I spent the last four days at Ohio lesbian festival, so what that means more than anything else is I spent the last four days seeing, listening and speaking to, working and living and making with hundreds of lesbians. All kinds of lesbians: lived experiences of race, ability, etc as varied as each woman - with one connecting link. I know I can’t explain the reality of how this feels. I know this because when it was explained to me, I was so resistant to the idea of lesbian magic that I bristled. Sure, solidarity, whatever. No? Ok crazy, not relevant to my shut-down life.
The truth is that when you think something is impossible, hope feels toxic. Optimism is strangulating. I had built a wall to protect myself against hoping for the kind of fulfillment that could not be possible for someone who did not have a future. So, of course, being told that this is real is an attack on my walls! Hey! I built those and they keep me safe!
Thank god I eventually went to lesbian and women’s cultural spaces and understood what women can build, but again, I know I can’t explain it - all I can do is urge you, young lesbian reader, to go. As soon as you get the chance. Go. Go. Go. Women will help you get there in any way they can. If you want to go to a women’s festival, women will help you get there. You owe it to yourself to try - it is your lesbian inheritance.
Seeing the incredibly broad ways in which women inhabit their bodies and age and relate to one another is life changing. This is information that is kept from us. As is our own history. All i want to do is ask questions and learn and say thank you. But it turns out that old lesbians want to do the same thing, holding back tears of gratitude and relief to see us, hear us, know us. We recognize each other instinctively. I see myself in them and see a future I did not know was possible, a future I WANT to live in. They see themselves in us and see survival - continuity is survival. We are not dying out. We have a past, present, and future. We will always be around. We will always find each other. We will always come back home.
Most recently completed sword with sheath!! This blade will be available at the Dublin Irish festival in Ohio next weekend!! The festival lasts three days from the 4th of August until the 6th!! Come by and say hi and hold this blade in your hands!! I will also be doing some forge work at the festival as well. Thanks everyone!!
For my whole life, I have seen myself as a monster. That there is something deeply wrong with me at my core. I felt like some kind of frankenstein’s monster, something that was never meant to be. A lot of people think of themselves this way to an extent, but it does get poked and prodded at a lot when its also validated by interactions as a visibly gender nonconforming person, someone who can’t hide it even when trying very hard – the knowledge that people can see the monstrosity in you under whatever you try to cover it with has a lot of weight to it. You should see my drawings of myself, they’ve been the same since puberty. Monster body.
When I started to re-identify with womanhood and do some amount of healing from self hatred, or at least that self hatred was transforming, I reclaimed a lot of monster woman imagery. For those of you that have known me a few years, that will sound very obvious and familiar to you. Monster woman. Failed female. I have a horror blog called themonstrousfeminine. I love my wolfman-wolfwoman figurine, I love gorgons and huge fucking creatures and body horror. God, I love the warped and conceptually disfigured body! It makes living in my own larger than life. Someone spits on the ground at my feet and I think, yeah, yeah, that’s what happens to monsters when they walk amongst their neighbors in the sunlight and not the sewers! They’re afraid! I’m not afraid!
This past weekend, I went to a music festival with a thousand lesbians. I’ve never seen so many different ways to be a woman in one place. There are so many ways to live in these bodies. Its not the first time I’ve met women with features like mine who move through the world like I do, but it was the first time seeing so many, and so many seeing me, that there were too many to talk to. It was the first time seeing us everywhere I looked, it was the first time I saw us in the context of community.
When we are with each other, it makes it the most obvious and clear fact in the world: These women aren’t monsters. What has been done to them is monstrous, but they are not monsters. Monsters are imaginary, and we are real. They are larger than life, and we are alive. They are ugly and scary. I cannot imagine anyone who is less so. A recognition on a deep and visceral level: I see myself in these women and they saw themselves in me.
I don’t know how I will feel a week from now, when I’ve been around more people who do think I’m a monster (or I’ve watched a couple of cool horror movies), but for now, I don’t agree with them. Some affirmations: I will not draw myself as a monster, I will not use monstrous language to conceptualize myself. There is nothing wrong with me and I was not born wrong. I would not say these things about the women who I recognize as being like me, and they would not say these things about me.
I can’t reclaim and revel in the hatred of myself and my body anymore, I can’t let the only way of relating positively to myself be thinking its actually cool to be pushed into the sewer. Not when I know in such a real, material way that women look like this and we can and are part of communities and can and do walk around in the sunlight with one another, basking in it like we deserve to be there. And we do.
All I feel is grateful for the old lesbians who have built this culture up for decades and did so much work and have been through so much before me. But they seem to be grateful for the presence of young lesbians, especially young butches… which is really a lot to hold onto. older butches always want to ask me questions. the fear of disappearing and not having inheritors. I have so many questions for lesbian elders and it continuously shocks me that people want to hear from us too. this morning I went to a workshop by the woman who wrote the Disappearing L, a book I haven’t read yet about the erasure of women’s culture from the modern LGBT narrative. She said she spent decades at lesbian events journaling and taking down everything she could, how she was feeling and what was happening, passing around notebooks for other women to express themselves too. Now she has donated tons of material from the movement to archives all over the place, including the smithsonian. She said that we’re living history now and that we should record everything, because someday others will want to know what it was like for us. Because there will always be lesbian inheritors.
This sword is done!! I am working on the sheath now! The sword will be available the first weekend in August at the Dublin Irish festival in Ohio!! Come by and see us! I’ll be doing some forging as well. Thanks everyone!