A New Beginning for Buzz Cuts and Bustiers

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” – T.S. Eliot

I struggled so long and so mightily over how to start this post that I finally had to turn the steering wheel over to an old friend who is much more eloquent than I will ever be. Thank you, Thomas.

As you all might have noticed (or at least, those of you who are still checking in here, bless your loyal hearts), it’s been over two months since the last post. The best way to explain this chasm, the only way that seems to sum it up adequately in my mind, is to say that those posts two months back came from a different world – a world which no longer exists – than today’s post.

If you follow me on Twitter (again, bless your loyal queer little hearts), you probably already know this, but to get everyone up to speed: I am now a single butch. In fact, this right here is the first post ever on Buzz Cuts and Bustiers to be written by said single butch. This is significant for a number of reasons:

  1. My life now, at the summer’s end, is radically different than what it was at the summer’s beginning.
  2. How I write about said life will no doubt be different (maybe less radically so) than how I once wrote about it.
  3. I’ve never been single while writing in this blog, and so this is a new and scary thing, but also maybe an exciting thing.

I know how much the queer community (and, really, most communities) love juicy gossip, so it is with a twinge of guilt that I must inform you that I will not be writing about the details surrounding the expiration of my relationship. Some things are too private to even write about here, a space where we talk frankly about things like strap-ons and oral and boobs. Yes, I do have lines, even if they are drawn in strange places.

So what exactly have I been up to these past two months, besides being an absentee parent to this blog? The most accurate word is: rebuilding. The destruction of one way of existing often calls for a lot of clean up before a new way of existing can be built in its place. Social lives and personal schedules and long-term plans all have to be redesigned and reconstructed. Above all that, most of my rebuilding has focused around my mental health. I’ve been living with anxiety and increasingly inconvenient panic attacks for a year now, and a good deal (but not all) of that was the direct result of the relationship I was in. Today, the panic attacks are far less frequent, mostly replaced by a less crippling but still maddeningly persistent undercurrent of anxiety. Small victories, I suppose?

The biggest step I’ve taken on this road to reconstruction is seeking professional help. I’ve had a psych evaluation (which sounds much scarier than it actually was) at Fenway Health and I’m currently wait-listed to be placed with an appropriate therapist. As of last week, I’m nearing the top of that very long list (queer-centric therapy is in high demand ’round these parts), so I’ll hopefully be seeing someone within the next few weeks. Please be so kind as to cross all available digits for me, dear readers.

Getting into therapy is a really big deal for me. It’s something that I’ve known, in the back of my mind, that I should be pursuing for years. I’ve avoided it for so long out of a mixture of pride, stubbornness, and denial. I was raised with the (extremely false and unhealthy) belief that therapy is for “crazy” people. In my mind, that has long translated to: “I am not ‘crazy,’ therefore I don’t need to be hogging resources that people with ‘real’ problems need,” and/or “If I go to therapy, people will think I’m ‘crazy.'” These thought processes are deeply stupid for a number of reasons, including:

  1. “Crazy” is a false construct that only over-simplifies a wide range of highly-individual mental health needs.
  2. My mental health needs are just as (if not more) important than my physical, dental, and visual health needs, all of which I’m glad to have monitored by a professional.
  3. Almost everyone I know is or has been in therapy at some point.

I’ve had some conversations with friends over whether my reluctance to admit that I need professional help is a “butch thing” or just a “Bren thing.” I think it may be a mixture of both. I get so wrapped up in taking care of friends, family, and partners that I more often than not neglect my own needs. When someone I care about requires support, that takes precedent. “I can take care of myself.” “I’m fine.” “Don’t worry about me.” “I’m tough.” I think many other butches will admit to operating the same way. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it could even be a noble thing! – but all good things in moderation. In my case, I was so focused on helping someone else keep their mental and emotional house in order that I didn’t notice how badly my own foundations were crumbling before it was very near too late. I hope to never make that mistake again.

In addition to therapy, I’ve also been working on making my new life as full – and hopefully as happy – as possible. I’ve been continuing to write about queer fashion and community events for Diffuse 5 and to work with my co-founder to keep ButchBoi Life a vibrant and growing community. I still volunteer at Out to Brunch every month and spend time with/find inspiration from my queer elders. To make my life even gayer, I’ve started attending a queer open mic and a queer book club. It’s pretty damn awesome to meet so many fellow queer writers, poets, and literary nerds, I must say.

I’m also actively exploring the Wide World of Binders and my options for dealing with those “I hate my chest; make it go away” days. It’s been hit and miss, but I think I’m getting closer to finding the right binder for me. I’m sure you’ll hear all about it when I do.

Last but not least, I got my third tattoo, something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s a tribute to Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” which you all know I have many deep Feelings about.

So, to summarize this naval-gazing fest (it’s a lot for a Monday, I know): I’m back, and maybe better than ever. Or, at least, I think I will be with time. Stay tuned and we’ll find out together.


23 thoughts on “A New Beginning for Buzz Cuts and Bustiers

  1. Just so you know, I fully, completely heart you, my baby butch! 😉 This was a hard post to write, I’m sure, and I’m proud of you. I’m looking forward to seeing how you discover the New Bren. Or, more accurately, the Bren Who Was Always There But Was Hidden For A While. Therapy will be worth it. And can I recommend reading “Keeping the Love You Find” by Harville Hendrix? It’s not so much a “how to find a partner” guide as a “how to be a better partner when you do find one” guide. I’ve found it very helpful.

  2. This post resonated deeply with me as someone who experienced persistent anxiety before and after a recent break-up. Thanks so much for sharing! It helps to know that there are other people out there who have experienced the same thing.

  3. Break ups suck, regardless of reasons and whether or not it’s ultimately a good thing or not. Tough times indeed.
    I saw a therapist for 18 months when I hit rock bottom, and I’ve never made a better decision in all my life. I’m finally on the path I feel like my authentic self on. I’m sure it will be exactly the same for you.
    Glad to have your words back on screen.

  4. Bren,
    I have been silently following your posts for a while now, but I really wanted to reach out about this one! Wow, what an amazingly raw account of what has been happening in your life. I shed a few tears as I read what you have been going through. I appreciated that you were so open and honest about your struggles. I am a femme, but I love to read what the sexy butches of the world are doing! Thanks for the sharing!

    • You’re very welcome – and thanks for reading! I always appreciate support, especially when it comes from flattering femmes. Hey, I’m a simple creature. 😉

  5. Ooof I’m sorry. I’ve been away from the blogging world for quite a few months, and I’m sorry to have returned to hear about your new situation. But, onwards and upwards is an incredibly beneficial way to move. I’m excited to hear about your next steps and life adventures!

  6. Oh no! I’m so sorry there have been some bumps in the road but it sounds like you are taking some positive steps.

    Email me! I’m going to be in bean town next week and want to get gay with you and diffuse 5!

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