Who is wearing the wedding dress?

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As a 41 year old woman, I find that I have two emotional states lately: 1.Eh, I could care less and now if you will stop talking, I want to go home, work out, read my book, and enjoy my solitude so please go away, I want to be alone forever! or 2. I wish I could meet someone, get married, and find love that is fun, ya know someone who can sit here and eat this whole box of cookies with me and hand me a napkin after I eat the Cheetos while we cry over the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.Obviously, my hormones and their ever changing state play a great deal into this. I find that the I will die alone because I want to comes when I am coming off of a monthly shot of Estrogen and the What is Love and Where Fore Art Thou Love comes when I first get a brand new dose.
Of course, being human plays into it some. We all want love and it is much more fun to travel through life with someone with you. Somewhere in the wonderful in between, usually around the 15th of the month since I get the shot on the 1st, I found the perfect answer.
What is the perfect answer? Well I call it perfect because it seems the most reasonable. I also call it perfect because I feel like I got here after a long road of growing up.
I had guarded my gold star lesbian status with fever my whole life. I was bullied and beat down with those trying to take my love for being lesbian away from me. I came out in a time when the bars were still not on the main streets. My pride in survival and never giving in to fear kept me close to my badge and damn be anyone who tried to take this gold star and immense amount of dyke pride from me.
I also lived my whole life with this mentality that feminine meant heels, dress, make up, long hair, and a presence of girl power. I realized that I fell into the trap of being turned on by what media and print taught me to be turned on by.
I refused throughout the past twenty plus years to date butch women. To me, it robbed me of my butch state (more recently my friends refer to me as Futch because I seem to fall somewhere in the middle in classification), it meant I might actually like guys if I liked women who looked like guys, and that it meant I had to give up what I thought was my preference in bed. I terribly stereotyped.
I also just not too long ago was afraid of a transgender woman who had a small crush on me because I knew she was still anatomically male. Again, I felt my lesbianism that someone tried to beat out of me at 17 threatened. I held feverishly onto my title. I am a gold star lesbian dammit and that made me more lesbian and more of my lesbian self than any other lesbian ever. I had yet to emotionally grow up. So I have needless to say gone through a large series of the wrong women.
Well 24 years later, since my first date at 17, here I am all alone and waiting to be part of the evolution of human rights and have someone put a ring on it. So what was I doing wrong?
Nothing. I mean we all have to learn. That is what failed relationships do is teach us.
However, I did realize that when I fantasize about a wedding (I really need to take I Choose You by Sara Bareilles out of my fucking Apple Music so I will stop designing a damn wedding) that I am picturing my bride all wrong. Unfortunately she cannot be Ginger Zee, Nicole De Silva, or Ellen Pompeo. What should she be? Who is wearing the wedding dress?
I realized I should just leave the vale down and not picture the body in the dress. I should want someone who is mentally healthy yet a little off, emotionally stable yet human, extroverted yet introverted when necessary, confident yet afraid, funny and laughs at themselves, does not want to change me, and does not lie or cheat. Yes, I am still very much a lesbian. No, none of this soul searching brought about any desire to date men or question that. I have just learned that I want a lovely woman, and that woman can be any woman. A good heart is much more important than anything and that I genuinely mean whether I am Eh, go away or Yay! love and eating up romantic movies along with a whole box of Captain Crunch.

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Toys 

  
The Target Toy debate…oh but the hours I can spend reading the comments on media face book outlets in response. Hopefully this will be the catalyst to change but I can still hear the voice of a parent say ” that toy is for girls” when the child approaches the toy aisle. 

I do think toys should just be toys. Although do kids even play with toys anymore? My nieces and nephews always ask for cash, video games, and gift cards to put more apps on their IPad. Perhaps the toys are now only forced upon younger children not yet old enough for technology. Who knows.

I am guilty of this. My niece is not even a month old and I find myself piling the pink outfits into my cart, hair bows, and looking at the baby dolls she will eventually play with. I should just not buy any toys and wait until she can wobble up the aisles and pick her own. Perhaps if there are no labels she will feel free to do just that.

I think it is easier for tomboys. It is. A little girl who wants a truck is “just being a tomboy” and some moms once tomboys know that does not mean anything. It is acceptable for girls to do. So it is smiled at in most cases. However, I have seen many little boys who want dolls and such and those boys do not have a cute nick name like tomgirl and are frowned upon.

I was lucky growing up or I just wore my parents down. I even at one and two wanted to be either nude or in my shorts and t shirt. If they put me in a dress, I would take it off even if we were in public or I would cry and stand still as if the dress weighted me down. So they simply stopped putting me in them. As young as three and four until I was older, I wanted trucks, chemistry sets, G.I. Joe and He Man. If someone bought me a doll, she ended up captured and pulled apart by the G.I. Joe because cobra had sent the doll as a killer robot trick. My mother would find the doll parts in the He Man tent prison. So my parents bought what I asked for during birthdays and Christmas without ever swaying from the list. 

Did that make me a lesbian? Ha. I didn’t even put on make up, earrings, and girly clothes until I realized I was a lesbian and wanted other girls to hit on me. I eventually found my happy futch medium but it was through the freedom I felt I had to explore and do so. 

What it did was made me feel free to be me and grow up feeling as if nothing was forced on me- well except the clarinet. I wanted drums but they were more expensive and louder. I was simply a creative and happy child. 

Isn’t that what we want? Happier and healthier children who grow into happier and healthier adults. 

My annual Pride blog also known also known as bitching by not fans of mine

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Pride: Tis’ the season when all my friends who spend the whole year away emerge back into the community. It is Pride time in Dallas. Last year I wrote a blog about how shade hides the sun. This year is about how we live in a bubble until Pride comes along. Oh, I know you are going to love me by the end but oh well. I am not trying to ruin your annual party. I just want more out of us.
Bubbles can be dangerous. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. Growing up, even in the eighties, in this small town we were segregated and we had very few students in our schools, leagues, and church groups that were not Caucasian, straight and cis-male or cis-female. We had no idea the world existed any differently than that. We did not have cable television back then. We did not even have computers and the internet in our schools. When I realized I was gay, I managed to find what the word was thanks to Donahue. What little information I could find on being gay was in a TIME magazine. I found it discarded into the trash can at the public library (it had been immediately thrown away upon receipt because it was about homosexuality and AIDS). I was convinced if I came out, I would catch AIDS. I thought I was the only lesbian in North Carolina. I thought black people all lived on the other side of the tracks. Without media outlets, we were left to only believe what we were told. Scary thought isn’t it? Yet this was the world until the internet and social media took up most of our lives. Yes boys and girls, I walked miles to school in the snow and had to believe what I was told.
I lived in a bubble. The emergence of the internet, you tube, face book, Instagram, magazines free online, and the mainstream coverage of queer issues does not allow anyone to live in a bubble anymore…or so I thought. People seem to still live in bubbles and misrepresentation and hate still flourish. Just yesterday my kids were bitching about a new movie that misrepresents history.  Let me just say on a side note that I find it very sad that history is mixed with fiction. I personally believe that Hollywood should not be allowed to create a historical piece without complete accuracy. It is bad enough that Christian white men wrote the inaccurate history books that still circulate through our public education system. All bubbles have to be burst. This is a new mission: burst bubbles.
Anyway, Pride here in Dallas is September 21st. People are starting to discuss it. Sadly, they are discussing where to set up their chairs and coolers and where to go out after. I ran the booth for Youth First Texas for several years and it always saddened me that Pride had turned into a big party and no one really paid attention to all the non-profits out in their booths despite the smothering heat. Thousands embarked upon the park after the parade and we would walk away with less than $50 of cash in our donation bucket. I tried to discuss this with a group of friends this past Saturday night but many feel like they have paid their dues to get us where we are today (this group of friends were over 40 and we have all been out for some time).
Now that we have equality it seems to me (granted this is based off my social and networking circles so I cannot speak for the world) that many LGB (I leave the T off for a good reason), have said thank you, held a ceremony, bought a house, and crawled into a new bubble to live out their lives having felt like my friends that they have paid their dues. I left the T off because the transgender community, from what I have seen, have become the most active in our community and have not gone silent.
I see a great decline in non-profit participation, attendance, and contribution. I was amazed at how few people (and I say few because of the actual size of the Dallas LGBT community in comparison to the number who turned out) turn out to rallies. We LGB have managed to be accepted like we wanted to but we have gotten comfortable and mixed into the crowd. We still have a huge problem with LGBT youth homelessness, suicide, and sex work. We still have a large race divide in this country and even in our own LGBT communities. Our transgender brothers and sisters have been left behind in the fight for equal rights by us. We seem to be moving into our mainstream houses and pulling the shades. We only seem to react for a few days on face book when something happens in the news. Then we go back to what we were doing before.
My Nana used to say no one worried about the news until the paper missed your door and broke through your window. We got marriage equality and we got quiet. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia still exists in large amounts. It seems logical to me that the population grew in all areas: those who love us and those who hate us. I do not know how people do not worry about what is going on outside. Perhaps my passion is only because the paper has gone threw the windows of those I love. I have numerous biracial members of my family and I have seen firsthand how racism impacts them. I had a cousin who was murdered in a high crime area of Pennsylvania and there was no justice. I have a niece, who has me wrapped around her little fingers, born just three weeks ago who is biracial and I often look at her and hope with every fiber in me that the world changes for her.
In Dallas, I have seen a growth in the transgender male community. Many of my kids (despite their protest I will forever call them that even though they aged out of YFT because I love them like my own) have become a part of the growing drag king scene. They find comfort in the community that accepts them and allows them to explore before transitioning. They have found a space to live in but I still worry for them like any mother. I see the news about the transgender murders. I also worry for their hearts. Even our community can be mean. Numerous times I have been in the lesbian bar during the Mustache Envy shows and heard lesbians complain about the drag king shows and how “they need their own bar.” I have heard lesbians be judgmental to cis-women who date transgender men and how “they are no longer lesbians if they really ever were.” It breaks my heart because my sons have fought so hard to survive. I cannot imagine how if this exists in our own community how large of an issue it is at large. These kids cannot afford to live in a bubble. They have to exist vulnerable to the real world and our hurtful words.
It worries me that we have crawled into a bubble and we forget to support our communities and fight. We do not volunteer. We do not show up in the numbers we could show up as. We do not donate. I work in non-profit and the number we receive compared to the number of us that exists is very small. When I worked with YFT, trying to get donations was like pulling teeth.To my friends who feel they have paid their dues,  I really hope this Pride everyone would remember what it felt like to be uncomfortable in your own skin because you grew up queer in that small southern town where if you came out, you could end up in the creek; what it felt like when we used to have to look over our shoulders when we walked to the lesbian bar hidden in the alley because queer was no mainstream yet; and what it felt like when we were fired for being queer before we had rights; and so many more obstacles we overcame that the LGBT youth and the transgender community still face. I hope we do not hurry past all the booths in the park at pride and forget what pride used to mean and still could. Even if it is a dollar, give something. Do something.
** On a side note, two blogs ago I wrote about the discussion of dating transgender women and being honest about my own hang ups. A dear friend of mine pointed me to a project that is being produced about what queer and transgender women face in the dating world. Give it a look and put some money where your mouth is:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/her-story–2#/story

Just me today

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I have realized over the course of my time single that I have made the same big mistake over and over. No, I did not get to this realization with articles on what breaks relationships. Those are almost as bad as the movies that make us believe someone really rich is going to climb our fire escape and take us away from our bills and to their mansion.
The mistake I have made over and over again is that I have allowed others to make me feel silly for the things I enjoy. People get embarrassed by things too easily. They allow what is supposedly proper in society to impact the way they want someone to walk beside them in public. People project.
People seem to enjoy when I write blogs about dating but I just do not feel like it today. At 41, I feel like, as selfish as it sounds, that I have given a great deal of my time away and I want to keep more of it these days. I want to be alone with me more. Yes, I love making out. It is something I adore but I just really enjoy being in my own skin these days and having a day where I just feel kind of giddy. I made a list of things I love. I think it would be healthy to focus my blog on just a me list today and remind myself of the things that other people did not like that I love and the fact that I love them is all that should matter (These are in random order as I think of them):

• I love to watch the History channel. I do not mean the scripted and produced shows like Vikings- although I do enjoy watching it. I mean the shows that clip together old footage and have a very mundane voice narrating the history. You know that stuff you used to fall asleep on in class.
• I love to skateboard. I have since I was old enough to stand on one. I have no idea why I prefer it over a bicycle or a car but I do. I am 41 and if it is raining outside, I will ride my skateboard around the wood floors of my loft. No, I am not good at tricks and ramps. I just like simple skateboarding.
• I do have O.C.D. so I will get irritated if you do not put dishes in the dishwasher or leave things lying around. Consider it an improvement. I broke myself, with meditation and concentration, from doing things three times or having a morning ritual that had to be done a certain way or else I was convinced I would have bad luck when I left home.
• I love breakfast so if I can have it for lunch and/or dinner it is going to happen.
• I also love shell fish. I could eat shell fish every day and have before. My favorite times have been on a boat pulling my own dinner out of the ocean. I could retire a very old person lost at sea.
• I can eat a dozen of raw oysters alone and will so order your own.
• I love caviar. It is not a rich thing because I spent 30some years of my life very poor. I just love the way it taste. A woman introduced it to me on the date. I eventually ditched the date (she was rude) but I stayed and finished the caviar.
• I do not like to waste money and buy things I will not eat or drink so most of the time I can offer guests sparkling water, hummus, olives, and pickles. I do not buy things just in case. The only time I made an exception to this rule is when my sister was pregnant because I valued my life.
• I used to love being nude all the time at home. Now it is mostly when I sleep because I chose to live downtown with big windows so I could stare at the Ferris Wheel from Fair Park at night so I have to wear some clothing especially since they built the new police department headquarters across the street. I do love to be in my brief underwear and tank tops.
• I love Wonder Woman. So no, I will not change my ringtone. Yes, I buy comic books and yes I buy super hero merchandise. I have learned over time how to decorate but I decorate my way so I love my scuba diving themed bathroom octopus and all. My loft is quite lovely to me; which is good because in the old days it was an ice cooler, recliner, and that was it.
• I love t shirts that say funny things. I will wear them until they are full of holes and you cannot see the press on well anymore and then I turn them into cleaning rags. I am not materialistic so any and all presents can be t-shirts with funny sayings. Biggest mistake you can make is trying to dress me or buy clothes you think I would look good in. I refuse to walk around uncomfortable and I already have to dress up for work.
• The only sports I like to watch alone are soccer and the Olympics. I will not schedule watching any other sports religiously but I do enjoy the animation and passion that large groups watch them with so I do enjoy them live or with a large group of people in a house if invited.
• I like boxing, not watching, but doing it, and not hitting others but just to release stress. I like having muscles. I want bigger muscles.
• I do not mind religion. I find it historically fascinating and the impact it has had on society since forever psychologically just as fascinating so I will read about it and I will from time to time pop in on a service out of sheer curiosity.
• I like medical stuff. I watch medical shows. However, when someone is in pain, I cannot bear it so I would be comforting and not very medically helpful. I needed a back-up plan in life for a career. I have been in the same one for 20 years and have reached my peak. I also know writing will not pay the bills so I am in mortuary school. I can do medical things and it is a business never going out of business plus it takes less than two years of school. I could not do another eight or more.
• I love old comic books. I think I said that. I love the old advertisements in them as much as I love the comics. I think they make fun art.
• I love my pug so if you don’t want him on you then we cannot even be friends. Pablo Pugcasso has been with me since he was six weeks old and is over 13 now. He has been with me through everything. When he dies, I will be very sad. So yes, he must go everywhere now because I do not have him for much longer and no I will not go somewhere if he does not feel good. He is old. When you are old and do not feel good, I will not leave you home alone either.
• My niece was born late in my life and I want to be around as long as possible for hers so I try to take really good care of myself. She is also a priority because I know I can be a good role model and teach her things her parents never would.
• I do compliment myself. It is healthy.
• I like talking to people. I will make friends with the grocery store cashier, the mail man, or the guy who always gets on the elevator with me. As a writer, it is a great tool.
• I have weaknesses: they are fruity pebbles, dorito’s, and milkshakes. No not all at once- not since college. Oh and spaghetti. I love spaghetti. When I lose my pug, buy all of this and a case of beer.
• I enjoy watching game shows.
• I love airplanes.

• I do not really care for skiing at all. I much prefer roller skating or skate boarding. I also prefer warm weather.
• I love New Orleans.
• I love John Irving and have read all of his books. His families in his stories made me feel normal. The World According to Garp made me happy when I was 8 years old. Dear John Irving, please write another book.
• I actually do love operas, art museums, and aquariums.
• I eavesdrop a great deal. I love to eavesdrop on people having first dates and drunken go home with me negotiations in bars…again I am a writer.
• I love live music. I will listen to someone sing with a guitar in a train station or go see any band play. I do not love dancing or dance clubs so I much prefer concerts and bouncing around.
• I love all music. Incubus and Beth Hart are big favorites but I do love some old and some new country. I secretly want to learn how to do bad ass country line dancing and two step. However, I want to lead and not follow so I need lessons.
• I miss marching band. I do. It was the best time of high school. I wish you could grow up and be in marching band as a job forever.
• All of my tattoos mean something. I get them when something very significant happens in my life. Each symbol relates to a story. I hope they remind me of the stories when I get old and my memory fails.
• Yes, I believe in spiritual things and even reincarnation. I have my reasons.
• I do not like wine. I have never been a fruit drink person and it gives me headaches. I have always loved teas and beers.
• As I said before I am not materialistic. For the first time in my life at 40, I allowed myself to rent a very nice place in a luxury building. I did it though because I always wanted a loft and the security is top notch. I want to be able to see the city and the fair year round so I love my roof. Otherwise, I buy my clothes from windows. What I mean is that the store does not matter. I do not shop. I usually just spot things I love when out with someone else. So yes, I will wear the same thing over and over a lot.  Most of the time honestly I find I love things in thrift stores and JCPenney. I could care less about fancy cars. I have an old Hyundai Elantra I plan to drive into the ground. It was the first car I successfully paid for. I do love good dinners but would much rather have a cook out with you then be in a restaurant. So do not take me shopping. I can be in a store usually about 45minutes before I feel like someone sedated me.
• On that note, I do not care much for going to the movies. If I am in a crowd of people, I would rather interact with them. I much prefer a movie at home so my pug Pablo can watch it too cuddled up with me while we drink beer and eat Little Ceaser bread sticks for cheat meals (they have the best bread sticks, something is in that dough).
• I do not buy store made cards. I much prefer to write my own card and make it myself. No, I am not cheap. I give the best birthday and Christmas presents because I put a great deal of thought into them. Ask my family and friends.I love Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it has controversy but it is the only holiday that people are not expected to bring gifts like Easter or Christmas and it is so simple, everyone shows up and overeats and then stays late because they are too tired to drive yet and it ends up a big friend and family fest in the living room.
• I work in television but ironically besides the Big Bang Theory, do not care much for network television. I like Shameless and Ray Donovan. If the TV is on, I will usually end up changing it to Chopped or where I can find old Hee Haw and I Love Lucy reruns.
• Sing in the car- trust me it eliminates road rage.
• I am bluntly honest so I apologize in advance.
• I have friends of all ages. I was with Youth First Texas for several years. Some of my friends are under 25. They were teenagers who were my wards and now they are my friends. I love to sit for hours and listen to the drama of their lives. I love to listen to them. So if you say you can’t handle the drama then you forgot what it was like to be 21 and young. They also know they can knock on my door at any time and come sit for hours.
• I will talk honestly about my medical condition in public and to new people. I take Estrogen because since I was very young, my body does not produce enough and the older I get the less it does. It has caused me physical and emotional issues until I got it fixed. I do not think people talk openly enough about these things.
• Speaking of, I love being a woman but I could do without boobs. I enjoy boobs on others but not my own. I find them very uncomfortable and wish they were very small instead of very big.
• I want to buy a pontoon boat.
I think that is enough for now. I might write another one another day.

Let me cue the music while you leap into the air

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Whenever someone says “that person is not a hero”, I then tell them to let me cue the music while I watch them leap into the air. They look at me with a sneer and I realize that everyone likes to judge especially when they could not fill those shoes. We judge our president constantly but could you do that job? I have heard people comment that Harvey Milk was not a hero, Caitlyn Jenner does not have courage, only soldiers are brave, etc, etc. We are a society that likes to go to work for 8 hours a day and play on social media and then go home and sit on our couch while we watch 4-5 hours of TV and play on social media even more. If this were not true then we would not see a large group of friends, kids, or even people on a date all looking down at their phones. We feel like this forum has empowered us to spew our opinions all over the pages. Can it be changed? Probably not. Everyone would have to put their phones down and get off Instagram to pay attention to this little blog.

I love when people who have never done anything heroic, courageous, or brave judge what it requires to fulfill those qualities. I just wish this so called passion that people put into arguing online could be reapplied to actually doing something productive for what they believe in. If you believe the cancer fighters and survivors are the hero, then what are you doing to enable them? Are you donating money to cancer research? Every year thousands of headway is made in cancer research but it goes unfunded. Are you walking a 3K that raises money? Are you giving a few hours at the local hospital as a volunteer? Or are you just sitting on your ass and giving your opinion?

If you think the soldier is the hero, then are you donating to the families of those soldiers who need help? Are you participating in sending care packages to our forces overseas? Are you working to make a change with the care veterans receive when they come home? More than 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs have already died. Are you doing something to help or are you just sitting on your ass and giving your opinion?

Do you feel that the transgender community is not heard as it should be? That someone you know that is LGBT is brave? Do you get your blood boiling when people post homophobic or negative transgender statements? Are you giving money to the non-profit organizations that assist? Do you go to your local LGBT resource center and volunteer? Are you doing something to help or are you just sitting on your ass giving your opinion?

Yes, we live in a country of free speech but sometimes I wish it was priced speech. If you want to speak so loudly about something you disagree with or agree with then you should have to put time into that actual cause, even if one day of volunteer work or one dollar before you could speak. Could you imagine how much change could happen if each and every one of us gave just one day or one dollar?

I am sorry, I did not mean to interrupt your DVR recording while you play Cookie Crushing, and while you wait for someone to respond to your post. Let me cue the music while I wait for you to leap into the air.

Attention

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Disclaimer: This blog by no means is a solution to any of our problems in society. I cannot say that it has any valid points. I just had to ramble and talk out loud because I just feel like every time lately I turn around and look at the TV, I just want to throw it and my phone out the window.

Is attention a problem? I have it. I feel like with the world of face book and other social media that it is an epidemic. All you have to do is something really funny, really weird, or really hateful and you end up on the news. It is rare that you see daily stories about those who spend their days helping others, teaching others, and rescuing those less fortunate. Probably because people who do things to genuinely help do not seek out the attention for it.
I am not clueless to the fact that racism is strong in this world and continuously taught. However, sometimes I do wonder, a tiny voice in my head, wonders if when people walk into a place like a church and open fire or roll their van into the front of a police station and fire, if a tiny, tiny part of their hatred also wants to be famous on the news for it and get others who feel the way they do to emerge. They know that by committing this act of violence that they are perpetrating hate but does some part of them also know they will end up on every news headline the next day? Every year on the anniversary of their act of violence, that they will come up in the news again? Unless they live under a rock and do not watch television, how could they not know the power of media? I fully understand that hate fueled them and it takes a sick person to kill another but does the attention they will get somehow also play into the extreme acts that they carry out?
How do we change the insta-famous culture?
I was home in my loft at South Side on Lamar that faces the Dallas Police Department when the attack was carried out on the station. I could not find local news coverage but found immediate information on Twitter and Periscope. I was looking for information to find out where the shooter was, what was really going on, and whether or not I was safe in my own home. While I sat afraid in my closet being told not to leave, people were actually risking their lives to record what was happening by going to the roof or going outside to the side streets and filming on their phones as gun fire went everywhere. I did not even dare look out my window. My first thought was not: oh shit, I have to get this on you tube. The days after, people swarmed to our neighborhood, taking photos and video. The rubber neck mentality of our society gets us every time.
I will admit I am not immune. I stop and look at car accidents. I turn the volume up on the TV when a live car chase ensues on the news. I sit and secretly want a thrilling conclusion to the end of this car chase. I want attention as much as I give it. I have been trying for years to get a book published so what do I need? Attention, likes, fans, etc. on social media and this blog. Do I have better intentions than someone who carries hate in their heart? Of course I do but it does not negate the fact that everyone knows if you can get the media’s attention then you are the lead story from the time morning shows sign on until the late, late, late nightly news goes off overnight and you are the running banner 24/7 on the bottom of the CNN screen. Even shows like Entertainment Tonight that I thought were supposed to be about who made what movie now take the whole show to discuss the latest terrorist.  Neighbors, co-workers, and former friends come out of the woodwork to talk about how they knew the shooter to get their five minutes. My neighbors walked their dogs the day after the police station attack so they could walk past the CNN news vans and be asked for interviews. This insta-fame mentality is the same reason we all follow our dogs and kids around with video ready to fire a new you tube sensation any minute. Hate and murder are the extreme but if you were standing somewhere and someone decided to take their hate out and do something hateful, would you not pick up your phone and start filming, taking pictures, tweeting about it, or posting you were there on facebook? It is a dangerous mentality.
Yes, social media, has done some good. However, balance is the wrath of life and with good comes bad. It depends on how we influence the balance which way the scales eventually tip. We have to get control of how we portray things, how we tell the truth from lies, how we disperse the facts, and how we give the villain more attention than the victim.
In the past when events like the ones recently happened, I would tell others, something else will happen and the next headline will replace this one. People will forget, move on to the next story, and stop talking about it.  We will say that we want to create change but the minute another shiny object appears, we turn our head the other way and go on to the next subject. Seriously, how often have we addressed racism and the flying of the confederate flag over the past fifty years until someone was killed? Will the discussion continue? I hope so but I worry the next headline that comes into breaking news will sweep this under the carpet until someone else gets hurt again. Who wants attention next? Even our enemies in other countries know if they attack us, they will become the lead story on the news.
I have a niece coming into the world in four weeks. She is a biracial child with a white parent and a black parent. I wonder how life is going to be for her. Is all of this chaos like horrific storms going to eventually cause growth in the ground? Is there a point to all this madness? Can we have some kind of huge event change the way people treat each other? I had this naive fairy tale idea after 9/11 that people would bond together tighter and treat each other with more kindness and respect. I really thought that one would have awakened us to be one.
This blog is one that I started with just thoughts and knew I would come to no conclusion at the end. I knew it would be just questions. I knew I would not be able to make an overall valid point because it is so complex. I just felt so strongly to have to just talk it out. I get so discouraged lately about the world we are creating for my niece and all the babies my friends are having right now.
How do we change hate? Where do we start? How do we change the world by showing hate still exists without making the hateful famous?

The time I wanted to give my lesbian ears back…

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It was 1995. You could say we were excited to finally go to Epcot or Disney World considering we had grown up poor kids and had never been. However, my step-brother and I were much more excited about it simply being Gay Days at Disney. Back then, the gay and lesbian lifestyle was clearly marked on a map and you stayed in your neighborhood. I had moved home from Chicago and was living in Virginia Beach. I had a job with Disney being part of a team that was starting a new channel that was The Family Channel and would eventually be known as ABC Family. We were taking over and starting operations in their small office at the 700 Club of all places. For me, it was a job that paid out of the 20 grand mark. As part of my new Disney employee perks, I had a card that gave me free hotel, parking, and entrance to Disney parks.
My step brother and I had saved money for months and had made a long drive down to Florida in his beat up Chevy Bronco while we blasted Whitney Houston and talked about what we thought Gay Days would be like. More than riding the rides or him buying a Maleficient Barbie like he said he would, we wanted to meet gay men and lesbians and have fun. We needed a break from the boring small one bar in our town.
We checked into our hotel room. We had a free room but it was in the Disney Hotel so we did not realize the gays had all booked hotels elsewhere and we were stuck with all the families in town. I guess having never heard of an organized event outside of Pride parades that I expected all of Disney to be nothing but queers. Back then, Gay Days was advertised but really only in the LGBT papers, was nothing official, and there was nothing on the gates of Disney when you walked up to say it was officially Gay Days. I think about 3,000 went that year. The park did not sponsor it like they do now so I guess back then it was unofficial. Nothing in the park or outside let anyone know it was gay days.
In my imagination, I just thought the Cinderella castle would at least have a gay flag on it. Times change things though and this was 1995. Nothing outside or inside of the magic kingdom showed any sign that it was gay days as queers and families alike walked into the park. I at least expected to see crowds of gorgeous gay men and groups of hot lesbians. Well, one was true.
My step brother and I, being just in our early twenties (boy do I miss that body) walked around the park in our cut off daisy dukes and me in a bathing suit top and him in a barely covering tank top. We stopped paying attention to all the stores and rides we saw and started people watching. He was cruising.
Just like in a club or in a grocery store back then, men walked around with shorts, tank tops, and muscle bods flirting with each other through looks and my step brother got lucky with one in a bathroom near the Swiss Family Tree house. Simple eye contact and a nod was all it took. I followed him around and started paying more attention to the rides and attractions because it was becoming very obvious that I was the only lesbian there and I was not going to be hooking up.
We finally made our way to where most of the small kid rides were. There was a shop there that had the Princesses of Disney meet and greet and he wanted a photo with them. The minute we got close to the toddler rides and could see Dumbo’s ears, we found the lesbians. There they were, in pairs, and with their children pushing strollers, arguing with the kids who were crying, and not looking as if they were having very much fun at all. A gay man who parted ways with us near A Small World had told us we were heading for stroller hell. This was it. Granted at that young age, I was very impressionable as to what a lesbian was supposed to be (I had only seen limited media image of butch and soft butch women, back then femme women who walked into a club with a purse was still probably married). My heart was broken. This would be my future: khaki shorts, polo shirt, sandals, sun visor hat, and screaming kids with no casual sex and glitter behind Mickey’s house.
After a day of hanging out with the gay men, my step brother and I retreated to our room to get ready for the big party that closed out gay days at Pleasure Island. I had hoped that perhaps one of two things happened: either some younger lesbians would at least come to the party who lived locally or the lesbians would put their kids to bed and some come out to have some fun.
We walked up to the club with the Jessica Rabbit on the outside. I had secured us a spot on the VIP guest lists through a gay guy I worked with in the Orlando office and spoke to a lot. We skipped the long line out front and went in ahead of the crowd. I watched the door as the line filtered in.
The night churned on and just like any normal night in the bar for me, I stood watching as male after male walked into the door broken up by the occasional drag queen. Boys danced into the night, laughing, making out, and slowly removing more clothing. I walked around the club endless times. As per usual, at some point my step brother left me and it was officially dick o’clock.
For hours I looked and never once found another lesbian. I found a few drunk and straight fag hags but no lesbians. Around 2am, knowing he would have kicked his fling out of our room by then, I headed back to the hotel. The next day as we pulled away to head home, I looked outside the gates of Epcot to see the gay men no longer in line but the lesbian couples mixed in with the straight couples, kids, strollers, back packs, and all.
As we got ready to hit 95 North, I rolled down my window and thought about throwing my mickey ears and lesbian stickers out into the wind. What fun was it being a lesbian? The gay men had all the fun. I did not want to be a lesbian if that is how I had to end up.
Many years later, I realize that it is just how gay men and women are. Men will more than likely party, be promiscuous, and have more fun. They have Grindr and lesbians never will. Women will be nesters and get into relationships, move in together, adopt a dog, have a kid, and invite friends over to barbeque while they drink beer. Yes, it does seem as if the new and younger lesbian generation is changing this but I am 41 and women my age or older just are not like that, well none that I have found. It, houses, kids, and football parties, is just not something that is for me. Me, I will always be the young girl wondering around all the gay men hoping to find that girl that is just a great deal of fun and has no desire to go near stroller hell at Disney World.

The word chivalry should be taken out of use

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Chivalry should join normal in the ancient word book I have started and not be used anymore. It is not even so much what words literally mean in a dictionary that bother me (let us be honest, who nowadays knows the Webster version meaning much less correct grammar) but what images the word brings to mind in people. Why did I pick the word chivalry as a word that should no longer be used? I think it is sexist and ancient. It was started as rules that knights in the middle ages were expected to follow.
Today as I was coming back from lunch, a young school boy shut a door on me. The elderly man behind me immediately opened the door for me and then proceeded to stop the teenage boy and lecture him on being chivalrous.
I thanked him but then thought about the word chivalry. I do not think that is the word we should be teaching anyone. If you think about the mental image that chivalry provokes, I immediately get images of a young Scarlett being a weak woman who needs her man to throw his coat over a puddle, a John Wayne cowboy saving a damsel in distress, or a Marilyn Monroe movie of men opening doors for her because she cannot open them for herself. Perhaps I do have a feminist in me, I often wonder if I fit the mold, because I find the word chivalry to invoke that men need to help women, therefore men are more thoughtful than women and are stronger than women. I can open a door and I can jump a puddle.
I think in an era of transgender power, LGBT marriage pushing forward, and so many people especially young people trying so hard to remove labels of any kind, that we should do away with the idea of gender roles. We should do away with the expectations of these roles. I think the expectations of roles is what leads to people to ask “who is the top? Who is the bottom?”, “are you butch or femme?”, and “who wears the pants in this family?”. Those questions drive me nuts. Even lesbians are guilty of it. I had an ex who felt strongly from years of heterosexual, gender norm brain washing that if I called myself butch then I should not dress in girls clothes and should open every door for her, pull out every chair for her, and apparently know how to fix absolutely anything that broke. Sorry, but I could care less how to use a hammer or following IKEA instructions. I am usually distracted by the books I am writing or something on the history channel.  When you put the expectation of butch or femme on a partner, or any gender role for that matter, then are you not putting the opposite expectation on yourself? (when will we learn not to do that!?!?). If that works for your relationship then great, I am just saying it is time we stop having expectations and such narrow meanings of words but at the same time we should eliminate the ones we cannot change the mental image of like chivalry.
I prefer equal. I will open the door for you if I am first and you can open it for me if you are first. Girls should be taught that they do not need boys to do anything for them. Sure it is nice to open the door for someone but it does not matter the gender of who opens the door or the gender of who opens the door for them. It is called being polite and polite is the word everyone should use. He should have yelled at the young man for not being polite instead of not being chivalrous.

Normal

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I do not ever want to be called normal. To me, the word normal has been escalated to a status like that of the word perfect. The dictionary states normal as conforming to the standard. Conforming has been a disease in society for quite some time. Psychology calls normal to be free of any mental disorder. So to become normal would mean that you were once mentally ill. In medicine, normal is used to mean you are free from any infection. In math, it means to be in line. In Chemistry, it is used to measure equivalence. Normal has been a bar set that everyone has to jump over to be accepted and considered to have nothing wrong with you. The problem is that it is not as simple as a math equation or a chemistry solution. It has always been people who want to be the majority and hold their own beliefs to be law setting the standard of normal. It has been used to continue the pyramid that society lives in. It has enabled racism and phobias.
I do not want to be abnormal or the new normal either. I do not like when people say that queer is the new normal. Now, we are setting a standard just like our predecessors. A new normal only results in a new festering of hate or putting someone else in their place. Conforming to the standard has throughout history lead to segregation, homophobia, eating disorders to be skinny, and suicide for being bullied and outcast among many other things.
I used to walk around with a shaved purple head, nose ring, eyebrow ring, lip ring, all black clothes, and strange buttons all over my back pack because I wanted to be labeled abnormal. It helped me associate with coming out of the closet by taking not fitting in to the extreme. In order to be normal, I had to look like every other white girl at DePaul and be straight or at least bisexual like all the actresses in theater school. I worked very hard to be looked at as abnormal because then no one every held that impossible expectation over my head of being normal.
At some point, I needed to pay my bills and all those college loans back. Working in the weird hot topic like store was not going to get that done. I took the piercings out, let my hair grow into an average long hair do with all the hair the same length, and put brown dye in there that had no name of manic on it. I kept the black button down shirts but I tucked them into a pair of grey slacks and put on my black doc martens underneath with black laces, putting the silver and red with green glitter ones away in a keep sake box. I had to appear normal to get a corporate job.
However, I still was not considered normal. I have never worn heels, skirts, dresses, or feminine flowery blouses. So I would go to my corporate job dressed like a normal dyke. I would have on a button down, grey or black slacks, and black boots with a black belt. I once wore a tie and was told that was not normal. Well, when it came to not getting promoted or getting fired instead, I wanted to fit in.
I was doing a great job. I was getting promoted and climbing the media ladder. I loved my work. I really loved being in my late twenties and making more than 50 grand a year. I will not lie, I liked the money. I was living a double life. No, I was always very out. I meant appearance wise. I liked to call it my Wonder Woman. I would go to work in my grey and black standard Monday through Friday lesbian suit and glasses. After work and on the weekends, I would put on my tank top, my torn up shorts, my old doc martens, my hair thrown on my head, and drive around on my motorcycle with all 13 of my tattoos hanging out.
I went through phases, like we all do, where I wanted to fit in. I wanted to fit in at work so I played around with ways to wear make-up. I wanted to fit in with the lesbians so I cut all my hair off. I wanted to fit in with my neighbors so I wore my pajamas to the trash can. I mean I wanted to just been seen as one of the crowd. I was learning not to stand out. That is the message that groups teach us sometimes.
Then as I grew older, I realized that is not who I was inside. I really do not think the ideas of normal are who any of us are inside. It was what was inside that mattered and not how I dressed it up.  I started writing and speaking about the thoughts that really went on in my head. People loved it. I love attention. I love conversations that start from something I said. I do love to talk.  So that inspired me to just be me.
I have very off the grid thoughts sometimes. I do not know if it is just me or the travels and experiences I have had in life, things I did in college, or meditation…I do not know. I do know that when I speak what I think and feel that I feel free.
Sure people look at me like I am crazy but that is only because they believe in normal.
People feel the need to belong to groups to heal what they cannot find in themselves when they look in the mirror. I know someone who was very overweight as a child. This person then became obsessed with fitness and eating organic as an adult. They then changed their social scene to only be fitness people. They also only ever talked about fitness. People would start conversations about the weather, dogs, or a movie and this person would find a way to circle the conversation back to fitness. It was all their brain was capable of computing. This, this is what the idea of normal does to people. That same person who made money off of encouraging overweight people secretly did not like them and made fun of their friends weights. This, this is what the idea of normal does to people. It is no different than a school bus full of kids who think that the boy with the pink hair is not normal so they bully him until he hurts himself.
This whole idea of normal seeps over public settings and leaks its way into our private lives and expectations. People want love. However, it is not that simple. They want the other person to fit into a frame. Instead of seeing the whole picture; they get these ideas of what a normal person is and what a normal relationship is. They cannot see the person as a work. They see it as will this piece of art fit into this frame and if not, well then I am done with it or I will change it up until it fits. We even allow the idea of normal to ruin love and kill the individual we were initially attracted to.
Now, I dress however I feel like when I get out of bed. I do my hair in whatever kind of youthful rock look my hairdresser convinces me will look cool. I have managed to get a casual dress code approved at work and walk around tattoos and all. I am told all the time, you are 41 so you should do A,B,C, and D. No, if riding my skateboard makes me happy then you will see me in my shorts I love that I cut out of jogging pants, orange Elvis t-shirt, and old tennis shoes riding my skateboard down the street. I will not get married. I will not have children. I do not want to. I like waking up in the morning and aside from having to do what my boss says from 8-5, pretty much getting to do whatever I want otherwise the rest of the day. I will not get all dressed up and put on my best persona to get a date with someone. I am me. I will sit at a table and talk about how I believe in God, Buddha, Allah, and all these other spiritual entities that all co-exist with aliens or my ideas for how you can change politics with a revolution. Many people will say “that is just not normal.”
That is fine. They only say that because they believe in normal. I do not ever want to be called normal because it is a tool to get people to conform and make other people feel like they are not good enough. It is a form of control. I do not ever want to be called normal because I do not believe it ever existed and never will.

The Incredible Shrinking Lesbians

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The headlines about the lesbian bars closing around different large LGBT mecca’s does not seem to be generating enough conversation. I have brought it up a couple of times just to be stared at. Just this past Sunday, I went to a music festival that in many years past would have been hundreds and hundreds of women. Quite frankly, it was kind of dead for a music festival crowd. No one should go to a lesbian music festival and be able to get a stall in the bathroom on the first go or find an open pool table.

I did notice while I sat on my bar stool looking about that while the band played, most sat around taking selfies and group pictures. Perhaps Snapchat is just more important than the fact that there used to be an LGBT bookstore on the corner where the Subway, pizza place, and burger joint are now and there used to be a lesbian community who had over 20 softball team every summer instead of the six that played last summer.
I realized it was just time to go home when a friend asked me if I was going to the Harvey Milk Event that coming Friday to which three younger lesbians sitting near me asked who Harvey Milk was. I had really hoped that Sean Penn’s brilliant performance had made some kind of dent when the young ones looked for queer movies on Netflix.
I get it. I sound old. Yet, am I missing something? Is there a club or a private gathering somewhere that no one has given me the secret pass code for? Is there an app for that? Where are all the lesbians?
Yes, I see the large crowds of women that still trek to Dinah Shore but where oh where in the rest of the US is there another Dinah or even a good Saturday night? When did Sunday Funday become mostly gay men with their straight girls?
I remember coming out to the gay bars for the first time in 1991. Boys town in Chicago was what seemed liked endless bars. Yes the women could go into the numerous bars the boys had from Roscoe’s to the Manhole but we had our own too. The women had a few choices as well instead of the limited one per city we seem to barely have these days: we had Paris Dance, The Closet, Berlin, the Vortex, and Side Tracks. Aside from the bars, we had coffee shops, book stores, and a record shop during a time when Melissa Etheridge and The Indigo Girls were dominating our musical scene. You could go out and run into a plethora of women in any of these places on any afternoon or evening. Not to mention if you actually took an ad out for dating in the newspaper (yes, the newspaper), there were thousands of women there with you.
Granted, I was blessed to spend the 90’s in Chicago, LA, and New York City instead of little town, little state USA but still am I not mistaken in that many more women are out of the closet and living among us openly now? There are more right since I first walked around the bookstore staring at toys I didn’t dare pick up off the shelf? Where are they all at? If I watch TV these days, there seems to be one in every office and ER but mine.
Yes, I have heard the argument that the bars are not the place that should be the bull’s eye of the queer community. To that I say, simply whatever. Going into a bar does not mean you have to be an alcoholic. The bars are our history. They are where we could escape the rest of the world and now that we can go wherever we please, whenever we please with less police and discrimination, it is like we have abandoned our original safe havens and said to the owners who took care of us back then by paying off the police or setting up security, sorry but bye Felicia causing them to lose it all. The boys still go to their bars to some extent. I envy how I walk into the Round Up on a Saturday night and the boys are so packed in you can barely move. The once lesbian corner is now about four women standing around on a rare Saturday night out. I will also admit I envy Grindr. Oh well, I said it.
Where are the lesbians? More importantly, where are all the lesbians over 30? I have been looking so the fact that I have to ask is concerning.  I get that even if there is some club of 20somethings in a part of the city gathered somewhere that I am probably too old for that crowd but where are the lesbians? Even better yet, where are we in history, media, entertainment? Sure we are there and there are new people coming out of the closet but is it me or does it seem that there are ten times more boys even than girls? And does it seem to me a great deal of women playing lesbian are not lesbian? Where are we? I read After Ellen and magazines. I watch the news and Logo. However, it really seems our presence used to be so much more visible and in larger numbers. I search for the next event online as I mourn Lillith Fair and the large lesbian gathering that used to take over the Maine Summer Music Festivals.
Yes, I agree that times are changing and thankfully for the better. But in this world that is accepting us more and more that we have merged into, I also fear we are losing something. I just cannot put my finger on it so for once I am genuinely asking questions I really want answered. Summer is here and I cannot find the ladies or the events.

Why are the lesbian bars closing? Why do we not go out anymore? I am sincerely asking. I realize that most women my age of 40 are at home with their wives, two kids, two dogs, and playing monopoly on movie night but where are the rest of the women who miss the days when we argued over whose quarters were on the pool table while we bitched at the woman who played Come To My Window one more time on the jukebox while we sat at a table with our friends planning our annual road trip to the latest music festival that took place on a camp ground?
Where are you?