🏘 Small Town, Big Dreams 🎇

Living your truth isn’t easy. It’s an internal battle, a fight to be who you are, regardless of what others think. As a young person, it’s daunting to come out as what others perceive as different, as a pariah, and voicing your dreams that are bigger than the town you live in can lead to ridicule, taunting, and words whispered that you’ll never make it.

But as you get older, as you become wiser, you realize that you can live your truth and be loved for who you are. You can chase your dreams, even when others say it’s impossible. And anyone who doesn’t support your truth, your dreams, is nothing more than a tiny speedbump on the road of life and not worth fretting over.

Blake Henry is living his truth and chasing his dreams, and his road to National Showman has been paved with obstacles, but through hard work, determination, and perseverance, he is inching closer to walking across that stage.

This is his story. This is his truth.

How was it growing up in a small community, where your dreams are bigger than the small town you come from?

Growing up here in a small town was actually great in ways. I feel it taught me to love and trust people and not take things for granted. But it was also challenging to be who I truly was living in a small country town. I had seen people before me that came out that we’re treated so badly just because they were gay and it caused them to leave town. When I finally came out it was because I wanted to live my truth and be who I actually was and not live a fake life. I was always the same person but I felt like I was lying to myself and everyone else.

When I came out I was 17 years old my friends had taken me to a club called The Connection in Louisville I obviously had to sneak in cause I was too young. That is when I first saw the art of Drag. I saw queens such as Terri Vanessa Coleman, Hurricane Summers, Syimone, and Vanessa Demornay. There were also male entertainers Landy Saavedra and Mykul Jay Valentine. I used to say someday I want to do that but never thought I actually would.

As far as dreams, I always wanted to do something bigger. I knew there was more in life for me besides growing up here in Greensburg and living a traditional life. I knew that simply wasn’t for me. I had many dreams. The first thing I wanted was to be a parent. In 2014, I moved from Greensburg to Indianapolis to improve my career as a restaurant manager because I wanted to bring in enough income to eventually start a family. Things didn’t go as planned but it did happen in 2016 after I moved to Louisville. 2016 was a big year for me – I started performing and soon as I got my feet wet performing, I found out Zaidyn was coming along. Other dreams I had were to make a difference not only in the LGBTQIA+ community but my local community. Back when I first came out as gay, the gay clubs and bars were about making people feel welcomed and like family but now it’s just not the same. I strive to use the platform I have to make people feel like they have someone. It’s not easy being a part of our community. Many of us lose our blood family because they don’t agree with our lives. Many people of the LGBTQIA+ community commit suicide because of how they are treated for being who they are or because they don’t feel comfortable coming out or because they think bad about themselves because sometimes that’s what society puts in our heads. If I can make a few people feel better about themselves, I might encounter someone and it saves their life.

What has it taken to get to Nationals?


As far as Nationals it’s taken A LOT to get to this point. When I started performing I didn’t think I would get into pageants and I did. Pageants are very expensive and after winning two pageants – Mr. Bar Complex and Mr. Lexington Pride – I finally decided I wanted to do a National pageant. The National Showman pageant stuck out to me because it’s about costumes, rhinestones, furs, jewelry, etc. and that’s a lot of the things my stage persona presents. I’ve been preparing for this pageant for about 2 years it’s been very time-consuming and of course, not one thing has gone how I planned. It’s been very stressful but pageants teach performers discipline, endurance, and professionalism.

What does winning the title mean for you?

Winning this title means a lot to me. It will give me a platform in my community. I want to bridge the gap between the “gay” and “straight” community. I want people to see us for who we are as individuals not just our sexuality. Winning this title will help me grow further as a performer and travel and become the face of business for the system. Reigning as a National titleholder is a big responsibility. You have to be approachable and social, but also helpful and have skills to grow a business because that’s what pageantry is.

What’s it like being a single parent while chasing your dreams?

Being a single parent while chasing my dreams is very hard. Anyone that is a single parent has it hard. It’s a challenge. I have to juggle my time and be able to switch between tasks like crazy. Having a 4-year-old that’s very demanding while preparing for shows or pageants is tough. When you are performing people see you on stage for 5-8 minutes or so at a time. What they don’t see is how it took 2 weeks to rhinestone the costume you are wearing, or how long it took to pick the perfect costume for the number you are doing, or even how long it took you to present the performance you want to give for the number exactly how you want it received. I have to be able to do all those things plus take care of my child. I find myself constantly having a project to work on in my free time so when he is occupied doing something I can take a few moments to work on something. Or I just stay up most of the night if I’m pushing a time limit. I wouldn’t change it for the world though.

You can support Blake and his dream of becoming the next National Showman by sending donations to him through:

CashApp: $RomanYoung2005

Venmo: @RomanYoung2005

PayPal: bhenry05@hotmail.com

 

Not Today, Glitter Tits

My eighteen-year-old is exhausting. He was once the five-year-old who asked question after question after question. We would be stuck in the mother*ckn car for TEN hours, and he would ask a question. I would answer it. Then, I would hear this: 

Why?

👀🤯

I would smile, take a deep breath, and answer his question.

Silence. 

I sigh with relief, open a book, and…

Why?

🤬 <- That’s what was going through my mind.

That cute, blonde-headed boy with blue-green eyes was exhausting. I should’ve realized it was a sign of what my future would look like. He’s the hugger who leaves a dust of shit clinging in the air, suffocating you as he walks away. He’s the person who clicks his pen the entire time you’re speaking with him. Annoying. As. F*ck.

Recently, I made the decision to get the Covid vaccination. I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories… I’m getting the devil’s mark injected into me… I’m going to die in six months… population control at its finest… Yada, yada, yada. Look, y’all, I don’t care if you choose not to get vaccinated. I follow the beat of my own drum, and I’m gonna do me. Period. Like it, or leave it. IDGAF. 

Anyway, after I tell my eldest son… the annoying gremlin… that I’m getting the Covid vaccination, this is the text I get:

I had just taken a drink, and I splattered that sh*t all over my car. F******ck.

My kid’s annoying, but he’s funny… sometimes.

After a scheduling fiasco, I was eventually stabbed in my arm. Afterward, I sat in the chair, and I somehow managed not to pass out. #score

Later that night, my annoying gremlin wants me to pick him up from my sister’s after I explicitly told him earlier in the day I had homework, and I wasn’t going to pick him up hours later. He was either going home with me, or I’d pick him up tomorrow. And… this is the text I get:

I snorted. Rolled my eyes. Not today, glitter tits. Not today.

~Tiff~

Gremlin Wars

If you’ve been following my blog for a minute, you know I’m stuck in a house filled with testosterone. I’m flying solo. When you’re the only estrogen in the house, you have to do some dirty sh*t to survive. For example, when the eldest gremlin is annoying me and is being a straight up dick, I tell him I’m flowin’ hard as I shove my hand down my underwear, pull it out and attempt to wipe it on him. Sounds disgusting, right? It absofuckinglutely is. That’s the point. His @$$ got up and moved. He left me alone. My hand might’ve smelled a little fishy, might’ve been tinged pink, but I had peace and quiet. #winning

After the eldest gremlin’s shenanigan’s this past week, I’ve turned up my game. B*tch ain’t gonna know what hit him. I’m struttin’ around like, What? You wanna take a shitty picture of me and draw a motherf*ckn dick in front of my face? That’s cool. I got you.

After I came up with brilliant idea to shave my feminine area, keep whatever came off, and sprinkle that sh*t like fairy dust over him while he’s asleep, I’ve used that sh*t to mess with his head. Here’s a snippet of the first conversation:

In the last picture, he’s trying to figure out if I’m telling the truth or not. Doesn’t matter. It’s in his head, and every time he finds one of his wiry beard hairs in his bed, the thought’s gonna cross his mind that it might be from his momma’s nether regions. Bwah ha ha. Get some, punk.

This morning, I’ve been busy. I’ve been in meetings. I have a job. I don’t get to look at my cell phone every second of the day. This fool has been sending me text messages to call the school to let him check out.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Boy, please. 

This morning’s conversation for your reading pleasure:

Needless to say, I didn’t call the school. 

The moral of this blog is… Don’t f*ck with your momma, bruh. She’s ruthless. #GremlinWars #MommasGotGame #FairyDust

~Tiff~

Gremlin Shenanigans

Y’all… my son, eldest gremlin, might die before he graduates. I’m in the midst of one of the hardest weeks of my MBA, creating book pitches, finessing query letters, yada, yada… you get the point. And this fool straight up takes a pic of me in my shittiest form – no makeup, hair all f*cked up, double chin’s pronounced, and my face – IDK what that look is. To make matters worse, he doodles on it and sends it to my mother*ckn sister who shares it with my mom… and this is the text I receive:

Sexy, huh? Jerk.

Anyway, that was the gift I was given after taking time out of my busy day to move the savings account out of my name and solely into his, and getting a checking account opened in his name. He has checks and a debit card now… sh*t’s getting real up in here. On the ride home, I was telling him he needed to keep some of the money saved to where if his car needs tire or breaks down, he can cover it. Momma’s not paying for repairs. Momma’s not covering overdraft fees, either. Welcome to #adulting.

After seeing the picture, I’m tempted to shave my feminine area, keep whatever comes off, wait until he’s asleep, and sprinkle that sh*t like fairy dust. *Boom* He thinks he’s got jokes. Momma’s been around a minute, and that b*tch plays dirty.

Game on.

~Tiff~

Game on.

~Tiff~

Holy Sh*tballs

Yesterday, writers were submitting pitches on Twitter with the hopes that an agent / agency liked their tweet. It aligns a writer’s manuscript with an interested agent versus having to research hundreds of agents to see which ones would like your story. I was up early… too early, and I scheduled my pitches to hit at certain times throughout the day. Then, I started my normal workday.

Mid-morning, I took a break, stalked the Twitter feed, and I had a like on my pitch. I clicked on it, expecting to find someone other than an agent / agency had liked it.

It. Was. An. Agency. 

Almost hyperventilated. I took a few deep breaths… then I stalked them. Creepy, right? IDGAF. I legit read every word written on their site. As I determined they were an actual, reputable agency, I sat back, glanced over at my dog, and my heart stopped. His mouth’s open and closing, no sound’s escaping, and there’s terror in his dark eyes as he stares at me. He’s choking.

I jumped up, dropped my laptop, picked him up. I’m looking into his mouth, I don’t see anything, but he can’t breathe. A million thoughts fly through my mind. How do I help him? What do I need to do?

 I turn him upside down, pull him back up, look into his mouth, and swipe my finger from one side to the next to see if I can feel anything and dislodge it. Nada, and… he still can’t breathe. I compress his abdomen. Nothing’s working. 

Seconds feel like minutes.

My dog’s going to die in my arms. Looking at me for help. To save him. And… I’m flaking. I place him on the ground between my legs, pound between his shoulder blades. Mascara’s straight runnin’ down my face, blending in with my snot. I didn’t care. Nothing else mattered. Nothing but him.

Then, I hear him gasp. His chest expands as he takes a breath, and I motherf*ckn ball like a baby. I pull him to me, hugging him. Afraid to let go. We sat there on the floor. More than a human and a dog. We’re a family. And I almost lost him.

Today, I saved a member of my family. That’s all that matters.

The rest of the afternoon belonged to him – car rides & snuggles with Papa. Life is good.

~Tiff~

Optimism Fairy BS

Sometimes, I make really dumb decisions. I blame it on the optimism fairy that sits on my shoulder whispering about rainbows, sunshine, chocolate cake… you know, all the stuff you want to hear. So, I eat the freakin’ cake, which is delicious while I am eating the entire thing. Then, I walk into the bathroom, stare at the tiny black object that is going to flash red numbers at me, and I knew I shouldn’t have listened to her. Once again, she sucked me in, and I caved. #easilypersuadedwithchocolate

            Most of the time, it’s just little things I can frown about, mumble a few choice words on, then press forward. Not this time. Nope.

            The optimism fairy, that I’ve named Sharon, had the bright idea to let my eighteen-year-old son stay home alone at my house for three days. You won’t have to board the dogs, she said. He can take care of them, she said. Easy task, she said. He’s an adult, she said. And, what did I do? I listened to Sharon. 

            After being gone a few days, I opened my door, and the smell smacked me in the face. I gagged. Almost vomited. I dropped my bags on the porch, and tip-toed in, afraid of what I might step in. Sure enough… there’s dried puddles of piss on my dining room floor. A blanket with dog feces on it. A big red stain is smiling at me from my kitchen table. There are dried dog feces on my living room floor.

            Sounds like a lovely way to arrive home after being on the road for over nine hours, right? Oh, it gets worse. I walk down the hall, peek my head in my youngest son’s room and there is dog shit on his motherf*n bed. Like, what, the what? Seriously? I lost my shit, which I thought went well with the theme of my new home design.

            My eighteen-year-old arrived home a little while later, and my eyes were buggin’, y’all. My arms were flailing, I was stomping my feet to put emphasis on my words, and I saw red. My husband… he was the smartest one in the house. He kept his head down, avoided eye contact, and stayed quiet. 

            My child… this wannabe adult… made excuses.

Bearded man-child / Gremlin

            “It must’ve happened within the last three hours,” he said. “It wasn’t like that when I left this morning.”

            My head snapped, and a storm of words flew from my mouth, lashing at him. The dog piss was caked on my floor. That doesn’t happen in a few hours.

            Well, fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck, Sharon, and her fairy optimism. If you have an optimism fairy, please be aware that the b*tch will burn you at times, and you will go down in flames… or you just might swim in the smell of dog urine and feces. 

            Just sayin’!

~Tiffany~

Non-Traditional Instruction – Gremlin Style

If someone would have told me a year ago that I would have my two gremlins at home, working on their schoolwork, and I’d be stuck re-learning some of my favorite subjects, I would have asked for something for the pain. A bottle of wine doesn’t. even. touch. it. Listen, to all the science teachers out there, I give you mad props, but this girl detest science. I want to cry, even kick, and scream a little, when my youngest gremlin comes to me needing help with it. I’ve been back through the periodic table, visited the world of neutrons, protons, and electrons, and guess what? I still detest science. No one in my family will be the ones to ever come up with a vaccine. We’re lucky if we know what H2O stands for. Seriously.

So, when the youngest gremlin comes to me needing help with his math work, I feel like I’m pretty decent at it, and I can be a shining light beaming down on him. This isn’t science. I so got this. I smile, and I motion him forward. Until … I see this:

12 Y/O Gremlin Writing

Like, what am I supposed to do with this? My smile faltered, and I just stared at him with a dumb stricken look on my face. Like, what the what? Are you even my gremlin? Never have I produced such an atrocity as this unorganized vomit spewed across the page.

I literally sat down during my lunch break to try to decipher what my kid had written. Who writes like this? It was equivalent to trying to read an alien language no human being had ever mastered. Is this a male thing? Does it get better when they’re adults? I dunno. I’ve seen my husband’s chicken scratch, and I’m going to bet our gremlins are probably screwed.

What’s even sadder is that I even turned the freakin’ paper as if that somehow was going to magically make it make sense enough to read. Luckily, I received an email from his teacher that he did really well on the math test, which was what the paper I was trying to decipher was. I had literally just resigned myself to having him open the quiz back up as I stared over his shoulder to see what the problems were. She was, and is, a heroine in my book.

There was a time that being a teacher had crossed my mind. My gremlins have completely shattered that thought over the past year. I’m not fit to be a teacher. It makes me grumbly. I’m like a toddler sitting in a corner with their hands folded across their chest as they pout. Don’t look at me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t get near me. I might even bite anyone who gets close. All the parents out there who are a little balder and stay quite a bit drunker now, I completely understand. Cheers to you, and cheers to the teachers who teach our offspring day in and day out. Bless your beautiful souls.

~Tiff~

Homeschooling Gremlins

The gremlins have been at home for a week as of Friday morning. I haven’t pulled my hair out … yet. I have another three weeks with them – two weeks that will consist of them doing schoolwork. The youngest is proactive and knocks out his work first thing in the morning. The eldest gremlin, well, he gets on my last nerve. He is the procrastinator. He wants to wait until the very last second, then rush to get it all done. Me? I cannot live my life like that. I like to be ahead of the game. I like to have room to breathe. I am a planner. I have learned over the past week that homeschooling gremlins can be maddening.

There were times in my life where the thought about being a teacher crossed my mind. Then I would think of the parents I would have to deal with and that was the end of that rambling idea. I think quite a few parents give teachers hell, but at what point do we look at our own home to see if the source of the problem isn’t the teacher, but us? There have been times when I had conversations with teachers about my eldest gremlin as he made his way through the school year. There was a point in time where he was goofing off all the time in class. I didn’t blame the teacher, y’all. Here’s what I did:

  1. I found an old school desk.
  2. Bought workbooks for his grade level – math, science, reading, etc.
  3. Placed the desk at the end of the hallway, facing the wall.

When he get home, he soon learned that his spring break was consisting of schoolwork. I used this moment to teach him a life lesson. Wasting someone’s time and not respecting it when they are trying to make you better isn’t kosher. Needless to say, he stopped goofing off in class. He knew that if he wasted his teacher’s time, mom was going to eat away at his free time with more schoolwork to make up for it.

It is easy to focus on blaming everyone else, but I think it is good practice to look at all the factors, including ourselves. I know I am far from perfect, and I know my gremlins are far from perfect. We’re human, and we’re constantly learning and evolving. That’s life.

After the youngest gremlin finished his schoolwork last week, I was duped into playing a video game with him. In the course of a few minutes, I believe I was killed a hundred times. Every time I would see the enemy, I would have to look down at all of the buttons on the remote. My brain was like sludge as I tried to remember what my eleven-year-old said each one did. I would end up hitting the button to jump instead of shoot. Then … I died. I even tried to use the youngest gremlin’s guy as a shield. The jerks would come from behind, and … I still died. After only killing a handful of the enemy in thirty minutes, I plopped the remote down, ruffled my gremlin’s hair, turned and walked out with my head held high. I figured I’d stop while I was ahead. I killed a few. I thought I had done well.

Later that night, my youngest gremlin came into the living room chuckling. Merriment sparkled in his dark eyes as he said to my husband, “Mom’s really awful. She died all the time. You really suck at playing the game, mom.”

I really wanted to stick my tongue out at him, but I could see my husband’s slow smile cracking across his face out of my peripheral.

“That bad, huh?” asked my husband, smiling so hard his cheeks had to be hurting. In my mind, I flipped him off, but instead … I just sat there, ignoring them.

“Yep.”

Y’all, I really need some estrogen in this house. Lord, save me from these gremlins.

~Tiff~ #momofgremlins

Self-sufficient Gremlins

I don’t always listen to my husband … ok, I almost never listen to my husband. He can preach about something for years before I decide he might actually be onto something. I usually nod my head, grunt once or twice, and pretend to be actively listening. Hey, stop judging me. Y’all know if your man starts spouting off about car parts or something else that isn’t revving your engine, your eyes glaze over and you stop listening. That’s just how it is.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah … he was definitely onto something this week. He had been saying it for months, but I just brushed it off … until I hit my limit with my gremlins. I work full-time, and I try to keep my house somewhat in order. After watching my kids come home from school and just loaf around, then pile dishes, laundry and junk all over the place – momma was d-o-n-e. Once the dishes were washed and put away, laundry was done, I had the discussion with said gremlins. They will wash any dish they dirty. If momma cooks, they get to wash the pans. They will each have a laundry basket in their room, and they will do their own laundry.

Such a good little gremlin.

So far, it has worked beautifully. This is the best my sink has ever looked. Neither one of them thinks it will stick, but it doesn’t benefit for it not to. It definitely won’t benefit their future spouse if I revert back to the way it was. The last thing I want is for my gremlins to expect that a woman is supposed to take care of everything inside of the house. Women are in the workforce and bringing in the bacon as well, so our ‘job’ isn’t to take care of the house, bring the man a drink when his runs out, cook, clean and iron his clothes. No, sir. When part of the bills are paid for by the woman, the man should step up.

I can almost hear men fussing about the lawn and what they take care of outside. Listen, women aren’t too good to mow a lawn or spray the weeds. Especially, when their man is doing their part with the upkeep of the inside of their house. It should be a partnership.

I personally just think it’s BS when a woman is judged by what the inside of her house looks like when she is pulling in just as much or more than the man. No woman should feel guilty that she didn’t make supper after a long, hard day at work. That’s why I’m determined to have two self-sufficient gremlins.

Here’s a tip for fellow moms of gremlins. If you have a router, check into getting the app on your phone. I have a Nighthawk from Netgear, and I love the little Device Manager button that I can click into and shut off a specific device in my home.

What? You didn’t wash your plate? Good-bye internet for Desktop-XXXX. Bwah ha ha. Get some, fool. I probably shouldn’t get as much enjoyment from it as I do. I was literally popping a Dorito into my mouth as I clicked the button and watched my son’s bedroom door from my desk. It didn’t take long before he went and washed the dirty plate he left sitting on the table.

Mom -1; Adolescent Gremlin – 0

~Tiff~  #momofgremlins

Straight Up Sucka

Y’all want to know something about me that I’m just kind of accepting about myself? I’m a straight up sucka when it comes to furry little creatures and kids selling random junk. I. Can’t. Say. No. It’s a serious problem that I’m unable to correct. You’d think my husband would help curb it. He doesn’t it. He just looks at me and smiles because he knows what’s coming.

My entire life I’ve been a dog person. They’re my spirit animal. They’re the blackberry jelly to my biscuit. They bring me happiness, and I enjoy having them around. Maybe part of it is because I get to be the leader of a pack. Makes me feel a like badass for a few seconds, then it sinks in that I have Shih Tzus and my badass meter drops down to zero. They’re happy balls of fur. If someone came into my house, they would be attacked by tongues…that’s about it. Fierce little creatures, right? So, when a kitten showed up on my deck one day, I stared at it in a stupor. What is this thing? Why is it here?

I immediately went to social media and posted a picture of the critter. Lost a kitten? Want a kitten? Come get ‘er. Right. Now. And…zero response. I live in an area where houses are not stacked one on top of the other. I live in cow country. Fields and cows with a house here and there. That’s pretty much it. I told my youngest gremlin not to touch the kitten, not to look at the kitten, do not talk to the kitten – ignore it and it will go away. Great advice, right? Well, guess what? That shit did not work. She stayed, and my heart wept a little as I heard her poor, pitiful meows. I caved. Completely, utterly freakin’ caved. I fed her. I gave her water. That pretty much sealed the deal.

A few weeks passed by, and we bought her a house. Then treats, toys, a scratching post, other senseless things. Catch a glimpse of the intruder here:

Yeah, she got me. She’s now been vaccinated, and I just had her spayed this week. I’ve never been a cat person, but this kitten pushed her way into my life, and I bowed to her wishes. The thoughts of her never finding a home or being euthanized ran rampant in my mind, and I ended up taking on the responsibility of caring for another animal. Maybe that’s why I have dogs that try to follow me home after going for a run? It’s like they have a sucka meter ingrained in them that points directly at me.

I am a straight up sucka, y’all. When there are kids standing outside of a store selling awful popcorn, I shove my money at them and tell them to keep the popcorn for themselves. They receive so many noes from people that I can’t be another. They’re putting themselves out there, and I think we should encourage them. Lift them up. So on and so forth. You get the picture.

So, I now have a cat and less money. See – furry little creatures & kids = Tiff’s weaknesses.

~Tiff, AKA Straight Up Sucka ~

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