Humbled

Fear can do shitty things to your head.  Even though I know what a trickster fear is, I still keep letting it get the best of me.  Will I ever master it?  I don’t know.  I do know that it humbles me, that I am humbled by how far from my values I can fall when I am afraid.

I don’t just hurt myself with this, I hurt those I love.

Fear is so damned convincing but it really doesn’t need to work so hard, it just has to knife you in the gut and off you go, reacting before you have a chance to think about what you’re doing.  Under the influence of fear, I see threats all around and I lash out at the very people who love me most.  But I can’t sit here and pass off the blame; fear may be the driver, but I keep getting into the car.

I have a lot of lofty goals when it comes to relationships, all of them lovers, friends, family.  I hold myself to a high standard and so it is that I am so very humbled by my inability to live up to those standards when my fear response is triggered.

I have done a lot of work on myself, how I behave in relationships and how I manage my emotional responses.  I still have plenty more to work on.

I truly believe that I can overcome my patterns and that includes my patterns and reactions around fear.  I have a lot to sit with and work through.  Wish me luck.

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Today’s Goal

Old dogs can learn new tricks.

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The Emerging Face of Genderqueer

Or rather, faces ….

From photographer Dave Naz comes Genderqueer: And Other Gender Identitiesa beautiful collection of pictures and essays that helps illustrate the wide variety of ways people express genderqueer identity.  Some of the featured people are Morty Diamond, Jiz Lee, Jenny Factor, Ignacio Rivera and Sarah Burghauser.  Very cool.

 

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#NaNoWriMo2014, Day 18: On Love and Losing Control

[From my day 18 writing, not sure if this is for the novel or not, but this came out as I pondered break ups happening to people in my life and my own experiences of breaking up]

 

When you love someone, you lose control.  I’m not talking about going crazy and forgetting to pay the bills or breaking into spontaneous dance moves on the sidewalk, though I’m sure that happens too.  I’m talking about the fact that when you love someone, a piece of your heart resides in them.  They are walking around with a piece of your heart and you have no control over what they do with it.

It happens especially with lovers and with your children, but also with friends.  You love them and you have no control over what they are going to do with that love.  Will they cherish it, hold it dear, care for it?  Or will they disregard it, drop it in the waste bin, mock it and let it shrivel?

Loving someone is a leap of faith.  You hand them a piece of your heart and say, “Here, this is important to me, take care of it, will you?”  And they walk away with your heart chunk and do what they will. And you trust them!  It’s insane, don’t you think?  Love defies logic. No, it’s more than that, it slays logic, it runs logic over with a semi trailer and then backs up and does it again.

You take the leap, you forego the parachute check and jump. Faith is your parachute, love is going to be there to cushion your fall.  You believe.  Without any reason whatsoever, you believe because that person, the person to whom you give your heart, tells you they love you.  You are safe with them, they will take care of your heart, you can relax.

And where does that faith and belief get you?  Sometimes you are right, for a time, maybe a long time.  People fall in love and stay in love for decades, sometimes until they die.  It happens.  But how many times have you made that leap, believed those promises, given over a chunk of your heart and then, at some unknowable point, had it tossed back at you.  Never the same, diminished, sucked dry, hollow and rusted out.  But you promised… you said… we agreed…  The thing is, the bitter truth is, the sad and unchangeable fact is that we go into relationships together but we exit them alone.  It takes two to tango, but only one to leave the dance.  The other partner might still be moving to the music they chose together, while the other is walking out the door.

I hate the unilateral nature of break ups, though I’ve taken advantage of that very aspect myself.  The fact that you can both decide to pony up heart chunks, and then pull yours out without notice, without discussion, without any chance to change the outcome.  That is a pretty harsh reality.  On the other hand, the escape clause is necessary when one party is abusing their privileges. So though I’ve been burned by that clause, I wouldn’t eliminate it.

So we fall in love and we give a piece of our hearts to someone who promises to take care of it but can decide at any moment that they’ve changed their minds and no longer need to live up to the promises they made.  We give up control over a major part of our emotional well-being to someone we have no control over.  You’ve got to ask yourself, why the hell do we fall in love?  Why take that risk, it’s insane.

Why do we?  Why do I?

Why do I?

I allow myself to fall in love quite simply because the feeling of being in love is the best feeling in all of creation.  Being in love is the best high, the best view of humanity you will ever have.  And that applies to the in love we fall with lovers, as well as the love we fall into with friends and the all encompassing love we fall into with our children.  Kids are super reckless with our hearts, running pell mell into playgrounds and riding bikes out of sight.

I will continue to allow myself to fall in love because I can’t live without it.  Yes, it is risky, yes, I have been hurt more times than I can count because of love.  Yes, I will do it again and again.  I will agree to hand over a chunk of my heart to be held by another person because the act of doing so lifts me above the ordinary plane of existence.  I am actively rejecting cynicism and fear.  I am actively embracing faith and courage and openness.  I am saying, without any logical reason whatsoever, that I choose to believe the promises love makes.  Even though there are risks.  Even though I have failed in love before.

To summarize, love is at once the most incredibly risky and stupid thing to do and the most wonderful, amazing, fulfilling, positively life altering, transcendent thing you can do.

So take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby.

 

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Heartbreak Between Friends

Heartbreak can happen between friends, too.

There are a lot of songs and about the heartbreak that can result between lovers.  There aren’t a lot of songs or stories or movies (that I know of) about heartbreak between friends.

I’m feeling it today, the sudden distance between myself and someone I love dearly, someone who’s more than a friend, they are family.

I miss you, brother.  I hope you decide to come back soon.

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#NaNoWriMo2014, Day 17: The Velvet Kitty

[Excerpt from my novel in progress, Guys Like Us]

The Truck Stop was one of many gay bars in town but there was only one that catered only to lesbians.

The Velvet Kitty was the latest incarnation of a space that had begun to host lady loving ladies in the 60s.  It featured a classic wooden bar that dominated one side of the medium sized space.  A scattering of variously sized tables rambled through the center.  On the far side, opposite the bar and to the front of the pool table, was a smallish dance floor that filled up fast on Saturday nights.  The hardwood floors showed the wear marks of decades of boots, high heels and loafers.

The ‘kitty’ celebrated in the bar’s name was a ceramic feline statue covered in velvet.  Kitty perched on the corner of the door nearest the door, greeting patrons as they entered.  As people left for the night, it was customary to “pet the kitty” for good luck.  Kitty’s velveteen fur bore silent witness to how many hands had asked for her blessings over the years.

And yes, as you might be thinking, regulars often referred to the ritual by a more vernacular description, which suited the mood of the areas only lesbian bar. As the only such watering hole for miles around, it was a gathering point to all ages, styles and political beliefs.  Most nights this wasn’t a problem, the lesbian separatists had a corner to themselves and the diesel dykes clustered around the pool table, leaving the bar for the serious drinkers and the center for groups meeting there to socialize and drink and forget the rest of the world for a while.  Here and there would be someone sitting alone, or maybe someone leaning against the wall amidst the event posters and memorabilia.

I was a leaner.  I didn’t feel comfortable sitting alone and taking up a whole table, unless it was a weekday and the bar was sparsely filled.  On those nights, I might be sitting at a table in the back, facing the door, holding a book I wasn’t reading.  I guess I was trying for the “yeah, I meant to be alone tonight” image, rather than the less desirable “damn, I really wish I wasn’t alone tonight, again”.  On more crowded nights, I’d lean on the wall between the pool table and the dance floor, where I could be near the butches and able to watch the dancing. I felt a definite affinity with the butches and harder dykes, with their wallet chains, cuffed Levis and rolled up shirts.  I loved to listen to them curse and brag, loved their muscular arms and short haircuts, loved the way they wore masculinity in a way that didn’t so much defy straight society as cut right past it, leaving it sputtering in their wake.  I loved the cologne, the handsome defiance.  And I really loved the women who loved those butches.  I watched the butches to pick up tips on how to be butch and I watched the femmes because they made it hard to breathe.  They’d swirl past me on their way to a favored bench seat behind the table and I’d do my best to discretely inhale their perfume. Their hair was just so, their outfits chosen specifically to highlight their proudest assets and get the attention of those butches. Every detail of was a delight to me and I’d often have a small smile on my face as my eyes followed this blond or that brunette and imagined that it was me they chose to sit next to, or me they chose to invite to dance. At first I was subtle, but as I got more comfortable, I didn’t hide my interest.  Once in a while, a woman would look up and see me looking.  I’d get a very direct look, perhaps a lifted eyebrow or a tongue briefly wetting a pair of colored lips.  I’d blush furiously and look away quickly.  I knew I wanted to say hello, invite one of them to dance, or have a conversation, I just had no clue how to go from leaning against the wall to anything more.

As it turns out, I got lucky. After several weeks of hanging out on various nights a week, hoping to strike up a conversation with anyone really but being way too much a wallflower to get past a half-strangled ‘hi’, someone had mercy on me. Her name was Marci and she was beautiful. I’d seen her before, many nights in fact, playing pool and flirting with the opposition in a way that caused them to scratch their shots and drop their cues.  Her favorite tactic was to lean over the far end of the table just as her opponent leaned down for a long shot.  More often than not, the other player would have a much harder time focusing on their shot.  She’d laugh and toss her hair and stalk around the table, sizing up her opportunity. She seemed to know all the butches, calling them ‘handsome’ and ‘sweetheart’ while fingering the fuzz at the base of their buzz cuts stroking their muscular arms. She didn’t always win, but she certainly seemed to enjoy herself and from all appearances, the enjoyment was mutual.  She could get the most hardened butch to blush and stammer.  She was a force to be reckoned with.

Which was exactly why I was so surprised when she walked right up to me, as I was innocently holding down the event posters and house for rent notices one Friday night.  She walked right up and stopped a couple of feet in front of me, gave me the up and down and cocked her head to one side.

“And who are you, handsome?”  It was as if she’d just now seen me, even though I’d been hovering nearby for weeks.

“I, uh, ummm.. Buddy.”

“Well, I-uhmm-Buddy, do you play pool?”

I shrugged, “I guess.”

She gave me the once over, again and closed the gap between us, toying with the hairs that had escaped my ball cap, “You are adorable.  What do you have under that hat?”

Without waiting for me to answer, she took it off, gave me an appraising look and ran her fingers through it.  I was too stunned by all this sudden contact and attention to say a word, instead I stood there wide eyed and intoxicated by her perfume.

“You ever think about getting a new cut?  I do hair” Along with the offer was the not so subtle suggestion that I take her up on it.

“Um, like what?  What do you think I should do with it?” I was suddenly aware that the butches gathered around the pool table were watching our interaction.  I blushed even harder than I already was.

“Well, Buddy, you have a very handsome face and since I never see you without a ball cap on, it’s clear you don’t mind showing off your cheekbones. I think you should cut it short, or buzz it.”

The thought of a buzz cut was terrifying, I didn’t think I could hold up my end of that haircut. I might have demured but I was extremely intimidated by Marci’s directness.  I finally managed to squeak out a “Shorter, maybe” and she chuckled.  A soft, sexy laugh that made me blush again.  She reached out and placed her hand in the center of my chest, making that warmth spread downward across my whole body, “You really are a cutie.”

“Come over and meet some people” She turned and walked away, with me trailing behind her like a puppy.

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#NaNoWriMo2014, Day 13 Excerpt: Blades

[Excerpt from my novel in progress, Guys Like Us]

I used to whittle a lot when I was a kid.  I wasn’t very artistic about it, so the result was usually a piece of wood with a sharp point and a pile of shavings.  I carried a pocket knife with me when I was a kid and all through high school.  It wasn’t much for self-defense but I wasn’t someone who would think to use it anyway.  But I liked having it, it was a connection to my boyhood and it made me feel handy.  Always ready to cut open a box or trim the frayed ends of my cut offs.

I lost that knife as a result of carelessness, which to this day causes me pain when I remember it.  I would love to have that little knife now.  I’d put it in a box I have for my oldest keepsakes.  My dad’s watch is in there, the broken one I rescued from the garbage.  A few notes from Desiree that survived the years.  Some other things that I don’t remember the exact origins of anymore.

I have a new knife now, well, several actually.  After losing my first pocket knife, I didn’t replace it right away.  For a while, when I was working at the bookstore, I carried a box knife in my pocket, useful for opening boxes of books and for starting conversations.

A girl I’d been flirting with at the store tracked me down at the bar.  She walked right up to me and pressed me back against the wall I was leaning on.

“Ummpfh” I said, gifted speaker that I was..

“I was hoping I would find you here, handsome.”  She’d wrapped her arms around my neck and our belly buttons were in position to start waltzing.

“Hello, my aren’t you friendly?”  I leaned a little to the left to put my beer down and placed my hands on her waist. She was a pretty bookish femme and we’d bonded over the sci fi section.  “On your planet, do you always strike up conversations in bars like this?”

She grinned and peered at me over her glasses.  “Only when we’ve decided to abduct someone and take them back to our base.”

“Your base, eh?  Didn’t you say something about roommates earlier?”  The song selection on the dance floor in the back of the bar had started improving, after an initial period of undanceable crap.  “Would you care to dance?”

“Alright, your base then” She grinned and winked.

She pulled me onto the dance floor and though I was going willingly, it was nice to be dragged out there by a hot femme.  She pulled me into a hot grind and I began to lose my resolve to slow things down.  Her leg between my leg and mine between hers, I could feel myself getting more and more aroused.  Judging by her facial expression and the way she was chewing on my ear, I guessed she was feeling the same.  She slipped out of my arms and gripped my hips from behind, grinding herself into my ass.  The lights were swirling, the music pounding and we were surrounded by other couples getting hot and heavy together.  It was Pride week and the bar was a lot more crowded than usual.  Her hands slipped into my front pockets and I stifled a groan. I loved being touched like that.  I pushed my ass against her and she reciprocated.  Her fingers pressed and prodded from within my pockets.  Then she made an exclamation and pulled her right hand out.

Her voice purred into my ear from behind, “Is that a box knife in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

Taking a breather in a dark corner, I leaned in her direction to say something and she lifted her lips to mine.  I hadn’t made out with someone at a bar in a while but after a few seconds of her mouth exploring mine, I thought maybe I should try it more often.  I was too aware of being in public to do everything I was inspired to do but she didn’t seem to have any such shyness.

She had one hand gripping the back of my neck while the other slid down my front, tweaking my nipples and sliding between my legs.  She worked my packy and sucked on my tongue and I nearly lost it right there in a dark corner of the dance floor.

Pulling away to catch a breath, I asked her if she’d like to go somewhere more private, “I know we just met and this is ridiculously cliche but I’m really hot for you.  I swear I’m not a murderer.”

She rubbed my pocket, “Even with your box knife?”  She leaned back as if appraising her risk and then leaned in for another kiss.  “Actually, blades turn me on.  Let’s go.”

She pulled me by the hand back across the dance floor to coat check,”So where do you live?”

We almost fell through my front door because it’s hard to walk when someone’s got one leg wrapped around your hips and your hands are down their pants.  We didn’t make it to my bed, she pushed me down on my worn couch and I landed so hard the springs threatened to come through the well-worn cushions.  .

For a while, she straddled me and ground herself into my crotch.  The base of my packy pressed against my clit, and I could feel myself getting wet, so wet it ran down my ass.  I flipped her off my lap onto the couch and unbuttoned her jeans. They were tight and in the process of pulling them down, her panties came with them.  Too bad, really, I like to play around the elastic. Now that I was topping her, I wanted to go slow.  I started by stroking her shaved pussy with the back of my fingers, she growled with impatience.

“Come on, I’m so hot for you, I need it!” She grabbed my arm, squeezing it to emphasize her point.  “Come on, sexy, fuck me.  Show what you got.”

I leaned over her, lifting her shirt and lowering my mouth to her nipple.  I slid into her with two fingers while flicking her nipple with my tongue.

She moaned and started bucking her hips, pressing me deeper inside her.  She opened right up and I gave her another finger.  I was still mouthing her breasts, using my teeth to hold and pull on her nipples before sucking in a mouthful of her soft flesh.   She was soft inside, soft and pulsing against my fingers.  I followed her lead, thrusting harder and harder until she clamped my hand between her thighs and clenched my fingers so hard I almost cried out in pain.  After the first orgasm, she relaxed enough to allow my fingers to move.  I stroked her G-spot experimentally, to see if she wanted to continue. Her response was a long moaning, “Yesssssss.”

This time I went slower, my thumb circling her clit, gripping her pussy and stroking her inside and out.  Her orgasm built up more slowly but by the time she peaked, she was scratching my arms and the couch cushions, coming with a series of long wailing cries.

This time I pulled out gently and rested on one elbow, the other hand gently petting her belly and thighs.

“Ohmygod, that was good, so good, thank you.”

I smiled and nodded, “You’re welcome.”

She pulled me down for a kiss.  “So, handsome, do you like to be…?”

“Fucked?  Yes, yes I do.”  My hands were roaming all over her body, her curves were quite lovely.  “You know, I have a bed, it’s much more comfortable — no springs in your ass.  Also, more room.”

“Are you trying to get me into your bed, butch?” She was much softer now that her initial hunger was sated.

“Why, yes, yes I am.”  I got up and reached out for her hand.  “Care to join me in my bed, lovely lady?”

She danced ahead of me, shaking her ass for me as I attempted to pinch her cheeks.  She made herself at home in my bed as I pulled my clothing off.  Sliding between the sheets and against her skin felt good, I realized it had been several months since I had anyone in my bed.  Not since the break up.  I reached for her but she intercepted my hand, pressing it down.

“My turn, stud.”

The feeling of her body on mine took me out of my head, mercifully shutting off the thoughts of my ex girlfriend.  She pushed my hands above my bed and told me to hang on to the iron headboard.  “You keep your hands there and I’ll take care of making you feel good, baby.”

She pressed herself between my legs, and I moaned, “Oh yeah, you feel good.”

“Mmmm, I like how furry you are, butch.. you feel good against my naked pussy.” She began rubbing and pressing against me, my little cock was so sensitive and hard, I started shuddering right away.  “Oh, no, not yet.  Let’s slow it down, baby.”

I groaned but didn’t make a move.

She reached between my legs and found my little cock.  I lifted off the bed at the sudden direct sensation.

“Ohholyfuck, ohmygod…” breathing hard, I blurted out “sensitive!”

“Mmmhmm… are you trans?  A guy I was with a while back, he was on T and had a thick clit like yours”  She stroked and pulled, gently now, but insistently.

“Sssssss.s…. huh huh.. yes.. a few months… ohgod, that’s good, please don’t stop.” My eyes had rolled back in my head and I was seeing brightly colored star bursts.

“Oh, I’m not gonna stop, baby boy, hang on to the bed.”  I’d let go with one hand, clutching the side of my mattress.  “I’m gonna make you come so hard.”

And she did, more than once.  I was lying limp, hands released and twining into her hair as she rested on my chest.  We’d pulled the covers over our cooling bodies.  I was really sleep and was starting to drift.  I realized I only knew her first name.

“So, Janey…”

“I need to get going” she interrupted, kissing me before sitting up.  “I’ve got work tomorrow and a dog who’s going to start shredding and pissing on everything if I don’t get home soon.”

“Ok, yeah, wouldn’t want that.  But before you go, I have a question…”

“What? You want my phone number? Want to know when you’ll see me next?”

“Those are all great questions yes, and I should have thought of them but something else first.”

I sat up as well, “So what was it you said about liking blades?”  I’d been wanting to ask since we left the bar.

She narrowed her eyes, as if assessing me, “Knife play, cutting, sharp sexy blades turn me on in the right hands.”

Her fingertip was tracing my jaw, I wondered if she could feel the baby stubble there, it had been a few days since I shaved my peach fuzz last.

“Your box knife probably isn’t sterile or sharp enough for any of that.  Do you have other knives?”

I thought about my lost pocketknife wistfully.  It probably wouldn’t be sterile or sharp enough either, but all of a sudden I missed it.

“No, I don’t.  I had one once, but it’s gone.”

She kissed me again, “We’ll see each other around, stud.  Next time, maybe I’ll give you my phone number.”

“And your last name?”

Her laughter was relaxed but loaded, “Oh, I’ll tell you that now.  LaConner, Janey LaConner.”

My jaw dropped and I thought my heart would thump out of my chest.  I must have looked like an idiot.

She had pulled on her top while I sat there naked and stunned.  I followed her into the living room as she searched for her panties and jeans.

“‘LaConner’?”  It wasn’t a common name, I’d only met one family with that name.  “Do you know…”

“I know that you’re Buddy Grayson, who used to be Barbara and I know you used to date my cousin Desiree.”

My head was suddenly filled with a swarm of questions buzzing like wasps.  My mouth was dry, I couldn’t swallow.  I couldn’t come up with what to say, there was too much to say.

“I’m sure you have a lot of questions.  I’ll see you around Buddy and maybe I’ll answer some of them.”

She blew me a kiss and let herself out.  The blast of cold night air hit me but I was already shivering.  I should have followed her, I could have followed her, but to what end?  If she didn’t want to talk to me about Desiree, she wouldn’t.  And then there was the question of how she knew me, had she looked for me?  Had we met?  I had a dim memory of a younger girl at Desiree’s house one of the times I’d been visiting.  She had dark hair, not honey gold like Desiree’s.

I looked out the window, her car was gone.  I locked the door and turned off the lights and went back to bed.  Sleep was a long time coming.

The next day, I stopped at the leather store near work during my lunch break.  I said hello to Frank, one of the owners and told him I was interested in getting a knife.  His craggy face broke into a huge grin.

“Excellent!” He rubbed his hands together.  “Step over here my friend, let me set you up with something.”

For the next 20 minutes, he showed me around his knife case, which had a variety of sizes, shapes and styles that was a bit overwhelming.  It reminded me of the first time I walked into a sex toy store and tried to pick out a dildo.

Frank looked up from the boot knife he was showing me and took stock of my facial expression, which I suppose was somewhere between confused and lustful.

“Ok, Buddy, what do you want a knife for?  Utility, show, self-defense?”

“Uh, well, there was a girl, last night, she was talking about knife play”  Frank’s grin grew so wide I thought his face would split.  “But also, I used to have a pocketknife when I was a kid.  I miss having one.”

“Ahhh… well, knife play, you should take some classes or hang out with some tops who do that before you choose a knife.  But I can set you up with a nice utility knife for your day-to-day needs”  He reached into the cabinet and pulled out a slim knife, about 3 inches long.

“This is a Kershaw Leek, nice little pocket knife, has a clip so you can keep it secure”  He showed me the safety, slipped it open and thumbed the knife open with a ‘snick’.

“May I?” I said, holding out my hand.  I held it, stroked it with my thumb. It was smooth and bright, sexy even.  I practiced putting the safety on and off, flipping the blade up and securing it again.  I was in love, apparently it was obvious.

“Oh, clearly you need to take her home, Buddy.  It wouldn’t be right to put her back in the case, would it?”

I smiled in agreement, “Yeah, Frank, I think I’m gonna have to take her home alright.”

I had no idea when or if I’d see Janey again.  And if I did, there was no way of knowing if she’d answer my questions. And what would answering my questions do for me?  That was a question I had yet to answer for myself.  I pushed those thoughts away.  This purchase might have been prompted by my encounter last night, but now that I had this knife in my pocket, it didn’t matter.  It felt like something I should have done a long time ago.

I got back to work, went into the back room where a stack of boxes waited to be opened.  I slid the safety down and opened the knife.  ‘Snick’ she said, ‘Snick, ready for duty.’

“Hmm.. yes, I will call you ‘Snick’.  Let’s get to work”  Luckily, none of my coworkers was around to hear me talking to my knife.

As I began stacking new books in preparation for stocking the shelves, I made a mental note to ask my friend, Freight, about knife play.

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More Powerful Without My Armor

She came into my life like a lightening bolt from a clear sky.

Special, unique, rare. That’s what Oregon Girl is for me.

Within the love we are making, I feel more vulnerable and open all the time.  She shows me, time and time again, that I don’t need to fear love.  I don’t need to hold back or keep something in reserve.  She’s there for me.

I told her the other night that I’m all in, I’m not holding back.  I’m making the leap, not keeping a toe or finger hold of safety.  Just letting go and trusting that she’ll be my parachute.

And she is, time and time again.  She catches me, she pulls me in, she loves me hard.

I’m all in for her.  I’ve learned so much about generosity and trust and vulnerability from her and with her.  I’ve learned that I feel stronger without my armor on.  I feel stronger with an open heart against the elements than I ever did keeping my guards up.

Thank you, my darling.

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#NaNoWriMo2014: Confidence in Chunky Boots

Excerpt from my novel in progress, Guys Like Us

A couple of mornings later, I pulled on the boots I’d gotten at the thrift store, along with a button down shirt that my brother had left behind and the Carhart jacket and went to school. On my left wrist I wore an old watch of my Dad’s.  It didn’t work anymore, I’d fished it out of the garbage.  It was big and chunky and I loved the weight of it on my wrist.  I’d also found a thick leather belt in a box of my brother’s things and pulled it through the belt loops of my Levis.

I left a little earlier than usual, walking down the sidewalk in ever longer strides.  It reminded me of when I was younger, when I’d been confident of my abilities.  When I’d been a boy among boys, and able to woop any of them if I chose to.  I’d been thinking about what Jared said about confidence and faking it if I had to.  I’d been thinking back to when I’d last felt completely good and solid and in charge of my destiny.  I’d decided I needed to channel some of Past Me, some of that cockiness I’d had once, the assuredness.  OK, I thought to myself, they call me lezzy.  That’s what I am.  I’m a girl who likes girls.  My mental lip curled a little at calling myself a ‘girl’ but I pushed that objection aside.  There were bigger fish to fry.  I was going to meet the jeers head on.  If I owned the lesbian label, if I said ‘yeah, I like girls, what about it?’ wouldn’t that take some of the sting out of it?  Maybe they’d get bored with it all.  This had already gone on for a couple of months, it was time for them all to move on to the next victim, the next rumor starting drama.

I held my head high and thrust my hands into my pockets.  My boots made a satisfying clumping sound as I strode along.  I thought about Jaime calling me butch and dyke.  That’s who I was, I thought.  I just needed to accept that, embrace the masculine in me.  If I was harder and cared less, I could coast through this bullshit until I graduated leave this two traffic light podunk town behind.

I came around a corner and there was the front door, clumps of people gathered briefly before heading through the doors.  There was Tommy, with his gang of jocks in their letter jackets.  I chuckled to myself as I remembered the vision I’d had while smoking pot with Jared in the van across from the diner.  They were like any pack of male animals, desperate to show their colored plumage and impress the females.  Alright, Tommy, you dumb fuck, I thought, meet Buddy the butch.  Fuck you, very much.

Tommy stepped in front of me as I stepped toward one of the doors, snickering, his cronies edging forward eagerly.

“Well, good morning Barbara.”  He said brightly.  “How’s our resident bush licker doing this morning?”

“Good morning, Tommy.” I answered just as brightly.  He looked taken aback.  “I’m doing just fine thank you.  So you don’t lick bush, Tommy?  You should really try it sometime, you know, when you get a girlfriend of your own.”

Tommy was looking positively dumbfounded, mouth open and jaw dropped.  I stepped past him and through the doors before he could come up with a response.

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Update on the Butch/Femme Photo Project

It’s coming! It’s coming!  This December, we’re going to be able to get printed copies of the Butch/Femme Photo Project book by Wendi Kali.

The culmination of the last few years of my life is about to happen. Yesterday I signed a publishing contract with an indie publisher here in Portland, Oregon called Blue Skirt Productions. They are going to publish the Butch/Femme Photo Project book!

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about this. I know that when I finally hold a copy of that book in my hands, I just might cry. I’ve put my heart and soul into this body of work and couldn’t be more proud of the way it’s turned out.

The publisher is shooting for a December 15th release date and a release party is in the works. I will post the info about all of that and let you know where you can get your copy just as soon as I have all of that information.

My sincere thanks and tremendous gratitude to all of those who have supported me through this journey. It’s truly been an amazing

Here’s part of the announcement by the publisher made this week:

Blue Skirt Productions is excited to announce our next publication: The Butch/Femme Photo Project, by photographer Wendi Kali.

The impetus of The Butch/Femme Project revealed itself many years ago, as Kali struggled with her own identity in her teens. She used books as her lifeline to others who were as confused as she was, but she had a hard time finding books that gave modern, personal perspectives of identity.

 

I am excited about this project as a friend of Wendi’s and as a participant.  This book is filled with beautiful photography of a diverse group of people.  Super, super proud of Wendi and excited to see the finished product.

 

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.

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