Monday, March 24, 2014

Dodgeball-A Butch's Tale

Circa the first few weeks of 4th grade, new school, new kids, new teachers, new rules. I knew right away the gym teacher, Mr. Timney, didn't like me. I just didn't know why and wouldn't until I was an adult. We play Dodgeball on Fridays in gym class, sometimes Mr. Timney plays on a side as well. He's around 33, over 6' and maybe 175-180 pounds, reasonably fit. It’s obvious he prefers females to males, even as a 4th grader I could see that, except for me, he doesn't prefer me. When he plays Dodgeball he lobs the ball at the girls feet in order to try and get them out. If aiming for a boy, he winds the ball up and gives it his all, as if the power he puts behind the ball could not only force the boy out but obliterate him from the planet.

We play Dodgeball with a set of three balls, two larger more difficult to handle balls (especially with our small hands) and a smaller ball (which we can palm/handle). I'm pretty good, quick, agile and I throw hard and accurate. Its maybe a month into 4th grade, Timney is on a team, I'm on the opposite. It comes down to him and I. I have no balls, he gets his hands on the small ball. He looks me dead in the eye and says “If you're going to act like a boy, I'm going to treat you like boy”! Before I can contemplate the meaning of his words, he throws the ball at my head as hard as he can.

This is the ground I grew up on, where I recognize nothing. I'm looking everywhere for me, I look high, I look low, I look out into the mirror of society and like Dracula before me, I see nothing. That’s it then, I'm a vampire. Only instead of filling myself with the blood of others, this burden of invisibility is filled with the blood of myself. That’s where you come in. Amazingly, YOU see me! No one else does, but you do. It is through your eyes, the eyes of Femme that I finally find my reflection! Through your eyes, I learn for the first time, I exist! You give me back to me, and in handfuls and mouthfuls we give each other back. But invisibility is a hungry tireless beast, and when you place your hand in mine and we step together into the world, my invisibility joins with yours, invisiblizing us both.

Oh and by the way, Mr. Timney got his ball caught by a 4th grade girl for the first time and lost the game, I pray it wasn't the last.



  1. What a wonderful story and very well told.Thank-you for sharing.

  2. A bittersweet tale. In my experience invisibility can feel dismal, but when I have been with a butch partner (or just noticing her and she noticing me back) I feel like we're bathed in sunlight. Its how excellent it feels to be seen and loved and appreciated.

  3. Yes, disdained and invisible at the same time. Tomboys, like us, were sometimes praised and often scorned...and we grew up in an environment that would dish out both.

    And the girlie-girls of the neighborhood saved me, time and again, until a new shame arrived in my pre-teen years.

    But, luckily, I've compromised little, have my own butch style, and throughout most of my 60 glorious years, have been my own woman/butch/tomboy/artist/cook/cowboy/dreamer and lover of women. Bold as I am. Bold as we all are.

  4. dirt, Great story...thanks

    Dodge ball champion!

    @March 25, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Bold as I am. Bold as we all are.


  5. Why do so many sociopaths go into teaching?

  6. Eat it Timney! Epic story.