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

2016-02-26

LA Week Five: Turning Social

I’m loving these weekly check-ins about the transition to LA. I keep reminding myself of the power of six months, that in six months everything will be different, settled, and all of this transitioning stuff won’t be in the forefront of my mind all the time.

There’s so much more to the transition than I thought there would be. I guess I thought I could prepare and plan enough, since I spent months preparing and planning for the move. But I don’t think I had any idea what kind of energy it requires to not know where anything is and get acclimated to a whole new place. Most of the time when I’ve moved in the past I had at least a passing comfort with the neighborhood.

heatherwithdollymintHeather, drinking my Dolly Mint Reiki tea blend by a fire pit. #blessed

The biggest thing that happened this week was the launch of my Reiki Tea pre sale. People tell me I’m “brave” all the time but I don’t necessarily feel brave. It’s so scary to put your dream out on the line and be open to failure. It’s really vulnerable!

The Reiki tea blend business was a great idea and was very “safe” in idea phase. The sweet and awesome news is that as soon as I put the post up I made a sale (thank you Allison!!) and I’ve gotten enough orders that I’m nearly 20% of the way to making the B-School tuition! (Including $100 from Grandmother she gave me for my birthday and Christmas.) I had been planning a pre sale at some point but having the deadline and the big goal was really helpful. I feel good that at least I’m trying and I get to share this awesome healing modality with my blog audience!

barbtommyselfieWith Barb and Tommy!

This fifth week in LA was all about turning social. Up until this point I’ve seen a couple of folks a week, having been so overwhelmed with setting up the house I had to lay low, but people have been in town and it is good to take breaks and see people.

We also had to have a major overhaul of our travel plans and intentions. We thought we’d be done with the house set-up so much quicker, but we weren’t. We were going to go up to Las Vegas to support Dara’s mom in the Nevada caucus last weekend (she was a precinct chair), but Dara ultimately decided that we should stay home and get more settled in. I was going to go up to the Bay Area this weekend to go to Bryn’s SF memorial and when another friend of mine passed suddenly last week I knew that my self care interest would be served by not traveling. The grief pile-on has been kind of a lot.

I think I can sometimes use socializing and traveling as a way to not stay present. I love both of those things, but I know I also need to balance it by feeling my feelings, doing my self care work, etc… Traveling is a lot of energy and disruption. Not traveling these two weekends has been great because I was able to find a humane butcher at the local farmer’s market and get a pork shoulder and bones. I feel like once I make bone broth, maybe that’s how I finally feel settled? Anyway, it has felt great to eat nourishing food I spent a long time brewing.

greenspartyGreens!

It also feels super nourishing to get to see friends I’ve known a long time and who are familiar in a new and not yet familiar place! That has been a nice antidote to the newness.

Friday night we did a little York Avenue taco tour in Highland Park with our friends Kristen and Madeleine. I met Kristen eight years ago at the Femme Conference with her feminist burlesque group the Miracle Whips. (The Miracle Whips are also featured in the Glitter and Grit Anthology, a brand new book I highly recommend from Heels on Wheels!)

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The four of us, rather than choosing one taco place decided to try first the Vegan taco truck (delicious), then we thought there were street tacos but instead was a woman selling sausages wrapped in bacon (extremely delicious), and then another taco truck across the street from the Vegan truck that was “conventional” tacos and also really delicious. A street dinner for less than $10 each. I’m still trying to figure out my exact right condiment preferences for tacos. Definitely cilantro, but which kind of hot sauce? Onions? Radishes or no?

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Saturday morning Dara went for her first and last run along the LA River (it hurt her knees which were weakened during chemotherapy) and I went for an aura cleansing class in Hollywood. I’m thrusting myself into the woo lifestyles of LA and I feel really great about it.

I moved out here to work on my spiritual gifts and I am super into any class for $15 that will teach me woo modalities. This was taught by the owners of the House of Intuition here in LA, which now has three locations and the stores and products are great. I visited when I was here in May and so many folks told me it was a must-see. (They also have an online store.)

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The owners are queer women of color (a couple) and I learned SO much. About starting a business based on your intuition, building altars, magic, and the promised aura cleansing methods, which involves a ritual bath or shower. It gave me a lot of great ideas for enhancing my ritual for tea blending!

My friend Heather (co-editor of the Glitter and Grit anthology) was in town this weekend so I visited her at the apartment she was staying in. It was like a gorgeous human terrarium, with a running brook through the complex, a grotto, a heated pool with a fountain, a community grill, an outdoor fire place and a dry sauna. We used all of those things with Caitlin, another LA transplant from Brooklyn and Heather’s friend Monica. It was awesome to be around Femmes for the afternoon and just hang hard and look really cute.

poolpartyThis pool party was also my first time in a bikini as an LA resident.

I wore a semi-slutty dress over there because I have gotten so tired of wearing the same ten outfits. All of my clothes are still in boxes pending the completion of my Mariah Carey closet in our attic, but due to my weirdo packing some clothes have surfaced, including this super cute dress that is just so low cut I only like to wear it when I’m feeling really confident or with a group of folks I feel safe and supported by. Femme gatherings are great for fashion risks.

The truth is, I haven’t felt as confident since we got here. Being in that constant state of “I don’t know this area I don’t know where I’m going” has left me a little more vulnerable and thus less inclined to take risks or draw attention to myself aesthetically. I just want to hang out with cats / not get cat calls right now.

Heather’s partner Silas came home before I left and it was great to squeeze him and catch up! He’s directing and doing some other work on Transparent Season 3, you totally need to check his instagram for the dish. I’m so excited for his work coming out. Did you see the amazing video he directed for Peaches that came out a couple of months ago?

Then we party hopped to dinner with my friend Tommy who was visiting LA with his girlfriend (and Dara’s good friend) Barb. We went to this place down the street from us, Links n Hops, a SAUSAGE RESTAURANT. I am committed to trying all of their many kinds of sausages.

barbtommyFirst time seeing Tommy since my going away party in December!

Monday I finally went to the beach for the first time since living in LA and that was great except for super sad reasons. My friend Melissa Tracy, who is just a little bit younger than me, passed away suddenly last week. I have very few regrets in my life but I now definitely regret not aggressively pursuing a hang out with her before I left NY. We met when she lived in Baltimore, she moved to SF, then back to Baltimore, then to Ventura, then to Nyack, NY (near NYC). I will probably write more later about Melissa, but whenever I imagined her in Ventura I imagined her on this very specific beach I love there. I met up with my old friend James Leander who also knew Melissa and we said a prayer and lit a candle. It was super windy at that beach and I felt it was extremely auspicious that we were able to easily find a tiny candle cave to keep it lit.

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On the way back from Ventura I stopped in Camarillo to visit with my Aunt Shari. It’s so nice to just get to drop in and see my family! I watched the full moon rise over the mountains near East LA from I-5 on the way home. Did you catch the full moon on Monday? Celestial gorgeousness!

Tuesday we drove Heather to the airport and because avoiding traffic is a huge hobby of ours, Dara had a meeting in the late afternoon in Marina Del Rey (beachside town near LAX) and it was an adventure we made a day of it. We did a post-airport drop off Panera work date, had a post-lunch stroll on the beach, then back to another coffee shop for more work and Dara’s meeting. It was a looooong day but totally worth it for the beach break.

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Tuesday night I reunited with a longtime Femme friend, Jenni, who is another NYC area LA transplant, but had a year and a half jump on me. I got to make her dinner, which we ate with a huge pile of “to sort” stuff looming in the living room, but it was a super sweet reminder of what me and Dara are working so hard on our house for. I cannot wait to have dinner parties and regular parties and social things.

In fact, we planned a painting party/mild carpentry party this coming Saturday for some friends to come over and help us work on the Mariah Carey closet installation. It’s been hard for us to carve out the time and I truly love throwing parties way more than painting. I figured combining the two would be a really great way to motivate. Even if three people show up the extra help would rule. And then I get to be social and feel like I’m making progress on our house.

Oh also, we played tennis outside yesterday. Though the transition is still rough and scary sometimes, LA is definitely really sweet right now. I think, among the laundry list of physical, emotional and spiritual work to do right now is to really feel that I deserve all of the tremendous blessings that LA is offering. The weather is beautiful, the things we have access to are so phenomenal. I mean, my friend invited me over to swim in a heated pool and lounge by an outdoor fireplace at a random apartment complex just six minutes from me. Like, making this change has been a ton of work and hard, and it’s so much easier to not make change and just think about or long for what it would be like to make change. But pulling the trigger and walking through the gauntlet yields some pretty amazing stuff.

I’m really praying that pulling the trigger on starting the Reiki tea business is not scary for long and is one more beautiful blessed thing that I get to do now that I live here.

2015-11-30

Queer and Indie Holiday Gift Guide!

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It’s Cyber Monday again (I kind of still hate that it’s a thing now but it’s a thing now). I believe in putting a dam in Capitalism wherever possible. If I have some wealth, I am going to redirect it to prioritize helping the lives of small businesses, especially those run by queers and POC. I don’t want my gift money going to increase some bottom line on the New York Stock Exchange.

I figure if you’re going to participate in gift giving, I’m super into connecting people to small businesses. I’m also into giving people good gift ideas because I love to shop. I have some ideas for literally anyone on your list.

My holiday gift guide this year is not compensated–I included small businesses owned by folks I know and indie businesses suggested by my followers who commented on my instagram and facebook posts asking for their favorites. Every now and again a proprietor sends me a sample of something or a discount. Many thanks to my friends Lexi and Jamison who helped me come up with some of these ideas, too!

My astrologer once told me that money is energy in 3D form and I totally believe in being mindful about putting your energy out there, especially when you’re doing holiday shopping. So here is a big list of possible holiday gifts for all kinds of folks on your list, enjoy!

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Jewelry & Adornments

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I am so into Stitch Prism Jewelry this year. Handmade by KellyAnne Mifflin, the jewelry is aesthetically gorgeous woo. Maybe you just want something pretty, I love the designs so much! Maybe you want something energetically supportive–it is so powerful to wear crystals on your body. I bought a necklace at their booth at a craft fair after asking which stones I needed have hovering over my heart while traveling.
KellyAnne makes custom work, custom chain sizes, too. I have a custom Capricorn necklace with additional stones that I love. They are also great about “Hey I have this piece from you and need the chain reworked” so if you’re nervous about chain length for your gift recipient you can always get it amended. Also consider a gift card for a custom piece!

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Leather Coven! I bought the above-pictured Medusa harness from them after my holiday gift guide last year and it fits so well! Seriously, getting a custom, hand made piece of art is such a marvelous experience. Mateo is a leatherworking genius and I love their stuff! You can style it in lots of ways–wear it over your clothes for a baller accessory, wear it over an undergarment to amplify sexy, and if you want to really go for deep sexy wear nothing under it!

For a simpler style I love the Sebastian Harness for only $41.40 (pictured above, modeled by Mateo) and I am deeply coveting the new Elektra crop top that just came out this Fall. They take Etsy gift cards if you are unsure of the measurements of your loved ones. If you’re ready for their Cyber Monday deal, for today only CYBERME20 for 20% off!

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I love Chubby Cartwheels so much. (This is the brand behind my beloved Diet Industry Dropout crop top.) I think it can be hard to buy other people clothes, but as a Fat Femme, I love when my lovers buy me great lingerie. How about these Chubby Cartwheels All Around Mesh Undies? I feel like they work well for folks who love lingerie and folks who just love to be comfy. Both sexy and cozy. (I would count this as loungerie.) At $18 and sizes 1X-5X I think it’s a great choice. If you don’t know your sweetie’s size, go check out their underwear drawer, find a couple pairs you know they enjoy and scope the size tag! And if you’re really unsure, email Shawna, the babe behind the brand, and say “It’s a Torrid 2X, what size is that for your garments?” A lot of fat femmes know what a Torrid 2X fits like and can translate.

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Speaking of fab fatties, I also gotta shout out Rachel Cupcake’s Re/Dress. Every time I’ve bought online it comes really fast. They have all these AMAZING microfiber bright print leggings for $28. If you’re shopping for a babe who is size 14-26, the leggings fit that whole size range so you can’t go wrong. I love a bold print legging, it goes with my easy tunic tops and I don’t have to think about how to really wear an outfit. Also, it puts me in touch with my inner Peg Bundy.

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Dapper and Swag’s Livery and Adornments has some very fabulous Collar Tips. My well-dressed dapper friend Lexi says Collar Tips are her new favorite accessory. Dapper and Swag has this great Nautical themed collar tip for only $15! I also love the stag antler ones.

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Project TransAction (in their words) is an eco-conscious, artist driven, independent leatherwork and screen printing company in Boston, MA. We use only top quality American cowhide and source our hardware from small – often family owned and operated – US companies. All of the inks, dyes, and finishes that we use on our leather are water based, and our screen cleaning products are biodegradable. All of our work is 100% Quality and Satisfaction Guaranteed. We aren’t satisfied until you are. Right now I’m obsessed with how good leather suspenders look and really want a pair for Dara. Their base price is $85 for leather suspenders and they have so much great leather to choose from. This is another item to order custom sized. If you want to go pricier these Distressed Brown Leather Suspenders (swoon) are $150.

It can be so hard to find a belt that fits for a larger or smaller than average person! Project Transaction also sell really cute custom belts like this Gears and Cogs belt for the nerd in your life. Find Project Transaction on Facebook and Instagram! Get 15% off with Promo Code WINTER and free holiday shipping!

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Kelly Horrigan Handmade makes such great earrings, shoulder bling, necklaces, wall hangings, etc… From Kelly: At least 75% of the leather used at KHH | KELLY HORRIGAN HANDMADE is repurposed from high quality scrap leather. We strive to make sustainable choices whenever possible. I love the Diamond Teal Peacock earrings so much. This Python Necklace is so baller. Kelly makes a lot of things in hot pink and I am very into bright leather. Receive 15% off when you use code HANDMADE at checkout.

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Wild Fancy Design has some of the coolest jewelry for your favorite witch, feminist or queer. The Dandy Unicorn collar tip shown above is $33. Yes Homo necklace is $25. Or how about flagging with a Switch pin for $16? With code DARKSKIES you can get 15% off through December 31st!

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Deliciousness & Potions

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Do you know a tea lover? The Plum Deluxe folks have an amazing tea of the month club with a hand-blended seasonal tea exclusive for their tea of the month members. They sent me a sampler of their tea to check it out for my Lesbian Tea Basket series and I’m prepping a video about all that. I looooved the seasonal sample they sent from an autumn monthly delivery. In fact, my dog groomer Sequinette came over and asked for a “seasonal” tea and boy was I a proud lesbian busting out my tea of the month for the moment. (And it was delicious!) You should definitely consider the gift of a tea of the month! They do the gift subscriptions in 3, 6 and 12 month increments, either one tea at a time ($10 per month) or two teas at a time ($16 per month). As a tea lover who loves to sample new tea, I would be super into this gift.

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(Hint hint if any of my loved ones are reading this and want to buy me this tea of the month club gift please go for it, email address is queerfatfemme@gmail.com I will update them with my address as I make my way cross country.)

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Gemly and Fern is the potion arm of Stitch Prism, which is really great. Such great potions to choose from if you have a loved one going through it: Deep Self Love, Heal Through This, and Mercury Retrograde Support Potion.

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As someone who has food sensitivities I have learned to rely heavily on my cooking skills. I have definitely leveled up my cooking game and doing so, relying on high quality great spices. I’ve also learned that high quality delicious salt can transform any vegetable. (I have more than five types of salt right now and I feel really great about it.) My friend Lexi suggested Penzey’s, a local spice shop located in Boston and Missouri, for cute gift ideas for literally anyone who cooks. The Sunny Paris seasoning, is salt free. It is pricey but it is definitely because of the dried shallots inside. Lexi shared it with me and it smells delicious. And for $10 for 1/2 cup it will help jazz up pretty much anything. Jamison and I used the Buttermilk Ranch spice mix on chicken the last time I visited their home and it was out of this world. The Sandwich Sprinkle is also recommended from the Lexi/Jamison household. They also have gift cards and gift boxes, and all the salts.

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Kids & Pets

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Queer kid’s coloring books! Jacinta Bunnell has a whole line of them for the gaybies and small children in your life! The Big Gay Alphabet Coloring Book is only $12.95 Sixty-four page coloring book illustrating twenty-six words that highlight memorable victories and collective moments in LGBTQP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Pansexual) culture. Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon Coloring Book is only $10. There are lots more, check out the store!

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If you know a high school or middle school-aged person consider the gift of this amazing young adult book I just finished, Dumplin. I definitely plan to write up a full review on my blog but until I get to it (I will be done moving in 3 weeks, maybe then I will finish my backlog of blog endeavors!) you should know it is a heartwarming tale of a fat but mostly okay with it girl and her coming of age. She lives in a tiny town in Texas and loves Dolly Parton. There’s teenage (hetero)sexuality in it. It was such a great book I had a hard time putting it down.

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Ruff Haus is the pet collar arm of ProjectTransAction and I love their gorgeous work–the prints are so unusual! I especially love the circus horses and polka dot design.

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For cats, I have an unusual present that’s pretty cheap. I follow a really cute flat faced cat named Kyle on instagram. Kyle has a big online presence and because his adoption origin story involves his previous mom being killed by domestic violence, his new parents use his online swag to raise money for a pet friendly domestic violence shelter in NYC. This tickle pickle is only $4, stuffed with catnip and I’ve seen many famous instagram cats playing with it so I know it’s a hit among the feline sector. What an amazing win-win, a great stocking stuffer and a donation to benefit a pet friendly DV shelter!

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Books & Prints

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Glitter & Grit – Queer art anthology

My writing is featured in a new anthology that is coming out on a limited edition pre-sale run! Glitter and Grit: Queer Performance from the Heels on Wheels Femme Galaxy features writing and art by over 60 queer artists, all of whom have worked with Heels on Wheels — the notorious all-femme, DIY touring & community art troupe. (I wrote about my experience touring with Heels on Wheels in this blog post.) To fund this printing, this anthology is on pre-sale Nov 30-Dec 14, only at this link. First 30 books sold @ 20% off – $20 + shipping, next 100 books sold @ 10% off – $23 + shipping. Note that you can select express shipping and get it in time to gift, if you want! This is the kind of thing you’ll want to give other people and you’ll want to give to yourself. STOCKING STUFFER MAGIC for the Femmes and Queers of all genders in your life!

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Charlotte Cooper has a new book coming out! Maybe you want to pre-order it and give a card to your friend/relative/partner who needs or wants something like this? In Charlotte’s words: Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement is going to be published on 4 January 2016. I picked this date because it is the beginning of the new year weight loss season and the first day back to work for people who have to hustle for a living. I thought that this would be when readers would need something really encouraging about hope and social change at this bleak time of year. Also definitely don’t miss the cute holiday video starring Charlotte!

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For someone who needs a little more of a body love 101 ride, and someone to walk them through the process of loving your body like a friend I am reading and loving Jes Baker of the Militant Baker‘s Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. I’m also quoted in it! (What a total honor!!!) That photo above is me and Jes Baker at the book launch in NYC!

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I went to a craft show this weekend and I barely looked at the letterpress booths because I love Panorama Press so much! Queer owned and operated, Madeline makes such amazing beautiful creations. Tons of cards, the amazing California Poppy print above I love so much, and occasionally jewelry. And Don We Now Our Gay Apparel for only $5 is the BEST gay holiday card.

Other Things!


I have had this Ring Thing on my phone for the past year and it’s frickin’ amazing. Here’s the blurb from Zachary, Dara’s friend who runs it and its awesome charitable arm. Never drop your phone again! Ring Thing allows for a comfortable, safe & secure grip for any smart device. Ring Thing can be used for a verticle or horizontal kickstand and rotates 360 degrees & swivels 180 degrees. New phone, new case, no problem, Ring Thing can be peeled off and reused over 100 times!** So if you’re looking to take the perfect selfie or watch a video with ease and comfort, you need a Ring Thing!

This holiday season, you can support Schools That Can (STC) and get your stocking-stuffing-shopping done. Enter the “SchoolsThatCan” coupon and $9 for each RingThing purchase will be donated to STC, helping them provide quality programming, partnerships, and thought leadership to their schools. To learn more about STC and Ring Thing, visit www.GoodForMeLifestyle.com/Fundraising

P.S. Watch a holiday video starring me, Dara and Macy on you tube from the Schools that Can/Ring Thing mash-up last year!

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And I always want to shout out my friend Mackenzi’s great store Lockwood! She has three locations now, one in Astoria, one in Jackson Heights and a clothing store in Astoria that carries sizes 0-24. If you’re a NYC local go shop in her store, I can literally buy all of my presents for everyone there, she curates epically. The webstore has only a fraction of her inventory, but online I love the plates with cute sayings on them, like these for $24.95. Watching Mackenzi work so hard and actualize her dreams is very inspirational for me. Her store has really bloomed over the past 7 years of our friendship!!

2013-04-19

My Time With the Heels on Wheels Glitter Road Show

Early in March I had the opportunity to attend two gigs with Heels on Wheels at a couple of colleges in the Northeast. I have known about HOW since its inception, mostly because two of my besties (Heather Acs and Damien Luxe) conceived it. Much like the Sister Spit tour, I always wonder what it would be like to “get in the van” and bring my work around. I’m lucky that part of my income comes from going to colleges to do workshops and performances, so I get a bit of that, but never in the big group. Getting to do those two gigs was a little taste of the road-trip-meets-art-adventure without ever having to forsake a shower because there were too many people and too few showers available in too little time (the greatest road show complaint I hear from everyone who goes on any tour).

Ever relentlessly documenting my life, I made a little photo essay of our trip to Hampshire College to present a workshop on confidence (Femmepowerment–from the stage to the street) and perform as the evening entertainment for the Five Colleges Queer Conference. I had a really great time and it was an honor to be in such extraordinary company for our 16 hour adventure.

We got in the van. All nine of us, Femmes, in some way or another.
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There was the HOW Production team, Heather and Damien. The HOW touring artists, DJ Shomi Noise and Lixznn Disaster. The folks on the East Coast leg of the tour (me and Kirya Traber). The photographer for the day, Nicole, and the amazing Cristy Road, catching a ride with Heels on Wheels to go to her own workshops/readings.

I'm on tour for one day. #howroadshow Cristy Road, @shominoise @kiryat Damien Luxe not pictured heather acs Nicole and Lixznn.

Our fearless driver & navigator. Lixznn disaster & Nicole ayla mules. #howroadshow

I learned early on that Lizxnn drives the van like a boss. Seriously, not at all intimidated by the size and power of that huge van, as we rolled over curbs as needed and got where we needed to go (Northampton, MA) safely.

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The van was a pretty amazing experience. Imagine how wonderful, inspirational and loud it is to be surrounded by chatty Femmes. It is the most at home I ever feel. When my too much is exactly as much as everyone else’s. We learned that all of us had been raised with working class single moms. We had a spontaneous performance art moment where those of us who had no dad were told by those who had bad dads all the things we wished we’d heard growing up.

For example:
“You’re so pretty exactly as you are.”

“Here, let me show you how to build a bookshelf.”

“I support you growing up to be a working artist.”

“I love you unconditionally, no matter what.”

(As an aside, it’s really powerful work to reparent yourself as an adult when you learn what unconditional love can look like.)

We decided we were going to perform that at “Fuck You Dad,” Damien’s annual father’s day/birthday party performance show.

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Shomi did some casual community organizing from her wifi hot spot on her phone.

As a former drag king troupe producer, I am familiar with traveling with a group of folks and creating itineraries. We were given explicit timing instructions of when we would leave and could expect to return. We knew it would be a long day. Our lunch stop ended up being a dunkin donuts in the middle of who-knows-where Massachusetts because of timing.

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They were pretty amused with us flowing in and out, getting breakfast sandwiches and using the bathrooms in turn. There was a delightful little flier on the counter.

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We also went through the workshop we were going to give that day, confirming who would do what. It was great to get to create with those amazing minds. It was also just so incredible to roll up to the various pit stops we made with this group of Femmes nine deep. Being a weirdo out in the world is pretty usual for me, but being a weirdo with other weirdos is a spectacle is empowering beyond words. That’s Femme visibility.

This is a laminated copy of the hanky code I got from an ex lover that I gave to Damien for her van warming party in 2010 and now hangs in the van. The ex lover was a Butch Virgo, if that explains the lamination and lengthiness of the code.

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There was considerably less gear than we would have had if the tour was for more than a 16 hour trip with no overnight.

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We stopped at this crazy natural foods store in Northampton (?) that had more fruit and Easter candy than I expected to see.

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After snacks we got into the conference and set up for our workshop.

I always like to give folks the option to follow us on the internet, so I created this intensely detailed situation on the white board during our workshop.

#howroadshow

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(Photo by Nicole Myles.)

At the beginning of the workshop we each told a two minute story of our journey to self confidence. I like to begin my workshops and performances at colleges telling people how glad and grateful I am to do this work. I explain that when I was in college if I had access to seeing a queer fat femme teach me about self-confidence (or, let’s be honest, just seeing a queer fat femme) it would have changed my entire life.

Accidental selfie. #howroadshow

After the workshop we made our way over to this barn where there would be the Heels on Wheels performance and a QUEER PROM.

We spent some time backstage eating dinner and getting ready. Heather and I did some yoga stretching where the financial aid office is. No doubt, where a lot of stressed out students line up every semester like I once did. I tried to invoke some healing and patience energy to those students.

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Being a performer means that the term “backstage” is a loose idea that includes kitchens, storage rooms, alleys behind bars, bathrooms, a sheet tacked up to the ceiling bisecting a part of the room that is the performance space and many, many other weird permutations.

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The merch mall. Buying merch at shows is a fabulous way to support touring artists. I’m super stoked to wear my new purple v-neck Heels on Wheels shirt.

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(I still have those Rebel Cupcake hankies, $8, and hair flowers, $5. If you want them, email me queerfatfemme at gmail.)

It’s impossible to summarize the work presented by the HOW artists that night, but here’s my attempt to give you the diaspora. Heather did her performance “This is What We Have,” about adventures, freedom, longing and stardust. Damien did her piece “Exorcise” a comedic act about a process for embodiment from trauma. It’s very empowering. Shomi did some singing and storytelling about immigrant adolescence and coming out. And Kirya did this incredible piece using Beyonce moves about growing up, gender and body hair. My piece is about what it is like to spend 34 years in a body bigger than what society deems “average,” and I think it’s a good piece for college shows because it’s very body oppression 101, personal and empowering.

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Photo by Nicole Myles.

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Photo by Nicole Myles.

After the show we hung out listening to DJ Shomi Noise DJing. We went out to the van for a brief hang out and imagined that we were sailing through the air in the van with Cristy Road’s image of the night sky floating by us.

Matteo made this bling himself! I was so excited about it.

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We arrived home at 5:30 in the morning. Getting a little lost in some giant state park and only had to stop once so someone could pee behind a car.

After our adventure to Hampshire and New Paltz, the part of the tour that was going to the West Coast (Heather, Damien, Shomi and Lizxnn) went from LA up to Vancouver and back down again. Sorry to anyone who saw me on the posters and thought I was going to be out there! I got a lot of emails from people thinking I was in town. It made me seriously consider my own tour of the West Coast. I’m happy to do it if anyone wants to help me book a couple of college gigs!

The Heels on Wheels had a rough time out there, to say the least. Read here about the trauma they experienced while in Olympia.

I can’t tell you how much love I have in my heart for all of the artists involved with Heels on Wheels. They mean so much to me personally and as a queer femme in the world.

Heels on Wheels is an amazing organization that is working-class lead, feminist and femme empowering. HOW is fundraising through Indigogo to create sustainability for the organization and to support future work by the organization. You can give for the next eight days through this link. You can also get a bunch of really sweet prizes, but contributing to Femme magic, like the road trip I just described above, is also prize enough.

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You can get this ultra-rad carabiner mug for only a $20 donation! I’m totally stoked about my forthcoming mug that can easily clip to my purse.

Here are a bunch of artists from the Brooklyn homecoming show. It’s such an honor to perform with HOW.

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Photo by Chaska Sophia.

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.

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