The title of this post really highlights the way I’ve felt the last several months and the experiences I’ve had the chance to take in. Since my last update here I’ve really come to find an even deeper purpose for the form of expression I display to the world. Unlike previous years, where I’d get glammed up and mostly stay indoors and occasionally venture out in public, this year I’ve exclusively dressed up with the explicit purpose to venture out and meet up with friends, catch a fun show around town, or in the case of this past April, head up to Chicago for a gender nonconforming kind of a weekend with amazing friends. All this, fitting into my goal of making my place in the world, especially out in public and enjoying the company of great people.
This all leads me to my continued efforts at putting positive energy out into the world and saying “Yes!” to opportunities that pop up. In May, my new friend and performer, Goldie Dee, was hosting a tea dance and drag show and I knew I couldn’t miss it. I was feeling a bit lazy and was just thinking of showing up as my male self, but I had the feeling that it was a good opportunity to dress up for a Sunday afternoon show, feeling like some good things could come from this event, and my feelings didn’t lead me astray that day!
The show and the performers were amazing, and I had a great time having the chance to talk to them a bit in the dressing room and in between acts. While in the crowd, something happened which has become more frequent over the past year or so, I was stopped by a couple of people asking if I was a performer or saying that I should be up on stage. After making a Facebook post about the evening and the thought of maybe hitting the stage myself, I was greeted the following morning by an invitation from the next month’s tea dance host, and a queen I admire, Bella DuBalle. She asked if I’d like to do a number in the upcoming show and my heart immediately started to race, and before I let too much time pass I just said YES, I’m in! Beyond the opportunity to perform for the first time, this show would also help raise money for the Metamorphosis Project, whose goal is to help homeless LGBT youth in the area.
The next few weeks were filled with planning for a song I’ve always thought of performing to (Love Letter by Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes), practicing some moves, planning for a couple of outfits to wear, and practicing some more dramatic makeup looks to display.
On the day of the show things started nice and early getting myself ready and gathering the things I’d need to take. This is where it was great to have my wife there to help out; she was amazing all day helping out, even being my social media manager LOL. The other queens I’d be performing with (Moth, Imagene Azengraber, and Coco Flores) and I wondered around the pub for an hour or so before the show, schmoozing with the growing crowd. As the show got under way I kept track of when it was my time to head to the dressing room and change into the fun bold pink dress I had picked out for my number. As I was waiting for my cue, I had a great opportunity to talk to Coco, who was gracious to share her experiences and thoughts with me.
As my song started I swung the door open, strutted down to the middle of the crowd and started to do what I had planned and before I knew it, it was over. The song went by so fast and I had only done a small amount of the moves I was thinking to do. I became truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in attendance, not only with the tips, but also with the love I felt from everyone that I couldn’t help but say thank you to each person as I was trying to keep on track with the song.
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking the room, chatting with friends, meeting new people, and supporting the other acts. By the end of the day I was happy to have learned SO much from this opportunity; what to do, what not to do, don’t overthink things. I got great feedback from the other performers, which will only help me going forward, and couldn’t thank them enough for sharing with me. I don’t think this opportunity would have come my way if I’d been a little lazy that one day and miss out on an experience of a lifetime, reinforcing the ideal of never passing up on an opportunity when it shows up.
In the end, this whole experience reaffirmed so many feelings. The love I felt from the city and the community made me feel once again that after living here 8 years, we are where we need to be. We absolutely love the people here and the friends we’ve made. Now I think I’m ready for a little break this summer, which will give me a chance to try some new makeup techniques, think of some new songs that might work for my style, and to keep working to evolving the form of expression I present to the world, all with purpose.
Much love to all,