Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lessons Learned from....To Wong Foo

Yesterday I woke up in what I imagined to be a cold sweat, panicked and frightened as all hell because in a few short days I will be one step closer to 30 with nary a husband or child to show for it. Yes children, I woke up bright and early on Monday morning in the midst of a major "OH SHIT! I"M ALMOST 30 AND STILL SINGLE" freak out. While my most dependable ladies did their best to get me out of my "I'm going to check into the Ritz and check out if I'm still single by 30" mood, this was the kinda funk that needed an epic intervention to lift. Enter Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo dressed in full drag. Not only did my mood lit, wouldn't yours, but I also learned a few valuable lessons along that way that had me belting out "Rumor Has It" on my way home from work. Without further ado, here are the lessons I learned from To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.

You are a boy in a dress. Not me, but Noxeema and Vida's protege Chi Chi. Along the way the more experienced queens prove to wee Chi that until she harnesses her inner queen that she is just a sad little boy playing dress up. Or as your mom would say, "It's what's on the inside that counts." Apparently when you're a drag queen, what's on the inside is fearlessness wrapped in pain smothered in camp and tempered with a "been there, done that, here's my unsolicited advice bitch" attitude. LOVES!

Hair, makeup and shopping solve everything. Hello! I got bangs and a tattoo post breakup to shake myself out of a rut, so of course the queens give every woman in the small hick town they are stuck in fierce makeovers to free them from abusive husbands, small-mindedness and Michael Vartan...Don't ever save me from that last one. 

It pays to have a friend who only looks like a girl. You hav no idea what I would give to have a girl friend who is had He-Man like strength when I'm out and some guy just doesn't get that I am not at all into him. 

If you don't love yourself...Of course the Queen of the queens, RuPaul, has a cameo in this one as done his message of loving yourself first. At the end both the ladies and the ladies learn that you have to love and accept you as you are if you want others to do the same. Even poor little rich boy/girl Vida vows to tell her conservative, East Coast fam that she is who she is and they can kiss it her huge pumps if they don't like it. 

If you have legs, use them! At a very statuesque 5'10" Ms Julie Newmar had some seriously amazing legs, and cuves, and boy did she work them in the photo that Vida lifts from the restaurant which serves as the journey's Holy Grail and gives the movie its name. At a statuesque 5'5", like Marilyn Monroe, I have learned the power of working my cuves and building upon what God has blessed me with by slipping into a pair of heels. Sadly, post break up I have forgotten that not only do I always look better in heels but I also have a sick body that I rarely work out or diet for. Time to make like Julie and werk!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Rareness of Realness

I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley  

I was in high school when I rented The Talented Mr. Ripley one Friday night for family night--something my dad started after my parents got divorced when I was 11. While my mind may not have grasped every subtlety of the movie dedicated to a young man having a serious Single White Female style identity crisis--I just thought Jude Law was hot and had to see it because he was in it--I do distinctly remember agreeing with Tom Ripley when he managed those words. At the time I was 15 and like most teenagers I wasn't really comfortable with who I was, mostly because I didn't really know who I was. I knew who people expected me to be and I knew that wasn't necessarily me but I didn't know who me was, and therefore decided that like Tom being someone else would be so much easier. Eventually I grew out of that, puberty and wanting to be anyone but me. The funny thing is, the more real I am with me the more I realize how many people are real life Mr Ripley's trapped in lives that are far from who they really are in an effort to impress us all with their network, travels, iTunes libraries, Netflix queques, salaries, closets and relations. 

We all know the types, using religion, spirituality, materialism, elitism, the desire to belong and to not belong as a means to hide who they are from others for fear of rejection. I completely understand it. The world is a very "either you are with us or against us" kind of place where being who you are, raw and unfurled, can get your ass kicked or kicked out of your comfort zone Ask anyone who came out to an unsupportive family, an atheist in a room full of Christians, a feminist, someone fighting for their rights and the rights of others, or better yet anyone who has ever felt alone when they had to stand up for their beliefs. It hurts to be rejected for being who you are, especially if you are taught that who you are is wrong, bad or different.

The Spice Girls are still kick ass! 

I'm not that different--I am an odd mix of Daria, Quinn and Beyonce which means I love books, fashion and boys and I have a sarcastic sense of humor with kicking curves and a Southern drawl--but I was made to feel like I was wrong because I was a stereotypical American girl not a stereotypical BLACK American girl, whatever that means. So I learned to never say I preferred MTV to BET (that was way back when they both played videos), I actually loved reading the Crystal Cave, Dawson Leery was my secret crush and I blasted Jewel, Nirvana, Alanis and Lisa Loeb when I was sad and Britney, Spice Girls and Nsync when I wasn't--for the record everyone eventually got up on Britney, Nysnc and the Spice Girls because Justin Timberlake was hot sex, the Spice Girls were hella catchy and Britney turned into a total whore. The funny thing is 85% of this judgement was in my mind. I went to Catholic school and most of the girls were pretty average, it just wasn't until facebook was invented that I realized that I could've been myself all along. But when I talk about Single White Female and Tom Ripley types, I am not talking about teenagers with minor identity crises. I'm talking about full fledged adults who never learned that the only person judging you is you, even if you're talking to me and I tend to come off as judgmental...I'm not at all but I am a snob, that's another blog post.

While these two groups of people, teenagers and adults having identity issues, seem ages apart they are in fact stuck in the exact same mire. If I would have never realized that not only was I the only one judging myself before anyone else could but that the people who were judging me did not know me enough to do so, I would have stayed in a place where I pretend to be something I'm not so that people can like me for being a success, whatever that means. Guess what? Whether or not people like you is not your business. Your business in life is for you to like you. If you can fall asleep at night happy as a clam with who you are whether you are rich or poor, fat or thin or if you talk like Marlene Dietrich in clothes made by Balmain or not, there will be no shortage of people lined up to hang out with the you that is you. If you, however, make a habit of lying to yourself to get through everyday conversations with strangers to prove to them that you do belong, eventually you learn not to trust yourself or anyone else. So stop trying to be someone and start  being you, I mean being someone else seems tiring and I don't have that kind of energy or time to waste.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012