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

2015-03-25

Florida Keys: Wandering Key West and “The Art of Doing Nothing”

Dara and I spent three days total in Key West. We drove down there from our cabin on Big Pine Key and spent the day after our paddleboard yoga adventure tooling around. I noticed the tourist crowd was pretty mainstream, which surprised both of us because we had the impression that Key West was pretty queer. From all I had heard about Key West I expected a hearty smattering of weirdos and did not find many. (Turns out they come during specific events and take over Key West.)

16143916734_2af8aa442f_zThere are a lot of super flamboyant amazing things in Key West, which made me think weirdos would love this place and flock to it.

All of the locals we interacted with were fantastic and super weird. Whether weird in appearance or not, upon interacting with them they were definitely not what I would call “normals” and were lively, fun folks.* It was the tourists who had me on guard. (Unbeknownst to us, it was Spring Break.) Dara would literally count on one hand the amount of visibly lesbian or gay couples we saw during our time there.

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That first day we wandered Key West I noticed the tourist crowd, but quickly ignored it to enjoy the beauty of the old wooden houses and taking our wander through the town. It was so lovely.

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Before Paddleboard Yoga we took a walk down a random beach street we found and enjoyed how friendly most folks were. I loved peeping into the water for schools of fish. (I only found one.)

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We had a great lunch at Pepe’s, suggested by an instagrammer I follow when I asked him about Key West. (He’s a minister and the gay dad of one of my favorite bloggers–if you like spiritual musings and great landscaping, request to follow Poppa143.)

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They served iced tea by the pitcher, and a cat was sleeping on the sun roof above us in the outdoor patio! Clearly I was smitten with this place.

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16143911324_2c5e75337d_zI found a spot in the marina that sells fish food and got to feed really huge, beautiful fish! I loved it so much we came back to do it again on our third day in Key West and that time saw a Nurse Shark dive in and grab a fish who was snacking on our fish food. Insert complex feelings about the circle of life.

On our mid-afternoon wander we ended up on the main drag of Duval Street and I started to feel kind of woozy and nauseous. It took me a few minutes to realize I was getting heat sick, needed to sit down and drink a lot of water. I usually only get heat sick when the temp is in the high 90s or above. Even though Key West was only in the 80s the sun was very intense. I noticed a sharp difference once my hair was up, I had cold water and we were walking on the shady side of the street.

16558949707_5821421fb5_zDuval Street, in the deep afternoon sun.

After I was heat sick we stopped in at this really cute coffee shop for an hour and played chess under their fans and drank frothy iced coffees. It was inside a converted old wooden house and was really cool to get to experience the inside of a gorgeous house. They also had some porch seats but that was too hot for me, as I was a wilted flower.

16578739000_a91afc4515_zThe coffee shop is across the street from Pepe’s.

I noticed the coffee shop had a real estate office inside of it and I fantasized about being a realtor in a cute coffee shop. One of the little wooden houses-turned-hotels that goes for $400 a night has a “liming hour” from 4-5 where they encourage guests to sit and literally do nothing. (Theirs includes an alcoholic beverage; upon some internet research I think the term “liming hour” might be appropriated from Caribbean culture.) I love the idea of valuing the art of doing nothing, though, and it was definitely needed given how sharp the sun is! I was glad we found a coffee shop to have that moment.

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I’ve learned a lesson about sunny adventure vacations and booking in time to just chillax.

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After our rest, we ticked off some more tourist bucket list. The Southernmost Point in the Continental US is a must. You have to stand in line to take a photo!

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20150305_165357Dara wanted a photo on the REAL southernmost point, which was the little wall behind the buoy. I used the selfie stick. Yes, we got a selfie stick for this vacation.

We did sunset at Mallory Square. We watched a pig named Snorkel perform for tips with a foulmouthed gentleman making dad jokes. I tipped him $8 and another few when he offered photo ops with Snorkel.

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We had a mediocre dinner at a taco place called Amigos that enabled views of the touristy Duval Street. I realized once we got our food that the four stars on Yelp were for the ambiance of being in the “party.” Does anyone else feel annoyed when you eat out and the food isn’t amazing? I’m just always interested in delicious food first and making scrumptious nachos is not difficult.

16578712328_4a8e89ae0d_zNacho view.

IMG_20150305_192722253Nacho selfie.

Our post nachos, dog tired bodies wandered down an adorable street lamp lit alleyway listening to birdsong (at night!) and settled in for the 45 minute drive back to Big Pine Key. That was the night Dara got bit over 100 times by a spider. Her bites are still healing, almost three weeks later.

*Many of them suggested the Green Parrot as the bar and live music venue to check out. We don’t drink so we didn’t end up prioritizing a bar but I wanted to pass on the suggestion to my readers!

2010-05-20

Love Snippets

I have been thinking and talking about love a lot lately. I’ve gotten some amazing anecdotes from people. I’ve been writing them down in my tiny notebook.

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I wish I always looked so put together when I am writing something down. Also, I wish I always had my BFF Rachael looking over my shoulder, but it is sort of like that considering I consult her at least once a day.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in love.”

Me: “Really?? How is that possible, you’ve had so many boyfriends.”

“I always like to keep one foot out the door so that I can leave at any moment. Besides, the way you all talk about it [referring to my friends] why in the world would I want that? I never see you experiencing the upside!”

***

“Do you have confidence that you will fall in love again?”

Me: “I am skilled in dozens, or even a hundred things… Falling in love is something I am adept at, and comes easy. I fell in love by accident most recently. I know I’ll fall in love again. Whether or not I fall in love & it is reciprocated is an entirely other thing that I have no control over. That’s where faith comes in. Do you?”

“It is all I believe in.”

***

“I’m going to see [her girlfriend] this weekend. I think she’s going to break-up with me.”

Me: “Oh no! I am so sorry!”

“It’s okay. The way things were going she was just being shitty to me. At least now she’s being honest about her emotions. I’d rather know that it’s going to be over with. And I have a laycation coming up with someone in a couple of weeks so that softens the blow.”

Me: “Imagine being excited about a break-up.”

***

From a private comment to my last entry about someone being broken up with for being glitter and with someone operating in an emotional beige zone, I read this part of it and had to snap because I was reading it and agreeing so heartily.

At this point in my life — where I’m learning how to allow myself to have desires and feelings (about things like kids or family or love relationships) and not censor them before they’re even allowed to emerge — being with someone who’s interested in imposing emotional limits from the start is a bad idea.

Wow. Yes. And having the wherewithal to actually articulate that is so leaps and bounds into being in touch with your desires and feelings. Sometimes I feel that there is this pressure in the dating community to be so cool with just being casual and having “no labels” and not processing. Not that I love processing, but I feel some elements of social pressure exist to just kowtow to the people who are commitment skittish. Likewise, there is a lot of pressure in other circles to BE MARRIED and HAVE KIDS and assimilate to heteronormativity. There has to be some delicate balance between u-haul lesbianism and enjoying things casually.

I have a friend who uses the term “intimate casual”. It leaves the door open for intimacy in whatever form that will take but also not putting big expectations on things. I think it is possible, but not when you’re so concerned with policing your emotions lest you scare someone away.

I think people who are checked into their emotions are less likely to be scoundrels. I realized that in the long aftermath of my broken engagement that he was never really checked in with himself emotionally and never told me when the landscape changed. Instead he cheated.

This is why I have made it my business to start loving conflict. Having conflict with someone at least means I know where they’re at emotionally, without having to worry if someone is hiding stuff from me. (This is a process. I still hate conflict. But I am trying!)

***

A note on my last post about glitter and beige. I’m not trying to say glitter means extrovert, beige is introvert. I know plenty of glitter introverts. I also know plenty of stage personalities who are also introverts. And being a stage personality is only one example of a glitter personality. I am just trying to call out a beige privilege in dating–a lot of people leave glitter in the dust for someone less intense/less complicated, etc… No shade to beige identified folks.

However, I will say if you find it hard to wear your glitter on the outside, I encourage you to try. It takes a lot of chutzpah to be in touch with what you are passionate about and share it with people, in ways that make you comfortable but also get you out of your comfort zone.

Rebel Cupcakes gotta work hard to stay fabulous–sometimes it feels like a never ending battle to express yourself and feel good about yourself in a world that is telling you that you are always too much for it. I am confident it is going to pay off. Being true to yourself is ultimately a winning battle.

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3/4 of the Baconettes at the last Rebel Cupcake. The next one is June 17th!

***

I leave you, my romantic, ever hopeful sweethearts, with a poem by one of my favorite new-to-me poets. Regie Cabico:

2010-05-12

In Solidarity With Those Who Have Been Called “Too Much”

I have a bestie who lives far away. When we used to visit only once a year and not keep up with each other regularly, as soon as she would pick me up from the airport I would ask for the current love life run-down. She is polyamorous and it was (and still is) always an interesting mix of folks.

One time, the list included a girl she was particularly fond of and things were going quite well, except that the girl’s other love interest was quite the opposite of my bestie. “I don’t know how to describe her except that she’s just… very beige.”

What made the situation, and Beige herself, so vexing was that the love interest was starting to spurn my bestie for Beige. “I just don’t know what she sees in Beige. She’s the exact opposite of me.”

This love push and pull between my bestie, that girl, and Beige would go on for years, with the girl bouncing back from monogamy with Beige to my bestie and back again.

I have incorporated the descriptor “Beige” in my love vocabulary now. It’s hard to describe what Beige even means, as a personal trait. Maybe it’s just the absence of bold color? I just know it’s pretty much the opposite of glitter. I identify as glitter, which to me is a color.

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Vagina Jenkins has been told that she is “too much”. Also check out her kickstarter so she can bring her too much to your town!

Glenn Marla has a performance piece in Tragic Magic where he talks about people who have been called “too much”. I’ve been called too much my entire life–too fat, too loud, too feminine, too “lipstick” when I first came out, too expressive, too blah blah blah blah blah.

I hate it. I love big and I always express myself. When I am excited about something I get louder, and I really like to be excited. I am effusive in my praise of people, and when I’m with someone in a romantic context I can make them feel like the only person in the room. I’ve been told this by multiple partners, which is why I tend to date Leos. I have also been told that I am a lot different than people expect by a lot of lovers.

I LOVE romance. I really enjoy giving and receiving special attention and courtship. I am so not the kind of girl who can play aloof–I just don’t have time or inclination to pretend to be something I am not. If I can “take it or leave it” I’ll just leave it.

I was told by someone I went on a couple of dates with that I was “a lot to get used to.” It brought up a lot for me–I had so much rage around being told that and it took me a few weeks to unpack. It felt like being told I was too much, even though I know that wasn’t the intention. I guess this post is my way of turning that unexpected rage into productivity.

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Heather has been told she is “too much”. Me, too. That’s why I got big hair, to go along with my big personality.

Heather and I were talking about being too much and how people get so scared and run to the easy, non-threatening beige. “It’s so unfortunate because they could have something so good and so easy, but instead they run away like a coward and don’t want to deal. If I wanted to date people who didn’t want to communicate and were douchebags I’d just go back to straight dudes.”*

We’ve both been left for people who didn’t hold a candle to us. It sucks! I don’t even know how to tell you how to deal with that except just to let it show you who that person really is. If someone prefers beige to glitter than it tells you that they don’t have it in them to date you and they don’t deserve you.

I go out with people and I see they have all of this potential and then all of a sudden they’re dumping you in a picture text message from the Gossip Girl set.** It can take a minute to realize that they really just showed you all you needed to know about them from their bad behavior.

I don’t know what it is like to be left for someone who is fabulous. I’ll let you know if it happens. I don’t usually get left for someone else, though, I get left because people aren’t emotionally ready to deal with anything, not even the conversation where we come to some agreement about what our casual romance, Romance, or ROMANCE could look like.*** I mean, everything is negotiable. And if it isn’t then at least you know it isn’t and that in and of itself is some sort of answer. I just think it’s worse being left in the dust holding nothing and wondering what the hell happened.

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My BFF Rachael, the Donna of Femme Mafia International, has been told that she is “too much”. Hey Atlanta, check out her new monthly Friday Femme Centered party starting THIS Friday, Friends With Benefits. Info here.

My friend Taueret has a tattoo that says “I love harder than expected.” I think that’s true for a lot of Ferocious Femmes and other flamboyant queers. I think it scares people. I mean, it’s true, some of the most scoundrely scoundrels I have dealt with let loose the “I love yous” within a week of starting to date me, which I ate up. I like to think that I am learning how to temper it a bit and be a little bit more skeptical about professions of forever(!!), and of course not profess love too early. But I do believe in showing people affection. And when you’re enthusiastic about people, actually saying “You’re awesome!” instead of hiding who you are and how you feel.

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Taueret. Frankly I just don’t understand how there can be too much of her love.

My bestie Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha told me once on the heels of another fizzled romance that she feels like this agent who incites change–that she tends to somehow be that catalyst for the people she dates to suddenly start working on their issues, and then they are sadly no longer emotionally available to date. It feels very frustrating when this happens over and over again.

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I feel like if Leah is an agent who incites change, it is somehow made less threatening and more appealing by her propensity for wearing hot miniskirts. I’m just saying.

There’s no great answer to this. I want to tell you all there is absolutely someone out there for you and that suddenly your Prince(ss) charming will show up and tell you that you are SO much instead of TOO much. I do firmly believe that there is someone out there for everyone. I just also know from personal, current experience that it takes empyreal patience to find someone who is in it for the full flamboyance, nurturing, love, whatever you have to give.

It took so much work to become the confident, courageous, colorful and caring person that I am. I won’t quiet it and I won’t be shushed just to make someone like me back. The right romantic interest, friends and community would want me to be my most vibrant self.

Being a risk-taker in love is going to pay off. I will always have experiences worth writing about, good and bad, I will always have things to learn from. I will always keep changing and keep growing. I am the kind of person who needs an adventurous risk-taker to come along for the ride. I encourage everyone to take risks, big and small, in love and in life as much as you can. It is what makes life so much more interesting than beige.

I had a great date with a really hot, fat, tattooed older butch who said they didn’t like make-out parties because “I’m a specialty food. The people who are attracted to me are really into me. But there are lots of people who aren’t.”

I have found a lot of empowerment from this statement. Being a specialty food is something special. It makes me a lot more interesting–going through the work I have had to go through to unlearn self-hatred and myriad of other things has made me a really fun and fascinating person. It makes the days I feel good really fucking shine, for no reason in particular. It means the work I do as a Queer Fat Femme performer, writer and activist is to create visibility. I hope my visibility helps all of the young Queer Fat Femmes out there have an easier time with dating when they’re 31. Maybe in 10 years Queer Fat Femmes won’t be such a speciality food (but will still be special!).

There’s no magic formula to making someone not intimidated by you. There’s no magic formula to helping people get over a lifetime of hatred to love themselves enough to want to date someone who is nice to them. It’s true for any marginalized identity, fat folks, dis/abled folks, people of color, trans folks, survivors, queers, etc…

I can give you this answer: There is only patience and confidence that as a community, if we love each other enough and work to help one another heal, we’ll create queers who are confident enough to love out loud and give glitter (and orange, purple, and paisley) a chance.

*I want to say there are plenty of straight dudes who are not douchebags.
**True story. “Thought of you. Also let’s not see each other anymore.”
***This is why Unicorn Dick is described as that fantastic head, heart, lust, timing combination–timing is often a bitch. Um, also, I hate this trend amongst queers where it feels like we can’t talk about “WHAT IT IS THAT WE’RE DOING” because it’s so threatening to have words for it. Come up with something creative but don’t avoid talking about it because it’ll scare someone away. It just leaves you left with no ending because there was no real beginning. Dangling participles are sucky in grammar and suckier still when they hurt your heart!

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