A while ago, I was inspired by a friend facing down his fortieth year who chose to do a Year of Yes. I followed, eventually, with my own year. Combined with the therapy I went through and the changes in my life, the year of yes helped shift my whole way of thinking. I started to give fewer and fewer fucks about what people thought and just did things that either made me happy or challenged me or were just outside my comfort zone.
Reaching outside that comfort zone gave me a better understanding of my own capabilities, and introduced me to things I never imagined I would enjoy — like seeing the Insane Clown Posse in concert, complete with Faygo soaking. It also reminded me that sometimes a learning opportunity is just as important. For example, I learned that taking cooking classes is not something I want to repeat.
Volunteering has continued to be an important part of what I do, though I have now scaled back on some of that work. Now I’m using that time to return to the stage. In all of this — year of yes, tool library work, and now getting back to performing — I’ve been told I am inspirational.
As a kid, I was always performing. On stage through drama productions and choir/glee club, or behind the podium doing debate, political stuff, or instructing/public speaking. As I grew older, I stopped doing a lot of performing. Sure, I did the Fringe thing back in 2000 but since I was pregnant throughout most of the rehearsals and all the performances, it took a lot out of me and I think I just associated exhaustion with performing and walked away for a long while.
In 2016, I auditioned for the first time since high school. It was a bit terrifying, but in year-of-yes fashion I followed through. I didn’t get the part, but I did get encouraged. This year, I finally signed up for Rosie Bitts’ “Learn to Love Your Jiggly Bits” introductory burlesque class. Tonight, I will be taking the stage with my first performance as “Lusty Lugnuts” — a name that was inspired by my tool library work (everything is connected!).
Part of the class included a boudoir photo shoot. I got the edits back this week and it’s always a surprise to see how others see me through their lens. I definitely feel more like Lusty and less like Page in the photos — smoldering with sensuality.
Since putting myself out there like this I have been told I am an inspiration and that people are “in awe” or proud of me — one friend was inspired enough to sign up for the next round of beginner burlesque! For that, I am happy and humbled. I think everyone needs to love their own body, even if performing isn’t on the menu. Rosie’s class helps with both. She doesn’t offer a lot in the way of hand-holding but instead grants you the permission to be your best burlesque self. She also said she never knows who will sign up for the classes but “it’s always the right group of people” and I have to agree. The class was amazing for the connections we made as well as the skills we learned.
The show tonight is sold out so there will be almost 200 sets of eyes on me as I strut around the stage, take off clothes, and twirl my pasties. I know this is just my first performance; I plan to make burlesque part of my life for the next little while and am already signed up for Rosie’s intermediate class. I have made a FB page for Lusty Lugnuts and will likely follow with an Instagram account and maybe even a website if people wanna see me perform more.
Being told I am inspirational is one of the most challenging complements to hear, but I accept it with armfuls of gratitude. We get what we give and I am inspired by those around me every day. Thank you to those who have supported me on this and every part of my journey so far.