Have you ever been so excited about going to a fancy, artisinal cuisine kind of restaurant that it feels like this huge, momentous event? You carefully plan what to wear, fantasize about what you’re going to eat the whole week leading up to it, and then you get there and it’s more wonderful than you imagined and you pile all of that buerre blanc and truffle emulsion into your mouth like it’s the first dick you’ve seen in years, adding on wine and dessert and more wine, until your tight belly is straining at the waistband of your skirt as the Jeeves-like waiter caresses the bill onto the table, and as reality begins to edge it’s toe into your fantasy world you muffle a whimper as you put your card down, praying that you have enough in your checking account to cover it, and as you rise from the still immaculate table, you feel a painful and immediate rumble and are forced to flee, with sweat dripping down your face, to the polished marble bathroom where that buerre blanc will reap it’s swift and cruel revenge, leaving you pale and sweaty, trying to project a modicum of dignity as you teeter on your high heels through the lobby and out the door feeling like you’ve left the scene of a crime?
No one? Just me? Several years ago, my husband and I went to this super high brow restaurant called Tru. I had never been to a place like that before. It was SO fancy. I was nervously excited at the table, sat up rigidly straight and responded to the waiter in monosyllables like I didn’t speak english. I went for Chef Rick Tramonto’s tasting menu and it was goddamn splendid. There was risotto with fucking truffles as an appetizer. And this lobster tasted like the poor creature had been given a IV butter drip before it was dropped into the pot. The dessert was dense chocolate something with one of those crazy ice creams that you would never think could be an ice cream. Curry, maybe? Anyway, all I remember is that is was like magic and I ate every single bite and when a ridiculously beautiful woman came to our table and offered us a tray of Gale Gand’s handmade candies and coffee, I said “yes, please!” and topped it all off with that before finishing what was left of the wine. The bill was just as grand as the meal, leaving our checking account devastated, and my poor Alabama girl intestinal system did not react well to the crash course in fine dining. In addition to committing a crime against humanity in the ladies room, I had to stop at a McDonald’s to use the bathroom on the way home. It was too much. Just too much fanciness too fast.
And that’s what kind of happened with burlesque.
Yeah, maybe comparing my Chicago Starlet apprenticeship with getting the shits from too much epicurean indulgence isn’t so flattering for the art form but I say the analogy stands. I got excited about all the possibilities laid in front of me and I grabbed at all of it with no thought to whether or not I could handle it. I couldn’t. I mean, I did. I handled it. But fuck. It was no party. I look back on the last six months and I want to slap myself in the face. There was no way I could possibly have taken on all of that work and had things end up any different. And if you’re wondering how they ended up, here’s the deal. I wanted to be a member of this Burlesque troop, The Chicago Starlets, right? So I took classes, learned all I could about the art of burlesque, and apparently did something right because I earned an apprenticeship with them. And, typically, the deal is that you apprentice for six months and then you’re starleted. Not so for me. I dropped the burly ball. Missed a rehearsal, fell behind, lost focus, lost confidence in my ability to perform. And this is not easy shit here. Especially for someone for whom the concept of getting ones body to move in a predetermined way to the beat of music is completely foreign. (That was nerdspeak for dancing.) So, I started sucking a little. Then I got discouraged, beat myself up a little, then I started sucking a lot. And that little asshole voice in the back of my head started whispering “fuuuuck it.”
Why did this happen? Do I suck? No. I don’t. No one in the world could possibly be harder on me than me, but I’m going to give myself a little bit of a break here. And it gets back to that taking on too much thing. I stretched myself too thin. I don’t like making excuses for falling short of my goals, but Christ on a Biscuit. Over the last six months I designed and constructed six complex custom costumes, each consisting of multiple pieces, designed a tee shirt line for Studio L’amour and handled the production of those, I started this blog, I worked a full-time job, I stage-kittened every show, I went to class, rehearsals, I put together a solo number, a duet, and performed two group numbers. What I did not do much of was sleep, or clean my house, or eat well, or make time for my husband or myself, even. And with all of that going on at once, when it came to rehearsals and learning group choreography, I just had nothing left in me. No brain space left for it. I was an empty well. A limp rag. A flaccid penis. And flaccid penises don’t look good in pasties.
And so here I am. With a second chance to make this shit happen (I’m not out of the running yet, ) and you mark my fucking words. I will do it. But, did I make the right choices leading to here? No. Yes. I don’t know. I’m proud of the work I did. And that high-stress situation taught me a lot about what I want out of my career and how I will and won’t do business. I never know my limitations until I hit them. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I do know that I adore these women in this troop and I was looking forward to my apprenticeship with them. It should have been fun and it wasn’t. That’s on me. I was stressed and grumpy the whole time. And it’s time to lighten up a little. My name is Ray Ray Sunshine, for fuck’s sake. Not Work Work Sucktime. And I think I’m going to start by going to get a pedicure. My pigs are ugly.