her sensitive big heart.
I could go on.
Not to brag, except well, yes, to brag just a little bit, out of an honoring of what I’m grateful for, and because I really thought I’d never find somebody this amazing, and I was starting to get really convinced that I’d have to settle, that I wouldn’t find someone this good for me.
I almost feel stable! I love what I’m doing, I love where I’m going and what plans I have in 2011, this last year has been probably my favorite time period my whole life, I’ve never been this happy or satisfied … so why am I feeling a little bit unhappy and unsatisfied? My logical brain can’t quite wrap my head around it, but there’s something kind of shadowy that I get a glimpse of every once in a while, lurking behind my lungs somewhere.
And … well, that’s about it. On the one hand, my beautiful life. On the other hand, this shadow. I don’t know what it is. Hello, shadow, what are you? Who are you? Where do you come from? I’m not that scared of you right now, more just … curious. Tell me what it is you came here for. Let me know what you’re hiding from me.
It seems to be so quiet, subtle. I’m not sure I can force a shadow to reveal itself, especially not if I go after it with a spotlight.
So I’ll try to wait, and make a space for it to show itself, and be ready to hear whatever is going on, when it is ready to reveal itself.
I know it’s a bit late for this, but here’s five (fairly traditional) ideas for the masculine-leaning butches and bois and boys and transfolks in your life:
A good solid belt buckle is an essential butch accessory, in my opinion. I’ve always liked belts, but it took me way to long to graduate from regular buckled belts to belts with detachable and interchangeable buckles – they’re heavier, for one, and they look amazing, plus there are so many styles.
Etsy is amazing for buckles – do a search and include a keyword of one of your butch’s hobbies (like bikes or birds or beer) and it’ll turn up some amazing vintage or handmade results, many for less than $20.
(Belt buckle shown from Lucybluestudio’s Etsy store)
I kind of hate to give it away, but Cuff Daddy is my current favorite place for cufflinks. They have everything! I haven’t even searched through all of their little figures and all the fun categories. They have cufflinks that are watches! Levels! Compasses! I’m currently coveting the Superman emblem cufflinks, myself.
Don’t forget Etsy for cufflinks, too. Ditto to the belt buckles, put in a couple key words – pinup, Obama – and you’ll get all sorts of great results.
If she’s already got some cufflinks, and probably doesn’t need more? Consider this cufflinks box in black leather.
(Betty Page cufflinks from Bellamodaartist’s Etsy store)
Uh, okay, Etsy for-the-win of #1 and #2, I should probably say something else for #3, right? Well, you already know that you can search Etsy for vintage and handmade ties – add a keyword and you’ll come up with awesome skull ties, striped ties, butterfly ties, whatever your butch happens to like.
If that’s not quite fancy enough for ya, perhaps consider a Tie of the Month Club. J Crew is doing one now (it’s a 888 number to sign up, I can’t seem to link to it on their website directly). They’ve got some great ties.
4. Pocket knife
Or if a knife isn’t really her thing, what about a pocket watch?
5. Shaving Kit
Even if it’s occasional, or for gender play, how hot would this fabulous shaving kit look on her dresser or in her bathroom?
Maybe you can recreate the famous k.d. lang and Cindy Crawford 1993 Vanity Fair photo shoot.
If that’s not enough good ideas for ya, take a flashback to the 2007 Butch/Femme Holiday Gift Guide that I wrote last year, maybe some of those will pique your interest.
Femmes … what would you absolutely love to receive from your friends & lovers this year? C’mon, help us out with some ideas.
A few friends and fans and readers have emailed me about sending me something, and in the spirit of the holidays, here’s a few things you can do for me, if you feel so inspired … Read More
A few weeks back, Muse & I went to a meditation group and I held her jacket for her when we were heading outside. She dipped down to let me more easily slide the coat up onto her shoulders, and I laughed.
“You’re not supposed to move,” I said. “Just let me do the work. This chivalry thing is designed to make you look good.”
She laughed too. “Ah, right. How would I know that? Nobody holds my coat for me. You’re bringing butch back.”
I like that. I like the alliteration, three b’s in a row, and the second epitrite of poetic meter in the phrasing. I really can’t take credit for bringing butch back – honestly, I don’t think it ever went anywhere, I think if anything it just went a bit underground during the gay and women’s rights movements, and many folks are now reimerging to problematize and celebrate gender, myself included. And youth these days are more open to gender and sexuality differences than we ever have been, so aside from some old-school activists coming out of the woodwork, the youth also have a hand in opening up these conversations, refusing to be limited by labels or definitions, and yet finding value in the historical contexts of labels and words as well.
Chivalry is deeply feminist to me. When in femmes, I expect femininity to be deliberate, done with the whole knowledge of the compulsory heteronormative restrictions which dictate that women must be and do certain things, particular that we must wear high heels, delicate cloth, restrictive clothing. Femininity is not made for comfort or movement, it is made to accentuate the sexualization of a woman’s body – and that’s why things like holding her doors open (so she doesn’t dirty her white gloves or expensive manicure), pulling her chair out (so she doesn’t have to awkwardly move a bulky piece of furniture, and risk getting it caught on her skirt or stockings and ripping something) or holding her coat (so she doesn’t have to reach around and risk ripping the tight seams in her shoulders or upper back) are necessary to me, as an acknowledgement of how restrictive femininity can be, and of how difficult it is to walk around the world in these clothes, as a celebration of the beauty of femininity on the body, and with deep respect for the courage to costume and perform femme to begin with.
There’s a long history of these gender roles, these accentuations of the body as a flirtation, as a mating ritual, as peacocking, to attempt to attract a lover.
All this is to say, I’m really not taking credit for “bringing butch back.” But I like the phrasing, and I’d like to think that I’m encouraging it. I’ve written it before (& I’ll write it again): I would never tell someone what their identity is, I would always wait for them to tell me how they choose to identify. But because I’ve found such play and liberation and fun and self-empowerment inside of butch, I do want to encourage and support it.
The Spring Equinox celebrates the return of life and growth to the thawing earth. For the first time since the Fall Equinox, the time of light and dark in a single day are equal. From this day forth, Spring will arrive, and with her, a wild spurt of growth begins. Shoots of young grass appear, leaves sprout on trees, birds and their songs return. Winter and the dark time have finally been put behind us, and the season of growth has begun. This holiday is truly a celebration of life and nature.
Since the Spring Equinox represents new life and growth, this is the perfect holiday for planting seeds of your own on the path of your life. New ventures may be aided by the spirit of life and growth that abound, and many people decorate eggs at this time with symbols of fertility. All is new and possible. In addition, this holiday is an ideal time to break the last of the chains that may halt our growth.
So that’s what I’m thinking about today: what chains may be halting my own growth, and how to let them instead be little sprigs of pure green.
My Butch/Femme Holiday Gift List is getting out of control. I have four pages of notes in my journal, multiple notepad files with links and images. And I just can’t seem to polish it up enough to finish, and fuck, time is running out.
So, I’m going to pick five.
Gifts for the butch-leaning gal in your life:
|Engraved hidden message collar stays
From Red EnvelopeI’m always losing collar stays in the wash, and these are super sweet, with messages like “You’re so handsome.” Awww.
|Men’s accessories box
From Red EnvelopeBecause we still have watches, leather cuffs, chains, collar stays, rings, pocketwatches, cuff links … so of course, we must have somewhere fabulous to hold it all!
Red Envelope has many other excellent gifts, check em out.
|Ties that Don’t Suck – by Cyberoptix TieLab on EtsyThese ties are so badass. Some of them are kinda spendy, but they’re beautiful, and so high quality.
For someone slightly more punk rock, consider Tomcat Threads for some awesome one-of-a-kind vintage silkscreened ties. I have one of these with a microphone on it, and it’s my favorite tie of all.
Look for somewhat slim, skinny, narrow ties, especially for female-bodied folks who are slender. Cyberoptix has many options in the narrow-tie style.
Via AmazonHandblown glass remake of a classic whiskey tumbler. Perfect for other refined liquors, even if she’s not a bourbon/whiskey/scotch kinda guy. Also consider a flask – even better if it’s engraved with some memorable phrase or image she will love. I wouldn’t recommend something like “to my sweetie, love, me” – it’ll be much more timeless with a personal touch, but not a personalization.
|Tiffany Classic Money Clip
From Tiffany & CoEven if she’s more of a wallet kind of guy, a money clip is a good thing to have in the accessory box … and Tiffany’s engraves. Gorgeous, classic.
Also consider Cufflinks from Tiffany, there are some fantastic classic, plain, smooth sets that would be such a great gift.
Gifts for the femme-leaning gal in your life:
|Perfume BottleI wouldn’t really presume to buy her her favorite perfume, or a new perfume, unless she asks for it (or hints at it!) specifically, but antique perfume bottles are so beautiful on a dresser or vanity, and hold the scents that she picks out.||
|LingerieOh, I know. It’s a tough one. You gotta know her size, and have an idea of what she likes – and what you like. Browse around through Princess Tamtam and Agent Provocateur for inspiring ideas.
(Yes, that’s Maggie Gyllanhall over there, modeling Agent Provocateur lingerie. Many other photos of her at the site.)
|Shoes. Oh my god, shoes.Shoes are another tough one. I can recommend some good sites, but probably not specific shoes: the Red Door Store has a fantastic selection, as does Endless (and, as a sidenote, I really geek out on the navigation and interface for Endless. Gorgeous).
The Red Door Store has lingerie, costumes, and bondage gear, too …
|Vintage Brush & Hand Mirror setThese are kinda hard to find; I bought a set on eBay as a gift for the Unholy ex last year (you may remember that, if you’ve been around. I can’t find the post on it) and I thought it was a brilliant suggestion. The beauty of these items alone, even if they are not used or functional, is such a lovely addition to a vanity or dresser top.|
|JewelryMan, I feel like I’m going with very cliche femme gifts. Perfume, jewelry, shoes, lingerie? Really, Sinclair? Somebody help me out here, leave more suggestions in the comments, please. Good thing I don’t have anybody special to buy for this year.
Meanwhile: I adore this necklace from Janet Jewelry. You can customize some text to go onto it, or choose some excellent phrases that Janet has already made, like “The best revenge is living well” or “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Super sexy.
|More Jewelry … rings, this timeRings are loaded, I know, but if you can go for it, these rings from Amy Peters Studio are amazing and lovely. I want a set for myself, someday.It’s a ring set, three rings with different words on each one: Believe Dream Hope Wish / In About For For / Peace Magic Love Happiness. So they make a little sentence as they rotate on your finger.||
I got some great comments from femmes about what they wanted for the holidays, so I’ll direct you over there for some more ideas. The iBuzz vibrator for two was suggested, and one last particular mention comes from a reader via email:
I am a submissive, by choice and nature. And though my butch is quite accomodating, there are some things I can’t even imagine her doing unless asked. Brushing my hair, painting my toenails, wearing a sleeveless tee, baggy jeans with a hint of boxers revealed, and Tims, donning toolbelt, hammering and drilling at my command, sweating and…wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. You get my point. In a nutshell, I want a day of servitude from my butch…anything I want for a whole day.
Sounds like a fabulous gift, to me.
Because I still haven’t finished the Butch/Femme Holiday Gift Guide for this year (dammit), I offer you these holiday wishes from The Wet Spots.
Sugarbutch stands in an interesting place within online communities; I see it as touching on and fusing various subjects – activism, feminism, sex, gender, queer theory and culture, sex toys, fantasy, kink, SM, relationships, occasional buddhist philosophies, poetry, community – and while there are multiple circles for these subjects individually, I feel like I have few neighbors doing the same thing I’m doing. But even so, there are many people within these overlapping communities who have contributed, read, commented, and helped Sugarbutch over the past year and a half, and I am partcularly grateful to them today.Before I give thanks, though, my activist self HAS to mention something about the history of colonization in the Americas, and First Nations rights, and how yucky it is that we still celebrate the “discovery” of the US, the Eurocentricism of our history, the history books were written by the winners, et cetera, et cetera. On Thanksgiving, I break out my Buffy Sainte-Marie CDs (seriously, can you name any Native American recording artists?), The People’s History of the United States, and maybe Scarlet’s Walk.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, My Country Tis of Thy People You’re Dying (click the “more” part for the lyrics):
I just can’t “celebrate” Thanksgiving without some acknowledgement of the suffering upon which this country was built.
Despite the shady history of this holiday, I still very much appreciate the chance to celebrate what I am grateful for. Nothing wrong with saying thanks, gathering together, being appreciative.
So, thank you, neighbors and friends, family and lovers, for your inspiration and presence in my life, for your influence, your feedback, your friendship.
my fabulous friends here in this big bad city … the femme, who doesn’t have an online handle; birdee; and my buddy over at Post No Bills, who is throwing a great Turkey Day gathering today (that I will be heading to, assuming I finish some writing)
Jezbian, my “big sister”
Ice, still in Seattle but our friendship is only getting stronger
Matt, extraordinary poet and friend
Molly Bennett Creative
Heather Corrina and Scarleteen, for the amazing activist work
Audacia Ray and her forward-thinking porn and activism
Rachel Kramer Bussell, her amazing writing work – she is such a pillar in this writing/sex community
Dylan, for reading and commenting here practically from the beginning, and for butch bonding, and for reminding me that the butches are NOT dying out, that there are still young butches
Essin’ Em, for her prolific sex education
the folks at Feministing, because while I want to take issue with a lot of what they’re doing, they are still being quite successful at being a catalyst for young women’s feminism, and that’s fantastic
Viviane, from Viviane’s Sex Carnival, she’s the “blog mommy,” as she is coming to be known, for throwing her amazing Tea Parties and enabling me to meet much of the New York crew of sex bloggers: Jefferson, fellow bourbon lover, who will go down in history as THE New York Playboy; Tess D, from whom I have continuously learned how explorative and fun the world of fantasy can be; Avah, Calico, Madeline; Lolita, whose sexy tricks I would love to learn; Eileen & Maymay, who I am excited to get to know better …
I’m also extremely grateful to the girls who have met me with my sex and gender explorations, in bed, in coffee shops, in dark bars, in comments on this site, in my dreams, in the Sugarbutch Star contest (it’s finishing up, I swear).
Thank you, for being a part of my life; you have effected it, changed it for the better. I’m very, very grateful for this community.
* Amendment, a few links:
Four questions to ask yourself to boost your feelings of gratitude, from the Happiness Project
25 Books I’m grateful for, over on Feministing
I set a few goals for myself this past Memorial Day weekend, including: spend time with myself, finish the “unputdownable” (and I use that in a tongue-in-cheek way – have you noticed the upswing of use of this term in publishing lately? I think it’s rediculous, personally) book I started, clean up the apartment, go to the park and throw the frisbee around.And, perhaps most importantly: to go through the boxes underneath my bed.
My bed is up on risers, partly, I admit, because I like higher beds (better angles that way) but also partly because in my former three-hundred-square-foot-apartment-with-no-closets, I needed storage space. So when I moved in, much of those boxes that I didn’t have time or space or appropriate fixtures to unpack ended up shoved under the bed. Some of them, like boxes of old journals and boxes of photographs, will probably stay down there, or stay in ‘storage’ in general, but others I knew I needed to go through.
This is what I found:
Two boxes of clothes, including three sarongs, sarong pants, two Ani Difranco tee shirts, four spaghetti-strap tank tops with things like “cunt” and “fruit” on them, two Alix Olsen tee shirts, my letter sweater from high school, a sweatshirt from my pre-school (that was a gift after I left home, not from when I was actually in pre-school), and the blue “diesel dyke” jacket I used to wear nearly every day
A small shoebox of stuffed animals, small ones, that I’ve collected or been given over the years
Two boxes of CDs. This is a problem, actually, because I don’t have any CD storage unit anymore, and I’m not really sure what to do with the hundreds of CDs I have. I should probably go through them and rip them into digital music and get rid of them, at least half of them or so, the ones that I don’t really care to have, but my desktop computer is on its last legs, and needs a serious upgrade, so that has to happen first.
Hats – five baseball caps, one cowboy hat, one top hat from halloween years ago. I don’t really wear hats.
Two boxes of electronic chords and gadgets, including two (dead, I think) CD players, a landline phone (will I ever need one of those again?), CAT cabling, various power chords for who-knows-what devices …
Three shoe-boxes, what I tend to refer to as “memory boxes,” containing things like ticket stubs for concerts, movies, and plays; birthday cards and letters; notes from friends and lovers; notes-to-myself scraps of paper when I didn’t have my journal with me, likely scribbled at concerts, at museums, or bars; photographs; nametags or laminated passes for when I was a volunteer for theatre or film festivals … you get the idea. All sorts of scrapbook-type bits of paper, things I wanted to remember that I did.
Why do I save these things?, I asked myself. Partly, it’s for exactly this experience of going through them, remembering those fun events and moments of my life that were significant. I consolidated those three shoeboxes of memories into one larger hat-box sized box, and it overflowed a little, so I went through some of it, throwing enough of it away that it would fit. I’m kind of sad to throw them away, actually, because that act of going through the box is exactly the reason to keep it. But will that stuff ever be of value to anyone but me? Does that matter? I’m not much of a scrapbooker, but I suppose I could be, or perhaps I should be, if I want to keep all of this … stuff. Is that necessary, though? Do I need to keep my ticketstub for Ocean’s 11 and Border/Clash and Ami Lagendre’s dance performance from 2002? If I can’t remember that I went, were they really all that significant?I also ran into all kinds of notes from past loves, really sweet cards and thoughts and moments from those relationships. Why do I hold on to those things? Do I really want to go back to them, relive them later? I only feel sad, they make me ache a little. Do they really have a purpose, is there a need for them in my life? I’m not sure. I can’t really think of why I might need them. But somehow, I can’t quite let go of them either.
My impulse is to organize all this data, take the fragments and put them chronologically into a book, a scrapbook, and construct a life from them. I guess that’s what I always thought I’d do with them. But do I really want to spend time doing that? Obsessing over and organizing my past? What would that really do? I’d end up with a book, a creative scrapbook of some of the things in my life that mattered. Who would look at it, besides me? Would I even look at it?
I took some of the boxes down from the shelf in my closet, too. There is still more work to do with the boxes under my bed, but I compiled a few boxes, sorted through half the clothes, have two boxes now to give away or donate (if I can ever figure out how to do that here in Brooklyn).
Damnit, I just went to work on the “weekend update” entries I’ve been working on and discovered that I didn’t save them yesterday. I hadn’t finished – not even the first part – but that’s annoying.Having a frustrating day, actually. I believe people tend to get weird around their birthdays, it kind of depends on the year and the person and the circumstances what kind of “weirdness” it is, but there’s always something a little bit off and strange about the weeks around that particular date. Thanks, much, for all the birthday wishes & greetings, it was terribly sweet and wonderful of everyone and I feel loved & blessed. :)
I’m still trying to finish my submission for Best Lesbian Erotica 2008 (it was due 4/1, I only had a YEAR to finish it) and that’s stressing me out too. Lucky for me, I’m heading home after work and will have lots of time to myself tonight!