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

2017-12-15

I’ve Been Going Live on Facebook Everyday for Five Months and Here’s What’s Up!

In July PopSugar released a video about the aerobics class I created, Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression). The video went viral—it has had almost 4 million views to date. Since it was mostly hosted on Facebook my fan page Queer Fat Femme was my social media account that saw the biggest bump.

With this bump in likes I wanted to figure out a way to engage my new and longtime followers in a new way. I also had been thinking of ways of taking what I was teaching with movement at FKDP and deepening those lessons about self love and healing from body oppression. Something outside of aerobics class that uses additional teaching modalities to light a healing path for folks.

I can’t NOT photo credit! It’s a part of who I am! But my friend McKay who took these great photos doesn’t want photo credit so I’ll just leave it as a casual mention with lots of gratitude.

Enter Marisa Murgatroyd, business coach and motivator. My pal Christine Dunn (an effective relationship coach) had been posting about Marisa’s work. I seriously considered attending Marisa’s conference Message to Money Live last February but I didn’t have the funds to attend.

In late July Marisa created a 21 Day Facebook Live challenge. It was free to join and if you went live on Facebook for the 21 consecutive days of the program you would win a free ticket to Message to Money Live! At $1,000 value, this was not a small incentive for me.

I wasn’t ready to start going live every day. I had a ton of reasons I could have used to keep from embarking on this live journey. Timing! I was about to go visit my mom in a remote area of the Olympic Penninsula, what if her wifi was spotty? I didn’t know what exactly my live videos would consist of. Some days I am not in any shape to “perform,” how easy would it be to maintain my authentic voice? A cornerstone of my “brand” is being exactly who I am, no compromise. What if I ran out of things to say? What if no one tuned in?

When I began my journey to love my body I wasn’t ready. I just started. I used the tool fake it ’til you make it big time until I finally just did love my body without having to fake it. There’s a great business strategy, start before you’re ready. Same concept. The incentive and the timeline were a great opportunity so I did the thing, joined the challenge and started doing daily Facebook live videos. I could have easily sat in that resistance space spinning what if questions in a procrastination hamster wheel.

It has been almost five months and the results have been fabulous. In those first three weeks I ended up having another viral video. I was in a coffee shop answering media interview questions about Fat Kid Dance Party, literally writing about the effects of oppression on the body while a woman next to me said some horribly fatphobic things to a group of five people. Not one person stood up for justice in that moment and after I got done staring at her in shock I felt a surge of rage. I couldn’t sit there one second longer without going off on that woman, so I took a self care walk, leaving Dara with my computer.

I had the commitment to go live every day and here I was in a self care crisis rage spiral and I decided to get messy. The video of me processing that moment has 74,000 views. That was more than enough of a high five from the Universe for me to commit to continuing this daily live video project. The viral video also won me an additional $500 gift certificate for Marisa’s other coaching projects, I’m excited to use it to help develop the Fat Kid Dance Party digital workout platform once the pre-sale crowd fund (launching next week) finances my first video project.

Going live on Facebook every day answered a lot of the things I had been ruminating. It gave me a great outlet to engage people around the core tenants of what I teach at Fat Kid Dance Party in a much deeper way. It was on Facebook so it deepened the connection to all those new and long-time followers, and there’s really nothing like eyeball to eyeball contact to develop trust and intimacy. I have been a blogger for going on fifteen years and doing a live video takes me as little as five minutes including posting it, whereas a blog post takes me a minimum of five hours (usually more like 20 on a meaty post) between writing, editing, html coding, photos and social media amplification.

It has been a fabulous record of my life, a great way to share information I have learned in service to making the world safe for people to love themselves, and a wonderful training ground for my true career goal—a self love talk show. In many ways, it already is my self love talk show. It’s like a lab where I get to work on my on camera skills, develop my verbal storytelling, and learn what engages my audience the most.

Since my daily live show goes with me wherever I travel I get to share the cool places I go and great conversations with my incredibly wise friends. I have always wanted an Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown element to my talk show/reality show. (I just did a tour of Dolly Parton’s Chasing Rainbows museum this weekend!)

Since it’s live and daily, I feel less need for it to be polished. I don’t wear make-up every day so I don’t wear it in all of my videos. I let myself be messy, especially when I’m going through hard times. I’ve also learned that I don’t come off nearly as messy as I feel on those days I’m not as confident, which is a relevant lesson for everyone, we’re probably not as messy appearing as we feel.

It requires a level of daily self reflection that has allowed me to do more deep personal work and reminds me to look for lessons and tools. I think it makes me super relatable and my audience engagement is totally enhanced. I’ve gotten new Reiki energy healing clients from it and it has helped me work through new offerings as I develop as an entrepreneur looking to support my family with my art and healing work.

My friends have shared with me that my live videos feel like they are hanging out with me and that they love them because it’s an easy way to keep up with what ever-bustling Bevin is up to. I absolutely LOVE that! I want my viewers to feel like I am a healer, ally and supportive bestie in this journey with them, so the fact that my friends reflect that it’s like hanging out with me IRL is the best feedback.

My self love talk show was always a dream of mine and now it is a reality, I didn’t realize it until about three months into this project when the theme of my daily live videos emerged. I am in a continual process of deepening my self love and I deal with issues that come up that are so relevant to any step in the journey. Start before you’re ready applied to me as much in 2002 as in 2017.

This Saturday, December 16th at 5:30PM Pacific I am going live with my first ever holiday special. I LOVE the holidays so here’s another dream coming true. This year I have a musical guest, La Louma (if you love Sleater-Kinney or layered beautiful instrumentation get into her!!), we’re lighting the menorah, doing a solstice ritual and I am evoking Dolly vibes by having a raffle you can win from your living room for tons of Dolly fan art. Buy tickets here!

By turning on notifications for my live videos I am inviting you to have tea with me every day!

At the end of that PopSugar viral video I say, “When you love yourself you can move mountains.” Loving yourself makes everything easier. Join me daily! You can click the “follow” drop down menu to turn on notifications when I go live so you don’t miss an episode or tune into the ones that are most relevant to your journey.

2017-03-13

Introducing Our Rescue Persian Biscuit Reynolds

When I first saw the Harry Potter movie that starred Crookshanks the cat, I became singularly obsessed with getting a squishy faced orange cat like him and the lasagna obsessed Garfield comic from my youth. When it came time to get a cat (in 2007) I was on the hunt for rescues that had a squishy faced orange cat, which in cat speak is known as a “red Persian” or an “exotic short hair” depending on the texture of hair you want to deal with. My second choice cat was a Himalayan, the same kind of cat my friends Becky and Christie had. Himalayans are a cross between a Persian and a Siamese, which I now know to mean extra loud.

Fate stepped in and I got the goldmine. Two cats were available for adoption from a woman whose daughter was allergic to them, they were older boy cats (my fav because boy cats are more snuggly and older cats are more mellow). One was a red Persian and the other was a Himalayan.

A Family portrait I had done by Kelsey Dickey the day before Bear POTSA. They were totally fine with me picking them both up at the same time.

I had eight beautiful years with ALF and Bear and I still miss them a lot. I had a hole in my heart after they left. I learned that cats and dogs provide really specific energy work—apparently purring cats heal via specific vibration. The first time I felt a cat purr was at bookstore a few months after ALF passed and I burst into tears, not out of sadness but more of a release of something pent up.

To say Biscuit Reynolds was planned is an understatement. As soon as I knew we were thinking about moving to LA (we started the “thought process” over a year before we left NYC) I had to suspend my only recently begun search. It wasn’t fair to get a cat knowing that I would have to move him cross country. I also was having no luck finding Persians in NYC rescues and there is a Persian cat rescue here in LA so I figured I’d just hold out til we got here.

Our adoption photo.

Of course, even after we found our house, it was months before we were finally ready to get a cat. Honestly, we still weren’t ready I was just in need of special cat bonding and healing. My friend had just taken her life via suicide and I decided we would just go to the next adoption event Dara was in town for and see if there was a cat we bonded with. She travels a ton for work, and the one time I went to an adoption event without her I didn’t get the cat I applied for, partially because Dara wasn’t with me.

It was the day of the Dolly Parton concert at the Hollywood Bowl, not the most ideal timing to schlep to Santa Monica (it’s 40 minutes without traffic), but I was determined. We got there just as it opened and they were still decorating the crates the cats were in. The abundance of gorgeous Persians was so wonderful and most of them were boys.

Biscuit Reynolds is named for a favorite Southern food, reminiscent of a few folks I’ve lost, and one of Dolly Parton’s leading men with a strong mustache.

You guys, the politics of rescue orgs is really interesting. There was one cat that was already spoken for. After interacting with all of the rest of the cats available for adoption we both really liked this orange and white Persian on the end of the cages. We hung out with him and talked to his foster mom and the rescue owner about adopting him and they were so weird about it. They didn’t like him with a dog simply because they didn’t know how he would interact with a dog. Our dog Macy is the ideal cat companion dog because she defers to cats to set the boundaries. This was not a selling point.

Anyway, we went out to grab a coffee and talk about the cat situation and came back and he was already adopted by someone else. We found out that it was someone who was a friend of the foster mom. I don’t understand why they didn’t just say, “We’re saving him for my friend.” It would have saved us from certain heartbreak about losing that cat!

Macy and Biscuit are on instagram as BiscuitandMacy.

We hung out with a couple other cats, this white Persian who I recognized from the Facebook feed for months who had a lot of special needs. Dara was pretty adamant that my time with ALF and Bear in their last three years—subcutaneous fluids for kidney failure, sundowning, peeing in the hallway—was enough special needs and we needed an easier cat. Plus she wasn’t feeling him.

Enter Biscuit Reynolds. I hadn’t considered him because I misunderstood which cat was spoken for. He looked just like the original cat who went to the friend of the foster mom. He was super snuggly with us and really sweet. The thing I wanted most in a cat was a good snuggler. He was supposedly 4 or 5 years old, had been surrendered by a previous owner who had adopted through the rescue. The owner was a touring musician whose roommate let Biscuit get out and he got lost for a few days.

He was on special urinary crystals preventing diet and he “peed differently than any other cat” the rescue owner had ever seen and I might have to give him a bath once a week. I didn’t see that as a red flag. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time and I didn’t think through the lifestyle requirements of a cat that needs regular bathing, and honestly, most Persian cats need regular bathing and grooming to help with their maintenance.

He is so chill about wearing outfits which is a major plus for me!

Once I had him in our home I realized a lot about Biscuit Reynolds. I could tell he was in a LOT of pain based on the way he was sitting and how he never cleaned himself. If your cat stops cleaning himself, you need to take him to the vet, you’ll notice when they develop an uptick of knots in their fur. I wish I had noticed that about ALF, I would have caught his kidney disease sooner and he wouldn’t have collapsed.

I could also tell there was definitely something wrong with how Biscuit Reynolds pees (if you watch, it comes out in just tiny drips, not a stream). He also pees a lot more than a normal cat because his special food makes him more thirsty. His butt is basically a longhair trap for pee and he walks around with wet “pee butt.” The wet pee butt makes his skin really tender on his hind quarters.

We asked the rescue to pay for a trip to their vet to work on his pain and his pee butt. Cat pain meds for chronic conditions are hard because they have sensitive livers. After a couple of trips and a lot of tests, we know he has a pinched nerve in his back (no idea how he got that). We found out he’s actually 7 and that he was in such bad shape when returned to the rescue from his life outside he needed blood transfusions! Their vet had no idea what to do about his peeing other than to keep him shaved. I was grateful for the help with his pain management and the full testing workup we got but not super satisfied about the pee butt situation.

We finally found a medicine that helps somewhat—Gabapentin, which is usually used to prevent cat seizures in a higher dose. We give it to him along with Vet CBD oil with an oral syringe. This is just simply a way of dosing liquids to a specific measurement and then squirting in his mouth. I can tell he is feeling better because of how he acts, the variety of positions he lays in and that he now grooms himself.

Biscuit Reynolds is basically a small friendly monster. He makes these incredibly loud snorting noises when he grooms himself. He excretes gross stuff on his face from his eyes (standard for Persians), he dunks his whole face into his water so he ends up looking really weird and a little scary until it dries, and he has a pee butt. We try to bring levity into the situation by calling him Mr. Peebuddy (pronounced like Peabody) and giving objects like papers we didn’t put away or the floor a daily Peebuddy nomination.

Monster face. We’ve since started cutting the extra floof off the sides of his face because it gets matted and knotted from the water.

He’s the weirdest cat I’ve ever had. He doesn’t eat anything but his food. No treats and no chicken! What cat ever rejected chicken?? He also doesn’t like catnip and is not motivated by it, which is great for me as I have two blends of Bevin’s Tea with catnip in them, since it is soothing for humans. But hard to get him to want to use a scratching post by putting catnip spray on it.

He is just as snuggly as we hoped but I had forgotten to affirm that I wanted a cat that smelled great and was self cleaning. We now have blankets to provide a safety barrier between us and the cat. I have to mop the living room and bedroom floor all the time, use disinfecting wipes on the couch and recliners (thank goodness for wipeable furniture) and use cute towels or doilies on the other furniture he sleeps on. I make a DIY febreeze with essential oils, vodka and water. We clean soooo much more often, which is probably a net positive given how much I hate cleaning but hate the idea of pee butt more.

Biscuit Reynolds is OBSESSED with outside. Persian cats aren’t great indoor/outdoor cats because they have high maintenance coats. ALF and Bear didn’t give any fucks about going outside and they were very easy. We take Biscuit outside on a harness and leash and let him roam around. I tried walking him with Macy one time and that was not so successful since Biscuit Reynolds doesn’t like to walk in a linear fashion and mostly wants to crouch in the grass and chew on it.

I bought him some grass to eat in the house, he refused it. Outside grass only.

We are now getting him groomed as short as possible with no frilly cat stuff like puffy paws so that he’s easier to keep clean. We keep his water bowls small but numerous so he can’t quite dunk his whole head. Our groomer gave me this spray to help neutralize the pee smell on his hindquarters. We are trying a custom diaper next to see if it keeps him dry and still enables him to poo in the litter box.


Biscuit Reynolds turned out to be a lot more maintenance than we thought. If we knew going into it how much care he would require Dara would have easily talked me out of it. However, since my experience caring for my Grandmother while she POTSA (Passed On To Something Awesome) I am rethinking how I feel about “care.” Caring for her was an incredible bond that I’ll never forget. I am rethinking the care I provide my pets as bonding. I wanted to snuggle with a cat but in my tender care it gives me and Biscuit Reynolds a sweetness that is more intense than just having cats, feeding them and scooping the litter box.

I feel like given how much we tried to not get a special needs cat and still ended up with one, it’s like this special lesbian cat work we were called for. We’ve already given him energy healing with Syd, our healer. I also give him Reiki all the time. And on the docket when our money situation is more abundant, we want to seek out a specialist to do a surgery on his urethra to try to correct how he pees. We also got a message from our healer about seeking out essential oil therapy for him so if anyone knows a healer in the natural/herb arts for pets please let me know! Or if you’ve had a similar situation with a cat let me know!

I know the care intimacy is working because within a month I genuinely felt love for him, and it keeps on growing. I’m also kind of obsessed with him because he’s so weird, so sweet and so handsome.

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