About Me

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O'ahu born and Rockville bred, both Maryland and Hawai'i are home. Middle-aged knitter (believe me, my 40 is NOT the new 20) seeking the courage to live consciously, each and every moment. Now if I could just remember where I put my keys...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chptr 37: In Which Our Narrator Takes a Good Look at Herself

Mirror in the Bathroom
Probably, this posting will make more sense if you read this.

Or I can provide this mobile-device friendly synopsis (but you are missing a ROCK-STAR picture if you don’t click through): 5-year-old loves Scooby-Doo. 5-year-old wants to be Daphne for Halloween. 5-year-old gets acceptance from peers at pre-school over the costume, but Mom gets grilled by other moms – cuz, you see, 5-year-old is a boy-child.

So. How does this relate to a knitting blog focusing on knitting and crocheting and all-around-yarning in the DC area? This is how: I am scared of knitting meet-ups that don’t originate in Takoma Park, Maryland, or Dupont Circle, DC.

Anything else yarn-related, and I am there (if I feel like it): craft fairs, Saturday markets, LYS crawls, classes, Alpaca festivals.

But meet-ups scare me. And this is why: I’m a gay woman who wears a lot of handknits and a lot of pink, and I’m not totally femme but certainly not butch, and unless you are a Jedi Master of the Gaydar, I will probably present as a white, middle-class, soccer mom (who wears a lot of handknits).

I’ve been to a few local knitting meet-ups. There are some monster ones out there and the people are fun and I’ve never met anyone icky and not worth talking to, and I’ve even been welcomed and emailed personally for not coming back to one really sweet meet-up in particular once I stopped going.

I stopped going to meet-ups because I got tired of coming out to new people. Being someone who doesn’t present “gay” to a good portion of the world, when I talk honestly and openly about my life (which I try to make a personal code), there can be some double-takes and confusion. Knitting circles, or knitting meet-ups, are about bonding – yes, over knitting, but also over LIFE. I have a lot of great knitting connections where I am myself – Ravelry connects me to other yarnies honestly and forthrightly, but I don’t have to see their faces when I post a message where I mention “for her” or “my girlfriend” or just flat-out say, “I’m gay, and…”.  The people in my condo community regularly see me walking with my gorgeous girlfriend hand-in-hand, and kissing her hello and good-bye with affection, and if it bothers any of them, I sure haven't heard anything about it.

When I think of going to knitting-crocheting-yarnie meet-ups where there are likely to be some-to-many folks who present as morally conservative or very very straight (yes, I know this is hypocritical) or evangelically religious, I get tired. I get tired because for 20+ years, I’ve been coming out. To family and co-workers and online friends and medical care professionals and high-school buddies and anyone else who has reason to know about my LIFE. I just have to do it once, mostly, and have that moment where I just don’t know what’s coming at me with their reaction.

You see, I’ve had everything from “I figured” to “Would Jesus be happy with the way you’re living your life?” to "But you look like guys would like you - haven't you found one that does?"  I've had high-school classmates cross to the other side of the street to avoid talking to me after the rumors got out a few years after graduation.  I've had a male co-worker assume that my being gay means I'm a guy without a dick and ask me, co-conspiratorially, who has the hottest rack of our colleagues.  I've had a high-level executive, when confronted about using phrase, "butt-boy" in a business-related conversation several times in a loud voice in a main hallway, tell me, with utter sincerity and cluelessness, that he is sorry for affronting my sensibilities (because being bothered by his lewd analogies makes me hyper-sensitive, don't you know) and that he, personally and professionally, supports my "choice to be gay and sleep with whomever I want."  I've been the one who says, over and over, "it's not a choice," "who I sleep with is not the point," and "no, thanks, I don't want to chat with you about my female boss' great ass."  I've had the looks, and the stares, and to be fair I've also had the "whatever"s and "yeah, so"s and hugs.
Mean Girls (Special Collector's Edition)
Are you there God? It's me, Lindsay.

And, yes, the folks I'm likely to meet at knitting meet-ups tend to have a little less testosterone than the folks I mentioned above, but sometimes girls are worse.  I still fear Mean Girls syndrome, 24 years after graduating from Rockville High.

Meet-ups scare me primarily because I don’t have control of who’s at the meet-ups. I’ve gone to a couple and just kept my mouth shut while the folks around me were talking about their husbands and kids and pre-schools and driving lessons, and I didn’t have a lot to contribute (having none of the above). I’ve gone to a couple where I was out to a few people, and just didn’t feel like participating in the wedding shower and baby-bootie corner.  And I can come out once in a meet-up and then as new folks fold in, over and over and over again.

I really want to cover meet-ups for this blog, and I am just going to have to bite down and do it. Exploring all things yarn in the DC area doesn’t require me to wear a gay-badge, but sometimes I don’t know when I’m holding back the full spectrum of my identity for reasons of easy assimilation.

I wish I had that little man's mommy to walk me into meet-ups and take on anyone who would make comments about my sexual orientation

Crafting, yarnie, knitting, crocheting peoples are a welcoming bunch, I have found – just like the rest of the society and culture I move around in which is an almost urban (technically I live in the suburbs), middle-class, blue state demographic. And sometimes you just have to be a big girl and pull up your own panties and participate.

And that’s what I plan to do.
Colinette Books - CC57 - Parisienne Book
Gay girls get glam, too, dammit!

The top of-post-picture is of me in the Rive Gauche from the Colinette Parisienne pattern book.

The yarn I used was Colinette Parisienne in Adonis Blue colorway.

More notes about the Rive Gauche sweater and the knitting of it on my Ravelry page about it.



  1. I hear ya, girl. I know I present as classic androgynous dyke now, but for years and years I wore dresses all the time and had my hair in a bob, where the natural curl gave it a hint of a 60's flip. (I wasn't being femme, any more than now I'm being butch; just being the fine freak I am who knows that all clothing is drag.)

    I recently learned two really good responses to people who say egregious and outrageous things, like asking me what Jesus' opinion of something would be. One of them is "Thank you." In response to any damn thing at all. It's disconcerting, and that's what you want, right, just to knock someone back a step or two so they get out of your face. (We can't educate 'phobes in 1 sentence, but we can get them out of our faces, right?) And the other one is "Wow." Just that, with nothing else. (Often excellent at family gatherings where Hateful Relative says standard hateful thing.)

    And now, I'm'a friend you on Rav.

  2. I came over here from Ravelry, and I just wanted to say I'm sending lots of empathetic and caring vibes your way. I'm currently at a conference where it feels like the constant coming out, both to straight people who assume I'm "one of them" and to queer people who assume I'm not, has been exhausting. I came up to my hotel room to hide out for a few hours and recover my sense of self, and reading your blog post helped me do that.

  3. I am so sorry you have to deal with the crap of people making huge assumptions about you and being shocked when you don't fit in their idea of what a person should be.

    I've honestly never thought about what it must be like to constantly be "coming out" to people. I know I'm pretty quiet about my sexuality. I am a woman in a heterosexual marriage, but I'm not straight so I've been able to skip a ton of crap. If you're ever in my neck of the woods, I'd be happy to take you to various meetups and play guard dog and keep the jackasses away.