WATCH: Top 10 Signs You Might Be A #Lesbian. Cameo by me! (I’m a lesbian.)
#thedinah #thedinah15 #thedinah25
WATCH: Top 10 Signs You Might Be A #Lesbian. Cameo by me! (I’m a lesbian.)
#thedinah #thedinah15 #thedinah25
Today, I read a great list of problems only Butch lesbians understand. I laughed out loud. Many of you also enjoyed the list, judging by the plethora of comments. The author captured many of my Butch problems, but I couldn’t help myself. I thought of a few more. And, as a Butch who loves Femmes, mine are a little different.
So, go read Lane Moore’s post in Cosmopolitan – of all places – and then please see my humble additions below.
I am reprinting on my blog from the Huffington Post.
I recently sat down with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Sofia. We had so much fun talking that I lost myself in a few places. What? I’m not a professional journalist. I am a butch lawyer who writes a blog, and I can count on one hand how many times I have actually sat down with another butch. What follows is (most of) our conversation.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m 23. Half-Venezuelan and half-Lebanese. I was raised in London and lived in Venezuela until I was 5, in Caracas, the capital. I am very passionate about cultures and mixing them. Cultures of the world. I am very much about peace. That’s what I was raised in. I want to promote peace. I’ve been into music my whole life. Started violin when I was 5, singing when I was 13. By the time I was 15, I was writing my own songs. My dad is literally the best guitarist I’ve ever known. [In high school I] went to the five-week program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I was a songwriting major [at Berklee]. I’ve never been to California. I’d love to do a West Coast tour and hit all the places in California. I really want to play in New Orleans. I went there for the first time for BUKU Music + Art Fest. I went with my friend Avery, and it was like a mental-health trip. “Let’s go to NOLA and have fun!” We made friends with everyone — the waitresses at the beignet shop. I read that it’s the most dangerous city in the world, but I felt safe and comfortable there — more than anywhere in the U.S. I’m Venezuelan and Lebanese, so it takes a lot to scare me. It is really a blessing to have an English passport.
I sometimes feel it’s a curse to have an American passport, I’ll tell you!
But the U.S. is the center of the music world. Freedom of speech, protests. There is a huge international community at Berklee. Everyone is from somewhere else, but everyone wants to be in the U.S. And Boston, though it’s bloody cold, is amazing. When I was really sick, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was stuck in Boston with my mom.
Please explain your struggles with Crohn’s.
I was at Berklee and had to withdraw from the semester because I started getting fevers every day. I was hospitalized a bunch of times in a couple of months. Three blood clots were found in my spleen because my immune system was so compromised, so I had to inject myself with blood thinners for about three months. Things escalated so much that I started to bleed internally and had to have like seven bags of blood in a week. I went back to school the next semester and somehow managed to graduate on time. It meant so much to me to be there at Berklee. I had a scholarship and was so grateful to be there, so I kept going even though it got really tough sometimes.
It was after I got sick when I wrote “Mum I Like a Girl.” I came in second in the “Songs for Social Change” competition, and it was the first time in my life I had ever won an award for a song I’d written. So in a sense it felt like I was overcoming my health battle with music.
I inject myself every two weeks with an immune suppressant called Humira. It saved my life. Crohn’s can be a really scary process; it’s almost like having cancer, but it’s not cancer. They use similar terminology: “in remission,” “no appetite,” “nausea.” And I have a high risk of cancer in the future. It’s really a crazy disease to have. I try to speak to my best friend Avery, who struggles worse than me, every day, and her experiences really gives me a lot of strength. It is hard to want to do anything and stay positive, but we do because we know that there are kids as young as 8 who get this. That’s why it’s important that we make it more accessible to talk about stomach problems and make it more comfortable to talk about food issues, including irritable bowel diseases. We would help a lot of people to feel more comfortable with the fact that there is nothing wrong with you. You just have a disease!
Who are your musical influences? Pretend I am from Rolling Stone.
I grew up listening to Eric Clapton and Bryan Adams. My mom loved to play Elvis and Harry Belafonte. Embarrassing albums too, like the Spice Girls. I love what Eric Clapton does because of his smoky element and yet his own stuff added. I went to school and decided, “I want to be just like John Mayer.”
Have you been compared to him?
Yes! … I like how emotional he is and how vulnerable he can be. I struggle with that when I am writing. I get writer’s block because I worry about being emotional. I am also a huge fan of Tegan and Sara, but I think I am late in the game. When I was in school, my mentor was Melissa Ferrick. Do you know her?
She is a big advocate for LGBT musicians. Check her out; she is amazing.
Do you identify as a butch lesbian?
I do. I used to be very feminine. I used to have really long hair. I looked quite feminine. It took me a long time to feel comfortable dressing this way. I think Ellen is one of the coolest people in the world, and yes, I do want to dress like her. I do want to dress like Kate Moennig from The L Word. I don’t know if you know that lots of Venezuelan women have won the Miss World pageant. George Clooney just married a Lebanese woman.
Do you feel more pressure or scrutiny because you are Venezuelan and Lebanese?
Definitely. People say, “Gosh, you are so beautiful! Why would you dress this way?” I felt like I was in drag when I dressed like a woman is supposed to. But I get flattered when people call me “sir”! I secretly wanted to be more androgynous than I was. I get “sir’d” a lot more in the UK than in the U.S. Maybe because here we wear more skinny jeans. I didn’t expect that. But it’s amazing to come home to London and have people say to me, “You look like yourself now.”
Where do you see yourself this time next year?
Gosh, that is a really good question. I have absolutely no idea. I would love to be on tour. In just over a year, I will be releasing the next album. It usually takes about a year to get everything together. My goal right now is to get to play all over the world. I love to travel. I love different cultures. Music brings everyone together.
Do you have any pets that you will have to leave when you go on tour?
I have a dachshund, and her name is Cashmere. Ironic because we spell it like the fabric rather than the [place].
I met her! And her dog! I worked at her label and had the chance to eat lunch with her. I’ve got a big crush on her.
Ready for the lightning round? Just one-word answers. No explanation needed. Blondes or brunettes?
That’s really really hard. Blondes.
Cake or pie?
Boots or trainers?
Movies or television?
Movies. My favorite is A Beautiful Mind.
Snow or rain?
Beer or whiskey?
Beer. Blue Moon, partially because of the song.
Bow tie or straight tie?
Bow tie. I do wear them and love them. Went to my first-ever gay wedding and wore one. Plus, I wore one to my graduation.
London or New York?
Suits or dresses?
You are adorable. People will want to know if you are in a relationship.
You don’t have to be, Sofia. There are plenty of butches who think like you do — like me! Don’t let a few opinions change who you are. If you are butch, be butch. You don’t have to let it be an excuse to embody the worst parts of male stereotypes.
It’s seriously butch to be an out butch singer-songwriter. Be butch!
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Nantucket will grace the main stage of the Palm Springs Convention Center during the Dinah’s “Black Party” on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 in Palm Springs, CA.
Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, popularly known as “The Dinah”, is the biggest & largest lesbian event of its kind in the world. Founded and produced by Mariah Hanson, The Dinah has, for the past 25 years, continuously been changing minds and changing lives, offering women from all over the world the opportunity to express their true selves and gain an extraordinary amount of self worth. Considered a bucket list event by lesbians of all ages, The Dinah continues to inspire, provoke and entertain.
With The Dinah, Hanson has created a haven where acceptance and tolerance rule. More than a pop song with an infectious beat, “Bass” is a bold self-acceptance message that shares and celebrates the same life philosophy as The Dinah: be free to be who you are.
“Meghan Trainor is the perfect artist to headline the 2015 Dinah, our milestone year. Her song is a record breaking number one billboard hit, and in addition it invokes a new social paradigm that places less emphasis on the exterior and more emphasis on the fact that we are all beautiful and that that beauty comes in many shapes, colors and sizes. I’m especially proud to join with Meghan in sending out this wonderful life-affirming message to our guests. It’s time. And it’s our time!“ says Mariah Hanson, founder and promoter of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.
Trainor’s insanely catchy single “All About That Bass” was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight consecutive weeks, rewriting the record for the longest-ruling No. 1 single ever released on Epic Records – dethroning The King of Pop’s “Billie Jean” in 1983 and “Black or White” in 1991, which were on top for seven weeks.
“All About that Bass” has already gone four times platinum and has also become the longest-leading No. 1 by a woman this year.
The unstoppable Trainor is kicking off 2015 with a bang embarking on her first ever North American headline tour, THAT BASS tour. In the meantime, she has already released the second single, “Lips Are Movin,’” from her upcoming debut Album “Title” out January 13, 2015, which is quickly climbing up the charts. Meghan was nominated for “New Artist of the Year” at the American Music Awards and is up for Best New Female Musician at the LOGO NewNowNext Awards.
Hanson’s natural knack for spotting the next best thing in music has transformed The Dinah into the inescapable venue for newcomers to breakthrough. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kesha and just this year Iggy Azalea are a few examples of artists who, post-Dinah, systematically went on to hit international superstar status.
The music industry now looks at The Dinah as a pivotal indicator in the success of emerging artists’ careers, and has put the festival on the A list of all festivals. The Dinah has undeniably made a name for itself as not only an important festival landmark welcoming the biggest names in the music industry; but also the MUST-DO Spring event of the Palm Springs festival season.
Meghan Trainor is the first confirmed headliner joining the 2015 Dinah Entertainment Line-Up. Mariah Hanson will be announcing more top-notch performers by the end of the year and early 2015.
April 1-5, 2015 Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is turning twenty-five and taking the landmark event to new heights … from EPIC to HISTORIC!
For more information and/or to purchase tickets go to: http://www.TheDinah.com
Check out Butch singer songwriter Sofia and her new single and video over at HuffPost where we launched it worldwide today! Watch the video and read the piece there. =:o)
I sought out and landed an interview with an adorable Butch songwriter. Go figure. Check her out, and while you are at it – Be Butch.
I’m so excited! I’m going to be there again this year. Are you? I can’t wait to hear the line up! And, I note they’ve spelled all the celebrity names right (unlike me). I’ve so much to learn…
CLUB SKIRTS DINAH SHORE WEEKEND COMMENCES CELEBRATION OF ITS
2015 SILVER ANNIVERSARY:
CELEBRATING 25 EPIC YEARS OF WORLD-CLASS ENTERTAINMENT AS ONE OF PALM SPRINGS’ LEADING SIGNATURE EVENTS
Palm Springs, CA – The legendary Dinah Shore Weekend, founded and produced by Mariah Hanson under her Club Skirts marquee, has officially commenced the six-months long celebration of its Silver Anniversary.
April 1-5, 2015 Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is turning twenty-five and taking the event to a new zenith.
Twenty-five years of excellence and unwavering commitment to deliver world-class entertainment and top notch customer service that continue as Mariah Hanson and her team commemorate the landmark by honoring the partnerships that have been part of the amazing journey and contributed to the event’s stratospheric success.
A quarter-century ago, Mariah Hanson did more than just kick-start her Dinah. She also and most importantly launched what would become her enduring legacy to both the city of Palm Springs and the LGBT community.
From a small, one-night event at a Palm Springs museum with 1,500 participants twenty-five years ago, to booking lavish locations at deluxe hotels over five days of epic pool parties and world-class entertainment with some 15,000-plus attendees and major corporate sponsors today, Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend has evolved into one of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley’s largest tourism boosters and undisputed biggest lesbian event of its kind in the world.
The natural symbiosis shared by these two iconic LGBT Mecca has continuously been a match made in heaven. More than a tradition The Dinah Shore Weekend has over these past 25 years (and counting) become a Palm Springs institution and one of the city’s most popular spring attractions.
Once the party pied-a-terre of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, who turned Palm Springs into America’s most glamorous destination for the glitterati in the 1950s, the famous sunny oasis has now gotten back in the swing of things to once again reclaim its status as one of Hollywood’s hippest playground and the world hub for major high-profile festivals and special events.
The envy of the world with its 360-days of sunshine, the swanky modern city of glitz and glamour has been attracting a new generation of visitors from young hipsters, international jet-setters to Hollywood A-listers and socialites, who vie for the ultra-chic weekend getaway of martini-sipping, cabana lounging and celebrity sightseeing.
As one of the early pioneers, the Dinah has become one of Palm Spring staple events sharing the spotlight with the likes of the Coachella Music Festival, Stagecoach, The Palm Springs International Film Festival, the BNP Paribas Open Trophy, and the PGA and LPGA golf tournaments –all intrinsically linked to the famous desert community.
In the span of twenty five years The Dinah has cemented its status as not only an event the entertainment industry’s most elite go to but also as a trendsetting event that music industry insiders watch and jockey to book their artists’ performances.
It is the only acknowledged all-girl party that features such a phenomenal line-up of talent to ever to perform at a lesbian event. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Colbie Caillat, India Arie, The Pussycat Dolls, Kesha and more recently Iggy Azalea, are just a few examples of major recording artists that headlined the epic event while still “unknown” and then systematically went on to hit international superstardom.
While The Dinah has been spearheading music careers, it has, most importantly, also been transforming lives and making a difference in and for the LGBT community. Offering an unparalleled one-of-a-kind experience for myriads of women who come every year from all over the world to enjoy the freedom to be who they truly are without fearing the judgment of others, and gain, as well, a tremendous amount of self worth.
The event has also been serving as a platform to mobilize the LGBT community around humanitarian projects and social issues, famously partnering in previous years with a variety of activist associations and charity organizations such as GLAAD, HRC, NOH8, Love is Louder, Equality California, and The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center among others.
The Dinah has certifiably come to represent an ever-growing movement that has crossed over to mainstream bringing more and more visibility to the lesbian community – one that had never existed before.
Now ready to soar to new heights, the 25th installment of The Dinah is already expected to be one of the major highlights of the 2015 Palm Springs festival season.
Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is not just breaking grounds; it is making history!
Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend 2015 will be held April 1 through the 5th in Palm Springs, CA. For More Information go to: http://www.TheDinah.com
To learn more about The City of Palm Springs visit: http://www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
In honor of Sinclair Sexsmith’s new book, Sweet & Rough, I got the opportunity to talk with Sinclair. We also asked BOT fans to submit questions that they wanted me to ask Sinclair. The three that we choose to ask Sinclair will win their creators a copy of the book. I’ll go first (cause it’s my blog).
Tell me about yourself.
I’m 35 and currently living in the Bay Area after leaving home (southeast Alaska) at 16 and living in Colorado, Seattle, and Brooklyn. I’m still looking for a place that I really love and want to settle in, I haven’t quite found it yet. I might have to move to a cabin in the woods to find what I’m looking for, but not the creepy kind. I am really lucky to have found/created a career and calling for myself that I love, writing and teaching and coaching about sexualities, genders, and relationships. I live with a cat and a boy and a dog (in that pecking order). Since I work from my home office, I cook a lot, and I aspire to garden and grow more food, but that’s still a work in progress.
I love the way you present yourself to the world, attitude, stance, style. There aren’t as many Butch role models as one would like. How do you get the strength to be so very you?
It’s been a long, slow road to this version of me. It’s taken a long time and a LOT of experiments, a lot of wardrobe changes, a lot of trial and error. And I’m still changing all the time, still seeking ways to become the most “me” I can be. I had really excellent teachers who inspired me while I was coming out and coming into butchness and queerness, which really helped. I have very supportive parents and siblings, and I’ve always been very stubborn about doing my own thing and expressing my own way, since I was young. I’ve leaned on the many communities I’ve been a part of, and have felt so supported and lifted up by the generosity — I’ve learned so much by being part of communities and groups.
To the heart of it… What is special about Sweet & Rough?
It’s a sixteen story collection of sexy butch/femme smut, so just that is pretty special. It’s got conversations about gender interspersed, plus all sorts of kink, like handcuffs, rope bondage, flogging, anal sex, rough sex, sex in public … just lots of sex in general. I think it gives readers and lovers of butch/femme culture a great introduction to the huge body of work I have on sugarbutch.net and I hope it’ll be a good starting point! They are some of my favorite stories that I’ve ever written, and some of them are in book anthologies that were published many years ago (some published under my legal name, even, before I had this nom de plume) so many of them will be new reads.
Do you do casual clothes as well, or are you always so suited up?
I love casual clothes, but I’m always very polished. I’ve worked in offices and had to wear button downs and slacks, but I’m much more of a jeans and jersey polo style these days. I’ve turned the black tee-shirt into my signature of sorts, so while I wear a tee-shirt and jeans four days a week, it’s still within a signature ‘look’ and style. I have a variety of fashion rules for myself, though—like always wear a belt with jeans, always wear a collared shirt if I’m going out or teaching or going on a date, always wear good shoes (never sneakers, unless working out).
Here are our three winning questions from BOT fans:
How do you manage all your different enterprises…i.e. Your writing, your web classes, your personal appearances? [Kara]
I focus on one at a time, and I have a variety of goals for myself that I juggle. I think of my business as three-prong: writing, teaching, and coaching. So at any time I have some little projects for each of those. This summer I moved Sugarbutch to being updated once a week, so that’s changed my writing schedule a bit, and it’s been great because it gave me time to do other writing projects, like compiling Sweet & Rough!
Do you ever feel pressure to stick to binary gender roles i.e. butch = male/top/dominant/do-er and femme = female/bottom/submissive/receptive? In other words, do you feel pressure to write butch characters as NEVER being on the receiving end of sexual pleasuring? And if so, how do you choose to deal with that pressure? [Deborah]
Yes, I think there is pressure to remain in those roles, and rewards when I stay in them. I’m more likely to get a story published if I write characters into those roles, I believe. Most of the pieces I’ve written that are hard to find “homes” for, by which I mean keep getting rejected from anthology submissions, have somewhat unusual character pairings that don’t fit those binary modes.
The thing is, though, that while there is pressure to conform to that, there’s also huge celebration and praise from the queer worlds when you break out of it, and sometimes big critique from queer community for reproducing anything that looks too normative or following a trope. Just go check out some of the reviews for my last anthology, Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, on Amazon—most of the ones that are less than five stars are comments about how “the butches are all tops and the femmes are all bottoms, yawn” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s often the gist).
So I think while there is pressure to conform, there is also a lot of reward when one doesn’t conform—and the folks who often get the most attention and status in the queer worlds are the ones making their own way. Honestly, I have felt more pressure in person to conform with the butch/femme roles than I do with my erotica—in some ways I think erotica (or the way I write it, anyway) has more leeway than the in-person stuff.
I hold vulnerability as an incredibly deep value, in my work and in my personal life, and the transparent vulnerability that I show through my work is really important to me. It’s the heart of my business, I would argue, and the heart of my style as a writer. So while sometimes I do write stories where the butch character is the top and the dom and the one doing all the action, I also write stories where the butch character is getting off or receiving vulnerable touch, and I think it’s important to talk about the gender role restrictions as a piece of the erotic discussion. I do still identify as stone, so there is a piece of me that is very challenged with receiving intimate touch, but I believe in sharing it as part.
What motivated you to begin publishing your work? Was it difficult to find support at first? [Meghan, Tina]
I’ve always been a writer, and always wanted to publish work and write books. In college, I started obsessively reading lesbian erotica and writing dirty poetry, and I started learning about submitting to anthologies, and started dreaming of one day having one of my stories in a real book – and then I was shocked when one of my stories was finally accepted (to Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 — that was my first official erotica publication)! I have an undergraduate degree in writing, and studied at the Bent Writing Institute for queers in Seattle, so I have been in writing groups longer than I’ve been publishing writing—so the support came first. I don’t know if I would have started publishing if I hadn’t had support around me, like writing group colleagues who were egging me on and reading my submission letters and comforting me when I got rejected and supporting me to keep trying.
Writing groups and community are so important when trying to get your work out there. It’s hard to find writing groups who will take erotica seriously, I’ve found — so at times, over the years, I’ve made my own writing group, specifically so we could talk seriously about the erotica writing, not just the dirty actions in the story that were titillating.
My big long-term goal has always been to write books, plural. Many of them. Most of what I do aside from write is me trying to find a way to fund my writing, since writers — especially genderqueer trans butch/femme sexy kinky dirty erotica writing — rarely get paid very much.
Now back to my questions. What is something people don’t know about you?
I do write about it and talk about it, but I still find that it’s a surprise when I tell people I was born and raised in southeast Alaska, and that I left home at sixteen. I had a rough time as a teenager, and was really searching for something, though I didn’t know what. In retrospect it was always about being a queer butch, but it took me a few cities and partners and mustering a lot of courage to come out in order for me to find those identities, and then another five or so years to really be comfortable claiming, living in, and expanding the definitions of them.
Also, I’m a really big introvert, and need lots of time alone to do the deep thinking that I see as instrumental to my work. It’s not always obvious because I love leading workshops and performing, too—it’s a bit of a contradiction, but that’s just how it is.
I am really surprised to hear you are an introvert! What would you like to tackle that you’ve not yet done?
I’d like to do a podcast, I’ve thought about it for years. But I just don’t have the time, with my current schedule and number of projects I take on. Personally? I’d like to have a vegetable garden. After years of living in little apartments in big cities, I have a yard right now, and a few little things growing, and it’s so thrilling.
Are you ready for the Lightning Round? These are just A or B answers, ok? No need to explain.
Bow tie or straight?
Motorcycles or race cars?
Herringbone or plaid?
Hmmm, tough one. I’m inclined to say plaid because I’m a kid of the 90s, but really that was more like flannel. I rarely if ever wear patterns. I think I have a herringbone tie, though, so I’ll go with that.
Soup or salad?
Salad forever! Breakfast salad, dessert salad. All the salad.
I almost spit out my soda. All the salad. Heh.
Roses or daisies?
Daisies, especially Gerberas, they’re my favorite. But I am a pretty classic romantic, I believe in roses too.
Well, we have that in common. Gerberas are my very favorite, too. And I am definitely a romantic.
Beer or whisky?
Whiskey! But with an -ey, because bourbon.
Curves or muscles?
Mmmmmm, curves definitely curves.
There are so many more questions that I want to ask you, but let’s wait and do another interview some time soon, OK? Maybe around your next book. As for that book, you can buy it from Amazon here.
I was so pleased to talk with Sinclair. I am inspired by Sinclair’s authenticity, success, and talent. It is Butch to be authentic, sexy, and talented – not to mention kinky and dirty. Be Butch.
I had a bad day. Really bad. Burst-into-tears-at-the-airport-bad.
Maybe it’s because it started at 3:30 am. Maybe it’s because I got scared by a giant, life-sized statue in my parents house – in the dark. Maybe it’s because their dog (my sister?) wouldn’t “play ball” as she’s supposed to. Maybe it’s because of the few terrifying moments when I had to search for my treasured polar bear necklace and my wedding ring that my cats knocked off the bathroom counter. Assholes.
Or maybe it’s because there was a detour to my terminal at 4:45 this morning. Again. Months later. Then again, it could be that I missed my return flight because I was so desperate to see and talk to my wife that I didn’t hear the gate change announcement. Or the change in departure times. Or the 3 pages for me. Seriously. One of my finer moments.
Whatever the reason, by the time I ambled down the jetway and saw these hilarious caution signs, I lost it. Out came the camera. Then the editing tools. Hope it makes you laugh, like it did me.
I posted this today on the Huffington Post, but I understand it’s hard for some of you to comment there, so I’m reposting in it’s entirety here. If HuffPost is your thing, please wander over there and give it a like. Thanks.
Sometimes I wonder if the pain is all in my head. If it really hurts or I just think it does. This is especially true whenever I find myself at a doctor talking about my “situation.”
You know the question, “on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced in your life, what is your pain level?”
It’s a well-meaning question. I think probably useful for most people. It’s even useful for me for anything not related to my “situation.” But when it is related, as it has been recently, I am at a total loss for words. Why?
Because my scale is skewed. The worst pain I ever had was when I was crushed between a car hell-bent on making a left turn (in spite of me) and my motorcycle. I endured indescribable pain at that moment. I endured indescribable pain as I flew 75 feet through the air. The pain was indescribable as the fireman flipped me over, though I had turned myself over shortly after landing on my stomach. You see, both of my legs were so badly broken that it turns out I had only turned my torso over, not my legs. I still remember screaming in pain as they loaded me onto the gurney. Hearing the firefighters and paramedics debate whether they should wait for the life flight helicopter or drive me to the university hospital – which was only minutes away. They were afraid the speed bumps would be torture for me and cause more blood loss. I’d already lost 2/3 of my blood at the scene.
They were right. It was torture. I wish I’d passed out. It’s only fair that I should have. If life was fair, I would have. Actually, if life was fair, I wouldn’t have gotten hit to begin with. But it’s not fair. So I didn’t pass out and I did get hit. I asked for pain medication. They wouldn’t give me any – because I needed to make decisions. What?
I spit out my parents phone number repeatedly – desperate for them. Once they arrived, I finally got the elusive pain medication I was so very much in need of – not that it took away the pain. I remember my mom’s face as she told me it would be alright. I wanted so very much to believe her.
It was alright. I kept my legs. I died 3 times, but I’m here and I kept my legs. I could not be more grateful.
But, 11 leg surgeries later (12?), I have lots of pain. A lot. I’ve got arthritis and joint pain from the old injuries. Hell, over 15 years ago I was told I needed a knee replacement. How long will it last, I asked (still a young woman). I think the doctor said 15-20 years, but whatever the exact number, it meant I’d need another one in my late 40s. No thanks, I thought. I’d lived with pain that long, and I could live with it longer. It’s the same reason I have huge scars on my legs.
“We can fix those for you,” the plastic surgeon who came to consult with me said.
“Fix them?” I asked.
“Well, minimize them.”
“And how do you do that?”
“By taking skin from your backside,” he answered.
“But won’t that leave a scar on my ass?” He nodded. “Why would I want another scar on my ass just to ‘minimize’ these scars?”
Suffice it to say, I was unconvinced. I still have horrible scars on my legs. My ass however, is perfect (so to speak).
You can’t see them most of the time. Just like my pain.
I hide it really well. Indeed, this post is a challenge for me. I like for people to think me fit. Able. Capable. I spend a lot of time working to find myself Able. Capable. But there are the inescapable realities that I am a little less able than most. A little less capable.
So, when it comes time to answer the question about my legs – my hip, either knee, or my foot – I am at a loss. Today, I am not at a 10. I am not feeling the worst pain I ever felt. But I am indeed in pain, and the level of pain I am experiencing very likely justifies the doctor paying attention. It probably justifies whatever procedure or medication she is considering.
It’s my problem, of course. I need to advocate for my needs. They can’t read my mind. But it’s just so hard. How do I quantify this pain today? How do I put a number on a level of pain that I deal with daily? That I’ve actively tried to get my brain to ignore? To minimize?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’m just sitting here with pain at a higher level than usual in my foot and I started to wonder, is it all in my head? If I just decide I am not in pain, will the hurt go away? Can I fix my occasional limp?
Wishful thinking to be sure. But writing is better than feeling sorry for myself. I think.
I’m not feeling very butch right now, so I can’t come up with a clever butchism to close. It’s butch to admit you are in pain? It doesn’t feel very butch, but so be it. Be Butch.
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