You may or may not be fans of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, I kind of am, but not so much for the categories and the clothes, than for the drag queens themselves, the sharing of stories that are sometimes raw, and the sisterhood they find with one another, in spite of the competition. This year the amazing Cheddar Gorgeous is taking part, no need Cheddar, because you are always a winner in the eyes of so many! The thing about Cheddar is that they are posting tributes to all of the queens as they leave the competition, as well as supporting those who are still in. This week Baby left the stage, not with the direction to sashay away, but by choosing to withdraw, to take care of herself. It was such a courageous move, Cheddar had this to say:
Your honesty is raw and it is rare. Don’t change, don’t become hard, always keep that heart open. You are beautiful and you are strong and I know you are only just getting started! You are going to set this world ablaze!
You are going to set this world ablaze, what a tribute, there was more of course, and it showed a real care and empathy alongside applauding Baby’s maturity in declaring her need to take a step away and practice self care! It takes guts to speak out for yourself, especially when you are showing your vulnerability in doing so.
Readers of my blogs ( this is the third incarnation of blogging for me) will know that this is a subject I return to periodically, and that is probably because it is something I struggle with the most. The reflections from the Centre of Action and Contemplation this week include an interview with activist Ruby Sales, she says this:
One of the things that I discovered is that when we think about love, we think about how is it that we love other people? But the first question is how is it that we love ourselves so that we extend [to] other people the love that we feel for ourselves? . . .
It’s hard to love yourself when you follow people who degrade your humanity and teach you to hate other people. It’s hard to love yourself when you’re being used by powerful people to carry out an agenda that buttresses their power but disempowers you. And so I think that the critical question that white people must deal with, and all of us must deal with in the 21st century, is how is it that [we] can love ourselves so that we might extend that love to others? Because I think that we have been taught to hate and despise ourselves. . . .
“I think we have been taught to despise ourselves”, those are powerful words, but just sitting with them for a moment, I must admit that I know the truth of them, and I wonder if you do too, so often I push them away, I can put on all sorts of masks, and act out all sorts of roles, but the truth is that there are so many things that I despise about myself, things that I hold within and hope that others won’t see. The words not enough clamour for attention, always lurking at the back of my mind, right now they are about not doing enough and not being enough, they have been not small enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough, not rich enough, not able, not loving enough, not fit enough, the list goes on, and every now and then another not enough rears its head and demands my attention. They are painful to confront, and difficult to challenge.
They are painful to confront and difficult to challenge, but confront them I must, the superficial ones are easier now, who decides what pretty is, and at 60, I am no longer worried about being pretty anyway, and who decides what is and what isn’t attractive, and why are we so enraptured by outer appearances anyway? As for tall, well I have embraced that, I like being six foot now, but as a teenager I hated it. Not clever enough, well against all the odds I completed a Masters Degree, so that’s plenty! That said I have scars, scars from feeling I wasn’t enough, and having that confirmed by others, scars of not fitting in because my family didn’t have what all of the other middle class families did have, and not being able to provide no matter what. I still struggle with not fit enough, having become quite fit a few years ago, but must let go of comparing myself with where others are, because I can only start where I am.
Recently I am dealing with the sense that I am not good enough and not being enough, add to that certainly not doing enough, I am finding it hard to fit into a new way of being, and a new rhythm of meetings etc, especially as it comes off the back of being ill. The sense of being criticised for not being up to speed is huge, though there is no criticism being offered, I receive questions as a criticism, and know that they aren’t, my own not enough(s )are holding a flees mirror to reality.
So what is reality, reality is that I am enough, I am enough and so are you, my enough at the moment is acknowledging that I am recovering from a difficult time, and that I am not running in full steam ahead mode. I am needing to take time out to rest, to reflect and to be, to discover who I am at this place and in this time. I also ned to acknowledge that I am not here to be a carbon copy of what went before me, I cannot be what previous ministers were because I am not them, I do not have their gifts and graces, I have my own. I have my own, I really do have my own, and they are the unique divine imprint in my heart, mind and spirit.
I have my own gifts, I really do have my own, and they are the unique divine imprint in my heart, mind and spirit. I need to hear this, and I need to acknowledge that, for everything that I am not good at there is another that I am good at, for every fault or flaw there is a corresponding jewel, an expression , a revelation. I know this, but find it hard to dig it out from under the cloud of self condemnation and self doubt. That is why I need to take time out from time to time, to rest, to reflect, and to be, to write like this, even if it is only for myself. To pluck up courage as Baby did on Drag Race, and to say, right now this is what I can give, and this is what I need. I can do no more.
I want an honesty that is raw and rare, I want a heart that is open, and a strength to reveal my beauty, and set the world ablaze. We all have that divine spark within, unique and precious. We are more than enough!