The relentless pursuit of my joy.

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!

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!

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!)

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.

"I'm not a practicing attorney anymore because lawyers have four times the national rate of suicide."

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.

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.

Go slow to go far

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!

Fail forward

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 always knew I was going to love the Grateful Dead.

I’m pretty sure I went to a Dead show when I was in utero (my parents saw a lot of the Dead in Merced during the 70s), though I didn’t hear them played at home since my mom wasn’t into them like that.

When Jerry Garcia died it was a *moment* for a lot of people. I remember our Bay Area high school campus was aflutter when the news broke and some of my teachers were broken up. I didn’t get it. (Yet!)

Kind of like coffee, beer and whiskey were acquired tastes, I knew there was some threshold I needed to pass through to find the yummy of Grateful Dead music.

I tried to listen to concerts recommended by friends but I didn’t get hooked.

When Andy Cohen posted his protocol to help Jimmy Fallon learn to love the Dead on his Instagram Stories (link to the highlight!) I screen shotted every week’s assignment. I figured I would get to it when I had the chance.

Cue the pandemic just a few months later. When I first moved into the RV I now live in I wasn’t going to have internet service for an undetermined amount of time because the folks who run my awesome mountain internet weren’t installing during the first few months of the pandemic.

I could work during the day on my laptop at my mom’s art studio but when I came home for bed I only had access to what I downloaded to my phone.

I would wind down with the three songs from the Dead catalog that were the week’s assignment.

I had been sober from the Housewives at that point about six months, but somehow Andy Cohen still owned my nights! Listening to the Grateful Dead is far more soothing than listening to privileged women fighting over bullshit.

Here’s the protocol from Andy!

Listen to as many live versions of each of these songs as you can each week! You start to hear and understand the songs, pick up favorites, etc…

Week One: Althea, Uncle John’s Band, Fire on the Mountain

Week Two: Bertha, Shakedown Street, Scarlett Begonias

Week Three: Ripple, Brokedown Palace, He’s Gone

Week Four: St. Stephen, China Cat Sunflower, I Know You Rider (note the latter two are almost exclusively played back to back in that order)

Week Five: Brown Eyed Woman, Franklin’s Tower, US Blues

Week Six: Eyes of the World, Casey Jones, Terrapin Station (Andy’s favorite, which did sway me to also adopt it as an early fav–highly recommend for stargazing!!)

Week Seven: Jack Straw, Estimated Prophet, Morning Dew

Week Eight: Ramble on Rose, Cold Rain & Snow, Dark Star

Extra Credit (by me, this is me adding to the Cohen Curriculum): Use plant medicine and listen to Drums & Space from literally any show. The band “plays” and I find it incredibly soothing and a great journey.

I am a late in life cannabis user so it makes sense that my love for the Grateful Dead came after I embraced plant medicine. I think cannabis pairs impeccably with the Dead.

Andy Cohen recommends Cheeba Chews and if you’re lucky enough to live in a state where they sell them I co-sign–seriously a high vibe party edible.

This is the playlist I made on Spotify to use for the Cohen Curriculum. I literally just grabbed random versions for this initial playlist. I mixed it up with Dead & Co. because I love the evolution of the music over time and John Mayer on guitar and vocals is a chef’s kiss addition to this incredible music.

My hope is that over the years I’ll have all of my personal favorite versions of each song on this playlist but that’s gonna come in time. You can tell which songs I got really into because there are a lot of versions on the playlist! My current top favs are Touch of Grey, Ripple, Terrapin Station, Brokedown Palace, Truckin’.

The Grateful Dead bring me so much joy that I can put on a concert for my walk in the woods and it makes me dance like a leprechaun (as reported by a neighbor passing me on the trail).

After the eighth week I was telling my friend Sonia how much I love the Dead now and she said, “You gotta watch A Long Strange Trip on Amazon Prime.” She is not a Deadhead but had watched the documentary series.

It’s AMAZING. I have now watched it three times. I have more questions than answers. This is how I know I’m passionate about something, my curiosity is just unending. Like with cannabis there’s so much to learn to expand enjoyment of the Dead experience!

Graduate School: Watch A Long Strange Trip!

I now listen to live shows and discover new (to me) songs all the time. What a delightful moment it was the weekend I fell down the Music Never Stopped rabbit hole! I insist you begin your exploration of that song with the 1975 studio recording because it is a PARTY. Saxophone!!

The songs evolve, the band has eras and there is so much to know about more than five decades of making music!

After a year and a half of loving the Dead I have taught many songs as part of my aerobics classes and did a whole Dead tribute class in April for a special feminist cannabis online event.

You can now “follow” Dead shows from the comfort and safety of home since they are live streamed. (If it was in my budget I would 100% pay for the season, the shows are shot so well and it is a musical entheogenic experience.)

Dead & Co. has really great social media, especially when they are on the road. They broadcast the first song of each set for free on their Facebook and it was a delightful thing for me during Second Pandemic Summer.

I wasn’t sure when I was going to fully identify as a Deadhead but Merriam-Webster defines a Deadhead as a devoted fan of the rock group the Grateful Dead and that’s me for real!

Many thanks to Mr. Andy Cohen for creating an onramp to pandemic joy for me!

(And he still owns my nights! Have you listened to Mariah Carey’s audiobook from his publishing company yet??)


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

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

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

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

This boundary was awesome for us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*This is a pseudonym.

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


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

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

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

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

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

INGREDIENTS

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

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

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

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

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

1 cup shredded carrots

1 small onion finely diced

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

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

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

METHOD

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

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