After a lovely response following the launch of Mindful Mondays last week, I am delighted to bring this week’s episode with special guest Narcissa Nightshade (aka my darling friend Mark).
Mark has many passions and for me, he was an obvious choice to have as a guest on this series! I’m always so inspired by his creativity, his attention to detail, his confidence and his ability to tell any story with his wicked sense of humour.
So a big thank you to Mark for taking the time to write such a witty and insightful guest post…
As I sit here about to embark on my very first blog post about positivity, I feel it is only just, fair and honest to let you all know that I’m quite possibly the least positive person you’d ever come to meet. That’s not to say I’m negative by any means, simply that being positive doesn’t come naturally to me. The term I would use to describe my outlook on life is ‘realistic’. It’s not that I don’t believe in the power of positivity, quite the opposite in fact! I simply have to weigh up the probabilities as to how much of an effect being positive could have on the outcome of a situation – and if truth be told, I’ve been putting it off. However, following a monumentally shit 2016 I’m prepared to take the plunge *finally*. After Chrissy very kindly asked me to guest write something for her blog, I’d already made the resolution to attempt to be more positive at work and I think a blog is an excellent way to reflect on your previous experiences and perhaps look at them in an entirely new light.
Ultimately, the goal here is to talk to you all about what I’m passionate about and the positive impact it’s had on my life. Now, I’m a man of many passions – I love to cook, I’ve cooked for many years and I’m particularly passionate about healthy cooking. There’s seldom a day in my home where I’ve not used near on every utensil or ingredient to create something ‘simple’ for dinner. I’m also passionate about exercise. I love the gym, I love to look and feel good inside and out and exercise makes me feel fantastic. I also love good customer service! I’m a strong believer in letting a company or individual know that they’re doing a great job and shout about it to everyone. After all, there are enough compensation faces in the daily papers to put you off your cereal.
I suppose now would be a good time to tell you what else I’m passionate about. I suppose you could say I have a penchant for dressing in women’s clothing and prancing around the small stage (did I just gender clothing? in 2017? tut tut). That’s right, I’m a drag queen. A big, fat, gym-going, home-cooking, sometimes crass but always fabulous, living, breathing, drag queen. It’s something that started as a joke, which became a hobby and in turn became a very expensive hobby, which evolved into an addiction and now finally, after many years of fighting and working my arse off I’m finally starting to make some decent money as a second source of income.
Now, by everyone’s standards 2016 was a fairly dire year – We had Brexit, we lost Princess Leia (among a whole all-singing, all-dancing chorus line of other legends) and The Simpsons rightly predicted that America would get taken over by a perma-tanned, wire haired billionaire fop. You win some, you lose some. However, that being said, this is not the attitude to take and I think it would do us all good to flip that on perception on it’s ugly fat head – after all we took twenty seven gold medals in Rio, there are 3,890 tigers in the world now (as opposed to 3,200 in 2010) after a century in decline and Denmark became the first country to denounce being transgender as a mental illness. See? Lots of wonderful things happen around us but we’re too busy reading about whichever Kardashian’s “pert posterior” in the Daily Mail.
I completely digress but you see my point? We’re too busy focusing on what’s being spoon-fed to us by exterior sources, rather than focusing on all the good things going on in the world. It’s easier to find the negative in things, which brings me back to my hobby. When Chrissy asked me to do this piece I said to her “I’m not entirely sure my passion does have a positive effect on my life” because the first things that sprang to mind was the high pressure, my lack of spare time, the stress of working with other people, when my creativity is stifled, when I spend so much money creating a look that impacts my finances and cripples me for the rest of the month or the fact sometimes real life has to take priority and I can’t invest money in taking an idea trapped inside my head for months and breathing life into it. However, in reality if the cons outweighed the pros, quite simply I wouldn’t be doing it. It’s very much like buying a handbag – a very expensive, totally impractical but oh-so-dreamy couldn’t possibly live without it handbag. You might not like aspects of it – it’s too big for a night out yet not big enough for a day-to-day bag or there aren’t enough pockets so you lose everything in the never ending abyss at the bottom of it but ultimately you still love it regardless of it’s flaws because you fell in love with the soft calf leather exterior, there’s enough room for your essentials not to mention it’s just plain beautiful. That’s how I feel about drag. I love practicing makeup and making outfits in my studio or coming up with conceptual satirical performances to make people laugh and more importantly, to make people think.
It doesn’t matter to me if no one else likes it, so long as I still like what I’m doing. My makeup might not be flawless every time and my choreography might be appalling and sometimes my concept might be just that little too complex to reach everyone in my audience but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Art isn’t about perfection, it’s about perception, expression and growth. If you love something (and I mean truly love it) then you’re going to have mood swings and grit your teeth and scream into those goose-down pillows every once in a while, but persevere and believe in yourself! After all, hard work in the face of adversity leads to success or as my dear friend Dolly Parton puts it,
“If you want to see a rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain”.
A huge thank you to Mark for his honest and inspiring reflection about how his passion influences his life. I love the thought that your passion isn’t about perfection, it’s about growth. Next time I feel uncomfortable or like giving up just because something is difficult, I’m going to make sure to remember this post and think “this isn’t pain, this is what growth feels like”. So thank you, Mark 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts as always, so please do get in touch and if you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends and family.
Want to see Narcissa perform in person this week? Here’s your chance:
For more info (and fabulous photos):