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It took me a long time to find my footing when the pandemic hit. After returning from filming Canada’s Drag Race, my light felt dim. I struggled to bounce back and feel like my normal self, even while I was living my dream. I had tours in the works, big shows and announcements; all my dreams were coming true and that helped. Then lockdown happened and-being an anxiety ridden Virgo-I knew that an end was not likely close. I had to be realistic with my situation.
My husband and I packed up, left our apartment in Toronto (where I had been for 10 years), and moved in with my family back in my childhood home. This arrangement was great at first! My family is really relaxed, it was almost summer time, and we had so much more space to live. The one thing that needed an adjustment was drag. I still wanted to continue to work and stay relevant, so I had to adapt. My original concept for keeping creative from home was to do an Instagram live with a different drag artist every Friday. I would interview them while they taught me how to do their makeup. It went well and felt fulfilling and fun at first, but Instagram as a platform just didn’t feel right for something like that. I ended up resenting getting into drag and dreading Fridays. That’s how I knew it was time to find a new way of being creative.
Canada’s Drag Race airing was fast approaching and with that, many digital drag gigs were popping up for the cast. We were given the task of creating digital performances and I was also in the process of saving as much money as I could. I was trying to better my craft while not spending all of my money on high quality equipment. So, with my family’s help, we turned the garage into a studio. I would use my iPhone, a projector, and a ring light, with a white or a black sheet tacked up as a backdrop, to create as many digital drag performances as I could just to continue working and putting out content.
The announcement of Canada’s Drag race couldn’t have come at a better time. It was incredible to receive that level of exposure and it was the only thing that kept me afloat throughout 2020. I am extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to be featured on that massive platform during such a hard time for my industry. It gave me the opportunity to actually make a good income and not have to rely on government assistance. I will always be extremely thankful for this. I received so much love for my time on the show and that softened the blow of having my experience not necessarily go the way I’d hoped for.
Watching the show and seeing my supporters react also helped me realize that I still hadn’t truly processed what I’d gone through. I decided it was finally time to call a therapist when I felt my light dimming again. I would spend full days in bed ignoring everyone around me, unable to feel positive. I needed to work on my mental health for my happiness. I started therapy and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was able to work through problems and emotions that I’d been ignoring or didn’t know how to handle. My therapist helped me understand important things about myself and my thoughts. She gave me homework and showed me how to cope with my anxiety and negative thoughts rather than dwelling in them, or whatever I was doing.
Once Covid rates finally began to slow down, my husband and I purchased our first home. Things were really starting to look up! It also became safer to work outside my house. I was offered gigs and small tours, so I took the leap and started performing in person again (with some safety adjustments, of course). In hindsight, however, this wasn’t the best decision for me. Despite the precautions, I was never comfortable at these gigs. It didn’t feel right working when so many people couldn’t. It also felt like, without trying to, I was putting other people and myself at risk. I’m happy for the experiences I had but they helped me learn to make smarter decisions in the future.
Then 2021 happened. We were in lockdown again and I stayed home for Christmas, but I was feeling so much more comfortable. We’d gotten used to never leaving the house. We didn’t really have to adjust to not seeing friends or family for the holidays because we hardly saw them anymore regardless. We had so much space and being new homeowners kept us busy. Despite that distraction, I still had that burden of feeling unhappy getting into drag. I struggled to find a good balance and make myself actually want to be in drag. Cameos, Tik Toks, and selfies are great but I didn’t feel like I really had purpose. That’s what finally made me decide to upgrade everything. I invested in a camera, a bunch of lighting equipment, and even built my own computer (piece by piece- I felt like such an iconic engineer).
I created a setup and a space that made me feel motivated again. I started a YouTube channel and began streaming on Twitch, and I have never felt happier. I’m grateful to be creating and making money while staying safe inside. The best part is that I feel excited to get into drag again and I’m surrounding myself with a positive, happy community. It might have taken a year, but I finally feel like my light is back.
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