Friday, March 8, 2013

VOWS (Unwedding) 2010

I was going through some old writings on my computer and stumbled across my initial vows to my beloved.  I wrote these for our unwedding over three years ago.  I did not read these exact words; I wrote some other ones influenced by the draft here.  But, I thought I would share these now, cause I like them.

Family picture from late 2012!

Vows from February 2010

I do not want to keep you standing in the cold for too long, but I have a story to tell.  It is a story of a love deeper than those dark mountains lurking far from human eyes at the bottom of the ocean.

It is not a mushy, syrupy love (okay maybe sometimes).

It is a love that is hard and sinewy; sometimes it is dirty.  Sometimes it sparkles.  Mostly it is bound in a friendship that will move from this cold night and the cold evenings of our past forward in years, minutes, seconds for as long as Kristen and my lungs pull air. 

I could tell you the story of how we met over ten years ago in a Women in Film class at the state school up the road—where we both received excellent educations.  And the story of how a few short months after that meeting in class, February 11, 2000 became our anniversary. 

But mostly I want to tell you about what we have built together since that night ten years ago when we saw Angela Davis at Wayne State and then spent that night and the night after and the night after and the night after curled in one another’s arms talking and whispering and barely sleeping.  

We have grown a radical love that is fertile and dedicated to bringing more and more life around us.  When I was younger, I never really new or understood that your lifemate, your lover, your partner, could also be your best friend—the person you desire to spend your fun times with, your deep and joyous times with, your down times with, the moments when you feel embarrassed or ashamed or panicked or itchy with.

But that is what my kk is to me.  

I guess I have to go back to that night when I ended up in kristen’s arms for the first time, This physical placement—the fact that we ended up entwined around one another—matters to us and it matters to other queer people making their lives together in the midst of laws that favor some groups of people over others because of who these groups of people choose to have sex with (or a romantic relationship).  

Oh, but that is not what this is about—wait, yes it is kind of.

Anyhow, why that night—February 11, 2000—why did we choose that one night as our anniversary (which it will remain after today)?  That night long ago, we did go hear Angela Davis passionately and persuasively talk about dismantling the prison industrial complex in the USA and the discriminatory practices that lead to the over-incarceration of poor people and people of color in this country, and then we ate dinner with some of you who are here and some of you who are not, and then we were smitten and intrigued and tangled up in all that newness that falling in love brings with it.  That staring for long minutes into the eyes of an almost stranger who you are now discovering intimacy with for the first time. 

From that night on, Kristen’s body and mind became a map to me—a map larger than the great and colorful and over-bearing North American world map hanging on the wall of my 2nd grade classroom.  The stories bottled up in her mind and heart became landscapes and topographies for me to piece together through the deep voiced tellings of her orange headed self.  Her skin became territory for me to explore through smell, taste, touch; my skin the same to her.

That night 10 years ago, I embarked on a new journey with the most unique and beautiful person —a voyage of devotion and discovery.

For nearly seven years (now it is 10 years), I have devoted my working life to trying to reform the prison system in Michigan and Kristen, for the last 3.5 (now it is 6.5 years) years, has worked to end housing discrimination in the Michigan.  We are committed to working for social justice and to striving toward the greatest good for all people and the earth.  

But, more importantly, we are committed to community—to building and growing a loving and beloved community that includes humans, soil, non-human animals, trees, rivers, fungi, rocks, bees, lakes, skies.  We have put down roots in Ypsilanti that are long and thick and sink into the wet slope of the valley toward this river next to us; this river that we love—the Huron.

As Angela Davis stated, “Radical simply means  ‘grasping things at the root.’”  And Kristen and I have worked on both a theoretical level and literal level to do just this.

I have witnessed my love—this beautiful bird before you all—become, day after day, more loving, more poignantly powerful, more dedicated to growing our own food, more self-sustaining, more community sustaining, more committed to all of this living we are doing together.  

I have seen her grow into her own body and discover her resilience and athleticism.  Before K and I were together, she walked around—hiking here and there, but exercise and sports were not her cup of tea.  And then she began to share in the joy of the invention that is more amazing than the automobile—the bicycle—the two wheel kind.

She is so strong on her bicycle; she has amazing endurance.  In the last one and a half years she has put more than three thousand miles on her Surly long haul trucker and many of those miles we have pedaled side by side.  

This mutual love of community and bicycling lead us to founding with a handful of good people who are here today, Bike Ypsi—a community bicycling and bicycle transportation advocacy group.  

We love this town; we love all of you who are here today.

At this juncture, I want to let you know that it is a cold night in January when I am writing these words—and I have had a couple of beers.  We have just survived a week of being without heat at South Normal; k has been through the 8 year anniversary of her mother’s death; together we went through the first anniversary of me having a miscarriage after very suddenly and unexpectedly becoming pregnant.  So, this writing is impaired—heated with melancholy, sentimentality, and a new boiler.

But it is also fueled by clarity and distinguished by the weathering we have been through together over the last many years.  There are days when I wake up to the soft body next to me totally mesmerized and terrified.  Terrified because I do not know what I would do without this love in my life—both in the physical sense and the emotional sense.  Mesmerized by the sweet skin and courageous soul nestled next to my chest, legs, belly.   

“Some day, some day men and women will rise, they will reach the mountain peak, they will meet big and strong and free, ready to receive, to partake, and to bask in the golden rays of love. What fancy, what imagination, what poetic genius can foresee even approximately the potentialities of such a force in the life of men and women. If the world is ever to give birth to true companionship and oneness, not marriage, but love will be the parent.”
Emma Goldman

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Seam of Her Jeans

Hey, good people.

It has been three months since my last post here.  We are all doing pretty damn fine.  Will is over two and gabbing up a storm.  She sings and dances like mad.

Her favorite songs: you are my sunshine, do re mi (I love her obsession with this song cause I get my own personal Julie Andrews fix about three times a week when we watch a you tube of the song from Sound of Music), and twinkle twinkle little star.

Since I have no time for this blog, I started a new blog.  No, for serious. I did. I know, totally silly because I already am such a slacker over on this blog.  This new blog is of a very different nature, in some respects, than Injection Reflections.

In the past, I have blogged here about my love of queer fiction and non-fiction and the little bits of queer dust--ever-present but hard to find little floaties--in pop-culture (though getting less hard to find).

Well, I read queer and lesbian fiction like it is going out of style.  During my sleepless nights (yes, I have blogged here over the years about my serious insomnia, too), I suck down pulpy, sometimes a bit trashy, other times a little formulaic, still other times absolutely enthralling and interesting, romantic, fascinating, heart stuttering, sometimes boring, lesbian and/or queer centric novels.

This new blog is called The Seam of Her Jeans

I intend for it to be a sort of quick review blog.  I do not want to get too in-depth.  I want the reviews to mostly turn people on to the fact that a book is out there and maybe folks might want to give the book a whirl on their own.  And, of course, every now and again, I will be sure to ramble on about some kind of critical theory/other BS that makes me feel self-important and smart.

See, in talking with friends, I often refer to a lesbian romance or queer young adult novel or lesbian themed book that I am reading.  And, then we start talking and I go on and on about this book and that book.  My friends show genuine interest and then they say, "write this shit up."  (Or maybe they really just want me to shut up :) ).

All in all, that's what I intend for this blog to be.  A mostly quick, fun, light hearted, but sometimes critical look into les and queer fiction.  And, at times, I hope to have guest bloggers write up their findings.

For those of you who know me, you might know that I like to talk about sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, lovemaking, and so on.  The cool thing about much of the lesbian and queer themed fiction out there is that it unabashedly exclaims and claims the reality that we (queers and lesbians) have sex.  I know, I know sometimes that is what the problem is in the minds of our heterosexual "foes" or ignorant neighbors and family members. People's imaginations that go right into our bedrooms (or kitchens, or dining rooms, or stairways).  But, really, what makes me different from my sisters, besides my politics and interests and hair and clothes and other parts of my life choices, is the fact that I do not have sex with male anatomy.  I do not want it in my bedroom or on the stairs or in the kitchen.  I see these novels as a reclamation of the thing that we are sometimes forced to not talk about because that is the very thing that may make us into the other.  The fact that I look and dress like what many perceive to be a dude and have sex with women are the very two things that make me--to some--perverted, deplorable, disgusting, and otherized to the point of marginalizing me and my family in both the larger governmental sphere and in more common social and religious settings.

There is something profoundly liberating that queer people are out there creating stories about the pleasure they seek and gain with (and within) one another.  Queer people get turned on and do something about it, and much of this fiction unfolds with plots wrapped around some beautiful sex and other very dramatic stuff.

My new blog has a whole page on Why? The Seam of Her Jeans.  But, really briefly about the title itself, I gave the blog this title because in reading through many of these books, women get hot over and over again and over and over again this line--the seam of her jeans or the seam of her pants-- (or one very similar to it) keeps coming up in various novels by various authors.  So, a woman will be all hot and bothered and practically explode from the touch of the hard fabric of her pants. This storytelling tool just tickles the shit out of me.  Hence, the name of the blog.

I do plan to stop on by Injection Reflections every now and again and post on the perils and triumphs of participating in the growing up of my kid and other things that make me think all deep and thoughtful.  I have yet to totally abandon this nearly 6 year old blog...So, read my new rambles if you feel so inclined.