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

2012-03-11

A Brief Guide To Home Organization By Someone Who Is Not a Design Blogger

As I have mentioned, I moved about six weeks ago. A move that was neither anticipated or instigated by myself has resulted favorably–a great apartment, a fabulous roommate–but has created no small amount of upheaval.

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Taylor cat sat for my while I was on my Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip and he mentioned my bedroom was entirely too small to relax in–and he was right! It was totally the kind of thing I needed an outsider to tell me.

I have been treating this as an opportunity to start fresh. My old place was pretty tiny, poorly laid out and filled with half-completed home organization and improvement projects. I purged a ton when I moved, as one does. I am much better at purging than I used to be. I grew up poor and we moved thirteen times by the time I was thirteen years old. I love to “nest” and I like having a lot of things. I’m also a magpie, anything shiny I want to keep around me. Further, I’m a perfectonist. I often don’t finish things because I’m afraid they won’t look perfect and therefore won’t be good enough. It’s a treacherous cycle.

In the last few years I’ve practiced time and again getting rid of things and freeing myself. But it doesn’t mean I don’t still have a lot of stuff. Clothes, especially. And craft stuff! Dear lord. I love to design things with my hands and I’ve always dreamed of having a dedicated craft area. It was my plan to convert my old living room into a craft room. I was about halfway there and then sort of stopped, at a loss of how to organize it and also an issue with getting shelving up.

I’m a good information organizer but not so great at things.

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The finished craft corner. There will be a new bookshelf to replace those cardboard boxes full of books.

Along comes my friend Elisabeth, who pitches herself as an organizational top and volunteered to help me sort my new craft area. It was a really incredible process! She was so kind! So many of those TV shows about organization start with someone mean about people’s stuff. But Elisabeth was gentle. Between our time together in my craft area and my bathroom I learned a lot about simple steps to home organization from Elisabeth and I wanted to share them with my readers who are not organizationally-inclined.

1. Take all the stuff you need to organize out, and separate like with like.

For my crafts we started with what project they created (all hair bling stuff went together, knitting stuff went together, etc…), then subsections based on what part of the project they work for. So hair bling flowers are in a bag together, hair bling backings are together, feathers have a shoe box.

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I designed this hair bling to go with this jacket–as seen on Golden Girls’ Blanche, by the way.

For the bathroom we just pulled things out of boxes and saw the categories, even though I couldn’t think of them until we started pulling them out. Like medicine, hair accessories, lotion, nail stuff, etc…

2. Start putting stuff together and find spots that make sense, and containers that make sense.

I really believed that I had to get special matchy matchy organizational boxes or whatever to really succeed at this project. I didn’t. Elisabeth said very distinctly “Don’t wait to have the ‘right’ sorting mechanisms. So, I just used what I had and it seems to work great. In fact, I have this huge surplus of these great purple re-usable shopping bags I made as merch once but didn’t sell even half of them. So those are quite handy, and don’t look bad.

I also used a lot of vases and tiny glass bottles and previous organizing craft caddies I already had.

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I also have noticed in the bathroom already there’s a section of stuff that could use a different kind of container, so I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a basket or something cool during my thrifting adventures.

3. Save the micro projects for later.

There’s a few little things I need to consolidate further, but not getting bogged down in the micro projects meant we could finish sooner.

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I dislike cleaning, so to make it more fun I wear a cute apron. This oil cloth apron is water proof and is a cute vintage style. Also, I believe in cute baskets for organizing, like Baby Girl Chicken (tea, duh) and a stereo for music while cleaning. Shout out to Bklyn Boihood calendar!

4. Be gentle, loving and willing.

Elisabeth was so sweet and loving during the whole project. It was nice to have conversations about items. I was very willing to take her direction (and, in fact, really needed direction, even if it was heading somewhere I was already inclined) and willing to let go of stuff that didn’t make sense.

Being gentle meant I could be flexible with the space. Sometimes sorting things helped the space take shape around where things needed to go. It felt pretty amazing and freeing.

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Pretty much all of our appliances have outfits. I didn’t realize my Kitchen Aid was naked until it had this jaunty crocheted doiley.

5. Use the Buddy System.

Elisabeth said I really just needed to invite friends over to do this work with me. It was quite nice to share the experience, talk about my stuff on the outside instead of relying on my inner process which is often clouded by a critic who is hard to ignore, especially when doing something daunting.

It was also lovely to catch-up with a friend! And we discovered in my archives box that we had the same Day/Night journal from 1999. She said she had struggled with how to use the two sides of the journal. I totally used one side for day-to-day journaling and the other side for BAD poetry.

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Me and Elisabeth! Thank you again so much!!!

So that’s it! I’m no design blogger, but I hope these tips are helpful to folks like me who always want their presents to look Martha Stewart fancy but more often than not use the store’s bag and tissue as the wrapping. My life is going to always be a work in progress. But this progress feels so significant and I celebrate that the progress is where the living happens.

2011-09-14

Guest Post: 20 Things I Learned From Surviving a 20 Year Flood by Natalie

My friend Natalie moved away from Brooklyn to Central Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter her new apartment flooded, she had an emergency evacuation and suddenly lost just about everything. Her thoughts within a week of the flood were very inspirational to me and I thought they might be to you, as well. Learning how to lean on folks in times of crisis is really difficult and it helps to be reminded that it happens and our communities can reach out in very surprising ways. Vulnerability is a sign of strength, but it doesn’t make it easy.

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Me and Natalie at Michfest.

20. It is ill-advised to move during a tropical storm.

19. If you must move during a tropical storm be sure not to move into an apartment nestled between a reservoir and a river.

18. Stepping out of bed into foot of water in which things that are precious are floating will render your brain almost completely useless for quite some time.

17. It is best to have some one who loves you a great deal very close at hand under those circumstances

16. National news coverage is useless in an emergency.

15. Local weather coverage is even more useless in an emergency.

14. Having seen images of homes flooded on CNN is in no way preparation for being flooded

13. Even in the midst of “catastrophic flooding” there will be miracles, like a co-worker offering to let me live in her house which is unoccupied, has been on the market for months, and is staged for showing while I sort it all out.

12. Some people you love will disappoint you when you need them most, i.e., my father suggesting that maybe this happened as a result of my “lifestyle”. (My apologies to Central PA for bringing the wrath of gawd upon you all)

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Any lifestyle that involves tiny crowns is a very powerful lifestyle.

11. Nothing beats getting a call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years who wants to make sure you are going to be alright.

10. Sometimes when people ask if you need anything they are hoping you will say no.

9. The most expensive part of recovering from a flood is rebuying things used frequently towels, underwear, socks, salt, soap, toilet paper, etc.

8. Never use cardboard to pack valuables. Plastic bins all the way.

7. The shock of waking up surrounded by water pales compared the heart break of trying to decide what’s most valuable in the moments before a mandatory evacuation.

6. Gawd has an impeccable sense of irony as demonstrated by having a pair of my ex’s underwear be the only ones not rendered useless by flood waters.

5. When you are as powerful as I am it is best to be thoughtful what you say. Case in point: remarking that I wish I owned a fourth of the things I did while unpacking the uhaul the day before the flood.

4. Even waterlogged and beginning to mold there are some things I can’t bring myself to discard (signed copies of S/he by Minnie Bruce Pratt and Wounded in the House of a Friend by Sonia Sanchez; a butterfly mobile my husbutch gave me; a love letter I received in college.)

3. Bubble bathing will go a long way towards restoring your faith in water post flood.

2. Sometimes people who have nothing to spare will offer you their last. Being overwhelmed with gratitude is to be expected.

1. The definition of Love is the Strange Black Girl who will stop the world to hold your hand while you cry over a waterlogged pile of cards, pictures, and gifted art.

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Natalie you are amazing! We are sending you all of our love from your Brooklyn and Fest crews!

2011-04-04

Everyday Glitter

My yoga teacher says at the end of each class “The light in me bows down to the light and the teacher in all of you.” I definitely feel that teaching is a two way process. I get just as much out of mentoring people, teaching workshops and writing this blog as people tell me they get out of those classes or this website. I treasure each compliment and appreciate them more than you know. But even more so, doing the art I do, blogging, writing, performing, producing, helps me to keep going on this journey, this lifetime journey, to loving myself. Teaching the gems I’ve mined about learning to love yourself and your body helps me mine even more gems.

At my workshop at Swarthmore I compared and contrasted the mainstream standards of beauty with what an alternative standard of beauty would look like. The gist of the mainstream standard is that it is virtually impossible to achieve and creates insecurity. An alternative standard is fluid. I said to the attendees, “You are all beautiful right this minute. The thing we need to learn is how to see ourselves as beautiful.”

I’ve talked about celebrating the fact that we are glitter identified people on the blog before. But I’d like to get deeper and start thinking about what are we doing every day that is putting together our amazing glittery lives? How are our lives beautiful right this minute? Where is our “too much” coming from, piece by piece?

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Sometimes my glitter literally comes in fistfuls from gay boys at dance parties. Hey Queen, July 2010.

Sometimes I find reading other people’s shines* really inspirational so hopefully you will find mine inspirational, too.

1. Spring! It’s still hovering in the 40s but today we got a couple of moments where it was downright near 60. I took my hoodie off for a precious brisk walk from the car to the grocery store. And not to be deterred, the birds are back chirping up a storm in the morning and some of the more dedicated early bloomers are thrusting forth.

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I spend a lot of time with my face toward the sky inspecting the trees for budding leaves. You can just barely make out silhouettes of buds here. All photos taken today in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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2. The perfect color of aubergine. For months I’ve wanted these deep purple sheets I saw on a reality show. Today at an impromptu trip to Ikea with Mackenzi I found a bedspread in that exact shade of aubergine, perfectly slippery so as to repel cat hair.

We went to scope out entertainment center options for my great living room redecoration project. Might as well start with a fast and easy fix to revolutionize my bedroom and acknowledge the continued need for comforters. I feel like the reverse of the Princess and the Pea. Instead of adding mattresses for comfort I am adding comforters for warmth!

3. The ridiculousness of an ornate cat food bowl. I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting for my cats to eat from, and a nod to old school Fancy Feast branding. (Note I feed them Nutro Indoor Senior food, not Fancy Feast.)

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They have to eat atop a chair so Macy can’t get into their food. I think it needs some sort of silver tray.

4. Mackenzi shouts to me, “Sugar Free Bacon Vinaigrette!” from across the aisle in the grocery store. I yell back “What has you speaking my love language?”

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It’s this miracle my lovelies. I can’t wait to try it out. It’s made with real bacon and comes from some maple farm.**

5. New gays moved into the loftiminiums across the street from my apartment!

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6. Trading coffees with Heather! Bedford Hill, the new coffee shop on my corner is awesome. They have a board where you can buy your friend a coffee and chalk it up for them to find. I bought Heather a coffee to help her with planning her tour (hey midwest! go see the Heels on Wheels Road Show!) and she reciprocated! I went down there and worked on my memoir today.

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Also the staff is really nice and cute. Their egg, avocado, cheese bagel sandwich will change your life.

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Heather and Damien are going to put on an amazing tour as soon as they finish reading this book about unicorns at a house party!

7. Brunch with friends! I am on this aggressively pursuing brunch on Sundays kick. I have worked retail so many weekends it kills it for me trying to do muggle brunch timing. But I miss my friends and I want to share cheap eats with them!

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I hope you are all putting your glitter out there this week!

*Shines and whines were something my college Resident Advisor staff used to do at staff meetings and I love them. It’s a way to communicate your highs and lows.
**Recall how much of a maple chaser I am.

2011-04-03

Home is Wherever I’m With You

I came home Thursday night and felt as though I had been stood up. Perhaps my relationship to Netflix has become a little codependent. I used to be a total Netflix failure–the type of customer that is the reason they are profitable. I would get a dvd, let it gather dust on top of the TV, distracted by my fast-paced lifestyle, steadily losing interest in the contents. Eventually losing the dvd and letting my membership expire months of no activity later, after my credit card number changed or expired. This has happened many times.

In the last few weeks suddenly I am a rapt user of Netflix discs. Maybe it’s like a retroactive winter hibernation even though the calendar says Spring. (I’m still using three comforters at night and the “real feel” temperature is 22 degrees right now.) My social plans have ground to near stop and I’m using my free time to get my life more manageable, focus on my spirituality and rest.

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I’m spending a lot of my time nose to nose with Macy, my Shih Tzu.

I’ve actually been craving this kind of down time. Sometimes my life is so non-stop I lament that I don’t take time to record the amazing things that happen and give them appropriate reverence. Also, I am practicing being compassionate with myself and that starts with slowing down and prioritizing self-care. I feel such a weight lifted off of me when I say no to doing something I would be doing out of obligation and not genuine want, or schedule a night home for myself. Also when I stop to think about my compulsion to be social and fear of missing out versus taking it easy I have a better handle on what my actual needs are.

I was telling my co-worker Bunny after a 9.5 hour Shop Girl day that I was really looking forward to a Thursday night at home with the movie Baby Mama that Netflix lead me to believe was going to be waiting in my mailbox. I mean, you develop certain expectations and when the email says it’s arriving “tomorrow” I imagine that to be the case.

Not so. The mailbox was cavernous, not even a junk catalog from one of the million affiliates of Jessica London that I get every other day. (I have only ever shopped from them once and it was online! Their junk mail is relentless.)

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The cats (Bear, left, ALF, right) were home to greet me.

At least when I get stood up by Netflix I have the charms of the Branlandingham Bunch to keep me company. They are all squishy faced and they each have distinct, sweet and ever so slight snores. And, you know, the Netflix has watch instantly so I wasn’t totally empty handed.

But instead of streaming I grabbed a book and put on some Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. And instead of reading I started daydreaming (this is why I am such a slow reader). I was thinking about what home means, especially what it means to me these days. I think slowing down has helped me notice that I treat my home as a closet for my stuff but not as a sanctuary for my mind.

I had an incredible experience at the Queer and Trans conference I presented and performed at Swarthmore College last weekend. (More on that later.) There was a workshop given by Mia Mingus and Stacy Milbern that has totally reshaped how I think about home. They have a blog about their experience moving together from different locations in the South to their new shared home in Berkeley, CA. They are two queer disabled diasporic Korean women of color and there is an incredible amount of thought and intention behind their home and their shared values. In addition to an incredible primer on dis/ability justice, what it means to create truly accessible space, crossing the boundaries between different kinds of dis/ability, they also showed us in a truly intimate setting–their home–how they are re-imagining how they and the collective “we” support liberation.

Their presentation was given via skype and projected from a computer onto a huge screen. (I wish I had a photo of it, it was a spectacular use of technology.) They showed us the guiding principles and shared values they wrote and put up (not unlike art, because it sort of is) in their living room from their living room. They could see us (well, half the room) in a lecture hall in a nice liberal arts college campus 3,000 miles away.

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I was trying to explain to a friend the weird places Bear likes to sleep. Like curled up next to the bathtub.

They talked a lot about how to create interdependence and what that means. That healing is organizing and healers are organizers. That social justice can start right at home. Building a home with intention is important.

Some of their shared values were intimacy, making time for each other, shared meals and adventures. I also appreciated their acknowledgment of the importance of their relationship with one another but also building their community support network and dating relationships.

I listened in awe of what they created together and how much intention they put into it. How important it is for activists to put a lot of love and care into their home in order to be centered. Being centered is where we must start in order to do the work we want to do to make change in the world. It’s just like that airplane emergency speech–put your oxygen mask on before you assist a child. How do you help someone else breathe if you can’t breathe yourself?

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When I was in the workshop I admired Mia and Stacey and also felt some grief and sadness. There are a lot of people I considered family of choice, who I longed to create this kind of domestic situation with who are no longer in my life. I thought I had built unshakable bonds that turned out to be strong for as long as they needed to be, but we’ve drifted apart. And in a more tangible way, I don’t put a lot of intention into my homes. I have interest in it–I read Southern Living magazine every month–yet I have barely paid attention to decorating my homes (yes, multiple) since the last time I lived with a partner. I seriously have two boxes of art I haven’t put up since I moved into my Brooklyn apartment nearly two years ago. I have basically made my apartments livable and functional but never finalized anything.

And maybe I find home with a lot of different people and not just in a space. Sometimes my home is 90 miles away with friends I’ve had for a decade, who helped me learn to be at home in my body and on stage.

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And sometimes they become parents and you get to be an aunt to their magical baby.

Sometimes my home is on the road. I really do feel at home in adventure. I think a lot about getting an RV and piling the muppets in to tour the country giving workshops about body love, performances and getting to hang out with my friends all over.

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Etta is the greatest baby.

Two weeks a year my home is a tent in the woods with a rolling garment rack, people I cherish and the Pandora station of cicadas and tree frogs.

Right now my work and my home are here in this charming Brooklyn brownstone apartment. I’m doing a lot of centering and spiritual work that deserves a place. I have an amazing roommate who doesn’t care that the living room is a craftastrophe and sometimes buys me fruit. I want to paint my living room at long last and turn it into a real design space so that there aren’t spools of ribbon everywhere (glitter will likely remain no matter what, I’m okay with that). And I want to stop waiting for someone else to be in my domestic life plan to settle all the way into my home. I’m the one I’ve been waiting for. I am enough.

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I’m never alone with animal companions. She waits for me to come to bed by sleeping on the side of the bed (and two of the three comforters).

So I am learning from Stacy and Mia’s example without waiting for a Stacy or a Mia to enter into my life. I am incredibly inspired by their example and the intention behind their home. I want to write guiding principles for my home life. I want it to be peaceful.

And while I work on that, I’ll finish watching Baby Mama.

2010-06-01

California Tour 20FEMME Starts Thursday: Fat Activist Panel, Flabulous 2, Re/Dress Shopportunity in Oakland!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Bevin @ 5:12 pm

You may or may not know that I am a native Californian, from the East Bay, specifically. Rachel Maddow and I share a hometown and high school, but I’m only 31 so we didn’t hang out or anything. It feels really weird to be going “home” to do mostly performing and being at a conference and being a shop girl. I won’t even see my family until I go to LA the following week. I think everyone has some complicated feelings when they travel home. Mine are all aflutter, but nevertheless I am focusing on all of the amazing shows/documentaries/shopportunities I get to be part of in the next week.

My subsequent LA trip is a family event but I’ve decided to focus on beach, bourbon and burgers as much as possible around it.

If you can make it to any of the following events, I’d love to meet you!! Especially at the shopportunity, that’s going to be really fun. I hope people bring champagne.

Thursday, June 3, 20FEMME * San Francisco, CA
Queer Fat’titude: an evening of irreverence.
6PM -8PM * Free
LGBT Historical Society
657 Mission Street (at 2nd St), Suite 300

Bevin is on the panel! We’ll be celebrating the history of fat activism in the Bay Area (and beyond)! Come out to the San Francisco LGBT Historical Society! There will be a fierce panel of queer fat activists, a photo exhibit, and yummy treats! Virgie Tovar will be moderating the panel.
www.glbthistory.org
www.virgietovar.weebly.com
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Saturday, June 5, 20FEMME * Oakland, CA
Bevin Branlandingham FemmeCees & Curates
Saturday Night Cabaret at NOLOSE
9PM Show / Dancing 11:00ish * Open to Conference Attendees Only


Information at this link!

Sunday, June 6, 20FEMME * San Francisco, CA
Kentucky Fried Woman & Jay Walker, in conjunction with the National Queer Arts Festival present
Flabulous! 2: Fatter Than Ever!
7PM show * Tickets: $12-$20
African-American Art and Culture Complex

Bevin performs in a very exciting show for fat queers and their allies. Flabulous! 2: Fatter Than Ever! is the second live performance production by Kentucky Fried Woman and Jay Walker featuring fat queers and their allies, highlighting the lived experiences of fat queers and envisioning revolutionary possibilities for fighting body fascism and embracing all bodies as beautiful. More information & tickets at the event website!

Flabulous 2

Monday, June 7, 20FEMME * Oakland, CA
Bevin Branlandingham is a Shopgirl at
SHOPPORTUNITY 20FEMME: Re/Dress NYC & Size Queen Clothing in Oakland
5PM-9PM * Econo Lodge, 10 Hegenberger Rd.

bayareaflier

2009-04-25

For the Love of My Wardrobe

I move tomorrow. And Monday. And a little bit yesterday. There’s nothing like having to take literally every article of clothing you own to the laundromat to remind you how much you own. That’s 2 Prius loads full. And I got rid of 12 white garbage bags of clothes during the Fat Girl Flea Market, so it is extra crazy realizing how much there is.

When I think about my wardrobe, though, I do realize that I have a lot of different aesthetics to maintain. I have a whole career wardrobe, which includes the business casual I use predominantly because I do transactional work and I’m a little flashy as well as the requisite suits. Even though I am transitioning to my new career which will involve some business work, I still need that stuff, because I will need to wear it and there’s no greater stress than needing a suit last minute, as a plus size girl.

Then there’s what I call the queer fat femme wardrobe, which is basically my everyday (and every night). Of course, everything has a different level of fancy–I have 5 different red halter dresses to illustrate this point. Is this a casual BBQ sundress situation or a tight wiggle dress night out? Is this something more conservative and less cleavagey I can wear to a baby shower with my ex-girlfriend’s parents (true story) or a flashy life of the party everyone will stare at me I look so good dress? Dressing Femme is complicated, everyone has a part of their body they don’t want to show off and parts that they do. I’ve even got parts I show off for political reasons.

And then there’s the whole performance wardrobe. Honey, I’ve got a ton of majorly unique and adorable costumes and only increase the amount the longer I work at a plus sized vintage clothing store. I had to get most of them dry cleaned as part of the transition to the new apartment, and the women at the dry cleaners were exclaiming over some of them. I am proud of my collection.

But just because I CAN explain why my wardrobe is so big doesn’t mean I NEED to. I don’t have to justify my clothes to anyone, that’s part of living as a Fierce Femme. It’s being who you are, loving what, who and how you love without justification to anyone but yourself. Yeah, I’ve got a lot of clothes, but I love them, I love myself and they make me really happy.

I’ve learned over the last few years you should only keep what you LOVE. While I do LOVE a lot of things, and I’m trying to do the best I can to weed out “stuff” from my life. But at this point I know with 98% certainty that everything I pull out of those laundry bags once Monday evening comes and I’m for real in my new place and starting my new life across the Hudson I am going to squeal with delight being reunited with my wardrobe.

So, yeah, the crimp in my back only one day into the moving process is all for the love of my clothes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I leave you with a wonderful video I found starring my colleague in fat activism Marilyn Wann and some big moves dancers.

2009-04-19

Femme Lounge Wear

My Femme “aha” moments still happen, almost ten years after coming out as Femme. Just in the last 6 months I’ve discovered the lasting effects of revamping my lounge wear.

I’m a draglesque performer who has a huge stash of lingerie, but mostly really fancy stuff for stage use only.


Example of stage use lingerie from the Femme Mafia Masquerade in Atlanta. I like to have my Femmeceeing gigs to contain a “lingerie course” whenever possible.

I’ve never had a partner who cared for it. More than one long-term partner said to me “I prefer you naked”, which broke my High Femme heart. All I ever wanted was to be that vixen who comes walking into the room wearing a surprise frilly something or other*. Of course, it was a nice sentiment and helped my fat girl ego to have lovers who loved my body without accouterments, but I am still a fan of frill and accessory. I’d like to think that my ideal mate would like me equally naked and in lingerie just as they liked me equally in and out of make-up.

Last summer I started discovering the magic of vintage lingerie and wearing it as outerwear. Once Deb started selling stuff for Re/Dress (before the brick and mortar store opened) I had a hook-up for vintage lingerie. Here’s me last summer wearing a swiss dot nightie and a miniskirt.


I can’t wait for the weather to be warmer so that I can start wearing that again on the regular.

My friend Molly used to tell me all the time when I complained about doing housework, that she did it while wearing lingerie. It always seemed so weird to me. First of all, I like to be supported when I am walking around, which generally meant a bra, and I had so long associated t-shirts with “comfy” that it didn’t occur to me that anything else qualified.


Whenever I catch Molly randomly on skype, I am treated to lingerie. That’s her enormous cat.

I decided to start challenging the notion that I had to save my lingerie for occasional and brief visits from suitors** and wear it around the house for my own benefit. Now, I’m not really talking about crotchless nothings or underwear that wiggles down as soon as you walk two steps, I’m taking cute camisoles with a little bit of support in them (Target $15.99), vintage lingerie, frilly robes and the like. I have to say, it’s totally revolutionized how I feel at home.

The robes they made in the sixties look like they wouldn’t make any difference, but they’re totally warm because they don’t breathe at all. Probably flame proof, too.


This is a “live from the Femme Slumber Party” picture of Rachael and me while I was on gaycation at her house for the Masquerade. That’s her “Don’t fuck with me” face.

Rachael’s partner Steph, the Gay Dr. Phil and Purveyor of all Things Down Home Texas Wisdom told me I looked like her grandmother in the sixties. I took that as a compliment.

The best part, though, is that I feel totally glamorous and cute, even when I’m just sitting around in my house. Probably one of the greatest things I picked up at this year’s fat girl flea market was this long grey dressing gown that has a plunging v-neck (killer, yet supported cleavage) and is floor length. It’s also super soft. Leah told me it looked like I was going to receive royalty, not just make up my guest bed for her.

For a girl who loves dress up, dressing up in loungewear is really fun. Like putting on a full face of make-up and doing up my hair even when I’m in a foul mood, wearing fancy loungewear makes a huge difference for me.

If you’re a t-shirt and sweats at home femme, more power to you. But if you love getting dressed up, don’t wait for a partner to okay it for you. Do it for yourself.

*Though, to be fair, I do this on stage so it’s not really that big of a deal. And it matters more to me that I do it as a political act than as an occasional treat for a paramour.
**I enjoy the feel of me in lingerie against a butch in a ribbed white undershirt better than pretty much anything.

2009-02-24

Upcoming Gigs and the Trifecta Falling Apart

There is a new Femme Shark Communique. Y’all should go read it.

I came up with an amazing idea for something I can sell at performances. I’m wondering if I can get it together in time for my upcoming performances. There are many of them. Highlights are below, and all of the details are at my calendar page. I will say my pet project is Cupcake Cabaret. I started thinking a lot last summer about how the art I relate to most is where the artist is finding strength through what makes them different. I have a whole cupcake piece I wrote about it, which I’ll be performing at Speaking of Femme (in NYC) and at Cupcake Cabaret. I hope to have a video version of it up here after this round of touring.

Things are a little stressful here at the ranch, mostly because I need to get a new apartment and roommate as of May 1st, I still don’t have a day job, the unemployment extension act is ambiguously enacted in NJ at best (at least in terms of giving me a straight answer about whether I’ll be able to pay my bills) and you know, maintaining self-respect instead of doing what my dopey heart wants to do. I call these the “Big Three Issues”, Home, Job, Romance. When one is down it’s hard enough to deal with. The trifecta is really throwing me for a loop and I’m hanging onto my besties’ hands for dear life right now.

I went back to Episode 2 of FemmeCast, about Break-ups, for support. I love having art about my struggles, because it reminds me of where I was and that I did get through it. Some of those little nuggets of wisdom are really helpful reminders in any sad/intense life BS moments. I still have my engagement ring and sometimes I wear it, both because it’s beautiful (I picked it out) and because it reminds me of how far I’ve come.

Of course, now I wear it on my middle finger. Joan Collins would insist.

Here are my upcoming shows! Details at my calendar page!

Saturday, February 28, 2009 * Brooklyn, NY
Gayety! A Queer Comedy Cabaret!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 * NY, NY
Speaking of Femme!
The Femme Family’s Debut spoken word event

Bevin’s California Tour!

Friday, March 6, 2009 * Oakland, CA
The Kentucky Fried Woman Show!

Saturday, March 7, 2009 * San Francisco, CA
Cupcake Cabaret SF!
http://queerfatfemme.com/2009/02/24/cupcake-cabaret

Monday, March 9, 2009 * San Francisco, CA
Special Show for CIIS

Saturday, March 28, 2009 * Brooklyn, NY
Gayety! A Queer Comedy Cabaret!

Saturday, April 4, 2009 * New York, NY
Fat Girl Flea Market
[www.fatgirlfleamarket.com]

2009-01-10

Brian says this man was sent to me by Jesus

My roommate and I are having major apartment drama that involves a lot of work being done and the living of our lives out of bags and in a maze of our stuff. The second of the service technicians came to visit yesterday to help rectify the problem (fingers crossed).

He was a sweet man from Mexico, named Luis. He was flirtatious and asked me about my tattoo and said he wanted one. Asked me if I had a boyfriend. I replied in my way, Oh, no, I don’t. and followed up with my fictional girlfriend. I find having a fictional girlfriend lets people know you’re not interested without making them feel bad.

He chatted me up about my fictional girlfriend and we talked about a couple I know of who do the international distance from Mexico City to Brooklyn. He commented, “There must be a lot of love there!” And he flirted with me some more (apparently I look about 23 years old–no kidding he says) and I responded, “Oh Luis, if I weren’t a lesbian I’d have such a crush on you.” He then told me about his daughter who is a lesbian.

She’s in her mid-twenties and he said, “I just love her so much but I feel like I failed as a father.”

I talked to him about a lot of stuff. About how it’s a testament to how good of a father he was that she loved him enough to be honest and not hide from him. About how she probably wants all the same stuff he wants for herself (to be happy, to have a family, to be proud of who she is). And about how the best thing he can do as a father is to love her unconditionally and be open to changing his mind about things in order to love her.

He said, “I don’t know why I feel like I can tell you all this stuff–I’ve never told anyone about her, not even my brothers.” I said I’m just the kind of person people trust.

He said a couple of funny things, which was that now he can’t watch his favorite kind of porn because it’s lesbians and he thinks of his daughter and he doesn’t want to be reminded of her during those moments. I said, Luis, you have to know lesbian sex is nothing like in those movies. They are nothing at all like the sex your daughter has. It’s seriously so much different.

When prodded as to how, I said, Well, first, take a look at those nails and think of how sensitive your backdoor area [here I make a sweeping gesture to my bottom] is. Imagine how it would feel to have those nails anywhere near your parts. And also, Luis, I bet you are really good in bed–nothing that those girls do would please each other. You know that.

And he said, “Yeah. You know, I always think girls who have sex with girls probably are better with each other in bed. Because they understand each others’ bodies.”

That’s true. But what’s more true is that when people are really honest with themselves and their partners about who they are and who they love, that’s getting you so much closer to being true to yourself. The kind of lover who knows themselves, knows their body and knows what to ask for is a good lover. So gays and lesbians have an advantage in that they already had to be honest enough with themselves to say who they love, so they are already have the skill set to be better in bed.

“So how did you know that you were gay?”

Oh, well, I never even knew that there were gay people until I was 14. And then when I knew that they existed it made so much sense how I was feeling.

He also asked if I’d ever done it to a man, to which I said no because I wasn’t going to get into gender. I also sidestepped his comment about him being glad his daughters didn’t dress like a man. It’s about baby steps in intervention.

He was so sweet and talked about his daughter and how she gave him a plasma screen tv and a surround sound system for his basement theater (his dream) this Christmas. I told him to go home and call her and tell her how much he loves her. And to never be ashamed of her because him showing other people how much he loves her because she is being honest about who she is will help other people whose daughters are also lesbian.

I signed his form and he thanked me and I have to say this has been my absolute favorite moment in this hellacious apartment debacle. I hope that I helped him understand a little bit more about gays and lesbians and I hope that he’s still able to watch porn that he enjoys. It’s all about good boundaries. I reminded him. I don’t think about my mom* when I watch the Crash Pad series! ::Shudder::

*My mom is actually a lesbian but I didn’t tell Luis that.

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