My inner muse feels and is very feminine, which is great to know so clearly after all these years. This makes sense given how I identify as being significantly part woman internally/psychologically-spiritually, even though I am cis-gender male on the outside. Lately, my muse has had me creatively writing steadily and often about many things, all from a feminine-feeling sensibility in terms of what I like to write about and the overall aesthetic I draw from when writing. All very feminine in content, feel, and style. This goes far beyond the influence of my parents and other major figures in my upbringing. It is a strong, sometimes strident, sometimes gentle female voice coming through me, into my fingertips, and out as words onto the page or computer screen. She doesn’t sound like anyone I know or have known in particular. She sounds like…me, or, more specifically, a very major part of me.
One reason I have been inhibited with writing for so long is that I had to release an old internalized belief of how and what I thought others wanted me to write, namely parent figures in my life, past and present. I thought I should write “like a man,” whatever the hell that even means. It’s like there was a subtle layer of homophobia and sexism just under the surface of my conscious awareness, constraining my dear muse as if she were being tied and gagged to a chair most of the time, allowed to be unbound to write a bit of “proper,” “neutral,” “professional-sounding,” or “acceptable” material here and there. Then, she had to go back into the shadows and shut up. Yeah, enough of that. She’s done with being silent and I am the much better for it. I’m done with being silent.
Interestingly, my folks no longer hold over me these strict expectations that I write in a “masculine” voice. However, I do remember that they once did long ago via all sorts of indirect and direct messages they used to convey that I needed to butch it up more, be a man and not such a sissy/fag/weakling, etc. After all, I (read: they) didn’t want my peers to think I was gay, even though these peers pretty much already knew I was. (That horse left the barn at my birth, folks.) That wouldn’t be good. Conform or be isolated, either/or. It could be argued that my folks didn’t extend these expectations of cis-gender conformity to my actual writing, but then even one small memory of my father’s disdainful face over a short story I had started to write in detail about a pretty boy when I was…a (somewhat) pretty boy…reminds me that I am speaking truth to experience here. That little story promptly died in my mind. Well, my folks didn’t know any better at the time, bless their hearts. They do seem to know a lot better now. People can and do evolve.
And I thought I’d unburdened all of that old shame. Well, there was a bit more there, it seems, which has steadily melted away. I write in the voice that’s mine to write from. And if some or many readers find my writing sounds/reads as “manly” (yeah, right, but okay– lol) or neutral, that’s fine with me and doesn’t matter anyway. I hope people enjoy my jottings, grapple with my views, are stimulated, regardless of the gender tone the writing comes across as being, if there even seems to be a “gender” there at all for readers. Perhaps I may not always feel a gender to this inner muse, or I may find another writing muse comes forth who has another gender or no gender or is a mix of genders. That will be interesting. I’m not concerned, just open and curious.
In the meantime, the inner muse I do know and experience is female and growing ever-clearer of late. She has always been there. She loves being out in the open– in the light of day, in the dark of night, under the winter sun, under the spring moonlight, in faraway lands, at home in Beverly under the bedroom skylight. Listening, watching, then drafting the best choice of words to knit together into points to be made, thoughts to be shared, images to be conveyed. She’s here, folks, and she’s going to stay. She has a lot to say. I have a lot to say. And I’ll listen, with my inner ear. And my muse will sometimes write out what she has heard with me. She will do so with gusto, like a woman tossing back her long, black hair over one shoulder, before looking down to write, smiling and sighing, “Ooh la la!”