Episode 009: Discovering the origin of The Queer Mystic and networking for neurodivergents

Apr 8, 2024Podcast

In this more casual podcast episode, I get to learn about The Queer Mystic and how this brand name came to be. We also talk about networking for neurodivergent folk and introverts!

Watch this episode on: YouTube.

Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts.

Esther Lemmens’s website: https://estherlemmens.com/
Esther Lemmens’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/esther-lemmens/


Introduction to a Queer Mystic

Lou: All right, I’ve got Esther here with me who is going to talk about being a queer Mystic. So let’s start by unraveling that term.

Esther: Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah, for me, the Queer and the Mystic. So I’m a queer woman; this is the label I’m using for myself at the moment, and it’s to me, queer feels just really expansive and free. And it’s kind of vague and kind of can mean so many things, you know, you can queer so many things. So that’s why I really like it for myself because I feel like I’m very much on a journey of questioning and, you know, inquiring into gender and identity and sexuality and just all these facets of our identity, really.

And then the Mystic is something a bit more recent. It’s a word that I really like. I’ve been embracing things like intuition and channeling, and one of the last things that’s been happening, one of the latest things that’s been happening is like I get symbols. So I kind of get these symbols that land, so I draw them up, and then some of it’s like some of them step forward and say like, “I need to be seen more widely.” So I draw them up in a more sort of accurate, mathematical way, and then they kind of also, I get a sense of them, and I get a sense of what color they want to be seen as, and all that stuff.

And I’m hanging out with people now in groups who are also, you know, into that kind of thing, and it’s really interesting to get feedback about the symbols and like what people feel from them and what they see in them and, you know, how it resonates because it’s really all about energy, isn’t it? So yeah, so that’s where I’ve landed on Queer Mystic. So I feel like it reflects who I am and what I do in a way that feels good to me right now.

Yeah, so that’s where I’m at.

Lou: Great that you’ve come to that discovery.

The Process of Receiving Symbols

Lou: So tell me about how the symbols come to you.

Esther: Good question. So basically, I get them. It’s kind of like I see them in my mind’s eye. It’s almost like I get a vague sense of them, like on the inside of my eyelids or something, but it’s really more of a sense of them. It’s kind of tricky to describe unless maybe you have experiences like that yourself. I know some people can’t visualize, so it’s not necessarily a visualizing thing. But I also tend to get them when I’m in a meditation, or I’m following, you know, when I’m on an online retreat or something like that, when we’re doing journeying work and stuff like that, they happen quite fast and often then. And sometimes they just randomly land when I’m trying to get to sleep in the evening or, you know, when I’m doing the washing up or something.

So yeah, and it really depends on what I’m contemplating as well because I feel like it is a sort of amalgamation of some of the things that are occupying my mind maybe, or like the energy of the times. I think sometimes I tune into things when I read like energy updates from people or astrological things that are going on or in the collective and stuff like that. But I found that I can also tune into specific things like for people’s businesses because I’m a designer, my background is design.

And I found that I can tune into people’s businesses and what they’re about and their energy and what they want to create and stuff, and then I get really something quite specific. So I’m like, “Wow, that’s interesting.” And that’s been happening for a while, and I didn’t even know it at first because I think I used to work with the wrong people, like the wrong clients, just a mismatch, you know. Because a lot of designers are like, “Okay, this is the brief, and it’s all very practical and head-based,” and there’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but it just doesn’t quite… it’s not the complete picture for me, you know. So, you know, like people told me about their businesses and stuff like that, and then I had a few clients years ago that I just got a visual for their business, and it was quite clear, and I made that for them and presented it to them, and they were like, “I don’t… it doesn’t… that’s not what I want. I don’t get it,” you know. It was very clear to me that that’s what it was that they needed in a strange way that I couldn’t even explain. Yeah, but they were just after something a bit more obvious, I suppose, you know. Like, yeah, just the word “obvious” is a good one.

Lou: Yeah.

Esther: So, it was just a mismatch, you know. And for ages, I struggled with, like, “How do I offer design and branding?” And it just… I can’t make it work, and it was such a struggle. And then I realized, no, I just need to really refine how I do things and own that and work with the right people who resonate with that because it’s not for everyone, and that’s fine, you know. So that’s kind of… that was the long answer to where the symbols come from.

Lou: Yeah.

Balancing Creativity and Structure in Design

Lou: I see. Yeah, that’s really interesting because I know that when I’ve been given a task to do a creative project, it’s almost like you have to be creative on demand when someone’s paying for it. So there can be a bit of an emotional block. You know, creativity for a lot of people comes from being spontaneous, not being demanded to do something in a timeframe.

Esther: Totally. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So you can probably relate then, can’t you? Like, and I find it, for me, if I get a blank canvas, it’s almost like I panic, you know. I’m like, “Oh no, this is not… too much freedom,” but like, “I don’t… the possibilities are too much, and I’m overwhelmed, and I can’t cope,” you know, that kind of thing. And that is the head-based stuff.

So for me, I’ve always, like, when I worked in corporate and agencies and stuff, I used to love more the end-of-the-line stuff, the details, getting, you know, like a company’s brand guidelines. It’s like, that gives me structure, and like, my brain needs that for this kind of work. So that’s what I was happy working in. And like, when I worked in agencies, I was an artworker, so the art directors would, like, create the style. They used the blank canvas in a way that, you know, that was great for them. They loved that. And then they came to me with that, and like, “This is the style, and now we’re going to create a product brochure in this style.” And I was like, “Oh, brilliant. Thanks,” you know. And I’ve got a style to follow, and that’s great.

So this is a very different way of doing things, really. And I’m still trying to figure it out, or I’m still like trusting the process. And it’s a very different… I don’t know if it’s like a different part of the brain or whatever, even bypasses the brain. It’s energetic and it’s intuitive and instinctive in ways, you know.

The Role of Intuition in Work

Esther: Yeah. Do you feel like you use your intuition in your work, or do you feel like it’s quite structured, head-based? Do you feel it’s a balance? It probably is a balance, but…

Lou: Yeah, of course, I do believe there’s a mix of the two, uh, logic and intuition. I… the kind of work I do, I need to look at what’s practical and real and what’s in front of me. So I look at data to provide evidence of what’s real, but then I also sort of need to use a bit of intuition when it comes to what you need to say.

Esther: Yeah, that makes sense.

Lou: What sort of frame of mind is your customer in when you’re creating this ad or this landing page?

Esther: Yeah, totally, totally. And it might vary. Like, that’s… I think that’s the beauty of bringing the intuition in because you’ve got your basic structure, like I used to have my brand guidelines, and then you also allow for that fluidity, I suppose, to for it to take shape for however the person needs it to be. So yeah, it’s not as rigid, so there’s more freedom in that, I feel. Hm. Yeah.

Seeking the Right Clients for Design Services

Lou: Yeah. All right, so tell me, um, what kind of person would seek out your design services?

Esther: So, I’m finding that more recently, in the work that I’m doing now or in the approach that I have now, yeah, it’s mostly people who know me reasonably well that I’m in groups with and things like that. I’ve been finding they reach out a lot or, for the most part. So yeah, it’s really people who are on the spiritual side of things, on the woo-woo side of things, who just click with that. I think they just need to… I mean, on my website, I’ve got a load of the symbols I’ve created that I share on Instagram and Facebook. So, I think it’s mostly people who are in that way attuned to the energies of it, and a lot of them have said, like, not that there’s tons of them, but a lot of that group have said, like, “I saw your symbol, and it just evoked a response in me.” Like, I had either an emotional reaction or something in my energy started to move or shift, or I had this sense of warmth. It’s a very sensory thing and energetic, like a feeling, you know. They just get that, that clicking into place. So that’s the kind of person who tends to be drawn to my work now. Yeah, yeah, it’s a really interesting shift. Yeah, yeah,

Entrepreneurship and Personal Growth

Lou: That’s so good. And I guess that wouldn’t have happened if you, well, first of all, didn’t go on this path of discovery, but also you had to stop putting yourself out there at some point.

Esther: Yep, yeah, that’s a whole other story, really. I think a lot of us, as a woman, I guess that’s my experience of having been socialized as one, it’s really hard when you… I feel like entrepreneurship is a personal growth journey like no other, really. I think parenthood is another one, but that is one I have no experience of.

So yeah, I really struggled with visibility for one, like feeling safe. I feel like my nervous system just freaked the hell out a lot of the time if I have to put something out. I’ve struggled with pricing my work, I found it really hard to charge money for it, good money for it. And that’s a journey I’m still on. I’m not in a place where I’m like, “Yeah, I figured all this out now,” because I have not. But this is an ongoing journey.

So yeah, pricing, visibility, boundaries, that’s another one. Communication, I guess, to really reach the right people to work with.

Lou: Yeah.

Esther: And sort of just filter, you need a filter, and that’s a good thing because I think a lot of us are like, “Oh, I’m doing this thing, and now I need to reach everyone, and I can work for everyone and with everyone.” Like, no, no. But you know, it’s understandable, isn’t it? So yeah, it’s really good to be specific and to be, you know, an acquired taste, I suppose, in your work and in your personality. So yeah, I think it’s great.

So that’s all just stuff I’ve been learning from other people, like, you know, Tash and other mentors and peers over time. And it’s, yeah, it’s a great place to be in, and it’s really hard as well. It’s like, I love it so much. I love working for myself, being my own boss, putting work in the world that is meaningful to me and I feel like that I’m passionate about and that I feel like empowers other people. And also, it is hard. There’s insecurity, there’s really sporadic income, there’s self-doubt, there’s inner critic stuff. There’s a lot of stuff that comes up, basically. It will trigger all your stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Lou: yeah.

Esther: You may have found that yourself.

The Importance of Community for The Queer Mystic

Lou: I understand that. Yeah, I do. Well, yeah, one of the reasons why I wanted to start this podcast is so that we could have this strong sense of community because, in my experience, I feel like when I put myself out there in those, I want to say traditional business spaces, which are typically mixed gender, but even there’s some women’s spaces out there where it feels masculine. It feels regimented, it feels ordered, it feels inauthentic.

Esther: Yeah, this, it’s totally… I feel like as, especially as women and other gender-expansive folks, but like, we’ve all fallen into this hustle culture, this old masculine ways of doing things, you know, just like, you know, go, go, go, and, you know, all that stuff.

And it’s like, seriously, I’ve tried it. I mean, in human design, I’m a manifesting generator. We have a lot of energy, and I’m multi-passionate, and I’m like, I have a lot of energy to do things and go, go, go. But I feel like even I burned myself out, you know? It’s like, that’s not sustainable. It’s not regenerative. That’s a good word that I heard someone say on my podcast: say beyond sustainable, you know. You don’t want something to be just sustainable; you want it to be regenerative.

Lou: Yes.

Esther: Great word. So yeah, and yeah, we have to figure it all out ourselves, really, because they don’t teach you this in school. They don’t even… you know, that’s far beyond what they teach you in school, anyway. But like, yeah, we have to find our own balance and our own way of doing things and start to value our own bodies and systems and like, how you have to get to know yourself and….

Lou: Yeah

Esther: Like, what do I need? What do I want for my business? What does success mean to me?

Challenging Modern Work Culture

Esther: Exactly. Our minds and bodies were not designed for this work culture, this modern work culture.

Yeah, absolutely. And I think there’s so much wrong with… well, wrong with… the thing is, this is the time we live in. This is where we’re at. And I think we have the power to change things. And I think the old ways are dying out, which is a good thing in that way, like this old patriarchal system and stuff like that. And I feel like, yeah, we have to figure it out ourselves. We have to figure out what works for us. And I think in doing that, we offer a great example to other people. Like, this is how I do things, and this is how I show up, and I’m not for everyone. And that’s fine, you know. And just owning that and not being like, “Oh, I have to be like this, and I have to show up on social media five times a day.” And I mean, if that works for you, brilliant. I’m an introvert; it does not work for me. Even the thought of that feels overwhelming, makes me want to go to bed. So no thanks. But you know, yeah, just find whatever works for you.

The Need for Connection and Community

Esther: Yeah, and connect with other people. And…

Lou: Yeah

Esther: We definitely need more community, I think, because a lot of us are so alone in everything that we do in that way. And that’s…

Lou: Yeah.

Esther: And especially with COVID, obviously, that all… yeah, that really changed everything for everyone. So I think it’s even more obvious now how much we need connection with others and community and especially with like-minded people. And I feel like maybe you do as well, that I feel very, very much like I need almost an overlap of certain aspects in community, like, you know, openness to queerness and LGBTQ+, that’s one factor. There’s the spiritual spaces, that’s another factor. And also neurodivergence. So I’ve been learning about my own neurodivergence over the last few years, and that’s been really interesting. And those are the people that I connect with the most, I find, and that just get me, you know. So yeah.

Authenticity and Self-Discovery

Lou: Yeah, it’s a big sigh of relief when I find those people as well. Finally, stop masking.

Esther: Right? Yeah, and I think we are taught, like, especially as women and people who are assigned female at birth, we’re just taught to mask really well, to be honest. We can do it like a champion. And then you’re like, hang on a minute, who am I even, you know? So yeah, it’s such… it’s all part of the journey, isn’t it?

Yeah, yeah.

Lou: I don’t know what, exactly, what your upbringing was like, but I, coming back to, you know, the way things were back in school, you know, that you’re not being taught how to live authentically, you’re being taught how to exist in a workforce.

Esther: Exactly, yeah, that’s what you get prepared for, isn’t it?

Lou: Yeah

Esther: Yeah, totally. Yep. And like, performing well and conforming and fitting in and, you know, not rocking the boat, and that

Lou: There’s safety in being like everyone else.

Esther: Yes, yeah, totally. Yeah, yeah. And I think then you get to an age where you’re like, “I’ve just been betraying myself for so long,” and you, I think you also reach a point where you’re like, “I can’t do that anymore. It’s just going to make me unhappy and ill,” you know? And yeah,

I feel like that’s coming up stronger and stronger because for me, I’m in menopause, so that’s fun. And I feel like those symptoms are okay, they’re annoying at times, I’m not going to lie, but also I feel like this is such a great way of the body telling us, like, it’s time now to live your life authentically because anything else is just not going to work anymore. It’s just not going to work. So you kind of have to figure that out. So I don’t know where you’re at in that journey, or if that’s something you like sharing about or not, that’s fair enough. But like, yeah.

Building Community

Lou: I’m probably [a few years from menopause].

💥 Author’s note: In the podcast recording, I said I was 15-20 years off menopause. [Oh gosh, I was so very tired and forgot how old I am!] I’m actually probably more like 10-ish years at time of recording! 😅 1980s child here!

Esther: Okay, yeah. Yeah, I mean, it’s great when you reach that point earlier in your life where you’re like, “Who even am I? I need to start living an authentic life and not live for everyone else or try and please everyone else.” And yeah, yeah.

Lou But yeah, having… yeah, that… I agree with all of that. And yeah, I just want to reiterate, we do really need that supportive community around us to be able to do that.

Esther: Yeah, totally. Yeah. How do you build community?

Lou: Well, I’m starting from where I can start from, and that’s in our Facebook groups. Yeah, um, I’ve sought out Facebook groups that I feel safe in. One of them is Tash Corbin’s Heart-Centred Entrepreneurs. I’ve been in there for several years now. And there’s the Alternative Business Network that Nikki’s put together. Yeah, those are the two I currently feel the most safe in.

Esther: Yeah, yeah, me too. Yeah, yeah. It does have that…

Lou: Any that you recommend?

Esther: Oh gosh, that… actually, those are my two main groups. There’s loads of smaller groups that I… I’m sure there’s more, but can my brain come up with them at the moment? That’s the question. Um, there’s a few quite niche groups, I suppose, to do with Star Trek and stuff like that, but like, they’re quite fun. But as for business, I would say the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs one because it’s so… it’s really well moderated, it’s… yeah, it’s just a lovely group. I’ve made so many lovely connections there, like a lot of them. So that would be my favorite one to hang out in at the moment, as well. Yeah

Lou: Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s probably my favorite Facebook group.

Esther: Yeah, yeah.

Lou: Have you met anyone from that group in person?

Esther: I have. Most of the people in there, it’s interesting because obviously, Tash is in Australia, and I’m in the UK, and so I mean, I haven’t been to Australia yet, but I’d really love to go one day. And there is… there’s a few people that I’ve connected with over some… some years ago. I’ve been in that group for quite a few years, and one of them has come off Facebook since then. But I’ve been in her community for a while, and she just runs her group from her website. We’ve got a Telegram group as well, and she’s run a retreat in the UK, in Glastonbury, in June. So that’s where I went, and then we met in person for the first time. That was really lovely. It’s so nice to meet people in person, um, said the introvert. But it can be nice, you know, can be nice, in small doses, like as long as I rest and recover afterwards.

Lou: Yeah, yeah, I agree, small doses and with the right kind of people.

Esther: Exactly, yeah, yeah.

Lou: I’m happy to meet people in person; it’s just that what I find, the communities that are available to me that are in my local area, I just… they don’t have the right people for me.

Esther: Yeah, I can relate to that a lot. If I was to go, like, networking, local networking, I’m like, that is just completely pointless in my book, you know? Because I feel like, because of what I do is quite niche for one, yeah, I guess who I am is quite niche for one, for two. Um, and yeah, I feel like that it’s just not the right environment for me, and it just feels like, why bother, really, you know? So yeah, I would… I would rather save my energy and meet up with the right people less often than do like a monthly networking thing here. Because that just sounds excruciating to me, to be honest.

Lou: Oh, you think monthly is bad, there’s um, BNI that meet up weekly.

Esther: Oh gosh.

Lou: Weekly in the morning?

Esther: Who does… who wants to do that? Not a morning person, like, no. Wow.

Lou: My colleague, Kim, actually goes to one; she’s our BNI representative.

Esther: Right, yeah.

Lou: She’s been going for years. So, wow, she likes it. So, power to her.

Esther: Exactly, yeah. If that’s your thing, brilliant, embrace it, but nope, no, not for me either. No, yeah. So, this is like, when we started our conversation, it was 11:00 a.m. UK time, and that’s kind of the earliest I like to show up for things now. And that’s a good job because I like to just get up in my own time and then take it easy and maybe do a bit of reading or go outside or, you know, whatever, like wake up gently. I feel like that suits me. So, yeah.

Lou: Yeah, yeah, perfect. You can catch people in Melbourne and Sydney just before they go to bed. Yeah, like me.

Esther: Nice. Yeah, I’m happy with, you know, meeting up with Australians who are like evening people or really early morning people because I’ve got a call coming up with someone which is my… I think is it 8:00 p.m.? It’s their 5:00 a.m. They’re this really early bird. I’m like, brilliant, if that works for you, then great, but, um, yeah, that’s not the kind of time that I would want to be showing up. Now, yeah.

Lou: Fair enough.

Wrapping Up the Conversation

Lou: Okay, well, I think I’ve reached the point where I’d like to wrap this up. So…

Esther: Mhm.

Lou: before we log off, have you got a website or a program or a link that you’d like to plug?

Esther: Oh yeah, I would love to actually. So, for my work, the Queer Mystic design type work, you can find EstherLemmens.com, which is E S T H E R L E M M E N S, Dutch spelling, .com. So, you can find all that there.

And also, I’ve got a podcast called 50 Shades of Gender, where I share conversations with people from beyond the gender binary. And that’s FiftyShadesofGender.com, as in fifty.

And I’m also launching an allyship course to help people, especially anyone, but people in business especially, entrepreneurs, to be more inclusive and aware of, you know, gender diversity in day-to-day life and work and all other places, really. So that’s my next thing that I’m doing, which I’m very excited about and also terrified about, but also excited about. So yeah.

Lou: Yeah, interesting times for that sort of thing. Actually. I found out recently that, um, it was recently the law has been altered so that it’s no longer illegal to misgender children in school.

Esther: Oh yeah, yeah, I’ve heard about that. Yeah, yeah, it’s… yeah, it’s a tricky one, isn’t it? And I think, you know, awareness and education is key with that. So if people have more freedom to approach things in a way that they feel is right, which I guess is what that is, it’s even more important to, you know, help people understand and be more open and compassionate towards people of all genders, really. Yeah.

Lou: Yeah, that’s very well put.

Esther: Thank you.

Lou: All right, yeah, so we’ll close it up there. Thank you so much, Esther, for being on the podcast.

Esther: Thank you for having me. Thanks for the opportunity. I appreciate it.

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