The Tribe of RuPaul

by kim on April 14, 2014 · 2 comments

in Family, Friends, Life in general

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In my podcasting listening recently, I came across an interview with RuPaul. This was of interest to me for two reasons: (1) it was probably going to be an interesting interview; and, (2) I had time to burn in the car.  I will admit, though, that any time RuPaul is involved a cringe a bit…and it has nothing to do with RuPaul. It has to do with the fact that during the three months I spent working as a grunt at my local Wendy’s, some of the staff there–who never fully accepted me as one of their own–inexplicably called me RuPaul.


I do not know where this come from nor did I take it as an inherently bad thing.  But when people who don’t treat you well generally start calling you a name–even if that name is Beyonce–you begin to think that you’ve done something wrong…that you are something wrong.  At the end of that three months when I quit the job and was told that because I was not giving two weeks notice I’d never be hired by any Wendy’s ever again I told my manager that not only could I live with that, but it was a comfort to me.

The story of my life has been the story of finding comfort in the company of others because I do not fit easily into so very many groups.  And in my own skin? Please…

So as I’m listening to RuPaul, I hear him (he wasn’t wearing drag during the interview as it was described, so I feel somewhat safe in this pronoun usage) say that when he left San Diego for Atlanta that he finally found his tribe. “My tribe,” he said again.  And I just thought…wow.  What a concept that I intellectually get, but never fully understood.

I’ve never felt fully embraced by a group created outside of my orchestration. In spite of this, slowly but surely I have created my own tribe out of life. I never did have that Oprah A-Ha (TM) moment where I finally fit in to a group like a three pronged plug into a new outlet. It’s always been a matter of breaking off that third prong even though you know it grounds the thing just to make it fit into the old-style two pronged hole.

But I can make a tribe.

And I did.  For years, I gathered people around me that made me feel comfortable. I introduced them to one another. I spent time with them…laughing, crying, mourning, loving. Although I do not get to see them as often as I’d like anymore, I still consider them mine. A tribe of misfits that, if I was going to guess, probably always felt like a three pronged plug in a two prong kind of world.


At the end of February we had family photos taken. It was kind of steamy, being in a conservatory, but February in the tundra known as Michigan required sacrifice. When we got them back, I noticed something. For the first time in the history of ever I saw myself in pictures that surprised me with how happy I looked…how wholly part of my tribe I felt. Even the ones that aren’t with me in those pictures, they are there in my life.

I didn’t get a tribe. I fashioned one out of love, sweat, tears, money, science and the gumption that comes out of sheer despair.

I’m so happy RuPaul found his tribe. I’m so happy I’ve made mine. And with all of the frustration of life, it’s nice to know that maybe those idiots working at the Wendy’s back in 1998–who are probably still working there today–at least knew to compare me to someone who is amazingly out there in the world, doing life so unapologetically that it hurts.

My tribe, Ru’s tribe…we’re all just trying to make it in a world that would rather not bother. In the end, we’re the ones who will walk away better for it.


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Songs in my Head

by kim on April 9, 2014 · 1 comment

in music

It’s been a LONG time since we’ve done this, but summer is just around the corner (thank the sweet baby Jesus) and it’s time to get our jams on. So let’s do this…

 Songs in My Head

Ain’t it Fun by Paramore

I’m going to be blunt: Paramore is hit or miss for me and usually miss. I’ve purchased too much of their music to be let down by it. But this song is fun and interesting and different compared to all the other nonsense out there (some of which they added to the mix). Perfect summer jam.

Classic by MKTO

I never remember what this song is. I’ve tagged it on Shazam multiple times because every time I hear it I think “Oh, that’s a fun song. I wonder what that is!” And then I’m left with the same tag. It’s like how The Mister thought we never saw Mystic River, but we had already seen it three times.  Again, this is light and poppy.


Blue Skies by Tom Waits

This is not a new song by any means. But it’s beautiful. I guess I just never heard it before. Or never liked it enough to remember it until now. It just seems so perfect and lovable and sharable. It’s like a really big muffin from Costco. You can savor each crumb on your own or share it with someone.  Either way, you’re in business.


Underneath the Big Striped Tent by Channing and Quinn

This duo is amazing. We saw them live when they performed with Brian Vander Ark locally last month and I was blown away. Their new album comes out next week and there’s a song on there that I simply cannot wait to have. But in the meantime, this gem will make you smile and realize how amazingly talented this husband-wife duo are and how much success should be rolling their way quite soon.


What songs are in your head lately?

(…and really “Happy” by Pharell is in my head because the girls love it and it makes me think of Ellie dancing, but we’re all getting a bit tired of that, aren’t we?)

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