January 4th, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
The article came out on New Year’s Day. A lot has happened in the last 3 days.
I went to dinner last night at Old Bag of Nails in Grandview with my friends, Lori and Sara, and as we were leaving, I noticed the issue of (614) with me on the cover sitting by the front door. Before we left, the manager stopped me and nodded his head toward the issue. I had never seen the man before, and so I just assumed that he was, in his nod, asking if that was me on the cover.
I began to answer, “Yep, that’s me…”
But he cut me off. Instead, he said, “No, I wanted to know how they have taken it? Your parents? they knew before the issue came out, right?”
I was speechless. My heart began to speed up a little.
I giggled a little and then realized that there is this new reality now for me. Ten years I have kept it all secret and hidden. And now, in just a few short weeks all of it has changed. My life is different. Reality is different.
When Travis Hoewischer approached me about doing this interview, I was very skeptical, but I knew it was time to be honest with myself and more importantly, with my parents. I had to tell Travis that my parents didn’t know and as a result i may not be able to do the piece as “Andrew”. I needed a few days to collect my thoughts. I needed to figure out how I would tell my parents.
Look back to 2009. I did an interview with a publication in town where I had to hold on to my anonimity for fear of my parents reading the interview. I was referred to as “Steve” in the piece to hide my identity. When you read the piece, it feels so uncomfortable and disconnected. That was because of “Steve” or should I say me, rather than the interviewer. Epic FAIL.
So fast forward to November 2011 when I was approached by Travis to think about this. I didn’t want another epic fail on my end. I wanted to make it worthy of me. I wanted it to be as real as possible. I look at it in show terms. I want to work with people who are going to come prepared to play and make it interesting. In the interview in 2009 as Steve, I had so many walls up. I couldn’t play. I couldn’t give the interviewer a real or straight-forward response. But I knew that I had to let the walls down and get real with it all. No matter what it meant. I also knew that the clock was ticking on telling my parents. I had to tell them.
In having this conversation with Travis, he made such an obvious statement that had been missed on me.
While doing the interview, another very private story came out. Until the issue, only 10 people knew that story – Mom, Dad, Heather Evans, Patricia, Miles, and a few others. It was and has been the most painful thing I have ever had to go through. Scary. But, I went into the interview ready to be honest and unguarded. I had to let it all out so that I could begin this process of healing. College was still one of the greatest experiences of my life, but that is because I had people looking out for me and wanting to ensure that I succeeded. In the interview, I shared my story of bullying and harassment, and the fact that I was forced to tell my parents about being gay. I didn’t get the chance to sit them down and soften the proverbial blow, per se, but rather, it was a phone call from an hour away with their son crying on the other end. It was a call riddled with fear and uncertainty. it was a terrible time for me on campus and I was so afraid of how my parents would react to finally hearing the words, “Mom and Dad, I am gay.”
I wanted the chance to come out as a drag queen to my parents on my terms. It was almost as if I got the chance to come out to them all over again.
My parents are good people. They supported me in that terrible time in my life. I didn’t know where it was going to go after all was said and done, but there were there for me when i needed them and always have been. I just didn’t know what drag would do.
So, as I told the manager at Old Bag of Nails last night, I have talked to my parents. In fact, they found out right before Christmas. The story there is beautiful in and of itself and I will save that for another time, but, I will say I had the best Christmas ever. My holiday was filled with love and support. I know that in their efforts to understand, we are getting back to being closer than ever before.
By any definition, the true meaning of family. I wish i would have given them the opportunity to be there sooner.
And I should say, the first thing my mom and dad both said to me, obviously before the interview came out:
“Andrew, we are just so proud of you.”
Now, day 4. No more regret.
Tags (614) Magazine Andrew Levitt Columbus ohio drag queen Female Impersonation Nina West OId Bag of Nails The Interview Issue
Written by Nina