This is on endless loop inside my head.
Over the spring and summer, I had a good friend who, after learning about me, was quick to offer: “You went from Prada to ‘nada,’ and you’re allowed to hurt.”
He was right, mostly. While I’ve never owned Prada, save some shades (I prefer up-and-coming street wear designers #buylocal #buysmallbusiness thank you), I don’t think I coped with the drastic changes, and challenges that arise from a lack of money until this summer.
Why? My excellent hindsight tells me it was a mixture of denial, addiction, depression and impulsiveness that led me to keep spending money I didn’t have.
Also, it’s just so funny how expensive everything is for poor people- you get a $50 parking ticket, it doubles if you don’t pay it in 2 weeks; you don’t work for a week because of the flu, you’re down a week of pay because your job doesn’t give sick time; you buy yourself a shirt from Target, and for sure you have to choose between dog food and your own groceries. It’s a rich man’s world.
I’m still dealing with it. It feels like I’m nose-deep in debt at times, and I really am… but, I’ve been forced to deal with it, and I think it’s made me stronger… (question mark?)
While at Starfucks, in order to make ends meet (and to work around having the shittiest and most clueless manager ever), I would work shifts from 5AM (open) to 2PM at my home store, then work 3PM to 11PM (close) at another. I’d take the train home, crash for 2 hours, and start again at 4AM when I’d wake up, roll out of bed and get on the 151 for the hour trek downtown. It was an unsustainable model. I was exhausted 90% of the time, and hyped up on the crack that is blonde espresso.
That’s a long way away from waking up at 8 or 9, getting into my office at 9:30AM, and getting out by 2PM for my old job in Houston.
It’s ok, I’m my mother’s son, and I’d steal. I stole all the time. I don’t hate myself for it. There, I admit it.
However, stealing aside, every morning I put on a brave face every morning, and got downtown to that terrible store. I blocked my manager and my obnoxiously oblivious and hypocritical co-shift. They were just the absolute worst to work for and with. I constantly turned a blind eye to various shortcomings, and mistakes they made; while mine were always purposefully recorded and shared for “accountability’s sake.” For example, I could walk in at 5AM to open, to a dirty store rearranged and unstocked; fridges open; food still frozen; and, other than mentioning it to my co-shift or manager I would go on about my day. My manager, literally bound by his emotional instability, would undermine every decision and action I made; and my co-shift, bound by her… lack of intellect, could not reciprocate- she’d tell on me all the time. All my mistakes were “critical errors” … They absolutely were not (usually). I just couldn’t keep working in a toxic environment where we were all considered replaceable (stated multiple times by my mentally ill manager), and treated as such.
I stayed at this damn job for a full year before I lost my damn mind over it, and found a new one (a mucho mucho better one)
I digress. Basically, what I meant to say through that rant, is that I mostly waded through the bullshit. I had to. A job’s a job, and you need one to not only live; you need one to enjoy your life.
There’ve definitely been times I made it through two weeks with $100 in my account. Partially, because I got lucky and still have some help from the ex (thinking of it as a severance package to help keep my fine lifestyle), and partially because it’s just what you do. I don’t eat out, normally, but when I do, I try to get something cheap- like the $4 cheesy grits at Nookies, or the $2 bao from Wow Bao. I haven’t bought a new item of clothing (save work clothes, maybe $40 TOTAL), since… I lived in Houston. I go out on the weekend to socialize and always try to flirt my way to at least one drink. And, I’m a frequent buyer at Dollar General, and cut out coupons like a pro.
Having a cheap ass for an ex, thankfully, prepared me for the life of Oliver Twist.
I think it’s a little simple to think of life as black and white, though, or “Prada to nada.” It has been a good year for me in a lot of ways. The best is yet to come with my cousin moving into town, too. I have a great team for support, even though it isn’t the original team I thought I’d have.
I don’t want to say I wouldn’t change it for the world, but this is my story! Always a little off kilter. Always a little rough. But, more interesting than most.
Damn. It’s been a whole year. More than a year.
Some important moments:
Hurricane Harvey destroying not only my home, but millions of others. I’m a literal hurricane refugee.
Where did I seek refuge? Chicago.
What happened in Chicago? I became a single man again (ending a 4- year relationship)
Melania’s “I don’t really care, do you?” coat
President Trump and his “loyal” supporters have come out of the woodwork.
Fell under the Starbucks curse of “Partner of the Quarter.” Being liked is not the same as respected. And, at a job like mine was at Starbucks, a survival job- I was expected to do far too much for far too long for far too little compensation.
I joined the team at Foxtrot co.- so far, so good. Longer shifts. But, less work. As a small, but quickly growing millennial company, I feel like I beat a punch. There’s opportunity for advancement- close enough that I can feel it.
Joshuaa moved to Chicago.
Josh and I live together at the moment in my zoo!
Cassie visited for Saint Patrick’s Day (Iconic), and is now moving to Chicago in less than two weeks. We’ll share a gorgeous two bedroom, two bathroom (WHAT?) near the water in Uptown/Lakeview.
Trixie won All Stars. Aquaria won Season 10.
RuPaul has said some cringeworthy things about trans- and black members of society, highlighting the problem of white washing, and white sympathizing.
I’ve learned to deal with the consequences of my actions. Really, I’ve learned that they’re real.
I’m still sad about the break up, as I expected, but feel like it’s been a breath of fresh air. I want it to stay that way. I need more space. If there’s not trust, there’s not real friendship. I don’t think I’ll ever fully be ready to be friends with him again. I prefer to keep the good memories. Any more is toxic.
Zack Varela renewed my love of theatre, and introduced me to more of Chi-town than I would’ve if he hadn’t visited as a tourist.
I cheated; technically he didn’t cheat. Doesn’t make it better for me.
Joined a choir.
I lost my ID drunkenly on the bus.
I became an official Illinois resident!!
Got cast in an opera.
Got cast in a cabaret. Speaking of, I need to produce it.
Lots of artists here. A little daunting. But, there’s more opportunity.
Watched a lot of TV.
Realized the extent of my depression.
Told an ugly girl (not to her face) that she looks like Sarah Huckabee Sanders on an off-day… not that it’s untrue.
Went to my first Chicago Pride; Market Days; Saint Patrick’s Day.
Flirted a bit. Some successful, Some not.
Experienced firsthand the power of “No.”
Made and lost a best friend.
Quit a job dramatically.
Learned how to live without AC- a lot of fans.
Got into a few clubs without IDs (EPIC)
Made friends with a talented drag queen– I’ve always thought they were too scary, or too extra
Fought with said drag queen friend in boy drag as a coworker. “I need to talk to you.”
Fought an addiction. Lost it at moments, and am currently conquering it.
Stopped editing photos as much.
Realized my hair is thinning. I think it’s due to stress. Or the GMO Foods I eat.
Learned about the $6 Pick Two at Burger King.
Learned how to stretch out $100 in two weeks.
Learned to appreciate what I have way more.
Laughed at the old Ryan who would waste $20 every two days on massages, or $400 a week on groceries I wouldn’t eat.
Lots of good night talks with the bestie, Josh.
Learned a lot from a young woman named Mariah. Her life is a story book at 20.
Tried out Tinder.
I want drama. I want there to be more drama.
“Dolt 45; Coral McRacistPants; Twitler grabbing the pussy of a MTF” 2017. Who’s the real problem here, 45? #transgenderrights #transgender is not a new phenomenon. Our social and scientific understanding of the subject has just rapidly grown very recently. It’s not #fakescience. Don’t let what makes you feel icky detract from your empathy. I always quote @rupaulofficial because when I finally heard it everything clicked — We’re born naked and the rest is drag. 😍✔️😍
All Nicknames lovingly stolen from Awesomely Luvvie.
Squirrelwig McRacistPants. Cheeto Satan. Coral Babyhands. Fanta Fascist. Dreamsicle Demon. Orange Menace. El Hombre de Tang. Marmalade Mussolini. Orange Anusmouth. Don the Con. Hair Gropenfuhrer. Sunkist Stalin. Habañero Hitler. Mandarin Orange Mugabe. The Orange Peel. Trumplethinskin. Orange is the new Splat. Tangerine Nutsack. Angry Creamsicle. Human-toupee hybrid. Agent Orange. Fuckface von Clownstick. Cheetolini. The Orange Shitweasel. President Tang. Persimmon Toddler. Kim Jong Orange. Pantone Beelzebub. Hair Gropenfuhrer. Minute Maid Mao. Clueless Orange Julius. Papaya Batista. Sweet Potato Saddam. Doorknob Trundlefuck. Tropicana Mussolini. Mangled Apricot Hellbeast. Twitler. Pumpkin Pinochet. Cheeze Wiz. Lemonhead Elect. Peach Nehi President. Trump Brulée. Short Fingered Vulgarian. Orange Foolius. Pumpkin Spice Satan. Tang Tyrant. Mandarin Manchurian Candidate. Sunburned Stalin. Babyhands McCheetodick. Cheeto-in-Chief. Salmon Voldemort. Candy Corn Kremlin. The Nacho Nazi. Toupée Fiasco. PEEOTUS.
Hello, hello, hello Ladies and Gays!
Hallelu! We’ve come to the end of Season 9. It’s Sasha Velour Vs. Peppermint Vs. Shea Coulee Vs. Trinity. It’s the first time we’ve had four contestants in the finale.
However: Anybody else think this season is still is just a little lackluster. It just kind of happened without any wonderful results in the end. There were several bad attitudes in the talent pool; difficult challenges that nobody nailed; and, terrible lip syncs. Not one, but two terrible lip syncs that, I believe, skewed the results of this show. I guess we’ll just have put this season in the same category as Season 2: Do Not Ru-member It. That being said…
This finale is swanky. All of this season’s queens make an entrance in order of elimination. Typically, I can’t remember some of the queens who were cut earlier in the season. But, maybe because they all each had a two episode arc (and we waited so long for the season to start), I knew who all the girls are.
So, let’s Toot & Boot their finale looks!
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Wow what a finale! Gave a Jayne Mansfield look with a Jaymes Mansfield twist. Congratulations to @sashavelour on her crowning. 👑 Photo by: @britterst Pony tail piece by: @1800wigtakeout Dress by: @_oculusprime Puppet/Stole: by me Moving Puppet eyes by: @natemfpuppets Nails by: @vie.lette Jewelry by: @ampedaccessories #jaymesmansfield #jaynemansfield #thegirlcanthelpit #rupaulsdragrace #rupaulsdragraceseason9 #dragrace #rupaulsdragracefinale
Toot- Ok, damn. She’s cute. I really appreciate the puppet here. She took her first entrance look with her busted puppet and turned it around!
Boot: Truth be told, the dress is really beautiful, but she’s about as personable as a stick. I also think this is semi-predictable, and doesn’t push any boundaries. MORE SKIN. or, MORE DIAMONDS. or, MORE FEATHERS. Something…
Toot: I love everything about this look- the bubblegum blue hair, the latex, the bodice, the makeup, and her heels, but I do not like the necklace with her name on it. Oh well, so it’s a 98% toot.
Toot: Oh, Eureka… One of the true casualties of season 9 that I truly expect to rise from the ashes in season 10. I love how shiny she looked on the runway. She fucks yo’ beauty standards with her elephant headdress, and still slays in a form fitting gown. Extra points for going monochrome gray.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine
Toot: (I guess I’m tooting all of them tonight…) I think this is true Cucu Fantasy for her. She’s a vision! I love her foam hair, her huge eyes and that dress… I am such a sucker of embroidered gold. So luxe. Looks like an anime character brought to life.
Toot 70% Boot 30%: I think Aja sells her looks better than they are. When I saw this live, I was obsessed: My scribbles- YAS A COCKTAIL DRESS. LOOKS LIKE BARBIE. But, in the stills, I think the shoes look like they’re too big for her, and it’s less impactful. It’s very Aja, but I wonder if it almost looks a little juvenile. The Lady Gaga urine blonde hair is killer, though.
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Had such a lovely time at the #dragrace finale this past weekend. It still feels like it was all just a dream… big thanks to my team: Costume designed by the incredibly talented @abrahamdlevy Custom jewelry by @ampedaccessories 5 pound Hair by non other than @wigsandgrace Spray tan by @organicblisstanslv Stone work by @shawnmsuperstar Photo by David laffe at @welovequeens To anyone wondering how my mom is doing: she's recovering and very sore but she's alive and doing well. Love you guys, thank you for the love and prayers. 💋💕
Toot: Now, this is a Vegas show girl look. (Still, not interested in her, though…)
Toot x 1 billion: She’s just a step (or 10) above. She’s a superstar. Team Valentina. She’s my one celebrity affair I’ve allowed myself. #Flawless
Nina Bo’Nina Brown
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See u tonight @splashbarflorida in Panama City fla. and my website is now up where u can finally purchase merchandise,!! Link is in profile 🙂 ps not all the non black people think I look like tkb lol.#queen #art #dragqueen #gay #hair #comicon #cosplay #cosmetics #bodypaint #nofilter #mua #makeup #mehronmakeup #makeupjunkie #makeupforever #makeupbynids #rpdr9 #maccosmetics #RupaulsDragRace #rupaulsdragraceseason9 #blackqueen
Toot 90%: You can’t tell from this pic, but it’s not completely floor length. It’s a little awkwardly chopped off right above the ankle. I think it could’ve been just a little shorter hence taking 10% off. But, I had to give her a Toot because the makeup is so damn good. She looks like an innocent little slut from the fifties!
Boot: Ugh I feel bad booting. But, if I must… I know they all are costumes, but I feel like this looks very costume. The feathers on the shoulders look plucked, and her hairline is clockable. Her eyebrows are going into her hairline…
All the girls stepped their pussy game up. No question about that!
Now for the surviving queens!! The Top 4.
I think each of the Top 4 served it up for the finale. I have to give them all Toots!
Sasha Velour gave us futuristic choir boy alien realness and looked a vision in blue. Trinity Taylor has been denying us true pageant glamour this season! The last two evening gowns she’s presented for the runway have been the best looks of the season! I thought she was a crotchless jumpsuit kinda girl. I’m kind of #TeamTrinity after the reunion, so I’m really proud of her. Shea Coulee looks like black Barbie in the best possible way. Her makeup is, as always, fierce, and (you can’t tell from this pic) I loved that she was wearing pants and made them look very feminine. I voted for her on Facebook #TeamShea. And Peppermint gave us Peppermint Fish. She is owning her trans-woman self, and has the girls out to play ;). I love it.
Then of course, there’s Mama Ru. Unclockable perfection.
Please keep in mind, her entrance is like 30 min. into the episode so it’s pretty much all business from here on out. For the first time, the finalists to be America’s Next Drag Superstar had to spend the last episode of the season locked in battle, performing head-to-head lip syncs in order to win Drag Race.
First up, Trinity and Peppermint gave amazing performances to Britney Spears’ Stronger. Trinity had a lot of tricks, and she threw them all. But, it didn’t match up to Peppermint’s charisma. And, she pulled a Roxie Andrews X Violet Chachki move 3/4 into the song, revealing a pixie Platinum blonde wig and flowy gown under what was all ready a sickening look. Trinity really stood no chance and became the first eliminated queen of the night.
Next, we’re forced to watch the two powerhouse besties of the season, Sasha and Shea battle it out to Whitney Houston’s So Emotional. I actually think Shea performed this song better than Sasha through and through. But, Sasha had… roses. ooh! I mean… I thought her wig looked loose. It was beautiful seeing those roses fly out and swirl from her gloves, then shower her as they dropped from her wig. But, I think she won the lip sync because of this gag, and not performance quality. Oh. Yeah, Sasha beat Shea in this lightning round.
LetMeGetThisStraight: My two favorites are not fighting for the crown any longer. But, both queens that beat them, beat them because they played the game. I don’t think it was a matter of lip sync talent, or overall performance in the competition. Shea won the most challenges of all… And, Trinity has really been good at every challenge except that roast one. Oh, well. Ru has to get it wrong every few seasons, right?
So, our final two are: Sasha Velour and Peppermint. I think Ru picked the most appropriate song, Its Not Right But Its Ok by Whitney Houston to choose this year’s champion. Because, it’s really Valentina. Haha! Or, Eureka! But, if neither of those, definitely out of the top 4 remaining queens, it should’ve been #TeamShea.
Both are gorgeous, and comparing them is like apples and oranges. Peppermint is serving Carnivale Princess drag, and Sasha giving Alien Wedding Dress realness.
Sasha has to thank another clever prop. In this lip sync, she cracks open her white skull cap. I have to hand it to Sasha, despite lacking certain dance skill, she’s still pretty entertaining to watch. Peppermint brought her charismatic energy to this battle as well, but it was clear early on in the number that Sasha was given more airtime.
Sasha Velour wins this season of Drag Race! Bob The Drag Queen hands over the crown to our first bald queen! I’m not saying I’m disappointed, but it’s not really the result I was hoping for. I know Sasha will be a great role model for all the gaybies, but going straight off the results of the competition… I feel like someone was robbed and better come back for an All Stars (crossing fingers!!)
Next! (Season, that is)
So, I have to ru-cap the prior to episodes. I had to work during their airing but Mama Ru keeps these recordings under lock and key! I finally found them, and they’ll be coming up soon, gays!
Hello, hello, hello ladies and gays!
Top 4 Ladies and Gays!
This is the Top 4 we deserved: Shea, Sasha, Trinity and Peppermint. It may not be the top 4 I originally thought we’d have (Valentina and Eureka **ahem ahem**), but it’s our top 4. Overall, I’m pleased with the line up! These ladies have brought energy from the beginning.
Top of Show:
Ms. Michelle Visage arrives in the workroom following Alexis’ elimination. Can you follow in Ru’s footsteps, ladies? Literally, they have to follow his tempo by recording an original verse and learning choreography to Ru’s new song “Category Is.”
side: the big question on everyone’s mind is: “Who replaced Lucian?” Bye, girl, bye.
They’ll be coached an choreographed by All Star’s judge, Todrick Hall. The girls also guest star on the podcast “RuPaul: What’s the Tea? with Michelle Visage.” Oh, and they will perform the song live on the main stage prior to the final runway presentation.
In the Work Room
The girls always say funny things. Ah, the power of editing… They all decide that Peppermint has the most experience for a challenge like this one, and Trinity is the least comfortable singing and dancing, so she’ll probably struggle.
wait I’m confused: Trinity has been solid throughout this whole competition imho, and Peppermint needed some time to warm up. Or, are we not remembering it that way? I will say, however, that these girls are really pushing RuPaul’s Best Friend’s Race, because that’s about the shadiest thing said in the work room.
Recording and Choreo Session:
Damn. The girls are right. Trinity struggles to remember her… vocal schtick and stick to the choreography. Sasha also struggles, but really, Todrick? Those moves looked difficult.
fyi: my definition of diffficult being “anything I can’t do in my tiny living room while watching the show”… Anyway.
As for Sasha’s “rapping” she does openly say she’s going to perform “spoken word” over the rap. But, she’s just not entertaining.
Peppermint has a good memory for both her vocal performance and the choreography, improving their own confidence in the challenge while setting the bar even higher for the other queens.
Shea, in my mind, is in a league of her own for this challenge. She has probably the most difficult choreography featuring a triple pirouette. Todrick looked happy with her.
In the end, this live performance segment on the runway is one of the best editing jobs the crew has ever done. All the queens looked incredible, and were entertaining. It more than makes up for the cheer leading challenge earlier this season.
Runway Is: Eleganza Extravaganza
The final runway of the season, y’all! (scribble time)
Peppermint: Truly giving us Princess Anastasia/ Russian doll realness. Hair is the same wig she’s had, though…
Shea: A bit of a let down, honestly… I’m openly not a big fan of her’s (I was for her promo looks pre-show, but the second she came in screaming for her intro… nope- Boner Killer), but I typically appreciate the way she styles herself. Looks expensive! The dress just looked a little thrift store-y.
Sasha: Also, a wee bit predictable. It’s a Beyonce- inspired, high fashion swimsuit. But, she looks beautiful in it.
Trinity: The look of the night. Michelle says it’s the best she’s ever looked. She is giving 1940’s silent siren.
Who Should Stay?
Before this episode aired, I believed that Peppermint should go home. But, everyone did really well in this challenge. And, all in all, none of the looks were terrible, so I’m thinking that Peppermint is going to have to lip sync Trinity. Ru has other plans though, he has them all deliver encouraging speeches to their younger selves. One final group lip-sync later, and voila! The series’ third “shantay you all stay” and first-ever top four.
So, they’re all going to be in the finale. Who’s going to win? #TeamShea
Season 9 has thrown us a lot of curveballs. Like I said at the top, I don’t think if we had certain queens still in the mix over others at this point, Ru wouldn’t have kept all 4. I think this was the best way for Drag Race to consolidate its losses- If the best isn’t here, let’s give them more options to distract them from the mediocrity.