Don’t Dream It, Be It

29 Feb
Tim Curry as Dr Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Tim Curry as Dr Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

After spending years in an oppressive environment, of late I’ve rather come out of my shell. I’m sure that’s not entirely the fault of the multiple Rocky Horror experiences I’ve had this year (more about that in another post in due course), but somewhere along the lines the two are mixed. As a teenager viewing The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time I felt a nerve being touched – a glimpse of the slightly ambiguous, non-judgemental environment which came closest to my own sense of self. Not tied to ideas of gender, sexuality and orientation. A world in which its okay to be yourself.

A few years ago I met Patricia Quinn for the first time: an actress who I’d had a crush on as an adolescent, but importantly, someone from my home town who had done much to break down barriers in the perception of sexuality thanks to her iconic portrayal of Magenta in the Rocky Horror stage show and film. We’ve kept in touch, but I don’t think I’ve told Pat exactly how grateful I am for that film, and her part in it. Being a nerdy sort of kid who loved creaky British horror films during the 1990s – a time when such things didn’t seem cool, at least not here in Northern Ireland – I needed to find an escape, or at least something I could connect with.

I’ve talked before about the difficulties in perception with regards sexual orientation. It shouldn’t matter, but I think for me that need to label myself, that need to be understood, stems from my religious upbringing. We were an ostensibly Christian household. With that come certain expectations and pressures. And I know that those teachings, learnings, and enforced morality is part of the reason I entered my 30s a bit of a mess.

Over the last year I’ve slowly started drifting towards things that I’d put to one side as I once again reclaim myself and find a new sort of comfort in things I used to do.

You know how it is. We all change constantly as we go through life. We enter relationships and either because of comfort, or because our partners aren’t into the same things, we make compromises and things go to the wayside. In my mid-20s, happy in a relationship I parted the ways with my piercings and just about completely stopped wearing what little make-up I did dabble in. It wasn’t a big deal, and I don’t recall any specific moment at which those things were halted. I was utterly complicit in the ‘normalising’ of my self, and it is something I long ago accepted. But I am aware that I wasn’t utterly happy – I did feel in some way that there were aspects to my means of self-expression that I had denied myself.

I don’t make any secret of my little foibles, but they’re seldom seen these days. Traditional workplaces had a huge part to play in me toning down – somehow you felt it would be inappropriate to colour your nails and serve books to the masses – which is ridiculous of course, because a woman doing the same thing wouldn’t so much as encourage a batted eyelid. Frankly if I chose to wear a dress to work every day it wouldn’t alter my ability to do the job at hand, and I’m annoyed at myself for allowing myself to fall into such binary thinking in this modern era.

Over the last year I found myself increasingly thinking about my own sense of ‘otherness’ – that sense that one doesn’t quite fit in within local circles. Rocky Horror crept back into my life at a time I was already deep into consideration and over and over again that line “Don’t dream it, be it” has helped drive me forward within professional and personal development. I’m reminded that one has to be true to oneself, and to embrace aspirations, to stop living in a fantasy and make the fantasy a reality. No bad advice for anyone going through life.

Its amazing how simple gestures can start to take over one’s thoughts. I regularly carry the urge to paint my nails, and simply haven’t for practical reasons lately. Work mostly. I’ve also been thinking a lot about getting pierced again. I got a couple done in my early 20s but stopped because it was all far too simple, too easy. I didn’t feel any sort of traumatic pain, discomfort or anything that would remind one of process rather than the adornment of the body with simple jewellry. A while ago I started wearing pieces again – something which for the most part isn’t noticed by those on the outside world. I think its one of the things I like about my own piercing experience – you may know its there, you may even have glimpsed it once, but for the most part they go unnoticed.

After much prevarication and procrastination I finally popped along and got myself a new piercing this week – around 14 years after my last one. I’ve been thinking about it since I was a teenager (along with several others if I’m honest). Having reached a number of milestones over the last year, and still being a single fellow, the timing felt right. I’ve nobody to answer to except for myself, and if this makes me happy, in whatever small way, then shouldn’t I?

I realise getting one’s body pierced (especially those that deviate from the face) can have a detrimental affect on one’s potential love connections. There’s a lot of folk who are very turned off by piercings. Similarly there are those who are only into piercing. But does one want either? Surely its better to be involved with somebody who doesn’t care one way or another – who is into you for you? I don’t do these things for anyone else. It shouldn’t matter one jot how many people you have or haven’t slept with, it shouldn’t matter how modified your body is or isn’t, and it shouldn’t matter really what you do to earn a crust. Those things can, of course, impact the course of a relationship, but they simply don’t make you somebody else, and lying about it, or oppressing it doesn’t work.

Being true to myself and not repressing my own individual kinks and eccentricities has made me a happier person in myself. Why wouldn’t you want that?


Video: Getting the new piercing!

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3 Responses to “Don’t Dream It, Be It”

  1. Sharrow February 29, 2016 at 1:56 am #

    Congratulations on your new piercing!

    • avalard February 29, 2016 at 2:01 am #

      Ha! Thanks. I figure if after 14 years the urge is still there one should just get it done 🙂

      • Sharrow March 1, 2016 at 1:04 am #

        Yes, I need to get my 1st tattoo, designed and planned it over 2 decades ago, just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe next year 🙂

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