Excerpts: The Stone Shelter
Excerpt from Atlas, the author of the stonebutch letters:
“I’m not surprised that you found my explanation of things a bit befuddling. I’ve never heard anyone describe their gender identity the way I do. With that being said, it’s not something I usually discuss with people. I feel almost entirely masculine on the inside. I just don’t think of myself as a guy. Because I’m not. My sense of sexuality, my sexual preferences and my particular way of relating to women are probably quite close to how heterosexual men relate to the women in their lives. I’m sure that most biological females who feel the same way I do, would likely go on to identify as male. I’ve never felt compelled to do that. I exist in a world between the two. But actually, you described it best when you mentioned masculinity within a nonmale person and a female body. That’s it exactly. You’ve managed to word it in a much more understandable fashion. I would agree with you that the attraction to the masculine in another woman is not what one would consider to be lesbian in nature. It’s something else. I call it queer.
My desire for women is not measurably different than a hetero male’s. That’s what makes me different from most of my friends who identify as lesbians. Yes, I exclusively date femmes. High femmes if the stars are properly aligned. I get lost in their femininity and softness. They’re mysterious, wonderful, life-affirming creatures. It’s only femmes that can relate to what is the masculine within me. They set me free, Isabel. They make me real. Everything seems to make sense when I’m with them. They complete me. It’s indescribable. Without femmes I would simply be lost.”
Excerpt, from further along in the communications, from myself (writing under the name Isabel) to Atlas:
“It has taken me some minutes and several distractions to find my way to a response though I received your last post the moment it was sent. Sometimes I am so moved by what you say and how you speak that I… I am… Well, let’s just say it takes a bit to sort myself again.
Your manner takes my breath away.
And you are such a novelty to me.
It’s almost as if you pen your words, then bow gently with one arm behind your back as you lay them reverently at my feet, backing away once you do. That is a skill I have been unsuccessful in instilling in another to any large degree. Yet you have it in spades. I hear it too when you speak of your sisters, as if all the women you care for receive that bounty from you.
If you had asked me anytime in the last few years what I wanted, what it is I sought, I would have said with great temerity that I wanted a devoted stonebutch, but one that would never fully acquiesce his mind to mine.
I appreciate the keenness of your mind, I desire you for your strength, and I ache for your masculinity to embrace me, but I admire you for the manner you have cultivated in yourself and the manner with which you bless those you care for; there is such kindness in it. It stirs me beyond anything I have known. You have a way about you that causes me to lean back in my chair, eyes wide; my hand reaching up mindlessly to touch my pearls. Once in a while, like the last post you just sent, its utter sweetness brings a rush of moisture to my eyes that has me reaching for a tissue before I’m even aware.
You have brought me new hope. And an excitement for the wind on my face and the sun in my hair that has been long missing.”