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

2013-10-04

How to be a Good Ally to Fat People Who Appear to Have Lost Weight

Our culture normalizes talking about bodies all the time. There is especially a lot of value placed on weight gain or loss. Turn on a television and just listen to diet chatter. It’s pervasive, obnoxious and well-meaning individuals perpetuate it in our personal lives all the time.

I like to create an environment in my life that is about substance over small talk, where compliments are genuine and weight is value-neutral.

“Oh, but Bevin,” you may be saying. “I really mean it as a compliment when I notice you’ve lost weight!”

But, well-intentioned friend, just because you’re well-intentioned doesn’t mean what you say doesn’t have a harmful impact. Weight loss doesn’t mean I look good. I believe I look good at all of my weights–all bodies are good bodies. And I know your perception of me might have changed because you are socialized to believe smaller is better, but I would like to gently invite you to do something different with your nonpliments of “You look so good!” when someone has lost weight.

It’s also important to remember that the well-intentioned friends come in all shapes and sizes, fat, thin and in between.

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Photo by Amos Mac.

1. How about don’t talk about it?

I strongly subscribe to the philosophy that my body is nobody’s business but my own. If I want to talk about it with someone, I will and I do.

I completely understand the inclination to ask questions about an obvious change. I am a naturally inquisitive person. My friends call me the Queer Oprah because of my tendency to really like to get into the meat of people’s stories. As I’ve learned how to become a more sensitive and compassionate person I have had to learn that sometimes you just don’t ask and you stay in the dark. It feels kind of impossible to not be nosy about it but I do it anyway because it’s not my business.

Also, what if you’re wrong? A friend of mine just said she gets asked all the time if she lost weight when she puts her hair down!

Being nosy and being inquisitive are natural things that I am still working on curtailing. But I think it’s worth it to do the work to be sensitive because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I want my friends to feel like they can be their most vibrant and awesome selves around me.

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Super cute picture of me and Sarah Jenny from the Yes Ma’am archives.

2. Wait for the person to bring it up.

Have you ever noticed that lots of straight people will out themselves to you within about ten minutes of conversation? Sometimes as short as two. Straight people in a heteropatriarchy are reaffirmed all the time about how great, normal and important their straightness is. Therefore, they have likely not had the experience of having to hide or code their sexuality to people. They don’t really play the “pronoun” game and affirm their heterosexuality without thinking about it.

The same is true for lots of people who have lost weight. In a diet-obsessed culture, it is super normalized that weight loss is a good thing. People who are excited about their weight-loss will probably bring it up because it is normalized to talk about people’s bodies whether that is right or wrong. So let it happen if it will organically.

People don’t stop to think about whether or not weight loss might be a sign of someone’s increased health or not. I know many people who have had cancer that lost a lot of weight rapidly. Candye Kane (an amazing blues singer) said on stage once, “I don’t recommend the cancer diet.”

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Candye Kane by XRaySPX. Buy Candye’s cds! They’re great!

Maybe just ask them what’s going on in their life and talk to them organically. The core questions you have about them may just come to light. But, again, their body is none of your business unless they bring it up.

If they do bring up their weight loss in a positive manner, you can do the work of someone working in solidarity with fat people by saying, “I think you look great at any weight, but I’m really glad you feel good in your body right now.”

3. Mention a general compliment that is more neutral.

If you really want to compliment someone because you genuinely think they look good, there are lots of things about someone’s appearance you can go for. Instead of mentioning weight loss thing, if you want to compliment someone you can go for something else. “Your hair looks great!” “I love this outfit!” There are a bunch of different ways to express positivity to someone that don’t take into account weight loss and reinforce that weight loss is the only way to look good.

I can see friends who come at me when I’ve lost weight sort of looking for a way to talk about my appearance without going down the wrong road because they know I loved myself X number of pounds ago and they don’t want to bury themselves in the wrong kind of compliment.

4. “You seem particularly present tonight. I don’t know what it is, but you just seem extra YOU today. I love it!”

If you must say something to the person, I suggest the foregoing. Kris Ford gave me this quote.

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Kris!
I think it’s really great! What a remarkable way to get to the essence of what your weight loss compliment is really about. When we stop to think about what we really mean when we’re talking to people we might be able to clearly communicate without hurting them.

5. Absolutely don’t ask someone what they’re doing.

Omigod, my family is so into this discussion. I zone out when I start to hear diet talk, Weight Watchers, walking the track, whatever new thing they’re doing. I truly believe in health at every size and will totally pipe into discussions of fitness, feeling good in your body and other things from an all bodies are good bodies perspective. But I have heard “What are you doing??” question so many times and I just absolutely hate it.

Again, often folks will offer it if they want to. But in general the “what you’re doing” question is such a standard thing people think is okay to ask but it’s actually really personal! I have a super close friend I asked this question of because I genuinely had no idea how she had lost weight and wondered. But I’m close enough to her that when she dropped that it was an eating disorder it was a safe(r) space to talk about it. I also learned from that moment to tread even a little more lightly with that stuff, to open those kinds of conversations with gentle warnings or open slowly. Because people who are just hanging out or going about their life maybe don’t want to just talk about their traumas out of the blue because you want to comment on their bodies.

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Another picture of Kris because I couldn’t choose. Hot fatkini!!

I struggle with what to say to people when they comment about changes to my weight. True fact about me–I tend to be an emotional non-eater. If I am going through a rough time I will likely lose some weight. I lost sixty pounds when my fiance left me and every time someone commented on my weight I would say, “Bad break-up.” I would kind of grumpily respond to a nonpliment with snark.

I don’t always want to do that, but I really leave it up to how I am feeling in that moment. Sometimes I go with, “I think I look great at any size.” Often, especially if it is a friend or loved one, I go with a very long explanation of what lead to my recent weight loss so that they understand what I’m going through, that it’s been a real struggle and that the weight loss is a byproduct of a larger initiative to resolve a chronic condition I have.

Sometimes, I just respond to weight loss nonpliments graciously because it’s not worth the fight. I learned to respond to compliments I didn’t agree with back when I was still self-hating. I would do things like respond to compliments with, “Oh, I don’t look good I still have x,y,z wrong with me.” And I replaced that with a simple, “Thank you,” until I was ready to really hear and absorb good things about myself.

A friend told me once, “Hi skinny,” in response to weight loss. My response was, “Um, I don’t identify as skinny.” Because anytime I’ve ever lost weight in my life (as someone who has a lifetime of fat experience) I have always been fat.

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Miss Mary Wanna dressed as a pizza. Photo by Gizelle Peters.

And, in the case of my beloved Grandmother, I accept her compliments graciously and deeply appreciate when my mom pipes in with, “But we love you at any size.” Because sometimes it’s not worth the fight. But it is amazing to have my mom acting in solidarity with my politics and values around all bodies being good bodies at any size. This was not always the case, but working with her in love, respect and compassion through the last twelve years of my participation in body liberation activism, has actually been really rewarding.

I’ve also blogged about being a good ally to your fat lover as part of my Fat Sex Week series.

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2013-06-14

Untapped Cruising Territory: The Park Slope Food Coop

As a person who believes strongly in abundance, I know that out of 8 million New Yorkers there are plenty of pockets of queers I don’t know. They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone and I am on a journey to explore queers in the city from places outside of my comfort zone. Untapped cruising territory.

I’ve long postulated that the Park Slope Food Coop, a fairly legendary place in Brooklyn, is teeming with queers I don’t know. I mean, it’s teeming with people I do know since I can count thirty members who are friends of mine without really trying. But since most of those folks I know from social situations and everyone has to grocery shop, there’s probably a ton of members that are hot queers I wouldn’t otherwise run into.

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The event: My friend Victoria needed to get some grocery shopping done for a big party she was throwing and she knew I wanted to come check out the Food Coop. I already know about the strict membership work requirements (if you can’t get someone to cover your shift your penalty is two workshifts and it goes up exponentially from there), the abundance of cheaper organic groceries and how you can’t shop without being a member. But you can visit.

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Why this is untapped for me: I’ve been hearing about this place the entire decade I’ve lived in New York City but never stepped foot inside.

The outfit: Given that Victoria texted me as I was walking home from the gym I had about five minutes to get ready. One of my exes was a member of the Coop so I figured I’d play to my audience and wear something really “girl next door” since that’s what she liked. This is really how I think sometimes, playing to my audience in these sort of leaps of consciousness, My ex who shops there liked this kind of aesthetic so probably someone else will. No make-up, casual clothes, not typical cruising gear, but we work in the situations we have.

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The Wing Femme: Victoria is a perfect Wing Femme. She’s very friendly, outgoing, positive about the possibilities of me getting laid and knows the Coop well.

Before we went in she looked at me and said, “Bevin, remember, it’s not all twenty- and thirty-something queers in there.” I think she had low expectations for my cruising at the Coop theories.

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The scene: I had to bring a state-issued ID with me in order to be signed in as Victoria’s visitor. She also had to sign a form that I would not shop while I was there, and I got a neon yellow date-stamped visitor badge. We started our adventure upstairs, where Victoria returned a soda stream canister to receive a deposit. (Deep discounts on soda stream canisters is a big plus for the Coop.) She then checked for open workshifts as she is a free wheeling FTOP member and doesn’t have an assigned shift.

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I ran into many folks I knew while I was there, including upstairs. But we had a lot of grocery shopping to get done so Victoria and I hit the floor and got serious about some produce. Almost immediately a dude started a conversation with us while we were discussing tofu and tempeh. He piped up, “You know they also have a different kind of tempeh in the freezer section that doesn’t have preservatives. And these tamales!” He held up a frozen tempeh tamale triumphantly.

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I couldn’t believe the true Portlandia hilarity of having someone talk about tempeh so fervently at a food coop.

At first I was disappointed that the only cute people I saw were people I already knew, but then this hot forty something silver haired masculine of center person with good glasses arrived in the produce section while Victoria and I were discussing brussels sprouts quantities and I nudged Victoria. She raised her eyebrows at me.

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Victoria has told me about the recent Coop controversies, including whether or not they should discontinue providing plastic bags in the produce section. I guess your options are bring your own bag or free ball it. I noticed that the hot butch was bagging her produce in reusable organic cotton bags made for this purpose. Without thinking, I just asked her about the produce bag controversy. And then I was engaged in conversation with this hot person and I didn’t know where to go with it after we talked about produce storage in the refrigerator.

It was like going fishing and catching something by accident and fumbling to grab the net and dropping it in the lake.

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But the incident did tell me that shopping for groceries with people you work in cooperation with makes for easy and accessible conversation. No need for a pick-up line when you can just talk about reusable organic cotton produce bags, you know? It was like the twenty teens version of the beginning of the Tales of the City book where everyone goes to cruise in the grocery store in late 70s San Francisco.

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While we were there I spotted four more hot queers I would want to pick-up. It was great! I think that totally qualifies as “teeming” with hot queers. Also you learn a lot about someone by what they buy at the Coop.

I was also totally into the products sold at the Coop. I embarked on a new whole foods lifestyle with a cleanse eliminating seven of the most inflammatory foods a little over a month ago and there are tons of products I can eat. (Corn, sugar and soy are in, like, everything. But not so much at the Coop!) Also there’s a pretty baller bulk foods aisle with a ton of bulk loose teas and about one trillion tiny bags of nuts.

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It was crowded in my estimation, though people kept telling me it was a pretty light day crowd-wise. I couldn’t really imagine how it could be more crowded. There were so many people crawling all over the place, because member workers were doing shifts restocking things and being in the way, there were people shopping and big palettes of restocking stuff on the floor. As our time at the Coop continued I couldn’t really figure out where to be. If you lingered in front of a product someone would invariably ask you to move. There was nowhere to be that wasn’t in the way. I think this could have been easier if there weren’t so many people on the floor working at the same time. I don’t think this is a size thing, because even the smallest small child would be in the way, but situations like that are super obnoxious when you live in a society that’s always giving you shit for being too big. I was trying to wait in line with Victoria and her huge cart and I got asked to move so many times I thought I was doing a folk dance. This might be the single reason I wouldn’t join the Food Coop.

Most people were all business about shopping, but since I was there to cruise I was all smiles and most of my smiles were returned by people. I even caught some Femme visibility from this cutie twenty something queer wearing a pink shirt when I had to do a little awkward dance with them while trying to get to the bulk foods aisle to assess the tea varieties available (if I’m going to become a member this is an important thing for me to know). And then when I was done doing our awkward dance I winked at them.

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Checking out gave us the opportunity to chat up yet another worker member of the Coop, and I got to scramble to find enough boxes to put all of Victoria’s spoils of victory in. We had to go through the check-out line, stop in a different cashier line to pay and then stop by this other hot queer checking the number of parcels we had against our receipt. It was complicated, but I guess that’s cooperative grocery shopping.

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The verdict: Sold. There are so many cruising opportunities at the Food Coop. There should totally be mixers at the Coop for folks to meet each other. Also, working on your work shift totally gives folks the opportunity to chat with each other. I mean, there’s also a lot of potential awkwardness (shopping for groceries during a break-up sometimes means crying in public, what if your ex shows up, etc…) but I guess you could just go to the place down the street from you.

I don’t know if I’ll join the Coop myself. It costs $100 to buy in and it’s two busses away from my house which is not even a little convenient, but I like knowing I was right about the potential cruising hotbed sitting right there in the middle of Park Slope.

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FYI they sell the Diva Cup for basically half-off retail.

2013-04-15

Cupcake Cabaret, a Performance Celebrating Self Love at Stonewall, 7PM on Thursday, April 18th

My mission in life is to make the world safe for people to love themselves. One of the ongoing projects I keep is very dear to my heart, which is a performance art series celebrating the radical act of self love. It is definitely very radical to love yourself in a society that tells you that you aren’t worthy of any love or appreciation, or conditional love and appreciation (like, if you lose 20 pounds, etc…). One of the things I love most is to hear how artists have used their differences to become empowered. That’s what I curate in this series.

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Photo by Laura Sawchuck.

I’m super excited to have Ivan Coyote, the dreamy professional storyteller, author and multi-award winning bad ass, in NYC from Canada and featured performer at the upcoming Cupcake Cabaret.

First, here’s all the information on the show:

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 * New York, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Cupcake Cabaret Featuring Ivan E. Coyote
Doors 7:15p, Show 7:45 * $7-$15 sliding scale
53 Christopher St, NY, NY
W 4th St. / Christopher St. Stations

Cupcake Cabaret is a performance celebrating the strength we get from what marks us different in this world. Size, gender, sexuality, class, race, dis/ability, age, religion and all numbers of identities bring the artists in the series a sense of power and esteem.

Featuring Ivan E. Coyote, storyteller, author of many incredible books, and heartstring puller all the way from Vancouver, Canada!
[http://www.ivanecoyote.com/]

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Ivan is an incredible storyteller. If you aren’t familiar with their work, you need to dip into the treasure trove of youtube.

From Dear Younger Self (the video above):

“Do not cave into the pressure from mainstream society to fit in. You do not and will not ever fit in. And one day you will realize you don’t even want to anymore. And that your difference is inherently tied to your beauty and your bravery. And your giant, mystical, invisible brass balls. You will grow to love these balls, younger self, and they will swing majestically between your ears inside the head you will hold up proudly.”

I basically can’t hear anything Ivan reads without crying a little (or, sometimes, a lot).

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Photo by Jah Grey.

Another out of town miracle visiting NYC and performing Thursday night is my friend Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha! A queer, Sri Lankan, disabled writer, performer and cultural creator, Leah inspires me to no end. Her poetry is incredible.

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Felice Shays, living in Brooklyn, NY, is a Femme feminist performance artist and author of Brutal Affection, her forthcoming book about the magic of rough sex (among other things). She radiates strength, sweetness and glamour and not just in a rhinestone cowboy boot kind of way but in an I want to do whatever she wants me to do kind of way. Her performance work is personal, empowering and delightful. She once fisted a watermelon at Rebel Cupcake wearing a bridal gown.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

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Photo credit Stacie Joy.

LeRoi Prince is one of my favorite gender performers in NYC right now. Their butchlesque acts are charming, their Prince numbers are dead-on (read: sexy, sultry, entertaining), and political work is heartfelt and incisive. They read a piece at the Forest of the Future calling forth the importance of our queer ancestors and what they fought in order for us to be who we are as a community today that made me weep. Everyone was weeping, though, it wasn’t just me.

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LeRoi Prince is obviously my favorite Prince impersonator. Photo credit Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Bevin Branlandingham is also performing, which is me! I’m reading from my memoir! I’m almost done with the first draft. Whatever section it ends up being the themes are empowerment, rebirth, dishy dyke drama, spiritual awakening, sex, and dirty Brooklyn dance floors.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey. (With my friend Sam, singing a little R. Kelly.)

You shouldn’t wait to RSVP on Facebook, you should do it now.

And if you haven’t seen Ivan’s piece “To All the Kick Ass Beautiful Fierce Femmes” and you are a Femme or you are in relationship to Femmes, I highly recommend it. A friend of mine is newishly out of the closet and newishly dating Femmes and I’m putting together a curriculum for her to learn about Femme and this is required watching.

2013-03-30

Q and A with Author of Rye, a Genderqueer Erotica Novel

Sam Rosenthal asked me to take a look at his new, self-published genderqueer erotica novel called Rye. It is a really awesome method to love your body and reclaim your sexuality by consuming porn, erotica and images that reflect your body, gender and sexuality. Rye features a genderqueer main character as well as a polyamorous relationship, both things that aren’t depicted in mainstream sexuality.

I did a Q and A with Sam about the process of bringing Rye to life! Enjoy!


This is the book cover!

BEVIN: What was your inspiration to write the book?

SAM: I’ve been the songwriter for 10 albums with my band, Black tape for a blue girl. I write lyrics, which are short stories. I went to a reading of erotica, and thought, “Hey, I could do that, let me give it a go.” So I started writing. I liked the process. I found that I wasn’t just writing sex, I was creating characters that I cared for, and situations I found intriguing, funny, sexy. So It became a lot more than erotica. There’s a lot about labels and identity, fitting in and finding ourselves.

BEVIN: What made you decide to pursue self-publishing? Was it to preserve the content? Were publishers unwilling to embrace genderqueer sexual heroes?

SAM: I never seriously considered trying to find a publisher. I’ve always self-released my music (I run my own record label, Projekt), so it’s natural for me to do it this way. But yeah, really, I didn’t want to submit RYE to publishers, to wait a year for their rejections, or their attempts to tell me how to rewrite my book as they imagine it. The hell with that. Rye is my story. After I finished working with my editor, I had the novel I wanted. I didn’t need input from a publisher.


This is Sam.

BEVIN: Which character is most relatable?

SAM: Well, I guess it depends one who is doing the relating, right? If it’s those of us who know queer people, than it’s all of them. If you’re asking somebody totally mainstream, than maybe it’s none of them. I had some straight (but Kinky) people say, “Um, I don’t know if I’d want to read that, I don’t like stories about gay people.” What? Gay people? Straight people? Queer people? We all have the same kinds of emotions, and conflicts… It’s a story about people who are falling in love, worrying about their boundaries, and uncovering themselves.

BEVIN: Is a lot of your book based on real life experience or is it all purely your imagination?

SAM: I think that any novel has real life experience weaved into it. Some of it definitely happened, some of it sort of happened, but not exactly the way I describe it. Writing is sort of taking little bits of reality and poeticizing it, and making it more focused and intriguing. So at some point, I kind of lost track of the real events that might have kicked off a scene, as I worked it into the story-line. I also have to admit that a lot of what happens is life as I’d love it to happen, ya know? A lot of things spontaneously happen to Matt and Rye and Rain, things that would take way more planning and luck, in real life.

BEVIN: Give one piece of advice to folks who want to learn to get in touch with their genderqueer/trans/fat/dis/abled bodies and have better sex.

SAM: Let go of your ego. Stop listening to everything you tell yourself about who you are and how you do things. Your ego wants to keep in control and keep things stable. While your heart and your inner self wants to play and explore and discover.

If you’re interested in checking out Rye, visit the website to order the book directly from Sam (only $10!), or you can download it for your Kindle from Amazon if that’s your thing for only $5!

2013-02-22

FAT SEX WEEK: Sex Playlists and Fat Appreciation

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work but there is sexual language on one of them.)

Hey friends! First of all, check out this AMAZING revisioning of the famous “Your heart is a muscle” woodcut my roommate, the talented and amazing Damien Luxe made!

Valentine by Damien Luxe

Click this link to learn about the image, the history and intention behind the piece (and to share on Tumblr if that’s your venue!!)

She showed this to me in the middle of the night the other day when I was having insomnia. It’s really gratifying to live with such a genius. Love you Damien! Thank you for all you do to make the world a more wonderful place for femmes and freaks!

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Damien! Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

I love listening to music, especially in the bedroom, and I don’t think any FAT SEX WEEK would be complete without some mood music!

Once upon a time I posted about my 90s R&B Automatic Make-Out playlist. I know for a fact several folks have enjoyed getting make outs from the mood it provides.

All of my playlists are made for moods and specific timing (because I tend to lose track of time easily in the bedroom). Till My Fake Eyelashes Fall Off is the most classic sex mix I have. The origin of the name is Kyla The Great saying “Can I just get a Femme to fuck me till my fake eyelashes fall off?”

For a fun quickie I use I Stand With Antoine. I also use my 90s R&B Automatic Make-Out Mix for times when a cheesy make-out is in order (and it lasts a long time and the rhythm is good, it’s also great for a party). Take Your Boots Off and Humble Me With a Fierce Heart ended up being one of the most heart-opening connected slow down sexy time mixes I’ve used.

I’m also really into cruising Spotify to find my friends’ sex mixes even if they don’t label them as such. My pal Danny posted this one under the unassuming name of a date in April and it is a great sex mix.

I have a couple of playlists on my itunes for use in certain circumstances that have classic rock on them. Classic rock is great for BDSM. (Good rhythm, sexy songs.)

Speaking of classic rock, have you ever made a whole fat positive playlist? There’s a CD for that. Here’s a link to Whole Lotta Love: An All-Star Salute To Fat Chicks.

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Abby Fantastic at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Shifting gears to talking about folks who like fat chicks…

A friend of mine asked me the other day what identity she could use to describe that she likes fat girls almost exclusively. It’s really an interesting question because sometimes having a name to identify something is really helpful. I know finding queer, fat and femme as identity labels that didn’t box me in but gave me tethers to other people like me was crucial to me developing a sense of self appreciation and love in a homophobic, fatphobic, misogynist world. What about folks who are attracted to people that our society deems unattractive?

[I think it’s also important for me to mention here that my primary sexual attraction is to fat folks, and specifically includes fat femmes.]

There’s a lot of self-loathing that can come out of people who internalize fat oppression who are attracted to fat people and date fat folks anyway. The self-loathing from being attracted to fat folks results in fucked up and controlling behaviors, and I know I can get an amen from other fatties who have gotten out of those relationships.

It is empowering to have an identity. It’s empowering to read about other folks who date fat people in spite of what society tells them is sexy or attractive. It is empowering to recognize that society tells you to be attracted to one thing and to swing your authentic preferences another way and work towards body empowerment.

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Me and my darling, amazing, friend Victoria. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

What I find hard about it is that “chubby chaser” and “fat admirer” are current labels that, to me, seem to be fetishes and not appreciation. I don’t want someone to find me attractive because I’m fat or in spite of being fat. I want someone who is attracted to me because of how being fat is part of who I am and also because I’m a babe. Not because it’s a deviant sexuality to like fat girls.

I love fetishes and open sexuality but since most American women are above a size 14 doesn’t that make us not that unusual?

I’ll be real, I do the recon work before I will pursue someone to find out if they specifically like fat femmes, whatever I can find out about their relationship status and/or polyamory situation. Because, in queer masculine-privileging community lots of folks don’t date femmes OR fats and I like to do some research. This is why it is always good to keep your pals updated as to what’s going on with you romantically. And having a term for being attracted to fat folks is helpful in these terms.

What about Fat Appreciator as a term? I’ve heard other friends of mine say, “I like big girls” or “I like fat femmes” as a way of just putting it out there without an identity, but both express an appreciation for fat people (well, certain gender expressions of fat people). I actually really appreciate when whole social groups are very vocal of appreciation for fat bodies.

It’s also important that labels for fat appreciation are also sensitive to the fact that all people have bodies and it’s not about privileging one type of body over another, but it is a way of giving some love and attention to a type of body that is not privileged in our fatphobic society.

So, now that FAT SEX WEEK is winding down, dear readers, I’d love to find out what you think. Should we stick to just euphamizing adoration of the rubenesque form or should there be a word that reclaims the adoration of fat bodies from a fetish context? Add a comment below and let me know what you think!

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Me and Fancy Feast being fat witches at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

2013-02-20

FAT SEX WEEK: Three Books To Help You Have Better Sex While Fat (Regardless of Whether Or Not You’re Single)

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work, as long as fat girls in lingerie are safe for your work.)

On Friday I discussed seven ways to be a good ally to your fat lover. Now I want to give some tools for folks to become better lovers to themselves–as in, learning to get in touch with your body so you can have better sex.

Growing up fat (or having a body that is in any way non-normative) in a fatphobic society is very damaging. It was very traumatic for me to feel like my body was always “wrong” and I definitely did not feel like I had access to owning my sexuality. In some ways I completely dissociated from my body and interacted with it as little as possible. (I write more about my experience of disembodiment in this post.)

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Look it’s me and my new pal Devin who was kind enough to loan me her ass for this photo when I saw how hot it was. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

I used to feel afraid to leave relationships because I was afraid the sex would never be as good as it was with the person I was with–a deep scarcity mentality. “So and so knows my body so well, so and so does this trick how can anyone replicate that?” Those kinds of thoughts. It was as though all those years I wasn’t getting laid because I was checked out from my body I needed to make-up for by staying with the wrong kinds of partners. Like I might never get banged properly again.

I’m here to let you know, dear reader, that these fears were false. If anything, sex has gotten better and better as I’ve gotten older and I know the reason is that I am the common denominator in the good sex I have.

I think each break-up from a relationship with good sex is like getting a gift bag! You learned how to have new and improved sex with that lover. You learned how your body responds to different stimuli, you got to experience someone’s body in new ways and come up with more party tricks to bring to other lovers. Hopefully you explored more your capacity to flourish under someone’s touch. This partying gift is amazing!

You can keep the learning going, single or while in relationships, with a cadre of lovers or while between regular bouts of getting banged. Doing the work of getting to know your body and getting to know yourself sexually is a gift you give yourself for the rest of your life. There are lots of different ways to learn about sex–there is so much knowledge available to willing explorers. Below are three body positive resources that will help you get in touch with your sexuality from a body positive perspective!

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Holly Amory at Rebel Cupcake in February, NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Mind Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage

For people who have bodies that are female in origin, or who have sex with people’s whose mechanics are female in origin, this book is an amazing resource. I’ve read a lot about sex and sexuality but I still learned so much from it.

“Desire, sexual satisfaction, and orgasm truly are fraught more often for us than for men… [T]he ways in which we have been taught to fuck don’t always serve our needs and desires.” Diana talks about the female body from a place of empowerment and learning about the mechanics of your body physically, mentally and emotionally.

It is written from an incredibly feminist perspective. It is woman-empowering and body positive. I didn’t realize how much of our eroticism and what we learn about sex is based on male-centered desire. Ugh, patriarchy is such a boner-killer!

The book includes lots of work book sections where you get to explore your desire and what turns you on. And physical exercises! I felt more in tune with my body and my desires after I read it. (I also got some funny looks on the train while reading it…)

You can get it through my amazon link here, but request it from your local feminist sex toy shop! I’m always surprised when I go into Babeland and I don’t see it on their shelves, mention it to the people who work there but they don’t stock the shelves.

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Me and author Diana Cage.

Fucking Transwomen Zine by Miranda Bellwether

For folks who have transwomen bodies or who partner with transwomen, this zine is incredible! So many great tips for sex and the ways to have fulfilling interactions in a body that is not taught in sex ed and is ignored in the vast majority of mainstream sex how-to literature.

I also think it’s great for anyone who has sex that involves a penis whether or not they identify with it presently. Miranda spends several pages of the zine talking about the soft penis, which is basically ignored in sexual literature but “You can actually do more with a soft penis than a hard penis–if you are creative.”

The zine is full of sex how-tos, body knowledge and autobiography.

Buy it here for only $5! All of the money goes to Miranda!

Ecstacy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas

I did a book review of this book last year, but I wanted to give it special mention here. This is basically a body love “you are worthy of erotic pleasure exactly how you are” goldmine. It’s a workbook, so you’ll need a notebook to go along with you on your sexual exploration, but the work it gives you is worth it.

People of all body types and levels of sexual exploration, especially if they feel cut off from their own sexuality, will totally benefit from a trip into this book. I did most of the work in this book while not getting laid regularly and it really helped me feel more in touch with what I wanted from sex when I was having it again rather than be caught up in the ideas of what I wanted from sex. Really cutting through your own bullshit (and the bullshit we are fed from society about what we should want) and identifying what our desires are is incredibly liberating. It also makes it much easier to find the right partners to explore with!

Read more at my book review and interview with Barbara Carrellas.

Buy the book!

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Me, Barbara and her partner Kate Bornstein at Rebel Cupcake in May, 2012.

Stay tuned! FAT SEX WEEK wraps up tomorrow!!

2013-02-18

FAT SEX WEEK: Review of the Plus Size Liberator Wedge

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work but the photos depict people in suggestive positions.)

When I told a friend of mine who shall remain nameless that I was planning a FAT SEX WEEK she immediately asked if I would review the Liberator Wedge for my website. Liberator sells a Plus Size Wedge and it seemed like the perfect addition to FAT SEX WEEK. I’ve been familiar with the Liberator furniture for years, they did a lounge at the Femme Mafia Masquerade in 2008.* The whole Liberator collection is incredible and luxurious.

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Since the Liberator folks haven’t upgraded the Wedge photos to include plus size participants in the Wedge lifestyle, I needed to include at least one photo of plus size babes. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

Making the decision to invest in a piece of furniture for sex is a giant commitment not just in cost but also in space. Brooklyn is not a place to take storage lightly, so I didn’t really ever consider a Liberator an option in my life.

I put the call out to pals to see if someone wanted to loan me one before I made the commitment of asking for a review Wedge from the kind folks at Liberator. I got enough positives from friends, including a suggestion to use it as a “reading ramp” to prop your pillows on for reading in bed. Genius storage idea won out and I asked for my own Wedge.

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The Wedge, just casually laying about.

I had a few misgivings ahead of time. Number one is, why wouldn’t you just use a pillow to do what the Liberator does? I learned immediately upon receiving the Wedge that it’s not that simple, since the Liberator is made of this heavy duty foam material that’s way sturdier than a pillow but just pliant enough to be comfortable. Welcome to sex in the 21st Century! None of my fluffy pillows could possibly compete with this firm foam.

The Plus Size Wedge differs from the original Wedge in the dimensions. The original measures 24 x 14 x 7 whereas the plus measures 30 x 14 x 7. I was on it and I was glad for the extra space. I could feel firmly planted in the center of the Wedge and didn’t feel like I was falling off either side. If it was six inches smaller I would probably feel sort of insecure on it, like I might roll off. Insecurity is a total buzz kill for fat sex!

The Wedge is often marketed for its great leverage for amazing g-spot (and p-spot) stimulation. That was my favorite part. A toy that was sort of okay at g-spotting was phenomenal while on the Wedge (position: legs in the air and back on the wedge angle). The $105 investment in the Wedge is a great one when you think that how many of your sorta “Meh” toys sitting in your sex toy box will get a new life out of the new positions you can support on the Wedge.

Like many things involved in having fun sex, the Liberator Wedge requires an openness to being silly and a little planning. There is nothing “smooth” about getting onto this thing. I’ve tried it both in prepared “We’re going to try the Wedge tonight” and “Oh, we should get the Wedge!” moments. I’ll tell you, the “We should get the Wedge!” moment requires getting up and resetting the stage, which might not be the ideal for your sexual situations if you’re one of those heat of the moment hard to get revved up again people.

Also, getting onto the Wedge is sort of hilarious. I don’t have a photograph of this, but I sat on it once and almost entirely rolled into a backward somersault in a red babydoll chemise which was hilarious for my fellow wedge tester to witness and something we laughed about for a long time. But I don’t know if I could have recovered from the foolishness with a brand new partner. So be warned to settle in slowly.

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This girl looks like a pin-up on the Wedge. I bet she looked really foolish settling in for this photo shoot!

My fellow wedge tester reported that her arms were significantly less tired than usual. “More bang for your buck,” she said. I laughed heartily.

The foam really holds up, it’s firm and I can easily stay in position. I think the Liberator Plus Size Wedge is totally worth the investment of money and storage space. The Plus Size Wedge comes in a ton of colors and prints, including leopard, and the microfiber cover is easily removable and machine washable. I’m seriously considering the Plus Size Ramp for my next trick.

Thanks Liberator!

*A big room full of sex furniture at a party is a pretty amazing feat, Rachael throws incredible events.

2013-02-15

FAT SEX WEEK: Seven Ways To Be a Good Ally to Your Fat Lover

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work.)

I’ve been asked by people on different ends of the fat lover spectrum about advice being a good ally. From the “My lover doesn’t see how beautiful she is and won’t have sex with the lights on,” to the “My lover uses the term fat to describe themself but I’ve always thought of that as a derogatory word… isn’t it?” For FAT SEX WEEK I’ve highlighted some of the best ways to be a good ally to your fat lover.

This is all from my limited perspective, you should obviously be in good communication with your lover to find out what works for them and how they operate in the world. Communication is an essential sex toy!

This advice applies to folks of all sizes, not just thinner folks partnered (in all the myriad ways one can partner) with fat folks. And a lot of it is good advice for sex in general, regardless of whether or not your partner is fat.

1. Adopt the mindset that nothing about your partner has to change for them to be worthy of sexual pleasure.

Repeat after me: All humans are worthy of sexual adoration exactly as they are.

Not after they lose X amount of pounds. Not if they wear specifically enhancing or minimizing lingerie. Not if they develop a sexual prowess beyond their years. Not if they downplay the amount of people they have slept with.

I know a lot of people who have confronted sizism their entire life hold off on moving forward with the things they want to do because they are waiting for some “perfect” moment when they’ve “lost enough weight.” You won’t enjoy sex more as a thinner person if you haven’t learned how to enjoy sex at every size you are.

As a lover/partner of a fat person, adopting this mentality regardless of whether your partner has is good modeling for fulfilling sex. Adopting this mantra will help you be a supportive and caring person to every lover you have regardless of size, ability, age, etc…

2. Clean fatphobic rhetoric from your vocabulary.

No body shaming (of yourself or other people). Don’t talk about other people’s bodies in terms of good or bad body parts. “This model’s body is so awesome because she has a flat stomach.” Try being value-neutral or positive about bodies and food. No obsessive diet talk. Don’t say “Good” food or “bad” food. Learn what it means to not use fatphobic rhetoric and then put it into practice!

Taking a selfie at a dive bar. #rebelcupcake
Be food positive!

3. Learn all you can about body liberation activism and the fat activist movement.

There are so many great resources out there about the fat experience and body liberation practices. You can get started with Charlotte Cooper’s Obesity Time Bomb blog, the incredibly It Gets Fatter project for fat folks of color, Marilyn Wann’s Fat?So! book and Leslie Kinzel’s Two Whole Cakes. Also my blog is a great place, too. The tag body liberation is a good one, as is fat activism!

You learning about body liberation activism and not having to be taught by your partner is awesome. And even if your partner isn’t into body liberation, you getting into it will still help you become a better ally to your person!

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Hana, happy fat person! Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

4. and 5. Treat your relationship like a golden corral and your lover like a wild pony.

My friend Heather uses this metaphor for relationships and I like it on a lot of different levels.

If you treat your relationship like a golden corral, you’re making it like a safe and wonderful haven from the world outside. The media and people are constantly punishing us for being body non-normative, gender non-normative, queer, broke, poor, whatever. Your relationship should be a haven for that as much as possible! Think about ways in which it can be a safer space. Maybe watch TV with intention (or don’t watch it and have sex instead), or mute diet ads, or whatever you can. Mindful practices go a long way.

And treating your partner like a wild pony is about letting them be themselves and exactly where they are at in their personal journies with their body. It’s hard to have a body. It’s hard to learn how to be a self-loving person. I’ve been doing work on loving myself and my body since 2001 and I’m still working on it. No one is perfect. Maybe you’re even further down the body liberation activist path than your partner. Accept where they are at and let them be a wild pony roaming around, keep the corral golden, and every now and again pet them gently with some body liberation love.

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Fancy Feast, happy fat person, serving that Paula Deen burger thing. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

6. Use affirming language for all body parts and especially body parts that are under attack.

I learned this body affirming practice where anytime you say something critical about a body part you immediately respond with an apology and a gratitude. “I’m sorry tummy for talking shit about you. I am so grateful to you for being so soft and comfortable.” Something like that.

I was thinking that if I was having a hard time with a part of my body it would be awesome for my partner to give it some extra TLC. Kisses, sweet talk, a massage, etc…

7. Be open to and positive about sexual accommodations for size.

One time I was in bed with a lover who used a strap-on harness with the base of the dildo on her belly. This is not the standard harness position, most folks have it on the genitals. But it made so much more sense for her body and my body, gave her a lot more leverage and control and was wildly successful.

I’m not sure if she came up with that accommodation herself or if she was taught that by another lover who had some fat sex tips up their sleeve, but I bet it was a revolution in her sex life and I was grateful for it. Being the kind of lover who can gently say, “Hey can we try it like this?” is going to set you up for success overall.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

Kitty Stryker (the swoon-worthy Femme I blogged about in the review for Lesbian Curves earlier this week) has some great Pleasurable Positioning suggestions in her Guide to Fat Sex. I especially love this methodology for making missionary style work:

Missionary position can be a bit difficult, especially if you both have bellies, as the partner on the bottom may feel smothered and the partner on the top might tire out quickly. There’s a few ways around this- one is to have the partner on the bottom wrap her legs around the top partner’s shins, meaning her legs are spread enough to make penetration easier and also encouraging the top lover’s body to press against her clit. Another way is have the penetrating partner sit back on their haunches during intercourse instead of leaning forward, therefore allowing some breathing room. If you’re the penetrating partner, support yourself with your hands rather than your elbows and lower yourself onto your lover’s body slowly. Finally the penetrated partner can put their legs over their lover’s shoulders for easier access and allows the bottom partner to push back against the top.

Ultimately, being a compassionate, caring, body affirming person will go a long way to being a good ally and lover to your fat partner(s)!

Stay tuned for more FAT SEX WEEK. Coming up this weekend and early next week, an interview with queer fat femme porn star Sophia St. James, a book review, and more!

The Miss Mary Wanna method dictates "take as many selfies as you want." #rebelcupcake
Fat selfies at Rebel Cupcake. Miss Mary Wanna says you can never take too many selfies and publish them all on the internets.

2012-03-05

Get Me Embodied: Bevin’s Story of Disembodiment

When I was first involved with fat activism and radical queer body positive communities I heard the term “disembodied” thrown around a lot without really understanding what it meant. I understood unlearning body shame, body self-hatred, body disempowerment but I didn’t understand the distinction from disembodiment.

I started asking around and my working definition of disembodied is not being present in your body–checked out. While you literally have a body there is such an intense mental, emotional, spiritual and/or physical disconnect with your body that you are not aware of it. I’ve heard some folks describe it as literally being out of your body, like your perspective is above and separate from your body, especially during trauma or triggered trauma.

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Me and my pal Aleza at the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice Purim Ball. The theme was aptly “bodies”.

Disembodiment is an intensely personal experience that stems from systemic causes, as explained by my erudite roommate Damien Luxe, who wrote about her embodiment through the gym in a previous post and is working on a performance piece about embodiment for Heels on Wheels Glitter Road Show.

It can be caused by a lot of things, including intense body shame, gender trouble, abuse, trauma, sexual assault, other assaults, depression, dysphoria, anxiety and a whole host of mental health issues, and many many other reasons. Our bodies are constantly under attack in the media and in our culture and especially women’s bodies and the bodies of other oppressed folks. Basically, it’s really hard to have a body in this culture and there are a lot of ways in which people deal with that, including checking out of their bodies completely.

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Afrotitty at JFREJ Purim.

Disembodiment is a survival mechanism for bodies under siege.

Becoming embodied once more is a practice and a life’s work. It’s not the kind of aha moment where suddenly you click your heels three times and you’re back in your body. You develop tools and exercises to put you in touch with your body. Sometimes things happen, as with all grief and trauma, that might bring you back into that space of disembodiment or trigger a desire to check-out. And you can reach into your tool bag and do something to help you settle back into your corporeal place.

It never occurred to me that I had been disembodied as a youth. I’ll save the details for my memoir, but my experience as a teen was being very depressed, suicidal and constantly under attack and shame about my body. I hid my queerness and any other weirdness I could, but the result was that by the time I was in college I was entirely checked out of my body. I had a traumatic death in my family when I was 19 and the way I dealt with that and all other traumas was to power through it and forget it ever happened.

So when I came out of my shell, got into my body and started to learn to love myself, I just moved into my new life and didn’t look back. I remembered the shame and the hiding and the green corduroy overalls but I didn’t think about what my experience in my body was like.

I was a late bloomer and in college I was intimate with exactly one person, my first girlfriend. We didn’t even have sex. I mean, thank the goddess we didn’t have sex. (Of course, I had a lot of shame about being a late bloomer then, too.) Two years ago I reconnected with that first girlfriend and the experience of being physically intimate with the same person I had been intimate with in college sent me into a flurry of remembering. I remembered the experience of being 19 and not in my body. Of feeling desire mentally but not really feeling it physically. Of kissing and checking out so I wouldn’t feel the shame of my body.

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Hana Malia and Glenn Marla performing as “headless fatties” enacting the fat shaming obesity prevention subway ads in NYC right now. Their theatrical work My Wife’s Ass is incredible and they now have a page on facebook.

And I remembered more. I didn’t look in mirrors because I didn’t want to see myself. I didn’t look at my body when I showered. I just denied its existence because it was such a site of failure. I just didn’t feel it.

It was remarkable to have a name for what I had gone through. I didn’t feel worthy of having a body because it could never be the “perfect” body and I just couldn’t get into it.

What got me out of the disembodiment is a life’s work. I found my body performing, getting on stage and creating art for audiences, moving my body and experiencing it as an empowering artistic tool. I found my body by dressing to express who I was and not who I thought I should be (androgynous lesbian realness) or trying to hide in baggy clothes. Empowering my physical appearance and expressing myself on the outside. I now find my body in lots of different ways. Walking at least 20 minutes a day is a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual exercise for me. Looking, really looking, at my body. Dancing, feeling free in the motion. Loving the parts that I still need to be gentle with. Reminding myself that part of my spiritual journey here on Earth is using this body and this vessel. Learning how to express and receive desire. Doing yoga, going to the gym, and being present during those activities. Stopping my mind and letting my body do the feeling.

I am super into talking about embodiment and disembodiment these days, making art about it and I am writing a new workshop on embodiment, and am hoping to get some of my incredible friends to share their experiences on the blog and the Lesbian Tea Basket.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a great book review about embodiment and sexuality.

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Playing mamarazzi with Damien and JPG at Purim. I love that I have the opportunity to talk about this kind of stuff at the kitchen table.

2011-07-19

My Body Paint Photo Shoot with Camrose Artes Infinitae

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There are a lot of things you can do to work on getting in touch with your body. Learning what it means for me to have self-care and physical pampering has been really helpful. So has getting into having bodywork done.

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As someone who grew up both fat and poor, I had a lot of hurdles to get through to feel like I was worthy of someone touching my body to pamper it as well as pay for that to happen. I was 26 and working full-time at a well-paying job until I actually got a massage for the first time.

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Bodywork is an umbrella term that means a lot of different types of therapeutic activities using the body–both through touch and not. Massage is probably the most well-known type of bodywork but there are a lot of bodywork things you can get done including reiki and other energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractic services. I think it’s just amazing to learn how to be touched and how to be pampered.

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In late April I had a bodywork session that was a new form of being in touch with my body that was quite wonderful, brought to me by my friend Cam of Camrose Artes Infinitae.

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I had been massaged by Cam before, both at Michfest where we met (she is on the massage staff) and when she does massage tours through New York City (she’s based in Colorado). She was in town in late April and as the cherry blossoms were in full bloom she was inspired to paint from my existing shoulder piece. I decided to go for the bodypainting bodywork this time.

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I sat down with her at a friend’s apartment in a third floor kitchen overlooking backyards in my neighborhood. The window was open and storms were rolling in and out. We didn’t put on any music, I just listened to the birds and the weather, occasionally chatting with Cam when we were face to face and she could read my lips. But even eyes closed it was a really wonderful experience. Feeling the brush against my body, the breeze on the paint, hours and hours of attention on my whole body with lots of different brushes and sensations. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever done.

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She laid out a huge palate of colors and glitter and proposed color schemes and ideas to me, but I really trusted her instincts. She has such a wonderful eye for different colors, if you page through her portfolio online you’ll see what I mean, every body she works on is totally different.

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She used rose water to mix her paints so all I breathed in for hours was the scent of roses. It was heavenly. She can also do it without rose water if you are scent sensitive but I highly recommend you go for the roses.

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Part of the brilliance of the experience of getting your whole body painted is being able to document it. Cam is a very talented photographer and she has a strong artistic vision. She’s the kind of photographer that prefers to shoot a lot of frames to get the one that is just right.

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She gives really great direction, too. She sees a lot of possibility in architecture and structure, backgrounds and how they blend with a subject.

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Nudity was optional and I have only been shot nude by one photographer before (who is a good friend) so I thought for this since we were planning to try to shoot out amongst the cherry blossoms I would create a special outfit for it. I took an old pink bra and fashioned a sort of faerie floof to it and created a skirt out of shiny gold fabric from my craft stash. I also brought with me a muumuu to wear over it when I needed more modesty.

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I also prepped for the session by getting a manicure in a coordinating color and I decided to just let my hair be wild and fluffy.

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It got too late in the day to go to the Botanic Gardens but we had a lot of fun just wandering through Clinton Hill back to my place. It was like a two woman parade, me popping in and out of doorways and Cam trailing behind me, all smiles and taking photos.

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At the end of the day I felt incredibly peaceful, beautiful and not of this world. I was supposed to go to this legal networking class I had paid for but I decided to skip it and instead visit my friend in the hospital and go to the homecoming show for Heels on Wheels in full body paint. That was way more fun and way more in the spirit of living my life as a full-time artist.

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Cam retains copyright to her images but will give you lots of hi res versions to have for your own collection or to use for your queer performance art purposes (or whatever) with credit back to her. I cannot recommend her body painting services highly enough as a way to treat yourself. She’s also a really great masseuse! She’s gorgeous and has amazing energy! She travels a lot (maybe to your town?) and she’s so wonderful.

Thanks again, Cam!!

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2011-02-12

Glitterpositive Valentine Sentiments

Happy Validation Day everyone!

Love Thyself
Chalk art from Re/Dress NYC by Erin Bunny Burrows.

This time of year life is inundated with prix-fixe Valentine’s Day specials at restaurants and single-phobic, glitter-phobic rhetoric. (“Don’t be different! Do everything the same! Don’t be a wild pony! Find one person to love and do it in this totally heteronormative way!”) I find it gleefully ironic that these messages are sometimes sent using glitter*, when glitter to me represents people who shine really bright and really differently without regard for trying to quiet down or dim their shine in order to woo a mate.

I am a big fan of doing good things for yourself on Valentine’s Day, partnered or not. I’ve written about calling it Validation Day before and celebrating the joy of your life on Valentine’s Day. I’m into buying yourself something frivolous, delving into the cheesiness of hearts and confetti** just because it’s fun, or getting together with friends to make lasagna, drink red wine and revel in each others’ fabulousness.

I did the last thing one year with a whole bunch of boys. I was 22, being a fag hag and hiding out from the scary world of actually risking rejection by dating queer women. If I went out with a group of gay boys to a chorus of how fabulous I was*** it became much easier than the bizarre rejection I felt in a sea of lesbians who didn’t acknowledge me out at the queer girl events. I didn’t realize then that most people are just shy and socially awkward in big group scenes, my own awkwardness exponentially increasing the discomfort.

I don’t regret those days at all. I really needed to develop a sense of comfort with the woman I was turning out to be and it was like I was in a special baby Femme incubator. I also really loved Dolce and Gabbana cologne, watching old episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and going out dancing and so did they.

I thought I would do a round-up of glitter-positive, fat positive things that have caught my eye lately and share with you so that you, my queer/gender-fabulous/glittertastic lovelies out there can revel in some glitter-positivity out there. Shake off some of that mainstream-media Valentine’s Day hype.

Queerness, for me, is my choice. I am an active agent in choosing who I want to sleep with, who I want to have relationships with, and how I politicize my life.

Glitterpolitic is one of my favorite new blog projects. How is Ashley so hot and so smart? With the addition of her roommate/blog partner Erin their tumblr is unstoppable.

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Ashley at the Femme Conference, with Queer Fat Hungry. Photo by me.

I’m fat positive because I’m a feminist, and I refuse to acknowledge in the magical thinking that if you’re small enough, quiet enough, compliant enough and saccharine enough, you will somehow be enough.

Great article called “Why I’m Fat Positive” by You’re Welcome.

Co-dependent love is constantly represented as the ideal. ‘I can’t sleep/think/ live/function without you, romantic partner’ leads to the inevitable crash of despair when things don’t work out because you’ve set up someone else to meet the impossible expectation of completing you. ‘Forsaking all others’ doesn’t just imply sexual partners but in a nuclear model of family, seems to also speak to friendships and extended family.

Amazing article from Crunk Feminist Collective called Living Single.

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Erin from Glitterpolitic. So much hot in one blog!!

Shame doesn’t work. Diets don’t work. Shame is a tool of oppression, not change. Fat people already are ashamed. It’s taken care of. No further manpower needed on the shame front, thx…You know what’s shameful? A complete lack of empathy.

From “Hello, I’m Fat” by Lindy West.

Go forth, live and love radically!

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Source.

*I love a good post-Valentine’s day craft store sale.
**My Butch Ironworker roommate is making heart-shaped mini cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day and I am very inspired.
***I have always adored nightlife fags as they are liberal with compliments.

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