Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2021-11-26

The Best Boundary Ever Award

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Bevin @ 12:31 pm

I’m giving away awards now. Here’s an award to my ex Seth* who gave me the Best Boundary Ever!

I figure Dundees are made up I can make up my own awards.

Seth and I were 24 when we started dating and they had a previous relationship that was a volatile. Many break-ups and reconciliations. So they said very definitively at the outset that we couldn’t break-up unless it was for real.

Seth top left, me, top right. Seth designed this flier! We met through performing drag together! Our drag troupe existed before GMAIL. Or Facebook. Or MySpace! Or You Tube!

This boundary was awesome for us!

Seth and I were really attracted to one another. A cosmic force. Humans are attracted to their opposite. We had a lot of opposite opinions about things. So we fought!

We fought like people who were raised in environments with stubborn people. We fought like I was a third year law student and literally earned a doctorate in being able to argue any side of a fight to the win. We fought like (one of us) felt fighting was love.

But we never broke up! Anytime I was REAL MAD at Seth (frequently) I still felt very safe.

I have a really committed personality. (It’s in the stars! My Capricorn Sun, Scorpio Moon and Virgo Rising–the “big three” are the three most committed signs in the Zodiac.) So I was committed. Even though the fighting did make me bonkers it was actually kind of funny because we are both clever so sometimes our very stupid fights were funny.

Additionally I used to really need to be right. And had strong opinions about everything. I roll my eyes at how I used to be because I actually stay pretty neutral now and I’m so much more willing to change.

Plus, it takes a lot of emotional maturity to step back from a disagreement and choose peace. I like peace now. I was not emotionally mature in my 20s (or much of my 30s).

We didn’t have a lot of peace in our nearly three years together but we did have a lot of love. And that one boundary made all the difference to how bad the fighting ever got. We huffed off sometimes but we didn’t break up and it was far less anguish.

I have poor archives from that time but I have a handful of photos from performing days! We performed at the 9:30 club in DC! I had no idea I would become an aerobics instructor eleven years after doing a parody aerobics drag number but life has surprises!

Seth did eventually break up with me! They drove all the way to Jersey City from Philly (we were long distance at the time; I moved up to NYC to start my law career and their job was still in Philly) to deliver the decision. I was sad but accepting. (More likely I was probably dramatic and accepting.)

The hilarious thing is that Seth drove up to JC six weeks later to leave me flowers and try to win me back but by then I was already rebounding** and recognized we weren’t a good long-term match.

After a dramatic post-break-up falling out we did salvage a friendship and now Seth is a lifetime cheerleader of mine. Team Sweet to Bevin. I appreciate them so much!

Last time we had a Zoom hang out they remarked, “We were never right for each other; you were always such a dreamer.” So illuminating.

I’d say now I am beyond a dreamer, I’m a visionary! And my vision for what could or should be in my life and the world is important and compelling for me. They were so right to break-up with me, as much fun as we had together.

Anyway, Seth, enjoy your well-deserved award! Someday I’ll put together a little trophy with a vintage Miss Piggy toy on top of it!

*This is a pseudonym.

**I don’t recommend a rebound! You end up paying for those feelings you avoid with interest and it really sucked for me later.


If you find value in this blog or in my work in the world, please consider supporting!

Patreon.com/fkdp
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bevin
Fatkiddanceparty.com/classes
Instagram: @fatkiddanceparty @bevinsparty
Podcast: Anchor.fm/bevin (Search “Bevin” on Spotify or Apple/Google Podcasts)
Email list: http://eepurl.com/dyX3db
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Venmo: @bevinb
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2021-11-22

My Ancient Family Recipe: Gluten-Free Stuffing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bevin @ 9:49 pm

When I was little this was always on the holiday table but I didn’t love it because of my feelings about celery. I like celery as an adult–this recipe rules!! I’m so glad I’ve been open to changing my mind about things life is a lot better now that I’m adaptable and enjoying my unique experience on the planet.

This recipe is DELICIOUS and really amenable to lots of dietary needs.

This is sized for a crowd. I’m doing dinner with five total so I’ll cut everything in half.

INGREDIENTS

1 Bag Fritos Corn Chips (The Trader Joe’s faux fritos are even better in my opinion) crumbled up in a bag to nearly crumb texture–this is a fun job for a little one to help with

1 Bag Cornbread Crumbs (the vagueness of the original recipe is wild–I have made this recipe many times just doubling the amount of fritos–but I assume a box of GF cornbread mix baked up could become cornbread crumbs / this is what I’m trying this year)

1-2 quarts of stock (chicken stock usually but could easily be veggie stock, and the estimate is just because this is a throw it together not specific recipe)

4 whipped eggs (you could substitute a cup of apple sauce for vegan! And I have forgotten this before and it’s tasted great anyway)

2 stalks celery (finely diced–also go wild if you want more!)

1 cup shredded carrots

1 small onion finely diced

1 lb of cooked crispy bacon finely diced (can omit, could substitute ground sausage, both are delicious but I rarely do a meat version bc there’s usually a couple vegetarians attending my meal)

2 small cans water chestnuts (you buy it sliced and then you drain the can and chop it up some more)

Seasonings! I never measure but usually use sage, black pepper, probably chop some fresh herbs from the garden like thyme, oregano but honestly don’t need much

METHOD

  1. Place all your crumbs in a bowl, pour stock over the crumbs to just above the crumb line and let it hang out while you chop the rest of the ingredients. (If you don’t let it soak for awhile it will still be fine but this is where it stays super flavorful and I’ll use this word–moist.)
  2. Add all chopped ingredients to the soaked crumbs and mix. Add whipped eggs.
  3. Put it in a wide flat casserole dish greased with butter or olive oil.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 45 minutes or so. This is flexible and makes it a great holiday casserole for her very flexible cook time. Does it look done? Probably is.

I have never cooked this inside a turkey, proceed with that at your own risk. Fantastic holiday side dish!!

2021-11-16

Loving Her Was Like Driving a New Maserati Down a Dead End Street

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:04 am

Taylor Swift re-recording her legendary Red album has me all in the nostalgia of nearly ten years ago. 

The song Red sends me right back to a 2012 romance that is every bit driving a brand new Maserati down a dead end street.

I produced a monthly body positive queer dance party called Rebel Cupcake on second Thursdays for several years. For some reason August was a big month and the party was popping when I laid eyes on Dylan* for the first time.

My jaw might have dropped. I remember seeing her because she was very tall and easy to spot over the cluster of friends she was chatting with. I didn’t even consider my shyness (y’all I’m an ambivert, strangers can be hard for me) and walked to the group of friends and introduced myself. 

That was a fun night! Dylan is not in this photo. Photo by Kelsey Dickey. Hiring a photographer was always my best investment in those parties!

The first few things I learned about Dylan were kind of unbelievable. Not that I thought she was lying but that the Goddess brought her to my party.

Let’s start with aesthetic! Preppy, tall, fat butch with glasses. A fav of mine and fully my “type” at the time. 

She was super smart, had recently relocated from my hometown of choice (Atlanta) and she produced a talk show as a career job. My career goal at the time was to become a talk show host; meanwhile I was a lawyer with a nightlife side hustle. 

When telling my friends about her I called her “The future Mrs. Branlandingham” since I was still using a last name back then and also she was a great candidate for a future with me.

I couldn’t believe she even existed and immediately texted Rachael asking for her info. (Queers in Atlanta know each other like that.)

Cute shot of me and Rachael in 2018! I think this blog is really the love story between me and Rach. I love you to the moon and back beloved!!!

Nothing happened that night but I did get Dylan’s Facebook and sent her a message inviting her to hang out with me at a party I was hosting in a couple of days.

It didn’t occur to me that she thought I was just inviting her as a party promoter and not trying to spend intentional time with her in an alcohol experience while I looked cute. 

She showed up with another girl (a chubby red head—I was still mostly a redhead at the time) and made out with her in front of me. 

Not quite devastating, more disappointing. It inspired me to take a month off of dating because as I told my friend Leo about this experience I could hear it echoing the previous two girls I heavy flirtation with who chose to date someone else instead. Three times in a month is a pattern and the best way to break a pattern is to change your behavior.

Me and beloved Femme Bryn at Buffet! the party Dylan attended with that other chubby redhead. I had a great time anyway.

My month off dating was great, actually. I released all desire to date anyone and focused on self care and spending intentional time with friends. No regrets. I still made out with someone visiting from San Francisco at a party—I had declared to the Goddess if it was her will for me to connect with someone she should drop it in my lap. She did.

2012 was quite a banner year especially compared with my quiet pandemic forest life today.

I watched Dylan’s Facebook and saw her go upstate with that chubby redhead and break up shortly thereafter. 

A couple weeks later she texted to ask if I was going to Hey Queen, my friends’ party and a place I frequented. I said I would see her there. I remember nothing else about that night except all of our chemistry.

One of the promoters said watching us was like watching time stand still. We danced with friends til we were just dancing alone. I was counting the heartbeats til we might kiss.

My friend DJ Meduusa was playing the late night shift. We had recently lost our friend DJ Sirlinda, and he used to play Automatic by the Pointer Sisters for me frequently. Meduusa didn’t know that we had that connection but played it plus a Stand Back by Stevie Nicks. Perfect playlist for a perfect first kiss.

I remember leaving that night setting a first date for the following Friday. Just six days! And the night before was Rebel Cupcake and she was going to try to make it!

It was October, I had been planning my outfit and the theme for months. 90210 Peach Pit After Dark theme! Kind of a diner aesthetic meets all your fav 90210 characters.

My friend Nicky did perfect Brandon hair for working the coat check. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

My beloved first sweetheart who is still in my life and cheering me on is a giant 90210 fan and wrote me a trivia game for the party. Learn how to receive the love people are able to give you and your relationships can evolve really beautifully.

I took a train to Philadelphia that week to pick up my costume—a giant cheeseburger! My drag dad Johnny KingPin had made it for our cheeseburger obsessed friend Jess and I was borrowing it. It was cumbersome, heavy and ridiculous. I could not believe I was going through with this outrageous costume knowing my massive crush Dylan** might be there!

I’m a pretty committed person by nature and if a suitor cannot handle my flamboyance early on there’s not a lot of hope. The show must always go on even if I look goofy when I just wanna be sexy.

Dylan and I texted during that whole train ride to Philadelphia and all week long.

So she totally showed up! And I was dressed like a giant cheeseburger and I didn’t die! (I took it off after the show and just wore my cute red dress.)

Doing 90210 trivia right! With Sabina on stage. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Dylan wanted to take pictures in the photo booth together with our faces touching! And when my party host responsibilities were complete we made out in the grotto at Sugarland for forever! 

We parted ways with promises to see one another the very next night for our date!

I met her at a fancy farm to table restaurant in Williamsburg. Candle light! She ordered oysters as an appetizer and I don’t eat fish but I’ll try a fancy shellfish. 

We were there for a long time. Talking like catching up on a lifetime. SO much in common. I found her fascinating! We made plans for the very next day to have brunch. A second date within 12 hours of the original is very lesbian timing.

She walked me to the bus stop and we made out across the street from Peter Luger’s for a long time! I still haven’t eaten there in this lifetime but that make out under the yellow streetlights is what I think about whenever I consider Peter Luger’s. You can see it from the L train when you go over the Williamsburg bridge.

Beloved Femme Morgan made amazing cupcakes for Rebel Cupcake Peach Pit 90210. Photo by Kelsey Dickey and omg her fried egg hair accessory!

The next morning I was prepping my home for brunch and she texted because she forgot that she made plans with a friend, could we reschedule. 

I was gracious (ALWAYS STAY GRACIOUS) and figured we’d get something else on the books before she left for DC for work. 

She got sick. We didn’t see each other. We kept texting. But then there was Hurricane Sandy and everything was topsy turvy. She didn’t text as much. 

She posted those pictures of us touching faces from Rebel Cupcake on her timeline! Caption was something simple like “Bevin!”

My heart was so confused! I know now that mixed signals are a NO. Don’t try to read into anything to find a yes. The right people are a YES!

It was Autumn and I remember walking all over Brooklyn listening to Red on repeat. Dylan was my Maserati! Why can’t we just get out on the highway? I still think of her when I hear that whole album. Our slope was treacherous and I was walking around in Park Slope thinking of her.

This was the same time I was meeting Dara. Dara was not my type in any way and I didn’t even realize our first date was a date. I genuinely thought she was just “picking my brain” in exchange for taking me out for drinks. 

We ended up making out but I didn’t let her go home with me. Partly because I wasn’t prepared for a visitor, I was trying not to be so much of a first date girl and I was confused and heartsick about Dylan. I remember thinking about Dylan during that make out and feeling bad that I was wasting a present moment joy by indulging my heartbreak. I still had so much to learn about grieving.

Finding Dara a cab home was nearly impossible but we did it (post Sandy Brooklyn was no gas for about three weeks and closed subway stations; chaos).

I was starting a new party the Saturday after Dylan got back from her DC business trip. I thought she’d show up to support and to see me. She texted that she might. 

But she didn’t. Instead Dara showed up. This was information.

Yes, I threw a party at an art gallery with a go-go dancer on a ledge!
The photos that night are not the best but this one of DJ Meduusa getting it and our go-go dancer Gretchen (whose web series These/Thems is fantastic) encapsulates the spirit of Yes Ma’am!

Dylan stopped texting me entirely after she didn’t show up to the party.

I got a psychic reading that week (one of my first). She told me that Dylan and I had many lifetimes together including the lost city of Atlantis. She was resistant to doing the work with me in this lifetime. 

She said my next relationship would be a “dress rehearsal” for the real thing. She didn’t give me clear advice about Dylan vs Dara.

I decided to follow Rachael’s advice to “focus on the person who is focused on you” and gave Dara a shot. Our second date was really nice and she prayed before she ate which was something I wanted to start doing and she’s so smart that again the talking thing. 

I think if I were to describe my sexuality queer works but truly I’m Sapiosexual–it has nothing to do with body parts and everything to do with brain.

A couple days after that date with Dara I ended up going to a show at Sara Lawrence college with a friend who texted right before “Oh yeah Dylan is coming!”

It’s a good thing nobody ever died of awkward because sitting in a backseat with the person you thought you might marry and still have so much sexual tension with…

It was clear she wasn’t trying to flirt with me anymore and I did my best to bravely be the cool girl in the friend zone. Still so confused.

Our connection was so good! Like a hot fast car you can’t take anywhere. I read recently that we become whole and complete ourselves but there’s work we can only do on ourselves in relation to someone else. I think I felt a lot of grief about the work we were going to do together? 

I had dreams about her for months. Even as I started getting hot and heavy (but not exclusive) with Dara. In one of those dreams one of my other soulmates showed up as a Spirit Guide and there was some kind of closure in it. I knew at that point Dylan was gone forever.

I kept her in my observation for awhile. She dated a bunch of different people who I noticed frequently ended after the first getaway together. I wish her the best. I never felt anything bad towards her. Mostly, just confusion.

The kind of ironic thing that happened was that LONG after we didn’t date I found out she had slept with Ria, my forever crush. So two hot butches I didn’t get a chance to sleep with had sex with each other. 

First of all, hot. Second of all, this was my favorite lesbian love octagon I’ve ever been part of. Third of all, I did hit on Dylan at Ria’s funeral because Ria definitely wanted people to have sex because of her. Dylan turned me down so I went home with my bestie Rachael and ate delicious food. A win.

I was an emotional mess but I was still cute at Ria’s funeral. One must shoot their shot.

That first round dating Dara also ended poetically, with her saying I love you for the first time as she broke up with me. (I hear that lyric in the ten minute version of All Too Well.) 

After we got back together I thought the psychic had been predicting Dara round one was dress rehearsal for Dara round two. But now that Dara and I have been broken up from round two: engaygement for two and a half years and I’ve done so much studying on what makes a good marriage and strong communication I think that whole six years was a dress rehearsal for whoever is my real future Mr/Mx/Mrs Bevin. 

*This is a pseudonym

**Dylan didn’t really look like Dylan McKay more like a kind football player on 90210 but it was a good gender neutral pseudonym. 

Also in looking back through Fall 2012 pictures I was in a performance art tribute to Taylor Swift in October 2012 at an art gallery. I did a piece about my first engagement to the song Speak Now. Since at the time Taylor was using a sharpie on her body to write lyrics before each of her shows we all wrote lines from the Riot Grrrl manifesto by Bikini Kill on our arms. That was an amazing show!

If you find value in this blog or in my work in the world, please consider supporting!

Patreon.com/fkdp
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bevin
Fatkiddanceparty.com/classes
Instagram: @fatkiddanceparty @bevinsparty
Podcast: Anchor.fm/bevin (Search “Bevin” on Spotify or Apple/Google Podcasts)
Email list: http://eepurl.com/dyX3db
Tee shirts: https://genuinevalentine.com/collections/fat-kid-dance-party
Venmo: @bevinb
Cash App: $BevinBoss
Amazon Wishlist: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1SJCL864DDKEH?ref_=wl_share

2021-11-01

Remembering Ria Pell

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Bevin @ 12:05 am

I always thought I was going to sleep with Ria Pell. 

When she died at 45 years old this was not my first thought. (Was I even thinking? I was out of my mind with grief when I heard that news.) But eventually I settled on, “Huh, I never thought it would go down like that.”

Photo of Ria by Robin Henson

Over the course of a few years we went on a handful of dates together. Always really great dinner—she was a chef, and delighted in delicious food. Fantastic conversation, my favorite kind of foreplay. 

We got to make out in a classic truck, on dance floors, in dimly lit bars. A lot of cute sexual tension sitting near each other at a party. But never all the way. 

I’m continuing to develop my patience muscle but back in my early thirties it was a tremendous growth area for me. Ria Pell was worth the wait and I was patient, truly believing we would have sex eventually. I always had so much fun with her but was left with a see you next time.

She was the person who got me to realize that if someone tells you they are polyamorous more than twice you might want to listen to the tone in their voice when they tell you a third time.

I’m an obsessive photographer archiving my life. It was very uncharacteristic of me to leave blank corners undocumented, but I was always so intimidated by Ria I hardly ever took photos of her or with her! Going back through my Atlanta trips and photos and I’ll have photos of food she cooked and parties she was at but not her or us together.

My favorite phrase for this kind of long game is “We’re going to be queer for a really long time.” That can apply to straight people but it’s a fun little saying to inspire patience. Life is long and desires of the flesh not met the moment you feel them are not the end of the world. In fact, it’s especially delicious when you can pick them up later in life. 

Anyway, we had all these cute dates but it started as a long distance crush. I was visiting Atlanta for the very first time. January, 2005. I met my bestie Rachael on the internet in 2002 thanks to early blogging! She hired me to Femmecee the first Femme Mafia ATL masquerade ball.

Ria made a lasting impression.

Ria was the DJ. (Yes, she was a chef and a DJ! SWOON! Good taste in food and music are a really nice life!) She was an imposing presence in many ways, you just knew she was in the room even if she wasn’t holding court. 

But then again when was she not holding court? People were drawn to her. I’ve been studying Jerry Garcia, who was reluctant about leadership but he was like a default leader because of what he created. I sense that in Ria, too. She didn’t want to deal with the bullshit of community organizing and still did it in order to create things. Shows, parties, it’s where folks gather and Ria connected so many kinds of people!

Day before my 31st birthday party (December 23) Ria came through this party. I didn’t take a pic with her but I did take a pic with these two strangers! Why did I let myself get so nervous around Ria that I would chicken out about asking for a pic?

I have missed her so hard in the last couple years dealing with impossible situations I could have used her counsel about.

Ria caught my attention by being hot and having great taste in music, but it was eating at her world famous brunch restaurant The Bluebird that won me over. 

I ate there twice in one weekend it was that good. If someone tells me they are going to Atlanta I tell about The Bluebird, which is still open and you can still eat their biscuits.* And the brisket. Get the pancakes with bananas on top as an appetizer for the table.

You will wait for a table and you’ll like it.

Rachael and I have been besties now for 19 years. Her home in Atlanta is always my gaycation home. A place I can go, reset, party, eat great food and relax. Rachael is a Taurus and excels at all of those things. For a time Rach was engaged to one of Ria’s besties and I took that proximity as a giant moment to step out of my comfort zone and text something flirty to Ria. 

Omigoddess Rachael put up with relentless Ria chatter from me. That crush brewed for years. This is us waiting for a table at The Bluebird. Always worth the wait,

I think Nobody Ever Died of Awkward is one of my best blog posts and when you read it I’m talking about texting my Big Crush Ria. 

Ria did all kinds of sweet things for me in our time as friends/crush/long game. Nothing major but she had a way of connecting dots with thoughtfulness. 

We talked about our dreams a lot at our dinners and one of hers was to open a supper club kinda restaurant. Hearing about this for a couple years and then getting to witness her pursue the dream was so rad. I LOVE getting to witness people I love unfold their dreams.

At the Christmas Eve soft opening of Ria’s restaurant Sauced! I’m glad at the time I was still drinking–those cocktails were incredible!! Also lots of pics of food no pics of Ria! I want to say I was always kinda mesmerized talking to her so maybe I was just “in the moment.”

My Head Cheerleader heart loves to celebrate my people taking steps towards their dreams. 

She had opened the Bluebird in a punk rock DIY make it happen ask for forgiveness kinda way but now opening a new restaurant it required permits and bureaucracy which she hated. 

Bureaucracy is the opposite of punk rock. 

Exploring menus before the opening of Sauced she visited NYC and took me out to dinner. 

I’ll never forget when she picked me up for that date from my work at a Brooklyn fat queer resale clothing store. She was wearing overalls. I remember her laughing in the store and I just loved her laugh.

In my old Los Angeles kitchen I had a pic of Ria and my step mom Liz, two ghosts I love to cook with.

I think I was probably the only gal in NYC that night going to dinner with a Southern babe in overalls and I was really twitterpated about it.

Dinner was delicious, we had bacon peanut brittle as an appetizer.

Ria’s soft opening of her new supper club Sauced was on my birthday, Christmas Eve. I spent my birthday/Christmas with Rach that year and we had a night out celebrating my pre-birthday. Christmas Eve Eve. Ria came through to wish me happy early birthday and mentioned she was going to go back to Sauced to baste short ribs.

I felt honored (still feel honored) that in the stress of a restaurant opening she took an hour to come connect. I think of her every time I make short ribs now. Labor of love with a delicious result.

Ria’s truck. She was thrilled when she bought this, it involved a long trip many states away to pick it up.

On my birthday we went to the soft opening and she walked over to our booth and handed me, wordlessly, her version of the bacon peanut brittle. Way better than the one in NYC.

Looking through pictures for this post I found a thoughtful cherry shot she had made after I mentioned liking them two days before. Little thoughtful acts of service.

Ria looked like a tough guy but she was ultra-tender. In this culture it’s easy to forget that “tough guys” have feelings, too, and we all do. She was a Pisces, she cared about stuff in a way I think folks who stopped at a surface level with her might not understand. Pisces = FEELINGS. Pisces are also great at communicating without words.

We went out for lunch the day after she filmed Top Chef in NYC. She didn’t tell me whether she won and it didn’t matter but was delightful to learn that she did win. Not long after that she sold Sauced. I never got to connect with her about it but I was genuinely bummed about not getting to eat those short ribs again. 

One year when I was in ATL visiting with my new sweetheart I mentioned “Ria might hit on you. Choose your own adventure.” Ria was polyamorous and liked masculine folks more than Femmes and I knew chances were good she would hit on her. 

She didn’t hit on that sweetheart, but when I found out she had sex with another one of my dates that I never slept with I felt like it was some kind of frustrating but delightful joke. Ria was slutty and charming. 

Rachael and me at Ria’s funeral. In a classic truck. What an emotionally chaotic time and what a beautiful experience. I promise if I go to your funeral I will look this good.

Ria was the Mayor of Queer Atlanta, she knew everyone. Her funeral was epic. I’m so so so grateful I got to go, ride in a long line of classic cars celebrating her life and be at the graveside service. Thousands of people in a big march to the graveside. Unforgettable, just like her.

Someone played “My Way” at the graveside and I vowed I’d live a life that deserved that song at the end.

I still eat at the Bluebird every time I visit Atlanta. I still think about her all the time. 

I take a pic with this logo every time I go visit. What a blessing to get to remember her with a good brunch experience–the greatest meal.

Recently, my photo with the Bluebird logo was featured in an article about Atlanta brunch with a nice memorial to Ria. It’s wild to think she’s been gone nearly eight years. I’m glad folks are still talking about her. Thanks for reading my memories.

It still feels profoundly unfair that someone so magical doesn’t get to be here anymore. May her memory remain a blessing. And omg I’m now so much closer to how old she was when she went to be with the Goddess–it’s WILD how she was only 45.

She was born in New Jersey. My obsession with New Jersey has only grown since she passed. My first joint in recreationally legal cannabis New Jersey (a pandemic development) will be in her honor.

I know now that what’s most important in love are experiences with loved ones. And Ria gave me such great experiences. I’m so grateful.

Her obituary was really incredible read it here. There is just so much more to know about Ria, and you can definitely still have experiences of people learning about them after the fact. Chopped Season 13 Episode 10.

*If anyone has her recipe for biscuits or anything else please email it to me! Fatkiddanceparty at gmail


If you find value in this blog or in my work in the world, please consider supporting!

Patreon.com/fkdp
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bevin
Fatkiddanceparty.com/classes
Instagram: @fatkiddanceparty @bevinsparty
Podcast: Anchor.fm/bevin (Search “Bevin” on Spotify or Apple/Google Podcasts)
Email list: http://eepurl.com/dyX3db
Tee shirts: https://genuinevalentine.com/collections/fat-kid-dance-party
Venmo: @bevinb

Cash App (totally inspired by Ria): $BevinBoss
Amazon Wishlist: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1SJCL864DDKEH?ref_=wl_share

I have no photo credit–if you know it please send it my way. Ria’s email was Boss @ bluebird or whatever the url was. I really liked that and have intentionally adopted her boss spirit in some ways. I think our loved ones like when we connect with something we admired about them and as a memorial try to be more like that. Anyway, thanks for reading this.

2021-10-18

Getting Out Ahead of Seasonal Depression

It’s that time of year again! Where I live we are losing three minutes of light per day! Rapidly approaching Winter, long nights already begun, big storms, cloudy days.

I’ve been dealing with seasonal depression / seasonal affective disorder my entire life! I didn’t identify it until I lived on the East Coast, and thought it was the cold and the dark that affected my mood.

My mom shared with me after I moved to Los Angeles and I realized I was still coming up against SAD that when I was little I was incredibly “grumpy” in the Winter. I was also incredibly depressed my entire teens and most of the time growing up so I didn’t identify the different, enhanced struggles in the Winter.

Once I had more mental health awareness, tools and self care I have floated in and out of different depression and anxiety struggles as an adult but the seasonal is easier to identify.

I deeply thought that moving to LA was going to kick my SAD. “What if all my self care from October through April wasn’t just to fight SAD, how great could my quality of life be?” I wondered naively.

Prevention is the best defense against SAD and I have some of my best self care tips for SAD to give you now. Enhanced by my further studies living in Washington State so close to Canada I can see it on a clear day.

I hope these help you to care for yourself more gently in the coming season and spark ideas for your self care. I am not a medical professional and all of this is presented as information only! Use at your own risk!

UV Light!

Also called “SAD Lamps” these mimic the UV rays of the sun, vital to Vitamin D production and feelings of joy. I use mine for 15-30 minutes in the morning. I love to sleep and I don’t like my sleep disturbed, so early day UV rays are better for all those natural rhythms. I have had several but my current one is a lil gal that sits on my desk and stores easily in my small home.

This is the lamp I use now. All of the Amazon links here give me a small commission (3% or so) at no cost to you, but I do encourage you to buy from small businesses when you can because your purchase with them feeds a family rather than putting Bezos into space. But if you’re buying from him anyway I love that 3% it helps buy get audio books. Anything you buy from Amazon after clicking a link to them on my website earns me that commission.

Go Outside!

Our human bodies need to be moving outdoors for two hours a day. I’m obsessed with the physiology of high performance since I weave it into Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics so much and when I learned this it made a lot of sense.

Our brains and bodies have evolved differently. Our bodies believe we’re still in the 1700s living that farmer life. Being outside and moving is what our bodies wanna do even when our brains don’t. That’s self care, doing what you don’t wanna do now so that you’ll feel better later.

When I lived in the NYC snow life, I’d go out at least 20 minutes at noon to get as much light into my walk as possible. Now that I have access to many acres of old growth forest I go for at least 1 probably 2 hours most days, even when the weather is yucky. It makes a big difference in my overall well-being year round.

I’m obsessed with Big Leaf Maples.

Movement

Tying into the outside time is also moving your body! Even five minutes of dancing helps raise your spirit.

Blood flow to the brain helps! If you’re a yoga person don’t skip the inversion. Legs up the wall is my fav chill inversion.

Supplements!

Turns out, I actually had a lot of nutrient deficiencies for most of my life that have affected my brain’s functioning and last Winter–2020-21–I had the easiest, least SAD affected Winter of my life. During a global pandemic in a very cold and dark place!

The right quality supplements made the biggest difference. I had off and on used supplements from the drug store that weren’t effective in a way I could feel. I now use a super high quality source from a company that has their own organic farms and high quality fish.

Fish oil made the biggest difference in my brain. When I have more cash I want to try doubling how much I take and see if it is even better in there. I truly hate eating fish so this is why I think finding the right supplement (that doesn’t taste fishy) has been such a game changer for me.

I take a memory vitamin with ginko and cistanche. Blood flow to the brain helps with mood!

My doctor has me on 2,000% of the RDA of Vitamin D and I take a mushroom based supplement for that along with calcium and magnesium to prevent migraines. Fat folks need more Vitamin D than thin folks!

And Vitamin D is what a lot of studies show keep you out of the hospital with that deadly virus that is going around. (In that vein I take a lot of Vitamin C and Zinc and wear a mask outside of my quarantine pod to support immunity.)

Lipstick / Getting Dressed

I’ve been working from home primarily since 2008. It can be really easy to never get dressed or look cute. But honestly, taking that shower, getting dressed and for me putting on lipstick makes a giant impact on my mood. Especially through the pandemic, as I get ready for my daily walk I usually add lipstick and straighten my bangs because it makes me feel good.

For you it might be a special essential oil or perfume, or doing your hair or whatever. Notice when you’re in a particularly good mood and assess how you can recreate those conditions for yourself on the blah days. It’s a lot easier to start all this SAD prevention before you feel too depressed to shower or groom yourself so before you get out of the habit of doing it and slide deep into that place, consider your best defense a good offense. If you want! There’s nothing morally wrong about being in that place either, you don’t owe anyone your mental health.

Essential Oils!

Mood boosting oils I love include orange, geranium, peppermint, patchouli and lavender for chill. Connect to your friend who sells them and support a small business. I like them diffused, in carrier oils on elbow pits and wrists, or if food grade in a lil hot chocolate!

Resting More!

Our bodies are naturally attuned to light and when it’s more dark they want to rest more! I think a big difference in my experience of SAD is not beating myself up for needing more rest! I think a lot of my depression was anger pointed toward myself for not meeting my unrealistic expectations of myself.

I have been meditating a long time, from a shitty inconsistent meditator to a daily sometimes three times daily meditator. What it’s done for me is conditioned me to be a neutral observer of my body and brain. I can notice, “Oh my body needs more rest,” without the cavalcade of negative thoughts and beating myself up.

I’m not a “busy” person, I am a highly prioritized person running two businesses. It could be nuts / I could be nutes but instead I’m measured and neutral about my body and her cues.

I prioritize my body and what she needs and letting go of beating myself up for not being “productive” took me many years and I’m grateful for that fruit in my life today. Self care is learning how to speak to yourself with kindness and compassion.

So I rest more! Winter means more puzzles and books and longer sleep. Though I have been grieving a lot this past year which also means my body needs more rest so I’ve already been long sleeping.

I finally left quarantine to go camping with my friends. I was as safe as I could be to prevent the virus but I did take my chances by hugging 12+ times a day. Touch hunger! Mimi gives great hugs and makes great care packages! DM her!

Connection!

Humans need connection! Like a physiological need! And yes I’m totally touch hungry living alone in the woods but I do make it a point to connect with at least 3 people a day (my new goal is 10).

A connection vs saying hi and walking by is all about intention and inquiry. Am I being interested or interesting in a conversation? They don’t need to take very long but it’s worth it. I genuinely notice a difference in my body and mood on days I’ve had my three connections.

If you live with other humans or have a quarantine pod that hugs, try hugging 12+ times a day. I recently read that’s what it takes to truly thrive!

Plant Medicine

I love plants that help me heal and return to myself and my connection to Source/the Goddess. I love using Cannabis to boost my mood (especially citrus strains) and I have been using psilocybin to prevent depression to great effect (including over last Winter). More on my podcast episode about my experience using psilocybin.

I hope these are helpful tips! I don’t have the resources to monitor comments here but if you have other ideas or want to nerd out about supplements with me send me an email fatkiddanceparty at gmail! Love you! Hope you invest in feeling better this Winter because you deserve to feel good.


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2021-09-05

Debbie Harry and the Owls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Bevin @ 2:19 pm

Every single day I leave my house, whether I want to or not, to go on a walk in the forest. Typically it’s during Golden Hour so I can connect to the sunset and am most likely to see banana slugs if they grace me with their presence.

I am always listening to music on a bluetooth speaker because there are cougars, coyotes, bears and other predators I don’t want to run into and I think they’ll avoid me if they hear me coming. They don’t want to run into me, either.

Yesterday as I was entering the forest from my neighborhood Heart of Glass by Blondie started playing. I thought about the first time I was at a party with Debbie Harry.

They just kept passing out free drinks! It was like Wonderland!

I was 29 years old in New York City and at my first celebrity party. Many years before I adopted the mantra “I belong in every room I walk into” (THANK YOU Myleik Teele for this gem and everything you have taught me). I was STUNNED to be in that room but loved every minute.

It was a party celebrating the opening of Cathy Opie’s mid-career retrospective at the Guggenheim and my group wasn’t technically on the list for the after party but we knew people who were there who said we should come to the bar at the Maritime hotel.

Hot party tip for post-pandemic times–if you show up looking cute and say the right names to the door person they might let you in. We got in! I saw Debbie Harry, a childhood idol! John Waters was there, too. I was very very excited.

My friend Silas Howard in front of a portrait of him from Cathy’s exhibit at the Guggenheim!

Cell phone photos were bad at that time and I don’t take pics of celebs without their consent but just seeing cool folks I recognized who made work I admired was a thrill.

Back to last night. I walk into the forest having had that memory. A little down the path I heard the first few bars of James’ Laid and started dancing–I startled a big bird that flew across my path.

Instead of disappearing into the woods it landed on a branch nearby and watched me. Well, we watched each other for ten minutes. It didn’t seem to care that I danced and played music. I took grainy cell phone photos. She was as into spying on me as I was marveling at getting to see her.

She moved her head around with that adorable flat face. I don’t know what kind she was, much smaller than the only other owl encounter I’ve had in the forest (a Great Horned Owl–freaking HUGE).

It was magical. I was radiating joy at seeing her.

It occurred to me that I felt as thrilled to see an owl in nature as I was to see Debbie Harry at a party. And between living in NYC and LA I’ve been to more parties with Debbie Harry than I’ve encountered owls in the wild.

My goal is to encounter way more owls and maybe post pandemic sometime just have a conversation with Debbie if she’s into it. Never any pressure. I’m the gal at the party in the far corner having conversations not mingling in the crowd. Big crowds are not my thing anymore.

It is my practice to set an intention for my forest walks, usually it’s to get to joy and wonder. In a pandemic when the world is falling apart, healthcare systems are collapsing and the government is abandoning the most vulnerable, this practice is truly about exercising my own mental and emotional strength so that I may continue in my work tomorrow.

I believe that when we feel joy, we enable the universal consciousness to use our energy to empower others. Like a battery on a Prius replaces the need for fossil fuel in a hybrid engine. Little kids radiate joy all the time like this–they are closer to the consciousness than most of us. As grown-ups we lose our play and our curiosity if we don’t cultivate it.

Your suffering alleviates nothing for others. Your joy is inspiration to others to find theirs. Prayer and joy are frequently the most powerful thing we have to offer in a world turned upside down so it might come together in a better more sustainable way.

We did not come here to fix a broken world. We came here to create the world of our dreams.


If you find value in this blog or in my work in the world, please consider supporting!
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2021-08-19

How I’m Preparing for the Virtual Glowing Goddess Getaway Retreat This Weekend

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bevin @ 3:37 pm
I love that our staff shirts at the GGG are so dope! This is Oregon 2019!

Since we cannot meet safely in person due to Covid spikes and wildfire air quality, we have pivoted entirely virtual for this weekend’s Glowing Goddess Getaway.

The GGG, for those who aren’t familiar, is a women’s self care cannabis retreat. We use cannabis as a medical and spiritual connective tool. In October 2018 I attended my first retreat as a Goddess Guide, teaching my Cannacize aerobics class. (Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics with slower more repetitive choreography to accompany an optional cannabis experience.)

Within the first 24 hours I was hooked. I knew this was the multi-generational sisterhood I had been craving since the one I poured fourteen years into had dismantled in 2015.

The GGG operates by five high standards: Self Love, Empathy, Inclusivity, Good Fun and Mindfulness. I knew from Deidra sharing about them at the opening session that these were my people.

2019 was the worst year of my life. To say that I survived from Getaway to Getaway is not hyperbole. When I had suicidal thoughts (frequently) I would tell myself just make it to the next Getaway. These women were a light for me in a very dark time. I was so privileged to serve at multiple getaways both as a Goddess Guide teaching classes and getting to run shifts at the glow bar. I could see the divinity in me and how I was unfolding in the reflection of how these women connected with me. The glow up from a Getaway is very real and very revealing. (In good and sometimes hard but worth it ways.)

In 2020 I was so excited for our big tour, but sadly it was canceled because of the global pandemic. We kept connected as a sisterhood through daily Instagram Live sister seshes and did a mini retreat on facebook live. But as cannabis is still a stignmatized plant it is an uphill battle to get us really connecting in those Zuckerberg owned places.

Beginning June 2021 we started virtual retreats! They have been the balm I’ve needed in this wacky time! I’m on Week 74 of a pretty serious quarantine. I still wear masks and socially distance around other vaccinated people. I have a lot of privilege to work from home and I’m grateful.

Getting to have my cannasisterhood in my computer one weekend a month has been such a soul healing!

I have learned a lot from teaching at and attending the virtual retreats these past two months and I wanted to share how I am preparing for it so I can get the most out of what is offered. Do what works for you so that you can get the most out of your virtual retreat experience!

Our retreats are recorded but there’s nothing like being in the room when it happens! (And it takes awhile for the recordings to become available.) But maybe you have a different weekend with availability and you want to use a past recorded virtual retreat as your guide. I think these tips are helpful regardless if you’re watching live or a recording.

  1. Time blocking! I live by my calendar and I’m incredible accountable to what I say I’ll do if I have it in the calendar. I know our time slots together are (Pacific time) Friday 2-5PM and 7-8:30PM; Saturday 10AM-12, 2-5PM and 7-8:30PM; Sunday 10AM-12. It’s in my calendar and I’m ready to go. I also teach my weekly Zoom FKDP aerobics class so I have it scheduled during one of our breaks. Everything else I need to do I’m accounting for and putting it in the breaks. If you’re setting yourself up for a future virtual retreat and you need childcare, arrange it! These virtual retreats work really well to glow up if you can give it your focus and not be doing laundry or a bunch of other things. I am also planning each day to go on my daily nature walk and time set aside for the behaviors I need to support my ongoing mental health.
  2. Care for self and others! During the July virtual retreat I had a mountain of dishes I didn’t finish. I forget why but mostly just not organized enough to get it done ahead of time. Regrets! It made it more chaotic for me in my house and thus not as able to be centered and focused on attending. This time I’ve made sure I’m caught up on dishes and disciplined to get them done once a day, I’m going to vacuum and straighten up before it starts. I decided laundry can get done next week and made sure I had what I needed clean. I also learned from previous couple of virtual retreats that committing to anything else during a virtual retreat means I miss time with my cannasisters and I really value the time together and don’t want to do that again.
  3. Food! This is really the same as caring for myself and making sure I have what I need to have the best experience. I didn’t get snacks before the June getaway and I regretted it. This time I’m meal planning and grabbing what will delight me and be easy to prepare so I don’t need to spend a bunch of time to make it happen. Food is one of the biggest things I miss about our in person getaways–Sailene is one of the best hostesses I’ve ever met and I’ve never gone hungry, she always has the dietary needs handled. So I think about the food joy from the in person getaway and replicate that in an easy for me manner at home.
  4. Cannabis! Obviously we use this as a tool to connect. I love having a variety on hand and recently ran out entirely! I made sure I went to the dispensary and am set up for what I want to be ready for this weekend. Also thinking through if there’s a smoking implement I want to use that needs to be cleaned. Cleaning pieces is part of the ritual of cannabis use and as much as I fantasize about a weed fairy coming through and cleaning and prepping everything for me, in these pandemic times I am my own weed fairy. I don’t want to miss a session because I couldn’t focus because I needed to clean my bong, you know?
  5. Outfits! Probably not a high priority for some but I like wearing cute things and being a visual delight. My favorite part of Festival culture is about the self expression of an outfit parade! It occurred to me that prepping for this virtual I could go into my storage and pull out some of my fun stuff and keep it interesting. On one of our recent 4:20PM sister seshes on the GGG Discord, I was hanging out with Funisha & Jenelle while I was sorting through my outfit storage. I love having a productive hang out!
  6. People! Do you have a local cannasister you want to get together with? Do you want to invite someone you wanna quarantine pod with together and watch the virtual together? I have always imagined our virtual events being attended by pods, and making a plan for that is something to consider! Mindie had her friend staying with her for the July retreat and it was really fun! This time around I’m solo but considering it for the future.
  7. Craft supplies! I’ve done the worst at this so far but prepping what I need for the follow along crafts is helpful! Whenever I don’t have paint and canvas I end up working on a puzzle while listening to the soothing voice of Mindie teaching painting! I’m very excited to plan well enough to have supplies. The easiest way to do this is to subscribe to our getaway in a box level on Patreon and then everything is sent to you!

Hopefully these help someone out there! I love to connect in these virtual retreats, and especially love getting to learn new things about myself and others. What’s true about both the in-person retreats and the virtuals is that I learn something new about myself or my purpose in the universe every time. I also make new friends and deepen established friendships.

I love serving this cannasisterhood and I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years is going to look like for us especially as we’re rooting ourselves into the digital part of our connections right now.

If you’re curious what a getaway is like, we have a free retreat available on the GGG Facebook! I’ll put up a follow up post so you have a program and more guidance to follow along. But the best way to connect is to join the GGG Patreon to join our Discord community. We have different levels of participation including for $42 a month a “getaway in a box” which is so packed with value it’s worth more than $42.

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2021-08-17

I’m Not Engaged but I had an Online Bachelorette Party Anyway and Here’s How it Went

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 7:58 pm

If you’ve hung around my blog or social media for awhile you probably know that I’ve been engaged a couple of times. (For those who have been around a really long time you might remember both of those characters!)

Both times I was planning weddings I never felt super inspired to have a Bachelorette party.

Truthfully, I was wildly overwhelmed finalizing a guest list for the wedding, let alone all the sub wedding events that tradition dictates.

I got to the point on the second go-around that I was going to do an invite everyone and take RSVPs til we were at capacity and then do a wait list. I know that sounds tacky to some of you (good thing I don’t really care what people think). My friendships mean a lot to me and I know folks have weird schedules and things come up so it was the way I tried to make it easy for me and for them.

When the second wedding was called off, I thought it was a fun idea to have a bachelorette party while I was still single. When it was a party that would matter to me and a fun celebration of singlehood. And I’m pretty burnt out on being engaged and next time I’m here for a swift engagement. No bachie.

The one big vision I had when I was planning that wedding was t-shirts! I didn’t want “bride squad” shirts I wanted them to say just my name–Bevin. A little Bevin team shirt. (They exist now!)

I had originally hoped that in 2020 I would have a bunch of cute little Bachelorette parties. I was going to go on tour and try to get folks together here and there as I could. Friend reunions! Maybe get some of my pals who now use cannabis to join me at the Glowing Goddess Getaway self care retreats. For me a perfect Bachelorette weekend IS a GGG, simply because relaxation, self care and good fun make for my ideal weekend.

But 2020 happened the way it did, all tours were called off and I was left wondering if maybe I could do an online Bachelorette party. That way, everyone can come, no one has to pay to travel or take out a whole weekend. A couple of hours, some good performances and connection time felt great to me!

I know something isn’t just a passing idea but it’s really something I want to do when it feels like unfinished business. This idea popped around in my brain for over a year!

To be honest, in 2019 I actually needed a Divorce Shower* but I was too emotionally overwhelmed to ask for what I needed. So in 2021 when I was still thinking of this Online Bachelorette and facing a second pandemic June I thought it was a good time to do one.

I connected with my bestie Rachael, an event planner, community organizer and skilled at performative debauchery and we talked through the vision.

I wanted a short performance and then some hang out by the virtual campfire time. Rachael suggested I try a real online platform versus a zoom for professionalism and I happened to have a credit with EventHi an online ticketing site that has been producing tons of great online events all pandemic.

The initial performers came together pretty easily, my favorite drag king Johnny Kingpin (my drag dad from back when I did drag), my favorite performance poet Regie Cabico and my favorite sex ed instructor Ashley Manta the Cannasexual (TM) all said yes! Plus my friend Sailene was willing to do a centering meditation to kick it off and my friend Deidra was willing to do a blessing to close it out. They are both the founders of the Glowing Goddess Getaway and it felt super nourishing to have that energy in the virtual room.

I asked a few other folks to perform who had been meaningful to me during my career so far and got some no’s, but if you’re not hearing no you’re probably not asking enough.

I sent out a bunch of texts and emails to folks I love all over. I loved using EventHi because in addition to sending guest list invites to folks I could just put out the ticket link on my social media and anyone who felt like they wanted to could come through.

Is it a bummer when folks can’t come? Yes. Having planned two weddings and countless events I know that there will always be a few folks who feel essential who won’t be able to prioritize your event. You have to make the relationships more important than the event.**

Even the morning of the event my bestie Rach couldn’t make it because of internet issues. I didn’t sweat it because I just knew the event that was meant to happen would happen.

And it did! I had hired ASL interpreters because of a potential guest who needed them and even though she didn’t make it the interpreters made it really fun and performative online. I cannot recommend it enough for both accessibility and also another level of polish and fun for online events. I have an incredible ASL interpreter for Saturday Zoom Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics and they were able to connect me to two really fun queer interpreters. Watching Ashley Manta do a pleasure based anatomy lesson with ASL interpretation was super rad.

I’m so grateful to everyone who attended and especially the first time Johnny Kingpin did a drag act in many many years. SO CUTE and fun! And if you like poetry and cookies, Regie Cabico has a Queer Cookies Cookbook out you’ll want to see.

The attendance wasn’t giant but honestly I prefer intimate events. I am comfortable on stage in front of thousands but I actually prefer parties with 10-12 folks max. I have grown to understand what I need more in this stage of my life (thank Goddess) and at the end of the event I felt so complete. Loved, connected and nurtured.

People even flirted during my party and went on a date and I love being part of creating connections. That’s a success!

I thought to myself after the event, “I’d rather have a huge turn out at Fat Kid Dance Party class than my Bachelorette! I’m glad I did it because I want someone else to feel permission to celebrate themselves unapologetically when they need it.” And I now have a video of the event to show my future spouse so they can meet my people!

The bachelorette shirts weren’t ready in time for the party but now they are! And you can buy one if you want to have Bevin emblazoned across your chest!

We can always connect socially distanced in real life or on a zoom sometime and celebrate the awesomeness of being (whether in a marriage relationship or not)!

*Divorce Showers make sense to me. When you’re getting married you’re typically combining two households. Maybe in a Bridal Shower you get stuff you want that upgrade you but when you’re divorcing you’re splitting one household into two and you actually need that stuff. And who’s in a great financial position when they’re getting divorced? I sure wasn’t. I think our society over emphasizes weddings and there’s so much pomp and circumstance for a series of events leading up to the wedding. I love pomp and circumstance but I also value relationships over events.

**My favorite definition for a Bridezilla is a bride who is making an event more important than the health of their relationships. I’m not that.

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2021-06-15

Mononymously Using the Name Bevin for Three Years and Here’s How It’s Going

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bevin @ 10:34 pm

I reflected on my podcast last week with my friend Mayuri that I never blogged about dropping my last (and middle) name.

If SJP is back on set as Carrie Bradshaw I can sit at my little table looking out the front window of my home and resume blogging.

I formally adopted a “mononym” in 2018, right around this season. I didn’t even know that word at the time but I knew I had a deadline to decide what my name was going to be in the credits of my life’s greatest work so far.

At the time I was engaged to be married to who I believed was the love of my life! And whose last name ALSO happened to have a B initial so changing my last name but not initial would continue my charming but complicated triple B name.

Born Bevin Barbara B*****ham I wore a lengthy formal name well as a weird child. I hated how unusual my first name was, how no one could spell it. How I was frequently sorted by schools and summer camps into boy cabins because they thought my awesome gender neutral name was a boy name. I have frequently used the name Jenny at Starbucks.

I didn’t even like my paternal grandmother who I was middle named for! I absolutely ADORED my maternal grandmother whose name (Anise) would not have had the triple B initials and my mom said alliteration won out. I love alliteration, I am into it. My name was a good one for the first part of my life.

I changed my stage last name to a dramatic made-up version of my government last name in 2006. A weird former client when I was a lawyer printed out my Friendster profile and send it to the state ethics committee. (Gay hating? Or just an early adopter troll?)

I knew I immediately needed a strong barrier between my professional government name and the name I used when I threw queer nightlife parties, wrote opinionated blogs and all of my other colorful performance art.

My long complicated name Bevin Branlandingham on so many fliers! I just never loved the real estate it took up when I could maybe just go by Bevin? That always was in the back of my mind but I think it felt like taking up too much space to just use one name. IRONIC that less letters felt like more space.

Prince, Cher and Madonna were early examples to me of what was possible with a mononym AND a body of work to back it up. It felt like, of course they use one name they are icons. By 2018 I was starting to think about how it made me feel to not have a last name on things and the feeling was undeniable. It felt right, clean and wonderful.

At the time I was planning a wedding. And the idea of a bachelorette party felt like a wild hassle! I love getting together with friends but planning a wedding and running a small business are two consumptive things and I felt like a destination wedding was plenty for a bachelorette. The only thing I wanted was that moment where everyone is wearing a cute shirt that matches each other.

You know how at some bachelorettes there is a white tee shirt that says Bride and a different color shirt that says Bride Squad? I saw that for me except all the shirts just said “Bevin” on them in a cute barbie font. With a heart over the i. (How I prefer it written, if you’re asking, is with a heart over the i.)

So with all this swirling in my head I even went on facebook and asked if folks thought I should change my stage last name to my future government last name (my ex fiance’s B last name) OR if I should keep Brandlandingham OR if I should drop my other names entirely. Sometimes just talking it out with folks you love helps get clarity on what you really want. I really just wanted to go by one name!

I am SO GLAD I honored my gut instinct and used my mononym for the credits in the Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics video! I sure am glad I didn’t use my ex’s last name! (She is herself named in the credits–she was a big help on that production.)

Since 2018 I learned from queer ancestor & disco legend Sylvester what a mononym was. I have had to explain to multiple journalists “I don’t care what your editor will say, I really only use one name.” I have learned nearly every last name box is impossible to skip on the internet. I get a heart flip of joy when I see my name on a piece of mail with no perfunctory last name.

It makes me feel closer to Prince who I jokingly refer to as my “real dad.” Prince and Bevin are both 5 letters. He’s good at taking what makes him weird and advancing humanity. I study him on you tube a few times a week–dance moves, performativity and mindset.

It also feels undeniably good not having a middle or last name associated with people from whom I experienced violent abuse as a child.

Renaming is a form of reclaiming and I hope you’ll give my podcast with my friend Mayuri a listen. Their story of reclaiming their name is powerful.

One of my dearest longest friends designed a Bevin bachelorette shirt (four designs and styles to choose from) for anyone who wants to support me and delight me to purchase!

And everyone is invited to my online bachelorette party (kinda a campfire with toasts and a brief bit of drag, poetry and a lot of tender moments!

2021-05-13

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… Was I Ready to Be VAXXSEEN?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 12:40 pm
This entire post is titled from a meme. Meet my friend Gregory Littlely on my podcast!

Today I’m officially two weeks post second vaccine shot.

Collectively we are in the Second Pandemic May. It feels biblical.

I am vexed by the ethics of this time; now that I’m fully vaxxed I still feel the weight of the responsibility of being a human in a global pandemic.

First of all, incredible privilege to get to have access to the vaccine at all. I was horrified with the way the US government dealt with allowing other countries to have access to the vaccines, wanting to prioritize profit for pharmaceutical companies over human life. This is one of the many reasons why we must get money out of politics and have publicly funded elections. The donor class is killing people.

I have privilege to be able to socially distance, to work from home by design, to have running water to wash my hands, immediate access to masks when they became mandated because my mom made me some. To live proximal to my mom enough that I can quarantine pod with her and her spouse Pat but with my own space to work and rest and cook. I love having a kitchen and still haven’t eaten out at a restaurant even outdoors yet.

Staying home and social distancing was always about protecting other folks; wearing a mask helps others more than it helps you. Just because I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean I can’t still carry and incubate the Corona. The CDC says as of today the following (and it changes so much!):

“What We Know

  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19.”

So while others are going to big concerts, bars, parties, traveling for fun on airplanes, I’m still here wanting to do my part. In all my frustrated ruminations about this I made a Second Pandemic April playlist. If you haven’t had a tantrum dance to Corduroy by Pearl Jam since the pandemic began, I highly recommend.

The ethics of this time are exhausting.

I am a touring artist, that’s the bulk of how I make my living. I was able to pivot and focus on my Patreon page when the pandemic shut down my tour in 2020. But now I’m trying to figure out the ethics of going to events and traveling again.

What if I incubate some Washington variant of the virus and bring it to wherever I might go? Is it just too bad so sad to folks who haven’t yet gotten access to the vaccine? Children–like this unvaccinated child under 11 years old who died in Hawaii with his vaccinated parents? Who can’t afford to get out of work to get the shot? Who are too medically fragile to get the vaccine? On immune suppressing drugs that make the vaccine less effective? Who for whatever ethical reason aren’t getting it?

I just think about what I do and how it might affect the larger whole. I don’t want to spread something that could result in someone dying if I can prevent it by mindful lifestyle choices.

I also think about the ethics of gathering people in these times. Like going to a meal at a friend’s house with a small group of adults versus a large party.

Why not keep wearing masks most of the time until the spread of the virus is under control? I look at this map from the New York Times in their daily Coronavirus briefing email about how things are going in the world; it’s Second Pandemic May and the world continues to suffer from so many things (literal war! honor killings! just in the past week!) in addition to the pandemic.

I can’t even imagine the mental and emotional gymnastics parents have been going through in the past 14 months. In person school or no? Divorced co-parent not following CDC protocols putting multiple families at risk. So much out of your control.

During my second shot symptoms (the worst of mine lasted a full 30+ hours, with about a week and a half of lymph node swelling) I took a rare couple days of binge watching TV. I watched the recent season of Sister Wives on hulu and the agony they went through being a big family split into four homes dealing with harm reduction and social distance among siblings. I felt for them! And I also remember how little information we had back then at the outset of the pandemic and how much we still don’t really know.

We had a pizza party in my neighborhood (which is more than 90% vaccinated, mostly people are over 60 here) and I was the only one wearing a mask. Outdoors, not socially distant. But–easy to be socially distant if you’re willing to be the weirdo sitting on her own at a table. And willing to get up and move to another table if someone sits too close.

I’ve been a weirdo all my life, being a weirdo who is willing to move myself within a social gathering so I can feel more aligned with my values is not that hard anymore. It’s constantly my edge to continue to not care what people think of me. I care what I think of me.

I think 2021 Summer/Fall is about PRIORITIES, CONVERSATIONS and HARM REDUCTION. My polyamorous friends have been training for this for years, they know how to have these conversations and weigh the considerations of multiple people.

I have two communities that are my high priorities and I’m choosing to attend the Glowing Goddess Getaways in person this year. Covid safe, lots of protocols. Outside. Easy to spread out. Easy to find my space. I’m willing to be a weirdo in a mask and only be near other masked weirdos. I can drive, which is important to me since I don’t yet have private plane access and flying commercial feels like a little metal test tube in the sky filled with covid from around the world.

When I have a link for virtual getaways I’ll post here, but most of the GGG announcements happen on Instagram.

In person doesn’t start until August and I’m actually really excite for the digital getaways. Creating digital community and belonging is something I’m really passionately working on for Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics and I hope to lend what I’m learning to the GGG.

Everything could be different by August. And also what if folks lie about being vaccinated? I always end up with more questions than answers.

I want to go see my people in Atlanta. I want to be able to go and stay with my vaccinated friends in easily contact traceable ways.

Oh dear Goddess if I could private plane and go to Dollywood masked, be outdoors and stay in a cabin I would do it in a heartbeat. (I’ve gone to Dollywood in my mind so many times when life post gay divorce the past couple years has worn on me.) But I’m still not sure how any of that happens.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts because I know there are others out there thinking similar things.

“That’s great for you; not for me” is a fav new expression (thanks Myleik!) and it sums up how I’m choosing to work on my own behavior versus caring what other people do.

When I spend time having an opinion about what other people are doing I’m draining my energy from the work I’m on this planet to do. I truly, truly do not care or judge what you decide to do. But I care about your life and the worthiness of your existence and wouldn’t want to be part of a chain of disease spread that could kill you or someone you love.

I’m calling my hair Quarantine Mermaid Hair and haven’t got a cut since February 2020. I got a great hair treatment I do a couple times a week to repair split ends and it’s been keeping my hair in great condition but at some point I am going to chop. I thought it would be a “yay pandemic is over” cut but that might not be the case.

2021-04-12

Where to find Bevin these days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bevin @ 9:48 pm

My blog is dusty and it’s been awhile. A friend of mine said in a throw away comment, “Blogging is dead,” and I kind of agreed with her.

It’s definitely not like it was. Attention spans are even shorter and there are so many places on the web that house content that blogs have to be kind of exceptional to be a thing anymore.

And here’s the thing, there’s only one Bevin! And I’m still in the relentless pursuit of my joy. That’s where this blog came from, chronicling the relentless pursuit of my joy. In so many forms!

I started a blog during law school in 2002 on a website called Diaryland–RIP all of those drag king stories! Eventually I stopped performing drag, started a podcast and then started this blog here at Queer Fat Femme dot com. Then I started Rebel Cupcake my monthly body positive queer dance party in Brooklyn, stopped doing that podcast (RIP FemmeCast: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Life), then stopped doing Rebel Cupcake monthly and focused on my then-partner’s cancer treatment, then I started Dollypalooza and moved to LA with said partner, started my tea company and Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics, shelved the tea company so I could focus on my start-up, got engaged, planned a wedding while teaching weekly in LA and touring FKDP all over the US, broke up with said partner (RIP that Dollywood wedding), started a new podcast and kind of lost my blog mojo while my life was falling apart in LA and I moved to live down the street from my mom.

I’ve been living up here since right before the pandemic started and living in the forest on the Olympic Peninsula is truly the greatest living situation for me. I’m feeling pretty peaceful most of the time.

In this day and age so many folks are called “content creators” and “influencers” and since I’ve been creating content on the internet for so long I think I get to decide what it is that I do. And this has always been about passing the peace. I figure out how I found some peace for myself and I share the recipe.

I called this blog QueerFatFemme because at the time there weren’t a lot of out of the closet fat femmes creating in the world. I thought if I shared my story at the intersection of those identities I’d help folks open their hearts and minds about a different kind of life and or show possibilities out there to other queer fat femmes. That’s still true! But the URL does feel a bit like an itchy sweater now.

I am definitely all of those things–queer, fat and femme. But there are tons of other identities that take up as much space or more than those in my heart and mind! I felt like it was a total coming out about using cannabis (for me it’s medicinal and I think most cannabis use is medicinal whether folks see it like that or not). I really wrestled with how much to share about being spiritual. That my newfound connection to the Goddess would drive people away. I started on that path in 2011 and it has created such a depth in my experience of the world. Honestly, I would have given up on Fat Kid Dance Party if it didn’t feel like a calling.

My work passing the peace, creating content, teaching aerobics–all of it feels like a ministry. Teaching folks how to love their bodies is pretty sacred work, in my opinion. And if it hadn’t been for my Patreon subscribers I couldn’t have kept this going with the pandemic canceling my tour. (THANK YOU to all of the babes who trust me to provide them self care!)

In the information age we are all voting with our dollars. Where we spend our money and the subscriptions we maintain are part of creating the world we want to see. I feel so honored to continue to create and thanks to Patreon be able to be a digital nomad–when travel is ethical again.

These days here’s where I’m creating:

Patreon.com/fldp for on demand aerobics videos, zoom aerobics classes and spiritual self care practice how to videos

You tube for free movement videos, vlogs, live podcast recordings

Podcast for chats with my friends who are all at marvelously different intersections of identities and pursuits! And occasional solo episodes about whatever I’m growing through or body image

Email list–described as “always informative never intrusive” by a reader, I usually send out one maaaaybe two a week

Instagram! (@bevinsparty) I just really love IG stories and am a dedicated daily forest dancer so you’ll find my stories pretty much always on and full of forest stuff and uplift and growth. Fat Kid Dance Party has an IG @fatkiddanceparty and so does my cat Biscuit Reynolds @biscuitreynolds

Tik Tok (@bevinsparty): So far I think Tik Tok is about being yourself, adding value and having a good time so that’s what I’m up to over there.

Twitter is an aggregate of stuff I’ve published. @bevinsparty

Glowing Goddess Getaway! This cannabis sisterhood has been such a wonderful community! I am stoked to get to be a Goddess Guide. The gatherings this year are going all have a digital component with three in person covid safe gatherings. I’m suuuuper excited about it and am having to work on not foreboding joy about it because I am afraid they will get canceled again this year. Dates will be released on their Instagram @glowinggoddessgetaway on 4/20.

You will also find me doing yoga on the forest floor, and walking daily in the forest. Having a dedicated daily outdoor movement commitment makes a huge difference in my mental health. Even if it’s just doing corpse pose on a tarp, it’s breath and body connection. I feel so blessed that I live in the forest. I heal in it daily.

A couple summers ago I changed my name on IG to @bevinsparty which was mostly because I think there are a ton of visible queer fat femmes out there I don’t need to be “the one” with the IG name. So I changed it.

The most meaningful thing I do is bring people together to have fun and do good in the world. I overheard someone say at my house once “Did I meet you at Bevin’s party or are you from TV?” and “Bevin’s party” as a meaningful place someone met someone cool sounded like true music to me.

(The answer was they were from TV. Living in LA was fun! I’m excited to visit and create there again when it’s less pandemicky.)

I tried doing daily letters to my future kids during the pandemic on this blog last summer but it became stressful. I shifted that to paper journaling.

I want to talk about the things going on right now. I think I have value to add. So be on the lookout for recipes, thoughts, stories and small business shopping guides.

Here’s to beginning again, with the Aries New Moon!

Quarantine mermaid hair, photo taken a couple days ago in front of these poppin’ Rhodedendruns. Washington State flower.

2020-08-17

Cherishing early adulthood stamina

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 6:56 pm

(This post is part of a series of daily letters from me to my future children reporting from the emerging paradigm.)

Dear Kids:

I interviewed your Aunt Rachael for my podcast today about her experience having the Corona virus. She said the worst part about it for her was all of the stress her loved ones were under being worried about her. She was in a fever haze most of the time.

Before we recorded the podcast we reminisced about epic nights out together earlier in our friendship. (In our 20s, we are both officially over 40 now.) Some of the most legendary nights of my life were in Atlanta with Rachael.

She said, “I can still go out til 3 AM but I won’t recover for two days, three if I’ve been drinking.” As much as I hate to admit it, I think I, too, had much greater stamina earlier in adulthood. I really prize getting a good night’s sleep now.

Once I realized what it was like to feel well-rested after I got laid off from my job in 2008, I could never go back to being tired all the time.

I’ve actually gone to great lengths to design a life where it’s possible for me to rest more on days I need it. Like today! Having a really hard digestion day and had to adjust what kind of work I could do.

I’m feeling really nourished by all of the fun memories I made in my early adulthood really squeezing the marrow out of life. I think one of my greatest assets in that time was having so much fun!

I was so hard working and didn’t get to have as much fun as a high schooler and early college student that once I got to going out I really made the most of it. I went to parties with DJs I liked (I can’t stand parties with bad DJs) and spent time with friends I liked and generally followed my enthusiasm. Took fun photos and made memories.

I’m not advocating hard partying or even drinking, I’m simply advocating enthusiastic adventures with friends who light you up. And enjoying late nights while you have that stamina! I’m looking forward to other seasons of my life where sunrises are something you experience after waking up not before going to bed. But wow, those nights when our socializing met the sunrise were always the sign of a fun adventure.

I love that Rach and I can still go out and adventure when I visit Atlanta, but we have a lot of self care involved now, too. And I also love that she’s making a full recovery from the Corona virus.

xoxo,

Mom

It’s been “hot” here (nothing compared to LA) and I noticed yesterday that if I lay on the forest floor it stays really cool and almost a little damp even though it’s dry. I immediately understood the life of a banana slug better.

This blog is entirely supported by Patreon. Every dollar counts to making this work sustainable and maintaining the archives of this blog. Thanks to my awesome Patronus supporters (as my mom calls them) for co-creating with me!

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