Why This Non-Binary Peacock Had a Dream That Won Me the Jackpot
Updated: Jun 21, 2019
Three week's ago, we went to Vegas, partly because we wanted to reaffirm our vows with Marylin Monroe. (Fear not! Grave-robbery was not involved.) And while we were staying at the luxurious-isn't-the-word Bellagio, I did this jaw-droppingly amazing thing. I had a dream that won us the jackpot.
In said dream, I was at a slot machine, simply pressing a button that said, "Lily Gamble." Then I woke up. "Weird," I told Jake, as he handed me my morning tea (yes, we're Brits, and why ruin a great cultural stereotype?) "I literally pressed that button and then I woke up."
"Lily Gamble," mused Jake. "I wonder if that's something to do with that bar, Lily's, downstairs. Maybe there's a slot machine near it."
The nearest slot machine to Lily's turned out to be Heavenly Riches. I sat down at it, put in twenty dollars, and pretty much hit the jackpot of $750 within five minutes. A non-binary person winning the jackpot? That, my friend, is a political act.
Or maybe it's just tootin' lucky.
Anyhoo, the day before this amazing debacle, we did the whole-wedding-vows-with-Marilyn thing. The KISS Love It Loud chapel, dog bless their rockin' hearts, accepted my they/them pronouns without the slightest blink, and Marilyn Monroe even sung us down the aisle free of charge. (Because I really do want to be loved by him-just-him). She was brilliant. The whole ceremony rocked.
And here's another awesome thing: I was dressing femme.
Frankly, presenting high femme scares me, these days. As someone assigned female at birth, I feel like it erases my non-binaryness. But how can I be erased by myself? I love presenting femme—why can't it be part of who I am? This tussle of mine, over the past few months, is in fact what led me to become a peacock. Male peacocks are super-flamboyant, right? They're "high femme," we could argue, since gender is a construct. So, somehow, "peacock" has become my pet name. "Would you like a cup of tea, my peacock?" my partner asks me in the morning. (Oh! We're back to the that again! Yes, please. With milk.)
Anyhoo, as Marilyn helped us renew our vows, I was wearing a stole that pictured a beautiful, spread-feathered peacock—all blue and green and fanciful, with sequins and velvet, and whatnot. My honey bought it for me. My peacock-stole.
Marilyn called us "life partners." Nice and gender-neutral. So grateful!
Then we went to the Palms casino in search of the Buffy slot machine and found they'd gotten rid of it. No, really! The outrage!
But I digress. See, here's something I recently found out about peacocks, thanks to the Queer Youth Mental Health blog, which tells us that in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the peacock symbolizes purification. "It is said that the peacock has the ability to turn poison into its beautiful colors," says this blog post. Oh yes, yes, yes!
The poison I feel, when I suppress my wish to present femme, can be transformed. My gender identity can't be taken from me, no matter how I'm read. I re-affirmed our vows in my all-femme gear and magically transformed myself. Swoosh! went my tail, perhaps unwittingly thwacking a bigoted bystander. And there I was, in all my colors, non-binary as ever, no poison to be found.
"So often the world offers us poison," said this Mental Health Youth Project post about LGBTQ+ youth, "whether that suffering is in the form of discrimination, loss, or even the daily suffering of our lives. When we find our own strength we are able to turn this poison into our own colors. We become stronger, more vibrant and more lively when we survive suffering and make meaning."
And, very occasionally, we wake up next morning and win $750.
Do you think the Universe approves of my femmeness? I bet my big, multi-colored, femme-presentin' butt it does.
"Not only do peacocks possess the ability to turn poison into beauty," says the Mental Health Youth Project, in the same post, "but they use this ability to help others avoid poison." Beautiful.
So, listen. We live in a world that often makes it hard for us to be true. But if you feel you've been suppressing a part of yourself, and you're comfortable enough and feel safe enough to engage with that, I'm sending that part of you a whole ton of love. I know this isn't easy. I know I'm using just a few words to describe something that is complex as hell, and that I'm saying it from the privilege of a town where I, personally, am relatively safe. But I promise I'm sending that love.
Amazing poet Alok says,
"we have always been made to feel foreign in our own bodies — a guest overstaying welcome, a resident of a place we are constantly reminded we don’t belong to"
Beautiful and powerful, right? On good days, I refuse to alienate my femmeness. I reuse to alienate my peacock. And I recommend you buy Alok's collection, Femme In Public, to read the full poems.
It seems I'm swapping out my body for a peacock's. Oh, those tail-feathers. Can you hear 'em spreading?
I love you just as you are and as you want to be.
Until next time, queerly dearest,
Want more love letters from this wild peacock? You can join my email list, here, and I'll take very special care of your email address—zero spam, I promise.