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

2015-11-19

Four Great Queer Art Presales and Kickstarters Happening Now! (A Couple Ending Soon!)

There are FOUR amazing queer artists doing crowd funding to develop capital to finish their amazing projects! A couple are ending in just a few days so act soon!

I believe that supporting queer art is vital to survival. In a world where we don’t see ourselves represented in mainstream culture, where even if we do see an LGBT person probably they aren’t fat, a person of color, disabled, older and/or working class. And speaking of class, it can be really hard to fund your projects as an artist with limited means and without parents or relatives who can patron, or the skills and resources to write grants.

It is also important to remember that art isn’t just creation, it’s also all the business stuff, preparing things for print, layout, interfacing with printing vendors/distribution/post office trips. Endless biz. When you’re trying to do this with limited artist resources it is hard!

When queers have spending power to put behind projects that we believe in, that speak to us and that uplift images of different queers, it is radical, beautiful and something we can do to nudge the world. This is why I love crowd funds.

Okay, pitch over, lez get to it!

cristytarot

1. Next World Tarot by Cristy Road

Cristy Road’s HOTLY anticipated tarot deck has been in the works for a couple of years. The whole deck is modeled by queers. She’s even got ME slated to model for one of the cards (I don’t know which card yet). It is truly one of my favorite parts of being an artist is the honor of getting to be in my friends’ art. I cannot wait to see the gorgeous results. Cristy’s work is floaty, gritty, magical, whimsical and are detailed wonderscapes. Next World Tarot will make a vibrant and beautiful tarot deck unlike any other I’ve ever seen. (Check out my review of Spit an Passion for more of Cristy’s great work.)

From Cristy: My stories are about smashing systematic oppression, owning our truths, being accountable to the people and places that support us, and taking back a connection to your body that may have been lost through trauma or societal brainwashing. The NEXT WORLD TAROT is a visual spectacle of both the battle cry and the reconnection, between outcasts and their criminalized identities.

You can pre-order your tarot deck for $45 or get a postcard or some other amazing Cristy Road work for your home and heart.

Kickstarter!

shoogbook

2. Queers in Nature Book by Shoog McDaniel–Crowd fund Ends on Sunday!!!!

Shoog McDaniel is the photographer behind one of my favorite Instagrams. Queer babes, nature, sweetness, adventures, an airstream trailer. All wonderfully captured by this mega talented photographer. When they announced their crowd funding campaign I immediately grabbed a presale of the book because their art is so beautiful. The dreamy Florida naturescape in their photos inspired my trip to the Florida Keys last Spring. I would love to see Shoog sell out of this book and get enough funding to publish their next book Rad Queer Spaces.

The book is only $30 shipped, and I already treasure mine even though I haven’t received it yet!

In Shoog’s words: My name is Shoog McDaniel and I am a fat, genderqueer artist and photographer living in Gainesville, Florida. It has long been my dream to produce a tangible book of my photography, because I feel that it is important to have visual representations of the beauty and strength that queers hold. This book brings together the natural flora and fauna of Florida and the magic of southern queers, and I am so excited to be able to finally share it!

Indigogo link

jessikadeck

3. visions: a crystal oracle deck by Jessika Fancy

An oracle deck is kind of hard to explain.

In the words of Jessika Fancy: An oracle deck can be used much like a tarot deck as a source of guidance and inspiration when life presents us with its many challenges. It is meant to be an intuitive tool for anyone that chooses to use it, as there is no right or wrong way to do so.

This is the latest of Jessika’s gorgeous, powerful witchy products and I think it is going to be a really great tool! Each deck and booklet comes in a hand dyed pouch!

The pre-order of the deck is $45 and should arrive by early/mid December!

The Go Fund Me

occultbook

4. OCCULT GENERATION – A hardboiled sci-fi graphic novel series

I just received this from my friend Sophie Spinelle, the pin-up portrait artist behind Shameless Photography the body positive feminist pin-up photography studio I mention a lot on my blog.

In Sophie’s words: Occult Generation is pulp graphic novel set in 1920s New York City featuring the paranormal, queer culture, and a secret society in Harlem fighting to stop the remnants of the confederacy.

It’s going to be a smart, politically incisive, and visually gorgeous book. Its heroes will be people of color, queer folks, people of size, and people with disabilities. I’m going to be playing a villian, and Kearstin is one of the good guys.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project. I can’t wait for you to see it and read it, and see some of yourself represented in its pages.

Maybe you love sci fi and graphic novels and this is up your alley? They are only halfway to their goal and six days to go!

Kickstarter

2014-07-16

Macy’s Surgery and the Power of Showing Up Imperfectly

The first time I visited my beloved Shih Tzu, Macy, after her ruptured disc surgery, I freaked out. I didn’t even realizing visiting in a vet hospital was a thing but once I found out I could do it I knew I’d be there every day. Macy’s there for me through thick and thin, I knew I needed to be there for her.

I couldn’t visit until the day after her surgery. When I went in, they put me in the same exam room we had seen the veterinary neurologist for her initial consultation, watching Macy painfully hobble around the room. Now I was in the room alone, waiting for Macy, who wasn’t even 18 hours post-op.

The vet tech brought her into the room cradled in a towel and set her in my lap. He left and I was staring at Macy. I didn’t expect her to look so crappy. There was the obvious stuff that I had never thought about, like the rectangle shaved over her spine with the frankenstein stitches woven across. But then there was the stuff I didn’t expect; the pleading, confused look in her eyes and the sour smell of a dog that has gone through it and bathing isn’t in the cards just yet.

IMG_20140708_161532Our first visit post-op.

I felt panic and shock as I held her. I began calculating in my mind how quickly I could leave. They said I could visit not that I had to. Would she even notice if I was gone? Did my being there matter?

This panic lasted for about a minute and I started to talk some sense into myself. I am the kind of person who believes we are more than just our bodies—our spirits matter. If I was in a coma I think I could still sense that people were in the room with me and that my loved ones would matter to me. I know that Macy’s consciousness isn’t developed in the same way as mine, but I also know that me showing up for her would matter in some way I couldn’t explain.

So I stayed. I sat with her, in a way we don’t usually do in our day to day lives. Quietly, lap sitting, togetherness. No TV, no work, no distractions. I cried a bunch, I told her it was going to be okay, and while doing so was half telling myself. I showed up for Macy.

20140713_190929I really appreciated everytime the hospital brought Macy in with a flamboyant blanket or towel because I felt like they really saw my gender.

I’m never really positive how Macy feels about me. She’s not a lap sitting dog, with the exception of butch laps. With me she prefers to be four feet away at all times—when I work she sits in her bed four feet to my right. When I cook she sits in the kitchen four feet away and watches me. When I’m in the living room she’s on the couch just out of arm’s reach. Sometimes I get a complex about how little she wants to snuggle me and how much she wants to snuggle Dara.

In the week after her surgery I visited Macy every single day. Some days we just sat together, some days we worked on physical therapy exercises her neurologist showed us. I got daily calls after her neurological exam. She stopped making physical progress for a few days (the vets expected this) but when I visited I could tell things shifted for her. One day she was much more “herself” again. Later she seemed to almost get excited about things, especially when I started bringing in high value snacks like chicken and sausage. I was glad I was visiting because I could tell from her spirit progress that was different than the surgeons.

20140709_143004 (1)This is Macy’s little walking tool–it’s a harness for her back legs to keep her moving and give her practice using her back legs as she acclimates to mobility.

It’s been really difficult during this time because my girlfriend is going through radiation therapy for breast cancer on the Upper East Side. If you don’t know NYC geography, she’s basically an hour away via train. She got an apartment around the corner from her radiation hospital so she wouldn’t have to endure a daily commute for her daily hour long radiation appointments. It’s sucked so much to not be able to be supporting her as I thought I would be doing this month, and to not have her support during Macy’s recovery. We did squeeze in a visit one night (benefits of the hospital being open 24 hours) and another visit the next day where we did some good walk therapy. Macy loves her Dad and will always come when Dara calls.

20140711_170632Dara’s mom was in town and came to visit Macy, too.

My initial discomfort with seeing Macy in the hospital really got me thinking about the power of showing up for people in their time of need. Showing up sloppily, imperfectly, but with a big heart and good intentions. It matters.

The shock of seeing Macy in that condition reminded me of how folks must have felt the first time they saw Dara with a bald head after the chemo hair loss began. How hard it must be to see how tired and out of it she gets. It’s easier for me because I’ve watched this happen gradually, but it is difficult for folks to witness it when they haven’t seen her for a few months.

Sitting in your own discomfort with shock and change, having faith that you’ll get through it is an incredibly powerful gift you can give to the folks in your life who are suffering.

I’ve seen how important it has been to Dara’s spirits during recovery from surgery, chemo and now raidation for her friends to show up for her. Sometimes all she can do is sit and watch TV with people but it means a great deal and definitely puts her in a better mood.

IMG_20140714_113430The hospital was really amazing and sent me photos of Macy in her crate.

People have been showing up for me in the past nine months in amazing ways. Little texts of, “Thinking about you, sending woo/prayers/love,” make me smile. I think that positive energy has so much power and being thought of is really nice. Folks have brought meals. Folks who keep inviting me out even though I haven’t been able to go out as much and often have to decline—it’s nice to be remembered. The people who relentlessly play phone tag with me in order to have a catch-up. It all matters.

Dara convinced me to take a few friends up on their offer to pitch in for Macy’s astounding medical costs, the whole thing is in excess of $7,000. When I first heard the price tag of what it might cost (we had to pay for a $1500 MRI to find out if she even needed surgery), I couldn’t even fathom how I was going to pay for it. I was lucky enough to know I could borrow the money. However complicated I felt about asking for help with pet medical expenses, I knew I had to open myself to whatever help we could get. We raised $500 in the first 24 hours, and it’s already up to nearly $2,000 a week later.

MacyEstimateThis is the initial estimate of her prognosis–the low end was if we only got the MRI, the high end was if we got surgery. It didn’t include the vet visits and blood work leading up to surgery.

And the thing about crowd fundraisers? It’s about opening the channels to letting people support you. I feel like sometimes we pass around the same $20 to each other when we need it. I think it’s amazing. Katie from Empowering Astrology blew my mind when she told me that money is just energy in 3D form. She’s totally right—we’re passing energy to each other. The person who donated $2 and said they wished they could pay for the whole surgery—that meant so much to me.

My BFF Spunky told me when I thanked her for donating to Macy’s fundraiser, “It’s literally the least I can do.” Because our friends, especially our far away friends, often want to show up for us in tangible ways that they can’t do. But money is energy. And for me, going through this, knowing that a great deal of the financial burden is taken care of? That blows my mind. It has enabled me to take some of the stress off the shelf and focus on caring for my beloved Macy.

It can be so hard to think that what you are able to do is not enough for your friend or loved one. I had no idea whether visiting Macy in the puppy hospital mattered to her or not, especially in those moments when I had to give her back to the vet techs. Saying goodbye was awful. It wasn’t perfect that I could only be there for an hour, or a half an hour, or whatever, but it was something. I had to trust it was going to help her get better and not feel so lonely.

IMG_20140714_145911Me with Macy on Monday when I got to take her home after a week in the hospital!

Since Macy was discharged on Monday I can’t leave my bedroom (where she stays in a playpen on bed rest for at least the next week) for five minutes without her barking her scared, “Please don’t leave me alone” bark. The vet said it’s normal for dogs who were in the hospital for a long time to feel really anxious and have a difficult transition home. What I’m realizing is that Macy missed being four feet away from me at all times just as much as I missed her being close to me. And I realize it mattered that I showed up for her.

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