Reflections on a 20 year Wonderland: the end of my Miss Diva USofA reign

It’s been 4 days since i’ve returned from Wonderland. A Wonderland full of magical and mythical characters that over a decade ago existed only in my head.

It’s surreal, bittersweet, gratifying and honestly . . . peaceful.

Peaceful because i silenced all the naysayers – including the ones whose outposts were in my head. Peaceful because i know i’ve laid a solid foundation in which my amazing successor can build on – and she will be exquisite. Peaceful because i can now close out the longest chapter in my life.

i have spent over two decades vigorously  pursuing my dream to become a bonafide drag queen and for me the icing on my drag cake meant winning a national pageant. But not just any title – a USofA title. Like all things in life, my desire was much more complex than simply chasing a crown. What winning and reigning meant to me was visibility and acceptance of my art and myself from one of drags hardest stages to break into. It meant that despite what i had between my legs, this tribe i had wanted to be a part of for so long saw me as their equal and someone equipped with the knowledge, passion, and desire to rule her own Queendom with dignity and grace.

It meant that what i did and do mattered. That my art had value. That’s a lot of expectation to put on winning a drag pageant. Unrealistic in hindsight, but i did it anyway. Because nothing ever really is what it seems.

As my reign came to a close on Saturday night and i watched my friend celebrate in a moment that mirrored mine a year ago, i was overcome with a waterfall of gratitude. i was grateful that i got to be the first to experience that moment, but even more grateful to be there to pass it down. Because some will never have that moment. And no matter how uneven the road was – the tears, the anger, the elation – i was blessed to experience my reign in its entirety and to be alive and present as someone else’s dreams came true. And for that universe, i am eternally grateful.  Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of my journey – from the promoters to the fans to the contestants to the pageant coordinators to the haters to my forever ride or dies.

i do not exist as i am at this very moment without each and every one of you. Thank you.

Words are the most special gifts that can be given to me and i received a lot of them this past week. And from the depths of my being, thank you thank you thank you.

It has always been one of my goals as a person to be a point of connection between opposing worlds – to use my art and my body of work to bridge divides.

What this past year has taught me is that a bridge cannot stand alone. It needs solid foundations to end and begin. And sometimes that’s not always possible. But it will be some day. And i will forever remain here – waiting and ready to help forge divides. Because my loyalty has always been and will always be the preservation and growth of this art form that is bigger than ALL of us.  

Finally, to the 16 year old girl who stood in silent awe after watching her first drag queen perform, knowing that this was what she was meant to do – not knowing how but believing that she could and would despite the odds –

You did it. It’s done. And your life will never be the same.

Now back at home in my own energy untethered from a lifelong dream, i find myself in exciting and unknown territory – what to do next? It’s a question i asked myself a lot before nationals and one that i was asked by others as my reign came to a close.

My answer?

Continue to be who i have always been – a dreamer, a doer, and a creator + believer in the possibility of the impossible. That’s how this whole journey began 20+ years ago – with a desire to achieve the impossible by believing it was possible.

It’s a madding way to live – chasing down dreams that are so big that the whole world believes them to be impossible.

But all the best are mad; and we are all mad here.

Here’s to the Wonderland that exists through the next looking glass.

Love, light + (im)possibility,

b

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