Today, we introduce a new feature at Country Universe. My Country Music Story invites readers to share how some element of country music – a song, an artist, a concert, or something else – had a major impact on their life.
Our first guest contributor, Lu’kas Porter, shares how seeing Pam Tillis on a television show at just the right moment gave him the strength to persevere through a difficult time in his life.
Anyone who knows me would not be surprised I have a custom Pam Tillis painting hanging on my living room. Or that I own a Pam Tillis necklace. Or Pam Tillis socks. Or even a Pam Tillis ring…. but it is my Pam Tillis figurine that holds its own special place.
This little beauty took a while to mold. The artist I commissioned was so used to doing superheroes and cartoons, that when I came along asking for something so glamorous, she was EXCITED. I was glad to hear she was also a fan from Eastern Europe, and had a blast sculpting it.
It may be hard to understand my affinity for custom Pam Tillis items. To some, it’s a little excessive. But, let me share with you this one part of my Pam Tillis experience, and maybe it will give you some clarity…
I discovered Pam when I was 7, a few weeks after my Step-Dad died. Only being able to listen to country music at that age, she was the most exciting artist on the scene. I saw her in concert when I was 8. I handed her a black and blue rose with my photo attached, and a little message on the back that read “I love you Pam, will you marry me?”
She read the note aloud on stage, and her response back was classic Pam… “Of course I will! Why don’t you come back and visit me in about ten to twelve years.”
That moment cemented her in my life as my absolute favorite celebrity of all time. Or, as I call her, my Diva.
Anyway, when I was 12, I came out of the closet. It was 1999, Matthew Shepard had just been murdered, and the AIDS pandemic was just feeling like it was manageable. While my mom was no homophobe, she did not take my coming out well. We yelled and screamed at each other for awhile, and I finally left the argument by going to my room and slamming the door. In typical teenage fashion.
I had cable in my room at this time, and decided to turn on some VH1 to catch some music videos. Instead, there was a talk show on I had never seen before. The RuPaul Show. And RuPaul’s guest that day was none other than THE Pam Tillis!
I’m not a religious person, but let’s just say there is no way to describe this moment other than divine intervention. How could being gay be bad if the celebrity I idolized was on tv TALKING TO AND SINGING WITH A DRAG QUEEN! The VERY DAY I came out of the closet.
The universe needed to let me know I was perfect the way I am. Not one thing was wrong with me. And it used RuPaul & Pam Tillis to deliver this message. It was pure kismet.
This day has been a reservoir of strength for me. When I was being prayed over and subjected to conversion therapy as a troubled teen lost in the system, all I would do was remember that at least Pam loves me the way I am, and I was content.
So, while my love of Pam Tillis may be annoying to those who love me most, this woman has saved my life over and over again. All because she had the balls to perform with a drag queen on television before it was acceptable.
So, thank you, Pam. You’re a superhero, and you deserved this figure to commemorate it. It sits on the ledge next to my bed, a reminder that one person is all it takes to remind you that you are worthy.
Written by Lu’kas Porter