Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The "Resting Bitch Face" post....

I have a condition.
One that has only just started to be talked about in recent years, and be noticed by the main stream.
One that has haunted me my entire life, made people avoid me, even made people hate me.

I have Resting Bitchface. 

I'm not sure when it grew into bitch face mode, but for the last fifteen years it has been somewhat of an issue.
I am always told by people that they thought me to be stand offish when we first met, some wondering if I for some reason hated them, but then claiming that I'm really nice when they got to know me. 
Why is this a shock? Does everyone think this? How many people didn't make the effort to even talk to me and now think of me forever as some stuck up bitch...?
I'll never know.

Even in my own family it has caused confusion, with even my own mother thinking I was giving her dirty looks for no reason, and causing a stream of confusing one sided arguments that ended with my resting bitch face contorted into a look of confusion which actually looks more bitchy than my everyday resting bitch face. 

Even my fiancĂ© used to worry that I was pissed off or annoyed with him and not knowing what he had done and not knowing what to say, sat fretting while I just watched whatever film or tv show I was currently enjoying at the time. 
Luckily now since I saw a video about resting bitch face and I laughed and said "I totally have that" that he finally realised that it was just my face.
My face is broken in a bitchy manner, like a tea cup with complex social issues.

I try to smile more when outdoors to avoid offence, but hating my teeth and wanting to hide them meant my face is twisted into a strange closed mouthed smile that is tightly clamped over my teeth, and possibly making it seem more like I suffer from Resting Smug Face, a disorder highlighted by celebrity, Cate Blanchett. 

So instead I must embrace it, and wear my bitchiness with pride, it has it's bonuses I suppose.
Charity clipboard holders tend to not stop me.
When I actually need to look "bitchy" I've got that look well practised.
It also doubles as a great modelling face, strong!!

So whenever you see me, please believe these are not dirty looks, and I do not hate you for no reason, just take into consideration that....well....I have a disorder.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Why I want to quit Burlesque, but Can't and Won't...

This is something I've been battling with for a while now, while all around me the scene shrinks, talented performers step down while others flourish for all the wrong reasons, it's undertones of bitterness, breakdown of community, and frankly it's competitiveness have become somewhat of a bother to me.

Whether you realize it or not, the scene is bursting to the brim with performers, and they are still coming, new fresh faces burst onto the scene with excitement every week, but it saddens me that they won't have the same support or experience as most of us many years ago.
While more and more performers join the scene, some bring a fresh style and voice to it, notably Aurora Galore, who's energy and wildness onstage has launched her into an exciting career, some bring back the classics, such as Havana Hurricane who embodies the burlesque revival lead in America in the early 90's lead by performers such as the amazing Dirty Martini, but while some of the acts may be new and fresh, there is a diminishing platform on which these acts can perform.

Nights are either closing down completely, others overrun with acts they don't have enough positions for, or reverting to private style dinner clubs where the acts perform regularly such as Proud, Privee, Cirque Le Soir, or The Hippodrome and create small sub-communities within themselves and the scene.
If you are involved in those you may be able to survive from the living you make there alone, but if not you still have a variety of gigs to flutter between.

Some of us are lucky enough that we can still live from performing, but maybe not making as much as just a few years before. Some step back, or use skills acquired in performing to gain what we refer to as "proper jobs", some even go back to studying and changing their career paths.
So why have so many amazing performers started to step back, or worse, out completely?

It is hard work to feel you have to compete, or change your style to keep fresh, especially if like me you are a stubborn lady who created a style for themselves and want to stick with it, or to feel that you have to constantly bring out new acts or implement new skills which costs a great deal, and when you aren't earning a huge amount why would you splash out?
I have spent thousands on my costumes, and I will continue to use them until they fall off me without prompting, because they have kept me going this far. Of course I do have acts in the plans but I bring them out when I'm ready to rather than rush out many new acts to keep pushing onto promoters.
Some performers may prefer to act in this way, constantly bringing out fresh acts and if that works for them great, but we don't all work the same way, and that's fine.

What about other elements of the scene however?
What about our private lives?

A lot of us have our private lives now very mixed up within out performing persona, this I know all too well having performed for nearly 9 years, and now about to marry a fellow performer involved in the scene. Most people have embraced our personal choices and accepted us without query, but some liked to ask questions.
Our private lives and choices were being picked up on, and usually by people we didn't even know.
We are performers, how does our personal time affect what happens onstage? To regular audience members watching the shows, they are watching the act, not whispering the chinese whispers they heard at another show.
So why is this part of our scene at all?

I loved burlesque, and for a long time it was a huge part of my life, but now I can feel myself stepping back from the scene. Make no mistake I am not quitting, and I have many great friends who I have met through performing, but the community is now so large that I don't even know the people who bother to talk about my personal life anymore, isn't that a little bit sad?
I'm pretty sure they don't know me either, but I'm always being told how straight forward I am, if people wanted to know anything about me they could just ask, I generally tell the truth.

Burlesque is my profession, I do it mostly for the love of it, but yes, I admit, sometimes I'm doing it because its my job. I pay rent, I have bills, I eat food, and burlesque pays for that as do so many others in the scene.
I don't have a part time job currently, but I wouldn't see it as a failure if I did tho others make that suggestion, it may help to reignite the passion for the art form I was once so obsessed with if shows were booked for the sheer love of it again, and I knew I could be happy and comfortable backstage.
And yes, I would still do it even if I didn't have to, despite everything said here, because I chose to make this my career, I worked hard to get to this point, I remember the early days with fondness, but also I will not let the downsides win.

Now lets build up this community again, we are attacked by outsiders enough (most recently the feminist 'debacle') that we shouldn't be attacking one another, we should embrace our differences onstage as thats what makes a show interesting, lets reignite our love for what we do all over again, and maybe, just maybe we can bring it back to life and save it for ourselves and revive this amazing scene.

We can be happy again?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Definitive proof that you can't just 'Snap Out of It'

Exactly one week ago today, unknown to me my boyfriend had arrived in Liverpool where I was running a show in one of my favourite venues and rooms in Liverpool.
He had planned out and was gearing up to surprise me and propose onstage at the end of the show in front of my friends, family and show regulars. 

Of course I was happy and elated, but having been battling with quite a severe bout of depression in the past month, it didn't suddenly end once that ring was on my finger.
Of course I felt very happy but still the underlying darkness of depression was still there.
I wish I could say it all melted away completely and I was able and allowed by my mind to enjoy and feel excitement about the transition in mine and Edds life, sadly this is not a cure all method.

My mind and body have since been through the wars of severe mood swings, from hyperactively planning the big day itself, to having a day I actually couldn't get out of bed.
Stress levels are fairly high now we are talking budgets, plans, and sorting our finances trying to make everything we talk about a reality, while remaining the calm and happiness level we should be feeling isn't an easy task.
We vary between soppy cuddling and talking about the future, to Edd having to cuddle me while I'm upset and miserable. I'm lucky he is pretty understanding and willing to listen to me and how I'm feeling, and is pretty sensitive to my feelings, but then I feel more guilt that he is having to deal with me and my depression when really we should be in our honeymoon engagement phase. 

At a time when we should be feeding each other chocolate strawberries, I'm opting to comfort eat junk food.
When we should be at it like rabbits, my libido is at an all time low (this I feel most guilty about).
When I should be happily planning the event, pinning things to Pinterest, and looking forward to wedding dress appointments, it's hard to get out of bed, unpack my suitcase, or go out to work at shows.

So I take this as definitive proof that depression is something that really cannot be controlled, altered, or brushed aside no matter what amazing and wonderful things that happen within your life. 
This is why rich people suffer, the famous suffer, the successful suffer as no matter what your situation or point in your life still it lingers on to bring you down when you should be feeling your very best.

I shall continue the fight with my own mental health, and hope that when I walk down the aisle, the darkness has gone and I can start my new life with Edd full of enjoyment, joy, and a libido worthy of our honeymoon.