Home Style Gravy

Drag has become a regular part of my life. Every time you might get dressed up for church, a fancy dance, or a theatrical performance, you are really doing drag. Anytime you purposefully alter your appearance to make an impression on others, you are doing drag. A lot of emphasis is placed on drag that is done by those who are purposefully transforming themselves to take on the impression of the opposite sex. This is a powerful and purposeful form of drag that is worth its currency in gold. I would also argue that drag is a valuable tool of empowerment to those who want and need to connect with their soul’s version of themselves.

On any given day, I am not the most attractive girl. I weigh over 300 lbs. My hair is long, thin, and lifeless. It is often pulled back into a ponytail. I fight to keep fly a ways tucked behind my ear. I wear dark wash jeans that are a little baggy with a V-neck t-shirt and some form of hoodie. No jewelry. No make-up. My footwear is either a slip-on Croc or a men’s work boot, depending on the weather outside. My “uniform” is comfortable and practical, but it doesn’t reflect the feminine. Now, I am a cis female and could just put on a dress and makeup, but that isn’t really me either. The reality of navigating the world in Spanx and layers upon layers of unbreathable flammable fabrics with a thick layer of makeup would be my own personal hell. Besides, there will be a point where I will just look like a sad melted clown.

In the safe space of my besties, Alex and Max’s home, I can live my fantasy and be in touch with the goddess that is Mimi. Over the years, my old dresses and costumes, underwear and wigs, nylons and jewelry, have found their way to our drag room. Combined with yards of sparkly fabrics, scraps of satin, and new infusions of makeup and whatever else we can repurpose, we have been able to come up with hundreds of looks with almost nothing. It has grown from a few bins in a closet to an area that has taken over what was once the largest room in their house.

Allowing ourselves permission to do this took a long time. It really started from a place of desperation. We were all pretty depressed and battling the curse of mid-life self-reflection. After following the rules, getting the careers, and buying the houses, none of us felt fulfilled. Painting our faces and putting on a costume and a wig lifted us. When I was diagnosed with cancer, after I had my surgery, even when all my hair fell out, dancing in drag made me realize that I wasn’t broken. I was still a whole person. Make-up can cover any imperfection. A little bit of fabric, pinned and tied in a certain way, looks younger and more flattering than any garment bought off the rack at Lane Bryant.

Filming our drag allowed us to really “see” ourselves. First, it gave us a purpose. The camera was an audience to perform to, and we were all hams. What came next was the ability to watch ourselves over and over. After a while, a personality began to appear. We all have had many breakdowns either while filming or after filming, and this was usually caused by not accepting who we really were or by trying to be something we were not. Eventually, when you are able to remove the judgement of yourself or how you think others will perceive you, I was finally able to really see myself. I began to enjoy what I saw. I would even venture to say, I learned to love myself and appreciate my own unique beauty.

Once you are blessed to find such an avenue of self-discovery, you want to share it with others. I have shared videos on this blog before; the boys and I have shared these videos with our families; I have even shared the videos with some of my students. Still, it is amazing how tepid the response can be. Some of the people we know best in the world are reluctant to share the joy and humor of these videos because it features guys in dresses. When you are so passionate and feel a conviction to share that passion with others, putting your art out there is like showing someone your new born child. You hope someone will like it; you wish that they too will see the beauty in it.

Uploading a video is frightening, but waiting for a response is agonizing. I have never felt more alone than waiting to see if anyone will watch it, like it, or comment on it. This is not much different than when my students hand me a paper to look over. I teach basic, transitional English to adults. Many of them have a lifetime of experiences to write about, but lack any confidence over their usage of grammar or structure. I like to let them know as quickly as I can that I am a friendly audience. My goal is to help them express themselves to the best of their ability. I always hope that those who stumble upon our videos approach it from the same place of love.

Of course, the desire for feedback is strong, but sometimes you need to just let go. Over the years, perfectionism has improved and also impeded our drag. Waiting for perfection stifles what is inspired. Attaching your worth to the acknowledgment of your peers just makes you crazy. So, release it. I am rebooting this blog because I need to write, and this site is my home. The boys and I are putting out our drag because we love it.

With that being said, I welcome you to our new series, “Home Style Gravy.” Our drag is from our living room. It is simple and unpretentious. The hope is that for some viewers it will feel like gravy. Unexpected. Delicious. Extra. I have taken the time to build a page that showcases these new videos as well as some of the old. Enjoy them. Share them. If you have a second to like or give a positive comment on them, we would love it. Appreciation is something that is always welcome. I thank you for sharing the joy with us. My hope is always that you leave with a smile on your face and the feeling of warmth in your heart.

Spiritual Bad-Ass

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Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by author Debbianne DeRose for her new Spiritual Bad-Ass Tv YouTube series. The series highlights a bunch of Spiritual Bad-Asses who have a lot to say in how we can all get in touch with our Spiritual Bad-Ass selves.

The interview was a chance to really put the message of this blog in a nut-shell. Being diagnosed with cancer is an opportunity. For me, it was a catalyst to discover who I really am and make a choice to live a more authentic life. In the process, I discovered self-love, self acceptance, and got in touch with my creative self – through the healing art of drag.

Please check out the video and podcast via the link below on Debbianne DeRose’s website:

http://spiritualbadass.tv/mimi-mackensie/

4 Ways to Find Love

Another Valentine’s Day and I am still flying solo. This kind of day can be even more lonely and miserable than Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be.

The boys have taken the lessons I’ve been trying so hard to learn and summed it up in this fun and funny video for everyone that is hoping to fill their hearts with more love.

Sneaking In Some “Me” Time

 

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“Oh my god,” I finally breathed. “Everyone is out of the house.”

It is a rare moment. My father is out with my brother-in-law, and my sister has just gone out for what I figure would be a 20-30 walk with the hounds. The house is mine!

Being that my father is retired, and my brother-in-law and sister happen to be disabled, they almost never leave the house all at one time. It is time to have a little me time. I peer out of the front window to make sure that my sister is down the road. When I determine that the coast is safe, it is time to quickly squeeze in some good old fashion self love.

I run to my bedroom and close the door. Just in case, I lock it and shove a book bag in front of it. I walk to the bookshelf from across my bed and light an amber scented incense stick. With it aflame, I gently light the tea lights in my altar. One sits in a Buddha’s lap and the other in a rose quartz rock. They are surrounded by all sorts of other crystals I have collected over the years. Amethyst, obsidian, lapis, quartz of all kinds…designed to bring creativity, love, abundance, and protection. I light them to honor this special time. It brings a sort of holiness to the whole ritual.

I lay a towel on my bed, sit down, and reach under the bed for a special box. I take off the lid and pull out my good friend. It is a “Magic Wand.” I pause as I hear a car drive by; I am still a little weary of anyone arriving back home unexpected. I reach for a small bottle of lube and put a dime size amount on my fingers. I lay back and rub it towards the front of my vulva, right over the clit.

I look around my room. It is the tiny bedroom I spent my entire youth in. I can remember the cut out letters my mom stapled onto one wall when my kindergarten teacher told her that I didn’t know my alphabet. They had stayed on that wall until I graduated high school. I never thought I would be living in this room at the age of 38. I had left the coop and lived in Spain and Chicago, I had even bought a house in Kalamazoo, but the economic downturn circa 2008 mixed with fighting uterine cancer left me with no choice but to start over.

While on my back, I slipped the wand down my underpants and turned it on its lowest setting. As I start feeling the vibration, I work to relax. I had never successfully masturbated until I was in my thirties. My friends, wanting me to put myself out there, encouraged me to try to hook up with some guys after I had lost 60 pounds. In one weekend, I doubled the amount of people I had ever slept with. Bringing the total to a robust four. I slept with two guys in 24 hours, and I wasn’t really that satisfied. I felt like I was trying to accommodate them the entire time. I endured one guy titty fucking me, and another guy trying to forget he was in bed with a 300 lb woman. I became so frustrated that I decided I had to figure this whole masturbation thing out. I read internet articles, attended Pure Romance parties, and tried to peruse adult toy shops. I never felt comfortable talking with anyone else about my dilemma.

Eventually, I won a small bullet vibrator from a Pure Romance party. It laid dormant in my house for a while until I got so frustrated that I threw in some AA batteries and decided I had to figure this thing out. A friend once told me that she could only really orgasm from clitoral stimulation. At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about and I quickly changed the subject to something benign. Maybe she was right. I had played with fancy dildos that vibrated and had all kinds of things going on in them, but it didn’t do anything for me. Eventually, I decided to find this “clit” thing.

I tried going up and down the vulva until I figured out that something was going on when the bullet was at the very top. I felt so dirty trying to figure this out, and filled with so much self-hatred and self-judgment that I often stopped well short of orgasm. I didn’t even know what orgasm was still. Upon further exploration, I discovered that I felt I was driving up a cliff and about ready to jump off. I would get so scared that I would stop just before lift off. What if what I was doing was wrong? Was I going to hurt myself? I read some more articles that kept saying you have to relax and ride the wave.

Finally, one afternoon, I rode myself up to the cliff and against my better judgment, I jumped. My body lit up in ways I had no idea it could. I felt like I just plugged myself into an outlet and I was short-circuiting. Tingles and sparks flew through my body, tears came out of my eyes, and my crotch became warm and wet. More than wet, I felt like I had peed myself completely. I immediately stopped. What had I done? How gross?

Already embarrassed, I threw all my clothes and bedding into the washer and threw myself in the shower. I felt ashamed. It wasn’t until I conducted some further research that I realized that girls could cum too. It wasn’t “pee.” It didn’t smell like it. It was something else, something even the scientific community didn’t even understand.

I was proud that I finally figured out how to masturbate. I probably spent a few weeks doing it at every conceivable moment I could. I quickly learned that AA batteries were expensive and only good one or two times before I required more power. The “Magic Wand” was an investment. An investment in myself and a guarantee that I didn’t have to hold out til my next paycheck or raid my remote control for batteries to get me through.

As I started to warm up my body, I began to rub my hands over my breasts and play with my nipples. My skin is so smooth and my flesh is soft. I started to pinch my areolas as I worked my thighs together and apart. It felt good, but I was still a little too worried about my session being interrupted. You can’t rush it. I take a deep breath and switch the wand up to high. I start to tickle as the hum starts to match the vibration of my own body.

I begin to vocalize with the hum. As I feel the ripple of waves of exultation, I continue to grunt and sing out. My toes begin to curl with anticipation, and before I know it I am overtaken by the crash of magical, mystical, energy. I scream til my lungs empty of oxygen and ride the ride until I can’t take it anymore.

I immediately turn off the wand and pant. My body starts to calm, but it is hungry for more. I eagerly give it what it wants. I turn back on the wand and ride it. Over and over again, I ripple and scream with pleasure until I am drenched in my juices and exhausted of my desire.

I lay back and rest. I feel whole. Before I can fully enjoy the moment, I remember that I am on borrowed time. I quickly clean up my wand and put my toy box away. I throw my clothes and towel in the hamper and run to the bathroom. As I stand under the warm water, I know that I am safe. I take a long shower, gently caressing every area of myself. I try to love ever bit of me. My belly broken into three rolls, the saggy skin under my upper arms, my thick legs, and my flat ass. I lotion up and towel off. I slip on some fresh underwear, clean jeans, and a t-shirt.

I come downstairs and sit on the couch, beaming with renewed energy, smoking a cigarette, when my sister reenters the house. As she starts to recount all that occurred on her walk, I take a deep drag on my cigarette and know that I can handle it. I have taken care of myself. Today will be a good day no matter what.

Love Wins!

Today is a watershed moment. As little as a decade ago, I didn’t know if I would see this moment in my lifetime. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld what I have always known was true. Gay people are human, and we deserve equal rights as citizens of the United States.

Today marks a new history. Although there are many who still cling to the idea that homosexuality is a mental illness, a new generation of children will grow up never thinking that gay people getting married is an issue. Just maybe, gay won’t be wrong or weird, just normal. Children can grow up and not be ashamed of who they are attracted to. Dating the same sex may be normal; it could be a nonissue.
I don’t know how my life would have been different if this was the case. It took me 36 years and a diagnosis of uterine cancer to finally come to terms with my truth. I still fight feelings of not being worthy. I am still afraid to fully express my sexuality. I know that just holding hands with a girl in public could still provoke negative reactions or physical harm. Even being a gay teacher could cost me my job.

As I celebrate my 38th birthday on this planet, thousands of couples will be able to finally marry those that they love. Loving couples who may have already been married will finally have their unions recognized, and thousands more can at least contemplate the option of getting married to someone.

I am grateful to be given the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day that person will be me.

Workout

I have recently started taking a Livestrong class for cancer survivors to rebuild strength after treatment at the YMCA. A group of ten of us, I am the youngest by a decade, workout twice a week with a half-a-dozen trainers. Normally, I get there and jump on an elliptical machine for twenty minutes, do some weights, and end with the group in a small classroom to do exercises to strengthen the core. Today was different.

We were gathered and sent to the small classroom to sample a class. Shareese, a beautiful black woman in her late 30s or early 40s, was going to lead a class of Bowka. I guess it is a group fitness class with South African roots where you spell out letters with your steps, less about dance moves. As Shareese describes the format, she takes off her bigger black t-shirt to reveal a tight hot pink tank top over a black sports bra, which stops right above her bum wrapped in tight black yoga pants.

On the first day of class six weeks ago, I felt myself completely intimidated by Shareese. She is short, about 5’6”, but she looks like she could take on anyone. She is super thick, plus size by any fashion industry standard, but she is incredibly toned and muscular. She has a huge chest suppressed by a couple of sports bras and tight shirts on top of that. Her butt is huge and round. Her thighs look like they could crush walnuts. She radiates strength and power.

I find it hard to take my attention off of her. I didn’t even realize how much attention I was paying her until I recounted a story to the boys about how she asked me what I was listening to while I was doing my cardio the previous week. I was afraid to tell her. Oh my god, I am at the YMCA. I am pretty convinced all those old men are preachers in between sermons. Nonetheless, against my better judgement, I tell her that I like to listen to Abraham Hicks. “It is like the law of attraction,” I stumble. “Have you ever listened to The Secret?” She quickly told me that she loves listening to that kind of stuff, and I turned red as a tomato.

She ended that workout by showing us how, in a downward dog type position, she could swing her leg up to be perpendicular with the ceiling, swing her leg back around until her knee was to her chest, and kick it back to the floor. I, and the rest of the class, were stunned at the display of athleticism.

Within the first few moves, I knew this was going to be one hell of a workout. As I saw sweat begin to bead up on her perfectly toned shoulders, I knew I was going to be in more than just physical pain. Immediately, I felt like I had to do well in order to not be perceived as an idiot by her. I am the largest person in class by around 100 pounds. I still thought I could put in a good show.

She begins teaching us combinations, and I immediately kick off the shoes and watch them bounce off the wall behind me. The pain running up my calves and inside my inner arch was excruciating. I tell myself to fight through the pain. I quickly pick up the moves and keep watching her.

What kind of underwear is she wearing? I see no panty lines? Do you think she is wearing a thong? What thick sister in the middle of a workout is going to wear a thong? How does that seam line run perfectly down her crack. Oh my god, stop staring! She is going to realize that you are staring.

When she tells us to add a noise, I abid. If we were instructed to add some flare, I added flare. I picked up the steps quickly, even if I had to take a break every few minutes to try and soften up my cramped calves that are refusing to cooperate. She acknowledges me at some point and I turn beet red and crumple up a little.

I would see her get frustrated with an old guy who was only doing this to support his wife. He clearly had no rhythm. She wouldn’t quit until she saw him do it right at least once. Her face would show her frustration, but she kept at it until she felt satisfied. Even breaking a smile. Her brown eyes were so dark and delightful. I loved her dark cafe colored skin next to her eyes. Her hair was natural and up in a frizzy little puff of a bun. I would imagine that she would have the cutest kids.

I continued giving it my all, well beyond my usual level of exertion. I would be distracted by watching her shape move, than going through all the reasons why I would never have a chance. I watched my tall frame in the big mirror. The weight lifting was making my décolletage look great. My curly mass of unruly hair was trapped underneath a brown and white patterned train conductor’s cap. I had a good chest, but my belly. God, what a miserable belly! Besides that, I am a smoker. I am fat and a relative cousin to the beauty of Fortune Feimster. I don’t even know if she is gay, is married, has kids, etc.

After an hour of this torture, she quickly hands over the group to another instructor to lead us through some core exercises. I miss her absence as I am trying to hold my 340lb frame in a plank off my knees. I can’t even contemplate some of the other moves and find myself laying flat on the floor, cursing my inability to even raise my knee to my chest for a stretch.

We are released and I start to pick up my gym bag and shoes. Shareese smiles at me and complements me on my good energy. I barely could pull it together to thank her and smile back before I start to bust out of the door. I am so embarrassed. Just as I hit the entrance, another trainer catches me to tell me how great a dancer I was. I thank them, just as shyly, and run to my car.

I can see my pink face in the rear view mirror and feel the excitement and horror of being “seen” coursing through my veins. I completely don’t know what to do with myself, tearing up because I feel so foolish. I vow to stop and get a cupcake on the way home.

Trust

Leaving my job took some balls. I was raised in a home where you better just take what you can get and deal with it. Just think of all those people out there who are unemployed and/or homeless. You don’t want to be one of them do you?

We are conditioned to believe that we need to work hard for everything. If you are not exhausting yourself by the end of the day, you are capable of doing more. If you see things that you don’t like at your workplace, you are to shut up and keep your nose to the grindstone. Don’t stand out. Don’t be a target.

In your list of priorities, a lot of people might say they put “God” or their family first, but take a look at the time and energy they spend on things and work is really the their first priority. This is conditioned from a very early age. My parents both worked. My parents would justify their dedication at work as their method of supporting us. I could even almost understand it if their work really filled their passions, but it didn’t. They were distracted. Sometimes it was a pleasant distraction, but it didn’t really fulfill them.

I don’t recommend that people just quit their jobs when they get frustrated or angry. I do recommend that if you find that what you are doing is not serving you, to honestly consider trying something else. Let yourself be inspired to move towards that which brings you real joy and fulfillment. You might not even know what that means right now, but just asking yourself the question is a start.

One thing that I have gained is time. At first, when you are not used to taking time to be with yourself, it can feel unpleasant. Many people pack their day with activities to avoid being with themselves and dealing with their baggage. With the lack of activity, it is easy to hear your fear based thoughts and develop anxiety over the future.

I find that I have gotten better with this over the years, but there is always going to be a part of you that will have a foot in the past or a little concern over how what you are doing might be perceived by others. I have been working on focusing on myself and not giving a rip about what other people think. It is hard to not feel guilty about doing this because I have been taught that being “selfish” is a bad thing. Really, the only way you can thrive and help others is be being “selfish.”

When you allow yourself enough space to separate yourself from the noise of the world, you can focus on your needs more clearly. I have time to focus on what I am most curious about. I have time to follow my interests. This allows you to develop some clarity on who you really are.

Our journey on this planet is based on us wanting to learn and grow. It is supposed to be fun. Just the fact that we are here and breathing makes us worthy. If we are attracted to a way of life, or when we see something we authentically desire, the Universe says okay, it is done. Abraham Hicks says that our rockets of desire deliver our manifestations in a sort of vibration escrow until we raise our vibration to match our desires. We don’t have to necessarily have to be asking consciously, it is automatic. We determine what we really want in the contrast of our lives. What we need to do is to figure out how to raise our vibrations to the point of allowing.

My main focus in this time has been how to raise my vibration. How can I fill myself with more joy? As my self-worth has increased, I realize that I want to take care of myself better. I want to feel at my optimal. I want to tune my instrument so I sound better when I am played because I know that I am worth it.

As I look for ways to raise my vibration, I have also found myself working through old bad tape. I often find that when I visit with Max and Alex, I feel comfortable enough to start examining areas of my life that don’t feel as good. Sometimes this is just in a conversation, but I also meet a lot of my fears when we are dressing up in drag.

As you can imagine, it takes some balls for a man to dress up in women’s underwear and prance around in heels. Yeah, some queens make it look natural, but the truth is that you have to confront all the stereotypes and negativity that you perceive others to have toward your art. It questions your sexuality, your sanity. As an overweight girl who has identity issues of her own, it can equally be as scary.

When I relax and submit myself to the process, I have to often confront my own fears and insecurities. I have noticed that I am completely overly sensitive to touch. Yes, I have been celibate most of my life and I am sure that it plays a role. I haven’t been touched much as an adult, and I feel like I was often neglected as a child in the touch department. Touch might be a sensory overload. Still, when I feel overwhelmed, there is a more carnal fear. I worry for my safety and go crazy.

After a recent freak out, Max asked if I had ever been sexually assaulted. My immediate answer is no. I haven’t been kidnapped. I haven’t been raped. I didn’t have relatives touch me inappropriately, so no. When I think about when I might have had similar freak out sessions to touch in my life, there is a set of experiences that do come to mind.

In middle school, I was a fat awkward little girl. I had boobs before most of the other girls in my class. In some way, I must have also known that I didn’t like boys. I know I was a really easy target. Leave it to a hand full of guys on my bus to focus in on me. They called me “Titanic.” From the second I got on the school bus, to the moment I got off, I was harassed by these guys. I was often fondled by them, called names, had horrible pranks played on me, you name it.

It went on for three years. During that time, no teacher or school administrator ever did anything. I told no one. It was pervasive enough that I knew adults saw it happening. Their lack of interest in confronting them, only lead me to believe that the students had more power than the adults. I didn’t mention it to my parents, because they were big bullies to me too. My mom had told me previously that if someone was being mean to me, it was my fault. My father made fun of my weight all the time. I felt like they didn’t have my back.

As an adult, I feel I should be over it. I never thought of it as sexual assault, even though it had aspects of unwanted touch and coercion, because it wasn’t “bad” enough. I had assumed that these incidents were only meant to humiliate me. I attached my self worth to what they thought of me. I didn’t feel that they desired me sexually. Maybe I did ask for it by just being that ugly.

What I have come to realize is that it was abuse. The fear they instilled in me still lingers. I learned so well from my bullies that I became my biggest bully. I believe this is how other sexual assault victims must feel like.

My intention in telling this story isn’t to rehash the emotion of it, but to understand why my primary responses are what they are. I am trying to confront the old tape and you have to be able to look at that initial old tape honestly. I didn’t deserve to be teased. I didn’t deserve to be assaulted. Now that I understand that I am worth better treatment, I have to confront one key aspect of my damage: trust.

Trust is the faith that ultimately everything is coming out of a place of love. Fear can’t exist in an environment of love. We trust because we have to. We feel better when we do.

Too often, we let past experiences or the acts of a few people destroy our capacity for trust. I believe that most people show their true colors early, and it is okay to reserve our trust for people who have proven themselves trustworthy. But for those of us with huge trust issues, we can find people who we trust and still hesitate to give them trust because of our fear of being screwed over.

As Alex was draping me with some fabric for a dress, he took out sharp shears to trim off some of the access. The entire time I was filled with fear. I was terrified of being cut which makes it so much easier for one to cut you. Alex had made sure that his hand was in the way, so if anyone were going to be cut, it would be him. He made sure to be extra careful. Besides, he had done this before with success.

I trust Alex and Max more than I trust anyone else in the world, but I couldn’t surrender. The fear backed up till I couldn’t take it anymore and I exploded in tears and protests. I was overwhelmed by emotion.

Fear is incompatible with anything you really want. It is our emotional guidance system letting you know that you are far out of alignment with how Source views the situation. Yet, it can emotionally hijack you. Your body courses in all sorts of chemicals, endorphins and hormones. Your body resorts to the primitive fight or flight response.

You can just let yourself get enveloped in the situation and break off friendships or vow never to do certain things again to try an avoid an unpleasant response, or you can try to check yourself out of the emotion and try to examine it as a third person. When you know a response is crazy, and have the ability to stand back and really reflect on what is going on objectively. This process really helps provide one with clarity. I knew immediately what I did not want, so I can now see what it is that I do want and walk closer to it.

I have noticed that when I am fed and have been fairly stable up to this point, I can separate myself from the experience to mine the nuggets I need for growth. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have a melt down from time to time, but it shortens its duration and allows for a quicker and more long lasting recovery.

I used to not trust that I could have a mini-meltdown without alienating myself from others. I used to be so embarrassed and used these incidents as a way to shame spiral for weeks. Once you can establish that you are a good person, no matter what, and you have developed a team of people that you can trust to be vulnerable with, you can overcome what ever it is that you need to.

This experience led me to focus on an area that I want to improve in my life: trust. Although I know that I feel better while doing it, I am still not where I need to be to improve my vibration. Besides, I don’t want to live the rest of my life always being convinced that someone is around the corner, just wanting to screw me over. Life is too short to waste good energy on that.

I noticed something else from this incident. As I distrusted the process of the shears coming at me and the person behind it, I created the right atmosphere to deliver exactly what I feared. If my worst fear was being cut, my trembling only produced fear in the person trying to perform the act, which could lead to more mistakes. Really, what was the worst that could happen? Be cut? Even if I was, it wasn’t going to really hurt me. Some people knowing that they even feared this outcome would prevent themselves from even being in that situation. This might produce a temporary comfort, but missing out on the experience prevents one to benefit from addressing one’s fears and from enjoying the fruits of getting beyond the fear.

Aren’t we taught that we should always be striving for perfection? Anytime we fall short, haven’t we been taught that failure is the worst outcome possible? Aren’t we told that if we can’t do something perfectly, that we shouldn’t try at all? In reality, failure is the only way to find success. We often have to figure out what doesn’t work so that we know what does work. Great thinkers often produce 1000s of bad experiments, drafts, or products before they get the one breakthrough that changes everything.

People often say that they may have trusted someone or something and then one thing occurred that made them question their trust. Because their trust was no longer perfect, they decide that they have to refrain from trusting in order to preserve themselves. Their lack of trust just attracts more incidents to cement their distrust. It can create so much fear that people just cower in their beds.

What I am learning is that trust is the belief that, more often than not, the Universe is only interested in our well-being. Trust is excepting that the major energy at play in our life is on our side. Trust is believing that you are worthy and that we are all connected. Trust is believing that other people are for the most part good. Trust is believing that we are all connected. Trust is believing that what we are called to do, what we are inspired to create, is worthwhile. Trust is knowing that what you need in this life will be provided for you. Trust is knowing that the core of this Universe is love.

When we can accept this, when we can believe that we can trust, we relax. Things will happen organically. Life is easier. We enjoy ourselves more because we are not constantly looking over our backs. Our energy is free from being rerouted to counter fear. All of a sudden, we have an abundance of energy to focus on things that are aligned with our true power. We allow ourselves to become aligned with who we really are. We become aligned with our true self, which extends beyond our physical manifestation. We realize that we don’t have to fear death, because there is no such thing. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. We are eternal.

Once you are more clear about who you are and why you are here, you can start to see others in the same way that Source views them. Other people are kinder to you. Your relationships become deeper. You learn to love yourself and others. You realize that there is more that unites us than divides us.

The trick is when you decide to have full faith in the Universe, and in yourself, do not lose it if you see a slight flaw. When someone you trust messes up, how can you learn to forgive? How can you learn from the contrast? The trick is when you trust, it needs to be unconditional. You need to allow room for us to be human, to make errors. Often, what we perceive to be a mistake is actually a good thing. Most things that happen in life are neither good nor bad. They are just a necessary part of the journey. Although we might not be able to understand the significance in that moment, often such incidents are meant to push us toward what we really want.

I trust that the best part of my story is still ahead of me. I trust that I am right where I am supposed to be. I trust that there are really no mistakes. I trust that no matter what, I will be okay.

Now what?

It has been a few weeks since I have completed my treatments. I am past the boney aches. I am even not really that fatigued. Still, I don’t feel a hundred percent right. How am I really different? Why do I still feel stuck?

I feel like I should have a new lease on life. I went through something pretty big. My life was at stake. You would think I am a total health nut right now. I am not. Although I have been told by more than one person to drink more water, take detoxifying baths, cut out sugar and grains, and eat more vegetables….my diet hasn’t really changed.

I should be working on getting stronger. Yet, I am still pretty stationary. I found a bike I would love to own, and it would help me become more fit, but I won’t allow myself to buy it. I have a new cpap, and wake up more energized than ever…yet, I still stay in bed napping. It is a complete failure to launch.

I feel fear. I am fearful of dying. I am fearful of being alone. I am fearful of getting caught up in a life that held me bondage before. I am fearful that things may never work out.

In reality, a lot of these fears are baseless, but I still let them control my life. It isn’t working. Still, I look around and see so much that needs to be done that I am just overwhelmed to the point of sitting there and staring at it for several hours a day. At least I use to put effort in distracting myself from it.

I thought I was making some progress last week when I went on not one but two dates. The women were nice. They were semi-normal, but there just wasn’t anything there. I am beginning to wonder if I was ever meant to be in a relationship with anyone.

I keep wondering why I am not worthy of that kind of loving relationship. I want to have someone to lean on, to love, to be there for me in the middle of the night. I don’t know what it is like to have someone to sleep next to. I don’t know what it feels like to desire someone and feel like they desire you in return. There is so much that I feel I haven’t been privy to, and it hurts.

I have to remember that I am not alone. I am so lucky to have two guys that love me and are there for me. I have someone to listen to me, to play with, to share my life with. I sometimes wonder if I am just being selfish because I want more.

Dating is such a mine field though. First, there is usually such anxiety over just meeting someone new and fearing rejection. That is normal. For me, there is this added baggage. Am I attracted to you? Do I even know what that really feels like? Is it even possible for me to please you? Is it possible for anyone to ever please me? I don’t know what I am doing here.

Sometimes I wonder if I am going to die and never know what it is like to love someone and have them love me in return. I may never know what it is like to have a true valentine or get married. I have had glimpses. In some ways, I feel like I have experienced more love and intimacy that some people who are in defined relationships. Is it wrong for me to want more?

I don’t know what path to take. I am afraid that anyone I choose will just lead me off a cliff. I don’t trust myself. I sometimes wish I just had a map, but even if I was given one…I would probably be too afraid to follow it.

I don’t know what any of the answers are. I am starting to get super impatient with myself and everything else. I want everything solved yesterday, and I am super unrealistic with my expectations.

I am treading water here. I hope I see some sort of boat or at least a lighthouse so I can at least point myself in a direction that has some capability of producing fruit for my labor. I know that you sometimes only need the faith of a mustard seed to sustain you in your journey. There are days were my faith struggles to mustard just that.

For this reason, I keep asking myself, “now what?”

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

I am 36-year-old woman who has only been in one semi-significant relationship, and that was with a man. I can count the number of times I have had sex on one hand. I have felt fairly pathetic for the entirety of my reproductive years. I was convinced that by society’s standards I was subpar.

Coupling always seemed like it is the next maturation step that I never got. As a pre-teen, I longed to be asked out. I dreamed of what it would be like when I met, “the one.” Through school, I felt pinched every time those stupid Valentine’s carnations were delivered to our homerooms. I knew there would be none for me.

I was pretty fat in middle school and that was an understandable excuse in my world for not receiving a side-glance from anyone. In college, I was thinner, prettier. I was convinced that when I moved to Chicago and got settled in, I would find “the one.”

That didn’t happen. When I moved back to Michigan, I got tired of waiting and bought my own house. I figured that if I kept busy, things would sort themselves out. They didn’t. Enter Max and Alex. They pushed me to get out there. I discovered that it is pretty easy to find a guy to date or to fool around with. I dated a few nice guys, but I didn’t feel anything when I was with them.

There were a million reasons why I could point to not having a guy. I hated being single, but I loved not being in a relationship that I regretted. As I watched others take on new marriages, I could see their pain when they were not matched well. Jealousy, verbal abuse, and neglect seemed common. I hated how some of my friends felt controlled. They became zombie noodles.

My parents’ relationship was not something I wanted to model my future on. They would get into vicious fights in my youth. I stopped looking forward to the weekends because they would get into a big fight and you would feel like you had to walk on eggshells. I began to see marriage as a trap. Who wants to sign up for that?

Still, I am a total lover at heart. I love the sappy Valentine crap. I lost my virginity to the first guy who gave me flowers. I loved the idea of love, but saw few models of loving relationships that really reflected this.

The best examples of a healthy relationship came from my gay friends. Alex and Max have been together twelve or more years now. They communicate well. They are each other’s best friend. Similarly, I have friends who are a lesbian couple. They equally have each other’s backs. Both couples spend quality time with one another. They seem to “fit.”

Through the years I have gone from being curious about relationships, to disgusted by them, to longing for them. The hardest times to be single are by far the holidays. Every merchant is sure to make you aware of sharing a special something with someone. This is compounded by all the inquiries from well meaning people into your love life. From work, to your parents, to aunts, and friends constantly asking who I have been seeing…you get sick of finding a tactful way to say, “nope, I am still pathetically single.”

As I rolled into my thirties, the pressure was immense. My aunt told me that now I would be considered a “mature” bride if I wanted to get married. Friends and siblings started getting married off by the butt load. I found it so painful to be a part of the festivities. I forgot worrying about my own wedding. I had already assumed it was never going to happen. My mother reminded me several times in my youth that I was not the “marrying” type. I never understood what they meant. Did they not want me to have a significant other?

Through my life, whenever there was a portrayal of an old “hag,” I felt squeamish. My father would recall all these women that he knew that didn’t get married. He couldn’t understand why. “She seemed pretty to me.” I felt that bucking the system meant a life of hardship: no one to provide for you, no children to take care of you in your old age. You’re on your own kid!

Still, I didn’t mind being on my own. I made my own schedule. I never had to answer to anyone. I had my own money. I could eat what I wanted. I didn’t ever have to share the TV remote. As much as these perks were nice, you can’t help having the nagging feeling that you are missing out. You start believing that you are so different. You must be a freak. How horrible can I be that I can’t find someone who might love me for me?

As the veil of my depression began to break, I started talking to a guy I thought was everything that I would ever want. He didn’t call after our first date. I was devastated. What did I do? No matter how much I touched up my hair, got dolled up, and even tolerated heels…I was still not attractive.

Then, as life tends to throw you a curve ball, I had the epiphany that maybe I wasn’t so crazy, maybe I am just gay. All of a sudden, in a matter of hours, I could see everything making sense. I never thought I had any real romantic entanglements, but I had, they were just with girls. No, I had only really kissed one…but I could understand now that my attraction to them was very similar to someone who would have a crush with the opposite sex. I had told myself that being gay was not a possibility and worked my whole life to repress it. I destroyed my sex drive. It doesn’t seem that far of a stretch to see why I developed cancer in an organ that is most strikingly female.

Once I figured out things, I began venturing into this new world. I actually dated a girl for a while, but then I got cancer. She was cool with it, but I couldn’t handle figuring out my sexuality and my new diagnosis at the same time. I even had a few dates before Christmas, but they were disasters. I was more than eager to have a dating break for a while.

In the New Year, Alex and Max tried to get me to start dating again. I was really reluctant. I really wanted to just worry about me. I was totally okay with this. As a whole, I have found this self-acceptance thing to be super difficult. How can you try to find someone when you still hate so much about yourself?

More comfortable with my single status then ever, I got to Valentine’s Day. I sent Valentines out to friends and family. I indulged Alex and Max with a shower of chocolates and goodies. It felt good. The next day I was to spend alone. I got super hungry and tried to go out to eat. Every restaurant in the area was packed. Low blood sugar fired a spiral of self-pity that I had not expected. Again, I felt like an outsider just looking in on a world that I am never suppose to know. I ended up spending the rest of the day in bed.

For me, I know my problem is still being okay with who I am. I judge myself for looking too boyish (especially with my cancer crew cut). I fear that I might find someone attractive, and everyone else in my world will think they are a complete dog. I am embarrassed to be with a girl that is too butch. I don’t want someone who can’t hold a conversation, or who will embarrass me in front of company. I am worried about someone being too clingy. I feel being yelled at, misunderstood. Maybe I am too selfish to ever share my life with someone. I don’t want to be the whole financial supporter of someone, but I question what I have to give in a relationship. I am scared shitless about lesbian sex. I am embarrassed to be so inexperienced at such a late age.

I am mostly afraid that I can’t trust my own judgment. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about themselves, and I really don’t want someone to get involved with me and then get hurt. I don’t know why anyone would want to be with me. The insecurity and inferiority exacerbate everything.

Alex and I talked about this past Saturday. He was like, “what do you need to get started?” He had me venture out to the dating sites again while he worked on something else. I clicked on a picture of a girl who I would have never clicked on before. We had a ton in common. She was kind of butch. Could I handle that? I guess you don’t know until you try.

So again, I continue to try. Not because if I don’t find someone that I will die lonely, but because I am just ready to stop listening to crap in my head and just try it. Put on my big girl panties and make some new friends. Don’t be so afraid. Don’t measure mine or anyone else’s worth on what someone else may or may not think. Grow some tits and just show up in this life. If I can handle cancer, I should be able to handle this just fine.

Thanksgiving

This year was an unusual one. Because of my diagnosis and treatment, I decided not to be the family chef this year. I figure I have been making the Thanksgiving meal for over a decade. I started a few years before my mother died in 2001. On some level, I enjoyed cooking the big meal. I would review recipes, get different tricks or techniques to try, and worked to preserve the family favorites.

I have fond memories of helping my mother out in the kitchen, which transitioned into her telling me what to do, and making the meal, to being the only one who really knew what to do when she died. The last Christmas my mother was alive, I remember her and my aunt sitting around the table peeling potatoes or cutting something up while they watched me conquer the meal mostly on my own. I think it soothed her to know that I had remembered what she had taught me.

After she died, there were moments were I still enjoyed cooking the meal, but I began to use the excuse of cooking to avoid having to deal with my relatives. I had a growing anxiety about being the only child with no significant other at the event. I used the holiday to beat myself up about being “alone.” Why was I not good enough to have a family of my own? Plus, there was a sense that because I was single and lived locally, that it was almost expected that I should play a great hostess and work to make everything as pleasant for everyone else as possible.

This grew into resentment that I was expected to do it all. Granted, there was a part of me that wanted to do it alone because it seemed easier. I claimed the kitchen as my domain. I drank enough to feel as little as possible, and tried to not let comments about the food, the timing, the cost, or any of a multitude of other shit bother me until I had left and could bawl all the way home.

So this year, after I was diagnosed and knew I would be going through treatment, I told my Dad to figure it out. I didn’t know how I would feel by the time the holiday got here, and I didn’t want to have to worry about it.

As the holiday drew near, I tried to stay out of the planning. The hard part is that I have been doing it for so long that everything was like second nature to me. It would have been too easy to insert myself. The thing about preparing such a big meal is that you want to take pride in accomplishing it. I wanted whoever did it to feel that they had me as a resource, but to also feel free to “own” it.

Much to my surprise, my father decided to prepare the meal. My sister also made three classic dishes. Of course, my sister is the kind of girl who can blow up an egg trying to hard-boil it. I thought they did an admirable job with it.

You could tell my father was nervous going into turkey day. He put in the turkey at 10am. Instead of folding the wings behind the turkey, he skewered them onto the breast. I guess he spilled some stuff and accidently threw away the chopped celery instead of the leaves. I wasn’t there for it, but when he told me about it I told him that he just did what any other cook would do. I reminded him that the meal needed to not be perfect. It would be tasty no matter what.

At 2pm, the turkey was cooked. My father and I both were a little surprised. I told him to pull it and put in all the side dishes to warm up. I asked him, “Did you let all the guests know that dinner would be early this year?” (I usually didn’t serve dinner until 5pm) His banter suggested no, so I sent my sister off to call everyone and figure out where they were. One party hadn’t even started their two-hour trek.

I smiled and helped Dad get everything in a “keep warm” state and just released it. I didn’t feel any anxiety, but I confess that I was medicated. When the whole family did get there, I was finally able to sit back and just watch them. I saw quarks in personality that I hadn’t before. I answered a lot of questions about my health.

I don’t feel like a sickly person, even going through treatment. It is a little strange to hear people constantly asking me how I feel. It is like they want me to complain, but I don’t. I feel fairly good. Deal.

As we sat and ate dinner, I really appreciated all of the effort that went into the meal and the fact that they went out of their way to let me sit back and relax. I think my father and sister discovered on some level what an undertaking it is.

I didn’t feel lonely this year. I realize that my life was never meant to reflect the Hallmark version of the holiday, and that is okay. At the end, it is all about creating an excuse to be together and enjoy each other’s company. I don’t know if everyone that was there was excited to be in that situation, but it did feel great to leave and get back to normal life.