Life has its way of coming round in circles, whether we like it or not. Sometimes it pleasantly surprises us, bringing up fond memories from a younger, more foolish time. Or it can come back to haunt us and bring back things we’d rather forget. What isn’t a choice is that our past is like a frisbee, constantly wheeling round to smack us round the chops without so much as a heads up!
I attended the Vogue Ball on a whim in October 2013. I met House Mother Darren Suarez one cloudy day in July that year at The Kazimier at one of its parties which name slips my memory (no offence, guys!) My darling friend Mina introduced us and because at that time I was fresh young thing on the creative scene, I was a social queen chomping up new acquaintances like the world was ending tomorrow. It was a brief encounter, but once Mina and I bounded off after giving smiles and names, she told me I HAD to go to Darren’s event later that year (YOU WOULD LOOOOOVE IT!) and the seasons sled from a scorching summer into a serene, peaceful autumn.
And so I arrived at Camp & Furnace, the converted warehouse which provided the spectacular setting for the evening. Unsurprisingly, Liverpool being as close-knit as it is, I arrived one but did not remain alone, chatting and flouncing with friends I’d met around the city. We chatted about the venue, the show, but mostly about me (my youthful adoration of self often leads conversation this way!) The lights dimmed, the music blasted and out came the host of the evening, Rikki, and the show began! Having never seen anything like it before (besides on TV), I joined the crowd in a cascade of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as the dancers smashed out their fabulous choreography and even more fabulous costumes!
I watched the performers lap up the attention from the crowd, their rhinestones and body glitter sparkling under those lights and my ferocious ego told me – Gavin, honey. You should be on the stage!
So of course, when the show ended and Rikki called for the crowd to take the runway, I jolted over to present myself. For me, this was a monumental moment – it was the relinquishing of my self-conscious, shy teenage self and the start of my journey as a fierce, confident performer who revels in the inevitable feeling of nerves that you get before revealing a part of your creative soul to the world. The applause I received elated me up and I felt extraordinary, powerful and most importantly interesting.
I felt a sense of self-assuredness I’d never had before, and this powerful sense of ego acted as my battle armour through the confusing and difficult years that are your late teens and early twenties. But before we get too serious, I’d like to mention my verbal altercation with a certain reality star (ahem) during the evening (hilarious!) As I strutted out of the venue, still on my runway high, said reality star plucked Foxy Vixen from my shoulder and sneeringly asked me “What’s that, is that a rat?” My reply was to smile warmly, lifting it from their shoulder and to say “No, darling. I believe that’s you!” before giggling like a naughty school boy at my act of defiance.
Since that night, I’ve entered a new realm of life – I have a new relationship, new home, studying a new language at a new university and a new sense of calm and happiness that feels like the reward for the tough few years I’ve lived through. Now, Liverpool is a wonderful trip home filled with memories, nostalgia and the warm knowledge of how far I’ve come.