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Feisty Thoughts: Occupy Your Space

I’ve taken a lot of time for reflection in the beginning of this year. December was a busy month, with social obligations every other day, so by the time the New Year came I was ready to disengage and just spend some time at home to get grounded. In my reclusive state, I spent a good amount of time thinking about what my goals were for this year, and although I have a bevy of surface level goals, I wanted to take this year to closely pay attention to how I take up space in this world.

As many women have experienced, there is a timidness of how we were raised. To this day I catch myself shutting down if I’m challenged by a male or a person in charge, even when I know I am in the right. There have been multiple times when I have consciously made myself physically as small as possible so that the person sitting next to me can continue to spread there body and take up as much space as they wish, just so I didn’t have to confront the situation. There are numerous times when walking down the sidewalk I’ve had to pull some Tetris maneuvers just so someone else could continue taking more space walking down the side walk. I have learned to ebb and flow in between others perceived self-assertive natures.

But there comes a time, when looking at photos and wondering why I didn’t stand up as straight as possible even if I would have been towering over others in my 6 foot stance in heels, that you start to question why shouldn’t I take up the natural space I have been given? Why should I make myself smaller so that others notice me less? Why shouldn’t I walk down the streets, claiming a reasonable amount of area for myself with pride and confidence? Why should I let others, who either have the courage or arrogance make me feel less than I should with just body language?

So I have decided that this is the year I stand tall and hold my ground. When I’m at the gym, in the perceived boys lifting area doing squats, I refuse to look down timidly almost asking forgiveness for being in that area. When I’m walking down the street, I refuse to pull some back bending motion just because a group of rude people decide to walk three across with no consideration for traffic moving in the opposite direction. And when I’m taking photos, I will stand tall, no matter what the height of those in the photo with me. Unless we’re all sitting down or doing some cute pose. Because who wants to be that asshole?

So here is my challenge to you. Take up your space. Even if you are in a demographic that society has continuously tried to deem lesser than. No, ESPECIALLY if you are in a demographic that society is trying to keep down. Hold your head high, and know that you are 1 in 4 billion. Occupy the space that you have been given.

 

 

*Photo by Vixen Photography*

Feisty Thoughts: Showgirl Mama

Some of you may already know this, but beyond being a performer, a producer, and a traveling showgirl, I am also a mother to a very feisty little girl who will be three this April. From the moment that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, literally the next day, I was onstage and determined to not let this pregnancy trample my dreams of being a traveling burlesque performer. I worked diligently throughout my pregnancy, altering costumes and acts, to better support my growing belly and growing ambition. I performed up until a month before she was born. When she was only two months old, I traveled with her across the country for my first burlesque competition in Charleston, South Carolina.

As she got older, I continued to travel and perform whenever I was given the opportunity. She came with me to Charlotte when she was young and still breast-feeding. Later I went to Seattle, Texas, Toronto, New York, London, and so many other places on my own. Sometimes I would opt for a quick trip, landing the day of the show and leaving directly after the conclusion of the event, which could be either a night or a weekend. Sometimes my husband would care for her like when I took off for nine days to go to New Orleans and Albuquerque. But one thing was for sure, the older she became, the more difficult it was to leave her.

Every trip I cry. Not just a few tears streaming down my face, I mean ugly cry. I text my girlfriend, Sassy Stiletto, to remind myself why I do what I do, and if I am making the right decision as a parent. Each time I read her response through my tears telling me that if I don’t take care of myself, of my own dreams and aspirations, then I will have nothing to give my daughter. And although that makes me feel better, as I tuck her into bed, or kiss her goodbye at the airport repeating the one phrase that I have told her since she was an infant in my arms, “Mommy always comes back to you,” it doesn’t make it any easier. But still, I get on that plane, and I give the audience every ounce of me that I possibly have to give.

Once I get to my destination it’s usually easier. I see my friends who I don’t always see and performances that inspire me to continue bettering my craft, but every now and then you just have to have a moment to yourself. I remember when I was competing in London, about an hour before I was supposed to hit the stage with my stage make-up in tact and nervous energy flowing rampantly, I heard this family from the other table call to their little girl, about three years older than my daughter, “Brody”. Now Brody is not a very common name for little girls, and I had yet to meet another one until this moment, but I looked to the family and clarified whether or not their daughter’s name was Brody. Of course when they responded yes, I sat there, attempting to continue a polite conversation while fighting back tears. Finally, as my voice started to crack and I could no longer hid the tears running down my face as I was forcing myself to smile, I excused myself directly to the bathroom where I broke down in a crying hysteria all the while trying to save most of my stage make-up.

At the moment, I have cut back my travel significantly. This decision wasn’t made directly because of my daughter, other goals and aspirations definitely weighed in, but at this very, very, very, VERY difficult stage (yes moms to older children, I know it only gets worse – I mean new “challenges” later on present themselves) I thought it would be best to spend more time with her until we get past this phase. But if you do find yourself traveling with little ones, I have a few tips to help you survive.

  1. Remember the reasons why you do this. Being a mother means giving so much of yourself to someone else. It’s easy to lose your own identity in this mix and will continue to be a juggling act as they get older. Remember to take care of yourself and remember your dreams pre-baby.
  2. Facetime/Skype often. Technology is remarkable, and calling and seeing my baby girl, even before she talked, really helped to alleviate the guilt and longing… a bit.
  3. Have a support system back home you can trust. Having people who know your child, and who you trust with your baby’s life is imperative. Whether it’s mom/dad, grandparents, relatives, or just a very good family friend to take care of your little ones, make the decision that you will be most relieved with.
  4. Give all the information you can before you leave. Make all the lists you need to feel like if something happens to your child, they know where to call. It’s okay to have plans A through Z mapped out if it’s going to make you feel better. Whether or not they will follow it to a T is another story, but if it will help you sleep at night, then do what you have to do.
  5. Have a special phrase for you and your little one. I was terrified that Brody was going to think I left her for good, so I always reiterate to her that no matter what, I will come back. Every time I get off Facetime or when I leave, I repeat this to her, and after a while, she just knows. It’s almost like a mantra for just you two, even if they can’t repeat it yet.
  6. Allow yourself moments to disconnect. Don’t forget to make friends. Have fun. Do all the things that non-parents do when you are gone. Don’t feel guilty about having fun. If you spent all your time doing that, then what’s the point of leaving in the first place.

Being a mama and a traveling showgirl is a difficult challenge. But I promise you, you can do it. <3

Drop Dead Dames’ 2016 Calendar Release

It has become a yearly tradition with the troupe I co-produce, the Drop Dead Dames, to shoot a calendar with Vixen Photography. This year, we came up with a cohesive idea that turned out beautiful. We decided to use the theme, the Wild Women of Burlesque, and show off our primitive sides. As always Scott at Vixen Photography took our theme and made it a gorgeous reality. There really isn’t anything that he can’t do. Many of you don’t know this, but I’m also a graphic designer. It was my job to do the final layout of the calendar, and I really went all out this year with specialized cheetah print laid out in a grid to prove it. To say that I’m proud of this year’s calendar is a bit of an understatement.

So without further ado, if you are interested in looking at gorgeous dames all year long, then pick up our calendar which is now released on our online store. Get yours before they are all gone!

https://squareup.com/market/drop-dead-dames-burlesque-revue

Sold Out Show for the Soul

Less than a year ago when the girls and I left our former troupe to create our own vision we faced confusion, hurt, fear and anticipation. Individually each girl had their own reason for leaving, but mine in particular had to do with my own personal burlesque vision and staying within a community that would encourage personal growth and never accept the mundane while reaching for every goal imaginable. I want to perform not only as a troupe, but as a soloist in festivals, other productions, and  throughout the world. The girls and I know that even if we are performing as a soloist, we are representing our troupe and bringing light to what we are doing here in San Diego. We have had our ups and downs, but this last production was justification that we are heading in the right direction.

Untamed: An Animalistic Burlesque Adventure, was only our second major production, and to sell out our venue, while trying different price points that we were told were unattainable for this community was absolutely exhilarating. And the best part was, it’s something that we accomplished as a team. Without the girls who helped with group costumes, or the girls putting out flyers, or the girls helping with the website or especially the girls handling our production portion, we would have never made it this far in such a short amount of time. So I guess what I’m saying is thank you to my burly-q sisters for our continued teamwork in this endeavor, thank you to the other halves for supporting us when we get a little crazy, and thank you to everyone who has/ or will come and see our productions. It’s been a blast and it will only get bigger!

1017107_542452012485157_1319521710_n 1010182_542453585818333_982174804_nPhotos by: Vixen Photography