By Kendra Holliday | April 24, 2012
A thought-provoking letter by my friend Shine, in response to my post earlier this week:
It’s fine that you think of me as a “butch lesbian”, but I don’t really think of myself that way. I consider myself queer. One way to think of queer is the complete opposite of the gender binary you use. Queer is the sliding scale between male and female bodies, minds and souls in ever-different mixtures and combinations. I am such a queer!
And why are lesbians so weird? My older sister is gay also, but she is not queer, she is a lesbian. I grew up around a lot of them/us. Good folks and all, of course, and as a young lesbian I was kind of into hanging out at the lesbian coffee shop and the gay book store, but as I grew up I found I was rather uncomfortable in the lesbian bars, and in groups of lesbians.
I have found that a.) drinking alcohol makes lesbians more tolerable. haha, and b.) in my newfound power and confidence, they don’t scare me anymore.
I’m not sure why they ever scared me. I think I felt too ugly for them or something. Also, they don’t particularly turn me on if they have any of the usual dykey qualities. Qualities that I might even want or admire in myself. Luckily for us all, lesbians have taken a decidedly more metrosexual approach to their dress and mannerisms, more urbane and what not. I don’t mean bourgeois per se, not necessarily upwardly mobile, just not all flannel and short haircuts and rough talk. And I do say all of this laughing inside with a light heart. I mean it, it is “true” to me, but I don’t say it with malice or anything negative.
I just like feminine women, or women with a balance to their gender expression….I like womanliness too. It doesn’t always have to be an overly-feminine expression of it.
Anyway, what is it with the monogamy and hanging out with only mostly lesbians? I was in a monogamous relationship for a long, long time, but I always dreamed of multiple partners, and that breadth of experience, but I have always hung out with mostly straight people when it comes to my closest friends. These days, I have a good balance of straight, gay, bi, queer people, and it’s only getting better!
I am not a “normal” lesbian, and I don’t know why anyone would want to be, any more than I understand why anyone would want to be just plain-old straight. And by this, I mean, across the board, I don’t understand why anyone would want to hang out with only their own kind of people in their own small world. Most of us need a little variety and a little kink for balance. And so much fun sex can be explored even among people who want to be monogamous. Somehow, my outcast experiences and a searching heart, has taught me how to love better rather than to hate or be bitter. I feel so blessed in my experiences…my interactions with people continue to amaze me and blow my mind on every level.
Each family is different like each lover is different. Like each partnership is different. Meeting you, and the people I’ve met through you has been a life-changing experience to say the least. I think I’ve said this before too, but I want to say it again in this context. Life-changing, as in, helping me toward further enrichment and edification and actualization.
Something the sex-positive community has helped me do: learn to trust myself and my instincts and have the guts to move on them. It took you and I longer to get together but I was still learning to trust myself and navigate those spaces through all my interactions with you. I like that it took a while, actually, because it gave me a totally different experience from anyone else. It was like the longest, most langourous “courtship” I’ve ever participated in…slow to build, built in paces on friendship, mutual respect and admiration, began with a hand on the leg here in my kitchen, then we cuddled on your couch at girl’s night, some internet/email flirting, seeing you socially but not-yet privately, then we finally set a date!
It was very cool to take a step back from every step forward and understand it. It was like, there was no way to be afraid because it was happening in such natural-feeling increments, and then with just enough scheduling “frustration” at the end to make finally getting together even more lovely. That’s an awesome little life vignette, you know? You understand I also completely appreciate you as a person, and am glad to have made a friendship, and am excited to explore some of the possibilities for friendship and sex with you. I’m so blown away and grateful for you, and all of the other lovely women in my world right now. You’re all gifts from the universe. And not ONLY for what I’m learning, but what I’m giving and getting, and damn…I just love it. Love it.
It sounds so weird, but I am more comfortable in my current situation, hanging out with a bunch of awesome, but often already-attached bisexual women, than I have been in any particular situation in my life where friendship and sex and love are concerned. I might have yet to find the right group of gay-oriented queers, but this group is like the perfect group of straight-oriented queers for me. I say queer here as sometimes genderqueer, but there is social queer too, doing things outside the social norm. I don’t think I could be happier with how things are going.
I was trying to dream this into being before I even knew it was possible, for real. I have a good balance right now of human interaction, caring for others, great sex, and time for myself and my family and random alone time and recharge time, with the responsibilities of a genuine friendship but no further domestic or emotional responsibilities for anyone. WHICH I think is teaching me proper boundaries for being in a more serious relationship. Boundaries like letting the other person maintain their personhood, and not assuming emotional responsibility where I shouldn’t, are going to help me tremendously the next time I get more serious with someone.
You’ve also all been extremely crucial in my learning to appreciate my body as it is and maybe believe it can be useful and attractive. I’ve spent a lifetime feeling like I am too fat to be sexy, and I still feel that way to a certain extent. It takes time to get over a lifetime of belief about something. I like many shapes of women, but I never allowed myself that same potential to be beautiful to someone. And all of you have been so loving and kind toward my body. My body that I love and has gotten me this far on my journey. But I also battle with it sometimes by not exercising and eating bad things. Or drinking too much alcohol and gaining weight.
But, all in all, it is a lovely a pile of bones & exquisite nerve endings,/ immeasurable softness,/ the tank you travel in. And I’m learning to love it, and it has helped to have women I admire and respect and find to be beautiful and sexy enjoying being naked with my naked body and are able to give me appreciative feedback. Whatever I look like, this body feels good, and has good instinct for pleasure and connection, and those are key components for really good sex!
And yes, I can see us joining up to have sex with our other friends as well. Why not? haha. There are infinite possibilities. I would like to be alone with you again also. I want to get to know you better. What really brings you to that magic space.
I have few expectations and a lot of patience. In this kind of instance particularly, there is no other thing to do than be patient. It is an inherent part of this kind of friendship, I think, especially when everyone is busy and doing important and awesome things in the world.
It is super pleasing to me that our time together had a positive impact in your everyday world. I love to accidentally be useful like that. I feel we can all operate like that for each other when we’re genuine and caring and let energy come through us.
I love that you love me to read you poems. I’ve read a few poems here and there when people will listen, or when they first learn I am a poet they will ask to hear something, and I have poet friends who give me props, but you, among only a few others, seem to really like it, and I truly enjoy reading poems, even ones that are not mine, so it’s like this bonus on top of whatever else our friendship becomes….