What I learned as a Burlesque Dancer

I recently saw a video from eight years ago.  From back when I was performing in a Burlesque troupe.


I was 35 pounds lighter and almost a decade younger.  And, as I watched the video of myself on stage in fishnets and a metal bra, I was awesome.


I could hardly believe it, because I didn’t feel awesome at the time the video was made.

In fact, I felt the opposite of awesome.  I felt small and incapable. And, even though I had taught partner dance for years, and had danced jazz and modern dance since I was a kid, I felt like I was the weak link on the team.  I was acutely and painfully insecure, knowing that everyone else up there was way better than I was, and I really shouldn’t be up there with them; that I didn’t deserve it. That they were probably embarrassed to be performing with me.

However, the video showed a different reality.


I was awesome!!  Seriously, this was a huge and shocking revelation.  It immediately shifted deep and long held beliefs about myself and my capabilities as a performer.  In fact, when the video was sent to me, I almost didn’t watch it because I was so sure that it would be awful and embarrassing.


But, it wasn’t.  At all. I was talented and engaging and my movement was really good.  As I watched, I felt proud of myself and of my ability. And, how much better would I have been if I HAD believed in myself in that moment?  If I had been able to change the negative and self destructive internal dialogue, being fully myself and fully present?


How often do we do this to ourselves?  We feel that we are inadequate or incapable, taking ourselves out of the enjoyment and magic of the moment and disengaging us from our incredible potential.   Where in your life can you own your ability and power? Where can you step up and know your special sauce that is uniquely you? Where can you trust in your abilities and know that if you have been given a desire to do something, you should go all out and do it?


How many times have we listened to a singer or watched a play or followed an idol with the full knowledge that they are far from perfect at what they do or how they do it?  They might not always be on key, or they might bungle a business merger, however, they go all out. It’s not a lack of fear. They trust in their innate awesomeness and just fucking do it instead of waiting for perfection.


And, when you do that, you might just surprise yourself and find out you are awesome, too.

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