Can You Say Burlesque?

burlesqueI did something a little crazy. After a night out with my friends, I came home and I signed up for a burlesque workshop. It may have been my one shot of tequila, but I was liberated from my self-doubt and just went for it.

It all started this past April, when I saw my first burlesque show and I left feeling empowered and accepting of my body even though I didn’t actually participate, watching women of variety of sizes seductively strip down to tasseled covered nipples opened up my world to celebrate women’s bodies in a different way.

How does this relate to the workshop? Well, Midnite Martini, a burlesque dancer, hosts an amateur burlesque workshop. At the end of the workshop, we do a group number and a solo performance, and now I am officially signed up cue the heart palpitations.

Why am I doing this? Mostly, I want to confront my fears. Over the last couple of months, I have been going through a pretty hard depression. My anxiety levels have been through the roof. I had my first panic attack in almost year. I need to make a change before I return to an agoraphobic-carrying-a-paper-bag-everywhere self, the person I was 4 years ago. The choices we make when we are at our lowest moments are the most important.

I have a terrible view of on my body. I have been the chubby little sister since I was a kid and I have hated my body since then. I love swimming, I feel completely at peace being in the water, yet when I go swimming, my towel is wrapped securely around my body until just before I enter the water and is always right near the edge of pool. I always have a bathing suit cover up, so I never have to lounge just in my bikini. I want my body hate to end; I know everyone has bad days, but I don’t want to be at war with my body anymore. I need to accept the body I have. I can blame the people who constantly told me I was fat, had “thunder thighs” or was “pleasantly plump” or I can deal with my issues and stop the vicious cycle of body hate. The idea of people not only seeing the cellulite on my thighs, but seeing my bare stomach jiggle is making my palms sweat even now just thinking about. However, I have to deal with the issues now before I waste my life worrying about what people may think of my cellulite. Because really, it is just freaking cellulite!

I have always had terrible stage fright. In the 4th grade, I ran for class treasurer and we had to make a speech in front of the student body and the parents, and I barely made it through the first sentence before running off the stage and throwing up in a trash can. It wasn’t my finest moment. And I get so nervous speaking in front of groups of people, one on one or even three on one, I am fine, but standing in front of large group people and talking and being the center of everyone focus? Yes, that’s not really my cup of tea. It’s probably why I would rather be strapped down to ant hill than have a group of people sing happy birthday to me in a crowded restaurant. My fingers are crossed that my burlesque debut will not end with vomiting.

Four years ago, I was in a terrible place; I wasn’t sure how I would keep living, but I made a radical change. I packed up my life and moved to a place where I knew no one, didn’t have a job or really much of plan, but I wanted to make a change, follow my passions and not be tied down by fear and insecurity. This burlesque workshop will challenge me; it will push my boundaries and force me to deal with someone of my issues that I usually mask by my self-deprecating humor. And I will keep repeating this sentence to myself because I know it is true: “This class will be fun, and I will meet some wonderful people”. If I say it enough times, I will believe it.






Day 180-Cupcake Fashion

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Again, I am writing about my cupcake obsession…


For my birthday a couple years ago, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a beautiful cupcake necklace. I call it my lucky necklace, mostly because I feel special when I wear it.


This weekend, I was testing out different aperture settings and decided to photograph all of my jewelry. The cupcake looks so detailed; it is my favorite photograph that I took!


Day 162-Does Size Really Matter?

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I remember the first time I became aware of my size. I was ten years old and was walking with my best friend, we dressed in identical outfits because that’s what BFFs did, and a family member commented on how much bigger I was than my friend. I was not supposed to hear the comment, but I did, and that was the moment I became hyper aware of my size.

Before that comment, I never thought about what size I wore, just if  clothes fit or didn’t; I never compared my size or myself to my friends.  That comment also sparked a battle against myself and the start of my constant comparison to other girls that continued until very recently. As I got older, I fixated on being a size 4; it was my ideal size, the key to my happiness.  A few years ago I finally reached my ultimate goal. After months of working out twice a day and giving up sugar entirely (as an avid baker, it was not an easy task. Life without cupcakes isn’t really living!), I finally fit into a size 4 dress, a red Calvin Klein dress. I remember standing in the Macy’s fitting after zipping the dress and doing my happy dance. I have only been able to wear the dress twice, and once was with Spanx. My “Size 4 Happiness” was short lived, which led me to do some soul searching and make a change.

My self diagnosed problem is for most of my life I truly believed if I was a size 4, I would magically become the happiest girl in the world. I would have the shiny hair, perfectly white teeth and a boyfriend who is the modern day Mr. Darcy, and I was absolutely wrong.  Finally, I asked myself “why does my size matter so much?” Would Elizabeth Bennett care about her size? Probably not.

I hit my breaking point about my size about a year ago. I no longer cared about being the ideal size. The holy grail of a size 4 was really losing its appeal. As long as I am healthy, I will never say “I really want to lose 10 pounds” again.  My only size 4 dress  is on its way to Goodwill. It will no longer hang my closet taunting me to compare it to my other dresses.

So, does size really matter? Absolutely not. Does the ideal size equal happiness? Only for a second.

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Day 105-Identity Crisis and Self-Portrait

Last week, I decided to make a radical change to my appearance (thank you, Lena Dunham and Miley Cyrus; you make it look so easy). The radical change was supposed to help with creative inspiration. So, I had a hair appointment for Saturday, and I would donate my hair to breast cancer survivors.  I found an awesome edgier hairstyle online (thanks to British pop star, Frankie Sandford).

As Saturday approached, my excitement increased, and I thought I would get my new radical haircut and my self-confidence would rival Rihanna, except I am no Rihanna. After my hair stylist finished cutting and styled my hair, I immediately starting crying and not over joy. I hated it; yes, my hair stylist did everything I asked; however, I was not prepared to have one side cut so short and to lose almost ten inches of hair on that side! I can no longer use my hair to blanket my face.

After rushing to pay for my haircut and running into a department store to find a bathroom, I called my friend and broke down. Yes, I hysterically cried in the middle of a store, and I fully believed people were staring at me because of my hair not because I was crying like a small child in a public place.

Anyways, once I got to my car, I cried for another half hour, and then decided to buy new hair products and try restyling my hair at home. It did help as well as the positive feedback from friends. I also felt embarrassed that I cried over my hair, but I have always been a bit of a drama queen!

Ultimately, this story is the reason I posted this photograph. I wanted to face the insecurities over my hair and my new appearance.  I have never done a self-portrait for Project 365 and no intentions of ever doing a self-portrait for this project; however, in an effort to radically change and be more creative, I am showing my very first self-portrait, and what better way to fight the epic battle with insecurity than to post a picture for the world to see?

Also, I know this may seem superficial and trivial; however, this is the shortest my hair has ever been, and I never react well to change. Also, I do not hate it anymore, but I am still getting used to it! My hair is definitely a work in progress!

Day 25-Masquerade

Lately, I keep taking pictures of random things around my house. Everyday, I find something new that I think would make an amazing photo. This project is definitely opening my eyes to different possibilities!

I really wanted to practice using my eraser tool in photoshop, and  here is the product of my practice! I love this mask; the details are incredible. I did not anticipate how much gold detail the mask had; it took some time to color!