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

2012-10-09

Queer Artists Make Great Queer Gifts

I have had the privilege of some Blog Benefacting lately and I want to share with you these gems from queer artists, either to gift to someone or to treat yo’ self!

Elisha Lim’s New Calendar and Portraits

Elisha Lim, the dapper illustrator and author of 100 Butches, has been making these incredible queer calendars for a few years now and this year’s creation is highlighted in the following tender you tube video that actually made me cry.

“I call it the Comfort of Queer Family Wisdom and it’s for anyone who could use a little tender love and history because we are not alone.”

We can all use tender love! The calendar is beautiful and full of queer faces.

“This is all-out, gloves off, direct action TLC. These are the voices and role models that I sought out for comfort and strength. This is the calendar that I’d wished I’d had: full of family trees and loving words to remind you that you belong. A lot of the advice is also for facing racism.”

The 2013 calendar is only $20 and is available now in Elisha’s Etsy Shop!

Also, Elisha is offering custom portraits for only $100! What a great gift for yourself or someone else. Elisha has been promising to draw a portrait of me for years and here it is!

Artwork by Elisha Lim

When you hire Elisha you get your portrait in black and white, a choice of colours (because Elisha’s Canadian, your colours get an extra u for free), and jpegs that you can print, multiply and use anywhere you like. And up to 3 changes!

I love supporting queer artists and this is a great, very personal gift!

Brownstargirl Tarot: snarky, compassionate intuitive reading, by a brown, queer, disabled babe

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Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a good friend of mine and an incredible Tarot reader. She has given me a few readings over the last four years and it always helps me to understand my life a lot or a little bit better. A reading once predicted my girlfriend was about to dump me! True story!

Leah can read tarot from anywhere. “Video Skype has broadly expanded things for me, and I have read for clients in Germany, Toronto, New York and more- so anybody, anywhere, can get a phone or Skype reading. And folks in Oakland can still come see my in person in my gorgeous North Oakland home.”

Leah charges sliding scale rates, $40-$100. She also does Numerology! She uses the Collective Tarot which is my favorite deck ever, it includes lots of people of color, fat folks, dis/abled folks, people of all walks of life and the cards were reconceived by a Collective of folks interested in taking the patriarchal and oppressive elements from the Tarot.

Late night tarot reading for myself with new deck. Fleshed out some but mostly what I had intuited. Going through a dark time right now that turns fabulous.
The Collective Tarot cards are so beautiful! I totally used them to help me decide to go to the Bay for Thanksgiving.

I don’t do readings where I tell you, “You’re going to meet someone with red hair at 7-11 next Tuesday who’s going to change your life.” Instead,what I offer is an intuitive reading that can clarify what’s going on in your life, how your past history, legacies and choices are affecting your current decisions, and what your sources of strength and options are as you move into your future. If you have questions about lovers, healing, money, moving, destiny, work, school, depression, big or little life decisions- or if all hell is breaking loose in your life – tarot can help you figure out what is going on. For me, the idea that the future is unwritten, that we write it with our choices every day, and that we have personal and collective power while still living within systemic oppression, are important political beliefs that infuse my work.

Get a tarot reading from Leah! You can email brownstargirl at gmail dot com to inquire and read more information and testimonials at her tarot webpage.

Feminist Playing Cards

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My pal Mamone from Riot Grrrl Ink gave me a copy of the Feminist Playing Cards to review. A production of Homoground, they are super rad! 56 feminist musicians drawn by 14 artists! Including the incredible Cristy C. Road!

The illustrations are gorgeous and include the following bad ass artists: Patti Smith, Beth Ditto, Poly Styrene, Nina Simone, Kathleen Hanna, Robyn, Brontez Purnell, Liz Phair, Yoko Ono, Loretta Lynn.

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I love playing cards and it can be really hard to use “novelty” cards because often they change the suits (I tried playing a game called “Swish” with my friends with my A Bug’s Life cards and was vetoed because the suits were acorns). But these are totally traditional suits (with the addition of women’s symbols) and are super easy to work with.

So much work, collaboration and love went into this project and it is clear when you take a gander at the spread.

Each deck is $25 and totally gorgeous and worth it. What a wonderful gift for the musicians, feminists, or poker afficianados in your life! Buy them here!

If you’re interested in becoming a blog benefactor on QueerFatFemme.com, which helps me run the site, let me know! QueerFatFemme at gmail dot com

2012-03-15

Glitter on the Gravestone: Grief in the Age of the Internet/Remembering CallOutQueen

Last year I knew five people who passed away. A close friend of the family, friends and members of communities I was involved in. There was a lot of pain and loss for me, mitigated somewhat by a well-timed deepened spirituality that has helped me come to a place of peace from each loss much easier than my life prior to spiritual practice.

I am struggling today because someone I “knew” on the internet took their life. Mark Aguhar, who I knew as “CallOutQueen.”* How did I “know” them? I cruised their blog. I appreciated their incisive wit. I appreciated their vanity and glitter. I loved their art. The juxtaposition of “Be ugly/Know Beauty” (this is a genius meditation, if you do that sort of thing). The swish of hair back and forth. Looking dressed when wearing nothing at all. Owning a brown, fat, genderqueer, femme, fag body. Absolute Femme realness at all times. Vulnerability. Stark honesty. Cutting honesty.

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I mean, I know she died, right? Like, because everyone says so. But when it happens on Tumblr, unlike on Facebook there’s no real clarifying post that says “This is what happened.” Sometimes on Facebook there’s a news article tagged with their name that pops up on a profile. Even when my ex-lover passed away I only sorta knew what happened because her best friend was dating one of my besties, it was never clear, from Facebook. With Luscious there wasn’t a news article. Just a heart broken community of queers putting it together.

So that’s what we have here with CallOutQueen. She’s gone. I was hunting through the tumblz Tuesday panning for a gleam of what happened. PrettyQueer.com and a few other outlets indicated she took her life. I mean. Who knows? I’m not even certain of the pronouns (thinking they with a leaning toward she/her, but when you only know someone through their writing in the first person you don’t always know).

I know what I feel is real sadness. For a lot of things. But so grateful she put her art out there. Expressed herself. Told her stories. Was a presence on the internet for so long before she was no longer a presence. A lot of people depart and haven’t told their stories.

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It feels weird to have this connection to someone from the internet. In this day and age, sometimes the internet is a really important place to connect. Sometimes our friends are in the computer and our community is in the tumblr or livejournal or wherever. Some of my best friends I met on blogging platforms (hey diaryland).

It reminds me about the importance of cherishing every moment and enjoying it. It reminds me that I am a presence on the internet. I was recognized on the street on my way to work Tuesday, before I found out. That’s always both weird and awesome. It made me think. what happens when I leave? What legacy do I leave?

A lot of my friends have had illnesses, knew they were leaving, and had time to get some last words out to the world. Tell us to have compassion, as was the case with V, or to take care of our health, as was the case with Heather. Some had life partners who could say things like “This is what so and so would want.” I think a lot about mortality and how fleeting life is. Treasuring every moment. Sucking the marrow of the bones of what we have, every single moment.

And here I am. I don’t have a life partner or anything. Trust that my BFF Brian has the password to my blog and will come make an update if something (Goddess forbid) happens. I want those folks out there to know what happened. Who knew me from the internet.

Also, I want you to know, if anything happens I want you to love yourself as much as possible and remember self-love is a life-long process. Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with each other.

What does Mark want us to know? How can we know? How lucky that they left so much of themselves on the internet.

One of my spiritual beliefs is that I think we are all on this earth to do a certain amount of work and we’re done when our work is done. I also believe that we recur and keep working on our higher selves. And we have souls we come back and work with. It brings me some solace to know I was affected by Mark. The swish of pretty hair. The soulful videos of full make-up and emotion. Existing as Femme and solidly as she did in a world that told her she was wrong and ugly at every turn.

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This world is temporal and cruel. This world is beautiful and possible.

I don’t have anything more profound to say except that I’m feeling it and expressing it and those are really important to me on my journey.

Rest in Power, CallOutQueen.

Here is a link to the fund to help Mark’s family with funeral expenses.

Here is a link to an article from The Qu about Mark.

*I’m certainly not the only person who calls people by their screen names in their head, even when I know their real name. I wonder how many folks who read this blog, follow my twitter or tumblr who only think of me as QueerFatFemme not Bevin?

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