1. Shade name you identify with most and why:
Lover. I would have chosen other names from the list at different junctures in my life, but ‘lover’ sums me up best at this moment. For years, my identity was based in vocation: writer, producer, performer, et al. Then, somewhere in the throes of a brutal (and embarrassingly cliché) drug and alcohol addiction, the drugs stopped working for me and I stopped working, in every sense of the word. In my struggle back from the shadows, I find that I’m falling in love with something or someone pretty much every waking moment. Poetry fragments scrawled in a public bathroom, someone’s personal style I chance upon, even the simplest things like the way carpet looks after it’s been vacuumed. . .There’s so much to love, you can love anything and I love.
2. Mantra you live by:
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Dolly Parton
My mom always said this phrase to me and my brother when we were kids. She said it so often and with such force that it’s been forever seared into my brain; it’s a simple statement that reminds me to always be at the top of our game, wherever I am.
3. The things you are grateful for:
I’m a firm believer in the adage that ‘he who does not thank for little will not thank for much.’ That being said, there are so many of the little things I’m grateful for—waking up without the burden of what I did the night before or the anxiety of obtaining various substances to get out of bed, the roof over my head, the friends who pick me up whenever I call, the fact that you asked me to participate in this project—they’re all massive.
I’m also grateful for:
streaming video (Fandor is an excellent Amazon/Netflix supplement), warm Krispy Kreme donuts, flamboyant queer activists, rain, recovery fellowship, my boss and co-workers at the treatment center where I’m currently employed, acts of spontaneous runway, onomatopoeia, laughter, butoh, haunted mansions, the creative outpourings of friends: Liz McGrath’s visual art and music, Darren Stein’s celluloid brilliance, Margaret Cho’s comedy, Michelle Tea’s writing, Jared Gold’s stellar fashion design, Pauley Perrette’s acting, Shawna Kenney’s wordsmithery, Jessicka Addams’s pretty much everything, art direction by Pedro Zalba and the photography of Albert Sanchez and of course Michelle Violy Harper.
More than anything, though? I’m grateful for my parents.
4. The person you admire most and why:
My mom. She has such a great heart. She was a teacher for about 30 years, and I’m profoundly influenced by the number of lives she touched. Seeing someone run across Target to express how she was suicidal in 6th grade and my mom was the person who gave her the hope to carry on: those moments were little pieces of perfect. Plus she’s never given up on me. . .even when she probably could have.
5. Your Goal(s) for 2017:
Be receptive to what the universe has to offer, and more importantly, what I might offer others.
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