Butch Voices (other zebras!)
So I could sit here and type out the day-by-day happenings, but do you really care how my flight went, what I ate, or how much sleep I didn’t get? Well… if so, maybe I’ll be inspired. Let’s just say that I got there, rode the BART, slept very very VERY little, ate well, and got home all in time to take a fucking cab to the fertility clinic to meet my wife for the IUI on Sunday morning. I KNOW! Crazy talk. And crazy thanks to shg for watching RR on short notice. Because she’s fucking incredible like that. You should totally be jealous that she doesn’t live in your town.
I wasn’t the only East Coast representative at the conference, but I sure as hell was the only Virginia representative. Two folks were FROM Virginia, but not actively living there, so that was a welcome surprise. Most folks were either Bay Area locals, or from Seattle and/or Portland. A few came from Boston, NYC, Maine, and some other surprising folks from Oklahoma and Texas!
There’s something about being butch that sometimes makes you all puffed up and unapproachable when seeing other butches on the street or meeting other butches. Like… a butch-off. But something else entirely about being totally surrounded by a sea of other butches that makes us all shake hands, hug, smile, laugh, and let down our guards. This sort of openness, I believe, is why I feel like I made lifelong friendships over the course of four days. Four days, and I wanted to unfriend everyone I ever went to HS with (except you, M) and dump them all for people who, in four days, knew me better than people who have known me for years.
I slowly met everyone while sitting in the BV head’s hotel room suite going over conference logistics. One at a time, they came through the hotel door. One at a time, we shook hands, introduced ourselves, and I immediately even more and more at home with each handshake and comfortable smile. The hours and days went by, and the connections and conversations with folks got deeper.
My eyes and mind were opened. My soul felt nourished. And when, on Saturday at 8pm, when I had to leave the end-of-conference Gala to make my 8:30pm shuttle to SFO, I found myself in hard, long hugs. Tears! Butch tears! I swallowed the lump in my throat as I made my way back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and meet my ride.
I’ve been trying to explain it to people. My wife said it best when I talked to her for the first time after getting there. “It’s like you’re a zebra that’s been in New York City, and now you’re in Africa with all of the other zebras!” So it was cross between THAT most excellent analogy and something like… maybe a summer camp with other folks of like minds. There were inside jokes and laughs and quick, intense connections. So OK, like a zebra summer camp fraternity?
I have more to say, but this is a start. More to say about the butch parenting workshop. Being an impromptu presenter at the female-identified butches panel. More to say about FEELINGS. More to come.