On a recent episode of Graham Norton he interviewed the illustrious winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Conchita Wurst. Conchita is at first glance a conundrum – a drag queen who dresses like a woman yet wears a beard.
Our minds look for patterns and we love to group things together. We like to find familiarity in our symbols. Conchita completely and utterly flies in the face of this. She is the modern day Bearded Lady. And I love her.
I love that in a contest like the Eurovision Song Contest, where millions of people throughout Europe get to vote, she was selected to be the winner. It fills me with great hope for the capacity of humanity.
During the interview, Graham asked Conchita about the beard being combined with the womanly persona she had carved for herself. As he noted, many drag queens had come before her and done well for themselves (Lily Savage, Dame Edna and the like), but the beard appeared to confuse people. Conchita replied with aplomb. Two quotes stuck out for me.
It’s so cheesy, but you just get one life, you know, and you better make it fabulous. And it’s my own truth.”
Over the years I tried to fit in, and I changed myself, in every way you can imagine, I just wanted to be part of the game. And then I realised, well, I create the game.”
And then I loved her even more. Because I knew in that moment, the minute she started living her own truth, living life to the beat of her own drum, feeling comfortable enough in herself to be a woman with a beard, that is when her star really started to shine. So much so that Cher and Elton John have been in touch.
How often do we try to fit in? How often do we so desperately need to find a tribe that we will try to change who we are just to say we belong? How often are we left longing, knowing that there is something missing in our lives, yet continue along a path that just doesn’t feel right? And how, when we know this, do we change?
Is it not time to start living a life that is aligned with who we really are? Like the beautiful, wonderful Conchita, we can inhabit our own space, claim it and change the game for ourselves. Yes, we may have to take jobs that are not fulfilling to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table – the most common reason I hear for not living our truth. But there are 24 hours in a day. Whilst a third is for work and a third is for sleeping, a third can be spent in pursuits that invigorate us. It is in those moments that we can find our true selves and through that discovery find our true tribe.
Conchita noted that she grew up in a small village in Austria. She knew she was gay. She admits it was not fun and she admits she tried to change. You might be surprised to know that Conchita, who was born Tom Neuwirth, won a singing contest and in 2007 and formed a boy band. But it was only in 2011, when she started to seek out her tribe, the tribe that was in alignment with who she was (gay and a drag queen), that she was able to find success, both personally and professionally.
I truly believe we should all be living like Conchita. We should be living fabulous lives that invigorate and fulfil us. Yes, you may be an office professional by day, but you go ahead and be whatever you like by night. I am pretty sure once you start owning that, amazing things will happen. First off, your own sense of self and happiness will improve. And who knows, perhaps new opportunities to make a career of your passion may present themselves. But you won’t know unless you take that first step.
It is scary. I know. I’ve only just started owning the fact that I want to be a writer and am seeking out ways to hang out with other writers. I’m finding it nerve racking. Will they like me? Will they think my writing is crapola? Will they laugh at me? But if Conchita can be brave, so can I. At the very least I will learn to be a better writer and at best, I may be setting myself on a path to be published.
I know that you can do this. I want you to do this. Seek out those people who love what you love. Find that connection. Be what you love. And then let me know how it goes, because I so want to do that happy dance with you.
From my heart to yours,