4 Years Ago, 2 Years Ago & Now: Reflections on What Makes Mophead Femme Possible
Mophead Femme was conceptualized two years ago out of a Public Program at CiiS called The Business of Healing with Denmo Ibrahim. I wanted to do therapy in private practice within my queer community but had no idea how to do it. I knew I needed more information even though I was working in community mental health, not yet licensed, and didn’t plan to start a practice yet. Initially, I only signed up for the first of the two day class because I was unsure what I would get from it and my budget was tight. At the end of day one, I knew I needed to return.
The class focused on envisioning our dream healing work before logistics, practicality, and our inner critic was involved. Intentionally taking time to reflect at this initial stage was huge for me and I have held on to a lot of my vision because of it. Denmo also was wonderful at incorporating body and mindfulness work throughout the weekend program. Although I struggled to understand its importance at the time, her saying, “take the body with you” is something that deeply resonated and I remind myself of multiple times per week. It has taught me to work sustainably and stay connected with what Mophead Femme means to me, personally.
I was ignited. Things weren’t fully flushed out yet, but The Business of Healing propelled me towards where I was meant to go. To understand this experience as the catalyst that it was, however, it’s important to know the context of my receptiveness.
Two years prior I ended a seven year partnership that, although I didn’t know it would at the time, impacted the trajectory of my whole life. It was a good, loving relationship. It still is very meaningful to me and was with a person I care deeply about. I was in a good relationship but I struggled to feel fulfilled. I attribute this to being pansexual with a cisgender partner in a monogamous relationship at the stage in my development that I was at (that’s a non-astrological way of saying Saturn return is no joke, y’all). I made the very difficult decision to break up with my partner in order to open up space in my life for the unknown. I had to trust my intuition. I had no idea how de-stabilizing it would be, particularly while I was studying counseling in grad school, for the better part of the next year. It impacted my housing, my support system, my finances, and forced me to confront an enormous amount of guilt and grief. I couldn’t have gone through it without those who showed up for me and therapy.
It was a major transition and a huge risk, but without taking it I wouldn’t have found the meaning that I have. I was able to be honest with myself about what I wanted more than ever before. I came into my femme identity with the help of people around me and stopped boxing myself in. I had grown up making myself small to fit into my family of origin and I had carried that into my partnership without knowing otherwise. With the space I had opened up to grow, I had the clarity that I needed to understand who I really was.
Fast forward back to two years ago and I was in the position to establish the direction for my work. For several weekends following the public program I drove up to Stinson Beach with my journal and made diagrams to plan out Mophead Femme. I came up with something that made me really excited because it is an expression of the core of who I am. Mophead Femme is about celebrating femmes as we are and encouraging femmes to take up space. Currently that manifests into my private practice, my art, and my writing, three things I am passionate about, but the original vision was also set up to leave room for me to expand, because, like I said, I don’t like to box myself in, even into things I love.
Since Mophead Femme’s conceptualization I haven’t had the same opportunity to reflect on my vision. So far I haven’t worked with coaches. I’ve done it by trusting my intuition and listening to feedback. It’s gotten me really far. I’m now doing paid writing and growing my art business. This plus the existential question What does it mean to be a femme therapist? are pulling me to be realistic about my capacity and think more about where my work is going. What level of self-disclosure do I want to have? What does it look like to be realistic about my limitations as a white, thin, cisgender femme while working to dismantle white supremacy, misogyny, fatphobia, transphobia, ableism, and capitalism? How does being licensed serve me? How big do I want Mophead Femme to grow?
Mophead Femme is made each day, one step at a time. I have no idea where it will continue to go, hopefully for years to come. Its success and longevity requires that I stay grounded by being thoughtful and intentional. In the next few months I’ll do a solo retreat of sorts reminiscent of my weekend class and follow up beach sessions in order to clarify my vision. In the meantime, I plan to put a hold on monthly themes for my content and blog once per month instead of twice. Rather than pushing through, doing what I think I should be doing, or carrying on based on the way I’ve been doing things, I’m honoring where I’m at and letting it guide me forward.
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Image credit: Chelsea Duerden