I 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.