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

2013-03-15

Astrology Q & A with Katie Sweetman of Empowering Astrology

After I posted about my astrological chart reading with Katie Sweetman of Empowering Astrology, I received a really interesting comment* to my blog that I thought made a really great follow-up post about “the whole astrology thing.” Also, Katie’s comments are a bit more of a background to what a natal chart is and why it matters. Hopefully Katie’s words will help folks understand a little more about what Astrology is and what it can do. (And, as an aside, I’ve had enough experiences with having agitation, unsettled emotions or strong emotions with no triggers and found out something was going on planetary that lined up far too accurately for me to totally buy astrology as a concept. Monster moon of 2012, you were bananas for this Capricorn.)

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Me and some of my favorite faeries, Dusty and Quito.

Hi Bevin, I just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it! You are beautiful and amazing and very inspiring for this shy femme. This blog is like a breath of fresh air. πŸ™‚

I’m really curious about astrology, but there are a few things I just cannot get over. All of the planets and stars are too far away to actually impact us. Mercury doesn’t go backwards when it’s in retrograde. I’m more inclined to say that the moon can throw things out of wack just because it is close enough to actually impact the Earth.

So, how do these planetary movements affect us? Do they tug on our brains? I don’t believe in a soul, I believe in brain chemistry and neurons, do you have to believe in a soul in order for astrology to have an impact on you?

I’ve been going to counseling for a year now and I’d like to think I’m open to other self-care and therapy methods, I’m even open to the idea that people born at a certain time of year have certain traits. I’d love to get an astrological reading just to explore my life but I don’t know if I can get past its very foundations. I just don’t know how the movements of the solar system can affect our emotions, because I’ve never seen an explanation as to why/how they do.

I get that you are not an astrologer, I don’t want you to feel like I’m putting you on the spot or anything, I was just wondering what your thoughts are about the purely physical aspects of the planets and their relationship to our bodies.

–Lindy

Here is what Katie had to say in response:

So I was mulling over the questions posed by your commenter. They are not new questions; they’re usually the ones countered at an astrologer by the incredulous. But they deserve a thoughtful reply.

Astrology isn’t for everyone and I’ve never been interested in being the one who tries to defend it to skeptics. For many, the mere mention of astrology brings derision and belief that anyone who thinks it’s real is either stupid or worse, a charlatan. I’m never going to convince those people nor do I want to. It would be a waste of energy.

But for those willing to entertain the idea of astrology, the standard argument I make is that astrology is more than what you read in a newspaper column. Sun sign astrology as it is known is watered down astrology β€” astrology reduced to its most basic components. So if that isn’t real astrology, then what is? And why is something at least four thousand years old still relevant in this day and age?

Astrology is a symbolic language. Using symbols and mythology, it tells the story of you β€” your wants, your needs, your desires, your ambitions, and some the most intimate corners of your existence. I don’t know why astrology works, but it does. I wouldn’t keep consulting it for my own development and using it with clients if I didn’t see it foster amazing insight and healing.

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From the Winter Solstice Rebel Cupcake. Photo Credit: Kelsey Dickey.

I think astrology is less the physical influence of the planets and more their symbolic influence. Lost somewhere in the haze of time was the discovery that the movements of the heavens reflect life both here on earth and our internal life. “As above, so below” is the old hermetic axiom. Astrology is still relevant because it helps us peek into our psyche and understand why we act certain ways and see the mechanism behind certain behaviors. Psychologist Carl Jung was a proponent of astrology as he saw it was a way to get to the root of neuroses.

You don’t have to believe in a soul to find astrology relevant. But I think you need to believe in something outside of this existence. There has to be room for magic or a hunger to known yourself on a deeper level. Even if we’re just carbon and molecules and neurons, it would be a dull life to not want to make the best of our time here in our bodies. It’s the same impulse that makes us want to explore the world or explore space in rocket ships. It’s this sense that there’s something out there waiting to be discovered if we’d only start the journey. And it’s the same impulse that takes us to counseling β€” the impulse to heal and know ourselves on a more intimate level. Astrology and the natal chart acts as the map that takes us forward.

Thanks Katie for your compassionate and thoughtful answer! If you’re interested in getting a reading from Katie you can contact her here, check out her amazing blog or follow Empowering Astrology on Facebook for great information about what the stars have in store for us.

*As an aside, I also got a hilarious comment from someone on twitter that they had hoped that I would tell more of the juicy tidbits about my reading with Katie! If you want to know, some of the highlights are that I have had my voice stifled in past lives and my individuality and voice is really important to use in this lifetime. It is likely I would live abroad/very far from my family, and Katie said it was likely that me living 3,000 miles from my family now is a version of that. Also, I have a lot of planets in Scorpio. My moon in Scorpio means I demand authenticity in my interpersonal relationships. In April or May I’m going to get some big insight into changes about where I want to go.

2012-05-29

Solicited Advice: Should I Email Her?

Hi Bevin,

So I am not sure if you put your email up on your website so that people could ask you for love advice, but I am going to try anyways! So here is the situation — I am a girl who is in my early twenties, my best friend goes to college up in Colorado and she developed a good friendship with a lesbian who I actually knew as well through years of playing club volleyball. I have gone to CO each year to visit my friend and the past two years I have gone there I have always flirted/made eyes at this girl (especially after a few drinks), and I developed a crush on her last year. I just recently went up to visit and had a very flirty exchange after going out and drinking (nothing happened but there was definitely something going on and she kind of hinted that she liked me) but nothing happened. It’s hard to explain this, but I really feel like she liked me, but I am just not sure, especially because I have little experience with same sex relationships and am not an open lesbian. Anyways, I left CO feeling a bit sad (they are seniors this year so I probably won’t be seeing her again) but her summer job is really close to where I live (just saying that it would not be out of the question to see her again). Anyways, I couldn’t stop thinking about her, so I even facebook friend requested her, I was hoping she would message me but I haven’t heard anything from her. I am considering messaging her and just saying hello, how are you doing or something like that, but I am also worried that my gut instinct is completely wrong and that I just developed all of this in my head and am crazy or something or even that she knows that i like her and would not appreciate me sending her a message. In a way I assumed that if she had felt as strongly for me she would have met me halfway and messaged me after I added her on FB, but then again she is an out lesbian and I probably come off as straight (other than my flirting–but that was also after a few drinks) anyways, could you give me any advice? Should I message her or just get over it? Thanks. [Name Redacted]*

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Blog posts are better with a photo and I have no photos of drunk eye flirts or volleyball.

[Name Redacted]!!!

I love giving solicited advice!

So, my advice is GO FOR IT. Re-read my entry about how nobody ever died of awkward.

The other day I was thinking about all of the friends I have who I at one time had crushes on or just wanted to make out with or something and I no longer feel that way and we’re just pals. It’s astounding how many people are in this category and how it’s so not awkward anymore that I totally forget that I once agonized over instances of drunk flirting.

And then there are the times that I went for it (especially via Facebook/MySpace in the olden days) because I’m so much better at being bold textually. And having gone for it I totally had big lusty/lovey relationships with folks who otherwise were too shy to roll up on me. Folks who lived far away from me who I had crushes on for years. One of those folks was the person I dated who passed away nearly two years ago and I am so so so grateful we had the time together we did and if I hadn’t been so bold before my visit to her town to proposition her for a make-out we likely never would have gotten together. Like, ever. Carpe diem. For real.

I think I said this in my nobody died of awkward post, but it’s still true–having someone not have reciprocal feelings for me is a really fast way for me to lose my boner for them. I mean, what’s the point if they don’t like me back?

So, anyway, much sex has been had because I was willing to make a move via email/facebook/in person or whatever. And most lesbians are pretty shy. This is why gay boys have way more sex than lesbians do. It is a mystery of the ages but I think women are socialized to be rolled up on and don’t make moves the way gay boys do. (Total generalization, but it is so true that you will have more sex with girls if you are willing to make the first move/s.)

As much as you think you’re “saying” by flirting, having drunk eye sex or facebook adding, you just have to count on folks to be mostly clueless and not pick up on signals.

So send her a flirty email that says how much you’ve enjoyed having eyes with her over the years and you want to see if she’s interested in making out next time you’re proximal. Whatever town that might be.

Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!

xoxox,

Bevin

(I actually wrote this advice back to her the same night. I had some time and the rambly earnestness was touching. I also didn’t address her not being out of the closet yet because she didn’t ask for advice about that! Also I got an email from her that she sent the message and received a favorable reply so let this be a lesson to you, dear reader, if you’re sitting on a potential email to a potential makeout. Send the message!!)

*Some details have been changed.

2009-09-03

Correspondence: Online Dating for High Femmes & Lovers of Same

TO: [My profile name on OK Cupid]

FROM: [Name withheld]

RE: [No Subject]

I have seen you around before. I have a question, my ex is high femme, but other than that they are hard to find, where do i look for them? okcupid certainly does not seem to know. πŸ˜‰

Dear [Name withheld]:

I totally hear you. On my end it’s hard to find dapper butches, genderqueers and FTMs who are even into high femmes on these online personal sites. Like, first and foremost, how hard is it to have a queer gender clickie box? Like, M, F or Fabulous?

My take on OK Cupid is that it is a great way to take fun quizzes and compare your results to your friends. It is also a great place for really hot fat straight or bi girls to meet cute nerdy boys who like really hot fat straight or bi girls. The amount of fat burlesque performers I know who have met boys via OK Cupid is staggering. At my part time job at Re/Dress, one of the Glamazons was lamenting the lack of datable boys in the city. I suggested she go on OK Cupid and then 3 months later she came back into the store and was happily moving along the commitment road with boyfriend she met there!

Also, I know a lot of genderqueer folks who identified as female on the site and found other genderqueer people for some genderqueer on genderqueer switchy pronoun love, which is totally awesome.

To answer your question about “where do you find high femmes” I asked around and found a lot of my friends who found love online found them through the current incarnation of butch-femme.com. Not the old matchmaker, which had its hey day in the early aughts, but the current incarnation. Either through chatrooms, forums or the photo galleries. People nowadays might want to plan to attend their Vegas Bash October 8-11th. It sounds like so much fun–imagine Vegas overrun with hot butches and femmes from all over the world! The best way to see the sin city, I think. I would totally go if I were not broke.

I performed at the Bash last year. I have never been active on the site, though I am good friends with a lot of people who are, and I found the Bash to be so welcoming and sweet. The people involved with the community there seem very invested in taking care of one another and celebrating each other’s awesomeness. This was the sense I’ve gotten in person. As with all online communities there are some trolls full of hateration on there I am sure.

In fact, I did meet someone really hot and fabulous at the Bash and had a great date with them a few months later when I went back to the Bay Area. I lament the distance.

Other than that, there is the old standby of Craig’s List. Which isn’t so bad, considering you can just do a quickie search of “queer” and “femme” and find someone or post something yourself. Since I acknowledge that as a Queer Fat Femme (and flamboyant, a burlesque performer, and confident) I’m a specialty food and not palatable to everyone, I like to post my own ads. It’s like fishing. Plus you feel less rejection when you’re in the driver’s seat. I think it’s also true for FTMs as well.

I’ve found the best Craig’s List ads work when you are more ambiguous about what you’re looking for. For me I need the people I date to be ethical smart confident good communicators who have thought about their gender and are comfortable in their skin. I prefer tattoos, good hair, over 5’5″ and at least a little chubby, but these are things that are not all necessary in one person.

Other than that, the other dating sites I’ve found (nerve.com personals, match.com, that one true love thing advertised on facebook)* have zero results. Most of the people I find to date are through dumb luck or meeting them in real life and having crushes on them for a long time and one of us ends up propositioning or whatever.

As for you, you seem really cool, dapper and hot (and I think I recognize you as well). I’m sure you’ll have no trouble. If you ever find yourself in NYC or I am in [hometown withheld] (I travel to perform a great deal) and you want to ask me on a date, I’ll definitely say yes.

xoxoxo,

Bevin

*A butch identified girl I know told me recently that she signed up for JDate personals even though she is not Jewish. She said it was because they have a section for goyim. They don’t actually, they have a section for “Not affiliated” and I feel a little complicated about infiltrating that. Glenn Marla is very confident it is for Jewish identified folks only. Any high femmes out there have any luck on J Date?

2009-07-04

Correspondence: Aqueel or Michael

I was interviewed on Charlotte Cooper’s amazing blog, Obesity Timebomb. Check it out here!

Also, Friday, July 10th is the Femmes of Power East Coast Launch Party in Atlanta, GA! Check out ME femmeceeing, my oft-mentioned BFF Rachael, Cherry Poppins from Austin, TX, the incomparable Vagina Jenkins, Ms. Stewart and Clover who were all featured in the book. There are rumors Ulrika Dahl, one of the authors, may be in attendance. It’s going to be a PARTY, so get in your car and get over there!
***********
From the myspace mailbag:

TO: Bevin
FROM: Aqueel
RE: hi

Hi, Nice profile πŸ™‚

Just wondering, do u ever flirt with men ?
If not, would you ever flirt just for fun ?

Michael

Dear Aqueel or Michael:

First of all, thank you very much for the compliment on my myspace profile. I’m not shy to admit it took me years and a lot of websites with glaring and obnoxious blingie flash advertisements to find just the right theme that projected a high femme flourish without being hard to read. Aside from aesthetics, I really love language and have worked hard to express just exactly “Who is this Bevin Branlandingham” within the confines of the Myspace writing prompts*. Language is important, Aqueel or Michael, don’t you agree? Evolutionary psychologists have said humans know over 60,000 words. “We have all these words because we like to mate with people who caress us with language.” It’s totally true.

Of course, let’s be real, I’m not using myspace to get ass. Like a lot of people, these days I’m mostly on The Book. The interactivity of The Book means I can passive aggressively flirt with as many as 6 people at one time. And, frankly, that’s my preference. Overt flirting works for me here and there, but I am so hapless and flummoxed when I’m attracted to people often I can’t do any real cutesy flirting and people have no idea that I’m interested. It’s a struggle for me that I am trying to overcome.

Often, I do flirt just for fun, and it’s way more fun to flirt with people I’m not actually interested in. For example, my friend Glenn Marla and I flirt a lot, but he and I have a lot of good boundaries** and it’s just flirting.

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Through our flirting we’ve actually concocted this story about how we were once high school sweethearts at performing arts high school, and we would lie in bed and sing Madonna lyrics to one another and broke up 12 times and one of our songs was “Hungry Eyes” from Dirty Dancing. Even though Glenn is 4 years younger than I am, it’s still fun to imagine how Baby Glenn and Baby Bevin would be in love. Like the Muppet Babies but with fat queers.

So, Aqueel or Michael, to answer your question, I do flirt with men, and sometimes I do flirt for fun.

I’m not sure if there was a subtext to your question, and I’m thinking there probably was because of the smiley face. Emoticons are the building blocks of text-based flirting. So if you sent me that message to try to start something up with me, I’ll tell you now I’m at a full stop because of this quote from your myspace profile.

“I believe in me, I believe in you And you know I believe in love I believe in truth though I lie a lot.” [Emphasis mine.]

Listen up, Aqueel or Michael, I have had way too many scoundrels in the last couple of years to put up with even a second of any of this business. Scoundrels who would lie to my face and yet claim to have a big ol’ truckload of integrity and, like you, believe in truth. I recognize now that people often show you who they really are right away, you just need to learn how to look.

I asked Dan Savage in Episode 88 of the Savage Love Podcast how I could develop a bionic bullshit detector. I really think in the last year I have, and it’s saving me time and energy I’m not spending on scoundrels.

Scoundrely quote aside, the fact is that the rest of your profile isn’t that interesting. Maybe do some caressing of language and upload a few photos and you’ll have better luck in future endeavors.

*I even managed to get a code to defeat their ridiculously rigid gender binaries and sexuality misnomers. Sure, I’ll let someone call me a lesbian when it’s convenient, but ultimately I do identify as queer because I do not acknowledge a gender binary and most of the people I date don’t identify exclusively (if at all) as women.
**Good boundaries are hot.

2008-12-15

Correspondence: Greeneyes

VIA MYSPACE

—————– Original Message —————–
From: greeneyes
Date: Dec 14, 2008 10:41 PM
Subject: Please read!

Will pay women stand on me at once at crush me under their weight like a roach..

Dear Greeneyes:

When I was a Senior in college I took a Human Sexuality class and the professor said something I paraphrase below that has really stuck with me all these years:

β€œThe first step to good sex is to know what you want, or at least know what you want to try. Then to communicate that.”

You’ve definitely done so in this missive and for that you should be commended. Congratulations for taking those first few crucial steps to having a rockin’ sex life.

Greeneyes, since your profile is private, I know limited information about you. You are 33 years old, the same age people generally cite as the age Jesus was when he died. I’ve always seen that as a big age milestone for me, on account of how, if you believe the historical accounts, Jesus totally was in ministry only 3 years and created a multiple millennial following at a relatively young age. I am about to turn 30 and am trying to set up some goals for myself. Not like, Jesus level goals or anything, but definitely finishing my novel and developing a talk show. What did you accomplish in the last three years?

Second, you are from Commack, NY, which is in the heart of Long Island. I’ve spent a lot of time in my professional life sitting in traffic driving back and forth out to Long Island, and I tell you there is no part of me that ever wants to go there for any reason whatsoever. My interest in Long Island is now exclusively as a route to the ferry to my favorite beach within driving distance of my home (Cherry Grove, Fire Island).

Third, you appear to have an extremely deep tan with orange undertones. I’m not sure if this is from a photoshop incident or you are a devotee of the tanning salon, but it’s really intense. You might benefit from a different user picture, maybe one that doesn’t have a woman’s highly manicured french tips reaching across your neck as though to inflict some sort of damage. Unless that’s the look you’re going for? Totally possible, given your message to me.

Greeneyes, I’m sorry if this is a disappointment, but I’m not a sex worker. I’m not actually sure what about my myspace profile made you think I might be a sex worker, but I can assure you I’m not. I know a lot about sex workers, since I think they rock, I’ve read a lot of great fiction and non fiction about sex workers* and support sex worker’s awareness projects.

In fact, there’s a really great one happening now I think you could support. A bunch of sex bloggers got together and did a calendar to raise funds towards Sex Worker Awareness. Clickie here. It’s only $20 and 100% of the proceeds go to benefit the cause, thanks to the generosity of a lot of sponsors. I went to their release party and it was SO fun, AND I left with a basket full of goodies.

There are only 10 more days left until Christmas, and I’m sure they’ll ship them wherever you want if you want to get them for any friends or relations not on Long Island with you.

Anyway, good luck in your search Greeneyes. Remember what my Human Sex prof said, articulation of your desire is the first step!

xoxo,

Bevin

*Among my favorites, In the Company of the Courtesan, Rent Girl, Valencia, Tipping the Velvet, Slammerkin, The Crimson Petal and the White. Also, my favorite movie is The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

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