“I Am Who I Am”

By Marco Davis, PQ Monthly

“I am. I am who I am, and no one, nobody can tell me I’m not. A pulse, a hidden heartbeat, a pounding deep within. Craving the courage to stand on the edge. Why? Why does flight have to come from a fall?”

Those are the opening words to my song, “I Am,” which was the opening number of my first show, “Dragalution.” The words didn’t take shape into a song until the summer of 2012, while I was driving across the bridge on my way to the beach for my weekly soul cleanse (also known as the yelling rant at the beach, where I scream who I am and why I’m here). I am a 45 year-old drag queen living in the oldest settlement west of the Rockies—Astoria, Oregon.

I am a romantic. I am a survivor of rape. Twice. I am a survivor of Catholic school and high school in the 1980s in the logging and fishing town of Astoria. I am not my wounds. I am joy. I am revolution. I am silly, I am proud.

I am proud I came out in this lifetime. Yes, mine was the, “Duh, we all knew” response, too. I was told I was gay from a very young age. I had it shouted and beaten into me for years. I had friends encourage me to maybe think about the fact that I might be gay. You think? None of it matters. If you aren’t ready, you aren’t—and I just wasn’t. I am who I am.

I am proud to say I live in a community that not only embraces me, but celebrates the crazy I carry around with me on the daily. Most of my life I have held myself down. I have held back and made myself small as to not make a ripple. People, I just can’t be quiet. I am a natural born leader and I choose to lead this revolution with joy, benediction, party, and expression. Dragalution is about celebrating one’s indepenDANCE. The indepenDANCE to be free and dance the dance of life in whatever count and rhythm you find.

Sometimes you’ll hear me speak aloud the reminder, “5, 6, 7, 8.” Often, I throw in a “kick step, kick step, pas de bouree, turn, and pelvic thrust.” It’s a reminder to keep the dance alive. To feel the beat within your soul and thrust forward with pride your own dance. If you “fall out of step,” look at it as a solo and own it. Have you ever noticed we’re most open with our joy when we make a mistake in public? A trip on the sidewalk always best. Own your smiles. We don’t share them enough. We have become too angry and too critical. The joy gets stuffed down to make way to the “brand” our pride must take.

Celebrate your indepenDANCE, your indepenDANCE to be you. Walk with your friends, but wave your own flag. Find your strength, your voice, and “sing out Louise”—own your song, weak notes and all. Stand out.

Follow Daylight Cums at http://daylightcumsdragalution.blogspot.com/.