Femme Fairy Godmother

One of my good friends and I had a falling out a few years ago. (We’ve since mended the fence, don’t you worry.) She dated a man and she said that LGBT “stuff” just didn’t feel that important to her anymore. It felt like a betrayal. If “one of us” can just decide she doesn’t care, what hope do we have? I felt very intensely and, yes, I’ll admit it: I felt dramatic.

Fast forward a few years and I have more empathy.

The thing is, we CAN’T care about EVERYTHING. I mean we can CARE but we can’t do something about everything that matters to us. I’m very passionate about LGBT issues – especially our right to marry – so, at the moment, that’s where I’m most focused. (If I’m honest, because of personal circumstances, I’m not even doing much of that.) I’ve spent some time trying to understand better the “T” part of LGBT more so I can overcome some of my own biases. That’s all I have the capacity to deal with at the moment.

People like to judge others who don’t share their passion for a particular cause. I used to. I sometimes probably still do, but I’m working on not being so judgmental. Because, really? There are millions of people in this country and others. There are people who can do the work for all the causes. Thank goodness, because no one would have any quality of life if they fought every fight. It is my belief (though not everyone shares it) that we have a moral obligation to work towards making the world a better place. At the same time, we don’t have a moral obligation to make our own lives miserable to accomplish that. Even activists are entitle to some joy in their daily life.

An aside, sort of: we can’t boycott everybody for everything. For a boycott to be effective, it has to be organized and widespread. That’s very difficult to do on a national level. It’s not impossible but if we boycott everything, how are you going to remember what you’re supposed to be boycotting? Do the best you can and let it go if you accidentally buy something that’s owned by Monsanto or by an anti-LGBT organization or whatever. I had a mild hypoglycemic incident a few weeks back and I ate the food that was right in front of me: Chick-Fil-A. It’s okay. The world won’t come to an end because a lesbian ate Chick-Fil-A. Don’t worry, I don’t make it a practice. It wasn’t even that good.

If activists spread themselves too thin and try to do EVERYTHING for EVERY CAUSE, nothing really gets done because no one has the energy for that. Pick your thing and do it. Maybe even a couple of things. For everything else, be a good ally and be happy that other people are doing the work you can’t. If someone else is doing something that you don’t think is important: you don’t get to decide the priorities for other people. Do you, as they say.

What do YOU care very much about? What do you care about but don’t have any time to do anything about? Leave me a comment, pumpkins, and let me know.

Let me start with this: we ALL have or will say stupid things. Things that are hurtful to someone when we had NO intention of doing so. Still, if that happens, we should apologize right? In the video below, Chesca talks about what to do if someone “calls you out.” Watch it, then we’ll discuss.

I would add this: before you decide that someone is JUST WRONG and you are NOT going to effing apologize, they can just get OVER it, take some time to think about it. As Chesca said, it’s normal human behavior to get defensive. If you really think about it, you are likely to find that you might disagree with the person but you still don’t want to be a jerk. The world is a smaller place than it once was, thanks to the internet, and we encounter all kinds of people we may never have been exposed to before. That’s a blessing as it opens our minds to new possibilities. It also opens up new faux pas for us to make.

I’ve certainly done it. I’ll give you an example.

I used to work with someone who as HIV+. Someone else I knew was looking for an HIV+ person to participate in a panel discussion and I said I’d ask my coworker. Now, I THOUGHT I was circumspect enough that she didn’t know who it was. I WASN’T. She called him up and asked about it, telling him I’d mentioned it. He called me into his office so we could talk privately. He told me that he is open about his HIV status but he prefers to tell people himself. At first, I said, “Well, I didn’t tell her!” and he responded that I must have done because how else could she have known? He wasn’t being hateful at all, mind you. Just direct.

I decided to apologize and I said, “If I did that …. no wait. Let me back up. Given that I clearly DID “out” you, regardless of my intention, I apologize. I will be more cautious in the future as I never want to do anything that causes you to mistrust me or that might hurt you.” He thanked me for owning it and that was that.

It wasn’t the first time nor the last time I’ve had to apologize for someone. I remember it so clearly, I think, because I was scared witless to admit that I was wrong (long story, that) but I knew I needed to do something different. Guess what? Now I can apologize – and mean it – without all the angst. It takes practice, just like anything else. If I hurt someone I love, I care more about mending that relationship than defending my behavior. With people I don’t even know, such as someone online, I ALSO care more about relationships than defending my behavior. Maybe I’ll develop an actual relationship with the person who “called me out” but more likely I’ll be more approachable and more open so I’ll have better relationships with other people in real life. Maybe all I’ll get out of it is that I have the good karma of knowing I didn’t continue to be a jerk and I’ll become a better citizen of the world because of it.

Have you ever had to apologize? How did you handle it? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it, pumpkins.

Happy Saturday!

This post has been recycled from an old blog of mine. But the topic is still relevant and this question is still asked.

Femmes who date butches have been asked since the beginning of time, “Why date a woman who looks like a man? Why not just date men?”

A friend told me about a blog she reads that tried to answer that question and, from both of our perspectives, failed miserably at it. The blogger said all kinds of things that made us laugh or shriek with outrage. [Well, the friend in question is butch, so she DEFINITELY didn’t shriek with outrage. She … bellowed with outrage! That’s more butch, right? A bellow? Whatever. She, too, was outraged.] Things like “there is always an air of femininity, even with butches.” [Uh, no. If that butch has an “air of femininity”, I’m not interested. ]

I tried to put into words why I am sexually attracted only to butches and generally only to those who are, as a jealous ex once put it, “just this side of peeing standing up.”

I couldn’t.

Want to know why?

It’s an unanswerable question.

It’s also an infuriating one.

Who the hell else is asked “why are you attracted to X,Y, or Z”? I mean. Does anyone ask the guy who only likes petite blondes why that is? No. The reason they don’t is because they *understand* that: women are supposed to be petite and, in this country, blonde. No one thinks twice about it when a woman is only attracted to lumberjack-kinda guys or wealthy men. The attraction makes sense to them. No one asks butches “Why are you only attracted to femmes?” (for those who are, that is. )

Oh, I know who else is asked that: non-fat men who the media call, in a snarky tone, “chubby chasers.” If a non-fat man prefers larger women, then he’s castigated. ESPECIALLY if he’s a guy who is judged attractive enough to snare a “regular” woman. [When I realized that description of men sounded like they were milk, I almost changed it. But it made me laugh, so I didn’t. The inner workings of Barbara’s mind.]

Sexual attraction is nebulous. I can give you a list of attributes that I find appealing but the women to whom I’m attracted don’t all have each of those attributes. My college girlfriend barely qualified as butch and I was hopelessly in love with her.

The best I can do by way of explanation is that I am attracted very much to masculinity but not at all to men.

The best answer I can think of is this: That, my friend, is like asking me why I like blueberries. I just do. Oh, and they’re delicious.

As yesterday’s post mentioned, I love the 4th of July! I remember 1976 when we went crazy celebrating our bicentennial. We had bicentennial quarters, bicentennial commemorative plates, bicentennial commemorative flags, bicentennial everything. I bet there were bicentennial tampons out there somewhere.

I highly doubt I’ll be alive in 2076 to witness the tricentennial, but I hope so. I’ll be 109. Wait – as I plan to live to 120, I should DEFINITELY be around for the tricentennial! Excellent news!

Anyway.

So in 2076, this country will be 300 years old. At least, as an independent nation. In the last 238 years, the United States of America has gone from a ragtag group of soldiers to the Most Powerful Nation in the World. (MPN) It took awhile for us to get to this point – I don’t know when historians consider that we became the MPN but I’d say about WW1. Very likely the seeds were in place before that but by WW1, I’d guess that our influence on the world at large became stronger. (If any historians are reading this, please correct me if I’m wrong on this. I always want to learn new things!)

238 years ago, do you know who was the MPN? England. And before that France. Before France there was Rome. Not Italy, mind you, but Rome, which was once an entire empire not just a city in Italy. Greece once too. (Those are not necessarily in chronological order. England and France are right but before that, it’s just examples of previous Superpowers.)

Today, no one really looks at France as one of the world’s Superpowers but not that long ago, in relative terms, they were IT. France ran everything. Then England. England colonized not only the US, but Canada and Australia, which went on to become strong countries in the world political scene, and numerous other smaller countries like the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Falklands. They were a force to be reckoned with and, honestly, I have no idea how the Americans beat them against all the odds. Yet, our ancestors did beat them.

Why do Americans think that we are unstoppable now? Collectively, we have become exactly what our ancestors left England to escape. Religious fanatics who required strict adherence to The Party Line. (That’s a gross oversimplification, I know, but I am not a historian nor do I have the space in this blog to write the Entire History of the US Revolution.) Any dissent is considered unpatriotic, when what is the most patriotic thing an American can do is to Question Authority! I don’t mean stage a coup, but we are supposed to be a government of the people but we have gotten to a point where we are exactly what the English were: a people governed by the wealthy. The wealthy have convinced themselves and many of the non-wealthy that it’s the right thing to do. That they have special knowledge and special skills that the poorer among us don’t possess. They also want to preserve those skills and that knowledge for themselves and their “own kind” by limiting educational opportunities and by eliminating things such as Affirmative Action that levels the playing field. They lie to themselves and say that the SATs and the ACT and other standardized tests are “fair” while ignoring the fact that if you don’t spend money on the elementary school through high school educations of ALL of our citizens, those tests will be stacked against the less fortunate. They ignore the fact that those tests have a cultural bias. Simple things like referring to a “subdivision” when people who don’t live in the suburbs might have no idea exactly what that is. That seems simplistic, but small things such as that can make a difference. We lose something when we don’t have diversity in this country.

Let’s be clear: diversity means more than “more black people” – though it does mean that! We live in a nation of immigrants (somewhere in YOUR family tree, someone came here from somewhere else unless you are 100% native and not many are that – though the “why” of that is a whole other post.) Though “white” people have been the dominant culture for the last 238 years, to be true to American ideals, we need to incorporate other kinds of people. Asian people, African people, European people, Hispanic people, LGBT people, Christian people, Jewish, Muslim people, Hindu people, atheist people, Pagan people, as many kinds of people as we can. THAT is what will make us a stronger country. Not clinging to an ideal of a country that existed only for a very short time after WW2 and wasn’t all that great for anyone who wasn’t a heterosexual, white Christian man.

Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. I’ve heard that a million times. We’re becoming what our Founding Fathers rebelled against. The USA won’t be the MPN forever – that’s not the way the world works. There is a natural rise and fall. It seems like human nature is like this: we want something until we get it and then we go back to what we were before. It’s taken some time, but it’s happening.

Rome fell. So will America, unless we get our collective act together and stop allowing politicians to take us straight to hell in a handbasket. I’ll be honest. I am not sure ….no. I have NO IDEA how we’re going to change things. Only that if we don’t, we are not going to like the results.

I don’t know about you, but I like the Star Trek version of our future. One planet, one government, no personal wealth and freedom and opportunity to explore who we are and be the best we can individually be. That’s not likely to happen but surely we can make things better in the here and now.

Anyone have any ideas how we make that happen? What will it take for Americans to stage our next civil war? Not that I’m advocating for WAR but something has to happen. I just don’t know what.

I love holidays. I always have grand plans to decorate and have special meals and maybe even a party. I want traditions! I don’t have them, though, because I am FAR better at planning than actually doing. You should see my Pinterest page. Full of things I think about and not very many I’ve actually done. Though, I do have a board of things I’ve actually done. One of these days, I might actually do a whole separate blog about my Pinterest experiments. (yeah, I know. Best laid plans.)

Anyway, back to the 4th of July. This year I’m making pulled pork and frozen French fries for dinner. We have enough watermelon to feed the entire Revolutionary Army so we’ll have that too. No sparkly cupcakes Chez FFG this year. Now, for the love list:

  • I love fireworks. As long as they aren’t set off near my house to freak out my dogs.
  • I love going to the beach. For the last several years that I was in Michigan, I went with my sister’s family to her sister-in-law’s house for the 4th of July. They live within walking distance of Lake Michigan, so we’d go sun ourselves all day, then go eat and drink.
  • I love barbecue! That’s a 4th of July food and barbecue is among my favorite foods. That’s why we’re having BBQ pulled pork. (Though, to be honest, we aren’t grilling or barbecuing it. We’re making it in the slow cooker with barbecue sauce. But that totally counts!)
  • I love having a day off work. Okay, so THIS year, the 4th is on a day that I don’t work anyway, but Cowboy gets it off, which is just as good. Another day of weekend for us!
  • What do you love about the 4th of July, pumpkins? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it.

    I read a blog whose author has an opinion with which most of the free world disagrees. She has a core group of readers who are very supportive and who do agree with her – almost to a fault. No disagreement is tolerated. If you post a comment that in any way doesn’t agree with her premise, your comment isn’t approved. On her Facebook page, if you post something that she doesn’t like she deletes it. The end.

    At first, I found that off-putting. The more I think about it, though, the more I think, “you know. She might have something there.”

    I assume it’s true on any website, about any subject, but on the sites I read there are frequently trolls. You know what trolls are, right? People whose sole purpose is to disrupt the flow of the conversation and get people riled up. And off topic. Before you know it, Godwin’s law is proven again and somebody compares someone else to a Nazi.

    It seems to me that the best way to handle a troll is to simply ignore them. Delete them if they are on your own site but if they are not, just ignore them. I know it’s hard because they say things that are meant to incite the readers and to get them off topic. They don’t care one way or the other, for the most part, they just want to get people wound up. They’re pretty successful most of the time.

    We could put trolls out of business if we just ignore them. I’ll confess: I am not always successful at ignoring them. Every so often, I’ll snark at them. I’m going to knock that off. It just isn’t worth it. Frankly, I think that the internet is more useful for the sense of community that comes from talking to people who agree with you. The nuances aren’t there for more difficult conversations. There have been studies to show that arguing with people who disagree with you – or even giving them actual provable facts – just strengthens their beliefs. There’s just no point.

    What do you think about trolls? Do you engage with them? Ignore them? Depends on the situation? Leave me a note in the comment, pumpkins, and let me know.

    I told Facebook world the other day that I woke up from a dream in which I was cranky and I was Cranky McCrankyPants in real life. It took me a bit to get uncranky. A Facebook friend told me “well, you’re cranky a lot anyway.” I asked Cowboy if I was really cranky a lot and she said “yes.”

    I was sorta shocked. I don’t think of myself as a particularly cranky person. I know that I’m a person who says how she feels and doesn’t pretend to be happy and cheerful when she’s not. What good does THAT do? I mean, I can act right in public if I need to, I don’t throw a Full Femme Fit in public.

    In fact, overall, I am a very happy person. There are some things going on right now, but I have a wonderful life. I have a fiancée who loves me and whom I love. I have a slightly off-kilter, but pretty much lovely family, even if they are all far away. I have great friends. I like my job. What do I even have to be cranky ABOUT? (Well, daily nonsense, really, like we all have.)

    Quite a few people I know on Facebook are doing this 100 Days of Happy thing. I can’t promise to be happy every moment of every day for 100 days (or even 10!) but I can definitely find things to be happy about every single day. So, I’m joining in! I’m going to do 100 Days of Happy. I won’t post them here on the blog because that’s a lot of commotion but you can follow me on Twitter or on Facebook or on Instagram.

    100 Days of Happy will start today. Be on the lookout! :)

    PS I went on a “cleaning spree” recently and removed some of my posts so this one is now officially my 100th post!

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