Suffering loss over the holidays

Happy Holigays, everybody. ’Tis the season for overindulgence and bad choices… or as some of us call it, a way of life. Christmas stresses me out every year. My partner and I have been together almost 15 years, and every year I try to get him the perfect gift. I want the gift to be equal parts something I know he wants and something meaningful.

The problem is, we usually buy whatever we want when we want it. If I say I want blah blah blah in July, he buys it for me in July. Which makes buying a gift in December that much harder. So you try the old “What do you want for Christmas?” approach, which always receives the answer: “I don’t care.” Or even worse: “I’m sure I will love whatever you get me.”

No, dammit! Tell me exactly what you want so I don’t have to use my brain. Ralphie from A Christmas Story made it easy for his parents. He was very clear about what he wanted: An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! He knew what would make him happy.

To be honest, I tell Jamie the same thing he tells me. It’s the same back and forth. He actually tells me all the time things he wants, and if I were rich, I would get them for him. He wants one of those 4X4 golf cart-looking trucky things. He wants one of those weird-looking tricycles with two wheels in the front and one in the back, the ones you see occasionally on the freeway being driven by some mid-life crisis asshole. He wants a Corvette, the Delorean from Back to the Future, a pristine ’57 Chevy, almost any old-school muscle car. So I buy him Hot Wheel versions of those cars and put them in his stocking. My man gets what he wants…  at least a version of it.

I hope he likes what I got him this year. Actually, I know he will. After almost 15 years, we know each other pretty well by now. But it still stresses me out. Come on Christmas, hurry up and get here.

Now let’s act like Santa and give out some gifts… of wisdom (and/or bullshit).

Dear Cassie, Hey gurl! I am new to Dallas and want to know how to get booked in the Rose Room. I was very established in my home state, but here, no one will book me. I don’t get it. I am professional and am sickening onstage. My costumes cannot be touched and you can trust that I bring it every time I hit the stage. I’ve asked you before about booking me and you told me to do the amateur show on Thursdays. Trust and believe, I am no amateur. So I guess since I don’t have a crown no one will book me. I just want a chance to prove myself because once you see me, you will not forget me. Signed, New to Big D but not new to the game!

My dearest New to Big D, Oh your poor little ego. I apologize if I called the Thursday night show an “amateur show” — it is a talent show. Open to all types of talent. You don’t need a crown to get booked. Trust me, I got bookings without ever holding a major title. The truth is, pageants help performers get seen by the people that do the bookings. Talent night serves the same purpose. Any booger off the street can walk up to me and say they are flawless in the show. You need to be seen somewhere first. Plain and simple. You wouldn’t walk into a job interview without a resume.

Volunteer to work for free at a benefit show. If being a showgirl is your dream, perform whenever you can for whoever will watch. If you truly are as good as you say you are, people will talk. The show directors of the clubs will pay attention when they hear your name and tune in. You need to develop a fan base. Saying you are great and showing you are great are two completely different things.

I get it: You worked hard in your home town to grow your fan base, but your fans didn’t move with you so it is like starting all over again. Even in a talent show, the crowd can sense a seasoned queen. Even if you don’t win, you are getting seen by the powers that be. Girls talk and reputations grow. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. You can be the most talented drag queen in the world, but if you have a stank-ass attitude, you won’t get booked. Let your talent speak for itself, but you need to be seen. Don’t let your ego get in the way of you performing. Egos can be a drag queen’s biggest obstacle to overcome.

I see a lot of younger queens getting frustrated when they don’t move up or get booked like right now! Dallas is a mecca for great drag, and you can’t throw a heel without hitting a hard-working, deserving queen. So let your talent speak for you, without attitude getting in the way of you succeeding. Good luck, Cassie.

Dear Cassie, I lost my father last month to cancer. From the time he found out to the time he died was only about seven months. It came quickly, but I was thankful I was able to say what needed to be said before he left us. I wanted to have him buried so I would have a place to go to visit and pay my respects, but my sisters outvoted me and we had him cremated. We split his ashes up and we all have some of whatever is left of him. I keep his ashes in an urn like you are supposed to. The urn sits on a shelf in my living room, but I don’t feel anything from it. I thought it would bring me peace having it in my home but it doesn’t. I feel lost without him and hate that we didn’t bury him. What’s wrong with me? Thanks, Chad.

Dear Chad, I am so sorry for your loss. There is nothing wrong with you. We all experience grief in different ways. There is no guarantee that had you buried him and had a place to go visit him that you would feel something different. Your father is gone. He is not in the ashes on your shelf. He wouldn’t be in the grave had you buried him.

I lost my grandmother years ago. She is buried near Cedar Creek Lake somewhere, but I have never been to visit her grave. I talk to her almost every day, though. It is cliché to say this, but they live on through your memories. For a while it hurts, but eventually you will feel close to him just by remembering him. Let yourself smile when you think of something he would have laughed at. The loss will always be there, but the good memories will always help. Stay strong, my friend.

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.

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