How YouTube Has Shaped My Drag and My Being
I hope your week is treating you well. However, If it has been a monster of a week and you are pulling your hair out, perhaps now is a good time to set yourself aside, free your mind from the troubles and angst of the world, and work on some positive reflection. I'll guide you along your journey by taking you through my head space as an example.
If you are reading or listening to this text you may be giving yourself some time to focus on something outside of your daily worries. Now, even if you aren't particularly stressed this week, we all go through bouts of self-doubt, invite unintentional fear or worry into our head spaces, and get wrapped up in complaining about the diverse situations in which we live. The first step is to release the identities you assume that hold together these worries and complaints.
During my most productive and happy mornings I do a little exercise. I brush my teeth, wash my face in warm, then cold water, and then I look myself in the face and I say these words: I Release Identity
It may seem simple, but the mindful practice that these words trigger is a bit more complex. The goal of saying these words - and you may need to repeat them several times over- is to take a step outside of yourself, that is, your ego.
You see, everyone has a self. Often, we call this entity "I" or "Me." However, the self is not you. Well, not entirely. If you were in fact you, then you would not be able to remove yourself from your self and reflect on your actions, thoughts, and livelihood.
I'll give you an example so it may be easier to grasp what it is I'm saying:
I was standing in line at a clothing store buying used pumps and a burgundy body suit. I was also sporting beard stubble, "boy" attire, and I hadn't bothering drawing in any eyebrows. As I stood in line I thought several things: "Those people are avoiding me because they don't want their child to ask questions. The cashiers are being extra friendly but they are going to talk about me when I leave - was that a tranny? He, she, whatever, is buying the sluttiest clothes we have." I was avoiding eye contact, stumbling over words, and over all being a worry wart.
However, when I looked squarely at the cashier and she smiled brilliantly at me as though saying, "You are going to look so fierce in these," I had a moment of reflection. I stepped out of my self and quickly analyzed what I was thinking, what projections I was assuming, and what experiences in my self's past had influenced this behavior. And then I said, "Ok, I get it. Thank you for coming, but you need to leave. I release Identity."
This practice isn't the easiest, but it can save you from your self. And there is no better time to practice this meditation then early in the morning. Allow the practice to shape your day by examining what fears and worries are defining you, understanding them and why they are there, and then sending them on their way.
Get lost. Now, I don't mean leave your situation or forget your troubles. In fact, it is important to do some worrying, it protects us from the world's danger and from poor decision making. What I mean instead is that you need to find some escape. It can very be dangerous to worry too much or to complain about our lives so much so that it defines who we are.
To avoid this we need to escape our egos, escape the identities that encourage doubt and instead get lost in the identities that excite us. Some people get so wrapped up in their lives they climb mountains or bungie jump off of bridges to escape them. You do not need to be this extreme, but if you are trained well and practice safety, then by all means go paragliding.
For me, however, I participate in activities that help me lose myself. That are so attractive and entertaining that I forget how quickly time passes or that my body is tired. This activity should be a bit therapeutic, maybe even classified as a stress reliever. My boyfriend sometimes attempts to play videos games to help him stop worrying, if only for a time. I, however, do drag. I cake myself in makeup, creating a piece of art really, and I will often forget what time it is or that yesterday I had a complete breakdown because I worried that neighbors were staring at me.
Getting lost not only encourages resistance to worry, but it can also center your headspace. Have you every had a bout of worry and then suddenly you watched reality tv for an hour, and when you turned the tv off you reminded yourself of your worry. This is a prime example that it is not always or exclusively your situation and your body that define your worry, but it is that pesky self that is hexing you. And now we have a practice that helps us say, "hey you, yeah I get it. That's very sweet, but you need to leave." Having a mindful practice and a tactile practice can set you on your way to the happiness you deserve.
Find your tribe, you know, those people that get you, who understand you a little bit better than others, who share your interests. It is great to be mindful of the self and to have practices to escape it, but it can be quite difficult to do so on your own without someone to talk about the things that interest you using the appropriate lingo, and being a part of a community that shares an understanding as well as a vocabulary.
For example, I love talking about Drag Race. I love it so much I watch people on YouTube talk about it and I pretend I'm right beside them laughing and providing my opinions. Whenever I feel a little bit alone in the world because my ego is defining myself as having no friends, YouTube is a great place to reach out to a world of people who share your interest in your meditative practice, be it mindful thinking or designing makeup. FaceBook, Reddit, Instagram and other places are also great but I feel YouTube is particularly accessible, easily genuine and also immediate.
For me, there is some weight in maintaining a channel and interacting with others. It is a place where I can share who I am and what my interests are by way of film, a very personal medium. And, I watch others be filmed, sharing their personal spaces as they do the things that define who they are and sometimes define who I am too, or at least the identities that are attractive and entertaining.
I hope these steps to mindfulness are useful for you wherever you may be in your day, week or life. Perhaps it could be useful to write these steps down in a cute notebook or on your fridge:
Step 1: Release Identity
Step 2: Get Lost
Step 3: Find Your Tribe
Let me know if you try this mindfulness practice or if you have any questions. It was a pleasure to be with you today and I hope you enjoy the rest of your wonderful splendiferous day.
Bye Bye, Angels