redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (Default)
I am 43 and I only came out as lesbian/queer 7 years ago. When I was in my early 20s the idea of having children did not appeal to me, it was fine for other people but not me, I never wanted them, I never felt maternal. This is not to say that I don't like children or babies, quite the opposite in fact, I have always enjoyed them but not wanted them for me. In my late 20s, my body did the whole body clock thing you hear about and I really, really wanted to be pregnant but my head said no way at the same time. At this time I was with my ex, who was male and ended up being my husband for a short while. He could not have children and I just accepted in myself I wouldn't have them because I had the strong belief that if you 'weren't meant to have them then you didn't'. We had no money and were in no place to have children anyway, but we did talk about fostering or something similar some day.

Later on, when having the coming out conversation with a couple of my straight friends, one of them said to me, 'oh if you meet a younger woman maybe you could have children' and I agreed and said yes, maybe I could. Having children was once again an option for me as my life was going through dramatic change.

A couple of years after coming out I met one of my (now) partners. She is 10 years younger than me, and she was keen to have children or a child. When we first talked about having children or a child, I had explained to her that I didn't want to be the one to give birth, I felt too old already, I also said that was a bit of time limit on it for me because I didn't want to be too old. I did get to a point where I agreed and was excited about the idea of being a parent.

Over time we worked through how we wanted to get pregnant and many other things associated with being a parent. It is such an individual journey for any couple to make and for same sex couples so much more loaded than heterosexual couples (that is when a heterosexual couple are healthy and able to reproduce. Simply because we have so many more aspects to think about from conception through to legal 'stuff' and how we do family. There are so many more implications for us.

Trying to get pregnant is hard, it's got to be the most unromantic thing to go through, not to mention incredibly emotional. This is something so many people do not seem to understand. After a number of months of trying for various reasons we decided it was not what we wanted. Among other things, I felt like I was too old. I felt like I had run out of time. I have had peri menopausal changes happening to me for little while now and there are many days when I feel like crap and I decided that I just didn't have the energy to have a small human being dependent on me.

As we prepared to try to get pregnant I told my partner that I thought it was a bad idea to collect baby clothes or baby items, because if it didn't work then it would be so much harder for us to face piles of baby 'stuff'. But we did buy one thing. We bought a baby change table.

This weekend we hired a skip bin and have been having a big clean out, throwing stuff into the bin. I got the change table out of the garage and threw it into the bin. It hurt. I feel guilty about not being young enough to have a baby, but I know it's the best thing for me. It feels like a major decision or choice that has come and gone several times in my life has finally come to an end. Throwing the table out was hard.
redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (crochet)
Today we did cultural awareness training at work. It was quite good, it wasn't the average 'Stick up a few posters' and you'll speak to 'that' culture type training. It was awesome, it was stuff for intelligent people who all know about posters. It brought up a few things for me. A few memories, a few stories.

When I was about 19 I worked in a bank, a job I was entirely unsuited for. But I didn't know this at the time, it was my first job after leaving school. No one in my family had been to Uni or anything it wasn't even on my radar. Anyway, one day I was at work, I was a teller at the time. It was payday, which meant the line was out the door. Back then you had to go to the bank to do all your banking, pay bills and what not. Even auto cash machines hadn't been round for long. Yes, that is right I am a dinosaur, and it was the late 80s.

The line was out the door and I had this guy come to the counter. He was Chinese, he didn't speak the best english ( I think I gathered this because I went and asked a Chinese staff member if she could talk to him, but they spoke different forms of Chinese). He did some banking stuff and then he started to ask me all these random questions. Things that did not relate to banking at all. Things like where some shop was, how to get to the next suburb, and a few other things. I was running around all over the bank, looking information up for him, maybe writing it down. No sooner had I answered one question for him but he had another one. I was getting pretty pissed off and cranky. The line was out the door, and I had pressure on me to serve other people. It really tested my patience. At the end of all this the guy says to me 'Thank you, you are very nice lady'. At this moment I felt bad, guilty that I had been so cranky at him, and I realised that in fact the poor guy was probably new in Australia and didn't have anyone to ask these questions of, it was also around the time there was a lot of 'stuff' going on in China, pretty hairy stuff, not like peaceful Oz.

After that day I saw him out and about a bit, busking at local shops, playing this traditional looking instrument a bit like a recorder. He always looked so happy, and every time I saw him I felt guilty about being impatient with someone who was obviously new to this country.

The training today reminded me of this, and also reinforced the belief I have that my early life experience of living in Singapore as a kid for two years really has had a life long impact on how I relate to 'other' cultures. I had exposure to Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures and mixed with children and their families of these cultures. I used to go across the road from our house where we lived, into the Kampong to play with the Malay kids. The kids on my street called me Snow White, because they believed I looked like Snow White. One of them wrote a poem, which my mother still has in a scrap book 'Lips blood red, hair like night, her name Megan.'

These stories came to mind today as we talked about 'collective' cultures and 'Invididualised'cultures...I did also think about Star Trek and the Borg collective...The approach(es) are definitely not flawless but as far as relating to people on professional (and personal) capacity the ideas were/are very useful.

So through out the day I've been thinking about my own comfort and discomfort about living in a country that is basically about the individual. We get freedom to make decisions for ourselves, we get many great things. But I think it also means the 'give a fuck about others' factor is less, or expressed differently. According to the ideas behind these two cultural approaches people living in an individualist society do have their own communities that form, but at the end of the day, it's still about the individual.

It made me realise why I have felt so burnt out and now feel so isolated from the Queer community. I came out and thought I had found a culture that was a collective culture, but it isn't. We live in a Western country which (generally speaking, I'm not sure) makes us individualist, not collective. Mind you one of the huge down sides (more than huge, fucking enormous) to collective cultures is that many of them despise queers and kill them for it. Kill them for not being the 'norm'. I did things for my collective and thought everyone was lovely and like me. But as soon as I did things that didn't fit the collective turned.....oh well. I have learnt.

My thoughts did turn though, back to the idea of the Yurt Village. (which is a metaphor really). Of living in a community with my lovers and friends, and their children and lots of animals. Each having own their own space and shared spaces. So that all manner of relationships and bonds can be lived happily. Where being polyamorous is fine, and I don't 'have' to follow any stupid marriage like traditions. The yurt village idea is my collective, but also a place where I can be an individual. Free from people passing judgement, but full of love and fulfilling relationships.

Show Time

Nov. 23rd, 2011 10:50 pm
redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (Default)
This weekend I'm performing in a burlesque show. I'm doing that as a drag king in this particular show. I get to do four different numbers, each one involves gorgeous women dancing around me and swooning all over the place. It's quite hard to take really *cough*. No, seriously, they are such fabulous women, all very lovely, friendly warm people. I'm very much looking forward to peforming this time. I always do. But I haven't had much chance to perform like this before. Previous drag performances haven't given me much chance to expand myself. I did but then it got to a point where I couldn't do much more. The venues were always very limited, with no real facilities for peformers, which would mean I would turn up ready to go not really knowing what I was in for. This is the second show I have done on a 'proper' stage, with lighting, proper sound, a real stage and a packed audience of a couple of hundred in the room. Not to mention choreographed routines with other performers.

This all means that I can expand on my performance, I can really ham it up and get into the character, and indeed I have to because it's on a stage which means everything has to be exaggerated. It's very different than performing up close and personal to the audience like I have before.

The feeling as I walk out onto the stage is amazing and this time round it's going to be extra special. The music starts and it's up to me to get the audience in the palm of my hand and entertain them. The interesting this about this particular group and show to, is that people aren't told 'what' I am. It's left up to them, and before, during and after the show last time I performed with this group it became obvious that people did not know I was a woman. This is a good thing. It means I'm doing a good job of male impersonation. It also means that if people work it out it challenges them on many levels.

I am determined to have fun with the performances this time and really enjoy them. I always do, but this time I get to push myself and my abilities that bit further. I can't wait.

Dresses

Nov. 21st, 2011 07:26 pm
redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (Default)
The other day I wore a dress to work. The first time in a couple of years. Well the first time I have worn anything I would describe as that 'feminine'. The whole outfit was feminine. See, thing is on a day to day I'm generally rather boyish. I wear mens clothes and that's the way I like it, I often get mistaken for being a guy, although I've not quite understood why. I think it's just because I have have had the typical 'things' that people read as guy. Very short hair, mens pants, mens shirts, sometimes a tie, mens shoes, belt the works.

I have evolved to this since I came out 7 years ago. Before I came out I was quite feminine, but on coming out I really did want to change and I enjoyed being comfortable in my evolution and in my mens clothes. A couple of years ago I threw out all my summer dresses (except for one) and skirts because I just didn't think it was me anymore.

I perform, I am a drag king and this gives me the chance to really get my bloke on. I love it. I'm him and he's me. I should say he's the man I want to be, so for a brief period of time I get to be that. It's hard to describe but I really feel it in my body and just enjoy that feeling.

A little while back I worked out that really, I think I am quite gender fluid. I read somewhere someone describing their gender fluidity as like water and oil. You shake it up and it kind of mixes for a bit but then it separates into two distinct liquids. That is pretty well much how I feel. Sometimes I feel quite masculine and sometimes I feel more feminine.

Now, I've been doing the masculine thing for a while now and sometime in the last year I started to think that I really wanted to explore and express the feminine again. I wasn't sure how, see doing queer feminine has got to be and, I'm finding is, very different to straight feminine. I was thinking about it a bit, wanting to express it and then one of my friends made the comment 'what you in a dress and heels, I don't think so' and well that really stuck. I thought, I can do dress and heels if I want and I can do it damn well. By that I mean I felt I could look reasonable and carry it off, it's just not what many people are used to seeing me in. Although, there are a couple of friends who know/knew better. However it is normally the thing I do for parties, not the everyday.

Somewhere in this time I decided that I wanted to go to burlesque lessons and really access my feminine side. The other part to this story, I have to admit, is that I met a rather attractive butch woman who very much appreciates ladies in dresses (now me being attracted to a butch woman is a whole other story in itself).

So I've been accumulating a few dresses and skirts, mostly making them and very much enjoying it. Basically I've decided I really love the extremes. I like going from stylish dapper masculine to retro feminine.

I am very aware and noticing the different way people respond to the way I look. Not people I know, but just generally out and about, walking through the city or wherever. It's very different. Both ways of dressing definitely hold their own powers. When I am in my masculine garb I am definitely noticed by queer women and sometimes (I am finding more lately), those straight ladies who might be a bit curious. Men mostly ignore me, or they relate to me like one of 'their own'.. a mate. When I have been wearing my frocks men definitely notice me more, the women I have noticed looking at me are looking with a touch of what I think is envy, I think it's because I have 'attitude' behind my non conforming look and I am not young and I don't 'fit'.

I am very much enjoying the 'new' me and playing with self expression. I've always been an artist, but never had the guts to bring my expression truly to the way I look. Age definitely gives you confidence. You just get to a point where you don't care. Not me anyway. I'm having fun.

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