Break It Down, Butch.

December 25, 2010

[51] Christmas, 2010.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 21:26
Tags: , , ,

It’s amazing how much better things get when you have family and turkey and pretty lights and SO MANY DOGS and presents and slightly crap TV and — Christmas, basically.

We’re not particularly religious, and this whole side of the family (i.e. my step-mum’s side, because everyone else lives hundreds and/or thousands of miles away) is a little awkward with each other, but we still do the tree and the gifts and the roast beast (except for the step-mum, who’s vegetarian), and a ridiculous amount of presents, AND DID I MENTION THE DOGS?

There were four this year. Two chocolate labs my dad owns, one black lab my step, uh, grandparents own, and a GINORMOUS Newfoundland puppy-thing that tried to EAT MY HEAD.

(I was literally dripping dog drool at one point. It was both hilarious and gross.)

Happiness is seriously a house full of dogs.

Anyway! I got presents (a martial arts DVD, a hoodie, a pretty swish looking necklace and bracelet from friends who get the butch thing, some pink bath stuff from family who really don’t, a gift voucher — and at some point in the future I’ll be getting new glasses, a coat, and some Timberland boots), and ate waaaay too much turkey, and got a whole lot of back-pats and shoulder-squeezes from the male side of the family, which was interesting.

I’m looking particularly guyish at the moment. In the interests of feeling like myself again, I went and got the stupid girly hair-mistake chopped off and restyled, so now it’s super-short and spiky and so much better. I can look in a mirror again without wincing, which is a major improvement in life.

But yes, male-looking. Which seems to bring out a certain… reaction in the guys of my family. There’s a sort of fellow-feeling that goes around. Like a shared wink and a sense of usefulness (it’s the guys who do most of the Christmas work, while the women tend to put their feet up and get drinks provided; an arrangement that seems to work for everyone), and a kind of mutal glee over making sure everything goes off without a hitch and decent presents are provided.

It’s all very caveman, really.

But this year I got a lot more included. I haven’t been to a family christmas in two years (I spent the last two with my ex-girlfriend in the States), so maybe they’re more used to my genderwierdness now, or maybe I’m just more comfortable inside my own skin and it shows. Who knows? Either way, it was pretty cool.

(Though, again, daft pink bath stuff. Yeesh.)

Actually, thinking about it, I’ve only been embracing the butch thing for the past year-ish or so, so it probably is that being more comfortable inside my own skin thing.

That aside, back to my original point — CHRISTMAS IS HERE AND IT IS AWESOME. I have eaten turkey THREE TIMES TODAY and it is not yet getting old. (Though I am extremely full.)

Continuing the good news, starting tomorrow I only have two and a half more days at work, and then I am freeeeee!

Also, I have The Chronicles of Narnia on the TV and a snoring labrador pressed against my hip. Is this the best Christmas ever? I THINK IT IS.

December 23, 2010

[50] Whining.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 00:29
Tags: , , , ,

I lost a client at work today.

I can’t go into much detail — confidentiality issues — but it was renal failure and an expected death and three fucking days before Christmas. I don’t want to whine, but Jesus, it’s my last week and this shit is not cool, universe.

He was a nice guy. He didn’t deserve to go out like that.

Everyone says that. And it sucks that most of what I’m focusing on is how I feel bad about things, but it has seriously been that kind of year. I have four more days at work (not including the three I get off in the middle), and I am sick of disasters and illness and fucking medication and people dying. I’m sick of being stressed out and screwed up and completely exhausted. I am really, really sick of sleeping on my mate’s sofa.

I’m heartsick and soul-sick and so not feeling butch right now.

This is just a bad moment, and I know things will look better when the sun comes up, but seriously, I need to get a job as a lumberjack or something.

December 19, 2010

[49] Family thinking.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 21:34
Tags: , ,

Mini-disclaimer: This isn’t so much a butch post as a life post. Sometimes they sneak up on me.

My family history is a little fucked up.

I’m pretty sure if you sliced open half the population and checked out the writing inside their hearts, you’d see that phrase inked right between the ventricles. There are storybook families out there, I’m sure there are, but they’re rare. They’re so rare. And the rest of us poor suckers are stuck in the cracks of the human condition.

Do you ever have that conversation? You know the one, where you meet a new person — a friend of a friend, a date, a work colleague, a nice looking stranger — and you have that talk. The where’re you from, what’s your family like talk.

My last three went something like: alcoholic mum, child-molesting father, asshole older brother…

Seriously.

In my case, it was RAF-dad and schizophrenic mum. Which was really not as bad as it could have been, but despite being white and middle-class and generally disgustingly privileged, there was still a buttload of suckitude in my early teenage years, and the whole family-thing fractured way apart.

I used to be bitter. Nowadays I just get a little sad.

But here’s the thing. I went through the dusty old family photo albums recently, and I found this picture. This small, sepia-tinted, break-your-heart picture of my parents, back before they ever had kids or a mortgage or a marriage. Back when my mum’s mind still worked right, and my dad looked happy, and they’re both so young.

My mum is beautiful and grinning and sitting sideways on my dad’s knee, arms wrapped around his neck, temple pressed to temple. My dad is handsome and smiling and just a little awkward, leaning into my mother. I’ll bet you anything it was her dad taking the photo.

They don’t look much older than I am now.

I wish I’d known them back then. I don’t really know them now, if I’m honest, but it’s a different thing. They’re parents, and we have all this broken, twisted up hurt wrapped around us. (And we were never that great at talking anyway.) But they look like real people back then, with so much hope and bright shiny futures, and I wish I’d known them. I want to know if I’m like them, if we ever think the same, if they had the same fears and hopes and screwed up ideas I have.

(Okay, I’m pretty sure neither one of them was a butch queer transthing, but still.)

There’s a lot of stuff written out there about learning from parents — dads, mostly, when it comes to butches, but mums occasionally — and getting over parents and trying not to be be your parents…

Someday, if I ever have my own family, I hope I get to give the pictures to my kids myself. With my partner. And I hope we’re smiling when we do. Because this whole looking at a single, stolen photo and getting melancholy about it thing sucks.

Parents. Oi.

December 18, 2010

[48] Spot the difference.

Quick gender experiment.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I’m wearing a binder in both, so I’m actually a little more curvy up-top then that second picture shows. But it’s the body-language I find really interesting. In that first picture I look like me, admittedly with daft hair and a scrunchy, I’m-trying-not-to-crack-up face, but still recognizably confident and comfortable. My arms are relaxed, my legs are set square, I’m facing the camera almost dead-on. I look masculine and okay with that.

In the second photo, I’m wearing female clothes for about the first time in ten years. You can see my hips and waist and the shape of my legs; my neck looks longer, my whole body is a little slimmer and smaller. My arms are hidden, my shoulders are up, and my smile doesn’t reach my eyes. My head has a tilt to it, like appeasement. Female, but not happy about it.

It’s weird, what clothes can do.

[47] Make-up: It’s not just for girls.

Bit of hilarity I forgot to mention:

In pursuit of looking kinda-female-ish for my interview, I got my eyebrows waxed and eyelashes tinted. (I know.) It was this sort of three-for-one deal, where they offered to tint your eyebrows at the same time, too. But my eyebrows are already plenty tinted, so I took a friend along and she got her eyebrows waxed instead.

I’ve never had my eyelashes tinted before, so I had no idea what to expect. But it turns out it’s pretty easy. They just stick some moist, protective cotton (cotton-ish thing? I have no idea) under your eyes, make you close your eyes, then paint dye all over your lashes and throw another protective cottony-whatever over the top of that. And then you sit for fifteen minutes, trying not to blink.

If you have a nice make up artist, she’ll take this opportunity to talk to you.

First thing my make-up artist said: “Y’know, not many guys have this done. But I think it’s awesome. I used to do my boyfriend’s eyelashes all the time.”

“I fancied a change?” I said vaguely, flat on my back and determined not to fluster the woman dyeing my eyes.

“Great!” she enthused. “I think this’ll really make your eyes pop.”

Well, wahey.

Then she left me alone and went to talk to my friend. Apparently, the conversation went something like this:

Make-up lady: “So, have you known him long?”

Friend: (without missing a beat) “Oh sure, he’s been my best mate since college.”

Make-up lady: “Awww!”

I’m just guessing, but I’ll bet she thought I was fabulously gay. Which is half-accurate. And she was right — dyed eyelashes really do make my eyes pop.

Edited for picture evidence:

Photobucket

Here is regular me, with eyebrows intact and hair short.

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And new me, looking creepy-weird and slightly fluffy. I shall be getting the hair fixed soon. (The make-up lady did think I was a guy, so she didn’t take my eyebrows too thin, fortunately. They’re just a bit… neater.)

December 14, 2010

[46] Cupcakes for all!

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 14:23

Also, I turned twenty-three in November. Wish me belated happy birthdays!

I am older and not at all wiser. 😀

[45] Working boy

Damn, that was a long break.

So hey — still not dead! I’ve been gyroscoping on the edge of general catastrophe for about three months, but that’s not new. (And also great for the waistline — I’ve lost almost two stone in three months through pure stress, I shit you not.)

Anyway.

Here’s the question of the week: if you’re butch-identified and you want to stay true to yourself but still look totally hire-able, how the hell do you dress for a job interview?

Seriously.

Today I went for a sort of lame-ass compromise by getting my hair slightly feminized (it’s all about looking fluffy, I’m told), my left ear re-pierced so I could wear matching studs, and just a touch of eye make up. And then I wore a suit.

I know, I know. I’m a gutless traitor.

It’s a dilemma, and it has no easy answer. I guess if there was a lot of work out there I could afford to be more, well, myself, but there isn’t. There’s no work. I graduated top of my class and I still can’t get a decent, doesn’t-make-you-want-to-kill-yourself job.

(I should mention, at this point, that a big part of the reason I haven’t been posting is that I’ve been busy DROWNING IN HATRED for my current job, which is so much filled with suckitude that I stopped eating, sleeping, or being generally sane, because OH MY GOD HAVE I MENTIONED THE HATE?

Anyway, I handed my notice in last week, so things are looking up.)

(Except, kind of not because I don’t have another job, but I WILL FIND ONE.)

Anyway (again), today I had a job interview, and I had to dress smart. Smart for me means a suit and tie, or at the very least a swanky shirt and a nice jacket. I look good in that combination; classy and professional and, yes, very male. But ‘weird, very male butch-thing’ is generally not what people are looking for in a supervisor, equal opportunities hiring aside. So in the interests of, y’know, continuing to eat, I wussed out and girled it up and — felt both weirdly comfortable and full of self-loathing.

Odd place to be.

Comfortable, I think, because for all the awkwardness and wrongness-feeling of it and general self-betrayal, it is easier to walk around and be recognizably gendered. Not better, but easier. Though, okay, if I’m going to be gendered I don’t like it to be as female because it does feel like I’m walking around with a target between my shoulderblades (seriously, regular femmy-people, how do you do it?), but at least I know I’m recognizable as something, rather than ‘Dude, what the fuck was that?’.

Self-loathing because, well, duh.

I’m hoping I’ll get the job and the whole fiasco will be worth it, but either way I’m damn sure spending the rest of the day in my comfy jeans.

Question for all you butches, transmasculines, studs, and male-identified cool guys — what would you do?

October 26, 2010

[44] Your dad’s just human, too, kiddo.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 23:30
Tags: , , ,

My brother and his girlfriend just co-called me at ten minutes to midnight to inform me that, while house-sitting for my father, they’d discovered his gentleman’s reading material under the bed.

Seeing as I thought they were calling to tell me one of them had accidentally stabbed the other one in the brain, or something, what with it being midnight, I’m somewhat relieved.

And amused.

Really, really amused.

For a bit of context, my father is a stand-up guy: military-tough, strong, dependable, sweet as all get-out when the mood strikes him–

And, as it turns out, apparently kind of vanilla.

I know it’s something of a theme for butches to aquire the basics of Manly Life Lessons from their dads (it’s up to the butch whether they’re mirroring, or not repeating that shit), but in this case I think I’m just going to laugh and laugh and laugh…

October 14, 2010

[43] Joel Burns — It Gets Better.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 00:53
Tags: ,

Joel Burns is from a small Texas town, son of an actual cowboy, and a current Ft. Worth city councilman. He utterly broke my heart.

Please watch this video and spread it around, because I don’t think there could be a better one.

October 13, 2010

[42] This is not the answer to the universe.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 22:00

I’m late to the party on this one, but everyone already knows the score. At last count, five gay kids in the USA killed themselves in September because of anti-gay bullying.

Asher Brown shot himself in the head. He was thirteen.

Seth Walsh hung himself from a tree, and died ten days later. He was thirteen.

Billy Lucas hung himself at his grandmother’s house. He was fifteen.

Raymond Chase hung himself in his dorm room. He was nineteen.

Tyler Clementi threw himself off the George Washington Bridge after his college roommate filmed him having sex and streamed it on the internet. He was eighteen.

Five dead kids, because people didn’t like their sexuality. And those are just the ones that got reported. According to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey, quoted here, LGBTQ kids are four times more likely to kill themselves than their heterosexual peers. And LGBTQ kids from non-accepting families are nine times more likely to exit the world via noose or shotgun.

Not to overstate the obvious, but that’s a lot. And that sucks.

So what can we do? Well, here’s a snapshot of some of the links I’ve been gathering over the past few weeks. Click them, check them out, pass them along. Signal boost.

The It Gets Better project, which a lot of people have already heard about, is getting mixed press. But it’s also getting people talking, and that is A Good Thing. It’s a bunch of youtube videos put up purely to tell LGBTQ kids to survive high school, because afterwards it gets better.

We hope.

The We Got Your Back Project. Very much like It Gets Better, but with more activism.

There’s also the Make It Better Project, which has the LGBTQ kids themselves getting up and speaking out.

Ellen DeGeneres’s video response to the suicides. You can tell she barely makes it through without breaking down.

FCKH8. Very NSFW; totally awesome. A straight (ahem) talking video about gay marriage, with cool merchandise being sold to help fund gay activism. Also trans- and straight-friendly, if the video’s anything to go by.

(If you need any extra prompting to go support gay marriage, you can check out this article about the Obama Administration appealing against the recent gay marriage win in supreme court.)

A collection of related links by copperbadge over on livejournal, including a great article about being Visibly Queer Friendly.

Relatedly, G recently wrote about National Coming Out Day here, and raised an important point about staying in the closet if that’s what it takes to survive. Because seriously, don’t come out if it’ll kill you. Don’t come out if you don’t feel safe. Don’t come out if it’ll cost you your whole family and you can’t survive that. Stay safe, protect yourself, come out later. We need you alive before we need you Out And Proud.

If you haven’t heard about the excellently timed Mormon-related furor involving Boyd K. Packer’s sermon ‘Cleansing The Inner Temple’, which hit off a hell of backlash against the LDS Church recently, you can watch the sermon here and here. Here’s one article covering the highlights. And here’s the LDS Church’s official response and current stance.

(I’m trying to be neutral on the whole Packer issue, as I have Mormon friends and do not wish to alienate them. But any response which contains the phrase “While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground…” is going to garner, at the very least, a raised eyebrow.)

This has been your link-salad for the day. Signal boost like whoa, guys, and try like hell to stay alive.

ETA: I missed Kate Bornstein’s It Gets Better video and appeal to all LGBTQ folk, along with her awesome Get Out Of Hell Free card, which she explains all about in her post.

SON OF ETA: Seanan McGuire, author of Rosemary and Rue, and also author of FEED (best zombie book ever, bar none) under the psudonym Mira Grant, wrote a compelling, excellent, kick-up-the-ass article about bullying here.

SECOND SON OF ETA: Seanan already links this in her article, but it’s so screamingly good I want to link it twice. On Good Kids and Total Fucking Assholes.

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