Last week I had the magically thrilling opportunity to meet interstellar trailblazer Nichelle Nichols (also known as the original Lieutenant Uhura) in the flesh. Considering all that has been going on with me of late, my first excited impulse was that I would of course meet her dressed in my costume from RAIN. Then I remembered that there was also (naturally) a replica of Uhura’s red minidress uniform hanging in my closet. With a gasp of greatness the once in a lifetime moment of geek perfection materialized in my brain: I would dress as Storm dressed as Uhura! I exploded with delight and laughter at the thought of it. A friend who was listening to me have this revelation out loud scoffed a bit and said. “Why don’t you just go as yourself?”
How do you even begin to explain…
I never really feel the need to explain myself or alter my ideas for people like that, so I didn’t at the time… I just scoffed in return and went about my business. Good thing, because THIS happened:
But thinking about it later on made me even prouder of the work I’m doing with RAIN and why it feels so damn good to bring that character to life…. and how “playing dress-up”, as others may see it, IS being myself.
Those two characters, Ororo and Uhura– those two women– are absolutely a part of how the world has been shaped and reshaped so that I CAN be who I am. Being able to inhabit and pay tribute to both characters at once… as a performer — which is also who I am– is a priceless treasure AND pure artistic greatness AND a very personal tribute to the trailblazing icon space queen I was about to be able to shake hands with. It was the thank you I was completely unable to say properly with words when the time came and my tongue tied itself into a useless knot.
What my friend and most others must see as playing dress-up to me is absolutely being myself. Channeling some other parts of myself, like a shaman wrapping up in furs and painting her face to call on some wild animal spirits, only a thousand percent nerdier.
It came up again today. This weekend the big Comic Con comes to Austin. I’ve been excited like a kid about going of course. Production of the film has slowed and I’ve been aching like a junkie for a chance to climb into character again. I’m a performer, RAIN is my song, and for right now something like Comic Con is a perfect stage to play on for a couple days. I’m also unemployed at the moment however, and the question was raised as to whether or not there was any inherent value in my “spending all that money” to walk around playing dress-up. Unemployment is a scary place and it’s pretty easy to feel guilty and doubtful about where your money is going and why. I went for a walk and vented out some tears of frustration and by the time I got home a dear friend had hooked me up with free entry to the weekend’s geektivities. The “spending all that money” bit of the problem was solved so I didn’t have to care about whatever the rest of it was anymore.
I know who I am, and I typically don’t give a shit if it makes sense to anyone else or not.
The season is new, my life is changing, and right now I am unemployed and unsure of exactly where my next stable footing will be, so it’s easier to be pushed into insecurity for a minute. Just for a minute though. And during those times I can slip into some leather duds, clip the big white mohawk onto my hair like a crown and leave the insecurity behind and escape into the Storm.