So much has happened in the last four years since I started performing Burlesque that life is beginning to become BB (Before Burlesque) and AB (After Burlesque). Most of it has been wonderful and made it clear that I’m on the right path. And then there are the not so fabulous things.
Many people will tell you Burlesque is a welcoming loving family that is the wind beneath your battered wings. And this has mostly been my experience. However, it’s also true that performers can be sensitive and jealous and not entirely introspective and thoughtful of people around them.
I’ve likely been on the giving end of this without realizing it, not maliciously of course but sometimes you just get so into what’s going on for you that you can’t see how that affects other people. Goddess, help me change that!
And then other times you’re on the receiving end. I think it would be catty to share the details of my experience publicly. What’s more interesting is the process this forced me to go through to uncover freedom for myself. Freedom from the compulsion to be liked.
Aside from the lack of professionalism that showed up, I was personally hurt and upset that I felt like someone else didn’t like me. I felt like my 4th grade playmate had suddenly declared she was taking her Barbies and going home.
At first I thought, “I should call this person and share my feelings and try to learn why they are upset with me so I can fix it.” I marinated on this for a while and talked with a few close friends about it. And then I did probably one of the best things I could have, and just sat with the idea for a while.
As I sat with it and thought through the possible ways I could have wronged this person and caused them not to like me, I grew calmer about it. I realized I had been kind and ethical in my actions and that whatever was bothering this person, if there was actually anything, was a lot more about them than me.
I also checked in with the energy surrounding this person, how being with them made me feel, and began to question if it was worthwhile engaging further. Was this a person I could have an honest conversation with and come to a mutually satisfying understanding? Or was this someone who might become vindictive or worse tell me everything was good and not show that in action?
After sitting with the situation for a while I decided further engagement wouldn’t create a positive result or be good for me. It may seem like just throwing my hands up and walking away, but for a person who wants to be good with everyone by nature and nurture, this was truly agonizing. I don’t think I’ve ever willing walked away from a relationship without at least some sharing of feelings.
But in this situation, I had done all I could to be a good person and I could exit Stage Left feeling clean and good about my actions.
It took a while, but rather than being upset or wishing this person ill when their name came up or I thought about it, I wished them compassion and the hope they would treat other people better. After a bit I stopped thinking about it very much at all.
I am still a bit sad about the situation, especially since Burlesque is a small community; and at the same time I love the freedom of not worrying so much about people liking me.
I realize that no matter what I do some people may just not be on the same vibe with me and may not want me around. No judgement about what’s going on for them, I feel the same way about some folks too.
Another bonus is the freedom I feel in my onstage performance. Of course I consider the experience I’m brining to the audience, but I’m also creating a better balance of considering how I feel in an act and which boundaries I would like to push, not what might be expected or desired. Hot damn, is that great for authenticity and innovation!
I’m going to continue being the best me I can and growing my capacity for compassion. And revel in this freedom to be more me!
Photos by Freak the Mighty