Home Style Gravy

Drag has become a regular part of my life. Every time you might get dressed up for church, a fancy dance, or a theatrical performance, you are really doing drag. Anytime you purposefully alter your appearance to make an impression on others, you are doing drag. A lot of emphasis is placed on drag that is done by those who are purposefully transforming themselves to take on the impression of the opposite sex. This is a powerful and purposeful form of drag that is worth its currency in gold. I would also argue that drag is a valuable tool of empowerment to those who want and need to connect with their soul’s version of themselves.

On any given day, I am not the most attractive girl. I weigh over 300 lbs. My hair is long, thin, and lifeless. It is often pulled back into a ponytail. I fight to keep fly a ways tucked behind my ear. I wear dark wash jeans that are a little baggy with a V-neck t-shirt and some form of hoodie. No jewelry. No make-up. My footwear is either a slip-on Croc or a men’s work boot, depending on the weather outside. My “uniform” is comfortable and practical, but it doesn’t reflect the feminine. Now, I am a cis female and could just put on a dress and makeup, but that isn’t really me either. The reality of navigating the world in Spanx and layers upon layers of unbreathable flammable fabrics with a thick layer of makeup would be my own personal hell. Besides, there will be a point where I will just look like a sad melted clown.

In the safe space of my besties, Alex and Max’s home, I can live my fantasy and be in touch with the goddess that is Mimi. Over the years, my old dresses and costumes, underwear and wigs, nylons and jewelry, have found their way to our drag room. Combined with yards of sparkly fabrics, scraps of satin, and new infusions of makeup and whatever else we can repurpose, we have been able to come up with hundreds of looks with almost nothing. It has grown from a few bins in a closet to an area that has taken over what was once the largest room in their house.

Allowing ourselves permission to do this took a long time. It really started from a place of desperation. We were all pretty depressed and battling the curse of mid-life self-reflection. After following the rules, getting the careers, and buying the houses, none of us felt fulfilled. Painting our faces and putting on a costume and a wig lifted us. When I was diagnosed with cancer, after I had my surgery, even when all my hair fell out, dancing in drag made me realize that I wasn’t broken. I was still a whole person. Make-up can cover any imperfection. A little bit of fabric, pinned and tied in a certain way, looks younger and more flattering than any garment bought off the rack at Lane Bryant.

Filming our drag allowed us to really “see” ourselves. First, it gave us a purpose. The camera was an audience to perform to, and we were all hams. What came next was the ability to watch ourselves over and over. After a while, a personality began to appear. We all have had many breakdowns either while filming or after filming, and this was usually caused by not accepting who we really were or by trying to be something we were not. Eventually, when you are able to remove the judgement of yourself or how you think others will perceive you, I was finally able to really see myself. I began to enjoy what I saw. I would even venture to say, I learned to love myself and appreciate my own unique beauty.

Once you are blessed to find such an avenue of self-discovery, you want to share it with others. I have shared videos on this blog before; the boys and I have shared these videos with our families; I have even shared the videos with some of my students. Still, it is amazing how tepid the response can be. Some of the people we know best in the world are reluctant to share the joy and humor of these videos because it features guys in dresses. When you are so passionate and feel a conviction to share that passion with others, putting your art out there is like showing someone your new born child. You hope someone will like it; you wish that they too will see the beauty in it.

Uploading a video is frightening, but waiting for a response is agonizing. I have never felt more alone than waiting to see if anyone will watch it, like it, or comment on it. This is not much different than when my students hand me a paper to look over. I teach basic, transitional English to adults. Many of them have a lifetime of experiences to write about, but lack any confidence over their usage of grammar or structure. I like to let them know as quickly as I can that I am a friendly audience. My goal is to help them express themselves to the best of their ability. I always hope that those who stumble upon our videos approach it from the same place of love.

Of course, the desire for feedback is strong, but sometimes you need to just let go. Over the years, perfectionism has improved and also impeded our drag. Waiting for perfection stifles what is inspired. Attaching your worth to the acknowledgment of your peers just makes you crazy. So, release it. I am rebooting this blog because I need to write, and this site is my home. The boys and I are putting out our drag because we love it.

With that being said, I welcome you to our new series, “Home Style Gravy.” Our drag is from our living room. It is simple and unpretentious. The hope is that for some viewers it will feel like gravy. Unexpected. Delicious. Extra. I have taken the time to build a page that showcases these new videos as well as some of the old. Enjoy them. Share them. If you have a second to like or give a positive comment on them, we would love it. Appreciation is something that is always welcome. I thank you for sharing the joy with us. My hope is always that you leave with a smile on your face and the feeling of warmth in your heart.

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Law of Attraction

A few years ago, my best friends were living in Chicago. They called me and asked if I had seen the movie, “The Secret.” At that time, it was free on a website and most people hadn’t heard of it. As I watched this glossy, highly produced movie, the message was very interesting. – Our thoughts become things.

In the business of every day life, I wanted to believe in “The Secret” but it seemed like hogwash. My mind was running with a million negative thoughts a minute. How could I quiet my mind? Of course as “The Secret” gained in popularity, there was almost a backlash to it as well.

I knew that in order to be a better functioning human being…I had to stop getting caught in (what I call) downward spirals. Something would happen and I would beat myself over it mentally for minutes, hours, and days. This constant barrage of negative thoughts ate at my energy, my self-esteem, and my life. At the beginning of the year, I started to have a grasp on preventing my brooding.

Meditation can help quiet the mind, but you can use your thoughts in a positive, creative way. The movie, “The Secret,” is all about the concept of the Law of Attraction. Simply put, like attracts like. If you are constantly focused on the bad, bad will happen. The great news is that if you focus on the positive, on what you really want. You can manifest that as well.

I considered myself a poor manifester after I found “The Secret.” My belief in the Law of Attraction really was reinforced by seeing others, who subscribed to it, manifesting interesting things in their life. I had to really get a handle on my depression and quieting the death spiral of negative thoughts that were going through my brain before I could see how this would work for me.

After I was feeling a little better in January, I searched the internet for “The Secret” video and watched it again. It always makes me feel better when I watch it. I wanted to dig deeper. I tried manifesting checks in the mail, or even lottery winnings. Nothing really worked, but I chalked it up to doing it wrong.

After a search of “Law of Attraction” on Google, I came across a husband and wife couple that did conferences and talks on the subject. The business name is Abraham Hicks. It was weird to understand at first what was going on with them. I would watch YouTube videos of Ester, the woman, answering peoples’ questions on the “Law of Attraction” with such poise and authority. Latter, I came to understand that when she does this that she is channeling “Abraham,” which is a posse of spiritual leaders from the other side.

Okay, have I lost you? I can understand if I have. It is so hard to wrap our rational brains around someone channeling other energies or thinking what we think about makes stuff happen. Anyone that has had a negative thought might feel like they are destined for trouble. Religious people might think that this is all sacrilege. This is not the kind of stuff most people give any credence to.

Why did I start seeking it out? I know there is more to life than the pitiful experience I was living day to day. I felt like all I did was eat, sleep, and work. What was life for? What did it all mean? Why does bad stuff happen to me? I wanted to feel better.

The point is that we do have some control over our experience. We were born with certain interests. Our manifesto was to be ourselves. Unfortunately, we become socialized into the mainstream of this world. We are bombarded with messages from school, parents, church, television, radio, and now the internet, of how we are suppose to be and live. We are constantly seeking advice and reassurance outside of ourselves. Somewhere, what we want is pushed far into the back burner.

I thought adulthood was the end of dreaming. I thought the more responsibility you had, the more of an adult you were. If you weren’t where you wanted to be, you needed to work harder. If people didn’t like you, it was your fault that you weren’t nicer. You had to earn what you wanted.

Through listening to Abraham Hicks or any of the thought leaders on the Law of Attraction, you come to realize that this isn’t really the case. We do not have to earn our worth. Because we were born, we are worthy. Here are some of my other recent understandings:

When we were born, the Universe (or God) let us know that we were perfect in his or her eyes. Our only quest was to be as authentically us as possible. As children (in a perfect setting), we were allowed to pretend and imagine what we wanted for ourselves. We didn’t worry about being fed or having shelter, because the Universe provided us with everything that we needed.

Abraham Hicks explains that there is a Vortex that all of us have that contains the manifestations of everything that we have ever wanted. My Aunt April would have called it our ship (that may or may have not come in yet). Too often, we are told by society that there isn’t enough of everything to go around. The fear of scarcity prevents us from dreaming of what we truly want or believing that it could ever come true.

But, the Universe is a vibrational one. Everything we see or touch is energy. Like a magnet, the vibrations different items set off can attract like to like. The Universe is more powerful than we as humans could ever understand. It is as easy to manifest a billion dollars as it is to manifest a cold beer. Only in our brains do we set expectations that state otherwise. We like to see the tangible. We like certainty. We like reason. We often do not question all the expectations or thoughts that get put into our heads, so we limit our capacity to create.

I have huge issues with trust and faith. I am the type of person that has always believed that if something was meant to happen, that I had to figure it out. I also subscribed to the thought that bad things occurred as our “cross to bare.” This thought process made it easy to believe that if something wasn’t happening, that it was my fault. I believed that hardship is what we were sent here to experience. Our ability to endure burden in this life, would reward us in the next.

In reality, that is kind of bologna. The Universe wants only to give us what we want. It is only filled with never ending compassion and unconditional love. Just like Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, we believe we know more than our creator. I don’t believe Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden because God was mad; it was because we thought we knew better. We disconnected ourselves from the source because we thought we had to struggle, and we were too embarrassed to be a hundred percent authentic.

In order to really begin the work, you have to surrender everything you think you might know. You have to release the judgment that you have placed on everything in your life. You have to start uncovering why you think about things the way that you do, and question whether or not that thought process is serving you. It is spiritual worth. It is valuable work. It is intangible, but it is the only work that has any value in this life.

Of course, these are realizations I have had after working though my own journey. I am by no means perfect, but I am so much happier now than what I was when I started. I guess I would tell you that increased positivity and enjoyment are how I evaluate that this is working.

So, what is it that one is suppose to do?

1) Ask for what you want.

Now, you can ask for anything, but I would caution you to think about whether you are asking because it is something you really want…or is it something you think you should want, or you want to use it to impress someone else, or it is tied to what other people think. I have found that it is really easy to ask for things you don’t really want, so be careful as to clarify.

You can ask by doing vision boards, clipping out stuff you want, journaling, or just thinking about it. There are a million different ways of asking. To increase your ability to attract it, ask when you are feeling great.

2) Wait for an Answer. Once you ask for it, let it go. The Universe has your order. Abraham Hicks says that this is the time were the Universe begins laying down the grid. It vibrationaly lines things up. Often times we are too focused on timetables, or forcing how things should be done, or expecting it in a specific package. If we keep our minds open, we might hear some divine inspiration to do something that might help our dream manifest. At that point, you should say yes to the Universe. It should almost feel like it was meant to happen, destined.

3) Be Willing to Receive. I have had a huge problem in my life accepting charity from others. This has crossed over into accepting attention, accolades, and gifts from others. Sometimes receiving is more difficult that giving. In order to get what you want from the Universe, you need to be grateful for what you have.  This is why so many people have started practices of gratitude. By being grateful for what you have, you are telling the Universe that you are willing to receive more. If you ask for $1000 and get $996, be grateful. Don’t bitch about the missing $4 dollars.

The Universe is always providing exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. IF you don’t believe in a higher power, and you are feeling alone in the world, it is really easy to believe that if you can’t figure out a solution, that you will be left alone and unloved on a street corner somewhere. The truth is, that is not how the Universe works.

So why does bad stuff happen?

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a negative streak…I can think about a million things and how they can all go wrong. As I am thinking about them, I can feel fearful, sad, angry…or just bad.

Abraham Hicks talks about an Emotional Guidance System. We were born with the ability to feel what we really want. When our emotions are negative, it is our notification that what we are witnessing or experiencing is contrary to what we want. When our emotions are positive, we are closer to being aligned with our true self, what we really want, what is most authentically us.

When we focus on stuff that makes us feel poopy, we are calling that stuff nearer to us. Now, our thoughts don’t manifest immediately…but they will manifest. When we ask for stuff that we want when we are feeling great, sometimes that will manifest a little quicker.

None of this is either good or bad, it just is. We are in the driver’s seat. We are the only ones in control of our thoughts. In order to be closer to what we want, we need to be a vibrational match to it. The vortex is on a higher disk of energy. When we feel good, we are closer to be a vibrational match to the positive stuff that we want. When we feel negative, we are a vibrational match to what we don’t want.