As a follow-up to my post about Dara’s experience with chemo I thought it might also be helpful, and provide some background for other posts around my care taking lessons learned, to talk about the process of her diagnosis and the surgery prior to chemo for her breast cancer. This is also another information dump sort of post—it’ll be interesting for someone who might be going through this process or having someone they know going through it to read a detailed experience.
At the Femme Family meeting on Tuesday, in the middle of a terrible heat wave hitting NYC, our go-around topic was “Describe your inner body temperature.” Mine was the rage of a Disney villain. A fat one. (In the words of Dave End*, “Never fuck with a witch who puts on lipstick with a shrimp.”) I get heat sick pretty easily and almost fainted during yoga on Monday, so by day 3 of the heat storm I was so grumpy. So grumpy that I barely put on clothes. I picked out the thing that felt the least like wearing clothes that I could.
This is an old photo from an old queeraoke night, but this is what I wore. It’s a stretchy H&M large cotton tank dress (I want more but never seem to find them), which is slutty fat girl size. I was singing “Everything She Wants” by Wham!
How can a meeting with such empowering Femmes not raise my spirits? On my way home I realized how grateful I was to have done so much work over the last 11 years to unlearn the body shame that would have, otherwise, kept me hot and miserable and covered up in layers upon layers of clothes trying to hide my body. Feeling good about my body and sexuality is so much more comfortable, both literally and figuratively.
So this goes out to all of the amazing people in my life, who taught me early on the joy and value of loving yourself and moving in your body in ways that make you feel good.
Further, I’m still getting comments and emails about my post In Solidarity With Those Who Have Been Called Too Much. “Too much” to one person is another person’s “SO much”. Remember that and keep the faith.
To that end, happy birthday to Rachel Schiff, a protege of mine. She is a beautiful ray of light in this world and I am so happy she is in my life! At 22 years old she’s already a kick starter and a rabble-rouser for social justice and good times. San Francisco is lucky to have her.
I lifted this quote from her Facebook page from one of my favorite books by Dorothy Allison. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. Perfect quote in the vein of “too much” and self love.
She kissed me gentle, kissed me slow, kissed me like Grace Kelly, a porcelain princess, a lace curtain lesbian. I told her, Don’t touch me that way. Don’t come at me with that sour-cream smile. Come at me as if I were worth your life—the life we make together. Take me like a turtle whose shell must be cracked, whose heart is ice, who needs your heat. Love me like a warrior, sweat up to your earlobes and all your hope between your teeth. Love me so I know I am at least as important as anything you have ever wanted.
I am the woman who… has to love herself or die. if you are not as strong as I am, what will we make together? I am all muscle and wounded desire, and I need to know how strong we both can be.
Two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is how long it takes to learn to love yourself, how long it took me, how much love I need now.
— Dorothy Allison
Remember that time Dorothy Allison complimented my cleavage on my podcast?
*The long-anticipated debut of FABULOUS ARTISTIC GUYS GET OVERTLY TRAUMATIZED SOMETIMES: THE MUSICAL (FAGGOTS: The Musical) is July 16 in NYC.