year in review: 2017

january: resist everything that would destroy you: apathy, entropy, tyranny

february: your pain always has meaning; go to the fucking doctor

march: you do not need the right words or any words at all to be worthwhile; they will love you anyway

april: love and fury are indivisible

may: death isn’t interested in you nor, for the first time in your life, are you interested in her

june: this is how you breathe

july: yes, it is worth the extra work, time, and money to own AC

august: you will spend weeks longing for currents and snowmelt and the summer will pass before you can get a breath in edgewise

september: high collars and independence become you

october: you were not meant to live alone

november: that urge to diminish, to be less, is the antithesis of strength

december: nothing lasts forever and that fact will always be a blessing

 

what i have learned this year

rlb

12.15.17

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the fat queer girl

There is nothing restorative or powerful about being the fat queer girl. This isn’t going to be some poignant statement about how we should love ourselves. If that’s what you’re here for, go elsewhere. There are a million poems about that so go read one of those.

There’s nothing confidence-inspiring about being the fat queer girl. Even among the enby femmes there is no fatness that is celebrated where we can see it; everyone is thin, thin, thin, thin because there is no fluidity in the softness of fat, I guess even though that’s metaphorically-incorrect and factually-incorrect and also deeply unfair.

And because I’m on a roll here with the self-pity– I’m not even the right kind of fat queer girl. You know the ones. The tall, busty girls with big eyes and the suggestion of hourglass waists in their forgiving proportions and shapely legs and mouths you could kiss until sunrise. With my lovehandles overswelling my hips. Inadequate breasts, columnal thighs, short neck, tiny eyes, thin lips, twisted spine–

There’s no one who wants to be the fat queer girl.  

rlb 4.27.18

communion

I found religion in the heart of Missouri in August at a college populated by girls too smart or dumb or scared or queer to go anywhere else on a campus bisected by a highway frequented by drivers more than happy to run us down.

I never knew it could get so hot. Summer clinging close like that girlfriend or boyfriend or friend in high school who followed you around between classes and wrote you poetry about slipping into and under your skin that you thought was romantic and maybe illicit in a thrilling way instead of making you think of Ed Gein.

Sweat in places I forgot I had and heat rash forever breaking out red and cruel across the soft expanse of my inner thighs. Unforgiving wet heat. No fleet of box fans could move that heavy air. Secretly we all worried our hair would start to mildew– it never seemed to dry between showers.

The thermometer climbed so high the cicadas couldn’t stop screaming their protests. I took shifts with my suitemates in voluntary ice baths to keep the hysteria of heat stroke at bay. We didn’t go outside. The brave fought for prime real estate on granite bathroom tile or the cool marble of the parlor foyer, bare skin sticking to, warming the stone in exchange for a few minutes of bliss.

On a black day the cicadas fell silent. At dusk the storm hit. Without preamble or wind there came the rain sweeping across hot, soft asphalt and we followed like creatures possessed. Shedding sandals before the ground could cool. Careless feet running across concrete for the grass island before the chapel driveway. Shedding shirts to soak the downpour into our skin. Shedding skirts to move easier through the air and water. Shedding something we didn’t realize we carried until we set it down. Wave after wave of dancing girls screaming to the beat of thunder and strobing lightning laughing wet skin in the dark. Raging frolicking riding the wind and gale until our bones caught chills so deep we thought even Missouri couldn’t make us warm again.

Then, the clouds parted. The moon shone on the still debris: heaped, sopping clothes and naked girls breathless, dazed. The halls gave off their yellow glow and like moths we floated home.

rlb 4.27.17

Bang.

My Roaring Twenties

Trigger warning: gun violence.
Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? In a situation so foreign and unbelievable that for a seconds the world freezes and you are left standing there wondering how something so alien could have happened. Thursday I found myself dressed for bed when the night was paused.

Bang (a car backfiring, firecrackers, where is the echo)… bangbangbang.
In seconds (or was it minutes) it seemed like my family was at the door (“Whose weren’t fireworks” “Stay inside”) and I was six again to scared of getting in trouble to move. My parents were across the street in seconds and my dad was back searching for a first aid kit. I don’t know where my mom was but I could hear her pleading with him to stay here.
Where was the ambulance….
On Friday I sat at work trying to explain to a friend…

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Reliable

I joined a dating app.

After all,  I’m a terminally single lonely gay girl so I figured why not meet other lonely gay girls and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll all end up less lonely? It’s a pretty good idea, in theory.

… Right up until the point where I had to Pick Three Things To Describe Myself. You know, like “has a good sense of humor”, “adventurous!”, “loves kids”. Except I can’t say any of that because  I have never had a sense of humor once in my life, my idea of an adventure is wearing pants out of the house, and I think children are disgusting, screaming sacks of protein and unfinished cerebral cortex best left to the care of others.

So, when faced with this particular dilemma I did what any sensible girl would do in this situation and asked my best friends how they would describe me. They had some good ideas. Warm. Intellectual. Vibrant… and the one that really stood out was “too stubborn to die.”

Too stubborn to die.

It’s hilarious, you can laugh at it, you should laugh at it because I’ve tried to kill myself three times in the last ten years– don’t ever put that on a dating profile by the way, don’t let them know you’re absolutely crazy before they get to talk to you– but it’s true. This body I inhabit is tenacious. Obstinate. Stubborn.

I was born 4 months too early and every time my mother touched me I would get so excited my heart would stop so the nurses made her stop touching me. At 3 I contracted meningitis and screamed so loud I scared off a horde of medical residents. By 10 I’d had 6 major surgeries around my cranial nerves. From puberty onward I would attempt suicide three times because I was and still am so goddamn tired. Last year I had a stroke. I was 23 and I almost died from a freak blood clot in my temporal lobe..

But here’s the kicker: none of that has managed to kill me. My heart continues beating in defiance of fate and my own free will. I’m not going anywhere any time soon. I guess I must not be allowed to.

I can’t put all of that on a dating profile, though. There’s a character limit. So I guess I’ll just have to go with “I’m reliable”.