On Being Authentically Myself

Hey everyone, it’s been awhile. Something happened today and I knew immediately that it was something I needed to write about–for myself, my friends, and my family.

Since high school I have been a superfan of the popular TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, a show about drag queens competing America’s Next Top Model style to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. But as much as I loved the show, I never really considered doing drag in my personal life for a few reasons. 1) I didn’t want to deal with what some close-minded friends and family might say, 2) I didn’t think I had the skills to do what these queens can do, and 3) I wasn’t confident enough in myself to do something as bold as be a drag queen.

This past semester, I was in a stage makeup class that quite literally changed my life (shoutout to you, Emmie! 💖). I learned many different stage makeup techniques, but my favorite thing we did was our gender reversal unit. The class gave me an excuse to start really painting my face like a drag queen would, and though my beginning looks were rough, I was hooked from the start. I couldn’t stop painting my face, and even bought a bunch of new makeup to practice at home over winter break.

And here we are now, a few days after I made a personal Instagram for my drag persona, Ms. Ruth A. Nasia (get it?). I’m still putting looks together, but I’m going to be performing soon here in Bloomington and I couldn’t be happier about it. Though this is all very exciting this is only about halfway to what I came here to talk about (though you should still follow me at @ruth.a.nasia).

Today I tried a new boy glam makeup look on my face, and I felt amazing about it. I’m very happy with how far I’ve come since I first started my makeup journey (and boy was it a journey). I was going to put it on Ruth’s Insta, and when the options came up about where I wanted to post it, I immediately had some hesitation on posting it to Facebook. I felt this same way the other night when I was posting Ruth’s first picture in a full outfit. I don’t need to think about why I hesitated, I know why I did.

I hesitated because of family members who might think it was strange. I hesitated because of guys from high school I’m still friends with that might judge me. I hesitated because maybe I’m still not as confident as I want people to think I am. Performing on stage in front of thousands of people? No big deal. Putting a picture of myself in makeup on Facebook? Terrifying. Instagram is one thing, that’s my safe space where the people who want to follow me do, but Facebook is more public.

But then I asked myself why I was trying to hide myself. Makeup has given me such a creative outlet–it’s such an artform and the truth is I feel more confident with a full face on than I do without one. And that’s okay! There is such a stigma around guys who want to wear makeup, whether they are drag queens or not. Makeup has been viewed as for girls only by society for such a long time even though men have been wearing it for years. There’s also a big stigma around femininity in males and especially in the gay community. It might be easier to try and blend in and avoid these truths about myself, but that would be lying to the world and myself. To all the thoughts that ran through my head when I hesitated to make the post, I say fuck you. So I posted it.

From here on out, I am going to be my authentic self. I am beautiful no matter what I put on my body or my face, and I do know that deep down inside. I love my feminine qualities. I wouldn’t be where I am in life without them, and I am so happy to be living the life that I am. I know this may seem overdramatic–it’s just a Facebook post. But at the end of the day, it was more than that to me. Wearing makeup and drag to me is standing up to traditional gender roles, and being an artist, and being a goddamn performer. And at the end of the day, that’s what I am. I love myself, and I love myself with makeup on, and I love myself when I’m Ruth. I hope you will too.

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