Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2014-01-15

Guest Post: How to Be a Good Ally to My Crippled Arm

My bestie Jacqueline Mary is disabled in a way where it is not readily apparent to the naked eye. Her arm was shattered in a bike accident a couple of years ago and the initial surgery restored only a small percentage of function in her arm. But because she still has her left arm and most people aren’t particularly observant, it’s not obvious right away that there’s anything different about it. She often has to tell people not to touch her arm, especially strangers in public, and sometimes people we know don’t even believe her and continue to poke, touch, even punch her in the arm because they think she’s joking. She’s also in a lot of chronic pain that has gotten worse over the last couple of months.

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She posted the following note to Facebook and I really loved it. Not just because she’s my friend, but also because I thought it was an exceptional example of stating your needs and asking for help–I believe vulnerability is a sign of strength.

What was a huge bummer about it was that she reposted it several times to her Facebook feed and it only got 10 likes. Whereas the day before when she posted about being hungover she got 30 likes. It speaks to a lot, especially to how uncomfortable people are about disability and vulnerability.

I’ve learned a lot from Jacqueline about disability lately and the most distasteful one was that men often use it as an opener to hit on her. GROSS!

Blanche side eye

So here’s a dating pro-tip: if you see someone has an injury or a cane, don’t use it to make conversation to hit on them. Hit on them in a different way. Get creative. Here are some ideas.

Every person who has chronic pain or a disability has different needs and asks around it, but most folks really want to be heard. So if a friend of yours is asking for help or being vulnerable, a simple “like” to say you heard something, or even (my favorite) a comment heart (<3) is a sweet gesture. I hope you like the following piece by Jacqueline Mary.

This is a brief PSA about the status of my arm – I’d appreciate some likes on this (aka- i read this, that sucks).

Things are not at all great. My radius is no longer attached to my wrist, which means it’s just kind of floating around in there. My hand is quite literally dangling off my ulna. In the last 6 weeks, my pain levels have risen pretty dramatically and my mobility has lessened even further. I’ve been to the clinic several times for this, but since I’m going to Bellevue and they’re seeing me for next to nothing, this is going to be a long process. They’re looking into surgical options and trying to see if anyone is crazy enough to cut me open without knowing what’s really happening in there. My MRI failed because of the amount of metal in my arm (which I’m told over and over again is exceptional).

The result of this is that I need my friends to understand. Guys, I’m tired. Fucking exhausted. Being in pain every moment is a huge head trip in so many ways, but the most noticeable is that it sucks all your energy away. Aside from actual physical fatigue, I’m mentally fatigued. What I need to do for my arm and what I need to do to survive are at war. The strength it takes to not just quit my life and stay in a comfy bed with my arm elevated is really wearing on me. This makes me, basically, bitter and cranky. I apologize.

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In addition, my arm is extra fragile these days. Even a tiny bump creates big pain. This means that I don’t want to go to things where I’m sure it will be jostled. I’m actively trying to avoid anything with crowds (especially shows, unfortunately). I’m driving most places these days. I can’t ride my bike anymore. The train, when it’s busy, is pretty awful for me. Please still invite me to things, but understand that I may decline for what looks like no good reason.

I’m wearing ace bandages a lot more these days, and it’s looking like I may turn back to the sling. Both of these are scary and stressful, as it’s much more of a physical indicator of my disability than I’ve had in a long, long time. This results in even more unwanted attention from assholes on the street. It also creates an appearance of being weak, which is extra scary because, well, I am, and it makes me feel like a bigger “target” to be attacked. However, if any of my creative, DIY, or textile manipulating friends want to make me a beautiful sling and/or wrap, I would seriously love that. Especially if it didn’t look like a sling and therefore made me feel a bit safer.

I know that most of my friends don’t have experience with disability, but I appreciate that you’re trying. Here are a few things you can do to make life a little easier on this crip:

1. Don’t touch my left arm. Ever. Don’t push it, don’t pull it, don’t try to hold my hand on that side, and don’t insist I hug you with both arms. Don’t be insulted if I pull away from you, I’m most likely in pain, aka not trying to get away from you. (And, for the love of god, don’t fucking tell me my scars are beautiful and/or give me character. Don’t downplay my disfigurement.)

2. Help me out. Offer to carry things for me. Insist. Help me open jars, doors, envelopes, even my coat. If you see me trying to do something stupid and struggling, offer to do it for me. I know, I know, I can get pissy when you offer, but offer anyway. The pissyness is a result of feeling bad about needing help, not a result of your offer.

Another GREAT way to help is walking on my left side if we’re in a crowd. I’d much rather have a trusted friend on my bad side than for it to be open to whatever dickbag wants to knock into it. Take the lead, guide us to a safer place, and don’t be afraid to yell CRIPPLE COMING THROUGH!

Also, feel free to call people on their shit if they’re not being kind or a good ally to me. I’m so worn out from having to tell people “Don’t touch me there, don’t push me, that hurts, THAT REALLY HURTS,” just to be met with giggles. It’s not a game, I’m not playing, and it’s not funny to me. Think of it as a matter of consent.

3. Be understanding. If I’m cranky, late, or cancel completely – I’m sorry. I can’t do all the things I want to do as it is, but it’s getting much harder lately.

4. Be kind. I’m tired. I’m sensitive. I’m touchy. Just be sweet to me. I try to not be sensational about these things, but I still have pushback where people seem to think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. I know I mostly look fine, which is why things have gotten to this point before doctors would take me seriously.

Guys, I’m fucking scared. There isn’t really any other way to say that. Every time I go to the doctor, they manipulate it which makes it hurt even worse. I will not go back on painkillers. The “best” option I have is a surgery where they will take apart my entire arm (from the elbow down) and completely restructure it. This means another hospital stay, recovery time, physical therapy, and a bunch of other things I don’t have the time or money for. I have no idea how I’m going to manage that, but I trust that I’ll figure it out when the time comes.

So yes. This was a “brief” PSA about the status of my arm. Thank you for reading. Feel free to ask questions if you have any, but mostly I’m just very grateful to have friends who will read this, get it, and try their best to accommodate my bullshit.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey for the Rebel Cupcake Leather Family Photo Booth.

Jacqueline is going in for major arm reconstructive surgery tomorrow morning. She’s going to have a piece of her hip inserted into her arm! The recovery period is going to be intense and require a lot of cabs. It’s so hard to know how to help, but here’s a concrete ask you can probably help with (or signal boost)!

Folks reading this in any city served by Uber cabs–a smart phone cab hailing service that allows you to call a car with your smart phone, which is actually a lot easier in NYC than calling a car service. Uber is offering a special where if you sign up now, as soon as you use your first free $20 ride (that’s right, it’s free for the first ride with this sign up), Jacqueline’s account will get a $20 bonus. Which means a free ride to or from work for her! You can help her just by taking a free cab ride!

Sign up for Uber here, Jacqueline’s referral code is uberjacqueline but should be automatically entered when you click that link!

These are the North American cities Uber serves–I love it and it’s pretty easy to use, especially the UberX service, it’s even just a little bit cheaper than a standard Brooklyn car service.

ATLANTA BALTIMORE BOSTON CHARLOTTE CHICAGO COLUMBUS DALLAS DENVER DETROIT HAMPTONS HONOLULU INDIANAPOLIS JACKSONVILLE LOS ANGELES MINNEAPOLIS MONTREAL NASHVILLE NEW JERSEY NEW YORK CITY OKLAHOMA CITY ORANGE COUNTY PHILADELPHIA PHOENIX PROVIDENCE SACRAMENTO SAN DIEGO SAN FRANCISCO SANTA BARBARA SEATTLE TORONTO TUCSON WASHINGTON D.C.

And if anyone has a lead on how to build a clamshell for Jacqueline to lounge in during her recovery, or the money to finance putting 100 pink and white balloons in her bedroom let me know.

2012-12-06

Queer Fashion Guide to Buying A Stylish Hat, A Guest Post by Nicky Cutler of Goorin Bros.

One of the most popular blog posts in 2010 was my Queer Fat Femme Guide to Butch Fashion where I just listed all the things I like to see on a masculine-of-center human being and I think it worked well in terms of inspiring more queersexuals to try out a two-toned cowboy boots.

I’ve been noticing how I respond to hat-wearing queers and it is usually pretty positive, so long as the hat fits well and works well on the head of the person wearing it. Often I notice that if the hat is a bad fit or shape for the person it kills the whole look. So I decided to ask my pal Nicky Cutler (co-producer of Yes Ma’am) who works for Goorin Bros. what to keep in mind when purchasing a hat.

This advice goes for folks of all genders, though I am presenting it with a special dedication to those dapper gents who wish to take their outfits to the next level. Omigoddess, a good hat. Swoon.

I love Goorin Bros. for their multi-gender styles and versatility. Their hats go up to XXL and fit big heads with big, thick hair like mine!

Thanks to Nicky for their exhaustive, empowering advice!

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Nicky Cutler, guest blogger and Goorin Bros. merchant, wearing a fedora.

Here are a few things I always ask my customers to keep in mind when shopping for a hat:

1. Have in mind what is most important to you, fashion or function?

2. What purpose is your new hat going to serve? Formal evenings, casual outings, date nights, apple picking or versatility?

3. Have an idea of shape (i.e. fedora vs cadet vs flatcap) that you envision yourself in, but then keep an open mind to try different styles.

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Yaz in a flatcap selling Victoria on some wine and a fancy floppy for Winter at the Goorin Bros. sample sale in Brooklyn.

4. For Fall and Winter, I always ask my clients about their wardrobe, but also other accessories they wear. Sometimes the hat is the last of their purchases so it is important to match the hat to their accessories (and not necessarily to their coat). No one likes to look like a crayon. Matching color of hat to the coat can be overkill. Make choices that show contrast. For example: a black peacoat looks professional and clean with a grey scarf, black leather gloves, and grey low profile. Or sometimes matching the hat to their shoes work too! Whiskey color shoes, black trench, and whiskey colored fedora.

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I totally went for this floppy for the Winter. I love that it looks like a fancy sun hat but is really warm, the brim can be popped up and it is tall enough that doesn’t violate my pompabang.

5. Dont ever model a hat to something you’ve seen in a magazine. Hats are like any other type of clothing, not all shapes will look great with all faces. Have an idea of style, but try different cuts and fabrics that might suit your shape and coloring better. For instance, the pinch on a hat should echo your jawline. More of a pinch and less of a brim, would be more suitable for a person of a narrow defined face. Less of a pinch or a wider brim hat would work well with a rounder face. There are always exceptions, of course, depending on attitude and what you feel you want to pull off.

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Tuck Mayo models a fedora.

6. If you cut and grow your hair out often, your hat will fit differently. If you’re planning to have a major hair cut, wait until after to purchase your hat to make sure it fits you nicely for right now. A haircut can sometimes mean the difference of a half- full size. With hats, as in many things in the queer world, size definitely matters!!

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Hana Malia effortlessly modeling a cloche.

7. Location where you will be wearing the hat the most. If you’re traveling from out of town, perhaps you live in Florida but are shopping in Boston in December. Chances are most of our choices will be heavy wools and fabrics that may not be comfortable to wear in hot humid weather. Make sure you choose fabrics that are suitable for your climate.

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Victoria modeling a straw cloche. Foxy, right? Great for warmer climate Winter styles.

8. Is your hat a fashion statement? Need to pair it with a specific dress or suit? Bring in, take a picture of, or wear your attire to the shop and try different looks. Different hats can change the entire look of just one outfit. For example: Jeans and a t-shirt paired with a fedora is fun and playful… maybe for going to a casual get together. But the same jeans and tshirt paired with a cadet = everyday casual dress for getting from point a to b in the big city.

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Glenn Marla in a cute cadet!

9. Make the hat your own! Personalize it – Add feathers or hat pins… Wear the hat – Don’t have the hat wear you!

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10. Set aside time to dedicate to picking out your perfect hat. Put trust in your merchant’s suggestions. Have fun and experiment! Play around. Examine the possibilities of the particular hat choice with fit and placement (i.e. tilt on the head, brim down or up, etc.)

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11. Don’t be a afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

I especially echo #11, stepping out of your comfort zone is really key style advice. Goorin Bros. hats are made in the USA and Goorin generously sponsored the 90210 trivia contest at Rebel Cupcake in October! Thanks Nicky, thanks Goorin!

For blog sponsorship opportunities, email queerfatfemme at gmail!

2012-10-18

What Brian Learned from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child

I have to say I feel complicated about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child. I am utterly delighted by the show, and the title character’s lust for chicken nuggets, pink, glitter and tulle are quite dear to my heart. The fact that the family portrayed is not at all interested in class passing and are utterly at liberty on camera being themselves makes them so, in the words of Four Four, free. It also challenges notions of what is “fame” and what is “appropriate” on television. The complicated parts I feel about it are wondering if it is poverty porn? Is it creating a spectacle out of people simply because they don’t conform to what are the typically televised “standards” for Americans? I mean, compared to the Real Housewives, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child is actually a lot more loving and interesting, a show based on interesting unabashed characters versus manufactured drama and pretend wealth on Barbie bodies.

Heather likes to tell me I’m really idealistic because I still believe that television can do good things. (She said this after I talked about how much the Real Housewives does to advance women’s spirituality since they all go to psychics.) I think that a television show highlighting a working class family from rural Georgia who don’t conform to body standards is radical in its own way. I mean, Mama on that show has plenty of body shame to dish out on other fat women which I find really sad, but she’s still a fat woman on prime time television and that’s better than yet another Kardashian look-alike.

Anyway, my BFF Brian posted these brilliant recaps of Honey Boo Boo on his Facebook page that he has given me liberty to share with you, dear readers, in case you were wondering what you missed or, like us, are missing the weekly installments of wacky hijinks in South Georgia.

xo,

Bevin

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Me and Brian on his birthday. Our friendship just turned 12!

Last night, Arnie and I sat down to watch the premier of this program. We had a houseguest from China. We baked pasta and poured pinot noir. I learned a lot. These are the top 10 things I learned.

1) A vagina is more properly known as a biscuit. This is becuase vaginas flake open like a really well made biscuit. Like the kind you get at Hardees.

2) When searching for a family home, don’t look for one that is merely near the rail road tracks. Look for one that has freight trains constantly roaring through on an easement you’ve granted the rail road across your lawn.

3) In some parts of Georgia, black men get the confederate flag painted onto their chests and drape themselves in an Ol’ Dixie the size of a bed sheet at sporting events.

4) In some parts of Georgia, bobbing for pigs feet and belly flopping in a puddle of mud are considered sport equivalent to the Olympic Games.

5) You can never have enough living room furniture on which to display pallet after pallet of toilet paper.

6) The best way to lose weight is to fart 12 to 15 times per day, while passing around a bucket of cheese balls. This is because it is a fact that farting 12-15 times per day is a sign of good health.

7) If something like one in three hundred people who swim in a local stagnant pond will contract the flesh eathing bacteria known to be living the local stagnant pond, these are acceptable odds.

8) It is acceptable to refer to your teen daugher as “Chubbs.”

9) Most often, when one excuses oneself from the dinner table, it is because one has to make a poo poo. If you are a “what you see is what you get” kind of person, the intent to go make a poo poo should be announced when leaving the table in the middle of the meal.

10) The only way to avoid having nasty hair is to always wash it in the kitchen sink. Use a stool if necessary.

***

Last night, was another episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child. I learned a lot. These are the top ten things I learned.

1) Extreme couponing is even better than sex; it’s like doing your crack rock. And if you’re doing it right it takes an hour and a half to get through the checkout line.

2) If you are an adult standing up in a shopping cart, you may fall and take out and end cap.

3) The best place to pick wax out of your ears? The dining room table.

4) If you put a teacup piggy with on the dining room table, it will shit on the table where you eat. This is hilarious!

5) How to have a good time on the weekends: Find the carcass of a deer that has been hit by a car lying on the side of the road. Grind up the deer and put it in the freezer for later eating. Good times.

6) A redneck waterslide can be made from a tarp, a hose, and a bottle of baby oil. It may be a little messy, but God made the dirt and the dirt don’t hurt.

7) Elvis helps Santa Claus make toys.

8) If you and your baby daddy are on an anniversary date, romance is in order. Here are some romantic things you can do. Use a fork, just this one time. Eating with your hands is for all the other days. Feed your baby daddy jell-o off your spoon. Sexy and jiggly both. Give your baby mamma a gift. Wrap up a 40 pound, bronze statue of a deer, no need to box it, and reference your road kill weekends as reason a deer statue is meaningful.

9) Common law spouses are more properly known as “Shack-‘em-up mates.”

10) If there is no sign posted at your business explicitly forbidding pigs, then it is assumed that pigs are allowed in your dress shop.
***
I just watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. These are the top ten things I learned.

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1. Summers are hot.

2. In some parts of Georgia, goods can be obtained at the Kuntry Stoe

3. Practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice make perfect.

4. Pets like to be fed. This is annoying. Therefore it’s ok to rip a child’s pet out of her arms and give it back to the breeder.

5. It is a good idea to put you 6 year old on a four wheeler especially after getting a good laugh when Crazy Tony gets crushed underneath his.

6. Mama does not like to be thrown in the mud because she can’t get out.

7. Best place to trim toenails is in Mama’s bed. Trimmings should be left behind in the sheets.

8. Mama thinks Sugar Bear should wear his Santa suit to bed in July because it is “smexy.”

9. When having contractions, best not to pee so you don’t have your baby in the toilet.

10. The later stages of pregnancy hurt your biscuit.

***

I just watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned:

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– New babies smell like poop.

– Cream cheese tastes great straight from the container. Even better when it’s licked from your fingers.

– At water parks folks let their vajiggle-jaggle hang out out.

– If you never remove your socks on account of one time your foot got run over by a forklift and now your toes are mildly deformed, insects will NEST IN YOUR FLESH.

– Spray tan is like poop in a can.

– There is something called a “Rock Star Diva Pageant.”

– If you have sass judges will looooooooove you.

– If your nerves are getting the better of you while you are waiting for that gay up front to announce whether your child has won “Grand Supreme,” just lay down on the floor. Keeping your seat is neither necessary nor possible.

***
Hey, you guys! I just saw the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned.

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– Shhh! It’s a Wig. Is is the name of a place.

– Wigs for children are called wiglets.

– In the summer, you can pass time by stayin’ inside and diggin’ your boogers.

– The best time to invest in a new pool is the last week of summer.

– Sugar Bear’s puttin’-together-skills ain’t that good.

– If you get two sides, then why can’t the sides be meat? This is the eternal question.

– There ain’t no helpin’ crazy.

– In Georgia, the “Department Store” is a dumpster in a field. You can get there via four wheeler and they have very good prices.

***

I watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you guys. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned.

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– The Bam Bam look is when you don’t wear shoes to go shopping at the gas station mini-mart.

– Each roller skate must be put on the correct foot. Otherwise wearing them is uncomfortable.

– Your baby does not come out of your butt. It comes out of your biscuit. But a woman will ew herself before she has a a baby.

– Do not piss on mama’s couch. Do. Not.

– Recipe for lemonade: take five pounds of sugar and add 2 gallons of lemon juice. This is because the secret to good lemonade is a lot of sugar and a lot of lemon juice.

– What’s for dinner? Butter, sketti, and ketchup.

– It’s been a while since Alana done had road kill in her belly. This is because the deer ain’t migrating like they used to.

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The recipe for sketti. It’s actually really good, in case you are out of pasta sauce at your house.

***
Hey, you guys! I saw tonight’s episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned stuff. This is what I learned.

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-Supermodels look like they are undergoing electroshock.

-Mama don’t wear no makeup. Period.

-A good way to earn money if you’re impoverished is to play bingo.

-Bingo is a sport. But couponin’ is mama’s all time favorite sport.

-Miss Georgia 2011 is that tall in real life.

-If Alana can’t talk with her mouth full, when is she gonna talk?

-Miss Georgia 2011 never thought she’d say “fart” on camera, but that was before she met Honey Boo Boo, so…

-Perfect gifts for a 7 year old on her birthday: Hot sauce, soap, and cereal bars.

-Forklift foot and gravity sometimes conspire to prevent Mama from enjoying inflatable water slides.

-One more thing. Look it up yourself. #booboosneeze

Next week is the family sized season finale.

***

Hey, you guys. I saw the season finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo tonight. This is a photo of Alana’s reaction to being told she may want to avoid chicken nuggets.

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I learned a few final things over the course of this family sized episode. This is what I learned.

-Good place for a family portrait? Under an overpass.

-Sugar bear is not the dress up type. Unlessen it’s a funeral.

-Baby Kaitlin arrived on the Biscuit Express.

-Baby’s don’t smell bad like raunchy biscuit bad. More like formula bad.

-Eleven fingered babies remind Sugar Bear of Swiss Army Knives.

-Chubbs may not be an animal person.

-If you have to choose between going to a pageant and attending the birth of a youngin’, remember that the youngin’ will be born only once. You can’t take that back.

-Alana to gnats: Move to Africa. I’ll help you pack your stuff.

-Says Mama, “I raise my kids to be who they are. You can like us or love us. ” And she’s right. Those are the only choices.

-Alana has chicken nugget power.

2012-09-06

Guest Post: Today I Took it Personally by Jessica Luxery

I have loved the mystical creature that is Jessica Luxery for a long time. If you don’t know the incredible blog that is Tangled Up In Lace I highly recommend it for the well-curated mix of sex, witchcraft, feline adoration, great music, incredible vintage style and politics. Also Jessica lives in Canada and you all know how much I adore our Maple neighbors to the North and enjoy Maple Chasing as a lifestyle choice. This summer for me has been all about Ultimate Artistic Authenticity and when I read the following piece I screamed YES and asked JLux if she would allow me to share it with my readers as a guest post on the blog. I hope you enjoy!

xo,

Bevin

Jessica Luxery in a Bikini

I wore this bikini to the lake today.

Majestic has been working and going to school full time so we don’t get as much QT as we used to and when we’re spread thin (ha), we regenerate in nature.

The thing is, Mercury’s in Retrograde, I’m shedding my uterine lining and my idea of “going into nature” doesn’t ever involve (or rather, I’d prefer if it didn’t) thin white insecure teenaged girls.

But today it did.

Normally, I’d do what I do best. Sitting in unflattering positions, eating passionately and aggressively and deflecting everyone’s poor self image are my strong suits. (Right next to fucking, tying a pretty bow and swearing.) I like to incite and I love to be seen in my fat bawdy. It reminds me I’m alive… surviving and thriving.

But like I said before, Mercury’s in Retrograde, I haven’t gotten intentional time with my Lover and I’m on my motherfucking period.

Today was not the goddamn day.

Watching a couple different flocks of thin teenage girls whisper to each other and then stare at two magical creatures such as myself and my beautiful wife with a look like they’d smelled a ripe fart filled me with a fiery rage.

Fat people can’t just fucking go to the lake and move their bodies in public without repercussions. The majority of thin people CAN.

Now, because this is not my first rodeo and I do not want anyone to get it twisted, I want everyone to read my words carefully and I really want thin folks to GET REAL with themselves right now.

I know the thin folks who read my blog make some serious attempts at becoming more body positive and I know you all try to think more critically about the ways in which you participate in a culture that is out to kill me. I know a lot of thin folks in my real life care about me, love me and even find my devilishly good looks to be quite captivating.

So when I talk about my feelings and real experiences, I do not want to hear about how you’re not the bad guy and how you don’t appreciate my anger. I don’t care.

Today I took the countless stares, whispers and upset faces personally. Instead of challenging them, I started to shake with unadulterated rage and huffed off. I moved our blanket and snacks to a secluded inlet of the lake and sulked.

When Majestic and I started to process my feelings, I told them the reason I feel unsafe around thin folks at the beach was about me 1. seeing their fucking faces when they look at me and 2. remembering what it was like to hate my body and the gross awful things I thought about people then. Worse, the things I was encouraged by my peers to say and think about people and the way we bonded over mean and hurtful feelings like it would keep us satisfied until we allowed ourselves a small portioned diet meal.

I told Majestic that thin people are thinking a few different things about my body and I don’t like any of them. Are they disgusted beyond belief? Are they sad for me and my pitiful fat existence? Are they just staring because my body has become so abject and such a spectacle that they’re just interested in knowing what it looks like that unclothed? Are they scared about what my body makes them think about their bodies?

Majestic said, “They’re uncomfortable. They want you to be invisible, but you refuse. It would be easier for them if you hid, but you won’t and that’s upsetting.”

So maybe some of them are thinking about how ~*brave*~ I must be and that’s supposed to quell my upset over all the other thoughts they could be thinking.

As if them thinking its brave to have such a revolting body and still put on bathing suit and enjoy a swim just like them is a comforting thought.

But it is brave to know your body is scary and that people want to destroy it, but that it’s yours and you love it and you made the radical decision not to deny yourself a dip in a lake on a hot day or an ice cream cone or a lover who respects you.

Because I know it’s hard to be a teenage girl and if I thought they’d listen, I’d sit down with every last one of them and tell them I remember what it was like to be them and that I know what it’s like to carry that venom inside you.

Because as much as I want to tell the world how they hurt themselves by hating me, I really just want to fucking float around in the cool water like everyone else but you don’t want that for me.

And tomorrow’s just another day for me to be fat in your face and if that’s hard for you, TOO FUCKING BAD.

2012-02-10

Guest Post: How I Learned to Eat Greens by Blyth

Filed under: Fat Femme Foodie,Guest Post — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:55 am

One of the benefits of living with a good friend is that sometimes I come home from work and through no effort of my own my pals are hanging around in my kitchen. Wednesday night I had the most amazing experience with Heather, where she popped out a pile of bok choy and we sauteed it up. I have never eaten bok choy (or cooked it) to my knowledge and she taught me how to make it. It was amazing! Great food for wild ponies like us.

The experience of learning how to make the bok choy from one of my close friends reminded me of an amazing piece I had read just that very day. I related to it from a very deep level–raised by a single mom just barely above poverty level and often relying on fast and instant foods for lack of time, and growing up in a fat body. It is so honest, so beautiful and I am so grateful to Blyth for allowing me to share it with you below. I think food justice and healing our relationships with food starts when we are very honest about our her/his/theirstories and come together to discuss them. And when we share our resources and knowledge base to enjoy new and different ways of eating.

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This is the spread made by queer hands for Heather’s birthday party. The drink we called the “Punani Sunrise” which somehow had to do with my tendency to date/sleep with people from California. It is champagne, vodka, grapefruit juice, a squeeze of lime and some mint. Quite refreshing. Those pigs in a blanket were hand rolled by me and cooked in bacon fat.

How I Learned to Eat Greens
by Blyth

Most of my time in my mother’s house was spent eating something quickly over the sink, changing my clothes or maybe sleeping. From age 11 on I made it a point to be in a house with my mother as little as possible. To say I left home would imply that home was something steady. When the truth is that home had always been in transition, so it was not a place I could leave, it was something that traveled with me. Most nights I stayed with a friend or alone at my Grandparents. Andrea’s mother fed me more frequently then my own. Most of the time food was not expected anyway.

When I was in college I went home with my freshman year roommate for a holiday and embarrassed myself by starting to eat the lavish meal her mother prepared for us while I leaned against their kitchen cupboard. She looked at me with confusion, and maybe a little sadness, and said, “Would you like to sit at the table?”. It was the first time I noticed my inclination to eat standing. It ensured that there was little room for feigned intimacy and my ability to walk away was always close at hand.

Nobody taught me to eat. Nobody told me that people should share a table or chew slowly. Not that vegetables could come from somewhere besides a can or that bread could be made fresh. I was 15 when I walked into a friends kitchen and saw a pot of potatoes boiling on the stove. I asked her what she was making and her response shocked me, mashed potatoes. It never occurred to me that mashed potatoes could be made from anything besides pale flakes in a brown box. I remember the surprise registering in every limb of me and the humiliation of not thinking of that sooner.

I grew up working class. We went to pick up our welfare check and food stamps on the first of each month. Food stamps back when they still came in small booklets of play money. Some booklets were worth $10, some $20, some maybe even $50. And each booklet had an assortment of $5 or $1 ‘bills’ inside it. Though really I only remember the $1 bills. The ones that always tore too noisily from the binding at the end of the month when you were searching desolated packets for just 10 measly slips of paper. There was no way to be quiet or quick about it. And you weren’t allowed to rip them out ahead of time because they wanted to make sure you weren’t selling them or giving them away. They had to be torn from the packet in front of the cashier, which also meant in front of everybody else in your small Ohio town.

Shame and eating for a poor fat girl is a layered thing. There was the shame of being hungry, of feeling watched every time I put something to my mouth. And there was also the shame that had to be endured just to get the food in the first place. People make a lot of assumptions about poor folks on welfare. Like we’re all just taking a vacation on the system. Somehow my large body seemed to prove that point. So all of a sudden I was not just deciding on food for my ten year old self, I was also trying to guess at what would please every tax payer around me so that they wouldn’t think I was ungrateful. So I could earn the right to eat at all.

My eating and access to food seemed to always be negated by my weight. Even though I ate much less than anyone I knew and much less frequently. In reality we rarely if ever had the food we needed throughout the month. Most of the times because the food stamps ran out, but some of the times because neither my mother or I could face going to the grocery store to buy any.

When we did have food we ate Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper if it was a special occasion, shit-on-a-shingle (which is ground beef, salt, and flour over a slice of white bread), pasta with Prego sauce, discount cereal and whatever my Mom happened to bring home from the deli counter she worked at. Vegetables were canned corn or green beans. Every now and then someone would decide that we should eat healthier and frozen broccoli would get thrown into the mix for a while. Of course these meals always changed depending on where we were in the month and whether we could actually buy food at all.

After lots of work/saving/borrowing/ass-kissing, I left for college when I was 17. And when I got there I found I could camouflage my broke roots with politics. All of a sudden I wasn’t poor, I was anti-capitalist. I learned where to dumpster dive for food and got most of my toiletries from the trash at the CVS where I worked. Any extra food I got was from the $1 store or purchased for me by a friend with too many points on their college meal plan. And I didn’t stand out because my friends (who I was shocked to learn weren’t actually broke) were digging for dumpstered donuts right along side me. All of a sudden this was a value system. It was something to be proud of.

In my junior year of college I started dating a woman. It was my first queer relationship and I was so into her I could hardly stand it. She was sexy and nerdy and political. She grew up in Connecticut with parents who were still together, who loved her dearly, and who had taught her the importance of balanced meals. In an effort to woo her I invited her over to my place for dinner. Angel hair pasta from the dollar store, flavored with a dash of vegetable oil and a heavy pour of Adobo seasoning. It was classy. Nothing came from a trash can, it was angel hair pasta instead of regular old spaghetti, and I might have even stolen some of my housemates olive oil to use instead of vegetable. She wasn’t impressed, though she never told me that. She asked me later if I ate like that all the time. I told her no, sometimes it’s not so fancy. I remember that not being the answer she expected. We talked in length about food. Where we got it, what we learned about it, what we liked about it. She told me she wanted to be a farmer and was fascinated by nutrition. And I don’t remember feeling ashamed. Which is really a credit to her and how she framed things.

She was good at slipping things underneath the radar. She once asked if she could make me my lunch, since she was concerned that I didn’t eat frequently enough. I told her she was sweet to worry but I could feed myself. She tried to argue the point but my pride ballooned bigger and bigger. However, over the next few months it happened more and more frequently that her quest to try and cook a new vegetable left her with way too much food. And of course she needed my help eating it cause her fridge was too small for storage and she didn’t want it to go to waste. So I would cross the campus from class and sit down to a lunch of brown rice, sweet potatoes and kale. Had I not been so deeply infatuated with her I probably would have never put any of it in my mouth. As it was, I smothered nearly everything in ketchup until she banned it all together. She told me I could only put it on potato products like french fries or tater tots and she rolled her eyes at me when I pointed out that sweet potatoes were actually in the potato family.

These lunches were her way of feeding me, nourishing me, and side stepping my ego which was wrapped in a desperate need to fend for myself. She taught me how to boil rice and what vinegars tasted good. She introduced me to leafy greens and showed me how to let a vegetables flavor shine through instead of being smashed by seasoning. She sauteed chard, reminded me to drink water and managed to make squash a dessert. She would casually comment about how inexpensive rice and beans were and how kale was only 79cents a bunch. She set a table for us and I ate those meals seated, plates spread out on a small dorm room table. Of course I knew what she was doing, though my pride and perhaps my shock wouldn’t let me say anything at the time. But she was teaching me how to eat. How to receive love. She was showing me what it was like to be cared for. It was overwhelming. And so desperately simple.

Now, years later, I live in San Francisco and find myself among many others who have the privilege of choosing their food. At the moment I’m a lapsed vegan who does her best to avoid the gluten and cheese that wreak havoc on her body. I eat remarkably slowly. It is something friends and lovers comment on, though I hardly notice it. The perfect bite has become a prayer, a gesture of gratitude. It is a reminder to separate shame and sustenance. It is a reminder to appreciate not only the food on my fork but also the space and safety required to enjoy it.

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Blyth is a babe. Read her blog!

2011-09-14

Guest Post: 20 Things I Learned From Surviving a 20 Year Flood by Natalie

My friend Natalie moved away from Brooklyn to Central Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter her new apartment flooded, she had an emergency evacuation and suddenly lost just about everything. Her thoughts within a week of the flood were very inspirational to me and I thought they might be to you, as well. Learning how to lean on folks in times of crisis is really difficult and it helps to be reminded that it happens and our communities can reach out in very surprising ways. Vulnerability is a sign of strength, but it doesn’t make it easy.

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Me and Natalie at Michfest.

20. It is ill-advised to move during a tropical storm.

19. If you must move during a tropical storm be sure not to move into an apartment nestled between a reservoir and a river.

18. Stepping out of bed into foot of water in which things that are precious are floating will render your brain almost completely useless for quite some time.

17. It is best to have some one who loves you a great deal very close at hand under those circumstances

16. National news coverage is useless in an emergency.

15. Local weather coverage is even more useless in an emergency.

14. Having seen images of homes flooded on CNN is in no way preparation for being flooded

13. Even in the midst of “catastrophic flooding” there will be miracles, like a co-worker offering to let me live in her house which is unoccupied, has been on the market for months, and is staged for showing while I sort it all out.

12. Some people you love will disappoint you when you need them most, i.e., my father suggesting that maybe this happened as a result of my “lifestyle”. (My apologies to Central PA for bringing the wrath of gawd upon you all)

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Any lifestyle that involves tiny crowns is a very powerful lifestyle.

11. Nothing beats getting a call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years who wants to make sure you are going to be alright.

10. Sometimes when people ask if you need anything they are hoping you will say no.

9. The most expensive part of recovering from a flood is rebuying things used frequently towels, underwear, socks, salt, soap, toilet paper, etc.

8. Never use cardboard to pack valuables. Plastic bins all the way.

7. The shock of waking up surrounded by water pales compared the heart break of trying to decide what’s most valuable in the moments before a mandatory evacuation.

6. Gawd has an impeccable sense of irony as demonstrated by having a pair of my ex’s underwear be the only ones not rendered useless by flood waters.

5. When you are as powerful as I am it is best to be thoughtful what you say. Case in point: remarking that I wish I owned a fourth of the things I did while unpacking the uhaul the day before the flood.

4. Even waterlogged and beginning to mold there are some things I can’t bring myself to discard (signed copies of S/he by Minnie Bruce Pratt and Wounded in the House of a Friend by Sonia Sanchez; a butterfly mobile my husbutch gave me; a love letter I received in college.)

3. Bubble bathing will go a long way towards restoring your faith in water post flood.

2. Sometimes people who have nothing to spare will offer you their last. Being overwhelmed with gratitude is to be expected.

1. The definition of Love is the Strange Black Girl who will stop the world to hold your hand while you cry over a waterlogged pile of cards, pictures, and gifted art.

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Natalie you are amazing! We are sending you all of our love from your Brooklyn and Fest crews!

2011-04-06

Guest Post: Dear Mustache by Jessie Dress

Filed under: Beauty,Guest Post — Tags: , , , , — Bevin @ 9:54 pm

My Austin-based friend Jessie Dress (oft-mentioned on the blog) has spent the last month growing out her mustache and chronicled the progress and her feelings on her Tumblr. I was impressed by her thoughtful interaction with it and pensive posts. I’ve been thinking a lot about Femmes and Body Hair for the past 13 months because I’ve been working on a FemmeCast episode about body hair. Someday soon I will get an intern and get more of my media projects finished!

Here is Jessie’s latest installment, but definitely check out the archives of a Femme Growing Facial Hair on her Tumblr!

xoxox, Bevin

****

Dear Mustache,

I feel like you should have a name by now, but you don’t. So… the whole reason I set out to grow you out is that I realized I’d been removing you for HALF of my life. That’s 13 whole years! Thirteen years of being ashamed of hair on my face, of wondering if I’d remembered the hairs at the corners, of wondering if someone was going to comment about you when we kissed for the first time.

Thirteen years is a long mother-fucking time.

I was pretty sure I had this shit down when I started to grow you out. I made it easy for myself, committed to this one step at a time (I’m still shaving the rest of my lady-beard) but man, I was NOT prepared for all the feelings I was going to have about this.

Yes, yes, I hear you. I know that I’m going through KIND OF A DIFFICULT TIME (generally) in life right now. That’s true. But man.

After a lot of thought, this is what I have decided it comes down to:

Living in my body is really fucking radical.

Really.

Now, that might sound a little self-centered, or whatever. But if it is, good. Because I need practice at being self-centered. And really. There is privilege that comes with my body for sure. I’m acknowledging that. But I live in a really visibly fat body. I make choices about how I dress that body that I’m not ready to give up to make my body less confrontational for people. And now, I live in a fat body that comes with a mustache (in addition to many other socially-unacceptable forms of body hair*).

But damn, mustache. I LIKE YOU. You are REAL SOFT. I wish that this picture could show people how soft you are, but they will have to trust that I am smiling because you are so very soft.

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Mustache, you’ve also been turning it out in the quantity department. I really didn’t think there were as many hairs as you’ve grown! I think this is one of the main reasons that I’m trying (one day at a time) to keep growing you. I’m trying despite the increasingly odd looks from coworkers, women in grocery stores, and teenage boys outside of gas stations. I want to know what my body is capable of.

I’m sorry for you, mustache, that I’m so (lady) femme. As I say that, I feel like I should delete it, but I’m going to leave it. Because I really do feel it. When I first started growing you out, someone told me, “don’t do that! all the fucking genderqueer kids are doing that these days. it’s so trendy.” Well, it isn’t trendy for me, because you’re not drawn on, and you’re not stuck on, you’re not held up on a stick. I grew you with my very own – VERY FEMME – abundance of VERY AWESOME androgens. I hate that it isn’t trendy for lady femmes to rock ‘staches. I get angry.

I know, mustache, we know some lady femmes who rock ‘staches. Well, pat those femmes on the back, they are doing hard, pioneering work! And their coworkers probably look at them funny.

I promise to keep taking it one day at a time. I promise to trust myself. I promise to actually tell Jennifer who waxes my eyebrows that I’m growing you out on purpose. I promise to keep talking about you. Just promise to be gentle with me, and to understand if/when I can’t do this anymore.

I love you more than I ever imagined I could,

Jessie Dress

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PS – You look super-fine with glitter lips.

PPS – Thanks to my super awesome roommate Malcolm for the photos!

*let’s be realllll, most all body hair is unacceptable on women.

2010-12-03

Guest Post: Damien Luxe and Why She Loves the Gym

Damien Luxe is one of my favorite people and often mentioned here at Queer Fat Femme. She is an incredible femmespiration and she wrote this great piece about how she was able to reclaim her body by going to the gym. I think this is super relevant to anyone of any body type and definitely articulates a lot of what I feel about my relationship to exercise as a fat person.

xoxo,

Bevin

This fall I am celebrating an awesome anniversary: ten years of Going To The Gym. That’s 10 years of learning how to be in my body after 21 years of life kicking me out; 10 years of keeping calm and carrying on; 10 years of getting to be strong and flexible when I thought that experience was only for rich folks.

When I was 21 I went off to the University of Toronto and met another rad weirdo punk girl. We hung out tons and were super similar — except she Went To The Gym and I’d roam off reading Valencia et al. When she asked me to go with her, I scoffed, “um isn’t going to the gym for leisurely rich white people? that’s not me, babe.”

One day after much nuanced discussion regarding how non-owning-class people also benefitted by working out, and appealing to the protestant in me by pointing out that I was paying for it anyway, she convinced me to go with her into our school’s massive gym complex and join her in the pool. I made it fourish laps and then headily woozed my way to the dressing room and thought I might have a heart attack.
(more…)

2009-10-14

Guest Post: My Queer Community

Filed under: Guest Post — Tags: , , , , , — Bevin @ 1:28 pm

This is a guest post by Melissa D’Andrea, fellow Girl Scout Gold Awardee and radical queer organizer. Melissa wrote this in response to some HRC Glamdalism on her Facebook page.

I’m gonna use ‘I’ statements on this one, cuz everyone who’s commented on this status is more than familiar with that model. I am not a part of the “gay community.”

I’m queer, and what I do with my cunt has EVERYTHING to do with what I do with my cash. I am my sexuality, and I am my politics. For me, I cannot and will not separate them. That would be lethal.

MY queer community is anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-genderist, anti-heterosexist, anti-sizeist, anti-capitalist, anti-ableist, pro-immigrant, pro-healthcare, pro-worker, sex positive, against police brutality, the prison and miltary industrial complexes, and the list continues.

My queer community believes that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” for real… It’s not just a quote that would be found on an HRC t-shirt.

In my community, standing up to injustice means standing up to injustice. Regardless of whether the perpetrator is HRC or the Mormon church. I don’t give a fuck about what it looks like to the outside world. The political, middle of the road, half-assed solutions that only benefit the white, the privileged, the cisgendered and cissexual are not and never will be good enough for me.

If you take out gender identity from a bill in order to get the sexual orientation part passed, it’s selling out, it’s not a victory and it’s not a stepping stone. It’s shitting on your neighbor to benefit yourself. I do believe that changing legislation is extremely important, but in what is such a flawed system, I do not support the idea that it is the only solution, nor is it always the most important solution.

Most great social justice movements involved illegal activity, many of them, the stonewall riots (being a very popular one for all LGBT folk) included, involved acts of vandalism. The law is not on the side of the oppressed, the lawmakers tend to be the oppressors.

I am willing, and ready, and have already fought for your right to get married (even though I believe the institution of marriage should be dismantled altogether) because it is your right. I will stand by you if you wish to have the right to join the military. (Even though I would prefer it if beautiful queers stood up and fought back against the killing machine that is the U.S. Military.)

But it is my obligation as a citizen of my queer community to stand side by side with those who publicly challenge the largest organization that claims to be the authority on fighting for LGBT rights, and claims the title “human rights campaign” and in actuality is only fighting to protect the rights of a gay,white, affluent, male,cisgendered,cissexual, American, adult population.

-Melissa D’Andrea, SophisticuntSupremeFemmetacularSisterfriendLoverGrrrl

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Melissa at the International No Diet Day BBQ I threw in May

2009-04-07

Guest Post: Stacy Bias on the Hegelian Dialectic and HWP on Craig’s List

Hey, the Fat Girl Flea Market was an intense success! I raised $7,500 for NOLOSE, an organization I have mad love (and some critique) for with the help of Marisa. I have a video blog about it coming, as soon as I figure out how to edit video, which is my next big media idea and venture. In the meantime, here’s a guest post from my friend Stacy Bias. Everytime I see “Height/Weight Proportionate Please” in Craig’s List ads, I remind myself that the work I do as a Queer Fat Femme activist, performer and community leader is going to make it easier for the queer fat femme 20 year olds of today to date when they are 30 year olds like me. Simply stated, I use that shit as fuel for my fire. Here’s Stacy’s reaction, which is in the form of PROSE. xoxo, Bevin

The last few weeks I’ve been scouring the Internet for information on Hegel and his dialectic. His thing was “thesis, antithesis and syntehesis” — simplified, it’s “Problem, Reaction, Solution.” Now it is entirely possible that I have this wrong — I have no seat in the Ivory Tower and Hegel is notoriously complicated. What I offer below is, at best, an over-simplification — and at worst, a joint misconception, but even if I have but a fraction of the idea, it’s worthy of discussion. And it’s been enough to piss me off — which is really all I want to do with you here. I want to piss you off and remind you to ask questions. And maybe entertain you a bit at the end with a poem.

So – there’s nothing inherently bad about Hegelian Dialectic on its own, but when applied with forethought and sinister intention, it becomes a powerful tool for manipulation and shady transfers of power. It’s impossible to research the Hegelian dialectic without being dragged, wide-eyes unblinking, into the disturbing world of conspiracy theory. The most common Internet example given for understanding Hegel’s dialect involves the proposal that 9/11 was an ‘inside job.’ I’m not really interested in coming off as a crazypants, so I’ll choose a less extreme example. It’s important, however, to not dismiss this concept because it is, I believe, the foundation on which consumerism stands and is the rot at the root of our social evolution, both individually and as a culture.

Example 1: You are a child, it’s X-mas Eve and your mother wants you to go to bed so she can finish putting together your toy bike. She can’t tell you this outright or you’ll know there’s no Santa. In this moment, you have the power. You are young and small, and she could physically force you to go to bed, but that’s really no fun for either of you. Barring being hog-tied to your crib, you could also continue to get up and ask for water, you could throw a tantrum, you could be stubborn and willful – to your own detriment, of course, as you wouldn’t have the bike in the morning, but no matter – you could definitely make things harder on the both of you. So your Mother wants you to give up your power and do as she wishes. To accomplish this, she applies the Hegelian Dialectic:

“Sweetheart, if you don’t go to bed then Santa will not come and you won’t get your presents in the morning! He may have already skipped our house!” — Manufactured Problem.
You, of course, totally freak out, as that’s the last thing on earth that you want — Expected Reaction. (fear)
And then you promptly brush your teeth, put on your PJ’s and hop into bed with the blankets over your eyes and don’t move a muscle until morning, lest Santa should truly not come. — Predetermined Solution.

(Should I have put in a Santa spoiler-alert up there?) 😉

So, that’s a simple, every-day application of Hegel’s dialect. No one was really harmed — your mom got time to do a kind thing for you, and you got a good night’s sleep. Of course, the hours you spent agonizing about whether or not you’d offended Santa were kind of unnecessary, but you still got your bike. As far as shady applications go, that wasn’t so bad.

But let’s talk about the more subtle and sinister applications that have been eating away at our collective self-esteem for centuries. Let’s talk about consumerism — which is, at its most stripped-raw, the attempted transfer of personal power from the self to the marketplace. Not an objective description, I’ll grant you, but frankly — fuck objectivity about consumerism. Now marketing, in and of itself, isn’t inherently a bad thing – just like Hegel’s Dialect is not a bad thing by itself. It is the way in which it is applied that determines its merit.

Example 2 is less specific — but only because it will seem so familiar it hardly needs an introduction. Most marketing systematically seeks to create the PROBLEM (Need to lose weight? Teeth not white enough? Thighs not toned enough? Clothes not hot enough? Skin too wrinkly? Hair not shiny enough?) in order to create fear and insecurity (intended reaction) in order to get the customer to give up their personal power (i.e. confidence/empowerment) and convert their insecurity into a projected *need* for the marketer’s product. (the pre-determined solution.)

Simple as that — Dig a hole, fill it with product.

This is a long-winded way to get to the root of what I want to talk about below — which is Preference. Personal Preference. And the fact that, in this day and age, I am fairly certain that none of us can be trusted to take our personal preferences at face value, given they have likely been systematically predetermined for us over the entire course of our lifetimes, all the while we are blissfully unaware that what we think we think are thoughts that have mostly been thunk for us. It’s not a pretty prospect — but I don’t care how pristine the wall is, if you throw enough crap at it, something will eventually stick.

Lest someone think I take issue with all preferences, let me clarify that the only real problem I have with preference is how much of it goes wholly un-examined. If you dig at the root of your preference and find healthy, sound reasoning that makes sense and works for you — go for it. But I believe that we must regard many of our likes and dislikes with suspicion — and that the only way to step out of this rather sinister trifecta employed by those who would have us salivating like pavlovian puppies at the sound of a commercial break is to be empowered, aware and conscious consumers — in all markets (tangible and not.)

This thought process brought me to the following, admittedly self-serving, poem — which joyfully employs a trite rhyming convention to illustrate why I hate surfing Craigslist.

Let’s talk about HWP. You craigslist junkies will likely know what this means, but for those who haven’t had the pleasure, I’ll expand the acronym. HWP = Height/Weight Proportionate. In other words, it’s a socially acceptable way to say “No Fatties.”

Now I’m recently un-coupled, and while not ready yet to date,
Just the fact of being single puts this dogma on my plate –
Checking ads to see what’s out there, just in case I get a whim,
I am struck by how the margin of acceptance is so slim.

Your weight must be exactly in proportion to your height?
Height of what, I ask you? Of severity? Of might?
Is my height of intellect proportionate in measure,
to the weight of skills I have in giving lover’s pleasure?

You see, Hegel may have called it out inside his dialectic:
predetermined outcomes based on formulated rhetoric.
But so subtle are the ways in which our views are formed and guided,
that often we believe they’re things we consciously decided.

I think nurture plays as big a role as nature in this game,
Nature being who we are, and Nurture; what’s to blame.
The thing we need remember is that even truth’s subjective;
opinions hardened into ‘fact’ by vote of the collective.

Let’s apply this logic, now, to beauty as a construct,
adherence to its rules; a voluntary code of conduct –
What if we were all to truly give ourselves permission,
to overwrite the jargon with our own new definition?

I offer, not as judgment, but as simple point of reference
that intolerance is often found beneath the guise of preference –
And if we are to bring about our social evolution,
questions, more than answers, will determine our solution.

Why is it I feel the way I feel about this thing?
Who is it that taught me – and what value does it bring?
Your conclusion, it may ultimately place you where you started –
What matters is the fact that you explored the paths uncharted.

I invite you, gentle people, with the best of your intention,
To take into your world a brand new sense of intervention;
To never take on faith the things you’re taught you should believe,
‘Cuz truth is seldom simple as our messy hearts perceive.

©2009 – Stacy M. Bias

Stacy Bias is a fat, queer femme dyke activist, educator and entrepreneur, nesting in the happy belly of the Portland, Oregon. As Bevin says, “Portland loves a fatty,” but even here we have borders to push. Stacy’s activist projects can be found at stacybias.net and her attempt to leave her day job can be found here: taproothosting.com

2009-04-02

Guest Post: Zoe’s Break-up Survival Guide

My mantra for the next few days is “Talk to me after the Fat Girl Flea Market.” I’m the Captain this year, which means I’m doing hundreds of hours of community service to make sure there is money to put on the next NOLOSE conference. If you’re anywhere near NYC this weekend, we have tons of handbags and shoes and plus size clothes. I am a shopaholic but I think even I will need a break from clothing for at least a few days.

In that vein, I am turning to a couple of guest posts. This one comes as a frequent request and I’m pleased to have it available in text form. Please give it up for my BFF, Consiglierie, and the person I can call after a nightmare about my ex (last night! 16 months after it all went down!) who reminds me “This is just an anxiety dream, you’re doing okay.”

–Bevin

When FemmeCast was just getting started, Bevin decided to do an episode about breakups and she asked me to share with listeners my tips for getting over a broken heart. As, at the time, the self-described “Queen of Heartbreak,” I felt well qualified to address this issue.

You see, I had been through three pretty devastating breakups and had learned a lot about heartbreak and how to get oneself through in ways that not only left one wiser and more self-aware afterward but with a little style and grace as well. Then, in April of 2007 I had the breakup to end all breakups and I needed every last resource I had to make it through what would be a long and hard journey through Heartbreak Land. It was during that time I essentially put together what would become something of a patented breakup strategy: a 30-point list of tips on how to make it through.

Shortly after my terrible breakup, no less than three of my besties had awful, devastating and shocking breakups of their own and I was able to pass this list along to them as well.

Since the original air date of Femme-Cast Episode 2, a number of folks have told me how helpful the ideas contained in my list were and a few asked me if I had a written copy. Sadly, after I read that list for broadcast, I threw out my notes. However, just this week a friend going through a very sad breakup of her own made the same inquiry and when I told her I didn’t have a written copy, she transcribed them herself and sent them to me. For this blog entry, I’ve made a few notes next to the original tips in a few places.

And so Bevin and I present them here for you should you ever need them. We encourage you to leave comments with tips of your own so that other readers might benefit from your ideas as well.

Speaking of benefiting from the ideas of others, while without question my friends and therapist helped inform this list in many, many ways, I can say that specific credit is due to media Femme-Cast media correspondent Naima Lowe for numbers 17, 23 and 24.

Thus, without further ado, I present my 30 point breakup strategy.

xoxo,
Zoë Femmetastica

1. Body modification. I interpret this broadly and feel that this can involve anything from a tattoo or piercing to a new haircut.
2. Retail therapy. There are clear dangers here but my belief is that if you have the money saved or the room on your credit card and you can afford to do a little shopping, buy yourself a few nice things that will help you feel better. This can be anything from a movie ticket to a new pair of shoes to a vacation.
3. Cross days off the calendar: It’s a good material marker of the fact that, day by day, you’re getting through.
4. Sob when you feel like it. Don’t hold your feelings in. Doing so will just cause you more trouble later on.
5. Make a variety of mixes: angry, sad, vengeful, take me back, the full gamut.
6. Journal like a motherfucker.
7. Write your ex letters you don’t intend to send expressing everything you wish could have said or wish you could now say to him or her.
8. Pamper yourself with beauty treatments. I personally recommend Lush for this.
9. Call friends when you want to call your ex or are just feeling lonely. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t stay isolated.
10. Don’t listen to those who have timelines for how soon you should be getting over your heartbreak or moving on to a different stage. It’s your process, not theirs.
11. Exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk and getting some fresh air. Do this especially anytime you feel tempted to call, email or facebook stalk your ex. Throw yourself out of the house and move in whatever way you can.
12. Do little letting-go rituals. These can be whatever you want; you can even make them up on the spot.
13. Fill your social calendar but also make time for yourself.
14. Watch TV series on DVD so that you always have something familiar to come home to at night and to occupy yourself with.
15. Be as sad as you need to be whenever you feel sad. There is no need to pretend to be happy in front of your friends or others to make them feel more comfortable with your grief.
16. If your breakup was one that involved a lot of confusion as to what the fuck happened, try not to torture yourself with the question of “why?” You can make up theories, but you have to accept that you’ll never really know why.
17. Make a list for yourself entitled: “The 50 Reasons Why You Just Lost the Best Thing You Ever Could Have Had.”
18. Post this list and other self-help type sayings around your apartment.
19. When you’re ready, pack away all the mementos and artifacts of your relationship. Only keep those things you can’t bear to part with and toss the rest.
20. Know that the constant surprise reminders of your ex will continue for a while, but eventually they do start to fade.
21. Remember the 6-month rule: It really does get better with time.
22. Know that living well is the best revenge.
23. Remember that the ability to be vulnerable is a sign of strength.
24. Even if your learn the terrible news that your ex never really loved you or fell out of love with you, know that you having loved fiercely and with all your heart is, in the end, all that matters.
25. If you’re dealing with a despicable ex, at times you might feel powerless but remember, your ex can’t take anything you don’t give him or her. That is, remember to retain your self composure and grace, even in the face of bullshit. You can always bring the crazy, crying and bitching to your besties later.
26. Never forget you have people in your life who love you.
27. If your ex keeps trying to make inroads into your life or you share common social circles, set all the boundaries you need to be ok and don’t apologize for needing them, to anyone.
28. Do what feels right to you about getting laid. Hook up on Craigslist, go to a sex party, or just stay celibate for a while. It’s your timeline, and don’t feel pressured to do anything other than what feels right for you.
29. Remember the only way out is through.
30. Realize that one of the hardest parts about letting go of a significant relationship is the way in which the letting go can make parts of the self – those parts formed through the daily patterns and rituals of our relationships – seem almost unintelligible after the relationship has ended. Sometimes it’s hard to understand who we are in the world when those aspects that were formed through the daily routine of “we” or even “I in relation to him or her” are now sort of adrift. This part is really hard. It does take time to let go of your life together and that part of yourself that developed in and through the routine of your life with your former partner. But it does get better with time, and we do eventually develop new rituals and senses of self.

Bonus for 2009! If you’re still friends with your ex on any social networking sites, stop that! Unfriend him/her! And for the love of all that is precious in the world, do not read your ex’s blog or cyberstalk him/her. Doing so will just make you feel crazy and gross. Unfriend and then close your browser tab and walk away…

*Also, side note, almost 2 years after her catastrophic break-up, Miss Zoe Femmetastica is in love again. And he’s a really great, amazing 3D magical boy I am ecstatic to have as a boyfriend-in-law. Day by day it really does get better.

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