I know this sounds cliche, but I was born to be a drag queen. Some of my earliest memories were of dressing up as a girl. I've loved the sparkle and the feminine since, well, forever!
I was 3 or 4 and I don't remember this, but my older sister had a red dress with white polka dots that my aunty made her. She hated it, but apparently I LOVED it. Mum would always say that if she couldn't find me, I would be in the back yard spinning around in that dress so it flared up all around me.
I still love spinning around in dresses.
Another early memory was being at my aunties house and my cousin had a brooch that was a big plastic ruby. It was in her wardrobe and just a little bit high for me to reach but I remember staring at it for hours, mesmerised by its beauty. Day dreaming about being covered in sparkling jewels.
I would steal my cousin's red pumps and play outside as Dorothy in the dirt (oh i got in trouble for that one). I played with Barbies, and when i say played, I mean I dressed them and did their hair and then redecorated their house. Most of my sisters dolls had hair cuts by the time she grew out of them. I still haven't grown out of them.
I would make my little sister costumes. Her mermaid tail was easy; Jasmine from Aladdin wasn't as easy. I made a lot of mistakes which helped me when I started sewing for myself. I love to sew now and I'm proud that i can pretty much make anything I need.
When I was 14 i ditched school and stayed home. With the whole day to myself, I played dress ups. Mum came home early from work with a headache to find me in her room, dressed in her black mini dress, full face of make up miming to Natalie Cole's “Wild Women Do” from the Pretty Woman soundtrack. And even though she was obviously angry and shocked, for all of the above reasons, I think she knew that this was who I was. Even though she didn't understand it.
Unfortunately my family had never dealt with homosexuality before, yet alone a boy who wants to dress like a girl, so somewhere along the way I was made to feel shame about doing something that came so naturally to me. I don't think they ever meant to scare or scar me, but they did.
I spent 14-18 trying to find my identity in the world and It wasn't until I was 18 and moved to Sydney that my passions started to re-emerge. And once i understood what i was, Vanity was born. I had found my identity.
It's taken me a long time to find a balance between the man and woman inside me. The society around me had forced me to keep the two very separate, even though it was who I was. But now, in a different time and with a lot of years behind me, I’m very comfortable being myself these days and even consider myself on the trans spectrum.
I have two poems that i wrote about these times. The first is called Blue and it tells the story of being a child of drag in a world that doesn't understand. And the second is called Sparkle and its about the power I got from being who I am.
They are both very personal to me and I hope you like them. Thanks for listening!
Do you remember when you were helpless?
When the shadows made you petrified.
When the darkness ran wild in your imagination
And left you frozen from the inside.
A little boy left wondering, always
Never knowing what was going on
Too busy dreaming of another life
Where wearing pink wasn't considered wrong.
It was dark in that world of confusion
And fear was often my only friend
My world was small but terrifying
And even on the truth I couldnt depend.
It wasn't their fault, they did their best
But i was so different to anything they knew
An oddity without a manual
So they took away my dolls and dressed me in blue.
All the things that I found natural
I was made to feel shame and so I suppressed
And slowly my soul was dismantled
And like a robot in blue I dressed.
I retreated into a world of distraction
My daydreams ruling my waking thoughts
Living life without even watching
Dreaming of dresses while wearing shorts.
I played with cars and even tried football.
Endured He-Man and soldiers in armies
Forced into soccer and karate and cricket
But all I wanted was She-Ra and barbies
And years went by and it was no longer
Appropriate to want to play with the girls.
The boys went out to rumble
But I stayed inside to brush out Barbies curls.
This only got me in trouble
They called me names and they teased
I understood that I was the problem
And so I tried again to keep them all pleased
So back into my corner of suppression
Backing further out of view
Trying desperately not be noticed
Hiding the fact I wasn't wearing blue.
And in my darkness survival took over
So my gender and colour would sync
Blue was a reliable camouflage
But in my mind all I could see was pink
It's that sequin that catches the light
And sparkles in my eye
A jewel that shines so bright
like a star twinkling in the sky
A glamorous glove made of satin
The softness of an ostrich plume
An unsown dress that's just a pattern
The delicate mist of ladies perfume
These are the things I dreamt of
When I was just a child
And I asked who ever was above
Why I wasn't born free and wild
I felt trapped in a world made of boxes
Designed to categorize me
But it's all just rules and paradoxes
And I realized I was indeed born free
As I grew into a man
A little confused of which role to play
I took a good look at who I am
And decided to own fabulous and gay.
I promised myself I would never hide
Behind a velvet curtain of shame
And that allowed the woman inside
To ignite my most glamorous flame
And all those things that seemed so forbidden
We're suddenly handed out to me
And my femininity that I had always hidden
Would be my greatest jubilee.
And now my life is filled with rainbows
And I prance among the stars
And I shout from open windows
That I choose dreams over scars.
The brush of synthetic hair on my neck
The dangle of plastic diamonds from my ears
A sequined purse to put my paycheck
A layer of make up to mask all my fears
My foot slides into a stiletto
And I feel whole and complete
I sparkle from my head to my toe
Cause my authenticity, I didn't cheat