I have returned from Seattle, and there is much to write about. Most of my closest friends in Seattle are very masculine-identified, some of them have transitioned, and I have returned with some new ideas about butches, masculinity, transfolks, my own body, my own sense of self.Also, I got a tattoo. That white star on the underside of my right wrist that I’ve been talking about for a long time. It’s visible especially when shaking someone’s hand. I love it.
I still want the birds. They’ll be next.
The Sugarbutch Star contest is so close to done, I can practically taste it. I’ll have a roundup post coming, with excerpts from each entry and links to the full thing, to remind you of them, before we start voting. I’m hoping to to a reading (“Sinclair’s” first real appearance) of the finalists and announce the winner.
Last week, as I mentioned, Belle got two new tattoos, small ribbons tied in bows over her hip bones. I’ve been feeling particularly inspired to get my own tattoos lately as well, my first choice would be to get the flock of birds I’ve been wanting for almost two years now, but since that is probably going to be more expensive than I’m able to do at the moment, I may settle on a small star on the inside of my right wrist.
I’ve even attempted to make consultation appointments for these two tattoos, to try to figure out how expensive they’d be and how long they’d take, but I haven’t been able to find The Right Artist yet.
So when I saw Belle’s new tattoos, and heard that the guy in Williamsburg is quite reasonably priced, I was practically ready to get tattooed the next day.
Of course, I am not really that impulsive. And I decided it was more important to pay bills (and go on a date on Saturday) than to get a tattoo. But I am really ready for it, for both of them, and I’ve really got the bug for some new body modification, something to mark this huge transitional space that I’ve been in for the last year.
I told Belle about this star tattoo and she got all excited, and has wanted some star tattoos of her own. And yesterday, she got them done: five small stars at the top of each of her breasts, basically under her bra strap. They look incredible.
More about that later.
The star on the wrist has been something I’ve wanted for a while, more than two years, but I’ve been hesitant because I often get comments about how generic that is, how common, and wouldn’t I want something a little more unique. Which has given me great pause in the past.
But upon thinking about it for the last few days, I’ve decided that that is entirely the point: this tattoo symbolizes a connection to the lesbian – and, specifically, butch/femme – communities and history, and I like that being stamped that way is specifically about my placement within and conmnection to that community.
It’s hard to find many resources about this star on the wrist as a symbol of butch or queer identity, but there is a particular passage in a book Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold which I do recommend:
During [the 1940s and 1950s], the cultural push to be identified as lesbians – or at least different – all the time was so powerful that it generated a new form of identification among the tough bar lesbians: a star tattoo on the top of the wrist, which was usually covered by a watch. … The community views the tattoo as a definite mark of identification … the Buffalo police knew [that] the people that had the stars on their wrist were lesbians and they had their names and so forth. That it was an identity thing with the gay community, with the lesbian community. … The stars presage the methods of identity created by gay liberation. In fact, the mark has become something of a tradition in local circles and has seen a revival since the 1970s.
From “Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community” by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Madeilne D. Davis, © 1993, p189.
I think I cut out the part where they talk about it being a blue star, but I tend to hear that associated with this legend. I also hear there was a group of women suffragists that called themselves the Blue Star Cadets in around 1920.Mine, though, I’m not sure if I want it blue. I’m not sure I want something so obvious on my wrist. And after I saw this image of white stars on the wrists over on Flickr, I was totally sold on the idea of doing it in white ink. I don’t want mine to be exactly like that – I want it smaller, probably solid white, and just one wrist. But I really love the way it looks. Almost like a scar. Perhaps a hint of blue would be nice, pay homage to those who came before me, my history, my lineage, my inheretance.
I brought my butchness to this workshop in a way I never have before. On Saturday, I wore a button-down and tie in the morning. It has never even occured to me in the past to wear a tie (in fact, in one of the workshops, five years ago now, I felt inspired to bring my only pair of high-heel shoes for one of the rituals, although I never wore them) but this time it did, and it was lovely. I got a few compliments and I felt like myself, not like dressing up.The thing is, this workshop is very goddess-yoni-vulva-womyn. In a wonderful way, really; the rituals and energy ground me in my body, often purge some major things I’ve been holding onto. Hard to describe. But it has meant that it’s hard to bring the butch/masculine energy into that space for me sometimes, because it doesn’t exactly fit in. It stands out, sometimes dramatically. I also think it might put off some of the participants who are very suspicious of masculine energy, and who need the circle to be an especially safe space, which, for many women, means completely free of that masculine energy.
There were a few differences in recent years – I am different, of course, my butch identity has grown and solidified over the past year in a very new way. Also, the instructor is genderqueer – she even referred to herself as trans-gender, at some point, not in a ‘transitioning from one to the other’ kind of way but in a ‘occupying both, transferring between genders’ kind of way. She made me feel particularly empowered to bring the butchness.
What is also interesting about that is the ways that some attendees seem suspicious of me – likely because of my butchness – but by the end of the weekend treat me a little differently, since they’ve seen me warm & open.
I packed on Sunday. I’d brought my (pink bendy) cock & harness for the altar, but during a morning meditation I had some revelations about the ways that I identify with my genitals outside my body, and the ways that that means for me that I have worked really hard to take a good look at what’s going on for me “down there,” my history and relationship and connectiont to my cunt. It’s also about how cock-centric I – and my sex life – currently is, and after that revelation, I really wanted it on. I took it from the altar during lunch and didn’t take it off the rest of the day, wore it under boxers.
It wasn’t obvious, I don’t think – the few people I revealed it to were surprised – and I felt a little embarrassed or even guilty about wanting to wear it. As though I should be complete without it. As though I shouldn’t want and need this extra thing that is me but isn’t me, that is more me than anything else but is not a part of me, that comes to life when I am and it is touched, but has no nerve endings, no real sensation. Wanting it so badly is also a recognition of that which I do not have, of my defiency, and when my cock is acknowledged as me and touched as part of me, I am seen as whole, and I am recognized as having that cock, in all its reality – as a separate-but-connected extraneous and integral piece of me.
If I summed up this workshop in two words, they would be cock and heart.
Aside from the revelations on butchness and my cock-identification, I was consistently reminded of how closed down my heart is (was?). One of my intentions for the workshop was to connect my cunt and my head, which are working quite well, really, via my heart, which is not working so well.
My heart feels like a nest of needles. Tied tight with thick scratchy ropes like a boat moored. (What is tied to it? Can I let that drift out to sea?) Tethered like a hot-air balloon held to earth when it’s impulse is to float and lift.
Another intention was the small mantra, “I already have my wings,” which spoke to not only the ways that I needed to remind myself to open my chest, open my chest, open my chest, but also the idea that I am already complete, that I don’t have to look outside myself (Callie) for answers and validation.
My heart is not healed yet. That’s okay. I kept making the gesture when talking about the workshop of my hands over my chest, peeling back my ribcage – and that feels lovely, vulnerable, tender. I’m sore, yes – but keeping my heart wrapped up tight like this is a bit suffocating, and just makes the soreness worse.
There’s more, there’s so much more about this workshop. But this is a start.
My sister willingly sketched the tattoo out on my shoulder with a permanent marker, and I love the way it looks. This will happen this summer.I have not dreamed of her the last few nights. I barely thought of her today. I did speak about her last night to a friend, but that was partially because I was tipsy (mojitos are so perfect for hot Saturday afternoons) and partly because this friend had seen me through this relationship, from the beginning, and had a lot of useful things to say about love and me in love and what it was like to witness the two of us together.
Here’s the thing. I love being in love. Love it. That seems like a silly thing to say because, duh, doesn’t everybody love being in love? But the truth is, no, not really. Some people run from it. Some people don’t seem to know how to recognize it when they have it. I have the advantage of being a queer woman in this case, since us dykes are known for our u-haul instantaneous declarations of forever, though there are plenty of us who are not like that. I, however … seems like I am one of them.
I’ve been thinking about it, and here’s a bit of my relationship history:
14-19: Serious relationship with a boy, the only boy I’ve ever been with. I think I’ve referred to him as “Mike” here on Sugarbutch (I should make a post to keep track of names). My bisexuality was never a secret; at first, he loved that I was really into women, but as the relationship went on it became less about him and more about me potentially leaving him to be with women, which I eventually did.
19-23: Came out as queer, went back to college, generally single. A few relationships in this time lasted longer than a month, and plenty of scars to show for it. But this whole time I was in love with my best friend. that’s a long story, of course, but the whole time we were in these deep emotional negotiations about how we’d “eventually” get together and “eventually” be perfect for each other, when in fact I was being strung along. I believed her every time.
23-27: With The Ex-Girlfriend, who is a semi-frequent character on Sugarbutch.
27/28: Six months with Callie. Our relationship overlapped with the Ex-Girlfriend’s, as you may remember.
So really, aside from those few first years of my queer adult self (which only half count, since all my emotional/romantic energy was going to one particular girl), I haven’t been single in my entire sexual history.
See what I mean, that I love being in love? I do. I can’t help but be a poet; I am so interested in the inner emotional lives of people, I love to have that access to one particular beautiful person in intimate ways. I am tempering those impulses in me to sift through my phone book, my email and myspace and friendster contacts, and find a date, someone to flirt with, someone I can reach inside of for a while.
I’m beginning to take pictures again. That’s one of the first things that seems to slide off the table when my schedule is otherwise full: spending time with myself, just looking, seeing things, objects, people, places, my own face and skin. I miss that, it’s nice to have it back.
I’m also writing more. This past week I’ve been in a creative overdrive, writing stories and poems that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, years, in some cases, and all sorts of things are coming out of me. I’m remembering my talents. Using them to make sense of things. Thank god.
There is so much more to discover about me. I love what I’m finding when I take myself out, ask myself questions, hear my own stories. I have more ideas and themes and impulses and inner workings in me than this single life of mine can hold. No wonder I felt so much pressure in that last relationship – I had no time for myself, and it takes a lot of time to pursue all of my interests.
for sunday scribbling: wingsI have said that she gives me wings.
I have said that, though I have been collecting feathers my entire life, downy and sweet, flight and contour and semiplume feathers, even occasional bristle feathers and filoplume feathers, it was her who gave me the map, the blueprint, for the abilities to soar, to take off and land, to catch a ray of wind and float.
I have said she takes me to such heights, takes me to the peaks of mountains, looking down over valleys where everything below is neat and organized, small, managable.
I could continue with the bird metaphors, hollow bones and unfolding; flying, nesting, cracking open; a four-chambered heart, ruby breasted; flocks and migration and hovering and perching.
But what I really want to say is that I was not raised to believe in pride. I don’t know what it’s like for others to take credit for my accomplishments, no matter how much my accomplishment was helped by your maps, your tender caresses, your careful slices of leather cut around the outlines of my feet for my landing.
This flight is my victory. And while you are calling to me from the clifftop, yelling claims to my own soaring moments, the air is so clear and still that all I can hear is the beating of my own wings.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with birds. Flight patterns. Migration. Wings. Traveling by air. The topography of a bird like the wrist, the bard of the wing, the crown, the mandible, the tarsus, the axillers.Everywhere I go bird references occur. I sat next to a girl wearing the same shoes as me and she says “we’ve inherited our sorting habits from a flock of birds.” I bought a journal made from a 1941 copy of A Field Guide to Western Birds. One night I was out, there was a pigeon family nested on the terrace. My best friend sent me a starling necklace. I very much want a small flock of birds tattooed on my shoulder. I have a ‘flight mix’ full of songs about flying, wings, birds, butterflies, the sky, clouds, rising, flying.
I’ve been flying high for miles. Months. Examining the ground below me for a pattern, a map, direction.But it’s no longer time for flight.
It’s time to fight.
I adore the sounds a girl makes when she’s being fisted. Gutteral, that’s why that word was invented, to describe the sounds from her mouth, her throat, her chest, her belly, her cunt. Such deep noises coming from the center of her.
It didn’t start as fisting. It started as me, strapped on, fucking her, her on her back, me above her, her knees bent, pulled back, held to her chest, calf on my shoulder. But there was some place in her I wasn’t reaching, she kept pressing against me to make my cock hit just the spot, my cock which was really her cock, her strap-on, because I did not come prepared. Her cock wasn’t very large. Slim and decent, sure, but nothing I would call thick.
I turned her onto her stomach. Hips bent over the edge of the bed, toes on the floor. Spread her open with one hand pressed her hips up into that perfect little spiral curve and slipped a finger inside. Two fingers. Just to find the angle, the placement, the mark where my cock would be going. Instead I found her open, so open, opening wider as my fingers moved deeper, three fingers, four, slid in so easily and still hadn’t filled her. I didn’t ask for her permission, didn’t tell her what I was doing, I assumed she could feel it and I tucked my thumb under, pushed inside. Easily. Slid in to my wrist.
And she was filled. With me, my fingers, my palm, my thumb, my wrist.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt a girl’s cunt open like that before. Lock-and-key open. Dark clouds parting to reveal blue sky open. There is a certain point in the … orgasm arc that they do tend to open deeper, pull my hand cock tongue in even further, but oh so rarely do I feel a girl making a space for my fist inside her.
What a feeling: my whole hand inside her body. This hand, the one I’m using to type. Such connection happens when I can feel every ripple of her body from inside. How her hips gyrate and buck. How her stomach contracts. The noises from her mouth that begin where my knuckles touch muscle and press.
I took her clit in my left hand and attempted, tried, cajoled, but I don’t think she came. She certainly had a release, of some sort, but I think she may have been generally too overstimulated. That’s just a theory. An observation.
Slid out of her slow. I didn’t want to let go of her for a long time after.
That was definitely my favorite part of Saturday night, though the caning, the candle wax, the rope binding, the orgasm that nearly made me cry, and the pigeon family nested on the balcony were also very notable.
I can still hear her whisper, in my ear next to my cheek, her skin so fucking smooth, “let go. just let go.”
Today, I saved a little fuzzy yellow caterpillar in Rockefeller Center. It was be-boppin’ along on the (cement) stairs trying to climb the (cement) building next to the (cement) sidewalk just off of the road, in a high traffic place, going the opposite direction of what little (meticulously planted) foliage was nearby. So, I scooped it up and let it off on a leaf. Perhaps that will save it from being squashed by some tourist’s unsuspecting shoe.As I walked along the trees (wrapped in holiday lights) and shrubs and ivy growing along the edge of the Center, I noticed that there were dozens of birds foraging for food (read: grubs) in the same foliage planters.
I may have delivered the poor thing into the beak of the enemy.
A red balloon tattooed on the side of my lower right leg. Small, simple, looked like it was floating, maybe the string wrapped around my ankle a little bit. That’s what I visualized clearly yesterday, randomly. Perhaps a little shadow of a person holding the string on the back of my ankle. I have a few tattoo visions really, though I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually get one. Those with tattoos say they’re addictive.The other one I want right now is a (small) flock of (small) birds (starlings perhaps?) on my left shoulderblade, with one perched, not flying, more on the chest side of my left shoulder.
Apparently, I am being drawn to flight.