Today is the day where we think about what we are thankful for in our lives. It’s the day where it is ok to think and talk about all of the wonderful blessings we have in our lives. It’s not that we can’t be thankful other days of the year, but the line between simple gratitude and boasting is a thin one, and often times those around us love to misinterpret our intentions and accuse us of bragging about what we have acquired.
So where exactly is that line, and how do we keep ourselves on the “right” side? For me, I think the answer is about humility. It’s about celebrating the good in our lives so that we can remember, no matter how dark things get or how deep we sink into our everyday problems, that we are surrounded by blessings that make life a little sweeter and a little easier to take.
In that spirit, I would like to share some of things that I am thankful for today:
I am thankful to be part of an amazing community of performers. My performance career has given me so much over the years, but one of the greatest blessings has been all of the performers I’ve had the chance to meet. Drag shouldn’t be about competition and cutting each other down, and though I’ve run into some performers who think otherwise (or at least that’s what their behavior demonstrates!) I’ve met many, many more who are generous and creative individuals who love their art and aren’t afraid to share and teach and learn with their fellow performers. I also feel blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with other types of performers: theatrical, burlesque, bellydance, comedy, etc. Getting up on stage and sharing yourself with an audience is simultaneously terrifying and empowering, and it’s great to have the opportunity to share that experience with other talented performers.
Expanding on that, I’m immensely thankful for all of the amazing, creative individuals that I’m able to call my friends. For many of them, like for me, their art and passion isn’t how they pay their bills, but they still manage to manifest and inspire so much creativity. Some express themselves through music or film or photography, some create web content to inform and inspire, some work to create safe and creative spaces so that people can enjoy the arts and have a supportive environment in which to be themselves, some do healing energy work to help people improve their lives and manifest their own creativity, and some make beautiful jewelry and other artworks; many create magical theatrical experiences to entertain their communities. I think that a culture that doesn’t value its artwork is a culture that’s not worth fighting for, and I feel really and truly blessed to know and work with so many talented artists and practitioners who give of their time and energies to create, simply for the joy of creating!
I’m thankful for all of the little bits of glamour that find their way into my everyday life. It may seem shallow, but it’s not. Life is tough, and we need to find joy where we can, and sometimes that joy is found in something that sparkles and glitters and makes us feel special and beautiful. Material objects are no substitutes for people and experiences and memories, but sometimes adding a little glitter just gives us that special glow, inside and out. Finding the right gown or the right pair of earrings isn’t a big accomplishment, but it can make a difference just when we need it.
Of course, I couldn’t do what I do and explore my creativity and feel as glamorous as I do without the amazing audiences that come to see my shows. There is something truly special that can be shared between performers and audiences, an electric energy that revitalizes and renews a tired spirit. I’ve said before that performing has gotten me through some very dark times, and that continues to be true. Interacting with an audience, absorbing their energy and creating an experience with them is an amazing experience, and I am thankful for every person who has ever been in the crowd at a show in which I have performed.
Finally, I have a wonderful family tree of which I am often the oddest of branches. My family isn’t the most verbal when it comes to talking about emotional stuff, but there is a sort of quiet support that I have come to appreciate.
Oh yeah, and I am definitely thankful for my dear friend Angie who, although she is part of the group of artistic folks called out above, deserves special mention because she’s just weird enough to really get me. And because I totally ripped her Thanksgiving photo for this post (she makes a cameo in the photo, as cranberry sauce), and she isn’t going to be mad about it. Not even a little.