|Above left: Athena Van Doren, columnist Pollo Del Mar, RuPaul‚Äôs Drag Race star Raven and Anjie Myma performed at Renegade‚Äôs in the South Bay as part of the San Jose Pride weekend festivities. Above right: Photographer Jose A. Guzman-Colon recently sh
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
‚ÄúWhen is your next trip to Los Angeles?‚ÄĚ an acquaintance anxiously asked me several weeks ago after I hosted Mary-Go-Round, the weekly Wednesday night drag show at Lookout. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve been following the situation with your ‚ÄėDancer,‚Äô and I‚Äôm so happy for you!‚ÄĚ
While I couldn‚Äôt even tell you the gentleman‚Äôs name, he obviously knew me and genuinely did look happy. Normally such kindness would have warmed my heart, but not that night. Instead, trying as best I could to maintain my composure, I returned his smile, took a deep breath and told him Dancer and I were no more. Immediately, I felt myself flush with shame.
‚ÄúOh, no!‚ÄĚ the fellow gasped with genuine alarm. He seemed certifiably crestfallen. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm really sorry to hear that,‚ÄĚ he said, something like pity in his voice. ‚ÄúYou seemed so happy!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI was,‚ÄĚ I assured him, ‚ÄúI really, really was.‚ÄĚ
As with many who track my life either in print or online, that man had vicariously followed my two-month affair with a cast member of In the Heights, going with me back-and-forth to L.A. as I joined my ‚ÄúDancer‚ÄĚ on the Southern California leg of the Broadway show‚Äôs tour.
Like thousands on Facebook, he knew exactly how ecstatic I was to finally be dating someone special. It‚Äôs entirely possible that he, like anyone who saw my actual face-to-face interactions with Dancer, even knew I was in love.
What the general public didn‚Äôt know, though ‚Äď largely because I was too embarrassed to tell most people ‚ÄĒ was my last visit with Dancer was cut short when he unexpectedly broke up with me. Heartbroken by the sudden and mostly unexplained twist, I returned to San Francisco to lick my wounds, recuperate privately and decide exactly when and how best to explain to those around me that something I believed in and wanted with all my heart had not worked out.
For a couple weeks, I took active steps to hide the break-up. While I never lied to cover it up, I simply stopped mentioning Dancer altogether, focusing instead on my fundraising efforts, my drag and the many social events I attend around town.
One friend who knew of the situation commented that, if he did not have personal insight into what was really going on, it was entirely possible to believe everything was fine. While it was partially my intent to lead others to think that, it was also my own denial. While publicly pretending everything was, indeed, status quo, privately the pain of the break-up was incredible.
Unable to wrap my mind around the idea that I might never again see or speak to this incredible person with whom I felt such a strong connection, depression set in ‚Äď hard. The week after Dancer and I broke up, I could barely get out of bed. The week after that wasn‚Äôt much better.
Sometimes I was sleeping up to 16 hours a day. During the time I was awake, I was little more than a zombie. I would occasionally have crying fits. In the shower, I once sobbed so hard I could hardly breathe. I drove in silence because every song on the radio reminded me of him. My stomach was knotted with such anxiety, I could scarcely eat. It was a great way to lose a few unwanted pounds, but I was a complete and total emotional wreck.
While I mourned the end of my relationship with Dancer ‚Äď saddened to have never met his ‚Äúsister‚ÄĚ as we planned, devastated to relinquish the budding friendships with his castmates, etc. ‚Äď I was surprised to find one emotion outweighed even the heartache itself: Shame!
My own mind attacked me for ever thinking the relationship might work out. It belittled me for being so public about my feelings for Dancer, making myself vulnerable not only in direct relation to him but in front of the world. It told me I was foolish to think someone so amazing could or would love me. The voice in my head became that of a particularly bitter drag queen I know (and consider a friend), who after meeting Dancer actually turned to me and said, ‚ÄúYou know he‚Äôs too good for you, right?!‚ÄĚ
It was a thought I, too, had at one time, of course. The break-up only seemed to reinforce it.
Even moreso, I was humiliated by my inability to simply ‚Äúsnap out of‚ÄĚ the sadness that followed. I felt so ashamed to admit how much I missed him, the frequency with which I thought of him and how often I wanted to contact him. On the single occasion Dancer and I did speak, I was so embarrassed to have broken the promise I made myself and others to leave him alone, a whole new layer of shame was added.
Fear of being judged for my feelings and actions soon kept me from discussing the matter with even my closest friends. Before long, I found myself isolated, alone with the pain, more embarrassed about the situation by the day. And, of course, I felt shame every time I saw the look of pity on someone‚Äôs face when he or she found out.
Finally, I turned to a trusted confidante who, though he always gives sound advice, is one of the least emotional people I know. After explaining the situation, and the inexplicable shame I felt around the break-up, he helped me see things more clearly.
‚ÄúI applaud you for even giving it a try,‚ÄĚ he told me, ‚ÄúSo many people wouldn‚Äôt have! Were you happy?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúFor those two months, I was,‚ÄĚ I said, ‚ÄúI really, really was, but now‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúTwo months is more than some people will ever have! For those two months, you were happy, and you were in love,‚ÄĚ he reminded me, ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs absolutely no shame in that.‚ÄĚ
Follow ‚ÄúThe Glamazon‚ÄĚ at Facebook.com/PolloDelMar or Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM. Email at Pollo_DelMar@Yahoo.com.