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Meet Rose

I have been a girl with many characters my whole life, but introducing myself to drag performance has brought so many more personas out of the closet of my imagination that it is hard to keep track.  Everyday is a lively, crowded dinner party!

Perhaps Rose has always been in me, an old soul – wise to the effects heartbreak,

disappointment, bad luck, and failure have on a person, and isn’t afraid to speak from that very weathered heart of hers.  Just like the Hole album, she has lived through this, and she feels licensed to give you the business on life, whether you solicit her advice or not.

Rose started off as a thing an ex use to do when the subject of bitter love and other such matters would come up.  The sole motion of a long drag from a cigarette, with an exaggerated exhale was enough to prepare one for what was about to be said.

I fell in love with what this represented.  It seem to come straight out of a black and white film (or an indie film referencing a black and white film), set in a smoky bar- a lone, older woman perched on her stool, hovering over her tumbler glass full of whiskey and taking long drags from her cigarette.  Perhaps she was a beauty in her prime that fell on hard times, maybe she was always the kind of woman the world overlooks because she was not beautiful enough to marry a rich man, or had to struggle for any place in this world.  You don’t know, and you too are in this goddamn smoky bar in god-knows-where-usa, and even if you assure yourself that you are not as bad as this woman, your pity for her is really only a thinly disguised recognition of solidarity.

When the jukebox hits just the right track, or the perfect degree of smog fills the room, Rose begins her monologue.  She may start off by asking why your sorry ass is in this bar with her.  You may tell her that your girlfriend dumped you for another, or that law school is bringing you down.  Rose will take a drag and put your blues into perspective.  She sure as hell ain’t a shoulder to cry on – but in her gritty, hardened way, she will tell you to toughen up, so that you can live through this cruel world like she has.

If anything, Rose is a survivor.  She may not be pretty, or rich, but she is here, goddamn it.  She lounges in the smokiest and loneliest of bars out of personal preference, but on another level, to find lost and downtrodden souls like law students and the brokenhearted, in order to guide them like an inverted Charon back to the street with their heads held high and their knives ready to take on another day.  Far from perfect, but exactly what we need at that moment.

Perhaps it is no surprise that Rose has manifested herself so much in the past year.  Moving, law school, and heartbreak has led me wade in Acheron, myself.  While I owe everything to my family and friends for helping me reach where I am now, I also have to thank Rose, who swirled the ice in her glass, took a long drag, looked me straight in the eye, and said “butch up, kid, life ain’t roses from your Valentine every day of the week.”

Tonight my new neighbor told me at Crossroads that she appreciated my blog entries from my first year, and that she was having similar issues with reconciling her passions and politics with the dogma of law school.  I am always surprised to learn that people read this blog, and was happy that what I wrote could be of use to someone.  She asked me how to live through this.  In trying to answer her question, I realized that, like the Lady said, I really don’t know life at all.  Like Rose, I am far from perfect, and know that there will be plenty of bad and good days as long as I am living, which has me taking frequent metaphorical drags day to day, turning to the wisdom of Rose, who has infinite years of experience on me.  I will never be a Dear Abby or a Hallmark card writer (my most frequent advice to someone who is having relationship problems: “break up with them”).  But I, like Rose, can be honest about the ugly, and remind you that there is plenty of beautiful out there, that you should return to, after you finish your drink (and pay my tab).

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