Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A lot of thoughts, all mushed together in one post.

It's funny, when I'm around someone masculine, I act more feminine. I said that before and I'm still thinking about it. It's automatic. I am highly uncomfortable acting in a masculine way. It just feels so wrong to me. Not wrong as in morally wrong, just that it doesn't fit. It's why my conversations with my two former girlfriends felt strained sometimes, because it was assumed that I was taking charge, that I was more dominant, and they looked at me as if they were waiting for something. Well, no. I wasn't prepared for that. I may look badass, but inside I'm nothing of the sort. Soemtimes I dress the part just to boost my self-confidence if I'm feeling a little weak.

I think some of my masculinity comes from wanting to feel and act strong. Why I associate that with men probably has something to do with the culture in which I've been raised, especially in my family. This is NOT to say my mother was not strong at all. But we will all attest to the fact that my dad is the glue that holds our house together. And I think part of it has to do with the fact that my femininity was always translated to mean something sexual. I was given a lot of lectures about flirting and clothing and all of that and so in my head expressing myself meant sex, and there was no in between. I'm still struggling with that.

For those of you who are women dating masculine women, what separates you from being straight, especially if the person you are dating is very masculine in looks and traits? Now before you jump all over me, I'm asking out of pure curiosity and, well, ignorance. I don't know, so I'm asking. What is it that attracts you to butches instead of men? I am fully aware that we are more thna our DNA, so there's something maybe intangible that is going on here. I've just been wondering. I know there's a reason.

I was always the one to complain about the word submissive as it relates to marriage and Christianity. But part of my problem was that I didn't really understand why someone would WANT to do that. I had never experienced someone who cared for me romantically but respected me enough so that I wouldn't have to make everything a power struggle. When I hear people talking about D/s and other related things, it scares the bejeezus out of me because I think, why would you do that? Doesn't that make you panic to know that someone controls you? But that's not really the case, a good dominant personality (and I'm not just speaking of sex here, just in general) will not make you a doormat. It's just that I can count on one hand the amount of people for whom I could do that, people I trust.

So when I was talking to P today about some stuff, we talked about something that has come up numerous times before. What has happened to me in past years (people with boundary issues and saying no issues) doesn't still make me break down and cry, but it has changed how I understand people and relationships. It has made me cautious, but at the same time, helped me not make everything SO serious and just go with the flow a little bit. It hinders my ability to trust that someone will ask for my opinion and then actually respect it. I'm actively working on it. But we ARE shaped by what we have been through, for better or for worse. And Mom told me once that oftentimes, people who have never been hurt like that will not understand our need to go to therapy and talk about these things. Mom went through a lot as a child, things I never experienced. My grandpa was a terribly unkind person, especially to my mother, which fueled my animosity when she came to live with us. I knew what she'd done to her, and I had no desire to help her out, even though she was old and sick. I felt guilty for feeling that way, but anyone who hurts someone I love gets that response from me. I'm getting off track here. My point is, I needed therapy. I still go now, just not as often. I want to use the crap that I've been through and learn from it and grow and be more mature, discerning, and responsible.

And lastly, one of the things I'm most afraid of is that my friends and family are just waiting for me to get through this phase. I identified as straight for years and am just now calling myself..well, I don't know what to call it. I don't think in genders, I think in gendered traits and appearances. Even if I date a man, I'll still be bisexual. Even when I get married. And I'm not sure everyone understands that. I don't plan on identifying as anything else right now, but I don't know. And I won't ever figure it out unless I date people and see what ends up working.

I'm sorry that none of these large thoughts are connected. I'm going to eat my unkempt looking poppyseed cake that I managed to mangle. Luckily it is still yummy.


Freedomgirl said...

hey em, i thought i'd jump in and try to answer your question about being attracted to butch women but not straight guys.

BIG disclaimer: though i am not attracted to cis-gendered straight men, some femmes are, and i'm not hating on the bi femmes AT ALL. this is just my own experience.

that said, i messed around with two guys waaaay back when i was 15 years old, at the same time as M and i were falling in love. it was pleasant enough, and i was turned on, but something held me back. it just didn't feel right.

men are different; their bodies are different, they smell different, they move through the world differently. i am on the fence about transguys, for a long time i thought i was not attracted to them but there are a few who have made me start changing my mind. i think a major part of it for me is the way that cis-gendered men act, honestly. they are raised with so, so much privilege, even the fucked-up disadvantaged ones, and i've never met a single one that i didn't find sexist and arrogant in one way or another. butches, on the other hand, i've heard can be jerks but i've never had one treat me disrespectfully.

i think women are beautiful. i do know some butches who do not think of themselves as women, and that doesn't bother me. one of the amazing things about butches for me is that they have that edgy, forceful masculinity that i find compelling in either sex but it is written on a female body. men's bodies just don't have that electric sexual charge for me.

so i think i would ultimately say that i am attracted to the dominant, masculine personality that some (not all! lady brett is right, i've met some awesome butches who identify as submissive bottoms, and they are just as masculine but in a different way. the diversity of our community is breathtaking and beautiful) butches have; a butch is the perfect partner for me. i don't think i could ever be happy married to a man, and i think a part of me would always miss the masculine energy if i were partnered with a femme, or someone just less masculine. i have been attracted to femmes before, but they are always tops.

i don't know if i answered your question, but please feel free to email me for clarification or just for moral support. i spent a long time isolated from my community, and it sucks to be isolated from people like yourself, especially when there are so few of us around anyway.

and if you're looking to move, Boston always needs new teachers!

Miss Emily said...

I am emailing you right now! Thank you for such a thoughtful response. It makes perfect sense to me. I've had so little experience with this part of me, and certainly have never talked to anyone who has felt the same way, and I can agree with you on many of the statements you made. It's just the energy that you speak of. Dominant, masculine, edgy energy. It's not just the looks. I've met some women and then some men who exude this masculine energy (and being outgoing is important to me too, as I am quiet often) and it makes my knees a little weak.

So what's the difference between a femme top and a butch bottom? Both are not as common as the other way around. Is that just totally subjective? Not that you or anyone else has ALL the answers, but I just thought I'd throw that out there as well.

I don't know about moving all the way to Boston, but I've always wanted to go. If I plan a trip I'll let you know! I have a best friend here I'm not ready to leave.

Anonymous said...

i am very much a "mirror" sort of personality; i change a great deal depending on who i am around (including, as you mentioned, being more feminine around...well, around butches. i tend to be more masculine around men. anyhow...)

i like what fg said, but, honestly, i've never been able to explain the "why butches and not men" thing - perhaps partly because i do like men, just far fewer men, and not quite as much.

but the part that i really wanted to comment on is about power. the submissive/marriage/christianity bit still makes me uncomfortable, even though part of me really wants to be that kind of wife (with a wife) someday. it's the lack of thought and choice that makes it creepy to me. i think it is very easy for people to end up in that dynamic who don't want it.

"Doesn't that make you panic to know that someone controls you?"
actually, it makes me really peaceful, calm. i'm a really submissive personality (in a completely non-sexual way); decisions make me panicky, being in charge of anything makes me a little sick, and so it's the most comforting thing in the world. it's all a bit more complicated than that, i suppose - and i've been way lucky in the fairly sane relationships department, which might make it easier.

Miss Emily said...

I think I might be wording things wrong, but we're sort of saying the same thing. When you talk about being comfortable with someone else doing or at elast helping with decision making, it's sort of what I'm talking about. It's just that I've been with people who don't know how to make rational decisions. I don't really know anyone, any Christians, who don't let their wives have any kind of say, but I know they exist and it's creepy. I would hate to be in that position if I didn't want to be. I just can't always understand the concept of someone taking charge and having my best interests at heart. I would LOVE to have someone wonderful being more dominant.

I do change in some ways depending on who I'm around. Depends on what energy they bring out.

If there was a bigger lesbian community here it would be easier to see where I fit, but there really isn't. No lesbians or bisexuals or queer people here even think about discussing gender or butch femme or anything. They all look at me like an overcurious child when I start asking about it, like it's not cool to talk about it. Kinda sad.

That sheds more light on the dominant thing. It makes sense. Thanks for your thoughts.