‘Beyond my window, I know the world is a hot mess outside of it.’
This morning, I woke up to a symphony of sounds. I laid still, kept my eyes closed, and listened to the rain hitting my windows while my two furry bedmates snored peacefully beside me. It was a concert of calmness, peace, and tranquility––much needed during these difficult days. And it was a sweet reminder to let myself exist in the moment.
My heart is heavy with the news of our friend Michael Youens’s passing this week. He was a sweet and kind friend and loved by everyone whose path he crossed. This past year has been full of loss, and we have all done a lot of grieving. It weighs heavily on my heart and brings up many thoughts about our existence.
My peers, whom I grew up with during the AIDS crisis, are entering new phases in our lives. Our conversations are about ensuring each other is comfortable, supported, fed, and loved. Having a solid support system is essential, especially during life transitions.
Beyond my window, I know the world is a hot mess outside of it. The news and social media keep slapping me in the face. My heart yearns for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict; I cannot take the loss of any more lives. I’ve led with my heart and love my entire life. I hope that the world can find a way to do that.
I’ve had the honor of officiating a couple of weddings over the past few months, both filled with so much love. The first was with my friend Tommie and his partner Phillip. Tommie and I have a long history of having a good time in SF nightlife together.
In Mill Valley overlooking San Francisco, I spent time with their friends and family and their dog Basil, the ringbearer at the ceremony. It was a beautiful day; again, I was honored to be a part of it.
I also officiated one of my MOREboys (man) Santiago and his partner Michael’s wedding. Santiago and I have shared a lot of memorable celebrations and life events throughout our history in San Francisco. All filled with deep love and much laughter. He has been a trusted part of my queer family.
When he met Michael, I welcomed him with open arms. I knew that Michael was good for Santiago from the start. His smile can brighten anyone’s day. I love that Michael has figured out how to make a Virgo’s life compatible with his own. It is commendable- and that comes from a double Virgo. It was a day filled with love.
I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving this week. It allows me to cook the food my family prepared, bringing back memories of eating and the place and setting. I live for the moment when the smell of food cooking connects us to fond memories.
During the holiday, I cherished my time in my grandmother’s kitchen. The day before Thanksgiving, I would help her clean and salt the bird, and then we would tie it up by its legs and hang it upside down in the cold, dark pantry overnight. I sometimes couldn’t sleep with anticipation of untying the bird in the morning and stuffing it before putting it in the oven.
Remember to check on your friends and family whenever you can. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them. Uplift them and help them see their potential. Your love and support can make a big difference in their lives, especially during difficult times. So, take the time to connect with your loved ones and spread love and positivity whenever you can.
Juanita MORE! is a denizen of the limelight. For almost three decades, the laudable hostess has blitzed San Francisco with high glamour, drag irreverence, and danceable beats that have illuminated the entire city. MORE! continues to be a heaping dollop of generosity and a sprinkle of nerve. She inspires those around her to make positive differences in their lives and communities — and doing it all with timeless elegance and an innovative spirit. Most recently, after her reign, Miss MORE! holds the title of Absolute Empress 56 of the Imperial Council of San Francisco –– one of the oldest non-profit organizations globally.
To date, MORE! has helped raise over 1 million dollars for local charities — among them GBLT Historical Society & Archives, Our Trans Youth, Q Foundation, Queer Lifespace, Transgender Law Center, and more. In addition, MORE! tirelessly fundraises for organizations in San Francisco that are adamant about helping communities in the seven-by-seven thrive, all while shining light and offering support to those who’ve been overlooked for far too long.
MORE! embodies what it means to be a conduit of connection. MORE!’ brings the people together to fundraise, celebrate community, and demand social change around San Francisco and elsewhere. Her culinary expressions are an extension of what mothers have been doing in their kitchens for generations — which, simply states, is sharing “loads of love.”