Anyone who knows me knows I’ve gotten incredibly into drag queens in the last month. I was telling someone new this little factoid, just saying “I just got into it” and my friend, one of the co-managing editors of The Mirror, Tobenna Ugwu, unhelpfully jumped in with “It’s literally been a few weeks. She went on one lunch and now has tickets to things.”
This, of course, is a slight exaggeration, but I did just recently discover the wonderful world of drag and drag queens. In just a month, I’ve seen nearly all the seasons of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” in both the United States, the United Kingdom and all of the All-Stars seasons. I have tickets to a drag show on Halloween weekend and another show in April of 2022. I bought gold fabric and gold gogo boots for my slightly heretic Halloween costume, completely inspired by drag.
I am just one of those slightly obsessive personalities who get really into things quickly, and by the time you finish blinking, I’m on a plane to “Drag Queen School” in Sweden or have purchased multiple wigs at 4:00 a.m. But… I think it’s where I get a lot of my charm (at least I hope?). No matter!
But, what I didn’t expect in my newfound interest, is this profound understanding of what drag queens truly teach us. Trying to avoid corniness and my friends rolling their eyes, drag queens teach us to have overwhelming self-confidence and a true sense of self.
As a senior at Fairfield University, I know how hard it is to truly find yourself here. Fairfield touts the Jesuit values and claims that your four years here will develop you as a whole person, that you’ll graduate and truly know who you are. But, the typical fear of missing out runs deep through the University. What makes people unique and what makes them special is hidden under layers of insecurities and a worry that their friend group will judge them.
I’m not saying I’m always able to rise above this feeling. I lived in Loyola Hall sophomore year and my roommate and I would watch the flood of kids run through the track on their way back from the townhouses. We’d sit and tell ourselves we’ll go next week because it’s the “typical college experience.”
It didn’t matter that we both hated townhouse parties and would rather take a very long walk off a very short cliff than stand in a townhouse basement packed like sardines. There’s just something about watching other people “have fun” around you that makes you feel like you’re missing something. The endless scroll through dark snap stories with pounding EDM, as you lay in bed making you feel like you’re doing this whole college thing wrong; that there might be something wrong with you.
But, there comes a time in your life where you grow out of this feeling, or at least I did. When that true deep, “I hate townhouse parties” actually overwhelmed my FOMO and I was able to start doing things I actually liked without fear of being judged by my peers. Like going to a production of Rocky Horror Picture show in full costume, or the Milford Apple Festival or drinking an entire box of Sunset Blush Franzia with my roommates.
I think it takes a lot of work to truly discover who you are and discover that you aren’t less of a person or less cool than all the “popular girls” at school. But, what always stops me from thinking “Oh, if I ask someone to go to the Apple Festival with me, will they think I’m weird?” or “What if someone sees me in the parking lot listening to Rain on Me?” is the thought of those darn drag queens.
I think that if grown men can tuck their business, put a dress and a wig on to dance in front of a room of 400 people, we can all discover who we truly are. We can have the confidence to text someone to go get lunch with us at a random spot downtown. We can dance the craziest, be the loudest laugh in a room, and truly grow into fabulously unique individuals we are, without fear of being judged. This is where we can truly look to drag queens. It doesn’t matter what or who they are on a day-to-day basis, they throw on a wig and some makeup and become the peak of confidence and acceptance. So just think of them every day and you’ll be fine.