This Is My Life

GETTING SCHOOLED BY RUPAUL - WELCOME TO THE FIRST EVER DRAG CON

Hello, hello, hello!

For the last two days, I spent the majority of my hours at the LA Convention Center to attend the first RuPaul's Drag Con- really the first of its kind. I feel tremendously lucky to have been a part of something that is sure to become something much bigger. The impact that RuPaul's Drag Race alone has had gives a new platform to the gay community, as well as an entire subculture of people just dancing outside the surface of the norm. That's important. 

For anyone who isn't sure who RuPaul is, click the KCRW interview linked below and get some herstory.

I didn't get a chance to take a decent photo of RuPaul (and I'm not about to post anything subpar of Ru!) but I did get to meet him. I felt like I was in the midst of a very special human, an absolute light, and an individual capable of seeing the true beauty in everyone. Today during his Q+A, a sequined boy stood up and asked, "Even though you seem to have everything and are successful, you probably have to work hard to not get overwhelmed. How do you keep yourself happy?"

The answer was long, floral, poetic, and beautiful. But in essence, RuPaul's personal requirements are: daily practice of meditation, yoga, and prayer. When describing meditation, he related it to floating above the planet and seeing everything from far away - an experience I often have while in meditation. The entire practice of gratitude was clarified through a metaphor. Ru said, "it's as if you're babysitting the most beautiful child. And you know who that child is?" Of course we do. 

He talked about the consumerist culture that we live in, and in order to live in it, we have to buy things. Lots of things. Things we don't need. "You won't be clean unless you're Zestfully clean, isn't that right!" He said. And though color and creativity and music and joy involves buying things, his point was this: most of the world will take advantage of the fact that you don't feel whole. You'll feed bad, awful in fact. "How do you offset that?" He asked.

"You have to remember that you are made of the power that started the universe." 

Tempest + Raven

Young queens look up at some of Ru's most prized dresses

Raja - LATE for her own panel, the nerve. 

The convention floor was packed with makeup stands, merchandise booths, and meet + greet desks. So many great queens to be found, and any kind of eyelash you could ever want.

Miss Tyra Sanchez - and other royals. 

I spoke to this family and asked them what brought them to Drag Con. The dad indicated to his son and said, "he loves it. And I think it's pretty entertaining, so, we drove from San Diego to see it." 

I met Britney (by way of Derrick Barry) and her handlers, so my life got a little better. 

A queen named Lily Whiteass. She's gonna be huge, watch out for this one.

If you need a good party, look no further than the Boulet Brothers. Or the leathermen!

Ru usually ends each episode of Drag Race by saying, "and remember: if you don't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen up in here?" To which everyone says "Amen!" And the music plays. Credits roll. The show ends. But just as Ru said on stage, "it's a nice sentiment, and it's easy enough to say- I even saw it on a shirt earlier! But the truth is, living it takes PRACTICE." And it's true! It does. Self love is a daily practice, not a gift that some are born with and others aren't. Every day it is up to us to distinguish ourselves as our own beautiful beings, uniquely individual and simultaneously part of a collective consciousness. To truly know this changes our actions for the better. Being aware of not just our individuality but how that fits into a beautiful whole is the magic everyone needs to live a fulfilling life. Nobody is ever truly alone. 

I can't wait for next year. 2016 will be sure to slay. 


Welcome to Wyoming

Last month, I joined Phil in the Bighorn Basin to spend time on his dad's ranch. To "spend time" in a place like this means enjoying the natural surroundings, breathing in the crisp dusted air, and pitching in on basic survival. While in LA I would be just sitting down to brunch, in Wyoming we'd already have been up for at least 3 hours, feeding cows, shoveling horse manure, digging potatoes or finding one of the dogs, up to who knows what. 

Phil and his dad are similar in ways they may not even be aware of. As an outsider, I noticed nuances that I would casually point out, and some I would keep to myself as a secret hidden beneath a tiny smile. Skip, Phil's dad, lives with his wife Maria who tends to her nine horses: Irish, Brego, Coco, Elle, Rosie, Finn, Manolito, Emmie, and Daylight. She is the founder of Rainhorse, an equine therapy program for at-risk youth and veterans suffering from PTSD. The horses themselves have been rescued from challenging, and often times abusive situations which allows them to feel understood by Maria's guests, and vice versa. Horses are tremendously kind natured, and can see into people. The horses on the Eastman ranch are there to heal because they want to heal, and be healed. 

We stayed in a small unattached trailer next to the single-wide that Skip and Maria live in while their house (constructed with proper feng shui) is built. The construction made up a lot of Phil's day with his dad, along with a handful of other workers during weekdays. Skip is a tireless man. It became exceedingly clear why he and Maria got along so well as a married couple who also work together. Having a goal relating to an overall quality of life makes life worth living. It's a very special thing to share with someone. 

Our days were long, and typically ended with a candle-lit table, a few books of poetry, red and white wine and a home cooked meal; partially from their own garden stock, partially from responsibly raised Wyoming cattle and chicken, and partially from the grocery store. We read Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, Jim Harrison and other poets aloud to one another. I joked that it was the most civilized environment I'd been invited to be a part of for as long as I could remember, though the joke only existed in the laugh across the table. The statement itself was entirely true. 

We spent time exploring Cody, as well as Yellowstone and some small surrounding towns, all beautiful in the varying temperatures and climates throughout our trip. I wasn't expecting to respond so strongly to my time there. It strengthened me, as well as my bond with Phil, and I felt simultaneously heartbroken and overjoyed to leave. The thought of having this place to return to made the trip back to the city worth the effort. I'm more encouraged than ever to shape my life, inspired by the sincere labor of love I witnessed and experienced.