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,
Thanksgiving, one of my favorite times of the year where we get to enjoy good food, drinks, the company of those close to us, and be reminded of the important things in life to enjoy and be thankful for. In the current climate we’re in today, and especially after the election results, there have been plenty of things online and in the news to be bummed out about, which makes this time of year all the more important to recalibrate and enjoy the things we have control over.
In the past month I can say that I’ve been thankful for having the opportunity to make positive progress in my life and taking those small steps to achieve my goals, while at the same time sharing what I can to help others. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet with a wife who works downtown, minutes away from me, and whose husband had recently come out as a crossdresser. Over a couple of beers at a pub we chatted about this new aspect in their relationship as the husband begins to discover what this means for him as she blossoms going forward. I know that at the end of our chat, the wife felt much more relieved having been able to speak out load to someone else, someone in the community with a few years of experience. Having had the chance to meet with her gave me the opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come along in the last six years.Also, in the past month I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to go out a couple of times. This is really starting to become a regular thing, which I’m actually excited for. At the end of October, I was able to have some drinks and dinner with a great friend, Shari, and one of her good longtime friends. When Shari suggested we meet up at Babalu, which is a great but very busy restaurant, I immediately said yes. I was ready to venture out alone (my wife had to work) and meet Shari and her friend at a busy restaurant. Sometimes it helps not to think things over and just say “yes”, especially if you’re like me and have a tendency to overthink/overanalyze/over-plan everything. Needlessly to say, everything went of great and we all had a great time out with no issues. All the better to raise that confidence.
Finally, in a much needed effort to increase positive vibes, we planned another outing to go out and watch Drag Me Under the Mistletoe, a drag theater performance filled with a cast of local performers. One twist to this outing was that at the last minute one of my good friends and coworker had invited another coworker (let’s call her J), who didn’t know about Katie, out for the evening and I was all in on this opportunity to get to know J better and open up. Since it was last minute, I didn’t have a chance to give J a head’s up on who she’d see coming out for the night, so I was intrigued on how she would react to me showing up at the pub to have a drink before the show. As with all my other experiences, things went great! We chatted a bit, we met up with friends who we hadn’t seen in a while, we drank, ate, and enjoyed each other’s company.
After dinner and drinks we left for the show, which since it was a Christmas themed, put us all in the Christmas spirit by the end of the night. The show was funny, raunchy, and entertaining. Everyone in our group had a good time, which we all felt was much needed after the rough start to the month. After the show I was able to meet up with a couple of the performers and thank them for a fun show in which we all were able to be distracted for a short time from the all the negativity out in the world.
I am thankful for many things, so today we eat, drink, and celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Much love,
As someone who is a natural introvert, the last couple of weeks have been quite a nice and healthy change to my normal routine. My wife and I (as Katie) went to visit some good friends in Mississippi while also making some new ones, and we also went out to see a local theater group putting on a drag variety show, which was so much fun.
I usually get a chance to dress up as Katie 2-3 times a month, and over the last couple of years I’ve only been out on the town just a hand full of times. I usually like going out as Katie with a group of close friends, as I like having that comfort and support of a group. This of course is not always easy to schedule, especially when so many friends around us are nurses, who have all kinds of crazy schedules.
When we made the plan to visit our good friend MP in Mississippi, someone who I came out to early on and has shown so much love and support, I brought up the idea of Katie making the road trip down, since it had been a long time since she had see her. This trip would also give me a chance to meet MP’s boyfriend, N, who would be meeting Katie for the first time. I was a little concerned about N’s reaction, even though MP had told her boyfriend about Katie, and he was totally cool with it. Even still, I was a little worried. My concerns melted away as N and I had an awesome and deep conversation, talking about Katie and gender before the conversation moved to friendships, and finally food (since he’s a chef, yum!!). This experience again instills the idea that when you talk to someone one-to-one, great things can happen, and new friendships can develop.
At this event, there was another good friend MM, who was new to Katie as well, but was completely supportive and lovely. About 5 min away from arriving to the event, MP texted me saying that MM was bringing a guy to the party who no one had met before. In the past this simple thing would have twisted my stomach up. What would happen? What’s he going to think of me? But I didn’t mind, and told her that it was all good. I was confident in myself (getting my makeup and outfit down pat really helps with that) and I was amongst good friends.
When MM arrived with this new guy, I was again a little concerned. When this guy introduced himself around the room, he came up to me and asked “what’s your name?”. In the past, I would have said they could call me by my male or female name, I didn’t mind. But this time I told this guy “you can call me Katie”. It was quite an empowering experience actually, asserting myself like that. After the introductions and the conversation with N we had a great time playing some Card Against Humanity, a great game for people who don’t mind being inappropriate. 😉
Before long, it was time to drive back home, but before we left we made plans with MP and MM to go to a drag variety show the following weekend. We had plans to make an epic girl’s night out, with the idea of wearing my new red dress and favorite jacket.
So now fast forward a week and the preparations for the big night. Unfortunately, our friend MP was really under the weather and couldn’t make the drive to Memphis. Now it was just going to be my wife and I going to the show, which started to stress me out as worry started to settle in again; going out in public, just the two of us, not in the best part of town, at night, wearing a dress and hells. I just hope that with the more I do go out, the easier it will be and the less stress I put on myself. I worked myself up so much I had to make repeated trips to the bathroom.
In previous years, doubt might have gotten the best of me and I would have thought about either not going or not going as Katie, but this time doubt only got a piece of me. I wasn’t going to wear that dress, I was going to wear something that I felt comfortable in. At least I’m making some progress I guess…. Anyways, we made it to the theater, taking a moment to take a picture in front of a popular Memphis sign, and then heading into the show. The lady taking the tickets said with a smile “how are you, gorgeous?”, which just made my day. It was at this point that the worry melted away and I began to ask myself “why did I work myself up so much?”. I really need to stop doubting myself so often and realize that there is nothing to worry about.
The show was amazing, with many beautify, talented, and hilarious local performers. We really do have some amazing theater groups here in Memphis, many more than in other cities, and we were more than happy to support these groups. After the show, we had to walk a couple of block back to the car, which again wasn’t without worry given the neighborhood, especially as we walked by a random guy walking down the sidewalk while loudly talking to himself. Yikes! We made it home safe and happy that we had watched a very entertaining show.
So, while I had a great time out to a friend’s house, and out to a show, I still have some work to do for myself. I have to work on not doubting myself so much, and work on not always relying on the comfort of a large group, as it’s not something that we can often plan. As a good friend would say, people with pitchforks aren’t going to hunt you down, and that was certainty not the case the last couple of weeks. Instead of pitchforks, it was love.
Much love to you all,