Relationships and Burlesque.
Relationships at the core are wonderful things, There is different types of relationships we all welcome into our lives. Let me share a little about me... Im a 28 year old woman that does burlesque and is also a community leader and volunteer, I have a great family and great amount of friends and also my calender is jam packed with events and work.. am always busy with life and slowdown (on occasion ) to catch up on things and my health... I really dont sleep but when i do is good! Im constantly tormented by my own opinion and decided this year... I will be nothing more the what you see .. Am blunt, hard to handle, i have opinions (that is a surprise ), I have a love affair with art and poetry, i love discovery, adventure, learning, music is my life, i love shiny and most of all i love my family, friends and burlesque.
Relationships with our family- This one is a particular one to have it maybe difficult to understand why family being that they are flesh and blood does not understand why we as performers bare it all on stage every night for the public to see. I luckily am very close to my mother and as much as she at times may protest the pictures i post or the shows i do she always says "I know my daughter, I love you no matter what and ill accept you" That to me was gold to hear her say some time ago. Thru my 10 years of burlesque i recognize that a relationship with my family is important and that i need them to be with me to move further in my career even do some are not so lucky to have what i do. I have two families My Biological family (the family i was born in) and My Logical Family (the lgbt community i work in) My LGBT Family accepted me for who i was no questions asked regardless of my gender or sexual preference they have raised me and mentored me to be a leader in the community and there i have seen the struggles they have faced in their every day life just to be accepted and also their challenge to love someone with out ridicule or violence.
I have to say i have also my adopted family (my little girls family) They have played a key role in the support of my career and the life of my little one helping me raise her right and helping me move forth in my life as an adult, I remember the first show they went to... giggles i was so nervous but once the show was over (it was a sold out show with a huge article in the paper that put me on the cover and centerfold) My family was amazed and proud. That moment i will not trade what so ever in the whole world.
Relationships with family are tricky they seem to study you at times and ask hard questions about your choices but it's the best thing to help your family understand why YOU as a performer feel this is your piece of mind and your passion. Articles, Movies and History did help my family understand and maybe it can help yours too.
Relationships with Friends- I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing people that have stuck around thru out my life and supported me as friends, Some have been puzzled about my career as a burlesque performer. The main fact that I'm addressed by my stage name every where is one thing some of my friends did not like but they welcome. You see my name is not really Bella is quite simpler then that name. The name i was given at birth is beautiful and i like to keep that name to my self for now. I can be quite a handful with my emotional highs and lows but i find that some of my friends have weathered the storm and even saved my life, It has been a challenge to keep friends outside the burlesque circuit, Some understand why i can't make it to birthdays, cook outs, gatherings and other things of the sort based on the fact that in weekends am always on stage performing.
In this electronic age it seem easier to keep in touch via social media and share my life and adventures with them as i go but it does not replace spending time with them or calling them. Some get mad that i have not made time to see them but with my schedule i try very hard to do so but at times it just does not work. I have lost many friends to this but the ones who have stuck around sport and understood this is what i have been wanting to do for such a long time that they come to shows to see me (even if im running around like an idiot), They meet with me when i have a breathing moment and catch up (lots of smiles) They go as far as reposting my events and make sure that what ever i may need is there. Mostly i survive with phone calls and texts, Tennie a good friend of mine (also my stage director) told me that "My Coworkers are intrigued when i say my best friend is a burlesque performer" That got me to giggle ad ask why? ... well the "normal" person does not always see it as a career path.
My Volunteer Family - They are extraordinary people that help put amazing things together to help others... they help me move thru understanding every day life and make me feel welcome and worth my weight in gold... that family to me is priceless and i love them very much.
My Burlesque Family is the same tear as my friends, I spend a lot of time with these wonderful people that we build a bod thru glitter. Glitter-hood is like a little group of people that do the same thing i love to do... Burlesque. In the dressing room there is conversations like "how is your mom", "how did you do in the show?", "You did a great job on stage!", "How many stones did you put in that?", "Does any one have pastie tape or glue? I forgot mine!"
In The Dressing Room there is alot of bonding while we get ready some of us are just on our headphone making sure out song is remembered and we hit our cues, Others are doing their hair and make up, Others are getting dressed after they were on stage. This little haven from the show provides us with such a time to communicate and love one another and catch up, of course we also have a drink or two.
Burlesque Performers really take care of each other, We are in our most sensitive time- We are about to show case our body of work to a packed house there is a mix of emotions in our minds and our hearts race before stage. But it has been my experience that in the dressing room we all come together to make each other feel better.
My burlesque family is quite large really and they are very very very amazing and it extends world wide, people i have shared the stage with have inspired me to be better and move towards a better routine or costume it even gives me the bravery of applying to more festivals.
We crash at each others homes, share costume ideas, songs and very many things that bond us together. My favorite one has to be the post show dinner. You see breaking bread with people in a table and having conversations in a relax atmosphere makes it a warm and fuzzy glittery wonderful good time, Its like sitting in a dinner table at home at times. In Cleveland after the shows we go to "My Friends Deli" It's a restaurant we have been going to do years and years, Some people actually thing we are going to a friends house. In a way we are.
This is a show tradition for us here and we love talking and you hear the restaurant be filled with laughter and joy, I have made some great bonds in that place with some great people. Just going out to eat after a show or a festival gives us one on one time that we can use to get to know one another. That it self if priceless.... !!!
Not everything in burlesque is peaches and cream there is arguments and fallen friendships... its at times the nature of the business. Jealousy and Bitterness over bookings, shows, costumes, music, rivalry make for some strong mix of emotions in a sea of strong personalities and when planets crash together .... well there is the rip. Please don't get me wrong there is more solidarity in burlesque then anything else (well more glitter) That is why i see it growing all around the world regardless of our differences "WE CAN ALL STILL SHARE THE STAGE AND ENTERTAIN" that is gold!
All of these people have helped in very dark times my mothers cancer battle, my emotional breakdowns, my relationships ending, my near death experiences and my illnesses. These people to me are family and i would not have it any other way.
Romantic Relationships- The hardest ones for me at least, When you meet some one new and they ask you what you do and with out a flinch you say "I do burlesque" That is the single most scary moment at that every time you are looking for the reaction that usually goes "that's cool", "That's interesting?" ,"What's that?", "Oh I know a girl that does it!", "hmm..pause... silence" - Some of the responses i have gotten in the past.
I love when they seem to be cool with what you do but in fact with some passing months they realize its not a "face" or a "thing", You will see their insecurity grow and well that leads to multiple arguments or They really don't care to see you don't support you and they tell no one about your "hobby"
They come to every show and they become "THE SHOW BOYFRIENDS" its like a show mom... they become experts in burlesque and all things that come with it and they even call their selfs your manager or they show up to shows just to make sure you are not flirting, hitting on/ being hit on by other guys or girls, stay by your side at all times, do not stop looking at you, freak out when you head to the dressing room or bathroom with out telling them
The super supportive man that is secure in him self that supports you like a partner and respects your choices and decisions on what you decide to do with your body and is proud of you but still demands that you take care of your self and rest... (like he knows how long you have to make a new costume for a theme show in a week with multiple other bookings coming and have to rehearse and pick a new song while you are trying to get your application to another burlesque festival in last minute and have to figure out what cat picture to upload to instagram and type every single hashtag you can on it at the same time you are answering booking emails and try to keep up with others like mom and dad and all those other holidays that are on the calendar that you have a show on... shit i double booked my self... ) then they give you a cup of tea and snuggle you and say how can i help? and mean it.
Boyfriends/Girlfriends in the burlesque world are hard to keep a relationship needs time and effort and some times we as performers are so involved with the "I need to do" we at times ignore our partner but we have to understand we need some one independent that helps us move ahead instead of not move at all.
I have been in very many bad relationships and very many good amazing relationships... All of them with their pros and cons but in the end of the day the longest relationship i have is with my self, I explain to people at times that ask well there might be 1000 people that want to date you?? right??
The answer is NO
We are an illusion on stage we are the sex appeal the idea of the imagination of sex and indulgence. We are a character onstage many times and some people don't understand this is not our every day.
We are always showered in compliments (its nice..really nice) but some times they can get monotone as we just go to robot mode (as i call it ) and smile and nod to every single one and say "Aww Thank You" every time.. is not that we dont love them or appreciate them but we hear them very very very very very very often ... we are thankful but at times the best compliment to me is a 'THANK YOU"
As a lone ranger (single woman) i think that there is some one out there for me but i will not find it at a burlesque show, i know am a sexual creature and i will be attracted to fans but its a line not to be crossed by many. In some instances you cross it and it works but most times it does not work in our favor or just in mine.
Some times the good old noggin' says to me ...
Do they like me for me or for my stage persona?
Do they think am easy to catch since they think am a loose woman?
They must like me some what here and there for whom i am.. for this is a part of me right?
Ahh insecurities we all have them but some of us more then most, Resent events changed my life in January and needless to say building trust is hard... not so much for my partner but for me. At times we find that we are all very interesting as woman or men ... We guilt our self for mistakes in the past even do we have come to terms with them we still lack the fact we must forgive our selfs in order to mover forward. That in resent times may have cost me a wonderful person... one that i very much liked and still do but my brain was just not there but it took him to make me realize. "Yes i have healed but not yet forgiven my own mistake" That hit me like a ton of bricks.
Now for my Carrie B Sex in the City Moment- Why as performers do we exude confidence and yet in real life have questions about everything else...??? That answer is easy ... WE ARE HUMANS!
We have emotions, we have flaws, we have gone thru a hell of alot to get to where we are today... Some people say "oh it takes time" but am lonely now! Impatience!
but going back to the topic... (got a little self there) All of us in our performance life have to have a partner not a boy friend or hubby... A partner is just that an equal, a rock, a hugger, a kisser a person that when you get home from a show that he/she could not attend immediately makes you feel welcomed to you home or calls you after you get in your hotel room and talks about every thing and nothing just make sure YOU are ok.
It's a give and take in love and you have to make sure as s person you respect your self and your partner.
Treat them equally.
COMMUNICATE! (very important )
I could always say "i know how to get them in" but i really have no clue how to keep them.. that is what i ask you the reader of this blog... What do you do to cope? To move on and forward with your relationships both family and friends ? What do you do to keep your partner and you even?
What do you Do?
I look forward to reading your posts here on my blog.
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Burlesque Performer and every day glitter seeking glamour lover!