Coming out is such an intensely personal decision, since being queer is somewhat of a seemingly mutable way of being different. (“Passing” as straight is easier for some than others, and it is often tied to gender presentation.) I thought in honor of the occasion, and the fact that I told this story to my friends Jenna and Rick at my Epic High Holiday Shabbat dinner on Friday, I would share it here!
I Promise My Personal Tragedy Will Not Interfere with My Ability to Do Good Hair: Remembering Amanda Arkansassy
I try like hell to take care of myself. I try like hell to model self care for the corner of the internet where people pay attention to what I say. When I’m modeling self care, I am saying “This is how I am staying alive today.” Because self care is vital and survival is vital.
There are FOUR amazing queer artists doing crowd funding to develop capital to finish their amazing projects! A couple are ending in just a few days so act soon!
I believe that supporting queer art is vital to survival. In a world where we don’t see ourselves represented in mainstream culture, where even if we do see an LGBT person probably they aren’t fat, a person of color, disabled, older and/or working class. And speaking of class, it can be really hard to fund your projects as an artist with limited means and without parents or relatives who can patron, or the skills and resources to write grants.
I love Michelle Tea. I can’t say much more than at 22 years old I read Valencia and finally found a literary voice that sounded like my own. Kind of breathless excitement about life, stories and a fascination with other people and my feelings and how they affected one another. Reading Michelle Tea told me I could be a published writer, too. It also told me I could maybe one day be an artist and have an amazing group of inspirational kind of reckless friends and all of those things came to pass.
How to Grow Up is her latest memoir. I have read much of her work over the years and I think it is my favorite. Her writing has evolved a bit, it’s still chatty like a friend telling you a story over coffee rather than writing a story and letting you read it. But the sentences are tighter, shorter and the sentiments are clearer. Also, she has a lot of really deep self-reflection and self-compassion that sharpens what she says through lessons learned.
Inspired to create a series about self love by the People Magazine series “Half Their Size,” the Half The Self Hate series is about how artists and activists have put into practice the radical act of loving oneself in a society that commodifies self hatred. This is a series about self love triumphing over self hate, and valuing yourself as a radical act of resistance.
Spoken word artist and body activist Denise Jolly joins the conversation about learning to let go of self-hate:
“Truthfully I hated myself most days until I did the Be Beautiful project. That was not even two years ago and I am currently 35 years old. I fear saying this but in the spirit of honoring vulnerability there are still so many days self-hatred creeps in like a destructive lover. The hatred no longer wins but it sure does work hard to hold its place in my life. ”
So the other day I got a phone call from a reporter friend of mine at the New York Daily News (one of the big dailies in NYC) doing an article about plus size model Tess Holliday (formerly known as Tess Munster) being signed to a modeling agency. Tess is unusual because she’s only 5’4″ and a size 22–much different proportions than the standard for plus size models. By the way, even though plus size models are modeling clothing worn by women of lots of different shapes and sizes, the “industry standard” is under size 14 and 5’8″ or taller.
I did the interview and my quote is good and meaty. I had a lot more to say than what my quote could fit, so here are my thoughts on why it’s important that Tess was signed by an agency and the resulting media storm.
Our post-chemo trip was postponed a few months, but we made up for it in October during an epic ten day Southern and Northern California road trip exploring new places and visiting familiar stomping grounds for this California native.
On the first part of our journey we travel up I-5, have a magical day in San Francisco eating all the things, have lunch in the East Bay and take a detour via the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Cruz.
The final results are gorgeous, I am absolutely in love with the shot that Sophy chose for my feature. I was interested to note it features prominently my stomach rolls and my stomach is an area of my body that is still complex for me. But it’s a testament to the power of a good photographer to be able to help you see a part of your body in a new way.
The article that goes along with the cover story (teaser here) is each person in the shoot talking about their body and how they became at home in it. Though most of the bodies are normatively shaped, almost everyone has a story about how it was a struggle to love it. I also really appreciate Rosebud’s story of coming home in their trans* body from a place of wishing it was masculine or anything other than what it was.