Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2021-06-15

Mononymously Using the Name Bevin for Three Years and Here’s How It’s Going

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bevin @ 10:34 pm

I reflected on my podcast last week with my friend Mayuri that I never blogged about dropping my last (and middle) name.

If SJP is back on set as Carrie Bradshaw I can sit at my little table looking out the front window of my home and resume blogging.

I formally adopted a “mononym” in 2018, right around this season. I didn’t even know that word at the time but I knew I had a deadline to decide what my name was going to be in the credits of my life’s greatest work so far.

At the time I was engaged to be married to who I believed was the love of my life! And whose last name ALSO happened to have a B initial so changing my last name but not initial would continue my charming but complicated triple B name.

Born Bevin Barbara B*****ham I wore a lengthy formal name well as a weird child. I hated how unusual my first name was, how no one could spell it. How I was frequently sorted by schools and summer camps into boy cabins because they thought my awesome gender neutral name was a boy name. I have frequently used the name Jenny at Starbucks.

I didn’t even like my paternal grandmother who I was middle named for! I absolutely ADORED my maternal grandmother whose name (Anise) would not have had the triple B initials and my mom said alliteration won out. I love alliteration, I am into it. My name was a good one for the first part of my life.

I changed my stage last name to a dramatic made-up version of my government last name in 2006. A weird former client when I was a lawyer printed out my Friendster profile and send it to the state ethics committee. (Gay hating? Or just an early adopter troll?)

I knew I immediately needed a strong barrier between my professional government name and the name I used when I threw queer nightlife parties, wrote opinionated blogs and all of my other colorful performance art.

My long complicated name Bevin Branlandingham on so many fliers! I just never loved the real estate it took up when I could maybe just go by Bevin? That always was in the back of my mind but I think it felt like taking up too much space to just use one name. IRONIC that less letters felt like more space.

Prince, Cher and Madonna were early examples to me of what was possible with a mononym AND a body of work to back it up. It felt like, of course they use one name they are icons. By 2018 I was starting to think about how it made me feel to not have a last name on things and the feeling was undeniable. It felt right, clean and wonderful.

At the time I was planning a wedding. And the idea of a bachelorette party felt like a wild hassle! I love getting together with friends but planning a wedding and running a small business are two consumptive things and I felt like a destination wedding was plenty for a bachelorette. The only thing I wanted was that moment where everyone is wearing a cute shirt that matches each other.

You know how at some bachelorettes there is a white tee shirt that says Bride and a different color shirt that says Bride Squad? I saw that for me except all the shirts just said “Bevin” on them in a cute barbie font. With a heart over the i. (How I prefer it written, if you’re asking, is with a heart over the i.)

So with all this swirling in my head I even went on facebook and asked if folks thought I should change my stage last name to my future government last name (my ex fiance’s B last name) OR if I should keep Brandlandingham OR if I should drop my other names entirely. Sometimes just talking it out with folks you love helps get clarity on what you really want. I really just wanted to go by one name!

I am SO GLAD I honored my gut instinct and used my mononym for the credits in the Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics video! I sure am glad I didn’t use my ex’s last name! (She is herself named in the credits–she was a big help on that production.)

Since 2018 I learned from queer ancestor & disco legend Sylvester what a mononym was. I have had to explain to multiple journalists “I don’t care what your editor will say, I really only use one name.” I have learned nearly every last name box is impossible to skip on the internet. I get a heart flip of joy when I see my name on a piece of mail with no perfunctory last name.

It makes me feel closer to Prince who I jokingly refer to as my “real dad.” Prince and Bevin are both 5 letters. He’s good at taking what makes him weird and advancing humanity. I study him on you tube a few times a week–dance moves, performativity and mindset.

It also feels undeniably good not having a middle or last name associated with people from whom I experienced violent abuse as a child.

Renaming is a form of reclaiming and I hope you’ll give my podcast with my friend Mayuri a listen. Their story of reclaiming their name is powerful.

One of my dearest longest friends designed a Bevin bachelorette shirt (four designs and styles to choose from) for anyone who wants to support me and delight me to purchase!

And everyone is invited to my online bachelorette party (kinda a campfire with toasts and a brief bit of drag, poetry and a lot of tender moments!

2016-05-04

Six Reasons Why I Love Aqua Jog

Hey there! I’m doing a pre sale for my Reiki Infused Tea Line now through May 10th. I have some important financial goals for the sale that also affect this website–I really need to move my blog to a new host and install a new theme because of these ongoing back end buggy issues that are not yet fully resolved. I also need to begin the build out for the website for my tea line, so this is all very tied together. The whole project will cost thousands of bucks, but I’m tackling it one thing at a time. The tea is delicious and supports me living my dream to support my art and activism through healing work. Please consider buying a tin for you or a gift, or sharing about the sale on social media!

sixreasonsiloveaquajog

I approach all exercise from a Health at Every Size approach. Since this term has been co-opted by so many folks, I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means that all people, no matter what their size, should be able to have access to good, nutritious food and should have access to move in ways that make them feel good in and about their body. Health at Every Size to me includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. The way I feed and move my body affects all of those things for me.

Given that I am in a state of transition, having moved to the West Coast recently, it was super important that I find ways to move my body. There was a while where working on the house was all about the body–the renovations on my attic were so corporeal. In my last update on the transition post I talked about how I started swimming in the local pools. I am okay to swim laps but I find it a little boring. Really using a HAES approach means I want to be excited about the exercise I’m doing.

Since the local community pools have lap swimming and recreational swimming together and very few rules about what you have to be doing in the lanes, you can totally do aqua jogging instead of just swimming laps. Once I realized that I went for it.

I started aqua jogging at a class at my former gym the Bed Stuy YMCA. It’s taught by a community volunteer every morning at 9AM who has a spinal issue that really benefits from her exercising a lot but does not allow her to exercise on dry land. Aqua jogging takes water aerobics to a new level. Other than aqua boot camp (also at the Bed Stuy Y) I have not felt such a complete workout from water aerobics.

Here are all the reasons I love to aqua jog:

1. Working out in water is great low impact high resistance activity.
For folks who are recovering from injuries or who have tender bodies for a variety of reasons, the pool is awesome for movement. As an efficiency loving Capricorn, I also appreciate that I can work out in a pool and get more results than from the same period of time on land. Also, if you are the kind of athlete who is often nursing injuries that keep you from staying in shape, aqua jog is a great tool in your repertoire to help!

grandmotherspool

2. The movements are really easy and help you diversify your workout so you don’t get bored.
Here’s a basic primer on aqua jogging. It includes instructions on how to do it if you don’t have any equipment.
This is not the workout I do but it is one to consider using the shallow end for part of it.

I learned to aqua jog from my instructor in Brooklyn so I do different movements based on what I learned from her, including backwards jogging, cycling, and different arm movement intervals with water weights. There are SO many videos on you tube to learn techniques for aqua jogging. I work hard not to link any videos or web content that have a weight loss focus because that is not the tone for my blog. (No shade to anyone who has weight loss goals–you do you!) If you can “take what you like and leave the rest,” there’s a lot out there to sift through in aqua exercises. I couldn’t find any videos that did what Dinette does but if I ever do find them I’ll come back and edit this post to include them.

3. You can listen to music.
When I was aqua jogging at my Grandmother’s pool it was amazing because I just threw on a Spotify playlist of songs I could sing along to and would enjoy working out to. Since she doesn’t have a clock outside I timed my workout based on how many songs it took to get to 35 minutes or more. (My personal workout timing goal is 35 minutes or more. On days I don’t feel like going past it I don’t, on days I have more energy I just keep going.)

waterdumbellWhen I finally got my dumbbells to add to my aqua jog workouts it felt so nice to get back to them! I didn’t realize how much I missed having my dumbbells after I moved away from the Bed Stuy Y!

4. It helps save your hair!
Swimming is great but I have high maintenance, tender, color-treated hair. (I’m not naturally Ginger Spice haired–my pals Garnier Nutrisse and 20 vol + bleach help me look this fabulous.) It is really difficult to keep hair dry even in a swim cap. “It is a fact that no swim cap can keep your hair 100% dry every time” says Swimcapsguide.com. The best you can do is a harm reduction approach to keep it kinda dry.

Mine is a cutie pie vintage rubber hat. When I’m swimming I manage to get about 50% of my hair wet which is better than no protection. I also have a classic Speedo cap (they come in so many colors) I got when my vintage swim cap was on a moving truck going from Coast to coast. The same exact results from swimming–about 50% hair wet.

Thus I prefer to work out with my head above water 100% of the time and aqua jogging helps me do that. I still wear the cap in the community pool because of splashing children and sloppy swimmers in adjacent lanes. My hair stays 100% dry that way. At Grandmother’s when I was just using a top knot to keep my hair out of the water it got damp around the hairline by my neck.

5. It’s easy to mix in ab and core work to an aqua jog routine.
I find it way easier to do sit-ups and crunches in the water than on dry land. This helps me strengthen my core and helps to alleviate back pain and lots of other barriers to dry land exercise. I do a version of this without the barbell under my knees.

aquajogequipment

6. The equipment is pretty inexpensive and not a barrier to activity.
I did aqua jogging with no equipment for the first three workouts in our local pool and that proved to me I was serious about moving forward. I get paid a gift card every few months thanks to thoughtful blog readers (THANK YOU!!!) who buy their Amazon products through my affiliate links. Even if you don’t buy what I link, if you buy anything at all I get a tiny percentage commission and then that comes in the form of a gift card. I keep a link on the sidebar in case you’re ever interested. I usually use the money for something I want to try for my blog, so this time I bought aqua jog equipment.

I totally love what I got. In my Brooklyn aqua jog class we used water weights and floatation belts, so I got a six piece aqua fitness pack that included those plus some resistance gloves for only $29. I was nervous about the floatation belt being too small (some of the ones they had at the YMCA were not made for a plus size waist), but this one had plenty of room to spare on me and my waist is about a size 22/24.

The kit even comes with a routine! I’ve incorporated some of those moves into my workout and enjoy it!

I’ve used the weights and the gloves to jog and prefer what I can do with weights but the gloves are a good alternative for certain exercises.

aquaglovesThese are the gloves that came with it–kind of like having duck feet for your hands.

Another alternative piece of equipment I found in my aqua jog class that some of the folks brought in addition to what the YMCA supplied was Aqua Runners which provides more leg resistance for a harder workout. I look forward to stepping up my game (pun intended) at a later date with these $25 babies. They come in lavender!

It can be a little bit hard to be the fatty at the pool swimming laps and it can be even a little bit harder being the fatty at the pool doing weird water exercise with weird equipment. However, I try to mitigate my intimidation by not concerning myself with what people think, recognizing that every young person that sees a hot fat girl with tattoos and a pin-up girl bathing suit and vintage swim cap doing her thing and working out is possibly empowered. And also, because my self care is waaaaaay more important to me than what people’s judgments are.

As Prince said, “I don’t really care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are.”

PurpleReignVery excited about my Prince memorial teas (one caffeinated tea and one herbal tisane) and the wisdom they will include is going to be a prototype of how I will do the wisdom component for my teas in the future.

2016-05-02

Honoring Prince with New Reiki Infused Tea Blends–Pre Sale through May 10th

Hey friends!

I am excited to start my second Reiki-infused Tea Blend pre sale! This time around I am using the proceeds to work with a graphic designer on tea branding and fund attendance at the World Tea Expo next month! Dara and I can stay with her mom, so that means I just need to get the funds for the steep (pun intended) $500 entrance fee. Also, the diagnosis of the back end buggy issues on this here blog is to install a new theme and move to a new host, which is going to cost hundreds of dollars. It’s also wrapped into starting a website for the tea itself!

feelingsThis is what the tea tins look like, the packaging will continue to evolve as I work on new labels and work with a graphic designer on branding.

I had so much great feedback from the first round of tea shipped out. People said it was “love in a cup,” “totally delicious,” and one person even said “Best tea I’ve ever had” about the Find Your Chill blend! Wow!!

Because I love to grieve by creating art, I thought that for this sale I would create two special blends to honor Prince. One caffeinated and one herbal tisane. I’ve heard a lot about his secret philanthropy since his death and am donating 20% of the proceeds from those blends to Yes We Code, a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

Reiki Infused Tea Blend Offerings:

Each tin contains enough loose tea or tisane for 20 cups.

PurpleReign

Purple Reign: A Tea Honoring Prince
Caffeinated tea. Ceylon tea blended with purple herbs and a subtle berry flavor. This can be a good daytime pick-me up or drink so you can keep rocking all night, like Prince himself. 20% of the proceeds from this blend benefit a charity Prince supported. Yes We Code is a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

prince-album-art-Lovesexy-billboard-1000

Erotic City: An Herbal Tisane Honoring Prince
Herbal Tisane. Green Rooibos tea is a naturally caffeine free anti-oxident powerhouse, blended with Passionflower, Damiana, Rhodiola root, and Oat Straw to reduce feelings of anxiety and naturally enhance libido through relaxation. The flavor profile tends towards fruity but it is a subtle flavor. 20% of the proceeds from this blend benefit a charity Prince supported. Yes We Code is a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

selflovetea

Self Love Tea
Caffeinated. Pu-erh is a type of tea that is fermented rather than dried. The result is a more full-bodied tea with richer flavor and darker in color. I blend the Pu-erh with rose petals, citrus peel and bergamot. Rose petals balance the heart and mind and soothe emotions. Making yourself tea is a self-loving act; making tea with the intention of loving yourself and the support of rose petals kicks the effectiveness into high gear!

Bevin’s Earl Grey
Caffeinated. Black tea leaves are blended with a small amount of Rhodiola rosea, a root traditionally used to fight fatigue and improve energy in folks depleted by stress. Flavored with bergamot oil like a traditional Earl Gray, this tea goes beyond the standard renewal of the traditional Earl Gray.

Find Your Chill
Herbal tisane (the common parlance is “tea” but actually when they are herbs it’s a tisane). This is my calming blend. Chamomile and lavender are standards in the calming herbal market, but did you know that catnip has a soothing effect on humans? I find it really takes down my stress levels. For this reason, catnip is also great at soothing upset stomachs! I blend it with lemon peel, orange peel and other natural citrus flavors to add deliciousness. My serving suggestion to take the flavor up a notch is to add lemon juice (bonus if it’s fresh lemon from a neighbor’s tree).

feelingsinahar

Feelings Tea
Herbal tisane. When you are having Big Feelings–anger, hurt, frustration, sadness, grief–the only way out is through. My Feelings tea is a blend of oatstraw, rose petals and hawthorne berries to support soothing and strengthening the nerves and emotional healing. My Find Your Chill calming herbs–lavender, chamomile and catnip are also added to help soothe tension. To this I add natural tart flavorings, including elderberries, rosehips and hibiscus, to acknowledge that having feelings is sometimes tart. The blend is delicious and a great way to step back and support feeling your feelings.

dollymintscale

Dolly Mint
Herbal tisane. This was my favorite to blend as I am a really picky mint tea drinker and I’ve really nailed it with this one. I blend spearmint and peppermint, both soothe digestion. Added to it is a touch of sweet blackberry leaves, rosemary, rosehips, and chicory root. Chicory (you might know it from the addition to th that rounds out the mint with an earthy flavor. It’s great as a standard hot tea and also wonderful iced. Another serving suggestion–I like to give it a long steep (say, 30 minutes or so) and then add ice and your fav dairy or non-dairy milk for a delicious iced tea latte situation.

hibiscus

Hibiscus Coconut
Herbal tisane. Hibiscus, which is great for hydration and cooling, and coconut, which is great for being delicious. Includes Nettles, which is a great all-purpose herb and anti-inflammatory.

Rooibos Citrus
Herbal tisane. Rooibos is an African Red Bush tea that is known to hold flavors exceptionally well. Rooibos is a medicinal wunderkind–great at treating skin conditions and fighting free radicals. I blend this with citrus flavors to create a delicious tea suitable to any time of day.

Lesbian Tea Basket Sampler Pack
A sample pack that will make you 3 cups of each of the above seven flavors. (Does not include Prince tea blends.)

The tea pre sale goes through May 10th, and all items will ship by June 2, enabling me to purchase supplies and containers.

Click here to order!

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