Every year for the past four years, i’ve put together a birthday post filled with gratitude for the previous year and my wishes for the year ahead. (If you’re interested in reading them, you can find 2013’s here, 2014’s here, 2015’s here, and last year’s here.)
 
This year, i’m doing things a little different. Because this year is a milestone year . . . i’m turning the big 4 – 0. As in 40. To be honest, on a conscious level i haven’t really thought much about it –meaning i don’t feel like there has been any extra stress added into my life because of the number (you know there are a lot of social stigmas surrounding the number 40). But i think on a subconscious level, i’ve felt . . . well, different. i’ve been uber-reflective, quiet, and of all things, calm. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few mood swings throw in here and there for good measure, but for the most part, i’ve been at ease. Content. Happy. And decluttering all aspects of my life — my closet, my office, my home, my drag room — of the things i don’t want to take into my next decade with me. And 40 years of accumulation whether it’s physical or mental is A LOT to dig through.
 
But for all the things i don’t want to take with me, there are many things that i do — sharing my thoughts and my world with you being one of the top ones. So i racked my brain trying to figure out the best gift i could think of to symbolize to the Universe how grateful i am for being blessed with 40 years on this planet — and for the space you’ve allowed me to share with you. This birthday ditty is what kept rapping at my soul.
 
These are the top 40 lessons i’ve learned in my 40 years of living a radically creative life — both onstage and off. These are in no particular order — only in the manner that they came to me. They are also lessons and truths that i know to be self-evident and true. Some may be for you. Others may not. My job isn’t to censor my ideas and thoughts. My job is to give you everything i know and have with the belief that whatever will serve you will land wherever you need it the most.
 
Mucho landings as you read.
 


 

 

On turning 40: 40 Lessons i’ve learned from 40 years of living a radically creative (and rebel) life

     

  1. Mentors. You need to have a few and/or a lot in your life, throughout your life. My past mentors have included Miss Piggy, Madonna, Courtney Love, Miss B (my 8th-grade theater arts teacher), Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos, and Joe Hoselton (aka Jenna Skyy — she was IMPERATIVE to my drag growth). My current mentors are Melissa Cassera in biz and making it a whole lot of fucking fun and Dani Shapiro, my writing mentor from afar.
  2.  

  3. Never say never. Seriously. Here’s why: All the things i have EVER said no to — belly dancing, being a ‘journalist,’ flying, bird watching, my wife — the universe has said, OH REALLY?! And BAM!! i’ve done every.single.thing on my “never” list.
  4.  

  5. Life is too short to drink well liquor. Know your liquor well (haha no pun intended) enough to know what makes your soul sing. Mine? Chartreuse ALL THE WAY!
  6.  

  7. Follow your light rabbits. As in those things that light you up from the inside — and those things that light up and sparkle on the outside too. Writing lights me up from inside. Drag lights me up on the outside. i need both to survive. Maybe you need both internal and external light to survive (and thrive) too?
  8.  

  9. Life isn’t made up of either/or. You can either have this or that. You can either be this or that. You can either be rich or be an artist. Life is not mutually exclusive. i can choose to forgo the either/or life and be BOTH/AND. Both a writer and a drag artist. Both a philosopher and a lover of glamour, glitter, fashion and fame. Both angry and full of love. A lover of Dallas Cowboys’ football and spiritual AF.
  10.  

  11. If you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Even if there is no way, no funds, or something everyone deems impossible, you will find/create a way to make it happen. i wanted to be a drag queen bad enough; i made it happen. i wanted to be a writer bad enough; i made it happen. i wanted to work for myself bad enough; i made it happen. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t/isn’t a struggle in the climb to make it all happen, it just means that i cared more about doing it than i did the fear of everything else.
  12.  

  13. You don’t need the whole world rallying behind you, or 5 million followers on Instagram or Facebook, you just need ONE person to believe in you. For me, it was one person outside of my parents and my wife. i needed ONE person outside of myself who knew me but didn’t really know me to look at me and see all the potential i knew was inside me but wasn’t visible in the physical world yet. i needed ONE person to say i see you — the “you” you could be, the “you” you are going to be, the “you” you already are. Thank you, Dana, for being the first to see Me. 
  14.  

  15. They are right about one thing, your 30’s are the BOMB-FUCKING-DIGGITY!!!
  16.  

  17. Your mind, the way you think, your mindset, your thoughts really ARE the key to EVERYTHING. (Here are a few books that have made a major impact in my thinking life: Ask and It Is Given {from the teachers that inspired The Secret but waaay better} by Esther and Jerry Hicks (The Teachings of Abraham*) The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz; E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout; and The Alchemist by Paulo Choelho (i ‘read’ the audio version of this book and LOVED IT!). *PS:: Sidestep the whole channeling thing if it feels weird. Because, trust, it is SO FUCKING WORTH IT!
  18.  

  19. It’s all connected. Everything.
  20.  

  21. Everything is energy. Even money. (The book where i first read this was Wealth 101: Wealth is Much More Than Money by John-Robert & Peter McWilliams. i recommed it. Highly.)
  22.  

  23. The time is NOW. There will never be “enough time” or the “right time” — you just have to fucking DO IT. NOW.
  24.  

  25. Your life purpose, what you were meant to do, your calling, your life’s work was revealed to you in when you were a kid. When i was growing up, i loved being by myself writing, creating, and performing for my stuffed animals. My wife would mix up pickle juice, mustard, ketchup, and whatever else she could find and make her sister drink it. Mine yourself, your childhood specifically, for what you were ‘meant’ to do. Even if it’s not there in its entirety, there will be clues.
  26.  

  27. The hardest step will always be putting yourself out there for the first time. Whether it was my first drag show, my first share on Facebook of my first book or article for BET, or my first set of deviled eggs i made for anyone except myself, that initial first offering of me, my work, my ideas, my identity was always (and will probably always be) the hardest.
  28.  

  29. My home is the most important place in the world. This one took me 38 years to understand but it is a lesson my wife has known her entire life. Your home is your sacred space to rest, recharge, center yourself, create, grow, and nourish your entire being. For the longest time, i would let anyone in my front door (hell, i was eventhisclose to allowing a camera crew into it) because i didn’t understand that my home was the root of my energy, the core of creativity, my vibe, my ideas. It was the ONE PLACE that i could shut the rest of the world out when things got bad and the one place i needed to be calm, centered, controllable when the rest of my world was chaotic and cray. i didn’t understand this until i stopped nonchalantly letting people, things, energy through my door without first asking myself would it hinder or harm the energy i’m trying to live in and create. This lesson and shift alone has revolutionized my life.
  30.  

  31. i am not for everyone. But chances are neither or you. But we are for someone — even if that someone is only ourselves.
  32.  

  33. Sex, as a means to an end, is overrated. There are much deeper ways of connecting than just on this physical plane. Sure it’s fun, but so is drag for me. i need an energy exchange that’s going to make my soul cum — not just my body.
  34.  

  35. Our ‘otherness’ is our power. Our diversity is our power. That’s why they try to regulate and rule it. Because what makes us different is the same shit that created the universe — and a world outside of one that sameness can control scares the shit out of those whose only claim to power is rooted in said sameness.
  36.  

  37. You don’t have to be fearful of things just because other people are. For the longest time, i thought i was afraid of heights because my father is. i would tell myself over and over again that i’m afraid of heights and so i started to believe it. This year, i drunkenly decided as i was walking up the spiral staircase of the Black Hole water ride at Hurricane Harbor to say to myself about my fear of heights (especially while standing still on the fenced in bridge you have to walk through to get into the actual ride space), There is no fear. There is no fear. Coincidentally (see #33) enough, i opened my eyes, looked around, and the fear was gone. Not forever. But for a moment. That moment. And i’ve taken that moment with me whenever i ‘think’ i fear something. Because there really is no fear — except for the one we create for ourselves.
  38.  

  39. Noone can tell you who you are. Noone can define you. From 16 to my mid-20s, i let other people tell me i wasn’t, i couldn’t be a drag queen or call myself one because i was born a girl. Fuck that. And fuck them. Their labels say more about them than they ever did of me.
  40.  

  41. Love. With everything you are. With everything you have. Even when (and most importantly) it can never be returned. Love has changed my life. Self-love has been the biggest revolutionary agent in the mental and internal battles i rage against myself. Love has kept me from self-imploding — especially this year and all the bullshit social-political shit that’s been going down.
  42.  

  43. Saying NO is just as (if not more important) than saying yes. This is one of those lessons i’m still learning and struggling with. Saying no — to people, things, ideas, jobs that don’t serve us, our dreams, or our work is hard. But being stuck in the aftermath of a reluctant yes that should have been a no is WAY worse. Resentment lives in that should-have-said-no-space.
  44.  

  45. It’s only temporary. The pain. The uncomfortableness. The hard part. The zeroed out bank account (or the overdrawn one). It’s all a temporary situation, not a permanent condition or forever reality.
  46.  

  47. They were also right when they said the years up until around 35ish would feel like forever but then life, time, and the years would speed up and all of sudden you’ll turn around and see that a decade of your life has passed in what only feels like a minute of time.
  48.  

  49. Now really is the only moment we have. This is one of those things that people have said (and i have heard) over and over again — to the point where i just want everyone to shut the fuck about this whole NOW thing. Now (haha, again, no pun intended ) i’m one of them. Because i finally get on a soul level what they were trying to say: anything else before or after NOW ceases to exist. Our now is the peak of the mountain. The rest of life falls beneath on either side eroding at the hands of time.
  50.  

  51. Change is possible at ANY time. i’ve always been big on a clean, fresh, NEW beginning — specifically new years. There’s something energetically invigorating about a new year that makes us all feel like we can begin again. i get that. i feel that. But through the years — especially these last five — i’ve really dug deep into other spaces and things that share that same fresh/new beginning. My birthday for instance (which is why i started this annual series). And the waxing and waning of the moon. Each month we are gifted with the same cycle as the new year — a beginning, a middle, and an end — only in the span of 29 to 30 days. Pushing back the layers of time even more, we find the same humble cycle in every day we wake up, live, and fall asleep. Just because it’s a cliche doesn’t mean it isn’t true: every day is a new beginning. But most of us (myself included) don’t see it that way. Over the last few months of my last year in my 30’s, i’ve been working on seeing and most importantly LIVING each day as a new beginning. This is a lesson i hope to take with me into my 40’s — and beyond.
  52.  

  53. Our birth chart is the greatest personal development tool we own. And you can get a free one here. What you need: Name, full date of birth, time of birth, place of birth. (FYI: pick Whole Sign Houses as the astrology system.)
  54.  

  55. And the moon is our biggest ally and greatest tool to understand the ebb of flow of all things — including our lives. (This is a great resource to begin your relationship with the moon. This is a great place to begin and cultivate your relationship with the stars and the planets. Both of these astrologers, Dana and Chani, are my biggest life coaches.)
  56.  

  57. Receiving = The complement. The praise. Love . . . i have always been my biggest batter — batting away things, people, compliments, ideas, love, and other things that would serve me in some way. And by “batting away” i mean: pushing people away when they are only trying to help, sabotaging relationships by cheating, arguing with people and their complements with a whole list of negatives and whys they weren’t true, going out and drinking until i got drunk instead of sitting down at my desk and doing the hard work. i’m still working on releasing my swing and receiving all the good that comes my way. It’s a constant struggle, but i’m open to learning . . . and receiving the lesson.
  58.  

  59. i am good enough. And i am enough just as i am. So are you.
  60.  

  61. It is OKAY that i cry at everything — movies, cartoons, commercials, events, books, animals on the street, and yes, even crying for no apparent reason. It’s okay that i am known as the crier of the bunch. i used to think it was a sign of weakness — that it would somehow make me more vulnerable to others. An easy target. Until i understood that there’s power in emotions — and in releasing them from your body. And i’d rather be crying because i’m alive in my own skin than stoic because i cannot feel anything inside my body.
  62.  

  63. If i’m not inspired by what i’m doing, my audience won’t be either.
  64.  

  65. The Universe is ALWAYS sending us messages — synchronicity, serendipity, signs, kismet, and “coincidences” are its language. Our job is to pay enough attention to receive them and connect what the Universe is trying to tell us to our lives. And sometimes the Universe speaks to us through the people closest to us. This happened to me at Christmas when i pulled this card from a deck of “affirmations” that wasn’t on my Christmas list but my wife saw and knew i would like them. The message was something i desperately needed to hear. i laminated it and taped it to the front of my 2018 bullet journal.
  66.  

  67. Death breeds clarity. The world has never seemed so small yet so significantly profound in its dailiness than when my wife and i were driving home from laying our cat in her final resting place, with “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” playing on the radio, her hand in mine, gratitude for all the memories — all the life, including that particular moment, and my insides beaming brighter than the outside sun hitting the car’s front windshield. In those few minutes after our cat’s death, i have never felt so alive. 
  68.  

  69. i am deep. i think deeply. i live deeply. i write deeply.  i once had a partner in my 20’s read one of my master’s essays and say to me, Why is your writing always so dramatic? i was dumbfounded. How could she love me so much and yet not understand me?! And from that moment on, i believed both my writing and how deeply and intently i looked upon the world and digested it to be bad. To be wrong. i put off a writing career and set my sites in drag. A good choice at the time, but words (and one’s love of them) never go away. But every time i would pick up my pen or open my computer to write, i’d hear his voice in the back of my head Why is your writing always so dramatic? It wasn’t until a few years ago when i picked my pen back up seriously that i found my answer . . . because living as queer, brown, woman is dramatic. Because life is dramatic. The universe is dramatic. And the way i think — deeply, intently, profoundly — is dramatic. And all that is okay too.
  70.  

  71. Everything we know to be true are humanmade concepts. Time — and wanting to track it on a clock or on our wrist — is a human concept. Money, fame, status, class, race, gender, sex, sexuality, age are human concepts — ones that have life or death implications for someone who is not born into the (human-derived) normative borders and standards within these things. But here’s the one i can’t figure out: Is love one too? That i don’t know. All i know is that feelings feel like they are real but at the end of the day that could be a humanmade concept too.
  72.  

  73. Nothing is truly impossible. i just don’t buy it. Again — improbability, impossibility are all humanmade concepts . . .
  74.  

  75. Vulnerability — and trying to learn how and do it — will be the death of me. For the past five years, i’ve picked three words in December that serve as my guide for my life in the new year. For 2018, my words are: Uninhibited ♥ Uplevel ♥  . . . and . . . ? This morning (Dec. 26, 2017) for the life of me i couldn’t remember what the third one was. i was stumped for like hours. i finally gave up and looked up the final word in my 2018 calendar. i’ll give you one guess what the word was . . . YEP! You got it. Vulnerable. i hate the word and the idea of it so much that i blocked it from my consciousness. i don’t know about you, but my brain is smart in that way — blocking out shit that i don’t want to do, remember, or fear . . . i.e. blocking out what has the biggest potential to create change in my life. Which is why i have to pay more attention to it, explore it, embrace it, and act on it.
  76.  

  77. Personal development, growth, the metaphysical, self-help, evolution — all of it is extremely important to me. i remember when i worked as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble; i was in my early 20s and every bookseller working (myself included) used to make fun of customers who were in the self-help section — as if trying to better oneself, be a better person, GROW was a bad word. But what they didn’t know was that it was always one of my favorite sections (the other was the metaphysical, astrology, wicca section hence my nickname “Witchypoo”). But i didn’t want to appear uncool or like i didn’t have it all together (read: not perfect), so i always hid my love for self-help books. Perhaps this is why my growth was so stunted in my 20s because i didn’t allow myself to love what i love and evolve into who i was trying to be with the help of others who had been there. Honestly? i’m still hiding my love for all things self-help (now called personal development) out of fear of being “made fun of.” Fuck that. None of that in my 40s. So i’m proclaiming to you and the world right here, right now: I LOVE PERSONAL GROWTH SHIT — books, workshops, affirmations, LOA, magik, workbooks, journals, documentaries, thoughts, EVERYTHING. Currently, i am devouring and loving this personal development book.
  78.  

  79. That in the end what i really know is nothing — just like Jon Snow. i can try to ‘figure it out,’ put my human brain to work on understanding something that is limitless, i can get all the degrees available, read every book in the world, travel to every single inch of the world and i still wouldn’t know or understand even a sand grain of what the universe has to offer, what the world means, or what i’m doing here. But, luckily, i don’t need to understand things logically or physically to believe that it all does mean something. 

 
Thank you for reading, laughing, and playing with me through the years. i am forever grateful for the lessons of you!
 
xo (from a now 40!),


 
PS. This year for my birthday i gave my work the gift of a Patreon page — a way for others to support my work and get behind it. If you wanna get something for my birthday but don’t know what or if my work has ever spoken to you in some way consider buying my work a monthly cup of coffee via Patreon here or a single cup via a one-time donation via Paypal here.

 

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