Tag Archives: gym

Lifting Myself – Full Piece Up

 

A couple of days ago, I posted a short excerpt from this piece. It went up at Huffington Post yesterday. You can read part of it below, and the full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tristan-higgins/lifting-myself_b_3752947.html.

I have been lifting as part of my fitness routine for over a year, but in the past six months I realized how much I like it and started toying with the idea of doing a competition. A competition would make my training more real and give me motivation — you know, in the same way that training for a half or full marathon motivates runners. It gives them a goal, something to work toward rather than just running “another five miles today.” I cannot imagine anything worse than that, by the way. I am not a runner.

But I think I could be a lifter. At least, I want to try.

 

2013-08-14-IMG_5107.JPG 

So for the past five weeks I have been committed to a special training routine and program to help get me ready for a powerlifting meet in September.

Powerlifting means lifting as much weight as you can. There are three events: chest press, dead lift and the dreaded squat. I am doing powerlifting, not physique (the really, really pretty, lean bodies) or bodybuilding (also pretty but beefy bodies). I joke that powerlifting is the one that allows me to still drink my beloved craft beer. But even that I am doing in restricted moderation since I started training for the competition. See? Focus. A target.

Though I still have a ton to learn about lifting (pun intended), I have learned a few things already:

1. This is a very supportive community. There aren’t that many women who lift, at least not at my gym, and the one other woman who competes has become my hero and a little bit of a mentor (though I am not sure she knows either of those things). All the other lifting coaches in my gym call out to me during my workouts, supporting and offering encouragement. Before and after workouts, they stop me and my trainer to offer a tip here and there. It seems to take a village to lift that bar.

2. This is hard. If you think it looks hard to lift a lot of weight, you are right. All the equipment is hard. It hurts when you bump into it. It especially hurts when you bump into your limitations. I’ve learned that you can press through them — slowly — but knowing when to press through and when to listen to your body and stop? That’s hard too. My trainer, Janet, is amazing at knowing this. And there are strains, and pulls, and aches, and bruises.

3. The next point aside, femmes dig it. I am told that lifting is very sexy. Muscles, sweat and calloused hands, all a plus. I don’t have to agree to appreciate this.

This is where it really gets good! Hop over to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tristan-higgins/lifting-myself_b_3752947.html to read the rest. Thanks!


Lifting Myself – Excerpt

This is my newest piece submitted to the Huffington Post today. It should be up in a couple of days. In the meantime, I wanted to post an excerpt here…

I have been lifting as part of my fitness routine for over a year, but in the past 6 months I realized how much I like it, and started toying with the idea of doing a competition. A competition would make my training more real, give me motivation. You know, in the same way runners decide to do a half or full marathon. It gives them a goal, something to work towards rather than just running “another 5 miles today.” I cannot imagine anything worse than that, by the way. I am not a runner.

But I think I could be a lifter. At least, I want to try. So for the past 5 weeks I have been committed to a special training routine and program to help get me ready for a powerlifting meet in September.

Monday's inspirational photo was to inspire me. See the help?

Monday’s inspirational photo was to inspire me. See the help?

Powerlifting means lifting as much weight as you can. There are three events – chest press, dead lift and the dreaded squat. I am doing powerlifting – not physique (the really, really pretty lean bodies) or bodybuilding also pretty, but beefy bodies). I joke that powerlifting is the one that allows me to still drink my beloved craft beer. But even that I am doing in restricted moderation since I started training for the competition. See? Focus. A target.

It’s butch to stay tuned for the rest. Be Butch.


Monday Inspiration

Trying to feel inspired today. That’s 315lbs, by the way. Someday…

20130812-080517.jpgIt’s hella butch to lift something heavy. Be Butch.


How Butch Are You?

Plenty of readers have asked me a variety of this question: How do I know if I am butch? How do I know if someone else is butch? Why don’t people know I am butch? Or, what about lesbians that look butch, but don’t identify as butch? “Well, she is wearing a vest, after all!” And, what about lesbians that identify as butch, but no one sees them as such? “You can’t be butch, you have a purse!”

As I am now clearly the worldwide expert on this (NOT!), I do feel compelled to try to answer. And, frankly, I am honoured (trying to appeal to my newly broadened audience with a more international spelling) that any of you would ask for my opinion. My hope is that this blog will start a lively conversation and that a LOT of you will comment on this post, adding your view and opinions to what I have to say. As I have said before, there are many ways to be butch, and there is no right way. And, it is definitely more than the clothes. That is just the wrapper on the yummy butchness inside.

It comes down to two things, IMHO

It comes down to two things, IMHO

Being butch, in my opinion, is about two things. How you see yourself and how others see you. Of course the first one is the only one that matters; but the second is important if you want to appear to the world in a way that is congruent with your view of yourself.

1.  How You See Yourself

Michelle Pfeiffer isn't butch just because you put her in a suit.

Michelle Pfeiffer isn’t butch just because you put her in a suit. And, meow!

So, how do you see yourself? Do you feel butch? Do you like the label, tag, or identification of butch? Does it feel like it fits you? That’s the crux. If you feel like a butch, but you wear dresses, good for you. If you feel like a femme, but wear only men’s suits and fantastic vests, good for you. You alone define yourself.

I spend a lot of time on my blog “defining” what it means to be butch, but this is always tongue in cheek. You can read some of these, like How to Be Butch* (http://wp.me/p27vDp-3W) and I am a Butch (http://wp.me/p27vDp-3W). I am simply defining what it means to me, and of course, trying to do it in a way that is amusing for all of you (or maybe most of you? Some of you?). For example, I don’t wear lipstick or makeup (except for eyeliner, which I call “guyliner”). I wear all men’s clothes. I have super short hair (a Mohawk, to be precise). I am bigger and taller than most of my friends, many men included. I like to be strong and want muscles. But that is just me. There are a tremendous variety of lesbians who are butch that would take exception to much of that. Again, it only matters how you see yourself. Do you feel butch?

2.  How Others See You

kd lang didn't become a femme when she put this dress on - my favorite song of hers, btw.

kd lang didn’t become a femme when she put this dress on – my favorite song of hers, btw.

As humans, we have a need to label and categorize ourselves and others. Yes, labels are bad. No one fits precisely into any one category, but don’t hate. You know it’s true. You walk down the street and you see someone, anyone, and you assess them in a split second. Safe, dangerous, attractive, ugly, straight, gay, athlete, lazy, rich, poor, smart, dumb. Translation: desirable or undesirable. Of course, the classifications are much more complex – a handsome, straight, well-educated, well-off, married man. And, so on. While you’re doing it, so is everyone else. Making judgments about you based solely on how you dress, walk, look, and talk. Most people probably see me and think, “There is a big, butch dyke.” [Note: To our ally readers, don’t use the word “dyke” unless your lesbian friend told you it was ok to use it, and then, only use it with her. It’s hate speech and with a butch, it might get you punched in the face.] I’d rather it was, “There is a handsome, dashing, well-educated, charming single butch.” We can all dream. How do people see you? Do your friends think you are butch? What does your mom think? Side note here, my 9-year old recently told a lady at Nordstrom that her mom is butch. I am lucky because the way I see myself lines up with the way others see me – as Über Butch. Whew.

The vast majority of lesbians that I know define themselves as neither butch nor femme. It is much more common to simply consider oneself a lesbian. There is a spectrum of lesbians. On one end of the spectrum are the most masculine lesbians who identify as butch – maybe 15% of the lesbian population. On the other far end of the spectrum are the most feminine lesbians – maybe 15%. But the vast majority of lesbians (70%) would fall somewhere in the middle. I am just picking numbers based on my experiences, no research or anything. This article needs citations!

I have no idea how Jillian Michaels defines herself. She might not look butch in those dresses, but her attitude and poise are hella butch. Hey girl!

I have no idea how Jillian Michaels defines herself. She might not look butch in those dresses, but her attitude and poise are hella butch. Hey girl!

3. But, Who Cares?

The bottom line is that there is no one way to be butch. For me, being butch means that I want to take care of the woman I love – to protect her. I want to be bigger and stronger. Sometimes when I am lifting, I want to pound my chest and roar (Jillian would probably approve). As dumb as that is, I want a woman who thinks it’s cute – or maybe even hot. I want to open the doors. I want her to wear heels, lipstick, dresses. But that’s just me! How about you? What makes you butch?

I would like to add that there are gobs of lesbians that are more butch than me, and I am good with that. Butches, we are good. No need to track me down in a bar, or (gulp) side street and challenge my butchness. You win! Please don’t come looking for me unless you want to grab a beer. If you are butcher than me, I will buy…

Some random blogger's shirt. Heh!

Some random blogger’s shirt. Heh!

I would also like to add that if any of you think you might be a femme, but aren’t sure and would like help figuring it out, come looking for me! I am available for consultations, including door opening, and roaring. We will get you through this – together.

It’s butch to define yourself. Be Butch.


I really hope the Mayans are wrong.

mayan date

Tonight, or maybe tomorrow night, is supposed to be the end of the world. What time zone does that happen in, by the way? I mean, it would already be the end of the world in Australia, right? The Mayans and the Facebook app Year-in-Review has got me to thinking. What was my year all about? If life as we know it is about to be over, how did I do this past year? Given my breakup, which you all know about (cue the sad face), there is no way that my year is not at least a little melancholy, but that aside. Here is what my year brought me.

  • Reconnecting with old friends: My HS reunion was this year. I helped to plan it in a small way, and I really enjoyed the planning, build up, event, and then aftermath of the event. Several of my closest friends from HS are once again my closest friends in life.
  • Body Changes: This year I have lost weight and fat, and gained a lot of strength, muscle and knowledge. Turns out that I love to lift! I now know about things like Green Vibrance and the difference between whey, soy, and egg white protein. My new body, still much progress to go, allows me more energy, less pain, and more confidence. So that’s cool.
  • Saw the World (or at least some more of it): This year I saw Rome, Pompeii, and Florence, Italy, Cannes and Marseilles, France, Barcelona and Sitges, Spain, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I’m so hooked that I’ve already planned my next international trip, and there will be as many more as I can swing.
  • Stateside Exploration: Charlotte, North Carolina, Santa Fe and Albuquerque New Mexico, Dallas, Texas, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Big Bear, Palm Springs, and Disneyland, California.
  • More musicals and comedians: Saw “The Book of Mormon” (raucously funny), “Wicked” (still my favorite musical), a taping of Chelsea Lately, Florence and the Machine, and Fortune Feimster several times (she is hilarious, go see her!)
  • On the Work front: Spearheaded my company’s participation in the Pride Parade and Festival for the third year in a row, helped to get a great score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, made it through a round of layoffs (whew) and got all new clients at the end of the year.
  • Friends: I made a ton of new friends this year. I know FB does not equal real friends in and of itself, but still I added so many friends there and can think of handfuls of people that I love to spend time with – IRL. Friends, I appreciate you all so much.
  • Random: Tried red hair (short-lived), took a turn spinning as a DJ at Pride, swam with dolphins, remembered that I love to kayak and mountain bike.
  • Blog: This has been a force in my year. I started the blog just before the end of last year, but this year, wow. I’ve been picked up by the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Lesbian.com, reached over 500 followers on FB, and over 150 on Twitter. My blog was even featured on MyLesbianRadio.com. Wow! On WordPress, I have had more than 37,000 views! Tons of folks are following my blog, receiving emails when I post something, and tons of people comment, like the posts, and reach out to me about the blog. I am so thankful!
  • Recognition: For the first time in my life, I was given two different national awards. Both of them center on being an out and proud lesbian. I was overwhelmed, honored, and very proud.

This year was nothing short of life changing. In several distinct ways, 4 to be exact – that I can think of.fb year in review

  • The international travel. It is really amazing to see the bigger picture of what life is about on this planet. To experience buildings that are older than my country. To meet people from other parts of the world who have such different, and wonderful, viewpoints. You cannot travel and not be changed – for the better – by what you see, hear, learn and experience.
  • My yoga retreat & adventure in Cabo San Lucas. Both were really amazing. So much so, that I didn’t talk about either on my blog. I keep my stuff basically to the funny – beer, fashion, quirks about femmes and us butches. I never reveal deep squishy stuff. On the yoga retreat I learned a lot about myself and it helped a great deal to prepare me for the rest of my year. My adventure to Cabo San Lucas was the same for me.
  • Becoming single. It’s been a long time since I was single, and I have been learning at light speed about myself. ‘Nuff said.
  • Strength. I have learned this year, through some solo travel, some difficult experiences, and lots of time in the gym that I can literally do anything. Walk down the street alone in a foreign country? Done. Renegade rows? Done. Pay for stuff in Euros? Of course. Climb the side of a mountain and then rappel 100 feet? You betcha! Come on Life, bring it. I am strong! Can you hear me roaring?

Seriously, thank you for being with me this year. For those of you that were here all year, hooray! For those of you that are new, welcome!

I really hope the Mayans are wrong. I am learning too much. Having way too much fun. I have so much more to do, see, learn, and experience for it to be the end of the world. I need time to get my game on, to try and be suave and charming, and *gulp* date. I’m not done yet! But if the Mayans are right, so be it. It was a great ride, and this year, in particular! If they are wrong, watch out!

It’s butch to think back over your year and take stock. Be butch.


Tiny Dogs, Gentle Giants

As we know, butches relate to the world slightly differently than femmes. For example, my male friends routinely slap or punch me on the shoulder. Fist bumps are routine. “What’s up, man?” I’m asked regularly. This NEVER happens to my gorgeous fiancé. It got me thinking about other things that I hear – either from her or from others – that she would not hear. Here are a handful that I have experienced.

1. “Sir.”

Maybe an obvious one, but I can’t really skip over it. Say it with any inflection you like: “Sir!” “Sir?” “Sir…” Femmes do not hear this. Straight women – for the most part – do not hear this, but I would wager a bet that most butches hear this – frequently. It happens to me at least once a week. I have written about this a decent amount. You get the picture by now.

2. “Baby you have to be more secure in your butchness so we can have a small dog.”

This was a very funny one and it went like this. I love big dogs, the bigger and fluffier, the better. My gorgeous fiancé likes little dogs – tiny ones even. I prefer big dogs for lots of reasons. One of those, a minor one, is how silly I think a butch looks walking a tiny dog. Obviously, that’s dumb and not a reason to choose or not choose a dog to rescue. I have hesitated, however, to agree to a small dog, and my hesitation generated the statement above. We will be getting a tiny dog…and a big dog, too. Hey, compromises make the world go round. Woof.

3. “When your muscles actually start showing, you are going to be such a pain.”

So, I have been on a serious mission to slim down and bulk up. I want less fat and more muscle. Little hints of muscle are starting to show – at least I think so. The other day, I put my arms around my girl and flexed my bicep. She looked slightly exasperated, because she has caught me flexing in the mirror when I thought she wasn’t looking, and made the above statement. I’ll need to be more subtle in my flexing from now on.

4. “Your Butchness”

My friend Jason called me this the other day, and I freakin loved it. I felt honored to have earned this name. It’s like the butch equivalent of “your honor” or “your highness.” I may have to print some business cards with this title.

5. “That’s where you draw the line? An undershirt?”

I bought some men’s dress shirts from Banana Republic and they were very, very thin. I tried the yellow shirt on (purchased to go with my cool blue and white pelican bow tie) and you could see through it. My gorgeous fiancé suggested that I wear an undershirt, to which I responded negatively.

An undershirt? YUCK. Why would I want to wear a men’s undershirt? I mean, when I think of a men’s undershirt, I think about this guy. Eeew. Why would I want to look like this guy?

She looked at me – standing there in my men’s jeans, men’s shirt, men’s shoes, men’s jewelry, and a bow tie – and said, “That’s where you draw the line, an undershirt?” I guess it is an odd place to draw the line. I have since gotten some nice, high quality undershirts, and I love them. They look nothing like the ones that Homer Simpson passes out in, dreaming of donuts and Duff Beer. Mmmm, donuts.

6. “This is the ladies room.”

Yes, I know, annoying stranger in the mall, restaurant or airport. Thank you for stating the absolutely and unnecessarily obvious. I am in the right place. Are you? Next.

7. “You really are a gentle giant.”

This is my favorite, from my gorgeous fiancé. Think of all that it conveys. I am big and strong like a giant. Plus, I am gentle as a lamb – actually, like a huge dog. When is the last time you saw a hyper Newfoundland, Great Dane, or Norwegian Wolfhound? I am the great protector. Heh.

Butches, what other things have you heard that you would add to this list?

I love it when people find a way to reference my butchness, good or bad. It reminds me that butches are a special breed who get to experience and hear things that very few other women experience and hear. This is part of what makes us special. Hey – it’s butch to wear an undershirt into the ladies’ room while walking a tiny dog. Be butch.


Big Butches Do Cry

In certain circumstances, a butch is absolutely prohibited from shedding a tear. For example, while getting a tattoo.

Crying is forbidden – no matter how much it hurts – because you WANTED to get a tattoo. You chose to get a tattoo, and paid someone to give you one. No one cares that the pain is horrible and you just want to haul ass out of there and pound a few craft beers to get through it. No self-respecting butch can cry in that situation. If you do, just go ahead and give the tattoo artist your butch card before you high tail it out of there. You won’t be needing it anymore. I have gotten two tattoos, and they have both hurt like hell. The most recent tattoo was only a week ago. My gorgeous fiancé went with me and kept me company. I was doing my best to keep it together and not lose my butch card. Because she is wonderful and she saw me white-knuckling the chair with a desperate look in my eyes, she kept talking to me to distract me. It helped a lot. She left to go to the bathroom and I knew I was in trouble the second she walked away. Now that there was no gorgeous fiancé watching me, I was at serious risk of letting a few tears eek out. I kept it together though, and thankfully she came back pretty quickly. I sucked it up and was allowed to keep my butch card in my back pocket. Phew.

This painful tattoo experience got me thinking: when is it alright for a butch to cry?   Here are a few no brainers: (1) when your kids were born, (2) the Saints got crucified by Commissioner Dumb Ass – most likely resulting in a lost season, and (3) Ironman fell back through the hole in the atmosphere just before the portal closed and then was saved by the Hulk. So touching. Of course butches can cry at moments like those. It is perfectly acceptable. What I am talking about is good old-fashioned tears because we got injured, or are just plain sad. Revolutionary?

I think not. I may not cry that often, but I will burst into tears if I get injured (not like a paper cut, but actually hurt), or if my feelings get squashed. Probably not in front of you, mind you, but maybe later. This is sometimes challenging because it is hard for others to remember that butches do have feelings, and no matter how big and strong we are, crying is sometimes the result.

When we cry it is likely harder for us butches to explain it to you. “Why are you crying?” you might ask with all the sincerity in the world. But the honest answer might be, “I have no idea.”  Frustrating for you ladies, I think. Ironically, if we started crying during the tattoo torture, you would know exactly why – you just wouldn’t respect us!

Femmes and other non-butches tend to be much more in touch with their feelings. At least in my house, my gorgeous fiancé is very capable of putting into words what is upsetting her – whether it is some butch fail of mine, or something else entirely.  I am not so good at it.

Take the other day. My gorgeous fiancé and I are working with a personal trainer. She is very intense. The most intense trainer-type person I have ever worked with. Think Jillian Michaels. She is perfect for us because she pushes us really hard. I have written before about how strong my gorgeous fiancé is – stronger than I am in most ways. But I am very strong, too. Jillian knows this about both of us, and she knows what our goals are, so she is pushing. The other day, the workout was the most difficult that I have ever experienced. By a mile. As we were getting ready to stretch at the end, I started to cry. Not sobbing or anything, but my eyes filled up with tears that spilled over. I stopped at a machine to wipe my eyes (no crying in the gym!), and then went out to stretch. As I lay on the mat stretching my hamstrings, I couldn’t help it. The tears streamed down my face.

I have no idea why I was crying. I wasn’t hurt or injured. No one hurt my feelings. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t crying because I was so proud of myself or emotional about doing all that I was asked to do, although I could get there perhaps if I stopped to ponder it for a while. None of those things. My gorgeous fiancé realized that I was crying and was understandably alarmed. “Are you ok? What’s wrong?” she asked me. “Yes, and I don’t know” were my honest replies.

If the situation were reversed, she would have been able to explain to me exactly the cause of her tears. I could not. I wanted to. I am not trying to be tough emotionally – that’s silly. I want to be able to share whatever I am feeling or experiencing with her, but I was at a total loss. Of course that made it worse – being confused. Ack!

I still haven’t figured it out. I realize that this may be frustrating for you, dear readers, but I don’t have an answer for you. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know! Anyway, I thought it would be good to remind the world that butches do cry. We try to hide it. We want you to think we are tough (we are tough), but we do cry. And sometimes we have no idea why.

It is butch to cry. Just make sure it’s not while you are getting a tattoo. Be butch.


Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

 

Today’s musing starts at the gym.  This afternoon I worked out next to Gerald McCoy, a defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  This guy gives new meaning to the word “huge.”  He goes 6’4” and 295 pounds according to the NFL stat page.  I didn’t see any fat on him; how can you weigh that much in pure muscle?!?  Anyway, he is huge.  [Note: for any Bucs fans, he was very nice and was working his ass off.  Even this Saints’ fanatic could appreciate that.]  Would you be surprised if I confessed that I worked out harder today than on some days?  That I pushed myself more than I did yesterday?  Was McCoy’s strength and testosterone contagious?  I don’t think so.

More likely, I felt a need to be strong in the face of his strength.  To look strong.  To make a good showing.  Do I think that I am as strong as McCoy?  Not a chance in hell; it is never going to happen.  Do I think that McCoy would look over at me and think, “Now THAT is a strong woman?”  Nope, but imagine how cool.  “Check out the woman with the Mohawk.  She is a MACHINE!”  Nice fantasy.  But, I do want to make a good showing.  I do not want to be slacking off.  Right?  So, I am ok with him being miles stronger, faster, and bigger than I am.  Probably everyone reading this can agree with that statement.

But what about my girl?

Ahhh, there we go.  I don’t know about you, but my femme is stronger than I am.  It is important to point out here that she is 5’ and I am 6.’  She is petite and I am not.  I am a ton bigger, and yet… she lifts more than I do – always, it is not a fluke.  My only hope is if leverage or height is at play – then I am “stronger.”  That does not really count though, does it?  The worst is when we work out with a trainer.  On more than one occasion the trainer has sent us over to grab weights.  It goes like this.  To my fiancé, “Grab a kettle bell, 20kg.”  To me, “You grab a 16kg.”  Argh.

She also happens to be faster.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that this part does not say much.  I am as slow as molasses on a cold day.  When I run, I tend to go up and down as if I am trying to get out of a hole, instead of going forward. My parents used to cringe when I got a hit in softball (which was often – puffing chest out) and had to run the bases.  “Run Forrest!”  You would think that I would have gotten faster, if nothing else, to save my family from embarrassment.  But I never did.  My daughter beat me in a foot race several years ago (she is only 8 now).  Alas, speed is not my thing.  So who cares about the speed anyway? But the strength?  Does it bother me as a butch that my fiancé is stronger than I am?

The honest answer is … not always, but sometimes.  Why?  Well, I think it is because I want to be the big, strong one – the protector.  I want to make her feel safe and cared for.  I am the one who will chase away the dinosaur, right?  I could never be with a woman taller than I am, for similar reasons.  I love how small she is.  That being said, I like her to be strong, capable, self-confident, and all of those well-balanced things.  I want a woman who is sure of herself, hard to push around, able to handle things in the moment.  You know?

Brief musical interlude:

All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honey’s who makin’ money
Throw your hands up at me

It is sexy to know that she can take care of herself.  I love seeing her lift so much more than people would expect her to.  Sometimes I just wish I could lift a tiny bit more.

If I were king of the world and could make wishes come true, it would go like this.  She would stay strong, freakishly strong as she is, and would be respected as such by all whom she meets – including big strong football players like Gerald McCoy.  I would magically become stronger than she is, not overwhelmingly so, but stronger.  Does that make me a Neanderthal?  You tell me.  Butches, are you comfortable with your woman being stronger?  Fess up.

So, can I do anything she can do – better?  Of course not.  I am butch enough to admit it. Yes. Are you?

Be butch.


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