As QueenEarth, I can’t really hide. I’m on stages. I’m finally getting used to photographs and pictures. Even my business card cartoon is a caricature of me with shorter hair and a lucky hat from a season passed. She bears a resemblance to my aging countenance, and in reality, I have new wrinkles and blemishes. I remember when I abhorred photographs. I’d see a girl on a computer screen or in a picture and I was 70% likely to make a negative comment about her, myself, either outloud or in my head. For a long time, I didn’t like the way that I looked.
When did I start liking to look at myself? I’m not talking about vanity. I was alive before FB and when FB came around, this distaste only got worse Pictures of me were appearing all too often and I could look at them everyday and feel the same negativity. Whether or not Facebook and marketing materials are in the equation, frequently seen and mass produced instances of business cards, posters, and flyers, I had to reach a point where I was okay with, proud of, accepting, comfortable with, embracing, and loving myself. In order to be okay with the exposure, whether through photographs or at shows, I had to be okay with myself, inside and out. Being more than okay is the goal.
At my first photo shoot, I was shocked to see so many good pictures. I think I picked the right ones for the album artwork. Working with Eyeni Photography was the best way to get initiated into professional photography.
The second photo shoot was taken with my former roommate and good friend Mark Petinga. These are the last fancy solo photo shoot pics of QueenEarth (http://www.queenearth.com/about/photos/). I cried before we shot those pictures. I didn’t like the way I looked before the shoot. My jeans were too tight and the tears damaged my makeup. I don’t know if you can tell. I think the photos came out well.
Writing is like photography. It gives me a glimpse of myself at a given moment, in a season. My clothes and my ponderings all capture me, enveloped in the right cardigan or the wrong jeans, or leather bound, eternally. Some of my discomfort was about size and other times, if was about my clothes. I always had a favorite hoody or t-shirt, but I will undoubtedly come to a place where I outgrow the apparel. The shirt would will get too big or too small, or it will fade, or i’ll find something nicer to replace it. And sometimes, clothes last for many seasons and I get to remix my look. I was stunned when someone asked me to come to NYC and do a fashion photo shoot. I went to NYC to shoot for a boi magazine. The images never emerged, but I came home with a few souvenirs.
Finally, I’m approaching the finish line with my album. I’ve been looking for a photographer. When I think of my own images, some of them are flashbulb memories, forever cemented in my psyche. Other times, I look at myself and I don’t recognize the girl in the photo. That happens less and less, the more and more that I come out. I’m making happy memories and moments that I want to remember. I am emerging to myself and to a world where I am surrounded by love, from myself and others.
I’m finding my niche in the GLBT community. I don’t have to wear a sign, but I’m pretty sure people know that I’m queer. I shouldn’t have to hide it. I love my gender bending soft dom unlabelable boi-ish swag. I’ve learned to love myself. It’s not just about my sexuality. As QueenEarth, I realize my gifts in music and education. I know when I am using them. When I am, I feel closer to being whole. That is the difference between me and the last “girl in the photo” that I didn’t recognize. Today, I am a woman and I am confident about my desires, for life and my relationships, personal and professional. I don’t have too many “things” that are missing. If I don’t have them, I can finally see them and I know I am walking towards them. Today, I guess it’s okay if I do not recognize the “girl in the photo”, but I should not “hate” her. I know she is just a work in progress. I am learning how to be open and nurturing with myself, teaching myself to be a better student of life. To record my mistakes and my victories, my questions and dreams. In writing. In photographs.
I want to capture this season because I feel like I am shedding a cocoon and realizing my full potential. I don’t know if it comes with age or experience. I also know that at some point, I’ll see another photograph of a woman I do not recognize, or write another song about my confusion and uncertainty, or put on a shirt that doesn’t fit the way it used to . . . That is okay. Without these photos and lyrics, how would I ever know who I was? Who I am? Who I want to be? Aren’t we always coming out?