Me Being Me

“Inside a Boy’s Head”

I had a conversation with my daughter yesterday about writing. Poppy wanted me to read a short story she had written in her Language Arts class, and she was upset with the editing a male classmate had done on her draft. I completely got that! I’m working through edits on my own manuscript right now, so I could easily feel her pain. For the record, I agreed with nearly everything the boy had corrected on her draft aside from a few commas.

After I got done reading and had give her my feedback, Poppy said, “I like writing stories from inside a boy’s head rather than inside a girl’s head because girls think like this. ‘Oh, I sure hope Jacob likes me. I should go fix my hair and put more makeup on.'”

stock-footage-silhouettes-of-mother-and-her-daughter-heads-then-daughter-hugging-her-motherObviously, not all female characters are bubble headed twits like my Poppy portrayed with such comedic delivery, but sadly, there are a lot that are.

I barely kept in my laughter because of her delivery, but then I told her, “I prefer writing male characters too, so that’s why I write what I write.”

Poppy has known that I write about men falling in love with men for at least a year. It would be hard not to know that when walking into my writing studio, because my two main character’s faces are right there on a bulletin board staring at me.

We talked a bit about our characters and why we liked writing from a boy’s point of view. We had very similar reasons. Yet I love writing about female secondary characters. These women often end up being my favorite people, and I’ve had feedback from readers and editors who practically cheer when I bring Summer (for example) back into the story.

And yet, I’m still asked by people unfamiliar with the M/M genre why I enjoy writing from a man’s perspective. Of course, that’s after they ask me why I write M/M in the first place and how I find out about M/M sex. My mother-in-law asked about all of this last weekend. I answered too.

What do you enjoy about reading or writing a male POV? I’m curious to see if they are the same reasons Poppy and I had.

Me Being Me, Social Issues

From Mommy Blogger to M/M Author

I blogged back in the beggining of blogs. That’s not that far back in real time, but it seems like ages ago based on how quickly the internets have changed since then. I was one of the first mommy bloggers. I know, you’re thinking “Ick!” right?¬†It fit me at the time. I have more than one degree in child development. I work with families in my real life job. I was a fairly new mom. But I sort of came to it by accident. Here’s how.

My baby (she just turned 11) was born with several internal structure things wrong with her. They called them mid-line defects. She had problems that would’ve caused death if not fixed. I had no family close and most of my friends were quite far away as well, so I started a mini blog about her health to keep everyone up to date. This was even in the days before Facebook became what it is today and long before Twitter. MySpace was about it, and I certainly didn’t have a playlist related to the struggles my baby was dealing with that I was willing to share.

As my Poppy started to heal from one of her more horrific surgeries that required 10 days in a medical coma with a tube shoved down her throat in order heal correctly, I blogged more and kept up to date with a group related to one her very rare conditions. As the months progressed, I ended up writing about more than just “On Monday, Poppy is going to have her tonsils removed in the hopes that she’ll be able to swallow without aspirating.” I started blogging about life rather than just the fear of the death of my beloved baby, and that’s when the mommy blog started. Continue reading “From Mommy Blogger to M/M Author”

Me Being Me, Thoughts

Life Skills Need To Be Taught

Today I’m taking the time to teach my daughter how to do laundry. She is nearly 11, but is a very slight little girl. She is short and most of our laundry supplies are stored in a cupboard above my washer and dryer, so they weren’t in easy reach for her until the last six months or so.

She’s one of those kids who wears a pair of jeans once or even for a few hours and then throws them in the dirty clothes. Or else, she’ll wear the same shirt for days. So, a typical kid.

I’m hoping that this will save me time in the end, and of course, it’s teaching her a valuable life skill or three.

I was that kid who moved into my college dorm room at age eighteen never really having done a load of laundry. I still remember my mom taking me into the dorm laundry room in the basement and talking me through the process. I was positive I was going to screw up all my clothes when I did laundry, and because I had a boyfriend who still lived back in my hometown that I visited quite regularly, I often brought my “Mom, I’m home!” laundry bag with. Of course she did my laundry for me. ūüôā

But in the end, I see this as a disservice, even if she did it out of the goodness of her heart. The same goes with cooking and several other life skills that I didn’t really learn as well as I should’ve before I moved away from home.

I’m hoping my little Poppy will learn some self sufficiency today as she washes clothes. I’m hoping she will see how much time it takes and that she’ll consider re-wearing a pair of jeans the next day. I’m also hoping she sees that laundry doesn’t wash itself.

Heck, I wish it did. I hate laundry. Hate, hate, hate this task. Not that I would’ve enjoyed it at all if I’d learned at eleven years old, but still… ¬†Maybe she’ll love it and will want to take over this dreaded chore more permanently.

Equality, GLBT, LGBT

Parenting an LGBT Savvy Kid

On May 14, 2013 I signed my fifth grade daughter out of school and drove to St. Paul, Minnesota so she could be part of history. Governor Mark Dayton signed the Marriage Equality bill into law. I met a friend there as well. She brought her six-year-old son for the same reason. This was history in the making and we wanted our kids to be there for this moment. This was big. We cheered and smiled and sat out in the super hot sun with sweat dripping down our backs, because this was important. Then we went downtown and celebrated. People were so happy.

I’ve made very conscious choices about talking to my child about the LGBT community and the unique struggles they face. We talked a lot about marriage equality this last year. I even had some friends confused as to why I was so passionate about this issue. I’m bisexual and I married a man, but if something ever happened to my husband, I would still want the right to marry someone if I fell in love again. That could easily be a woman. My daughter and I have talked a lot about the rights denied same-sex couples because of DOMA, and she even knows I write stories about men who fall in love with men. She knows some of my closest friends who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual. She knows what all that means. It’s not big deal to her. When she meets someone new, she asks if they have a boyfriend or a girlfriend rather than just assuming.

There has been a lot said about how same-sex relationships confuse children. They don’t. They really don’t if we just expose this reality to kids and then answer their questions. What confuses children is having the once-unwavering love of their parents suddenly pulled away from them because they love someone of the same gender. When my daughter heard that people did that, she was utterly shocked. Kids are also confused when their parents hate because of bigotry. That goes against most of what we teach our kids when they are young.

Much is made about parents needing to answer uncomfortable questions about LGBT couples. Guess what? That’s what we signed up for when we became a parent, and whether marriage equality had passed or not, children will still have those questions. It’s our job as parents to educate our children about the world, and one of the realities in this world is that LGBT people live here. Are gay men more likely to kiss out in public now than in the 1970s when I was a kid? Probably. Are lesbian women going to hold hands and hug each other where kids can see them? Yep. And I say good! I want my child to see this. I want my child to see that love comes in many different packages, and I want her to know she can talk to me about anything that she’s curious about. Anything!

What I find most offensive are the people who say marriage=procreation. As an adopted kid, I have just been devalued by that entire argument. My parents have been too. I don’t count in their eyes, but if I were to say that to these folks, they’d deny their argument applied to me because my parents weren’t a same-sex couple. Hypocrisy at its finest, I guess. And when hypocrisy is that blatant and that easily identified, you know the argument is false and drummed up rhetoric.

I don’t want my daughter to live in a cookie cutter world. I want her to be able to experience the entire rainbow because she will be a better person for it. She already is.

Equality, GLBT, Thoughts

America: A No Touch Zone

My daughter was called a lesbian yesterday at school because she sat on a female aide’s lap. When she told me, I asked her, “What do you think about that?”

She responded, “What’s the big deal? There’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian.”

I agree. ¬†What’s the big deal? ¬†This kid meant it as an insult but my daughter didn’t take it as such.

The reason?

I think it’s because my daughter knows LGBT men and women. ¬†We are people to her, not labels. ¬†I’ve gone out of my way to introduce my child to the diversity in our world, from choosing to live in one of the few culturally diverse communities in my white-bread state to talking to her about how no one’s experience is the same.

But what the discussion I had with my daughter really brings to mind is how averse to touch American society has become.  The moment two people touch, it is now seen as sexual.  When I was a child, I held hands with my sister, my friends, my mom, my cousins, my teachers.  I kissed them.  I hugged them.  I sat on their laps, and never once was I called a lesbian.

How have we come to this point, that sex is at the heart of everything?

I know that’s rich coming from someone who writes erotica because I see sexual subtext everywhere. Yet I still wonder. To me, touch is simply another form of communication, and often a much more powerful one than words. ¬†It says things. Trust me. I’m here for you. You’re important to me. I love you. ¬†Withholding touch communicates messages too. ¬†You’re alone. I’m angry with you. You disappoint me. ¬†And touch can also communicate hate.

Little boys might be hurt today for holding hands, and probably not even by other children, as much as their fathers. ¬†In my day job I have heard parents freak out when their preschool children hold hands, hug, or kiss another child. ¬†God forbid they ever find two five year olds showing each other their “parts” like I did as a kid. ¬†It would be off to therapy for months for something that is part of the typical development of a healthy child’s sexual identity. ¬†They are just curious.

And children need touch.  They need us to hold their hands and to rub their backs.  In fact, they melt into us like little cats when we give them physical affection.  What does that tell you?

It tells me that children are starving for affection because our entire society is starving for it. People are terrified of being called lesbian or gay or even worse, being sued if they reach for others. ¬†So we live in little bubbles of isolation and fear, and we pay people to rub our feet or give us massages, because professional touch is “safe” touch. I disagree. ¬†It’s just impersonal touch that makes my bank account $75 lighter.

Five years ago I met an amazing woman who initially scared me with how affectionate she was, and that’s saying something because I’m quite touchy-feely. She hugged me or held my hand as we waited for our kids’ school day to finish. ¬†She squeezed me and told me she loved me. She even kissed me when we said hello or good-bye. ¬†And none of it was sexual. None. She is my best friend. Why shouldn’t I be able to show her my love through the non-verbal language that speaks volumes with the single brush of a finger to push hair away from her eyes?

In other countries around the world, touch is not seen as purely sexual. Why is that? How can Italians kiss people they greet and Americans can barely be bothered to nod their heads or shake hands?

I say hug and kiss and hold hands with people you love.  Stop paying people to touch you when you already have people around you who are probably just waiting to be invited in.