Friday, August 04, 2006

Forest demons

Have I mentioned that I hate August yet?

Well, I do. Sorry to repeat myself, but I do. I'm not at all motivated to move or think or do anything, yet I can't sleep. L'Ailee and I can't share a bed without getting as cranky as a couple of toddlers. Oh, I get to feeling so sweaty and sticky and icky! No position is comfortable. No outfit is comfortable, and nakedness isn't any better. It could be worse, I know. People have died. People have lost power. People haven't had that much to begin with. I know! I still can't wait for September.

I have some extremely awesome news, though. My friend "Vivian," who I mentioned a few months ago, is getting the kidney she needs. Her aunt is donating. They're going into surgery the end of this month. So August is good for something after all. L'Ailee and I have to iron out the details, but of course we'll be there. That's one huge prayer answered. This is a time of reaping the first harvest, of seeing what we've sown earlier in the year develop. I am grateful that Vivian's harvest is beginning. Several other friends, online and real-world, are seeing results for their metaphorical harvests, too.

I'm feeling nostalgic at the moment. I watched a wonderful "homo-hop" video from Hanifah Walidah, a talented butch rapper, that turned me on with its genuine, confident lesbian imagery and brought back a flood of memories. Vivian was part of the group that dominated and blessed my twenties. It was an informal support group of young bisexuals, all of us friends or siblings or girlfriends or boyfriends of someone else in the group, with the unlikely name of the Lin Kuei Clan. We didn't want anything with "rainbow" or a pun on "bi" in it, so we named ourselves after characters in Mortal Kombat, which we all loved. "Lin Kuei" is Chinese for "forest ghosts" or "forest demons." One of the many things the Lin Kuei would outlast was our interest in those kinds of games.

Four of us split off from an aborted attempt at a Riot Grrrls group in Orlando. I was one of them; my now-sister New Yorker Yemaya was another. (Yemaya was the one who, when we were seventeen, came out as bi with me by blurting that she would totally do Sinead O'Connor while seeing the "Nothing Compares 2 U" video. That's one thing that hasn't changed--if we weren't wifed up, we'd still totally do her. But y'all knew that.) We'd meet and talk every Saturday night. We needed the support, after spending a week with homophobia and allegations of our trendiness and non-existence. We did a few serious things, like assembling a bisexual book list, but mostly we drank, danced, and talked.

Within months, four just wasn't enough anymore. D. was dating a bi girl; so was Yemaya. I asked for and received a bisexual interest column in Watermark, Orlando's LGBT magazine, and began using the Lin Kuei for material. L. knew this cool girl in her college named Frances. She was engaged to a bi man named Matt. A guy and a girl poured their hearts out to me at work. It became co-ed. A butch deaf girl at my school thought she was going to shock me with her secret. We learned how to sit and speak in a way that included her, and most of us learned rudimentary ASL. We filled up Yemaya's garage-top apartment and tried not to disturb her parents too much.

The official bisexual support group in Orlando wasn't doing so well. We were asked if we'd like to form one. But we didn't--if we became official and met in a public place, we had the idea that we couldn't dance to the latest hip-hop releases or use ice cream cones and pickles to practice our "techniques" anymore, nor could we drink a bottle of Fruitopia to the top of the label and refill it with cheap rum. Actually, I think a lot of the silliness of our first couple years flowed from all those "strawberry passion unawarenesses" we shook up.

Frances and Matt graduated, eloped, and used the money that was going to fund an elaborate wedding for a down payment on a nice house instead. That became our meeting place. It kept filling up. I met Ex-Boy, who was also bi, and he had a bi ex-boyfriend/best friend. Yemaya's and D.'s kid sisters and L.'s twin brother came out. One of the new girls revealed that she was actually a few surgeries away from that legal status, and the women formed a protective ring around her so we could see "it", then later report to our boyfriends and brothers. We shoved people who were attracted to each other into the closet and pressed against it, snickering and keeping them in. Most of us were very open, so people kept telling us their secrets and wanting in. Sometimes our guests wouldn't get it, but most of the time, they got hooked. At one point, there were fifty of us, and we had to sub-divide. The teenagers couldn't fully relate to the rest of us anyway, and we adults wanted to be able to drink and talk about work. It was literally a kid-sister group, since D.'s and Yemaya's kid sisters founded that and met, once again, in the garage-top apartment at Yemaya's parents' house.

We graduated. We were promoted. We got married. We had commitment ceremonies. We moved. One of us became what we called an "in-and-out-mate" and increasingly violent. He would be the first one thrown out and told never to come back. Tamsin's childhood cancer came back and finally took her. (----,----{@) One of us served in the National Guard. One got the surgeries to become a legal woman. Two decided they were straight, two decided they were gay, one became a born-again Christian, one converted to Islam, and five of us would form a coven with a few unaffiliated Pagan friends. We had little Lin Kueis. One of them got very sick, but he lived. Most of us were romantically involved with another Lin Kuei'r (pronounced like "link wire.") Fights and breakups were hell. If the couple was mixed-sex, we'd all usually split up along gender lines; if same-sex, the outcome was extremely unpredictable. The twenties are a time of upheaval, experimentation, and evolution; we all partook in that, in our own way. Only now do I realize that it was as much about coping with that evolution as it ever was about bisexuality.

There is no more Lin Kuei Clan, and there are no more Saturday night gatherings. ("Meeting" sounded much too official.) However, most of us keep in touch, and many of us still count at least one former Lin Kuei'r as a best or very good friend. We are in New York, Connecticut, London, Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington DC, and rural areas of North Carolina and Florida. Some of us are even still in Orlando. I wish sometimes I had something like that again, but I know it can't be forced. The Lin Kuei was organic and one-of-a-kind. It was perfect for that phase of our lives. I have to trust that the right thing for this phase will come up, and recognize it when I see it. I have to be grateful to it for helping to form us all.

A few links:

A "homo-hop", or LGBT hip-hop, playlist at YouTube. Hanifah Walidah's video is part of it; I also love a very sad one by Deadlee called "Good Soldier."

Can we stick a fork in conservatism yet?

Finally, Congress has stopped serving "freedom fries" in their cafeteria.

Homes that are meant to make you live longer. Or, if you look at the design, to make you *feel* like you've been there forever!

If I have to know about this, so do you. Neuticles are a silicone replacement for what the vet takes away from male pets. They now have merchandise. Including jewelry. What a conversation-starter!

This is more useful. See if your bus is on its way!

Can't wait to see Talladega Nights!


Kelley Bell said...


The house might make you live longer if you dont fall on your arse while funbling around!

and Taladega Nights...Whoo-Hoo...Im all over that action too.

We shall have to cross post our reviews.

Annie said...

wow wonderful news about the kidney
Love reading you each time. sorry I dont get by much...anywhere anymore.

how is the design biz going?
sounds like it could be a promising
new career.

go for it.
Carl officially hired me today
for the design and to run the
company, what the hell....

Anonymous said...

It's ok if you repeat yourself because you're writing is good.

Inanna said...

Wow, amazing. I loved this post! Love hearing about large groups of folks who just meet and share.

LeLo in NoPo said...

Thanks for turning me onto homo hop. I had no idea! Phew. I feel cool again.

P.S. Speaking of cool, hang in there. I'll send some of our low 80 degree low humidity weather your way....

alan said...

Great news about the transplant! Hooray!

That you would be part of such an awesome group isn't really surprising, as you are so awesome!


Christine said...

Yeah I don't mind you repeating yourself either. I always thoroughly enjoy your blog entries and links (although perhaps I could have done without knowing about Neuticles?)

There are only 24 more days left in August! :)

Zanne said...

Wonderful news about your friend Vivian! Hope all goes well and that she and her donor make full recoveries!

Also thanks for sharing about the Lin Kuei Clan. It's so amazing to me to hear of people's journeys to self discovery, especially as I've been surrounded for so long by people who would rather do anything but. It is my opinion that people who take risks and live with courage are the people worth knowing--glad you're around. :)