Thursday, January 9, 2014

in this body honesty

Willa is three and one month.  And, next month kk and I hit 14 years of togetherness.

Yes, 14 years. 

A long time.

A good long time.

Monday night it was -14 (without wind chill) here in Michigan and after the little went to sleep, k joined me in a steaming bath.  We talked long and hard.  I watched her body in the yellow gold of a shimmering candle and thanked the stars for this life.  Our life.  And the privilege I partake in everyday—like hot water on a frigid, winter night.  The life of leisure and luxury.  The everlasting spoils and stains of colonialism and all of its residual negative impact sifting over my life in a bath in Michigan in the aftermath of a blizzard.  Sick in my heart at the thought of my access to leisure when other people do not have access to leisure because of human made separations and conditions and yet marveling at the love literally draped over my body. 

I marveled at the beloved body before me and the changes I have watched cascade over her bones.   The shifting of skin.  The ebb and flow of curves.  The lines that mark the place where our child grew lungs, eyelids, soft bones and cartilage.  The ever-growing number of white threads of hair weaving their unruly way through her still mostly orange head. 

I marveled at the friendship I have with my life partner.

I marveled at our ability to talk deeply about things that matter. 

We determined on that cold bath tub night that honesty seems to be the common attribute that we seek most in our friendships and in people in general.  Honesty can mean so many things.  Honesty holds transparency and authenticity and rawness and realness all in the palm of her wide hands. 

I think about the honesty I try to share with others, the honesty I seek from others and then the honesty I seek in and with myself and the hardest form of it has been me being honest with me about how I feel about my very own body.  This vessel.  And, it is not all about me lying to my own self or anything like that.  It is trying to come to a place where I can reflect back on this journey to becoming comfortable with self and being okay with it and being okay with every part of me.

Having a kid has made me recognize my way too easy propensity for verbally articulating body image issues—cause I refuse to allow it to happen in front of her.  And, if I love honesty then I have to be honest with me.  I have to dig in deep and look at all of the history that makes me.  This includes the hard parts.  This includes holding fast to being okay with my body even when I am still at nearly 38 years old settling into my body—still coming to terms with these curves and hips and ass and breasts—even though they are all, even after all of these years, so foreign to who I see myself becoming. 

Oh, yes.  This is all about gender identity.  As a parent, I never realized how in my face gender expression (which I have thought deeply about—and actively performed—for the better part of my life) would be.  I’ve written about it here a lot before.  And, now I am thinking and living through it all so much more forcefully in the mama context. 

willa and her mama nonnie at the golden gate bridge
I do claim my mama identity.  It is not something I shy away from.  I am good with it.  As a butch identified person who walks through this life with hips and breasts (and my soft cheeks, as one person once told me) constructing the “womanly” elements that keep me from always being identified by others as a man, I adore and simultaneously struggle with my gender non-conforming self.  And, when I am totally honest, it is so very difficult living in a place where there are not very many other people like me…Ultra-butch and parenting a young child with a cis woman partner who presents as femme.  There is no doubt that k is Willa’s mama.  There is doubt from bystanders and the public and maybe even friends and even my own self that I am Willa’s mama (more on all of this later down the road).

And, it is hard for me to just sometimes be—be quiet and peaceful and calm and honest with all of me and know that in the end while all of this matters.  It really does not.  What matters is the loving that makes up our lives.  What matters is the ability to be patient, persistent, honest and open hearted with my daughter even when it I feel totally disconnected.  In the end, all hands will be pointed at the honesty and the transparency and the rawness that helped, in this waking life, perpetually transform and construct our paths.


Anonymous said...

I hear you. My lived reality is about the opposite of yours, but I hear you.

Christy and Michelle said...

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