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Letting my Inner Drag Queen Out…What I Learned at a Drag Queen Convention.

Yesterday I made the trip down to NYC to attend DragCon2018 at the Javits Center.  For those of you who are unaware of what DragCon is, it’s a convention for, you guessed it, drag queens!  Now before you look confused, I am a straight, married woman with 2 kids, who lives in the ‘burbs.  That being said, I have had a fascination with drag queens for a long time.  Of course, the beginning of Rupaul’s Drag Race fit right in with my love of queens.  At that time, I didn’t know of any queens by name, but I loved just seeing them on TV, in movies, or passing by if I went into the city.  I started watching the show, and it quickly became a favorite of mine.  Through all the seasons, I have been an avid watcher, and I’m always left a bit in awe.

I know it may seem a bit surprising to some that I am so fascinated by drag queens.  The fact is, I see what they do as an art form.  I love the makeup artistry (a skill I don’t have), the entertainment aspect, and honest? I appreciate how these people can put themselves so OUT there. I also can appreciate the fact that they take people out of their comfort zone, yet can make them feel comfortable at the same time.  Lastly, I find it kind of amazing (and also a little funny) that some of these men in dresses and wigs can look so incredibly beautiful and womanly.

I wasn’t planning to dress up for DragCon, although many people, including women, do.  My sister in laws were also going, and they were dressing up and getting into it.  (They looked absolutely AMAZING, btw).  I didn’t decide until a couple of days before I was actually going due to funds, and then it seemed too late.  My hairdresser (who has done drag)  firmly told me I’d better step up my game and do SOMETHING, even offering to bring me one of his wigs.  He brought in a massive wavy pink wig with dark roots, told me to brush it out and it should be fine.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to style it, and I would have felt bad asking.  He said he pictured me in a black leather biker jacket, ripped jeans, and a tank top with black boots to finish it off.  I had or got most of it, and I got a tank top I had made with a funny saying from the show.  I was ready to go, but I felt so….nervous.

I often assume I am “too much” for people sometimes.  I’m sometimes brutally honest, not seeing any point in blowing smoke just to make people happy.  I’m not good at sugarcoating things, although as I’ve gotten older I do try to be more tactful and gentle when laying down a truth sandwich.  I have red hair, I swear too much, I have tattoos and my nose pierced, and I feel that I can be overwhelming at times. I’m ok being too much, or at least I thought I was.

Yesterday the truth hit me like a truck.  What I realized yesterday, is that I am actually much more shy than I first thought.  As I have gotten older, I have turned into pretty much a “basic bitch” who likes her comforts in life.  Ugly Ugg boots, coffee, and jeans? Yes please.  I wear makeup daily, but not a lot. I’m awkward (reinforced on the DAILY, my friends!).  I also realized I have a harder time getting out of my comfort zone than I originally thought.

I got up early, slathered what felt like a ton of makeup on my face (but actually looked like regular outside makeup for many people), yet got slightly derailed when it came to my eyes.  I was fairly pleased with my eye shadow, but it started to go downhill with the liner.  I abandoned my standard pencil in exchange from a liquid black liner from Wet and Wild.  It’s waterproof, which I thought was a favorable choice.  It was fine on the outer edge but pooled a bit in the corner of my eye, then dropping onto my lower lid.  I learned something…..Soap, water, makeup remover cloths…non of them are any match for said Wet and Wild Liner.  I had to take everything off of that eye, and barely got the liner off.  I redid the eyeshadow, was able to correct the liner issue, then I attempted to put on false lashes.  I’ve never been able to get the suckers on easily or without incident.  This time, I managed to glue one eye shut.  While I was frantically trying to get that unglued, I had to then try to get the lashes placed correctly.  The damned lashes felt so heavy, I felt like my eyes were at half mast all day.  I pondered if eyelids have muscles, and could one strengthen them by lifting heavy false lashes on the regular.  I got the wig on, threw on my clothes, and set off for the train.  The wig felt MASSIVE.  While I have long hair, it’s not insanely thick. I kind of loved the baby pinks and mauves in it, although I felt like it made my hair line very reminiscent of Teresa Guidice.  I struggled to get it to sit just right.  It also kept getting stuck on my lipgloss.  I found new found admiration for you ladies with the thick, flowing locks.  In other words, I got the job done ok, but I was a hot mess during the process.  I was tired just from getting ready.

I sat down on the nearly empty train and started responding to texts I’d received.  Before I knew it, the train had gotten increasingly busy, and seats were scarce. The seat next to me remained empty.  A woman walked up, looked down at me, and turned to go look elsewhere.  Then I saw a look of resigned “oh, what the hell” cross her face and she asked to sit.  I’m not sure what it was about me that made her so hesitant.  The pink hair? The leather jacket? The hooker makeup?  She sat down looking uncomfortable, and I immediately felt very self conscious.  I tweeted what was happening, making light of it, but I felt awkward and shy.

When I arrived at the convention, I was in heaven.  Drag queens, average folks, men in leather….all together in one room.  I spent the afternoon roaming the floor, just looking at the artistry and the creativity everyone displayed.  I know I get inherently shy and awkward around celebrities, so I didn’t stand in lines to meet anyone.  I didn’t need to.  For me, the joy was in seeing the local folks, or even those starting out, and complimenting them on their looks.  One of my favorite local queens I learned of and met last year (Kari Kerning) was in a booth with a queen from the show, so I didn’t get to see her, but I met a delightful queen dressed up with a prosthetic pig nose and ears.  We asked to take a picture with her and she couldn’t have been more lovely and gracious.  If you see Selma Nilla on the scene, she was fun and kind, and I imagine her shows are probably great.  Another queen came through on stilts, which was pretty amazing.

My biggest takeaway from the convention, however, was how “out there” the people who do drag (and many who attended the convention) put themselves.  Whereas I felt shy and a bit nervous, these folks were rocking their outfits, rocking their personas, and were ok standing out. When some of these folks came out of the closet, they burst through in a sea of rainbows, glitter and lipstick.  In a world that often tells them they are “too much” they strive to be exactly as much as they should be.  I loved how bold and bright and happy everyone looked.  It was just such a happy vibe there. I think the best part was probably what a judgement free zone it was.  It was joyous.  If only we all were as uninhibited as some of the folks I saw yesterday, what a world it could be.

My amazing sister in laws I went with and I talked about how we would go next year, and that outfit/wig planning would begin much earlier.  I’m nervous, but excited to try to reach a new level of comfort with being fully out there, giving up inhibitions, and just rolling with it.

We could all learn a lot from a drag queen.  (And if one could show me the trick to false lashes, I would be eternally grateful).

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Some random facts about me, in case you (never) wondered:

myself

Some random facts about me, in case you (never) wondered:

Some are silly musings, some are a bit deeper in nature.  Maybe if one is interesting I’ll blog about it later.

I talk to myself in the car, Every. Single. Day.  It’s where I work out my problems, get out my frustrations, and narrate my life to myself.  If you’re driving along side me, you’ll probably see me having a full on convo with myself.  Ain’t no shame in my game.

When I was little, I trained with olympic coaches for figure skating.  I was ambidextrous, which was desirable.  I quit after my skin split from the cold and started bleeding one night, and my babysitter at the time freaked out.  Her fear scared me, and I decided I didn’t want to skate again after that.  My parents were sad, but never pushed me into anything I wasn’t comfortable with.

Little dogs make me anxious, probably because they seem more delicate.

I lost my English accent when I was a kid, but it comes back when I am in England or talking to my family from there.  I wish I had it all the time. My brain just switches and I don’t have any thought into it.

When I was a toddler, I had imaginary friends that I would talk to every night.  I always wanted my door shut and the lights off, and if my mom came in the room I would cry she had frightened them away.  One day, I saw a picture of a couple in a book and asked my mom how she had gotten a picture of them….it was a couple who had lived nearby who died long before I was born.

I have had several experiences that lead me to believe in spirits, however I’m not religious and struggle with the concept of God. The two seem to go hand in hand but for me, I can’t reconcile it all.

I believe that the more someone tells you how real they are, the more full of shit and deceptive they probably are.  Real people don’t need to advertise it.  They just live their lives.

One of my favorite quotes is “you are never to old to be what you might have been”-George Eliot.

Self esteem is the root of many of our problems, in my opinion.  If we all believed in ourselves more, loved ourselves more, we’d make MUCH better decisions and put up with a lot less nonsense.

Ice cream is one of my favorite things.  The texture, the temperature, the multitude of flavors….just everything about it makes me happy. I rarely say no to it, and I’ll sometimes allow my kids to have it as a treat before dinner.

Someone told me today my dad was one of his heroes.  My eyes teared up and I welled up with pride.  My dad is such a quiet guy who doesn’t really share all the amazing things he does.  I wish I knew more, but he’s humble and doesn’t think to really share such things.  I’m so proud to be his daughter.

I like silence.

I have about 16 tattoos.  Most people think I have 4, (small ones).  A former coworker once sat and told me how they hated tattooed women and how they thought it was horrible.  They became very uncomfortable when I explained my husband tattoos and I have quite a lot of them.  They responded “well, at least you can’t see them”, as if that made their comments any better.  I just laughed and walked away, knowing they felt really uncomfortable.

I have a stalker. She checks my blog on the regular and created fake accounts to get notifications of when I post, to harass me with on other platforms, and to stalk others. I almost moved the blog and changed the name, but I decided for now to keep it as is.  I know her IRL.  Awkward.  On the bright side, things seemed to have calmed down, so I’m hopeful it will end.

An ex of mine was black.  I’m about as fair as it gets.  When people tell you that racism doesn’t exist, when they tell you that black people and minorities are “exaggerating” how bad racism is, they are lying or they are ignorant of what really goes on.  I never really experienced racism growing up, but I learned quickly during that relationship just how deep it goes.  Racism isn’t always in your face.  Sometimes it flows like a silent, underlying current, or it’s whispers.  Going to an event with my ex and someone white sidled up to me and whispered asked who invited the “N*****” to the party with a laugh.  I was horrified, first at the racist comment, and then at the fact the person felt just so comfortable in saying it to me, clearly because I was white.  I guess they thought that they were talking to someone in the “white club” who would share their views. Their laugh quieted very quickly when I called over to my ex and asked him to come over to introduce himself.  We then politely turned to mingle elsewhere, while that person sat looking inherently uncomfortable.  Yes, it was the classier thing to do, but looking back now I wish I had told the person off.  Then again, I think they learned at least a small lesson.  Sadly, they are probably the same ignorant racist but perhaps they will be less likely to spread their thoughts to others.  While that relationship with my ex eventually ended (on good terms as well) it opened my eyes and ears to an issue. Which leads me to:

When we know others are suffering, but we say “well, it doesn’t impact me so it’s probably not my business”, we are ignoring a basic truth that we are all people, and that kindness matters.  One day, that hurt may come our way, and we would hope someone would stand for us.  It’s not easy to stand for others sometimes, but it is necessary if we wish to raise empathetic children.

I am sometimes really awkward. I’m also generally self aware enough to know when I am being awkward, which makes me feel even more awkward.  Ah well.

When I was a little girl, a neighborhood kid tricked me into sitting in dog shit so the other kids would laugh.  That humiliation was DEEP and it stayed with me.  I’d probably punch her in the neck now if I had my chance.  Her name was Cindy.  That’s all I remember.

My best friend growing up has a dad who is a hoarder.  I’m to this day one of the few people he is comfortable letting in the house, because he knows I don’t judge.  I have a bit of a fascination with hoarding.  I believe it’s way more common than people think it is, and I’ve had several friends who have relatives who hoard. My house is messy. (I’m sure you figured that out by the blog title) but not at hoarder standards. I think the combination of working full time, limited free time, 2 kids, and a lack of organizational skills in the home is the root.  It bothers me a lot because my mom was a neat freak and I wish I had inherited at least a little bit of that.

I love comedies.  Laughing is one of my favorite things.

I often try to see both sides of a situation.  Sometimes this drives people nuts.

Being born British has its perks. For example, nobody expects me to be a very good cook.  Usually they ask me to bring plates or soda to events.  Luckily nobody expects any highly complicated dishes from me.   I’ll admit I’m not a fancy cook.  I have a few things I make pretty well, or at least well that people will go for seconds for.  That being said, I love British food, but then again, most British people probably do. 🙂

Speaking of British food, fish and chips is my comfort food.  It is hard, though, in the US to find a place who can make it JUST like it is in England.  It’s often close, but never quite right.  A Salt and Battery in NYC has it to a science. If you’re in the area, GO.  Then go next door to Tea and Sympathy for hot rhubarb crumble with custard.  You’ll thank me later, even though you’ll have to roll yourself to your final destination because you’ll feel like a fatty after.  It’s utterly delish!

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