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

2020-07-24

I am so much happier with an iphone than my Google Pixel and it’s all about connection

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 10:29 pm

(This post is part of a series of daily letters from me to my future children reporting from the emerging paradigm.)

Dear Kids:

Your Aunt Rachael in Atlanta has the Corona. We’ve been in tight communication since before the pandemic thanks to Marco Polo, her polycule and my getting an iphone and being added to a group text thread.

Because of all of this newfangled communication–I know how careful she’s been! I’ve seen their polycule become a quarantine pod and I’ve seen them negotiate and talk about risk factors.

You can be ever so careful and one contact with one person outside your pod who said they were safe but forgot to mention dining outside at a cafe with co-workers… And now Rach is having trouble breathing, feels like an alien hijacked her body and can’t watch anything that makes her laugh too much because of the breathing.

I know that worry doesn’t do anything but rob the present of joy. So I do things: Praying. Seeing her whole and healed in my mind’s eye. Talking to other folks about wearing masks–I can’t believe there’s so much resistance to a very practical solution to disease spread.

I’ve been sending lots of energy healing her way. I’ve loved all the massive communication with all of her awesome polycule friends and loves. It’s been rad to know how she’s being supported. It helps from across the country to be that connected.

I stuck to android devices for the entirety of the iphone era. I just switched to the iphone in May when I moved into my trailer, the Lavender Queen. My Google pixel finally gave out and after all of my many years of exclusive android use I switched to the iphone.

The thing that’s most important in life are your people. I knew that having an iphone would make it easy to connect to folks. It’s so much harder to set up an appointment with someone I’m really close with to talk on facetime when you have to use a computer to get facetime.

I kept using android because it made business easier when I was a lawyer. I essentially had an office on my phone and the functionality was easier and better. But I have not been a practicing attorney for a few years now and I just absolutely love having a quick phone based facetime check in with the people I love. I can’t believe I waited this long!

And the imessage group text threads! We can post bitmoji stickers?? I feel like we’re a group of cartoons hanging out.

I’m still on a steep learning curve right now–iphone functionality is fiddly for me, but 2 months into having an iphone and I’m really appreciating it.

Never appreciated it more than a spontaneous facetime group from the imessage on day one of corona symptoms for Rach. And then spontaneous check ins via facetime so I could hear how she was doing and see her face. (She still looks amazing, and forever award winning cleavage.)

I was like, wow this tiny device has so much more connection to offer because of the people on it. And connection is the most important thing there is!

xoxo,

Mom

A camping collage from the Glowing Goddess Getaway couple’s retreat in 2019. Joshua Tree. Unforgettable weekend!

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2019-08-13

All Kinds of Bachelorettes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bevin @ 12:53 pm

For those of you who don’t already know, six months ago my fiance decided to end our relationship. It was a huge surprise to me, since a showy proposal 13 months before and a plan for a big wedding was already in the works.

Six months out and I’m still reeling from the change that comes from the break-up of a long-term partnership, the cancelation of a hotly anticipated wedding and making rent in a house that made sense when I lived with someone / I’m still looking for a roommate.

I know “this too shall pass” and I’ll talk more about the emotional fall out in the next epsiode of my podcast. In the meantime, I’ve been deeply reconnecting with my friends and my loved ones.

Rachael, one of my besties and Bride Squad members, flew out to join me at the Glowing Goddess Getaway couples retreat in May. Originally I was scheduled to teach aerobics with my fiance. After we broke up, the GGG leadership told me ABSOLUTELY bring my bestie as my “couple” because they are inclusive by core ethics. Rach and I had the BEST TIME.

One of the best things about a break-up before a wedding is that I had already done the work to whittle down my closest friends into a “Bride Squad” (the cute designation I was using to refer to my bridal party). I dumped the traditional bridesmaids and maid/matron of honor for a gender neutral non-hierarchical group of folks who had been there for me throughout my young adult and adult life.

Having that Bride Squad? It was who was on SPEED DIAL during the last couple difficult months together and in the aftermath of the shock of a break-up. Originally they were meant to be there to support my transition into married life, but now they helped support my transition into my fresh singlehood.

This is the second time I’ve been engaged and not gotten married. I’m beginning to think playing online poker is more of a sure bet (and there is a lot you can learn from poker champs; Live Boeree’s TED Talk is an example).

Both times I was engaged I had to curtail the amount of folks in my Bride Squad due to my fiance and wanting to have even numbers on each side of the aisle. (I think we had 3 each for my first wedding to an introvert and in this past wedding we each had a dozen.)

To be honest, though, I think getting divorced or going through a major break-up you kind of need your squad more than ever. And it hasn’t just been my Bride Squad who has lifted me up these past few months, it’s dozens of my dear friends. Checking in on me, showing up for me, sending me cards, inviting me for dinner.

My friends Elizabeth and Priscilla showed up as my “Cheer Up Cherubs” to take me out to dinner while my ex and I were still living together. Love them!

I got to thinking, what if instead of having a Bride Squad I just had a Bevin Squad? Folks who show up for me, whether they even know me in real life or not. I’ve had tons of support and cards from folks who only know me from the encouraging words I post on the internet.

And the truth is, I have a beautiful lodge with a deposit on it, Dollywood adjacent. My mom put down the deposit and she doesn’t have much and I’m grateful for it. I don’t want it to go to waste. Without the limitations of a wedding, I could throw a much more modestly budgeted but possibly more fun and exciting gratitude party for everyone who loves me and has helped me through this extremely difficult time. And, anyone can be in my Bevin Squad for that because I don’t have to balance the aisle!

Most importantly. I have been engaged twice but NEVER HAD A BACHELORETTE PARTY. This must be remedied. Honestly, I’d rather celebrate my singlehood/non-married life while I’m living it and focus on creating the marriage I want when I find the right person.

East Coast Babes: I’ll be having a sweet, self-care focused Bachelorette at the Glowing Goddess Getaway in the Berkshires, MA on Sept 13-15. West Coast Babes, I know I’ll have a pool party and a trip to a rage room to break some wedding china Late Fall.

2015-07-24

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: You’ve Got Toptions

Wow things have been a little hectic around here! It’s summertime in NYC and I am working hard on my East Coast bucket list. Last weekend I went to a Bluegrass festival in the Catskill Mountains about 2 hours North of NYC, this weekend I head to Atlanta for pre-wedding preparations for one of my besties, I went to two queer weddings in June (one of them at a summer camp in PA!), did NYC Pride (aka Gay Stamina month), produced Rebel Cupcake for the last time and a couple weekends ago took an overnight trip to Fire Island! On that trip I caught up with my friend Avory who loves a clever turn of phrase as much as I do and inspired this edition of Additions to the Queer Lexicography!

AvoryAvory on their birthday after the incredible Bjork concert! Avory serves great fashion and great turns of phrases.

Toptions. This is the idea that you have a lot of different Tops to choose from. And yes, I’m talking about Tops in a sexual way not a sartorial way, but feel free to use it that way too, especially when talking about fat friendly crop tops! Being open to Toptions means being in a mindset of abundance. I think a lot of people out there lament that they do not have a lot of Tops to choose from. Believe me, as a Femme who is Top leaning, especially when it comes to public play, I know that there are lots of Tops out there. I feel like going into any situation where you may want to play, you’ve got to be open to possibilities, talk to lots of folks, explore your Toptions (or bottom possibilities) and have a mindset that there are lots of people out there waiting to be explored!

I spent so much of my early twenties totally convinced no one would be attracted to me that I barely tried. I often clung to the edges of play parties, dance parties and whatever other cruising environments I was in not interacting with folks. I’ve learned that there are lots of Toptions out there, you just have to leap into small talk with folks and feel things out. Being there is often not enough to open the door, you gotta break the ice. Small talk doesn’t cost anything but time and maybe a little annoyance. And, as Rachael says, if you’re going to have to get through 9 rejections to get to 1 yes, get through them as quickly as possible!

You booed up with the first person you met on Fire Island? You are really missing out on all of your Toptions!

Related post–my theory of Butch abundance!

abundanceI believe in abundance so much and want to be reminded of it all the time so I have it tattooed on my wrist! A scarcity mentality is draining to me! Also, I’m repping Wide Eyes Open Palms my favorite latte makers, in Long Beach, CA!

Fuckit List. It’s like a bucket list of who you want to fuck! I have a few people on my Fuckit List and I know we’re all going to be gay for a real long time so that helps me to have some perspective and patience. Also I’ve talked to a lot of older queers about their sordid pasts and have heard many juicy stories about finally being single/available at the same time and getting to do it to that person they’d had their eye on for 15 years.

Also when going to a queer event or place and you know who you’re going to run into, having a Fuckit List in mind of possexibilities is a good way to be prepared and manifest abundance.

Freddy is monogs now, but I’ve got them on my Fuckit List.

nailsMy nails from the cold brew photo… relevant to my abundance mindset and inspired by sunsets in LA!

Shark Week. An incredible euphemism for your period. It’s vicious and bloody! Lasts about a week. Get it? I loooove it. It’s also great because it can be kind of masculine (though Femmes shark it up pretty magnificently) and it’s always nice to have a masculine version of a period euphemism!

200069_10150172750922079_5109552_nI can’t talk about Shark Week without Miss Mary Wanna doing her shark burlesque act! Photos by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake!

This one has been spinning out there for awhile and somehow I always thought people were talking about the Discovery Channel. I don’t know, I don’t have cable, I know people really like Shark Week. But when I heard it multiple times during a few months I was like, wait a minute, Shark Week? And I finally asked.

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OMG it’s Shark Week and all the ibuprophin is gone. This is a nightmare.

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Manses. I can’t believe I never talked about Manses before, but Glenn Marla introduced me to this awesome masculine of center euphamism for period. Get it.

It’s my manses and I hate that all of the products come in pink. Get it together Kotex, people of all sorts of genders get periods!

MacyBevinbeachReading on the beach at Fire Island (Cherry Grove) with my dog Macy!

2015-06-25

Be a Great Ally to Fat Folks by Getting Neutral about Food

Nothing bums me out faster when I’m about to eat some food than someone commenting about food. Like this, “Oh I’m being SO BAD! I NEVER eat cupcakes!” Or “I really SHOULDN’T EAT THIS!” Or “I wish I could eat THAT but it would make me SO FAT!” Or “You’re lucky you can eat whatever you WANT I will blow up like a BALOON!!!”

If you want to watch a hilarious send up of this phenomenon check out this Amy Schumer skit. Where everything they eat is the bad thing, not killing a gerbil for fun.

551535_10153123306043749_7782605515862982091_nFood can be so confusing! Who knows what is a “good” food or a “bad” food–the media is always changing their mind!

Listen, I get it. We live in a fatphobic society where all bodies are vilified. Either you’re fat or you COULD get fat. Living in fear of being fat in a fatphobic society brings out the worst in people. Food is super threatening and triggering of all of those perpetuated fears. We have this contradictory culture in America where we hate on fat bodies yet have all this food that is normalized in the American diet that actually can cause weight gain. Where commercials on TV cycle between McDonalds and Coca-Cola and Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. What a mind fuck.

Words are SO powerful. When you speak something again and again to yourself or out loud, you are creating truth. I learned early on in my journey to love myself that language was one of the first things to change in order to shift your consciousness. When people shit talk food and bodies, it erodes self-confidence, body love and food enjoyment.

I think the best thing we can do, as fat folks and folks working in solidarity with us, is to refuse to participate in the system of body currency perpetuated by society. A system of body currency, where certain bodies are privileged over other bodies, creates competition, body hatred, feelings of never being enough, endless fear about body change. Body currency doesn’t just affect fat folks, it affects folks with any non-normative body–people of color, older people (we are literally all aging), disabled folks (we are literally all only temporarily able bodied), trans* folks, etc… I learned about body currency from the brilliant Jes Baker of The Militant Baker. Her analysis of why people hate Tess (Munster) Holliday and other fat happy people is totally spot on.

551438_10153458325913223_472698898048493744_nCelebrating a wedding with fancy friends with all different genders and bodies! Photo by Emily Huber of Seeing Through the Hands massage, a favorite body positive massage therapist here in Brooklyn.

Checking out of a system of body currency means assigning no hierarchical value to your body and no hierarchical value to other bodies. It means you love your body AND you leave lots of space for loving all the other kinds of bodies out there.

So you’re sitting around the lunch room at work, out to dinner with friends, at a BBQ at your parents’ house and suddenly everyone is talking about their food being SO BAD, or “I was SO GOOD, I only had three pieces of turkey bacon.” I mean. How alienating. All these people are doing is making food the enemy and turning the top soil of body hatred.

Body hatred for the fat people around them who just sit silently and assume everyone in the room is judging their bodies. Body hatred for the little kids around them are absorbing all of that food shame and body hatred like SPONGES. Body hatred for the people around them who are just trying to enjoy their burgers and don’t want to think about anything but their food enjoyment.

So what do you do when you’re surrounded by the I’M SO BADs of the world?

10277472_10153405563288749_6914403281423525504_nMe and one of my favorite fat folks with whom to enjoy food, Devon Devine of the SF party Hard French.

When I’m in situations like that with people judging food I have a variety of responses. I’m secure in my body and have a deep analysis of the fatphobia in our culture so I’m fairly resilient to the commentary. I’m also a fat person whose reputation and activism often precedes her so I feel confident piping up with something educational in the moment.

Here are some scripts that I employ:

“Hey, I try to be neutral about food because I think all bodies are good bodies.”

“Hey I’m worried about commenting about the value of food and body insecurity in front of these little ears nearby. I’d love to help them love bodies of all sizes so they don’t end up with food or body issues.”

“Cultivating a culture of food enjoyment is really important to me. I would love to enjoy this delicious food instead of assigning value to it!”

1798876_10153291498942464_5151942065411462089_nJack Dawson wearing a gorgeous outfit. I freaking love the pop of color on the sunglasses and the tie pattern over the shirt and the pocket square. Killing it.

My friend Jack Dawson sent a dispatch from their fatphobic corporate office life that I LOVE. “My female coworkers regularly express their appreciation for me because ‘Jack is SO nice, Jack never judges what I eat, even when I’m sooo unhealthy!’ Pretty much every day at lunch time I find myself saying some version of ‘I actually think that everyone is the boss of their own body and I support people in making whatever choices they want with their bodies, so it’s great that you’re eating what feels good for you today!’ In response to some kind of ‘Don’t judge me!’ or ‘I’m so bad!’ comment from coworkers.”

Being an ally to fat folks is especially important when you are a person of thin privilege. People get especially fatphobic around folks who they don’t perceive as marginalized in that way. My bestie Rachael calls it being a secret agent on behalf of fat folks, so when people hear you speaking truth to the all bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are party line, they are taken by surprise and also sinks in a little better.

10421425_10102336927006350_7030431944225492207_nThis photo was of the time I introduced my friend Leo to Jack Dawson, who we started calling “New Leo” because they both resemble a young Leonardo DiCaprio and also Leo moved away. Photo by my health coach Vic.

If you want to go a little deeper than these scripts, try to create a lifestyle where you are actually neutral about food! I find this a wonderful daily challenge as a person who is fat and proud, who knows what kinds of food I am sensitive to and the effect they have on my body. (I have a chronic digestive disease that is wildly affected by the food I eat.) In my internal monologue, I could say, “I’m being so bad I’m eating this gluteny piece of wedding cake!” But instead I just think to myself, “I am making a choice about participating in the food-centered nature of this celebration and I accept the physical consequences that will surely develop tomorrow. I’ll take a probiotic about it and I will make different choices tomorrow.” Sometimes replacing an internal monologue with something very long that actually explains your feelings and what is happening in a neutral way is really effective in changing the way you think.

I work with my partner on this all the time, too. She is on a super low sugar anti-cancer diet after her experience with breast cancer. (We intend her to be “one and done” with cancer, so we’re employing lots of holistic ways in which we can keep her cancer free.) I cook 90% of her food so I work hard to make sure she eats in alignment with her body and her spiritual guidance around her body.

Dara is an external processor so listening to her process externally about her food choices gives me the opportunity to support her with reframing her language to be food neutral. It’s also helpful, too, that as a Body Liberation coach I can coach her into how she talks about food so it isn’t loaded with shame when she wants to have some sugar or whatever. Life is for living and life is for pleasure–everything in balance.

It’s important to me, as a fat person who is dating a person with thin privilege, that she knows her privilege and works with me 100% of the time on team Stepping out of Body Currency. (Which she does, Dara is amazing.) I’ve dated fat and thin people who were not 100% body positive and it was really shitty. It’s not about her eating sugar or not, I don’t care if she does, it’s just about how you use language to express your feelings about food and whether that language is perpetuating body currency.

10996651_10153116129793749_5950987657574205891_nI love Dara a lot, she is super supportive and open to new ways of speaking and being in the world. I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful partner in adventure.

In the words of Nicki Minaj “Life is a journey, I just want to enjoy the ride.” I can’t enjoy my food around folks who are shit talking food. So I do my best to create environments where food enjoyment is valued and food is value-neutral. I invite you to join me, life is much more fun this way!!

2015-01-22

That Time Dara and I Met Abbi and Ilana from Broad City and the New Yorker Wrote About It

When Dara was going through chemo last Winter and Spring, sometimes all she could do was watch TV. TV was great because it gave her something to focus on other than the constant state of nausea she was in or how uncomfortable or painful her body felt.

IMG_7020Me and Dara, about a month out of chemo at the Dyke March. She let me paint “Fuck Cancer” on her still bald from chemo head. Because all of my friends know how much I love Broad City I periodically get texts from late adopters telling me I was right about how great it is. I try to live a spiritual existence where being right doesn’t matter to me but I do enjoy being right about cool cultural things that are awesome.

It was really important to Dara from the very beginning of her cancer diagnosis to keep it positive, so she was super interested in finding shows that were up lifting. It was also hard with “chemo brain” to watch anything complicated. She burned through Parks and Rec—so much so that I ended up missing a few episodes of the last season because I couldn’t keep up with her. She was a little stressed knowing Parks and Rec was nearing the final episode available and a friend of hers, Lalta, suggested she turn to Broad City, a new show on Comedy Central executive produced by Amy Poehler, the star of Parks and Rec.

We started watching Broad City right away and absolutely loved it. We have since watched each episode multiple times, and scoured you tube for episodes of their Broad City web series, the pre-curser to the more polished and lengthy Comedy Central show. As a cancer caregiver the belly laughs afforded by the antics of these women were really helpful medicine for my spirit, too, and Dara absolutely loved it.

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Abbi and Ilana are so charming and hilarious. I think it does what 2 Broke Girls and Girls tried to do with the early twenties women living in Brooklyn situation but with an authenticity and reflection that the others miss. It’s goofy, adventurous and New York is an important part of the show, including the street harassment, subway weirdness and other hassles of trying to live day to day here. I appreciate that sometimes Ilana’s character takes on being politically correct but to an extreme where she maybe doesn’t get it. Dara calls the show a modern-day Cheech and Chong for women.

I especially love Lincoln, played by Hannibal Buress, who you might remember from blasting Cosby for the rape rumors and Cosby’s trash talking of the Black community back in October, igniting the recent round of scandal. (If you haven’t watched Hannibal’s original comedy act in Philly about that, do.)

By the point in chemo where we stepped deep into the Broad City hole, Dara was bald bald. Combined with the perpetually youthful aesthetic so common among masculine of center queers she looked even younger, moving towards an 8 year old make a wish kid aesthetic.

20140603_173316I want to say that Dara’s diagnosis was not terminal like an actual Make a Wish kid. We knew that. But she does look kind of like an 8 year old.

It was coming up on her 39th birthday, for which she was in the thick of planning her “Chemo Karaoke” video where she wrote a parody of Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and got a ton of friends together to shoot it in the chemo infusion center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This was a huge project for her and it was great for her spirits, giving her something to focus on and made chemo kind of a project or a game rather than the really physically, emotionally and mentally devastating ongoing medical procedure that it actually is.

One night after our second round of watching Broad City, I said, “What if you made a Make a Wish video and asked Abbi and Ilana to write you into their show?” Dara immediately countered with, “I should get them to come be in my Chemo Karaoke video shoot!”

So we did it. Why not? It was a low-stakes, really fun way to spend an evening, making the video. And even if Abbi and Ilana couldn’t come to the video shoot, at least it was a way to say thank you for producing art that was really delighting us during a time that was pretty shitty. Obviously their art production is at a totally different level and reach than mine, but it always feels really awesome when people tell me that the things I’ve written, workshops or performances I’ve given made a difference in their lives. It’s never a bad time to make someone feel good about themselves, as my bestie Rachael likes to say.

20140507_230933 (1)They make Broad City toilet paper.

We had no idea how to get it to Abbi and Ilana. I tweeted at the Broad City account knowing it might not go anywhere. Then I thought, maybe through six degrees of separation we could do it, so I posted it on my Facebook wall. Turns out I know someone who knows someone who dates an executive at Comedy Central and that I know someone who went to high school with Ilana. Boom. Within 24 hours we had an email from their manager.

Abby and Ilana were busy writing the second season of their amazing show and couldn’t come to the shoot. But they did invite us to be their guests at their show the night before Dara’s birthday party. We were excited, in all our internetting we never realized they were still doing their live improv show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.

14299828758_e9fc7bab10_zWe got four tickets, so Dara’s friend Allison (second from left) who flew in from Atlanta for the video shoot came with us and our awesome friend Donna (far left) came along as well.

When we got there we had a huge surprise. First of all, they saved us seats in the front row. Then after they came out and performed their first act (a very full energy improvised dance to Drake’s “Started From the Bottom”), they did this whole long intro about a special guest joining them, and it turned out to be Dara! Ilana’s brother Eliot Glazer brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday and Abby and Ilana gave her a bunch of Broad City schwag.

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Ever relentlessly documenting my life, I videotaped it.

The whole thing was surreal and it was so wonderful to see Dara so happy, when during chemo the state of just not being incredibly uncomfortable/in pain/nauseous/whatever is a victory.

The show was great and we watched them play Fuck, Marry, Kill with Natasha Lyonne. Afterwards we were out on the street and ran into an old friend of ours and were chatting for awhile and realized Abbi and Ilana were coming out of the theater. Dara decided to go up to them and thank them for everything. It was really sweet and a nice connection. They filmed a chorus of Hit Me With Your Best Shot with the gusto of seasoned improv comedians.

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Improving Hit Me With Your Best Shot with Abbi and Ilana:

It was all so thoughtful and fun and really awesome of them to do that for Dara. The next day during the epic shoot for Chemo Karaoke, it was a great story to tell. And the cake was delicious! Billy’s bakery is the shit, I worked around the corner from them for a few months and fell in love with the banana cake. Trust me. Trust Ilana and Abbi. It’s the best one.

While Dara was talking to Abbi and Ilana, a reporter from the New Yorker sidled up to me and asked my name and Dara’s name because he was trailing them to do an epic piece about Broad City. I had to go through this whole fact checking thing after the fact with someone from the New Yorker*.

IMG_20140618_180212They didn’t send me a copy of the magazine, which I think would just be polite, if you’re going to spend time doing ten minutes of fact checking.

Broad City is shooting to the moon right now! Season 2 just premiered and it’s hilarious. Abbi and Ilana interviewed Sleater-Kinney for NPR (I could not figure out how to get into that event). You can catch all of the first season of Broad City on Hulu, and I think for a limited time on Comedy Central’s app and website without plugging in a television provider. You need a tv cable provider log-in to watch Season 2. And it’s worth it!

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Here’s the finished produce of Dara’s Chemo Karaoke video:

*P.S. If you’re reporting something and someone’s name doesn’t sound “real” to you, don’t euphemize it by saying “[H]er girlfriend, who goes by the name Bevin Branlandingham.” Everyone is entitled to use whatever name they want, even if it sounds made up. No need to add the “goes by the name” because it is condescending and unnecessary and will result in many texts and tweets from uppity queers about lack of respect for chosen names. Like why couldn’t he just say, “Her girlfriend, Bevin Branlandingham…” Just saying.

2014-10-10

Nine Steps to Be Ready to Wear Sleeveless Shirts or Shorts Next Summer

If you spent this summer consistently covering up your arms because you were ashamed to show that part of your body, now is a great time to start working on being ready for next year. You can unlearn the lies that people tell you about how you have to cover up in order to be socially acceptable.

I remember very distinctly an episode of the Oprah show I watched when I was a teenager where she waved her upper arm in the air and spoke derisively about the skin and fat “waddle” dangling there. I turned crimson with the recognition that I already had that “waddle” and that because Oprah was opposed to it then I should be ashamed of it.
2957045493_cb41415748_zI thought I’d do a little flashback Friday with photos of me sleeveless through the last decade. Here is a photo of me showing my arm waddle during a performance at the International Drag King Extravaganza in Columbus circa 2010. This is the dapper and amazing Heywood Wakefield.

Oprah is in a unique position—she’s so influential in US culture that many people listen to what she says with the same kind of attention that we might give to a parent or relative. My parents and relatives were also fatphobic and ashamed of their bodies and it was easy to internalize that the fat body I had all my life was wrong, with a hearty reiteration from Oprah.

We’re all human, though, and I recognize everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. My mom is now super supportive of my work with body liberation and Oprah is definitely much more body accepting in the twenty teens than she was in the nineties.

I don’t understand why our culture is so opposed to fat people’s arms. What is it about the arms specifically that makes us need to cover them up most of all? No fat person’s arm has caused more harm than a thin person’s.

I was on the phone with a body liberation coaching client and told her the story of how I got through my own shame about sleeveless shirts, and I wanted to share that with my readers. This is the same time of year I began that journey, so I thought it would be great to encourage others who are ready to take these steps to begin now for next summer.

I’m outlining here a process of self-acceptance and learning to be comfortable in the body you have right now. All bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are AND they deserve to be comfortable.

14558700107_5d7497a1ae_oThese are my stickers! Aren’t they cute? If anyone wants some, make a donation via paypal of any amount to queerfatfemme at gmail and include your address.

1. Get ready to do things differently

I was 19 when I embarked on the journey to start wearing sleeveless shirts. I was at an interesting turning point in my life. After a many years long, often suicidal depression, I had decided to stop hating myself. I didn’t know what that meant and I had no identifiable role models for fat people who didn’t hate themselves, but I knew I needed to do something different. That summer, I met someone who basically made me promise to stop putting myself down and work on loving myself. Grant was a lifeguard at the Girl Scout camp I worked at and he wrote me the sweetest note in my camp yearbook. It meant so much to me. It was the first time I was ever able to hear that I was worthy of not hating myself.

I knew instinctively that I was wrong for hiding my arms. It was uncomfortable and annoying and I wanted to feel the freedom of my skinny counterparts. I had a couple of tank tops as layering pieces and I started to open myself up to the idea of wearing them, and set a goal to be wearing them outside by the next year. I wasn’t sure exactly how, but I was going to do it.

If you want to do things differently, you need only set your mind to it. If you’ve been spending your summers all bottled up under hoodies or wearing pants even though you would be way more comfortable in shorts, you can move past your fear and shame and start being more confident.

You just need to want it. It’s also okay to not want it and spend the next year or however long getting to a point to want to go sleeveless or wear shorts. That’s okay, too!

2. Go shopping

If you already have tank tops or shorts you want to wear, great, skip this step. If you’ve avoided them forever, this is a great time of year to get low stakes clothing that you’re not that attached to.

Now that I’m comfortable with my body I don’t have a problem investing in pieces that are armless and short legged (herstorically I’ve spent a pretty penny on vintage lingerie pieces). But if I wasn’t comfortable in a short sleeved shirt, I wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of cash on them just to see if I could learn to love myself in spite of all the lies people tell me about my body.

Right now Target has summer clearance hanging around—I got two really great sleeveless dresses for $12 recently. And a quick search online yields promising results (like this long tank top, I love a long tank top). I also totally adore Target’s Liz Lange maternity clothes–this sleeveless V neck cami marketed for “sleep” but totally not just for sleep is a great plus size sleeveless first step shirt.

Layering pieces are super helpful for this process, too, if you need some guidance for what to buy. The tank tops I started trying out when I was 19 were meant to go under overshirts. One of my favorite looks when I was in college in the late nineties were men’s dress shirts worn open over a frilly tank top. When I was ready to wear tank tops out of the house it helped to have the layers ready to go whenever I felt shy.

If you’re wanting to try shorts out, there’s a little less layering wiggle room, but it’s a great time of year to get clearance shorts, too.

15498653845_ffa838faff_zThis is a layering look I adored in 2011, a sleeveless dress with a cardigan on top.

3. Identify confidence anchors on your body

I didn’t do this when I transitioned to tank tops, but when I came out as Femme I used this a whole bunch. I found the part of my body I felt the most confident about (my cleavage) and I dressed around it. I could try pretty much anything if my cleavage was bangin’. The Lane Bryant Plunge bra was great for this. If your anchor is your cleavage, make sure you have a great bra for stepping your way into wearing tank tops next summer.

For some tips on bra shopping check out this article I wrote about getting a custom bra fitting.

So maybe your favorite part of your body is your calves or your forearms or something. Find a way to highlight it and use it as an anchor.

647924376_8cb8653c4f_o2002, at the IDKE showcase. Corsets were really good to me in the focus on the cleavage not the arms department.

4. Practice at home

Once you have the will to try something new and the new garments you want to try, start practicing at home. At 19 I was a Resident Advisor in the dorms, so this was an experiment just in my room at Thoreau Hall at UC Davis. I would just use tank tops as my around the house wear. Previous to this I was so ashamed of my arms that I wasn’t even wearing tank tops in the privacy of my own home, not even as loungewear.

What made the tank tops different than loungewear was that I would be all dressed for outside, but in a tank top. This is where layering pieces helped—I was able to just throw on an overshirt and go about my day. But in the house, I was wearing the tank top that I wished I had the confidence to wear outside.

If you’re trying on shorts, wear them around the house and get used to what your body looks like in shorts. I know a lot of folks who are super insecure about hairy legs, cellulite, weird skin stuff and leg size or shape.

5. Identify your body positive allies

This is a really great exercise whether or not you are already a sleeveless shirt and shorts wearer. Who in your life is a body positive ally? Your best friend? A certain group of friends? I sure hope you have some folks in your life who affirm the body that you’re in right now and don’t think you need to change.

If not, start making a list of the attributes of friends who will be body positive allies to you, and open yourself up to finding those friends.

9304102569_cdb266b898_oThis was the first time I ever wore a bikini, with my friend Jacqueline.

6. Identifiy your “safer” spaces

Once you’ve identified body positive allies, come up with a list of safe(r) spaces to try out wearing new clothes. This is a great technique for any kind of fashion risk. Places I like to try things out:

*Casual hang out with your allies.
*A body positive ally comes over and you just don’t cover up your arms.
*Brunch—this is my favorite petri dish for new fashion. Low stakes and early in the day.
*Going out in public with a body positive ally who can compliment you when you’re feeling nervous.
*Going out in public with a layering piece so you can quickly cover up if you need to. Challenge yourself to go without the layer longer and longer each time.

2504463608_9827babbb3_zA little chicken satay and body positivity with Rachael, one of my oldest friends, in 2008.

7. Fake it till you make it and act “as if” you’re already comfortable in sleeveless shirts

When I was trying out tank tops I remember the first time someone came over by surprise and I just didn’t cover up my arms. It was my not-yet first girlfriend and I remember feeling embarrassed about my arms showing but also really wanted to try to be okay with it. I was so crushed out on her that it was easy to forget to be insecure because my mind was absolutely full, and that’s exactly why I forgot to put on an overshirt in the first place!

What I did was I just faked it. I pretended to be okay with my arms showing. The more it happened with folks coming over the more I realized it wasn’t a big deal. No one was going to think differently of me with my arms showing.

3683063609_4ce737edc2_zPride parade 2009 with the Femme Family NYC.

8. Instagram or tumblr body positive images

I really like to reinforce positive body image for all bodies. I love Instagram and Tumblr for this. To consistently surround myself with people who believe all bodies are good bodies and who exude self-confidence is a really great antidote for our fat shaming society. Get used to seeing bodies like yours in sleeveless tops or shorts!

By the way—never read the comments. People are gross on the internet.

Remember throughout this process—so many of us have been there. The people you see in Instagram and Tumblr feeds are people who have survived the same body policing and fat hating society. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. Just because someone seems confident doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable, human and insecure just like you.

9. Do what you need to do about beauty rituals to feel comfortable in sleeveless shirts

Again, this is a process of self-acceptance and learning to be comfortable in the body you have right now. However, if you need to do things to feel good in them that are achievable, maybe you try that. Maybe it’s a spray tan. Maybe it’s an arm tattoo. Maybe it’s shaving your legs every single day to wear shorts until you can get comfortable enough to go hairy legged one summer. Maybe it’s addressing a skin thing keeping you from showing your arms. I’m not saying modification of your body is necessary to body acceptance, but sometimes it’s helpful to baby step your way.

1393354441_e2bef3304b_zFound this photo of my friend Zoe’s leg tattoo–a great reason to wear shorts!

Dolly Parton’s character Truvy in Steel Magnolias says there’s no such thing as natural beauty, and I do believe that everyone should get to do exactly as much “work” as they want to on their appearance. For me, when I’m feeling nervous about something, I throw on a full face of make-up including fake eyelashes and big hair and it definitely ups my confidence.

When I was about 9 years old I started developing bumps on my arms. It looked kind of like chicken skin after feathers were plucked from them. I was super insecure about it, and my paternal Grammy told me it was genetic. Eventually I learned that this is a really typical skin condition and I could just exfoliate three times a week and it would go away. I don’t know if I would have felt comfortable trying tank tops if I hadn’t already addressed this skin issue I was having, but I’d like to think I would have still tried. (Right now I use Lush’s sandstone soap to exfoliate, and also a scrubby washcloth.)

Oh, and once I started exposing my skin to the sun more often, the bumps were way less prevalent.

Being self confident is a baby stepping process. I was 19 when I started trying to wear tank tops and it took me until I was 22 to start to embrace my fat body and fat as an identity. You can get there. Every single day is a great day to start.

7310063030_3093c1724a_zRebel Cupcake second anniversary party, 2012.

2014-02-06

How to Gracefully Survive Mercury Retrograde and February Worksheet with Empowering Astrology

Today begins another round of Mercury Retrograde. (February 6th-28th.) If you’re not familiar with the concept, the best metaphor I’ve ever heard of to describe what it does is from my bestie Rachael. Imagine you go to the mall to get a black skirt. In Mercury Direct times, you’ll just get the skirt. In a Retrograde (when Mercury goes backward) you will go to the mall and never find the black skirt. But you will find something else completely amazing you never realized you might find. There are some amazing serendipities. Mercury screws up communication, contracts, technology, etc… and people are constantly stressing out about it.

IMG_5868 Me and Rachael in Atlanta in December.

Even if you’re not of the woo mind, the same “survival strategies” work to lead a balanced life. Learning how to go with the flow and respond with good humor when stuff isn’t working out as planned or communication gets all screwy are fantastic skills!

Katie, my astrologer from Empowering Astrology, has some incredible insights, which I’m posting below. (Also, if you’re ever wondering about other astrological concepts her blog is really great.)

Let’s talk nuts and bolts Mercury Retrograde. When I gave you all the heads up recently, there more than a little anxiety. I got a lot of nervous questions about signing things and starting this or that during the retrograde. So here’s my spiel:

* Life goes on during Mercury Retrograde. You just may have to retrace your steps.

* The retrograde is about review.

* Traditionally Mercury Retrograde is not a time to sign a contract, buy a car, or a computer — all Mercury ruled things. If you can wait to sign or make an important purchase or make an important decision, wait.

* My belief about Mercury Retrograde is that if you cannot afford to have something not work out, wait.

* Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of waiting till after the retrograde. If you must move forward with something, double and triple check the fine print. Be prepared to make adjustments once Mercury turns direct.

* Above all, don’t fear Mercury Retrograde. Fear is the lowest energy to create from and you are an aspect of the Creator made physical. Work with Mercury Retrograde. Go back to something that’s been on the back burner. Revise a manuscript. Try a different path. Meditate and reflect.

* Trust your own intuition. If you’re not sure if now is a good time to do something, ask yourself how it feels. Can you afford to wait?

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This month Katie and I partnered once again to create a worksheet about using the astrological climate to propel self-development. We put it all together for the full month as a pdf download.

It includes journaling work, ritual and play–including a really fun Valentine’s Day date you can do solo, with a friend or with a sweetie. My Valentine’s Day date now completely involves construction paper and modeling clay. It’s also got some really simple activities to help you hone your intuition. Have you ever wondered how to trust your gut more?

Click here to download the worksheet!

2013-10-24

FEMME SEX WEEK: My Experience with Getting Femme Visibility on the Streets

After the success of FAT SEX WEEK and GAY SEX WEEK it only made sense to round out the trifecta with FEMME SEX WEEK. Check out the tag to see all of the entries in this topic and check back soon for more amazing Femme sex talk!

This weekend I was in front of the camera for a lifestyle shoot for the New York Toy Collective (more on their products and a behind the scenes video from the shoot later on in FEMME SEX WEEK). One of my favorite parts of a photo shoot is the chance to hang out with folks I don’t see much and meet new people with an immediate ice breaker–working together on a photo shoot.

While I was getting my make-up done somehow the topic turned to people getting picked up on the street, namely how one of the other models had been picked up on the street and on the train, in the same day, by two different femmes. One of which they ended up sleeping with. I was so impressed! It feels like an urban legend, a hot Femme just rolling up on a cute queer and making their desire known in an intentional way–AND WINNING. (Where winning, here, is both of them getting laid.)

Erica singing about sex toys. @NYToyCollective
Erica, pictured here, is singing a song about sex toys on that ukelele.

I’ve noticed over the last year or so that I have had an increase in my own queer visibility on the street. I tend to tweet about it whenever it happens because I’m usually alone and it’s so remarkable to be a Femme presenting person getting a dyke head nod or a wink on the street from a queer presenting person. It rules! It’s like that inner 20 year old in me who wore nothing but baggy Old Navy men’s clothing to appear more “andro” because I thought that’s what would get me attention from other queers is finally getting what she always wanted. To be seen.

I’m also an intrepid queer explorer so as soon as this visibility started happening to me I went into self-examination mode to determine what I was doing differently.

My dyke head nods, winks and smiles happen usually when I’m alone and lots of places I don’t expect. Especially at the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, when I’m wearing no make-up and some kind of “running around”outfit, I feel like I see all kinds of masculine of center queers who give me the nod.

I delight in the queer acknowledgement and then sit back and examine what I was wearing, doing, or “coding”to be queer. I’m feeling my most authentically queer when I’m really performing my gender, and that is in a huge, over the top kind of way that I mostly only do at certain parties. (See:every Rebel Cupcake, Swoon and Hey Queen.)

Lifestyle. @tuckmayo backstage at @NYToyCollective
Me and Tuck during the photo shoot.

Then I think about my hair. Is it because I have weird, loud hair (that’s about as loud and weird as I can get away with and still be a practicing attorney)? And I see other hot Femme presenting people out in the world with loud hair but it doesn’t necessarily code them as queer.

But what I have figured out is that it’s not so much how I present it’s what I do. And it’s that I finally learned how to casually flirt with people with an eyebrow raise or a smile or a wink, which is what is eliciting this response of “I see you and I wink back.”

I spent a decade trying to figure out how to flirt and express desire. Being called “too much”or “coming on too strong” many times, I kind of put the kibash on it. And before I was “too much” I would let my fear of rejection stop me from asking people out, flirting or being at all forward with people. Up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea how to be in the middle ground. And, as in all things, expressions of desire are a balancing act.

What I’ve done is finally,, finally absorbed my own advice of “Nobody ever died of awkward,” and what Rachael was always trying to teach me about flirting. “It’s never a bad time to make someone feel good.”

Backstage at new york toy collective @NYToyCollective photo shoot.

Flirting with someone on the street is not a big deal. And I’m not talking about catcalling, harassing or yelling at someone. I’m talking about a little eye contact and a smile to say, “I see you queer and I think you’re hot.” This often goes unnoticed by the person, but sometimes it doesn’t. And I get that head nod or acknowledgement. It’s kind of like that awesome Butch/Femme “dance” dynamic that people talk about, only here it’s queer on queer and it’s just about really seeing and appreciating each other.

So as I relaxed into the understanding that expressing desire didn’t mean I was proposing marriage, that I’ve done the work on my self-esteem to know that my self-esteem doesn’t rely on other people, I have nothing to lose in thst circumstance. It’s now become a kind of reflex, I see a hot queer on the street and I do the head nod or the smile that let’s them know that I see them. And sometimes they see me seeing them!

Maybe I’ll work up to the kind of impressive work that the Femme used to pick up that hot model on the train (they are really hot, by the way). But in the meantime I’m appreciating the ways in which I’ve eroded my own feelings of Femme invisibility in this tiny way and I’m maybe brightening the day of some anonymous hot queer on the street by non-verbally acknowledging their hotness.

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FEMME SEX WEEK continues through next week with some exciting interviews, toy reviews and porn!

If my site has ever helped you get a date, learn how to love yourself more or feel at home in your body, would you consider donating? My fund drive has some really amazing prizes and I’m working to fund my art so that I can finish my memoir and keep putting the kind of energy into this blog that I love to do. For $100 you can get a laptop dance from Drae Campbell. (This prize is too hot for Go Fund Me, so donate the $100 through paypal to queerfatfemme at gmail).

2013-02-04

Just Text Them: Four Text Message Ideas to Ask Your Friend to Go to the Next Level

I received the following comment to my popular blog post, Nobody Ever Died of Awkward: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Battling Insecurity and Asking People Out:

So….you think texting is an ok way to ask a friend out or tell her you’re kinda into her? I’m a baby les and I’m terrrrrified of rejection or making a move. I’ve never done it before. I’m getting positive and negative signs from the girl I like. (she is gay and single). I just don’t want to look like a chicken s*it, but my friends are saying if she likes me it won’t matter so….. I don’t know

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A little glitter spanking between friends. Me and Fancy Feast at Rebel Cupcake. All photos by Kelsey Dickey.

Dear Queer:

The answer to your question is absolutely yes. In this day and age, just about everyone texts. Texting (and other text-based communications like email, gchat and Facebook message) is a very common way to communicate and can be a great way to do something you’re nervous about without having to look someone in the eye or feel foolish right in front of them if the answer isn’t yes. I’m actually wracking my brain to think of the last few people I’ve asked out or been asked out by and I think 90% of those were proposed via text or Facebook message. One person just told me, “I’m taking you out to dinner,” which was a bold move but luckily I wanted to go to dinner with her so I thought it was hot.

Often when asking someone out I get freaked out. A good strategy to try is to text her when you’re with a friend who can provide support, either in person or on a google video chat or whatever. As soon as you send the text get involved in a game or a TV show or something to keep your mind off whether she has texted you back yet.

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It is also helpful to remember that not everyone is ready to text you back right away. Maybe they are in class or are busy or something. And not everyone is an immediate texter. That can be really hard if you (like me) are basically plugged into your social media and texts all the time. Everyone has different relationships to these things. And, you also want to give her some space to have feelings or think about what you just asked her. Sometimes people need to adjust to a new, possibly different way of looking at an existing relationship.

Many times when asking someone out I have relied on a friend to basically write the script for me. Here is some sample language you can use to ask this lucky girl if she wants to go out with you:

SAMPLE ONE:

“Hey [Person’s Name]: I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me this weekend or next weekend?”

Very straightforward and unambiguous. Your intentions are clear. Incites a yes or no answer and allows details to be worked out later. If she isn’t free one weekend the option is available for the following weekend. If she doesn’t want to go out with you you’ll get a yes, no, or yes but not right now answer.

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SAMPLE TWO:

“I think you’re a great friend and all but I also think it would be fun if we kissed. Do you want to go on a date to check out our chemistry?”

More playful and open-ended. Less straightforward but still gets the point across. I love asking people out in creative ways. I think asking someone on a date makes them feel special. Like, “Hey I know we just ‘hang out’ all the time but I want to show you you’re special by sharing specific time together in a date way and wear my nice underwear.” Being asked on dates makes me feel special and will probably make her feel special, too.

SAMPLE THREE:

“I really appreciate our friendship but sometimes I wonder what would happen if we kissed. Do you want to find out?”

This one takes the “date” pressure out of it and just sort of puts your feelings out there without an actual end result. Sometimes asking someone out on a date is too much too soon and they just want to get used to the new style of spending time together.

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SAMPLE FOUR:

“If you asked me on a date I would say yes.”

I’ve used this clever line before* in a couple of contexts. It’s helpful because if the person you’re asking out is the type who likes to do the asking, you can let them know you’re ready when they’re ready. It’s also playful and gets the point across. Someone with whom I had already shared mutual non-platonic interest told me she wanted to see me so I tossed this gem at her in response. Because I wanted to go on dates with her and not just make out at dance parties.

Also, be prepared to have No be an okay answer. Nobody ever died of awkward and your friendship will totally bounce back from this. I have never once asked someone out who was an existing friend (or been asked out by an existing friend) and had our friendship suffer from a no answer. After a few days or a couple of weeks of letting my feelings of foolishness or embarrassment simmer down, I had so much free time available to develop crushes on new and different people. I appreciate the efficiency of just diffusing a pointless crush by asking someone out. I also appreciate my friends asking me out when they feel it come up because then I can give them an honest answer. Once I told my friend, “I’m not feeling this now because of the long distance aspect but let’s leave it open ended. We’re going to be gay for a real long time.”

Good luck with your text ask, I hope she says yet and you get properly banged if that is your desire!

*All credit for that line goes to Rachael who also was the originator of the term “Nobody Ever Died of Awkward.”

2011-11-30

Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip Part 2: Packing

Dubbed the Lesbian Jack Kerouac by my BFF Brian for my propensity for long distance romance, “A girl in every port and on the road with a broken heart,” he describes me, I set out on a life-changing adventure in November of 2011. This is my tale of deep heart exfoliation via asphalt. Check out all the tales in this series at the Gay American Road Trip 2011 tag.

I am a scattered packer. I am also a procrastinator and while I was very on it in terms of preparing to leave I left packing until the day I left. I eased my anxiety by reminding myself if I needed something I could get it on the road and packing the car was going to take exactly as long as it was going to take. I pecked around my house like a hen gathering things to the couch, relying primarily on my reusable grocery bags to separate things. Macy got her own bag. I meant to bring her Macy-friendly carrying bag but I forgot it. Luckily I haven’t needed it yet.

I packed a bag of snacks―crackers, granola bars, lollipops, some tortillas that would go bad at home. Two water bottles, which is a good thing as it is helpful to have a lot of water available for me on the road. I also have a flat of bottled water in the trunk just in case. I enjoy hydration and I know this means I need to stop to go to the restroom every 100 miles.


Sees Little Pops are my favorites.

I packed three warm-weather dresses and three cold-weather dresses (Northern and Southern route realness), a pair of jeans, boots, teggings, socks. Lots of versatility.

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My friend Fae is on the road, too, and for her six month epic trip she is using the Garanimals method of outfits―everything coordinates so she can just mix and match her three skirts, tops, accessories, two pair of shoes, etc…

I have many layering pieces. A hoodie, a shawl, a coat, a sweater for under the coat, a fur collar. I didn’t bring a scarf but picked one up in San Francisco for lighter layering than the fur. These all live in the backseat behind my driver’s seat so I can easily grab something or deposit something if I need to on a rest stop.

I also packed a fancy party dress and a pair of glittery heels. You know, just in case.

Making musical deliberations was serious business. I packed my laptop and the hard drive that hosts most of my music collection so I could periodically update my ipod. I burned discs of artists I needed to have on hand at a moment’s noticed. I loaded my $99 kindle with several audio books in various genres. Just Kids by Patti Smith, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk by David Sedaris, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. My friend Elisabeth loaned me the David Sedaris box set as well. I have well over 100 hours of stories and music to listen to.

I have found so far that I like to listen to lively funny books at night and the more serious books work for the daytime stretches. I also downloaded Rihanna’s “We Found Love” when I left and I listen to it once an hour. Dance music is helpful for those squirrely moments or when I start to feel a little weary.

Since I was going to be staying with so many friends I decided a good hostess gift would be little Lesbian Tea Baskets. I recorded an LTB episode of the preparation of the tins (it’s on the hard drive I left at home, though), but basically I filled sachets with loose tea, tied them with ribbon and put them in decorative tins with a note from me and Macy thanking folks for their hospitality. I figure even if my hostess doesn’t drink tea, she might have guests at some point that do. And it is consistent with my branding. Basically I really thought my BFF Rachael in Atlanta would be tickled pink and I went with it.

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Macy sort of stuck between luggage and the wall in a La Quinta elevator.

I prepared an overnight bag, so all I would have to do is minimal grabbing of items for my overnight stops. The rest of my clothes and laundry live in another suitcase that stays in my car except for layovers and the occasional “Oh, we’re changing clothes for dinner” unexpected couture moments.

So, that’s what I brought!

On the day I was leaving I did stop for a mani/pedi at the place around the corner from my house. For $20 I knew it was worth it to get it done and I am prone to snacking on my hang nails during long drives if my nails aren’t kept up.

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My beach sheet has been helpful more than once.

2011-03-15

Magical Smoothies

{Also, stuff I’ve been up to lately}

I have given up on caffeine and refined sugar again (after a happy Fall/early winter free of both and physically feeling great) and other than being ever so tired I’m doing okay. I’m sleeping a lot right now. Curse the late winter blah blah blahs and the traitor daylight savings sun that makes it seem like it should be a lot warmer than it really is!

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My BFF Rachael came to visit from the sunny Southland of Hotlanta. We ate pizza and I met her fabulous and charming beau at long last.

Smoothies are really helping this time, the natural sugar pep is waking me up and ever so tasty. To this end I’ve started concocting smoothies from basic ingredients around. I just made this one up and was super happy about it.

1 banana
handful of frozen peach slices
handful of frozen mango cubes
handful of spinach borrowed from roommate
Enough Trader Joe’s reduced calorie pink lemonade to cover 2/3 of the stuff in the blender
Just a touch of cream
1 packet of lemon-lime emergen-c

It is tart, sweet and smooth. Emergen-C is also helping me to get some energy and not feel so run down and caffeine desperate.

When I went to California, I squealed at the plethora of Jamba Juices. I grew up in the Bay Area, smoothies were always a thing but they started really catching on when I was an undergrad at UC Davis. I was seriously bummed when I moved to Philly and they weren’t as easy to find.

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I attended Mackenzi’s “Come As You Were” 90s party and two of the other party goers were dressed like women I’ve slept with.

A decade later Jamba has joined me out here but they’re all in Manhattan and I rarely leave Brooklyn. Nearly daily on my mid-Winter trip to California I availed myself of the joy of the convenient locations and quick pick-me-ups that made my epic social plans possible.

I decided I was going to start using my awesome blender (leftover from previous tenants, specifically designed for margaritas) to make smoothies and cast about for recommendations for “boosts” like those freebies you get from the Jamba. I’ve had a few suggestions. I’m considering Greens+, a generic whey protein powder, or spirulina. But before I drop a bunch of cash on supplements I want to research more and talk to my doctor.

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I produced an all queer 20 minute retelling of the Outsiders. I also narrated it with Heather who was the director.

The one drawback of being all smoothiecore in the dead of Winter is that it lowers my body temperature. I drank one at work one day and wondered why my teeth were suddenly chattering and it took awhile and a hot tea chaser to feel normal again. I run pretty cold.

That said I am excited to learn all of these new smoothie recipes out there. Soaking cashews overnight is my next adventure.

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I also worked on my taxes for my accountant. Do you have self-employment income? Do you have assets of any kind? Get an accountant.* I’ve been with mine for longer than any other relationship I’ve had, more than hair dressers, pets, or girlfriends. He’s awesome and totally worth the trip back to Philly. Instead of a photo of me stressing out over spreadsheets and drinking tons of hot chocolate last week, here’s another hipster photo of the queer Outsiders. Promise better photos as soon as Nogga posts them!

*I suggest getting one via recommendation from a friend.

2010-05-20

Love Snippets

I have been thinking and talking about love a lot lately. I’ve gotten some amazing anecdotes from people. I’ve been writing them down in my tiny notebook.

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I wish I always looked so put together when I am writing something down. Also, I wish I always had my BFF Rachael looking over my shoulder, but it is sort of like that considering I consult her at least once a day.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in love.”

Me: “Really?? How is that possible, you’ve had so many boyfriends.”

“I always like to keep one foot out the door so that I can leave at any moment. Besides, the way you all talk about it [referring to my friends] why in the world would I want that? I never see you experiencing the upside!”

***

“Do you have confidence that you will fall in love again?”

Me: “I am skilled in dozens, or even a hundred things… Falling in love is something I am adept at, and comes easy. I fell in love by accident most recently. I know I’ll fall in love again. Whether or not I fall in love & it is reciprocated is an entirely other thing that I have no control over. That’s where faith comes in. Do you?”

“It is all I believe in.”

***

“I’m going to see [her girlfriend] this weekend. I think she’s going to break-up with me.”

Me: “Oh no! I am so sorry!”

“It’s okay. The way things were going she was just being shitty to me. At least now she’s being honest about her emotions. I’d rather know that it’s going to be over with. And I have a laycation coming up with someone in a couple of weeks so that softens the blow.”

Me: “Imagine being excited about a break-up.”

***

From a private comment to my last entry about someone being broken up with for being glitter and with someone operating in an emotional beige zone, I read this part of it and had to snap because I was reading it and agreeing so heartily.

At this point in my life — where I’m learning how to allow myself to have desires and feelings (about things like kids or family or love relationships) and not censor them before they’re even allowed to emerge — being with someone who’s interested in imposing emotional limits from the start is a bad idea.

Wow. Yes. And having the wherewithal to actually articulate that is so leaps and bounds into being in touch with your desires and feelings. Sometimes I feel that there is this pressure in the dating community to be so cool with just being casual and having “no labels” and not processing. Not that I love processing, but I feel some elements of social pressure exist to just kowtow to the people who are commitment skittish. Likewise, there is a lot of pressure in other circles to BE MARRIED and HAVE KIDS and assimilate to heteronormativity. There has to be some delicate balance between u-haul lesbianism and enjoying things casually.

I have a friend who uses the term “intimate casual”. It leaves the door open for intimacy in whatever form that will take but also not putting big expectations on things. I think it is possible, but not when you’re so concerned with policing your emotions lest you scare someone away.

I think people who are checked into their emotions are less likely to be scoundrels. I realized that in the long aftermath of my broken engagement that he was never really checked in with himself emotionally and never told me when the landscape changed. Instead he cheated.

This is why I have made it my business to start loving conflict. Having conflict with someone at least means I know where they’re at emotionally, without having to worry if someone is hiding stuff from me. (This is a process. I still hate conflict. But I am trying!)

***

A note on my last post about glitter and beige. I’m not trying to say glitter means extrovert, beige is introvert. I know plenty of glitter introverts. I also know plenty of stage personalities who are also introverts. And being a stage personality is only one example of a glitter personality. I am just trying to call out a beige privilege in dating–a lot of people leave glitter in the dust for someone less intense/less complicated, etc… No shade to beige identified folks.

However, I will say if you find it hard to wear your glitter on the outside, I encourage you to try. It takes a lot of chutzpah to be in touch with what you are passionate about and share it with people, in ways that make you comfortable but also get you out of your comfort zone.

Rebel Cupcakes gotta work hard to stay fabulous–sometimes it feels like a never ending battle to express yourself and feel good about yourself in a world that is telling you that you are always too much for it. I am confident it is going to pay off. Being true to yourself is ultimately a winning battle.

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3/4 of the Baconettes at the last Rebel Cupcake. The next one is June 17th!

***

I leave you, my romantic, ever hopeful sweethearts, with a poem by one of my favorite new-to-me poets. Regie Cabico:

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