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Quarterlife Queer

A never ending story

Wow. I haven’t written on this site for some time now and I recently just got some new followers, a bunch of hits and a few comments :) That makes me feel so loved you beautiful people <3 

I’ve decided to transition from my Quarterlife blog to my new blog.. Jess Reloaded

I moved because I needed a fresh start. Something to symbolize the new start to my life AND because I felt like I wasn’t actually in my quarterlife crisis anymore. When I started this blog I was just beginning Grad school, I was living in a different state and I was two relationships ago. Since then I have graduated, gotten a few different jobs, moved across the country and settled down with a woman that I could have never foreseen would cross my path in life. So I’ve reloaded myself. 

I am leaving this blog up, however, because my journey to now is all explained here. Here is the foundation of the life that I am living. I come back to this place often to remember how far I’ve come and to remind myself to be true to me. 

I am not a finished project. I don’t have life all figured out…but I’m no longer in crisis. Now I’m just living. 

Follow me in the now too? You can just call me Jess.

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I start and stop books constantly. I start and stop movies constantly..projects..hobbies..this blog. CONSTANTLY.

Sometimes it’s because I can’t keep the motivation I have in the beginning and others it’s because I just get too busy.

I sometimes suffer from a failure to launch out of fear or misplaced intentions.

But, I’ve come to realize that what I’m striving for and failing at is perfection.

I pick up a book or movie and want it to be the best thing ever..earth shattering..world changing..the book or film that I will look back and credit with changing my life for the better..then when it is not it is swiftly cast off into the pile with the rest of them. I pick up hobbies because I think I would be interested in them the way someone else is..because they seem like the thing to do to be the person I want to be..then if I am not the best at that hobby or it’s not the most entertaining/creative/constructive thing in the entire world I just let it fall to the back of my mind.

At 26 I think I am finally able to ACCEPT that I can never be perfect and BELIEVE that nobody is perfect..or..nobody can be perfect. It won’t and can’t happen. (With that said I still feel incredibly nauseous at this fact that I can never be perfect no matter how hard I work..because I work REALLY hard)

Today I looked over at my book shelf of half read books and thought to myself… “I wish I could just read those books”…like I look at myself in the mirror and think “I wish I could just be this girl”…or I look at my life and wish I could just live this life with it’s inperfections.. I wish I could just let my life be based on allowing myself to learn lessons as I go instead of tediously molding myself into the person I want to be..or others want me to be.

I want to stop striving for perfection and start striving to be free.

I want my list of ideas of who I want to become be based on the values I hold dear to me and not measured in how close I can get to a list of attributes I don’t even know fit me.

I want the freedom to change like the wind..to try out new things without the pressure of being the best..to meet new people and enjoy their wisdom as visitors and not conductors of my life..learn new ideas..have uncensored real life experiences without pretext of perfection.

I want to live life as a journey and not a destination…stop believing that life starts when I reach some goal that has too many variables to predict and start believing that this right now is life.

There will never be a better time than now.

 

Time flies when you are having fun.

Life changes faster than a blog can keep up with.

So quickly..I’m still Quarterlife…still Queer..still raw and fierce and angry.

This blog isn’t dead..just napping..stay tuned for what’s about to happen.

Till then….have a quickie on me ;)

For those of you tuned in to the identity politics and school of thought debate around Butch Voices and it’s board..this is what this entry is about.. if you are not then you’ll have to google it because I don’t feel like linking to everything that is out there (sorry..you can still follow along here I promise)

I just have a few thoughts on the identity politics, Butch vs Masculine of Center, gender policing, and the counter productivity of bitching and moaning.

The bottom line to all of this conversation and the reason for the initial split between Butch Voices and Butch Nation is that identity in ANY form is self selected AND that to honor that we should use those identities that people use for them self, however they use them, and not put up resistance to their truth. If this means that in order to represent all of the people you want to represent in a mission statement you have to have two extra sheets of paper to call the names of everyone’s identity..then do it. And when someone comes up to you and says that their identity is not listed just add it. Simple. But there are some other underlining issues that I feel get lost in the debates below:

  1. How I Identify:  I never have and will never identify as Butch..not because I think Butch is a “bad word” or I am scared of what comes with taking on that identity..it just doesn’t fit me. I have seen no definition of Butch that has fit who I am..how I carry myself..how I live my life. I will never follow “butch rules” or “butch code” and my voice will never match my “butch exterior”. I will always and forever be a grrl/boi..all genders..genderqueer. I DO sometimes use MOC, just like I sometimes use queer, as an umbrella term. But for now..i’m just using genderqueer..all the squabling going on has totally turned me off for using anything else.
  2. Umbrella terms: There are these umbrella terms that people like to use when there are too many individual things to list.. like saying “I have tools in my box” instead of saying “I have a hammer, a screwdriver and a wrench in my box”(not to say that identities are as simple as tools..that’s not true at all) ..we also use these umbrella terms when we talk about racial/ethnic identity.. Latin@ is a good example. We also use “Queer” as an umbrella term. INTERESTING how we pick and choose when umbrella terms are a good idea to simplify and bring together a community that has SOME similar traits but at other times call the use of umbrella terms “erasure”. I don’t know when it is appropriate to use an umbrella term or not..or if umbrella terms should be tossed out all together..But it is something to think about.
  3. Language: The language that we use to define who we are varies by geography, education and economic  background and age. I’m from the midwest. As a 26 year old African American I have never heard anyone in my hometown, St. Louis, or my second home, Nashville, use the word butch who wasn’t white. I definitely never heard anyone call themselves Butch that was under 40. This word “butch” only existed in vocabulary as a adjective.. “You are so butch” or “You need to butch it up”..never as a self identified “I am Butch”..that was for old white lesbians with flannel shirts and buzz cuts or mullets… masculine presenting women of color under 40 = “Studs”. I’m sure I know some Studs that would think it an insult to be called “Butch”. So, sometimes we are all talking about the same identity with different words..which doesn’t make one better than the other..it just has different vocabulary.
  4. Legacy: Let me start this section off by saying that I respect all the work that the people before me had to do to get me and my generation to this point. I appreciate all of the things that civil rights activists had to endure to allow me to live the life I live, I am grateful for all of the feminists that have done great things to allow me to love and respect this body, and I thank all of the queer people that had to go through hell for me to be out today. BUT.. i disagree with all of them at some point because none of them lived in 2011. Civil Rights activists called us “colored” and “negro”…I use African American. Is that disrespectful to their struggle? I hate Gloria Steinem and other feminists who view the entire world through a Caucasian lens.. Does that make me less of a feminist? I openly denounce the word Butch and the Butch Femme dichotomy.. does that mean I am disrespecting those that worked hard to allow people these days to embrace those terms? Are we as a people bound to the ideas of the people that first fought for them or should we be allowed to evolve into terms and ideas that fit our current condition?
I think we all need to take a step back. We all identify in multiple different ways and have the ability to evolve into other identities as our life and circumstance change. YOUR identity may hold deep truth for you..it may hold the scars of everything you had to fight off to claim it, it may hold the trauma of everything you had to go through to find it, it may be so fluid that it changes daily, and it may be painful to be forced to choose at all.
We need to embrace all identities..we need to stop trying to build a hierarchy where there is none..stop trying to impose the seriousness and history of your identity on others..stop brushing other people’s identities off and definitely stop forcing umbrella terms in places that are so controversial and sensitive.. that would all save me from having to watch another PR train wreck or the “great divide” of masculine presenting women and the women who love them.

In Lieu of the lessons I learned last week, I’m posting Ghandi’s Ten Fundamentals for Changing the World.. Ten things I need to remind myself of daily going forward :)

1. Change yourself. 

2. You are in control.

3. Forgive and let go.

4. Take care of this moment.

5. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

6. Everyone is human.

7. See the good in people and help them.

8. Persist.

9. Be congruent, be authentic, be true to yourself.

10. Continue to grow and evolve.

 

Recently I realized that I am exactly half my mom’s age..which means twenty-six years ago my mom was a twenty-six year old with a baby and a babydaddy living far away from her family. At first I thought about all the ways our two 26 year old selves are different: One queer and one not, one with a masters and one with a high school diploma, one with a cat and one with a baby, one living in LA and one in Arizona…

But then I talked to her and she said something that made me realize all of our similarities. We were talking about now that all the little kids in our family were now big kids and my mom said something about needing a hobby, and then she said “There is nobody to take care of, I don’t know what to do, I guess I take care of myself now?”

At that moment, I saw myself in my mother and my mother in me. And it scared me.

Will I wake up one day after a lifetime of being a caregiver, devoting my life to make change, and spoiling everyone I know and have to ask myself what to do now?

Then I saw all of our similarities.. I saw two 26 year old women making the best of the life they have, two women taking chances, two women that moved across the country to start life, two women that care and love deeply and work hard.  Two women with the same laugh, that cook with lots of garlic, and know how to do a lot with a little.

My mother..my mirror.

I found my life and my mother’s life were more reflections of each other than I thought..In her I saw my future.

And it shook me.

After 6 months.

After moving to a city that isn’t the nicest to the unemployed.

After being blessed to have people that wanted to help me along.

After having an amazing opportunity to learn and use what I have. (and being more grateful for that opportunity than I could ever express)

After having to make the hardest decision yet in my adult life (I will throat chop the first person that says “well..your adult life hasn’t been very long”).

There is a rainbow at the end of this storm..and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And I’ve found it. :)

More on that..a little later.

Till then..when you think of me..celebrate.

 

 

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