TSVandenberg's picture

Easter Day Solutions

So today’s Easter Sunday, and we’re all wearing Easter colours to work, instead of our usual uniforms. Easter colours, of course, being pastels.
TSVandenberg's picture

Lady Gaga Was Not Born This Way

Alex Karydi's picture

When Women Love Married Women


A troubling situation that should not be judged too harshly, we are all capable of falling in holes with little room to escape. I will try to be gentle and look at all sides when exploring this subject, and also remembers that it is very different to affairs in heterosexual couples.

It is important not to judge. Our society is so eager to humiliate, cast out, and punish us for our choices rather that teach openness, honesty, and the value of good intentions. We may all be a little healthier if we practice these principles on ourselves and each other.

Women are built to form emotional bounds; it was an intricate part of our survival in prehistorical times. We connect emotionally to each other, due to women having more of the chemical known as oxytocine “the love hormone.” That is why affairs affect lesbians very differently to heterosexuals and why there needs to be a different view point taken when understanding affairs between two women. This is not to say that straight people aren’t affected by affairs in their marriage, the impact of betrayal on any person regardless of sexual orientation can be devastating and painful.

As much as we would like to look the other way, the two women need to acknowledge that there is an individual being thrown into the affair without knowing or giving consent. When we attempt to manipulate our environment to our advantage where others are unwilling participants the consequences are often “very” ugly to severe. I have heard men tell me “it’s one thing for my wife to fuck another man but to shame me into fucking a woman that is a whole other story.”

Alex Karydi's picture

Green Eyed Lesbian Monster: Jealousy in Lesbian Relationships

It is not love that is blind, but jealousy.

    By Lawrence Durrell


When I was growing up my mother always told me, “Do not be jealous of others. Do not wish for what others have. Do not fight to possess and control someone, because in the end you will be alone as nothing belongings to us but is merely an experience.” She was a wise Buddhist that attempted to sooth a young adolescents’ tantrums of wants that weren’t fulfilled.

It is true today, that I rarely feel jealous or envy, which I account for my upbringing and the love I was given as a child. Therefore, in the spirit of my mom I would like to pass on a footnote of knowledge hopefully, lightening up the weight of those emotions that have a hunger for our soul: jealous, anger and envy.

Alex Karydi's picture

Barriers vs. Boundaries in Lesbian Relationships

We would like to think we are stronger than we are and more emotionally stable then the next person, however that would be hard to prove.  Even more so it would be difficult to believe.  We all carry baggage and issues in our past that cause us to occasionally feel unsteady and shaken.

There are very few of us that can honestly say we are as stable and strong as we seem, for the rest of us it is a daily battle of finding that equilibrium. When people come into therapy it is for one reason, there is something in their lives that has became unmanageable. There is something that has been putting pressure underneath their skin like a splinter that has embedded it self and is now an infection.

What is that splinter whose mucous pus is causing so much pain in our lives? PEOPLE! It is usually a person or group of people. It is amazing how much power we give to others over us. It never ceases to amaze me how we allow others to create fears and anxiety to such levels that we are unable to function or become dysfunctional.

Dysfunctional is the clinical term for when the engine of our Begin is not running smoothly, and a little oil and TLC is needed. When we have allowed the action and behavior of ourselves and another to cause friction in different areas of our life, such as school, work, friendships, family, spiritually, and health. We start throwing rocks into our engine, when we have either built barriers or have poor boundaries with others.

We all have a personal boundary, it is an imaginary line that surrounds you and protects you from situations and peoples you feel threatened by. When the threat is real this boundary is indispensable to our survival, but sometimes the threats are not what they appear. Our past can cause us to imagine threats that are not there, when we have learnt mistrust and that everyone is an enemy.

When we have difficulty trusting we see treats that aren’t always there. Our boundaries soon became barriers or walls that are most likely causing us harm rather then providing protection. As kids we aren’t always taught healthy boundaries and we are forced to allow people closer then we feel comfortable.  We may have felt that those we have allowed close took over our inner thoughts and feeling, abusing the lines that protect us, our boundaries.

Jaded's picture

Cartographies Of Struggle


As the eldest daughter of a Hindu family, I am expected to occupy a number of spaces that intertwine, merge and blur with the larger idea or identity that I like to believe is me, somewhere inside, that will still remain once the layers of cultural expectations, communally re-enforced values are taken away, not to mention that little role-play where I imagine for a while what would happen had colonisation not been a part of my collective history or memory. Very little of what I believe in — politically or otherwise — is designed to fit into this public persona of the Dutiful Indian Daughter™, we’re expected to be infinitely nice, obedient, subservient and perhaps more importantly, as voiceless as possible; all of this erasing and silencing goes down in the name of religion, tradition and customs. There is a clear demarcation between what is publicly acceptable and what isn’t, the moment that line is crossed, we become people like ‘that’; and everything we do reflects this invisible wall. More often than not, whatever is the ‘negative’ is seen as ‘Western’ and by extension it is bad — this list includes being independent, setting personal and bodily boundaries, speaking too much in English, wearing ‘revealing’ outfits, swearing, smoking, drinking alcohol, making ‘funny’ faces while eating ice-creams¹, sitting with one’s legs uncrossed among many other things. Most of these rules exist for bodies that identify or are read as ‘feminine’ — who cares as how people really identify themselves as long as society can can extend the chromatic heteronormativity to any body it wishes? — bodies that identify or are seen as ‘masculine’ get away with relatively more transgressions; in fact the closer they look ‘masculine’ the easier to overstep and discard boundaries. Meanwhile, ‘real’ identities swirl inside, lay hidden for the most part. God forbid you’re Queer in such a mix, then it’s just Dr. Dilbag’s guarantee to cure teh Queer out of your crotch! But I digress.

Contrary to popular opinion that ‘colonisation is over‘, we still walk move see swirl stand sleep in the DoucheColonial Daze, still go by Victorian standards², still see the image of the Woman In The Wet Sari as iconic to Bollywood cinema — an image that typically leaves the woman at the mercy of the ‘evil rain’ to not have her sari cling to her so much as to ‘make’ Randomly Lurking Dude rape or assault her, she becomes a part of Nature’s fantasy, the dude’s desire-object-animal as well as a spectacle for the viewer watching the film, washing guilt of assault completely away as it’s a part of a ‘performance’. Having dusty bodies open to assault without any kind of responsibility sounds vaguely familiar to colonisation, no? — as well as use the same excuse of ‘she shouldn’t have worn such revealing clothes, if she did then she can’t complain’ in law courts for cases of sexual assault and rape to citing that jeans on school campuses are ‘vulgar‘, we are very far away from shedding the Collectively Colonised Skin. Whether we acknowledge it or not, most of our fundamental ideas of ‘acceptable’ behaviour, sexual or otherwise, reflects Colonial ideals; there are so many who believe ‘reproduction that doesn’t produce children that we can make into Ideal Indian Citizens is of no use’. At this point my LadyBrain wonders if Blake and his supposedly ‘libertarian’ views – libertarian at the cost of his wife, as always — crafted our ‘modern’ sexual sensibility, or are we that controlled by the State. In any case, this web of colonial meanings, forms and words is the one through which we craft and project ourselves, and wrenching ourselves from such draconian standards is no easy feat³.

Alex Karydi's picture

It's Not Fair!

I have been sick since Thanksgiving, and it’s bad enough when you’re sick, but feeling like shit and coughing for almost a month will make anyone crazy. Run down, depressed and sad due to current life choices, which is how I always get when I’m feeling down, well I found myself saying a lot “It’s not fair!”

That statement makes my hair raise when any other person says it and I have worked hard to train myself not to fall into that hole, but when your being hit on all sides the “it’s not fairs” take over and we fall in the bottomless pit of being a victim of life’s circumstances.

So still sick, but on my way to recovery and really over everything I am taking a stand, and working on getting over the disease of falling into the victim box.  

I was telling a friend just this week, life is hard and I have every excuse in the world to be an asshole and take whatever I want from others, but I don’t. I could easily fuck who I want and kick them to the curve, lie, cheat, and steal, but I don’t. I could manipulate, abuse, and scare you into staying with me and being in my life, but I don’t. 

When life has hit us hard in all sorts of ways whether you have grown up poor, abused, abandoned, or hurt you have all the excuses in the world to be selfish, hurtful, angry, greedy, and self-centered. You can stay a victim and have the eyes and will to make all those that cross your path a predator- someone worth punishing for all your past pains.

You can use that label to never learn to trust and stay clear of love, pushing and pulling people till they feel so crazy they are running for the exit or have become hopeless to your manner and be complacent with the common habit that is you.

 Or… you could do something different?

Alex Karydi's picture

One Angry Lesbian- The Power of Anger Management

“Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.

For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?

Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.”

Kahlil Gibran

Everyday we will encounter those who create anger within us. We will meet people who share the belief that those different from them are filth, vermin, something that needs to be eradicated.

They will look at you and you will feel the hatred and disgust. You will have to endure it, sit with it and let it run through you. I want you too.

People believe that anger is a positive emotion; others are unaware that they hold it like a security blanket.  They have not  yet felt the damage this feeling has on us. They have not yet understood its power and its course. They have not discovered its source.

Anger is a secondary emotion, it is created by underlying feelings far more powerful that are silently stripping us of our power and happiness.  When we do not acknowledge or take care of feelings such as sadness, grief, fear, depression, shame, pride, and resentment we become engulfed by anger.

Jaded's picture

Re-Presenting Absences

As a simple defense of the well-being of my lobes, I tend to not interact with people who believe Culture is one monolithic and omnipresent entity, that somehow it is the particular duty of the “youth” to uphold it and keep it intact, for reasons that sound eerily close to neo-colonisation and imperialism. However, there is only so much a DustyLady can do to avoid such people; especially if this person is the key-note speaker to one of her seminars, avoiding him becomes a tad difficult. This speaker spoke of ‘urban myths’ that the ‘young people of today’ perpetuate and one of them is Lesbianism, supposedly. Of course, he didn’t say it that bluntly; he slid it in as one wry statement and I almost missed it — by the time he got to this part, I was already sleeping — but my friend nudged me and whispered “This dude thinks Indian lesbians are a Western myth, like the moon landing or something” and I couldn’t help laughing and then sighing, because not only is this opinion too popular, it has some inkling of truth as well. Lesbianism is seen as a Disease Those White Hippy Buggers From The 80′s Left Behind In India though authors like Devdutt Patnaik have shown traces of queer identities and characters in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist folklore and mythology.  As I’ve discussed earlier, Indian lesbians are madeinvisible, consciously written off as non-existent to uphold patriarchy, despite a plethora of virtual and real spaces like Gaysi and other LGBTQI forums thrive with many people who identify as lesbian. We’re somehow relatively tolerant of gay men and ‘hijras exist on the fringes of gender and cities anyway’, so we don’t engage with them unless we absolutely have to. But the idea that the SariClad Ladies Of Our Traditional Country™ may have feelings for other people who identify as women, collective gasps and cries can be heard.

It’s interesting to see how such visible absences are re-presented in media and even in everyday conversations, however homophobic they may be, such re-presentations do exist. One of the most famous and early lesbian stories is Ismat Chughtai’s Lhiaf which remains shrouded in ambiguity and innuendos throughout, which still cost the author a court trial for obscenity. Today when we study the text, we try to see beyond the draconian control in the writing and see queer-relations within an airless patriarchal setting; we can almost tolerate it, as long as we contain the author and her work into walls of ‘fiction’ and ignore other contemporary queer artists. Amruta Patil‘s graphic novel ‘Kari’ that voices a lesbian protagonist is seen as an ‘experimental’ novel at best. The nuanced drawings and references in the book — she mentions reading Winterson’s Sexing The Cherry a few times, the Body is shown as a site of navigation of memories and events, exercising agency at all times — are obscured under readings like “look how angry her art is!” or “did you see the pretty colours?” and we deliberately unsee the presence of a queer protagonist. It gets to me when voices of people are rendered voiceless by religion or patriarchy, just because it doesn’t fit in the six by four-foot box that people are supposed to fit in, and those who don’t, we paint them invisible. This making invisible is done under the waving flag of religion, where we firmly state that “our scriptures do not depict such lifestyles ever!”, again ignoring a myth in the Mahabharata that talks of two lady priests who make a son out of the earth, mud and soil pouring life into him, modern re-readings show hints of a queer family model in function; however short the verses describing their life may have been.

Alex Karydi's picture

Lesbian Metamorphosis! 12 Ways to Transform Your Life.

Everyday I practice kindness, meditation and prayer. I am not particularly religious or empathetic like some nun but I find my serenity and peace in those three actions. It is in those moments I often find my answers to life and its importance.

Why should you care about what I do? You shouldn’t, you definitely do not need to as that is a choice. CHOICE. What a word. There are days I hate that word, especially when those around me have absolutely no idea how to practice it. Everyday I am confronted by the challenge of making choices, the right ones of course and yet everyday I meet people or receive emails that share little acknowledgement of the very thing that makes us human, that gives us will power. Yes the will to have power to change our course, to make things right, and have a new start.

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