We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.
My son was born 15 years ago…naked. This year we celebrated his birthday in the best way possible….at a Drag show. One of his sisters suggested it and, while I was a tad bit hesitant at first, I realized that this would be one of the greatest gifts I could give my boy.
I have known who my son is from the moment he was born. I have watched and waited for him to realize it himself. When he finally come out, it was as like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy enters technicolor from black and white. The world become filled with color and we could all finally exhale. I wrote about more about that experience HERE.
The past 2 years, watching him navigate the new, open world around him have been amazing. Attending a school like ChiArts, that celebrates not tolerates him, has changed him for the better. He is as comfortable as a teenage boy can be at this stage of his life. His flair for the dramatic has not only been encouraged but appreciated and strengthened. His school days are long (8-5…yes, all class time) with added time for the commute but he rarely complains.
So when his sister suggested that we go to a show, I said yes. While I admit I was a bit hesitant, once I thought about it, I knew I had to make it happen. I mean he got me started watching RuPauls’ Drag Race with him! I have been with him every step of this journey so I was not missing this this one.
My boy spent the whole day getting ready…..picking out clothing and “looks.” He did his nails and fixed his hair.
The kids had chosen Hamburger Mary’s “Dining with Divas”. We tried for early reservations but they were booked so we had the late show. When I made the reservation, I told them it was my son’s 15th birthday and first drag show. I was assured they would make him feel special. It was a snowy night and I would rather have stayed home but we went out…..and boy, was it worth it!
The moment we walked in, my son’s head was on a swivel, taking in all the sights and sounds of the place. I could see and feel him soaking up every little detail. It seemed like the whole staff knew it was his birthday! We were seated at our table, ordered and then the show began. The first performer, and MC for the night, was Angel. The moment he started performing, I looked at my son and …well…. I am rarely at a loss for words. I saw in his eyes something I had never seen before…..it was a mix of awe, amazement, acceptance, excitement, and love. I watched my boy more than the performers, my heart overflowing with emotion. This was a night, an experience, I will never forget…and neither will my son(or his 2 sisters).
At one point my son was even called on stage to honor his birthday and given a Hershey bar (other guests with birthdays got a shot!) which he has still not eaten. Seeing him on that stage….I knew God was giving me a glimpse at the future.
Later in the night, I took time to personally thank the performers, especially Angel. Other artists there, though not in costume or performing, were also supportive and welcoming to my son. Not only did they all take time to make my son feel special, they are special in and of themselves. I read a quote once by BeBe Zahara Benet, “Drag artists are more men than real men. You need a lot of courage, personality, and guts to go out there. Even if you look good or you look bad, you still need to have all of those things to be on stage. You’re going to get criticized by everyone.” These female impersonators take time and effort not only to hone their performance but perfect the makeup and costumes as well. They have the courage, guts and personality to perform night after night knowing that they may face more criticism than that of other, more “conventional,” performers.
He is amazing.
He is brave and courageous.
DO NOT get me wrong….my son makes me crazy just like any other teen makes a momma nutty…..but more so with his flair for the dramatic. We disagree on a daily basis but we talk to each other and work through things too. We navigate this new territory together. Neither one of us knows what will happen in the future, but I do know that my son will always be loved by me and by God. God makes no mistakes. God has a plan for both of us. God chose me to be this boy’s mother before he was born. My son was born naked and, for him, the rest is drag……always has been and always will be!
forward is a pace