It’s a well know fact there is only one thing worse than a breakup. A lesbian breakup. All those extra feelings and pets. It’s a wonder any of us make it. Other than a cup of camomile tea and the support of a good friend, up until now there haven’t been many tools to help us through heartbreak.
Enter Nawwal Moustafa with a fresh caring new take on the adult colouring book. Moustafa, a teacher and improv comedian has created a cheery and cheeky lesbian breakup colouring book called “Cheer Up, Dreamboat!” Moustafa created Cheer Up, Dreamboat! as a lighthearted support tool for lesbians in the throws of heartbreak.
Queer peeps are at particular risk of isolation and depression when weathering a breakup. As society doesn’t always validate queer relationships, “Breakup-ees” can often have access to less support. Chin Up, Dreamboat is not only a great resources for lesbians but also adds queer visibility to mainstream culture. You don’t have to be queer to enjoy the book, in fact if you aren’t, you’ll undoubtably pick up on the universal themes, and whined up appreciating the normalcy of queer relationships. Normalization, another thing CUDB is serving up.
I had a chance to sit down with Nawwal this week. Here’s some of what she had to say:
EL- Nawwal, tell me how did you come up with the idea for “Chin Up, Dreamboat!”?
I had recently been through a breakup where we overcommitted too soon and I realized it and just felt silly. I couldn’t believe I had fallen into what might be described as the lesbian stereotype. Honestly, I needed a way to process it! I illustrated a colouring book when I was a teenager and have always loved figure drawing, and I knew that people could relate to my situation, so over drinks with my incredible friend Jen, I spouted off this idea. She pushed me to stick with it, and it was a cathartic way to address my own situation, while finding my voice as an illustrator. This book became the lemonade from the lemons life pitched my way.
EL- What a positive way to channel your emotions! How does you ex feel about having inspired a total creative masterpiece? Have you texted her?
My ex and I both realized that our relationship had turned more into friendship than something special romantically, which is a big reason we ended. We have remained friends, so shout out to her for being cool with this whole thing and a supportive!
EL- That’s nice that the two of you were able to remain friends. Chin Up, Dreamboat! Is being called a “therapeutic handbook”. What do you think about people “colouring themselves to closure” with your work?
I really hope that they do colour themselves to closure! I personally believe in frequent self reflection and try to take an active role in my won growth as much as I can. I will say I really needed to spend some time alone forging a new path, and observing the how and why of my own habits, and creating this project for so many months played a big role in me finding that space for myself. So, I really believe in art being therapeutic.
EL- Your project is a wonderful public service for the community. If your last break up was a movie, what would the title be? & who would play you?
SUCH a great question. I would choose to be played by either Maya Rudolph or Kristen Wiig, and the title would probably be, “Better off friends.”
EL- I can’t tell you how much I love your merch. In particular the “Emotionally available T” Are there any plans for a “I survived a straight girl T”?
I am so glad you love the merch! I definitely have plans for more- I love a good graphic t, and want to diversify what I offer. I don’t have any plans for an “I survived a straight girl T” but I do think those kinds of right of passages deserve a lapel pin at the least. I am so excited to see what’s in store for after the kickstarter, and what kind of Dreamboat empire I can create.
6. Can I put in a pre-order for 23 of the lapel pins for me and a few of my friends? What advice would you give someone wanting to text their ex right in this moment?
My advice would be to think about their motive. If it’s been a healthy amount of time, and they think they and their ex are ready to have some full circle closure and reach a new level of peace, great. But if this person is newly their ex, I would say to fight the urge, and find another way to process. Text your best friend instead (make a best friend who is not your ex, if you have to), put your phone on airplane mode and go for a walk, or hey, do some colouring. You can’t have a fresh start if you never end. Value what you got out of something and hold yourself accountable for making healthy choices, even if they’re hard to make.
EL- I may write that down, you know for a “friend”. You’re an obvi a “Dreamboat”! Effort-Lez readers want to know are you single?
What an honour to be considered a dreamboat by your wonderful readers. I’ve spent a lot of time just devoting myself to this project and comedy, thus I’ve been single. I’ve recently been getting to know someone new though, which has been fun. Running a crowd funding campaign and creating a book from scratch—practically a relationship in itself!
EL- On behalf of the community, thank you for creating such a cool and caring tool for us.
I am so honoured to receive the support of the community with this project! I have plans to create another Dreamboat book, and please be on the lookout for when the website turns into a place where you can purchase books and swag. I’m exploring all kids of ideas, podcasts, etc. Please feel free to engage with me on social media via Twitter and IG @Chinupdreamboat & @nawwalmoustafa, via the kickstarter campaign, or through email at Nawwal@chinupdreamboat.com!
I just reached my goal of 5k on kickstarter but have decided I’m now going to be shooting for 7k by the end of the campaign. I’ll be releasing details about the incentives behind the new stretch goal, but if I hit 7k then there will be a guaranteed second book.
Images: Compliments of Nawwal Moustafa