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

2010-10-28

I’ll Just Say Fare Thee Well: The Myth of “Getting Closure”

I was at the Miss LEZ pageant, at the last intermission prior to the winner being announced, passing out fliers for Rebel Cupcake and generally being proud of how well Miss Rebel Cupcake was doing in the pageant. In this euphoric, flask of bourbon in my handbag sort of state, I ran into a couple of friends. One of them said, “Last week you wrote on your twitter ‘I’m going to need to create my own closure.’ I have a friend who has been struggling with a break-up for over a year and I repeated that to her and it really helped.” That comment made me so happy I almost cried.

Me at Rebel Cupcake: Halloween Heartbreak with the winner of Miss LEZ, repping Rebel Cupcake, Drae Campbell and Becca Blackwell who was a contestant with me in Miss LEZ last year. Dress: Re/Dress. Shoes, 3 1/2″ leather peep toes by Fitzwell via Zappos. Necklace & earring set: gift from a dear friend.

You might have noticed a little blog silence going on for a while. I find it really hard to write sometimes when I’m going through a lot of emotional upheaval. I like to write from a place of having a grasp on things and there’s nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you to make you feel like you don’t have a grasp on anything. That’s what happened five weeks ago, the details of which are still a little too fresh and muddled to explain. So, you know, I throw myself into my other work that doesn’t require me to feel like I have a grasp or whatever.

If there’s anything to come out of this pain I’m glad it’s helping people. I like living out loud in that way and my art is often my expression of the experience of living and loving as a queer fat femme/party promoter/shop girl/lawyer/performer/aspiring talk show host in this world. Lately expressing in soundbites like twitter and tumblr is what I’ve been able to do.

I believe the idea of “getting closure” is a myth. I think we idealize “getting closure” where you meet your ex at a neutral coffee shop and share lattes like you’re in an early 90s episode of Friends and you talk about your relationship and get all of those answers you are really missing that will help you tidy everything up like you fold your sweaters and put them away for the summer.

Emotions are messy and crazy. You have no control over the other person and what they’re going to say to you. Sometimes they won’t “give” you anything (as I’m experiencing now) or they’ll just do or say the same unsatisfying shit that lead to your break-up in the first place. Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide says (the gist of) “Try not to worry about how or why, try accepting that it is.” Learn your new normal. But, I think, unless you’re in the best possible break-up working in out in couples therapy or something, you won’t be able to just walk away and say “that was all neatly packaged, it feels closed.”

I mean, maybe there are couples out there who communicate SO WELL that they’re able to actually have closure and a satisfying break-up and to them I say kudos. But my twitter comment about creating my own closure had as much to do with what I’m going through now as it is poring over my previous break-ups (as I tend to do while heartbroken).

I had an ex-lover pass away this summer–there is no further closure I’m ever going to get from her. I really had always fantasized that at some point we’d be across the aisle from each other at our best friends’ wedding and we’d salvage a tender friendship out of our brief courtship. Any closure I get from my relationship with Luscious is going to be from working through my process, as it actually cannot come from her.

I think there are certain aspects of relationships that can see some tangible closure. One time I had an ex who owed me a bunch of money and I didn’t let it go. For years I watched friends walk away from top surgery loans and laptop loans of thousands of dollars to scoundrel exes or just plain sad exes. They did this because they just wanted a clean break and to not worry about it. For me it was important to close that element of my relationship. Plus, my electricity got shut off because he left this huge debt on our electric bill and the company rolled it over onto my new account and I had to come up with the money on my own, which was really hard at the time.

Self-advocacy is really difficult to do for yourself, especially when emotions are involved. But I kept at it, with letters and copies of joint bills and the bitter recollection of that week of living with candles for lights and no internet. And then I finally got checks every other week until it was paid off. I settled for slightly less than what I thought his debt was, but it was worth it to get it all done.

So I had financial closure but it still took months and even years to work through the emotions of our break-up and the closure I needed. I’ve got three years of perspective now and I still can only guess why or how. The damage of being cheated on, being broken up with in an email with no face to face conversation and all of that took a lot of work on my own terms.

Some closure won’t come until you start dating again. I wondered if I could ever love again as hard as I loved him. And it turns out I did and I can.


Me & my friend Berlin saying hi to his GF/my friend Ally who was in Portland. Berlin is the Ethical Butcher. Go to his classes & dinners!

Sometimes it helps me to write letters. I don’t like cutting people out of my life who did something horrible to me without explaining in plain language just exactly why I won’t ever speak to them again. Once someone lied to me so much I wrote her a letter detailing the 21 lies I had caught her in. I gave it to her and I’m certain that she managed to distort her reality around the contents to make it feel okay for her. But that letter helped me to create the peace I needed in order for me to walk away. The key is in sending it with no expectation as to the response.

One time I actually received great closure from an ex. A year after we broke up we ran into each other on campus and I smiled at her. She sent me an email with great accountability and apologies. At the time I couldn’t see it as the great closure it was, but three years later I re-read it and I was like “Wow, that was really great accountability.” But it wasn’t closure for me at the time because I wasn’t in a place to see it as closure.

Wanting closure is really hard. But the thing is, you have the power to make it happen for yourself in the way that works best for you. Break-ups are a selfish time period, where you stop looking at the us, mourn the pretty picture of the us you were creating and work on yourself. There’s so much possibility in your own closure.

Sometimes you’re not going to “get” closure at all because parts of our emotional histories are sagas and can’t be wrapped up like winter sweaters. My heartbreak feels like part of a bigger saga right now, so I’m not even working on closure. What I’m trying to do instead is turn my pain into the opportunity to create the solid base inside myself where an emotional event as jarring as what I just went through doesn’t make me feel like I don’t have a grasp on anything. I’m developing the tools to stay peaceful and strong as other things blow around me.


Like one of those inflatable bop bags from the 80s that you punch and they float right back up to upright.

Things are going to get better and most of the time I believe it. And those times I don’t believe it I have the tools to call a BFF and ask them to tell me everything is going to get better. And I have art to express what I’m going through. And I have you, my sweet and wonderful readers, reminding me that expressing my pain is helping you, too. And 2,000 hits a week reminding me you’re still out there wanting to know what I’ve got going on!


9021-homo from Rebel Cupcake! All photos from RC by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-09-20

Heartbreak MFA: Additions to the Break Up Survival Guide

One of the most amazing things about being an artist is that people tell me all the time how art I’ve created or produced has been really important to them in times of trouble and strife. Many times I hear “I have been going through a really terrible break-up and Episode 2 of your podcast really helped me out.” I’ve also heard more than a few times about how Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide has been passed around like a water cooler article to friends in need.

I’m so glad these resources exist, especially in light of the huge break-up they came out of for me.

Having (yet another) friend need this list this weekend prompted me to add a few updates. I share them with you below.

1. You already have all the tools you need to get through this.

It’s true, Dorothy.

Dorothy

Remind yourself of this every moment you feel desperate. Nowadays I can use the benchmark of “my fiance cheated on me for 8 months” or “I got laid off after 5 years with the same firm” as a way in which to gain the perspective I need to keep moving. I survived those things, I know I can survive whatever else comes my way.

As queers, fat people, people of color, women, gender non-conforming folks, etc… we have been put through the paces so much by society, our familes and ourselves, we are already survivors. Hell, the fact that I made it through my teens without succeeding at suicide is a testament to an inherent survival instinct that I attribute to being very blessed and watched over.

I will say that knowing that I have the tools to deal with heartbreak is sometimes cold comfort. At this point, almost three years since my ended engagement and having dated some women who have fucked with my heart big time, I feel like I have a Master’s Degree in Heartbreak. I’ve been through this, I know I’ll get through this again and live to love again. My heart doesn’t always know that, though. Having the gentle reminder from my brain is helpful.

2. Get co-defriendant with someone.

In the first few weeks of my big break-up I really needed help knowing what to do because the terrible echo of pain so consumed me. It was nice having a friend I could call on a moment’s notice and bring my shih tzu and an overnight bag and have somewhere to be that wasn’t my empty house, or have plans to go out or whatever I felt up to at the moment. When you designate a Captain Distraction, it’s especially nice because you will likely feel so different from moment to moment it’s hard to keep yourself abreast with your feelings, let alone your myriad friends. So if you have someone who has a lot of emotional and time availability see if they’re up to be your life raft for a little while.

3. Create community around your break-up.

When I was going through my big break-up I made a special filter on the blog community I was in of other people who were dealing with big break-ups around the same time. It was really comforting to know I wasn’t alone in the pain, to hear their process and to exchange mix cds. It was also interesting to notice our different benchmarks, how rebounding affected people and how their recovery was so varied. Maybe now you might do a twitter feed or facebook filter or just have a group email list.

I also threw a big New Year’s Eve party/ritual that year for me and 10 friends where we burned letters to our exes. It was nice to get to do that as a community.

4. Take lots of hot pictures of yourself.

If you have the cash, I suggest seeking out a queer photographer home girl like Molly at Fat Bottom Boudoir or Sophie of Shameless Photography. They know how to shoot you looking your best (in any body) and will help you reclaim your body and sexuality.

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If you don’t have the cash, get a bestie, go to the MAC counter, get a free makeover. Then go to the Torrid dressing rooms or some other place full of hot fat girl clothes and try things on that are impossibly sexy with shoes that are ridiculously tall and take photos of each other.*

Use these hot pictures as new profile photos on Facebook. Looking hot is great revenge. It’s like a photo affirmation.

Advice Column

5. Throw yourself into a big art project.

My mom gave me this advice when I was crying on the phone to her during Thanksgiving. Thus, FemmeCast was born. It was a huge project (and continues to be, anyone know a good audio editor?) but being able to do something productive with my pain was totally helpful. It gave me something else to talk about and something else to think about during my worst moments.

Do you have something percolating you’ve always wanted to do? Just start.

6. Rebounding is a terrible idea.

Zoe told me when I was having my rebound that you end up having to “deal with that shit PLUS interest.” She’s totally right, too. Rebounding feels great. Why feel the heartbreak when you can focus on the joy of new love and not see any of the other red flags about how bad of an idea it is to date that person? I used to be queen rebound and I can attest it just makes things harder in the long run. Your gunk gets all jammed up and it takes a lot longer to sort through it. It also puts a lot more pressure on the new relationship to be the big savior for the heartbreak that came before.

There is no ibuprophin for heartache. It’s just through it. Rebounding is like creating a migraine out of a bad headache.

7. QVC.

I used to turn on QVC in the background whenever I was home alone to make me feel less lonely. A few months later I got a roommate, which definitely helped more. But if you’re walking around a newly empty house, QVC is nonstop enthusiastic chatter and it helps to drown out the terribles.

8. Heartbreak is an opportunity to learn about yourself.

I got a great email from my friend Genne after the disastrous rebound from my big break-up ended that began with the sentence “I don’t want to say that your picker is broken but…” and included some really great thoughtful questions to ask myself and work through in my recovery. Now, at the time I was a little taken aback at the idea that I was responsible for bringing in the inappropriate people in my life but I did see what she was saying.

My artist’s life coach Lynnee Breedlove said something similar to me during our last session. There is a reason you bring the people into your life when you do. If you can work through the reasons they’re in your life and what you can learn from the experience, it only makes you a more attuned to how to pick the next time around. And just like taking a hot photo for your facebook or creating some amazing art, it’s all about taking the time you need to create something beautiful out of your pain.

***

I hope these nuggets are helpful to some of y’all out there. Comment with your favorite heartbreak tip below and one random commenter will get a copy of a break-up cd mixed by me. I’ll pick at midnight EST on September 27, 2010.

And while we’re on theme, the next Rebel Cupcake is heartbreak themed. Lots of danceable heartbreak songs and halloween costumes!

*Always be kind to your shop girls and if they ask you to stop taking pictures be nice about it. For $10 an hour no one wants to have to tell you about store policies, so they’re doing it because they have to. Also always hang up your clothes neatly and right side out on the hangers.

2010-03-14

Get Some South in Yo’ Mouth!: Lola Dean’s Time-Tested Tips for the Ultimate Blow Job Performance

Happy Steak & Blow Job Day! Here at Queer Fat Femme I decided to delay my celebration until Steak & Blow Job Day (Observed) and in the meantime I have made today an academic study brushing up on blow job skills and steak preparation.

This is a good steak primer, from Jen, a friend on Facebook.

Good steak is pan-seared. The trick is to pat it off with paper towel, etc., to get it as dry as possible before it hits the pan. That way, it will crust nicely on the outside and retain the juices inside. And don’t overcook it – steak MUST BE medium rare.

Also, let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Check out the reluctant gourmet website, for interesting tips.

I asked my friend Lola Dean, who won an audience favorite award in a recent blow job competition in a certain legendary Park Slope basement, to provide her tips for S & BJ Day.

Lola Dean 9
Photo by Shameless Photography.

From the flat lands of the Southern Delta, Lola Dean comes to NYC with sassy, white-trashy spirit. Typically found around the queer performance spaces of New York as a burlesque artist with a sultry stage repertoire, she now steps offstage and into the bedroom to provide these erotic tips on giving your sweetie a sensual and special blow job performance.

If you’re thinking of giving your lover(s) the royal treatment on “Steak and Blow Job Day,” I would encourage you to brush up on your oral service skills to make the holiday special and unforgettable. A full belly can only be complemented by a great blow job, so take your task seriously, and your sweetheart(s) will sing your praises…quite literally. Many of us (but certainly not all) queer femmes service our lover(s)’ not-so-permanent cocks (i.e. dildos and toys), and while this is my specialty, I think these tips can be applied across the board for all body types and genders. First, remember this is a performance, so show us what you got! You are front and center, so pull all the stops, and dazzle your sweetheart by following these three tips:

1. Take it slow. Unless of course, your sweetie likes it quick and dirty! But generally speaking, you want to take your time and make a show for your sweetie. Prolonging the act builds excitement, which will intensify the orgasm. Jumping the gun by putting the entire cock in your mouth too soon can spoil the build up. If it helps, sing a song in your head and set “benchmarks” for the verses and choruses. For example, you can sing through Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and promise to only make it halfway down the shaft by the time she leaves her heart and hand on the dance floor. Just don’t get too caught up in the song that you forget to focus on your lover’s pleasure!

2. Spice it up. This is perhaps, my favorite cock-sucking tip, because it leaves room for creativity, fantasy, and personal preference. The key to spicing up a blow job is being adventurous. For all you femmes and fags, swipe on your favorite shade of lipstick and open wide. The smeared lipstick on both your sweetie’s cock and your lips makes for great visuals and an erotic opportunity for gender expression. I encourage you to also consider role-plays and how a blow job scene can be used to enhance the play. Does your lover have a penchant for boss-secretary fantasies? Set up an “executive chair” and get on those knees! The possibilities are limitless, so let your imagination run wild, and your sweetie will be grateful.

3. Take special care. The third tip is quite possibly, the hardest to master, as it takes attention to detail and more than a little imagination. Taking special care of your lover during a blow job involves performing the service as if every inch of the cock has special and sensitive nerve endings, and every motion and touch can be felt by your lover. Ok, I know I know… you’re eyeing your silicone cock with suspicion right about now. After all, it’s not real, right? Nonsense! Reality lives inside our own erotic imaginations. Flick your tongue on the sensitive soft “skin” underneath the head. Kiss the tip with slow passion and care. If you want to test your gag reflexes, hold the base and slide the entire shaft in until your throat muscles inevitably protest. And I promise your sweetie’s toes will curl. Taking special care lets your lover(s) know you are thinking of their pleasure both physically and emotionally.

And, lastly, there’s nothing hotter than showing your lover(s) that you care about their sexual health and safety, so adorn the cock with a condom and/or play with toys that can be sterilized. And just like your favorite Babeland-bought, mint-flavored condoms, one size does not fit all in the blow job tip department. Experiment with these suggestions, talk to your lover(s) about their bodies and desires, and above all have fun! Share your thoughts and additional tips in the comments, and let the sexy blow job knowledge spread far and wide!

Catch Lola Dean with Bevin & The Baconettes at this month’s That’s My Jam Party! Sure to be magical!

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2010-02-11

Winter is Style Phobic

Yesterday my Femme friend Rachel posted to FaceBook that she doesn’t understand how to dress for snow and solicited tips. Femme Family Madam of Beauty, Bryn, responded “Snow = Femmephobic”. An FF Butch ally complained about snow being butchphobic because of the giant duck-like snow boots she is forced to wear.

Let’s be real–winter is just plain stylephobic. It’s a lot harder to be cute in the cold, what with all of the layering and the arduous task of putting on coats, gloves, hats, and special shoes just to leave your house. I grew up in California and didn’t experience my first real winter until I was 21. A decade later I’m still not over the novelty and annoyance.

I have come up with some ideas as to how to inject style and sass into your winter blah blah blahs for not a lot of money.

1. Get an accessory that can transition the everyday into glamour.

Your coat and accouterments are the first thing everyone sees on you. It’s also the one outfit you’ll wear every single day. Making it a good one is important.

This year I found a great way to transition 3 late fall weight coats (or California winter coats) to be really stellar and glamorous outerwear: a $10 Old Navy khaki trench, a getting sort of crappy houndstooth coat I was thinking of giving away and a mid-range mod print black and white coat. I bought a vintage fur stole* for $20. It wasn’t in fabulous condition, so I felt totally fine stitching it up, closing it with a pin and throwing it over any one of those coats. Instaglamour!

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I wish I had a better shot of the coat but I think the Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha cameo totally makes up for it.

I also bought a really gorgeous pair of teal leather gloves for $10. They were GAP in origin (but I got them from Re/Dress). They really pop against any kind of neutral coat, they’re water proof, and they actually work to open Macy’s poop bags, which is not true of most gloves. I believe in good leather or leather-like gloves only if they are cheap because expensive gloves get lost.

I feel complicated about hats so I try to have a coat with a hood in late winter. I’ve been seeing girls wear really floppy beret style hats this winter, with their bangs able to show and still function as a hat. I like having big hair so it makes it hard to deal. I have earmuffs that wrap around the back of my bouffant.

I shop like a magpie so pretty much anything sparkly gets my attention. A sparkly scarf is my day to day in the deep winter. Glenn Marla here models a glittery ascot. I’ve seen many of my hippest queer friends layering their scarves this year–so even if it is a thin glittery overlay you can put more layers under them. One girl showed up to a gallery opening with I think at least 5 scarves around her neck.
Glenn & Me at Heavy

Nothing says “I’m bringing a little winter cheer to this bitch” like wearing bright accessories in the depths of February.

2. Become a Maple Chaser.

When you’re confused about what to wear in the winter, look to our Canadian cousins. If anyone knows how to dress for insanely cold weather, it’s people who live it 5 months of the year. I like to cruise my Facebook friends to see what the Canadian fatties are wearing and then pester them with questions about where stuff comes from.

A visiting Canadian walked into Re/Dress this winter wearing the most gorgeous full-length fuchsia down coat. She also had fuchsia hair. I see a lot of well-dressed folks at the store and it takes an especially foxy outfit to stick in my memory like that.

It was likely this coat from Lands’ End. It’s still not on sale, but it might be by the end of winter.

3. Get some bangin’ outerwear.

I scour all year long for good outerwear (this is how you can get stuff for cheap). I found my calf-length down coat at a Marshall’s last January on sale for $40 when I was in there looking for some impulsive-make-me-feel-better-cheap-lingerie to buy. A plus size new with tags calf-length down coat is hard enough to find, let alone for $40. It is always worth it to rifle through the coat section of those places.

Sometimes it is a good idea to splurge when the time is right. My friend Miasia bought this coat from an online Parisian retailer. It’s INSANELY gorgeous, warm, and she got it on sale. I forget where it’s from or how much she spent but I say worth it. It’s form fitting, flattering, unusual and wool.

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Even Macy gets some amazing outerwear for the coldest months. This waterproof for the snow pink lame’ and silver coat was $2, new with tags at the goodwill (originally from Target).
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4. These boots were made for walkin’ not fallin’.

I am a faller. I hate falling. I don’t understand people who don’t wear snow boots. They have treads and are waterproof and keep your feet warm. I think snow boots get a bad rap as being big crazy duck shoes. They don’t have to be sporty like that! Online footwear shopping is your friend for snow boots.

My first winter as a working girl, I had to travel to do closings, so I needed a pair of boots I could tromp around Manhattan in that went seamlessly with my work wardrobe. I found a pair of Lands’ End fleece boots that are completely black, inconspicuous and have lasted for 7 years. The lovely part I’ve found is that, since they are black, they work equally well with tights, leggings or work pants.

Right now I am in love with these stylish Fitzwell Lesley’s. They’re spendy, though.

On the other end of the spectrum, Deb, the owner of Re/Dress, introduced me to these totally cute boots.

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I believe these are Tretorn Women’s Glad Rubber Boots. They’re about $48 and Deb reports very warm and keep her feet very dry!

Your boots do not have to sacrifice fashion for function!

5. Make the big reveal a good one!

As for the stuff underneath all of those layers, I like to wear polyester vintage dresses in the winter. They are extremely warm (nothing like a fabric that doesn’t breathe). I also tend to layer tights under leggings and wear wool socks. Because when wool gets wet, wool stays warm. (I learned the tights instead of long johns trick and wool socks bit from my winter camping training in Girl Scouts.) When you wear tights under your clothes it also doesn’t matter as much if they have runs or holes in them because they’re hidden.

When you dig your car out from 4 feet of snowdrift wearing tights and you fall in a snowbank, you dry off really quickly, where jeans will retain the freeze far longer. I’ve found this year’s crop of tights from Target and Avenue to have a good longevity.

I also like to put my scarf on right after I put on my perfume (just one neck spritz)** because when it comes off it retains a subtle whif of fragrance which is a really good olfactory seduction.

And no time is more of a special time for cleavage as the winter. Frankly, there’s just not as much and I like to do my best to defeat that.

I end this post with one of my favorite songs of the now (even though it’s a little old). It IS hard to be a girl in all seasons!!

*It was sold to Re/Dress by World Famous *BOB*, I bought it with store credit I got for trading in my white fur collar/muff/hat set that I never wore because it was too pristine. In turn, Australian burlesque performer Lillian Starr bought my set from Re/Dress. The beauty of resale!

**Always being mindful of people with scent sensitivities–that’s no joke! If you know someone who has one NEVER wear perfume around them. My mom is scent sensitive and perfume is like migraine-inducing kryptonite.

2009-12-31

New Year’s Revolutions

I looked at my cell phone and lamented to Taueret. “Why won’t [this person] go on a date with me?” She laughed.

“I forgot the part where you actually asked her out.”

“Yeah, but, well, what if she says no?” I wailed.

“Bevin, what were you saying about awkward?”

I laughed the deep kind of belly laugh you can only peel out when you’re being confronted with your own advice.

Bevin & AfroTitty
Me and Taueret in the Bloodhound Photography photo booth at my Queer Family Holiday Extravaganza.

She also reminded me that my two other active crushes right now are Lady GaGa (let’s be honest, it’s mostly an art crush) and a celebrity television chef who has not admitted her sexuality to Barbara Walters. Historically I’ve been attracted to chefs and workaholics. Watch hottie Blythe Beck talk to her cocktail waitress Robyn about “lubing up your pan with butter” and tell me you don’t have a complete heart on for her.

I decided that I am going to do something bold to start of Two Thousand and Femme, a year I intend to be one of focus, intentional learning, deep practice* with my podcast and media projects as well as developing my firm’s entertainment and real estate client base, and leaving room for a lot of unexpected magical moments. I like the idea of starting that year off with doing something bold and scary.

I challenge everyone out there to articulate your desire (to yourself or someone else) on New Year’s Day. Just one thing. Ask someone out on a date. Ask your longtime lover to try to the GBS** for the first time. Wear something sleeveless indoors if you’ve never done that before. Tell me about it!

Another part of my New Year’s Revolution*** plans was to learn 12 different ways to make kale, but it seems like my digestive system hates kale very much, so I may need to choose another dark leafy green like spinach.

It’s hard to actually make resolutions for a lot of people, because those set you up to fail. I am really goal-oriented and once I realized that my Revolutions have to actually be attainable, I have had some great success with my New Year’s Revolutions. The key is to make them intentional and realistic.

For more on alternatives to the typical “lose weight” idea see this amazing post by Deb at Re/Dress and this post by Golda at Body Love Wellness.

Femme Family
Happy New Year!

*I read about deep practice in the November issue of Oprah Magazine–the whole thing is here and it’s a really great read.
**Gay Butt Sex
***Thanks to Amanda, Femme Family Madam of Country Glam for that term.

2009-08-18

Girl You Look Expensive: Alysia Angel

This is a continuation of my series Girl You Look Expensive! (Read the whole back story and intention behind the post here.) I was super excited to see the ever sweet & swoonworthy Scream Club (beware the flashy flashy gifs at the link) perform a hyped up remix of this song last week.

Meet my charming and gorgeous friend, Alysia Angel:

alysiafullbody1

The details on my outfit in the photo are:
dress xxl target $12
shoes vintage sling back 70’s “mushrooms” .99 value village
polka dot scarf .99 value village
white tiled reversible bag (gold on the other side) $2 goodwill
teal bracelet 0.00 found in a free box

And a brief and wonderful sample of her writing, on Femmes and Class:

    Dimes to diamonds

I have a closet of carefully selected vintage dresses, the waistbands torn out and
re-sewn to add inches to accommodate the roundness of my body, the
hemlines raised to accommodate the shortness of my stature, the plunging
necklines that free up the girls, putting them on a very huge display. I love
thinking about those sweet little fancy soldiers, lined up in a walk in closet,
in RGB color scheme. My head swims, dazzled by the teals, pinks,
reds, the wrong way for fat people but oh so right for me stripes,
eensy weensy polka dots, mandarin collars, tiny little white buttons,
cap sleeves, op art prints and the joy of putting these dresses on my
body. I love the shimmery feeling of a $5 vintage dress. Femme to me is
sexuality, vulnerability, strength, deliberate bold fashion and power.

Femme and fashion feels like a released Papilionoidea,
glittery and sharp, flowing from my clothes like honey.

In 20 years I haven’t changed a thing about my approach to buying
nearly everything second hand, making it my own, reinventing what
personal style means. I have dedicated myself to fashion without ever
looking to magazines or books for help. I have dedicated my body to be
a canvass, a color palette, a target for material. I am a slave to a
“perfect” dress, a perfect pink shell top, a kitschy vintage pin, a
large and gorgeous clutch, a hot pair of heels, an accordion skirt in
an interesting color. My eyes are on alert, always scanning, trained
on certain fabrics, prints, colors, and size. My fashion is a divining
rod for beauty, personal and to be shared. My sexuality and my fashion
are forever entangled like eyelashes on the first girl I loved in high
school. The one I fucked in her water bed, silent, sleek, and secret,
still the sweetest kisses of my entire life.

Her words are syrupy remnants at the bottom of delicious desserts you’ve long ago finished and can’t wait to enjoy again morphed into a gorgeous string of song.

If you want more (and I’ve been reading her Live Journal for awhile–you definitely want more) she’s selling this really stunning chapbook for only $15. Hand made from cover to cover. Even if you’re not a big reader, this stunning piece of art will look amazing on your coffee table or as a gift to a close friend. But chances are you’ll pick it up and never be able to put it down. She’s that good.

bookscan

$1.50 for shipping in the US, $3 outside the US. This book is a first of a series of 5 books. You can make payments via paypal to alysia.angel at gmail dot com.

2009-01-10

Brian says this man was sent to me by Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2008-12-31

Survival Skills

I was walking my Shih Tzu Macy the other day through my neighborhood in Jersey City when we came across a stranger. He was another little white Shih Tzu, with no collar or leash. Macy, ever our ambassador to all friendly furry creatures, asked him what he was up to. She was unable to communicate with me what his exact business was in the street on a dark snowy NYC night, but I was able to pick him up, determine he was warm and smelled entirely too good to be a stray. There’s no way I could just leave him on the street, in case he got hit by a car or fell prey to any other Shih Tzu dangers lurking about.

We took him home, where I made a little sign advertising that I’d found a white dog with my phone number. I figured if it was me, as soon as I realized Macy was gone I would flip out and scour the neighborhood–a few signs near where he was found would probably bring them out.

It took about an hour, my plan worked and little Gizmo was reunited with his family. Macy was a little annoyed that he spent the whole time at my apartment hanging out with me on the sofa and not playing with her, but we felt good about having done a good deed.

I told my gay boy BFF Brian about this, saying It’s not like he’s going to be able to fend for himself on the streets. What survival skills does a Shih Tzu have?

“Well, I think looking cute and being able to convince strangers to take you home and feed you until your people come get you is a survival skill.”

And he is absolutely right. Being able to recognize when you need help and being open and available to receiving help is absolutely a survival skill.

This was brought into stark Femme relief for me during part 2 of my 3 part 30th birthday party celebrations, right after the Shih Tzu incident. I threw a party called “Ascots and Bouffants” at my friend Muse’s apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Muse was kind enough to host the party and was stressed about learning how to bouffant her hair. I offered to do her hair for her, having learned from my hair dresser in November (much to my intense joy).

This was the result after I did my own bouffant process using the technique from my stylist.

However, I have thick, long hair and Muse has fine, shoulder-length hair. It never occurred to me that my technique wouldn’t work on Muse. I started working the backcomb action on her hair and this is what she looked part way through the process.

The results were less than ideal and disappointing for both of us, as we both wanted her to have fabulous high hair for my party.

Just as we made the revelation, my fabulous and gorgeous friend Bryn showed up (who Muse doesn’t know very well). She’s a hair dresser by trade and I instantly knew what we needed to do. Bryn!! I hollered. Can you fix this?

It took about 20 minutes, during which time I began to circulate and welcome guests. And the end result was a fabulous looking and very relieved Muse. By thinking fast and on my feet, I was able to make big hair happen for her, even though I wasn’t able to do it myself.

Asking for help is a crucial skill for Femmes. There are so many things we can learn from each other. Almost everything I know about fatshion, beauty, make-up, self-esteem, and all the things in life I enjoy I’ve learned from my Femme sisters.

It is important to remember that vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness. Being open to showing people who you really are and articulating your needs is a great way to interact with people and make real, genuine connections. Had I been too proud to admit defeat when I realized 10 minutes into Muse’s bouffant that I was not going to achieve the result we were after, she would have been stuck with hair she hated and I would have been stuck with a nagging feeling of letting her down that would have dampened the spirit of my party. Being at a point in my life and my confidence where I can ask my friends for help when I need it without being stuck in a feedback loop of shame or worrying about not seeming self-assured actually makes me more confident.

Even if I don’t have a skill, I can get access to it pretty easily through my networks. And just like that Shih Tzu we found, I know I’ll never really be out on the street long enough for my fur to get cold.

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