February 7, 2016

How a Drag Show Became One of the Most Spiritual Experiences of My Life.


I’ve always been a bit of a prude. While my sister pushed the limits on revealing outfits, I opted for turtlenecks and scarves.

Given my proclivity to dress like a 50 year-old spinster even at the ripe old age of 15, you can imagine my discomfort when one of my seminary professors suggested that our daily showers are the perfect opportunity to confess our sins to God and mark ourselves with the sign of the cross.

After all, he reasoned, standing naked under the shower with water washing the daily dirt and grime of our lives down the drain, we are literally stripped to our core and for that short window of time, we can be vulnerable, honest and bare before God.

Although my spirit recognized the profound truth of my professor’s assertion, I personally continued to prefer the fully-clothed, corporal confession offered during worship services.

But last week, the wisdom of my professor’s proclamation struck me in the most unexpected of places—during the middle of dinner at a drag show.

How can bare naked shower confessions and a drag show be related you might wonder? Well, the truth is that this wasn’t just any regular drag show—it was a good-bye extravaganza.

The restaurant that hosted this beloved weekly drag show ritual was shutting its doors. This show was one of the last two performances at this location.

And so, as the night wound down, the beautiful and talented lip-syncing drag queen gave us one final surprise… First, the wig came off illuminating a shiny, bald head; then, the full bust became a flat chest; next, the knee-high, stiletto boots were flung off.

Nonetheless, a seemingly less fabulous, much shorter but still beautiful diva remained before us. But, now, he was clothed only in dramatic makeup and a small pair of boxer briefs.

In this moment, I recognized the truth of my professor’s suggestion. As I found myself facing this man who had so gracefully spent the evening sashaying around the room in evening gowns and heels, I felt the energy of the room shift.

It was as though his act of stripping granted everyone in the room permission to shed the many masks we all use in futile self-protection. By stripping down to only his underwear, he invited us to bare our true selves.

With the last song blaring from the speakers, everyone stood together to share in a final, joy-filled dance.

And so, there, at a drag show in this tiny restaurant, I caught a glimpse of God. And I knew without a doubt that God continuously hopes for all of us to fling off our costumes and stand before her just as we are, so that together, we can share in the mystical dance of life.




Author: Elise Scott

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr/S Pakhrin

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