Pride Baby

I had every intention throughout my pregnancy to blog away about all things school, gay and baby. Obviously that did not exactly happen, considering I am just days from my due date and writing for the first time since my post from insemination day! I’m convinced that my amazing cousin, over at The Merfett, is part Christmas Elf the way she’s been able to post consistent updates throughout her pregnancy, all while raising a toddler! To quote Rebel Wilson in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, “She’s like a magical pregnancy unicorn.”

Anyway, I did want to at least share a few milestones from the last few months. I’m just sitting around waiting for this baby to show up…so I got time!

1. The Announcement

We were right around 13 weeks along for Christmas so it was perfect timing to announce to our families. Our parents and sisters knew ahead of time, but all of our extended family got the good news around the Christmas dinner table (which means a Mexican feast in my family and Irish coffees in Jamie’s family).

Of course in this day and age, nothing is official until it hits social media, so we had been preparing an extra special video announcement to share with our hive mind. Now, if you’ve seen posts about our wedding like this one or this one, you know that we aren’t really into following tradition. Many of the baby announcements we’ve seen are totally adorable – but they just aren’t “us”. So, we decided to combine our thirst for originality with our obsession with Drag culture (as evident in this previous post) to create the most unique baby announcement we’ve ever seen! Over the course of several weeks, we had some of our favorite Drag Queens help us spill the beans. I put together a little montage and we posted it on New Year’s Day!

2. The Reveal

We went in for our “anatomy scan” on February 6th. This was the scan that would tell us the sex of the baby.

Lou Henry Hoover (Drag Boylesque Performer) & Jinkx Monsoon (Super Star Drag Queen and Fairy God-Mother)

Lou Henry Hoover (Drag Boylesque Performer) & Jinkx Monsoon (Super Star Drag Queen and Fairy God-Mother)

Weeks before, we were visiting with one of Jamie’s aunts and she asked if we were planning on doing a “reveal party with little cupcakes”. I responded with an eye roll and said, “Ugh, that does’t sound like us at all. If we do anything, it’ll be something we get to smash open with a bat.” Jamie overheard and that was it – she had a plan. “A piñata!!” she had screamed. “We can fill it with colored liquor bottles and smash it open!” And I kid you not, that’s what we did.

Jamie’s parents were out of town that weekend so we scheduled the party (just close family and friends) for Saturday February 14th. At the anatomy scan the week before, I had had the technician write the sex on a piece of paper and I took it with me in an envelope. I ordered a piñata online (a rainbow one, of course) and we tasked our close friend, Kim, with going to the liquor store to buy the correct colored bottles. Even though we consider ourselves to be quite “gender progressive” and don’t agree with the automatic assignment of certain colors with specific sexes and/or genders, we decided to go with the classic pink and blue just to make it visibly obvious for the smashing of the piñata. Kim was the only person (other than the ultra sound tech) that knew the sex of our baby before the party and she held fast like a champ!

Wearing her Vaudevillains shirt (the same one we wore for the “Swim Meet“), Jamie smashed open that piñata and little blue bottles of alcohol came raining down. Like, literally raining – she broke several all over the place!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

3. The Baby Shower

One Friday night in August, Jamie and I were at our favorite Drag Show in New York City. The show is called “Distorted Diznee” and features four Queens that take all of the classic Disney characters and songs – and just f*@# ’em up! It is hilarity unmatched in any other show (click here for tickets if you’re anywhere close to NYC)!

Anyway, Jamie and I had an epiphany – we weren’t even pregnant yet, but we decided that if we did a baby shower, it had to be hosted by those four Queens. We spoke with them that night about the idea and started the planning for our “Distorted Baby Shower”. Our invites warned that it was going to be very different from any other shower – and it sure was!! The girls put on an unforgettable show for us and we were so unbelievably grateful.

Bootsie Lefaris

Bootsie Lefaris


Pixie Aventura

Pixie Aventura


Brenda Dharling

Brenda Dharling


Holly Dae

Holly Dae


Us with Baby Rio's "Distorted Aunts"

Us with Baby Rio’s “Distorted Aunts”

4. The Nursery:

When coming up with how we wanted to design the nursery, we decided to go with inspiration from an unexpected source – a musical about a transgendered rockstar from East Berlin. As I mentioned in this post from last year, we are huge fans of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and especially of the song “Origin of Love” written for the musical by Stephen Trask. I have always been into art and painting and took on the monumental task of designing a floor to ceiling, wall to wall mural for the baby’s room. I started with little images I conjured from “Origin of Love”, but then began adding references to works of literature like “The Giving Tree”, “Le Petit Prince”, and “The Alchemist”, as well as the nursery rhyme “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod”.  I got my ideas onto paper first, then began to pencil it onto the walls. Jamie and I started in March and worked little by little for the last few months. I finally put the finishing touches on the room just last week and I am so proud of the whole thing.

"Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…"

“Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…”


"The Giving Tree"

“The Giving Tree”


IMG_5792

Sun, Moon, Earth and Asteroid B-612

IMG_5636 IMG_5635

5. Pride Baby

So here I wait, 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, with Pride celebrations happening all around. It totally fits that he’s due for Pride. He’ll be raised by two loving mothers, with a respect for the world around him. He’ll be taught to be accepting and open-minded. He’ll see the love that was poured over him before he was even born and know that just because one chooses to walk a different path than the rest, doesn’t mean that person is any less. And that’s truly what Pride is all about.

Swim Meet!

Tuesday October 7, 2014

9:52 AM: They show me to a big room at the end of the hallway and instruct me, like all the other days, to strip everything waist down and put the sheet over my legs. I wish Jamie was here. She just texted me that she’s only about 5 minutes away, but I wish she was here now. I always feel so awkward. I am slowly losing all sense of privacy when it comes to my body – during these baby-making months I guess I just have to throw inhibitions aside…but that doesn’t make it any less weird.

I finally get all set. I grab my phone and my glasses from my bag and sit down on the giant reclining table. The nurse left a few papers for me to read over so I start to read. The more I sit in this quiet room, the more I feel the anxiety creeping over me. It starts to feel like I am in front of a huge crowd, about to give a major speech. I need to breathe.

Only a few minutes go by before I hear Jamie’s laughter in the hallway. I instantly feel myself calm down. She walks in with the nurse, a huge smile across her face. She’s wearing the same shirt I am – Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales in caricature form as “The Vaudevillains”. Jinkx is our favorite inspiration. She and Major Scales are such positive people and it’s that kind of positive energy we need with us today.

The nurse leaves for a bit and tells us that they’ll all be in soon for the big show. Jamie and I sit, giggling like silly school girls and listening to music (like Jinkx’s “What About Debbie?” and “Song to Come Home To”). Even in an awkward situation like this, Jamie can calm me right down.

Spermy TBT

10:13 AM: A small knock at the door says that the crew is here and this is going to happen! One of our docs comes in with some other assistants (who knows what their medical titles are – for laypeople like me basically anyone in a white coat is a doctor). They show us paperwork on our “specimen” and confirm with us all sorts of details. They also tell us that we have 15 million spermies in our vial! Let’s do some swimming!

They get me in my stirrups – a-thank-you – and get Duckie (as I refer to Mr. Speculum) into place. That took a while but long story short, it worked out. Meanwhile, Jamie is playing our favorite past-time tune of late: Duran Duran’s “Rio”. We recently became obsessed with the song after the drag queen Dina Martina performed it as part of her show. She is a hysterical drag personality and every time I hear that song now I can’t help but smile ear to ear. I’m not able to dance as I lay awkwardly on the table, but I’m pretending that I am spinning around our house belting the lyrics. Even the nurses in the room are chiming in, “Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand…”

They finally do all they need to do to get the little swimmers where they need to be. As they narrate the release of the sperm, I instruct the entire room to close their eyes and visualize the opening scenes of “Look Who’s Talking” because visualization is important. They all laugh and we sing the Beach Boys to make it feel more genuine. If I have to, I’ll get Bruce Willis in here….

10:24 AM: I’m told to remain reclined for the next 10 minutes. Everyone clears out and Jamie and I are left alone to continue our lip-syncing party. We closed out with listening to every song from the “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” soundtrack, making certain that the first possible moments of our possible future baby include the greatest songs ever written.

So now the wait begins. In 15 days, we could be freakin’ pregnant!!!!

 

Hedwig

13 Reasons Why Not Fitting in as a Kid Makes You an Awesome Adult

I came across a BuzzFeed article by the same title a few days ago. I was pretty intrigued and quite curious as to what the BuzzFeed cohorts dug up to share with the world. The content of the article, however, was…underwhelming, to say the least. I decided to thieve the title and rewrite the content, attempting to live up to the potential to which it lended itself. I was, after all, one of those misfit kids. Sometimes realizing it all meant something, can really mean something.

1. You learn independence. Being a bit odd often meant hanging out by myself. Sure, I found my niche eventually, but many of my early memories involve eating lunch alone and playing with a jumprope at recess. I learned to rely only on me. And I realize now that a little independence was the healthiest lesson of my childhood.

2. You learn humility. Maybe knowing I wasn’t perfect wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Perhaps a little dose of humble pie is best at a young age, when you still have time to learn and grow.

3. You toughen up. I have plenty of coworkers and acquaintances now as an adult that were clearly the “popular type” and I am constantly witnessing their inability to cope with certain adversity. I am not saying that all Homecoming-Queen-Teens make Cry-Me-A-River-Adults, but it certainly seems to be a “popular” side-effect.

4. You get a sense of humor. It’s not true for everyone, but for many of us misfits, our childhood woes have given us a platform for an actual personality.

5. You get inspired. So many popular artists today tell their stories about being an outcast. Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Howard Stern, Michael Phelps, and Eva Mendez have all shared stories about overcoming bullying and teasing as kids. Each of them got inspired in their own ways to grow into what the world sees today.

6. You can look back and not feel like such a perfect little douche. I am now pretty proud of my oddities as a kid. Perfect-kid-type-stories stick out like a sore thumb in the adult world. No one wants to hear about a Princess and a Pea. Sorry ’bout it.

7. You learn to observe. Like I said, I spent a lot of time alone. I got to take in the world around me and learn from what I saw.

8. You find an inner voice. Self-reflection is, unfortunately, a practice that is not as common as it should be. Something about being an outcast gave me a dialogue about myself, a way to cope with what was happening around me. That inner voice has followed me throughout my entire life, molding the adult I grew into and allowing me to adapt and grow over time.

9. You learn kindness. Every bullied kid remembers the times that kindness, no matter how infrequently or how minor, was shown to them. Sometimes that shining light is enough to outshine the darkest situations. You learn to appreciate what the smallest acts of kindness can do, and pass it on as you grow older.

10. You realize that the world isn’t always a nice place. As sad as it is, this was another important lesson I learned as a kid. Sometimes the “Movie Theatre Reality” or the “Sitcom Point-of-View” is thrust upon us so blindly as kids that we think it’s all true. My time crying behind the soccer net on the playground as I endured the cruel words from classmates brought me face-to-face with the real world and its ugly side. Upsetting, perhaps – but I’m sure glad I learned that early on. The strength I took away from it got me through the rest of my youth.

11. You write. Or create. Or explore. You do what you need to do to survive. I was a writer. I have kept a journal since I was in 5th Grade. My younger sister (or my Mom, rather) gave me a little lock-and-key diary for my birthday and I went to town on that thing. When that one ran out, I got a new one. And a new one. Now, at 30 years old, I have between 10 and 15 notebooks in a box in one of my closets. Every once in a while I pull one out and read a bit, just to get a sense of my childhood mind, and that inner dialogue with which I had gotten so in touch. I am determined to keep that connection to the kid version of me so that I never forget the toughest times.

12. You gain confidence. It may seem a little oxymoronic, but confidence really is one of the greatest treasures of my childhood. By being left out, picked last, laughed at, ignored and teased I was stripped down to my bare bones. I was forced to steel myself and be confident with what I had – or fail.

That was it.

Let it break me.

Or let is make me.

And so I chose.

 

And finally….

13. You could grow up to become Jinkx Monsoon. Super-Star Comedienne, Confident Beauty, Wise Soul and Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5. She is everything an awkward kid (boy or girl) could hope to become and she has given us such an amazing mantra: Water off a duck’s back. Because no matter what comes at us, we just need to let it fall off of us like “Water off a duck’s back.”

Jerick Hoffer in Spring Awakening at the Balagan Theatre in Seattle. Jinkx Monsoon serving Marilyn realness.

Jerick Hoffer in Spring Awakening at the Balagan Theatre in Seattle. Jinkx Monsoon serving Marilyn realness.

10 Reasons Why Drag Queens Make the World a Better Place

The Incomparable Jinkx Monsoon*

The Incomparable Jinkx Monsoon*

10. Entertainment – The job of a Drag Queen is first and foremost to entertain. If you were to speak to any Drag Queen about why they do what they do, I’m certain they’d all have their own reasons. Each Queen has a story that made them who they are today, both in and out of drag. But at the heart of each is an entertainer. That pure joy you see as you watch a Queen on stage, putting her heart into whatever her craft has led her to do, is something that can put a smile on any face. That is life-saving “entertaintment”.

Brittany Lynn phillymag.com

Brittany Lynn
phillymag.com

9. Commitment – A Queen’s closet is no joke. She has wigs and shoes and lashes for days – or years rather. And clothing isn’t all she has in her repertoire. So many Drag Queens can do multiple impersonations. Some can sing. Many do comedy. That kind of commitment seems like it’s fewer and farther between these days.

8. Fashion – Queens have style! And I don’t necessarily mean the what’s-hot-and-what’s-not kind of style. Fashion doesn’t always have to be dictated by magazines. I just mean polished and proud of how they look. It’s an impressive feat to look so on-point as a boy and smokin’ hot a girl.

Jessica Wild as both Bride and Groom in the wedding challenge on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 2.

Jessica Wild as both Bride and Groom in the wedding challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2.

7. Creativity – The Drag World is a culture rich in unique creativity. Not only do Drag Queens have their own lingo (one that makes little sense to the uninitiated), but they are even bringing their artistic influences to the music world these days. There’s songs like RuPaul’s “Tranny Chaser” and Sharon Needles’ “Kai Kai” that even poke fun at their own culture. You can find campy craziness in Alaska’s “Nails“, with the chanted lyric, “If you’re not wearing nails, then you’re not doing drag!” My favorites are the parodies of popular songs. Willam Belli’s “Chow Down (at Chick Fil-A)” featuring Detox and Vicky Vox remakes Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On (For One More Day)”. The trio recently collaborated on another creation in “Blurred Bynes“, a hilarious montage throwing shade at Amanda Bynes and her not-so-mature antics. And a must-hear is Mimi Imfurst as she sings her parody of “I Will Survive” entitled “Another Lie“, referring to the “tiny” fib told by a male about the [desired] size of his nether regions. 😉

Alaska Thunderf#%$ 5000, Star and runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5

6. Cajones – And I don’t mean actual testicles (although they have those, too). I mean courage. It takes more courage than many could fathom for a man to dress in women’s clothing and parade around in public. Many Queens share stories about the first time they dressed in drag and how liberating it felt. But the world, as accepting as it’s becoming, is still a scary place. Bigotry and hate threaten that liberation each time a Queen steps out her door. Seeing their courage can give us all hope.

5. Beauty – What fascinates me most about Drag Queens is the illusion. I can’t get enough of watching the Boy turn into the Queen. To me, it’s Beauty in such a true form. When I put on make-up and do my hair, I may spend about 20 minutes on the whole project. To watch what a Drag Queen must do to become the women within is breathtaking. It’s not an easy Beauty. It isn’t effortless. It’s laborious. It takes time. It takes energy. And at the end of it all, each Queen is on display for critique and judgement. And yet it’s the Beauty and the Labor that keeps her coming back to the high of being in Drag. It is, without a doubt, truly beautiful.

Maddelynne Hatter in Leland Bobbe's Half-Drag portraits project.

Maddelynne Hatter in Leland Bobbe’s Half-Drag portraits project.

4. Fear – With every act of bravery comes a little bit of fear. Sometimes when we recognize a fear within ourselves, we are embarrassed by it. We try and bury the fear, cover it up, ignore it. But when we see acts of bravery overcome fear, it gives us a glimmer of reality. We begin to recognize that everyone has fear – even the coolest, calmest, bravest of heroes. Fear is real. A Drag Queen may put on wigs and layers of makeup and 6-inch heels, but underneath it all there is a little bit of fear that reminds us that they are real.

3. Defiance – What’s a Drag Queen without a healthy dose of Bad Kid? Just the definition of Drag Queen proves that they don’t follow the straight path dictated by the squares of society. That alone makes me green with envy – throw a lace front wig and couture dress on top of that and I can say that I am officially jealous of Drag Queens.

2. Patience – The art of drag definitely doesn’t come easily. To give you an idea of what a Drag Queen does to get ready I included a video below titled “Drag Becomes Him”. The video is of my all-time favorite Queen, Jinkx Monsoon. She is querky and bizarre and silly. As a boy, she has wild red hair and a goofy laugh. As she transforms herself into Jinkx she becomes her and the boy just melts away. It takes a special kind of patience – but what an amazing reward.

1. Inspiration – And finally, the number one reason why Drag Queens make this world a better place – INSPIRATION. Even if a large part of the world doesn’t want to accept Gays and Gay Culture, we’re here. There are countless adolescents out there struggling with their sexuality and where they fit in. Somewhere, there’s an awkward gay boy that has a picture of Jinkx Monsoon in his school notebook and uses it each day as a promise of a better future. Maybe he’s from a small town, maybe from a big city. Either way, he needs someone to show him that being different and being gay and being fabulous are not things to be ashamed of. And maybe someday he’ll be able to express his own creativity in an equally fabulous way – because Drag. Queens. Rule.

*The Featured image for this post is of Jinkx Monsoon starring with Major Scales in “The Vaudevillians” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City. It is an incredible show and a must-see! Get tickets here! But do it soon – after November 19 she takes the show on an international tour!