An image of myself keeps popping into my head, one that represent a positive person/symbol I sometimes catch a glimpse of. I’m in 8th grade and it’s the last day of school. I am wearing a pink feather boa, purple shorts and tons of Jane. iridescent makeup. I am giving lots of attitude with my arm around my friend Maddie who is matching my campy pose with sweet smile.
My intention had been to dress up as RuPaul. None of my classmates got it (except Maddie) which I had assumed was because they were ignorant of Ru’s divinity.
However, it’s probably more true that I wasn’t getting anywhere near Ru’s look or any drag persona for that matter. I appeared more like Girl Scout disguised as a hologram, a very tame attempt at a racy look. It lacked all of the identity politics that make drag so great and of course, I don’t possess RuPaul’s undeniable beauty. But I had woken up with a spirit of subversion and wild expression on the last day of my junior high years and I wanted to embrace it. I could learn something from that now.
I have admired RuPaul for decades and recently, when I’ve been feeling sad I listen to her podcast or just I think about her and it brings me right out of the sadness and loneliness. Her mantras about identity being a scam are powerful. I repeat them to myself when I find I am (once again) not fitting exactly into some identity I don’t really want anyway. When she says other people are just god in drag it helps me visualize the common energy shared by everyone, and I can find some appreciation in the interactions I have with others.