Things that suck: rejection, injury, failed experiments, freezing your butt off, wasting money, personal drama. I've had to deal with all of these in the past month, and it got me really down. Now I'm not going into details about every little thing, but I did want to write about the epiphanies that came from this low point. First, I'm going to recommend Trixie Little's blog post about rejection and the artistic process. Really you could just read her post, but I want to bring in my newbie perspective.
I was particularly bummed by a recent double whammy of rejection. The Companion and I had spent our Christmas Eve putting the final touches on costumes, and I really wanted to perform more. You see, the anniversary of my solo debut was fast approaching. Its success had one downside: the resulting high expectations. I developed an anxiety over losing momentum and started to question my ability to put together a successful burlesque routine on my own.
Once I got
over my disappointment and fears, I thought about what could be improved. Just as the time an unpleasant costuming
experience made me realize that I should put less emphasis on cosplay, the
obstacles would give way to an epiphany.
I knew that both routines needed more work, but more than that, I realized
that I needed to slow the heck down.
|I thought this photo from Dallas Comic Con: |
Fan Days with the Mandalorian Mercs
fit the mood of this post pretty well.
"Quantity over quality" seems like an easy-to-follow adage for burlesque. However, when ideas and themed shows pop up all of the place, the temptation to create a new act before finishing the one you're working on can be difficult to resist. Some performers can churn out routines quickly, but I'm not one. Moreover, as a mostly nerdlesque dancer, I can easily fall into the trap of creating an act that lacks versatility (and that is unacceptable for my budget). My epiphany taught me that in order to slow down, I had to stop myself from chasing the new ideas and focus on improving what I have. The right show will come; I just need to be ready and the best that I can be.
There was one exception I was willing to make. There was an upcoming audition that I could not resist, and I promised myself that I would keep it light and fun (okay there was some social commentary, but that's my version of fun). Then I hurt my back. After further aggravating my injury at work, I decided to halt all dancing, be it class, rehearsal, or choreographing. Perhaps this was a sign that I shouldn't try to cheat on my new resolution.
Both the rejections and the injury revealed something else: burlesque is not my life. What helped me get over the sting of rejection and all the other bad things going on was watching the Winter X Games. I had been focusing a lot on burlesque the past year, and while it's been fun, I realized that I neglected two of my greatest passions—writing and action sports— and friends who are not connected to the scene. Taking a break meant that I could devote time to other things and not be burned out from burlesque.
Now I'm recharged and ready to work my butt off in improving the acts I started last year. I've just returned to dancing and will stage kittening at the Dallas Burlesque Festival on Saturday (and showing my support Friday night).