A while back I did burlesque for the first time. It was also my first time ever on stage to perform.
I have zero experience with burlesque, entertaining, dancing – you know, the whole package that makes burlesque. I have admired burlesque performers for a long time, and been wanting to it myself too. Also, I have wished for a burlesque school to happen in Trondheim too, but no.
I was talked into entering a show for newbies by a burlesque artist I’m a fan of, she is working to spread burlesque through the country. So that is why she asked me, and she also knew that I love burlesque. I thought it would be a great way to challenge myself in SO many ways so after a while I said yes.
Living in a trailer like we did (moved in to a house in January – YAY), I had very little space for practice. I had none, to be honest. Thankfully I got help from a skilled friend of mine to make the outfit for the act. Other than that, I was completely lost. I kinda managed to think out a routine, pick a song and barely try it out a couple of times before the big night. To be honest I wasn’t prepared enough to ride this off.
Arriving in the city where it all happened, I found my way to the bar the show was at and I spent all day feeling small and ridden with anxiety. Of course my «good» friend (anxiety, that is) decided to show up to ruin the preparations for me.
There were other expirienced burlesque artists there, and although it felt like a comforting thing it also made me even more nervous. On top of that, I had decided to perform on roller skates! Why make things easy for yourself, huh. Thankfully, a great performer had agreed to go over the routines with those us who wanted and give us feedback. THANK GOD FOR THAT WOMAN. She saved the poor attempt of an act I had, haha. I was so nervous when I had to show her what I had come up with, I just wanted to throw up. Or cry. Or die. Whatever. I felt so bad you wouldn’t believe it. All I could think of was that I’m not good enough for this, I will make a fool of myself and that I didn’t belong there. Even though I wanted to do it, my mind was telling me all kinds of crap and I believed it. And I had to put my brave face on. It was hard.
The stage was smaller than I had imagined, so that made it harder to move around like I wanted. That I found out when I tried to show my act for feedback. But, coming this far and being prepared to wear skates I didn’t want to back out on that one. It was hard though, because you need some space to move around naturally on skates. The biggest problem for me was to remember all the moves. When I get nervous my brain shuts down and I just go on autopilot to survive. I really can’t think straight, I struggle with keeping my cool and I forget everything. Where I am, what I’m doing or is supposed to do, what to say… It all becomes a mess. Shaking all over, hard to keep my balance and all signals telling me to run. Get away, like I’m in danger.
I managed to get through my routine, and moments after I could barely remember that I had been on stage. Even though I was a mess, I had a great time. Most of the artists were really supportive and the audience was great. I kinda woke up when then they applauded me when I was done, and after the show some even came up and told me I did great. I was sure they were saying that just to be nice, but it felt good hearing it anyway. At least they weren’t laughing at me! I got such an adrenaline rush when I was done, haha. I would love to do it again! Its just hard having the time for it between my job and my studies. I can’t just drop everything for a weekend in Oslo. I really need the time to practice and prepare and the money for travel and hotel.
You might have noticed that I wrote «most of the artist were really supportive», not «all of the artists». Because some were not supportive, and that does not feel good. Months after the show I got a message from someone I consider an experienced performer (she has performed even outside of Norway, and several times here) that my presence ruined her night. She claimed I made her so nervous that she had problems doing her act, an act she had done several times before and that the mood was bad with me there. She felt I was unfriendly towards her. I really could not understand why she would say such a thing, I have voted for her in contests and shared so she could get even more votes. Online I have been nothing but supportive. I haven’t met her many times before, actually just once. So we didn’t know each other at all, we still don’t. I understand that me being introvert and having social phobia doesn’t make me very outgoing, but never in my life have I been called unfriendly because of it. I was (and still is) confused over the whole thing.
Also, I’m kinda mad that a person with experience of burlesque writes someone new things like that. Its unfair.
I had such a horrible, yet great time that night and it was such a victory for me and I met a bunch of loveable artists, only to get told that I more or less shouldn’t be there. I don’t know to deal with it in the future, what if I get asked to be in a show that she also is in? The last thing any scene needs is more drama. Even though we «made up» in that conversation its still an issue for me. Right there and then I got upset by her message, I never had anything bad to say about her and I thought what she was doing in her life was awesome. I truly had a hard time understanding that I had come off as unfriendly, non-supportive and a negative presence. I never intended that. So I’m just staying away and minding my own business, like I thought I always have been. To be honest, I feel this was an attempt to keep me away from the burlesque scene. I haven’t performed since, so maybe it worked…
I think this stems from competing. I have been yelled at before because I had the nerve to start the network Pinup Norway, apparently I stepped on toes doing that. Because there already was a living, breathing scene and by creating a network for the rest of us who wasn’t part of that scene I did not recognize that pinup already existed in Norway. Living far north and knowing NO ONE who was into it, I was only trying to make connection between those of us who lives «in the middle of nowhere». I was told that I did not get to decide what pinup was and that all I did was splitting the scene. The reason I «decide» what pinup is, is because I founded the network on the American way of doing it. Pinup is, in fact, an American phenomenon. So we have values like no bullying, respect for each other, support each other and body positivism in our network. As a pinup, you are a role model. That was also not right of me to say, I can’t just tell others to be role models. So things went real bad because someone couldn’t share the scene and the passion. Me starting a network was a big no-no. I hadn’t even been on tv, how could I possibly know anything about this. So… yeah.
I’m just so sick of people that just have to create drama, people who are fake and pretending to care when all they want is to ruin you. Or pretend to be your friend so they can steal some of your limelight (not a big issue for me, apparently, but I still can’t stand that behaviour). Social climbers. Why? Relax, be yourself and just realize that likes and followers doesn’t make you rich and famous. It doesn’t make you a good person either. Pinup and burlesque is not a career you get rich from, you do it because its a passion. A way of life. Stop trying so hard to be someone, it will come naturally if its meant for you. Don’t force it.
Be supportive! Be happy when others success! Life will get so much better when you focus on the positive in life, and stop competing with others. You don’t always have to be better than everyone else.
There have been more than once I have considered dropping out of pinup (I still would dress pinup and keep this lifestyle), but just shutting my page down and step down from it all. Pass the network on to someone else and just don’t care about anything. The drama is too much for me, I’m too old for this shit! I give my all in friendships, and I expect nothing less back. If I sense that some people are just bad news then I don’t bother trying to be their friend because I have enough friends, and those I call my friends are genuine people. Quality over quantity. Real friends over likes and followers. If I meet someone I don’t like I just keep away from them. I don’t pick a fight, I don’t tell them exactly how I feel because I am «entitled» to it and I certainly don’t try to bully them into quitting what they are doing.
Just because you don’t like someone you don’t have to tell them! That’s life. We can’t all be friends, and you know what? IT’S OK. You can still respect someone even if you don’t like them.