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

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!

Body Positive Aerobics on Zoom

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bevin @ 4:38 pm

Saturday mornings, 11AM Pacific, join me on Zoom for Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics! You can do any or all of the class on a chair or standing, I give variations. Minimum participation is cheering along!

Rule #1: There’s no wrong way to do Fat Kid Dance Party–you already belong with us! Rule #2: We cheer for awkward! Rule #3: If you want to sing along go ahead. If you can’t sing, sing loud! Rule #4: We high five for self care!

You can buy tickets or get in for free at any level of my Patreon membership. Thanks to all of my Patreon supporters for helping to create these one of a kind aerobics!

Also check out:

Weekly Online Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics on your schedule

Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics video 4 pack!

Teaching this class has become a highlight of my week! So fun to connect!

2020-08-16

Cardi B is giving me hope by giving me jams

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 1:20 pm

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

Dear Kids:

In the apocalypse days of August when the wildfires rage in California and folks lose power because of electric company lawsuit protection. When it’s hurricane season, and now Corona quarantine. Our election is looming and will it be untampered (my guess–it will be tampered with, but we must vote as though it won’t be). The US Postal Service is being defunded and questioned. So much to concern ourselves with.

However! Something that has been so life giving to me and my pals lately is Cardi B’s latest drop WAP. A collab with Megan Thee Stallion. Both of these powerhouse women are incredibly empowering and fun to dance to.

I wondered whether to share this in my “kid letters” but since the intent is that you’ll read these as an adult, and I want you to be empowered and own your sexuality no matter what it ends up being. (And knowing it can change! And that’s cool!)

And I am tickled by the idea of WAP being a classic song. In 20 years it will be! I still listen to a lot of old school Lil’ Kim and this is absolutely in that legacy of female empowerment through owning sexuality.

I could probably write a treatise for or against what WAP is doing culturally, but I don’t need to. I’m just finding joy in it, dancing to it, hearing the hook loop through my head and watching the video every day because it delights me.

We need more art that helps us come alive no matter what the outside circumstances. And I think Cardi B writes scripture.

xoxo,

Mom

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!

2020-08-15

This won’t last forever

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Bevin @ 9:34 pm

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

Dear Kids:

Week 22 of quarantine. It feels like it’s regular life now, which is both weird and fine? I was at mom and Pat’s house tonight for dinner and they had the news on for five minutes. Long before the Corona they knew that I don’t like to watch the news.

Since Corona, they’ve both told me they consciously watch less of it. But, still, they like to watch the weather. And tonight it was on and in that five minutes some newscaster said with somber expression: “The deaths from Coronavirus by December are projected to be 300,000 or more Americans.” I remember it so specifically because it was stated in such a dire tone.

Truly, if this was a movie of this time, it’s that headline and that report that goes into the montage. Anyway, the news gets paid to freak us out.

I had a phone conversation with a friend today who asked me if Democracy was dead. I don’t think one person can undermine democracy but also everything about this time feels like science fiction. I’m so curious how the 2020 election will turn out and how the Corona resolves.

I keep my head planted in this zone where I’m certain about the future, and present and appreciative of what I can be in this moment. And staying put, sheltered in place. And deeply aware of how powerless I am over this disease and pandemic.

The other day I was listening to a successful entrepreneur talk about her experience building her business as a mother of four kids in high school and middle school. She was doing something unusual, living in a town where her kids were going to school and traveling a bunch for her business. She said, “I keep saying this won’t last forever.”

I checked the date on her talk, it was ten years ago. Her kids nowadays are grown, she was right, this didn’t last forever.

And that’s so true.

For good times and for bad times. This won’t last forever. Heartbreak. Illness. Bad attitudes. Honeymoons. Winning streaks. Always remember the power of six months. (And right now, I’m focused on the power of five years.)

xoxo,

Mom

Grandmother loved hydrangeas. My mom grows a few plants she’s gathered over the years because of Grandmother. She cut back a bush and I kept a couple of stems in water in my trailer. I adore having a vase of fresh hydrangeas and they are really lasting! I totally understand why Grandmother loved them. I love finding new ways of intimacy even after she has shuffled off the mortal coil.

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!

2020-08-12

It’s okay to change careers if it doesn’t fit anymore

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Bevin @ 9:29 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’ve been meeting a lot of lawyers lately at networking events. It’s rad, actually, because I used to be an attorney so it gives me a great connection point to talk about why I’m no longer a lawyer.

Today I had only 5 minutes in a Tokeativity Haus of Jane speed networking to get to know this woman, and our time was going to run out so I was very blunt.

“I’m not a practicing attorney anymore because lawyers have four times the national rate of suicide.”

It’s the truth. The more I work hard on my routines and grounding my mental health in my self care, I realize how unlikely it was for me to survive the rest of my life as a lawyer.

I also like to be transparent about making mental health and self care a priority.

Her response was priceless, “Yeah, none of my friends who are practicing are happy.”

I am so grateful that I took the leap to leave an entire career behind and figure out what I was actually here to bring to the earth. Turns out it’s Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics.

I remembered when George Floyd was murdered that my experience in criminal procedure class in law school showed me that I didn’t want to be an attorney. I had realized we were just playing chess with people’s lives and liberty as lawyers. It was gross.

But I was already halfway done with law school and I didn’t know how I’d pay off that $65,000 so I stayed in law school. I still carry $120,000 of school debt and I practiced law for almost 15 years.

I hope you never allow a scarcity mindset to dictate your life decisions. I believe you honor your commitments, but you also need to know when to change course.

xoxo.

Mom

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!

2020-08-10

It’s okay to thrive

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bevin @ 11:58 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 was speaking with one of my advisors today about communicating with folks that I’m thriving in a compassionate and kind way.

I think it’s hard for folks to want to do or be something different than their peers. There’s a lot of pressure to conform–often we’re raised to believe conformity = belonging = safety. There’s an inherent need for humans to belong and connect, but I don’t think it comes from conformity. I think connection comes from seeing the human being on the other end of communication and seeking to understand their perspective.

I’m thriving but I’m nowhere close to where I want to be in my life. Thriving for me means I’m feeling a vitality, an aliveness, hope for the future, I’m following through on the commitments I’ve made to myself and my loved ones, I’m taking great care of myself.

Given how unprecedented this pandemic is and how off things are from where most folks wanted their year to be, lots of people are understandably depressed, anxious or worse. But just because that’s true for other people doesn’t mean it needs to be true for me.

I learned in Al Anon recovery that just because someone else (especially a significant other/family member) is having a bad day doesn’t mean I need to have a bad day.

I have also learned that it’s kind to express things with compassion. I don’t just holler out to someone who is going through tragedy or tough times “HEY MOFO I’M THRIVING!” But I can still express my enthusiasm for where I’m going and how I’m feeling from a genuine place instead of feeling a need to downplay. Sometimes it’s more appropriate to say it as “I’m actually doing really well emotionally now after a really tough year.”

I’ll say to you–I had the hardest year of my life in 2019. It prepared me for continued uncertainty.

I lost about a third to a half of my projected 2020 income within the space of a week. But, I have multiple sources of income and could shift my focus to that. I had strong routines. I had a lot of mental health supportive self care. I had strong leadership in my life. And now, five months into this quarantine, I feel thriving.

Anyway, I hope you never let the “crowd” tell you how to feel. I hope you dig within yourself and find a way to feel hope and optimism no matter what is going on outside of you. It’s true that it really will all be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay it’s not the end.

xoxo,

Mom

Sat in over an hour of unexpected construction/vacationer traffic today. In an area of my drive with no cell service. I used the time to practice chair dance aerobics and I can sincerely say I was having a much better time than the impatient grump behind me!

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!

2020-08-09

Cheerfully adapting to what I thought I didn’t want going into 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 10:12 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’m starting to settle into the idea that I might not travel for the next year.

It’s been seven months since the last time I traveled (January, for Spunky’s wedding, which was two months prior to quarantine). This has to be the longest I’ve gone without travel since I was in high school. And even that, I think I went camping with my girl scout troop at least four times a year. And went to camp every summer.

Kyle Cease teaches to lean into doing something different, that’s the opposite of what you usually do, in order to expand. Last year I stopped producing any content for four months, the most private I had been on the internet since I started blogging in 2002.

I learned so much about myself during that time. I think this might be the case, too.

I don’t know for sure if I won’t travel at all, but it sure seems unlikely that this virus will be under control anytime soon. I can thrive in whatever circumstances.

Maybe I’ll get an RV I can drive around in (the one I live in can’t go anywhere because I don’t have a vehicle to pull it). Maybe I’ll go someplace nearby for a day trip. I just feel like staying put is the most cautious choice and I’m in a quarantine pod with my mother. Traveling doesn’t seem like a risk worth taking.

Quarantine kind of feels like a deeper adventure than I originally contemplated as I tuck into “How long is this going to last?” It’s always with a big heap of gratitude that I get to quarantine at a place that feels like summer camp. I can even go to my mom’s art studio for arts and crafts, sometimes she and I play ping pong.

I had some really fun zooms and lives today. I taught my first chair only zoom aerobics class for my friend Chrystal’s “Fat Chat.”

Deidra hosted a 4:20 instagram live sister sesh where we got to pop in and share things the other Glowing Goddess Getaway babes might not know about us. A bunch of my friends went live with Deidra and it felt like we were all together. I miss getting together with them but Deidra and Sailene have done a remarkable job keeping the sisterhood together with their livestreams.

Community happens when we all continue to show up.

I have been studying leadership skills intensely for the past year and one thing I am working to do is cheerfully adapt to new circumstances.

It takes an emotionally mature and mentally tough person to adapt cheerfully when things don’t go their way. I had originally intended to be on the road much of this summer and that didn’t happen. The pandemic is making travel potentially lethal. I don’t really need to go anywhere. So I’ll cheerfully adapt and see what I can learn about myself staying in one place for a long time.

This is already the first home I’ve lived in where I’m completely unpacked! And it’s easier for me to keep clean.

As an aside, I’m not motivated to do laundry frequently since it involves wearing a mask in the common area laundry room. Doing laundry with a mask on is weird, it is an oddly sensory experience for me and not being able to smell my fresh clothes from the dryer is something I am missing. So much weird pandemic grief!

I hope you learn to cheerfully adapt to changing circumstances.

xoxo,

Mom

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!

2020-08-07

Go slow to go far

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 12:36 am

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

Dear Kids:

Yesterday I talked about learning from failure. Today I want to talk about something that’s helped my learning process a lot. Slowing down.

When I was deep in perfectionism and people pleasing, I was really intense. Not in the best way. I would speed over connection to get to the point, I would barrel past non verbal cues and I assumed everyone out there had the same goals I did.

This doesn’t actually reflect my values–especially around diversity. Understanding and accepting that everyone is different, coming from different points of view and has different goals is really important!

This is actually very meaningful to me now as I truly believe human diversity is our strength as a species and everything that makes us different is important!

But constantly being in a rush, focused only on my point of view and not taking into consideration different communication styles or what someone was really communicating was a huge liability. 85% of job advancement is based on people skills, according to research by Stanford, Harvard and the Carnegie Foundation. Developing those I’ve realized how much slower I need to go in order to have the connections and depth with folks that my Scorpio Moon desires!

I’ve done so much study in the area of people skills and a lot of what I’ve learned is to slow down and focus on quality connection. And slowing down enables me to really learn and sift from what I go through. When I was barrelling past niceties, I was also not slowing down to evaluate.

Get clear about what’s really important in this world–relationships, and prioritize accordingly. Quality of life is on the other side of that!

xoxo,

Mom

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!

2020-08-05

Fail forward

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 9:28 pm

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

Dear Kids:

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to embrace failure.

I grew up very talented at academics. I could put very little effort into things and get great results. I didn’t fail frequently, and I think that actually has made being an entrepreneur a worthy opponent.

Success looks like failure 80% of the time. I’ve learned that you’re winning no matter what as long as you don’t quit.

Either you win or you learn, which just sets you up to get to where you need to go.

In life no matter what you’ll absolutely be disappointed, treated unfairly, just plain knocked on your ass. If you choose not to learn from it, you will continue to be presented the same lessons in different circumstances until you do. So it’s just best practice to learn from it, evaluate it and get better.

I have wasted so much time being too ashamed to embrace a failure and added a lot of suffering to the pile.

This time last year I thought I was embracing failure but now I see how much more enthusiastically I embrace failure now and how differently I feel about it.

Mistakes are stepping stones. You’re going to mess up.

Your greatest fear will come to pass, and you will be okay. (A paraphrased Stevie Nicks quote.)

xoxo,

Mom

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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