When Deb first asked me to write about myself, my first thought was ‘crap.’ To me I am the most boring individual that I know. In fact, I will tell people this on a daily. I didn’t even know where to start with this entry and what to even say. Many of the lovely ladies that I know in the Academy have suffered through hardships both outwards and inwards, and personally mine is more a mental mindlock. Now allow me to introduce myself – my name is Dixie Daggers and I gave up performing burlesque for a whole year. When I first got involved with the Academy I went full fledge in – I went to 101, followed by 102 and then was doing the chair class at the same time. My head was going a million miles an hour with all these amazing ideas. Somewhere though with flying high on ideas, my regular life was crashing. The more overwhelmed I got, the more destructive I became. Eventually it got bad enough that I lost friends, sleep and spent way too much on beer. I realized that I had to stop because I wasn’t able to manage my time like I should and spent it panicking over something I should have loved.
Now for many the story would have stopped there, but for me it didn’t. I took a year off. A WHOLE YEAR OFF while I figured out myself if I should continue or let this dream pass. It was painful to see the ladies I knew from class going off and succeeding with their new burlesque endeavors but I knew that one day my mind would be well enough to get back into the game. I missed audition shows and the grand relaunch of the Tuesday Tease but instead of wallowing that I missed it, I offered to perform again on April 26th – the first time in a year.
Leading up to the 26th I was nervous. I had ideas and I worked my butt off to get what I saw in my head to flow outwards. I made my guy watch the performances so many times, that towards the end he probably believed it to be more of a form of torture than anything else. But I was hell bent that the only way I was going back on stage was if I looked 100%. The morning of the 26th, I got up, went to work and then started getting ready. I was nervous – I was like holy shit nervous. Somehow I don’t remember the day but I remember that it flew by. My guy came home and we loaded up the car and left to drop the kids off at my friend’s house so that he could watch me perform my ‘comeback.’ Then there was nothing left to do but jump onto the stage!
To say that my comeback was perfect, would be a flat out lie – but I did do a KILLER job! Even though I had rehearsed my hiney off I still had the epic ‘UGH’ moment all burlesque performers eventually will have – wardrobe malfunction! My pants that are usually a pain to take off, decided that they couldn’t wait to hit the ground which then messed up my entire part of my routine. Luckily though, I was fortunate to remember some of the amazing teachings of both Deb and Queen April and I was able to think on my toes and instead went into the audience to mingle during the time that I would have otherwise been taking my pants off. Lucky for me, only my guy really knew the malfunction. My second act, a brand new one, was so much fun to perform. Just all the thoughts and effort that went into making my black widow appearance was worth all the scares and butterflies that had been flying around my stomach all day. This particular routine had been extremely important for me for two reasons – 1) it was music completely outside my element and was actually specifically requested by my guy and 2) this was the first time EVER I had opted not to wear boy shorts or regular underwear but instead decked out my thong! This is important for me for several reason concerning past surgeries [and loss of bladder control thanks to two munchkins] and I was finally ready to fully dive into the new me.
Now the journey has not always been the easiest nor has it been simple. Through the Burlesque community I find people that strive to make me better at making costumes, to work harder at choreography, that are pushing me to be myself. For me the saying “Nothing of me is original. I am combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known” rings true. From the folks that were there pushing me both in the beginning and now to keep trying, to working out ideas with my fire-breathing sister-in-law, to amazing friends that have given time to both my ideas and my children for me to pursue my dreams, I have had people in my corner wanting to help out. It’s just sometimes you have to take that time off to realize who is in your corner to help you succeed. Once you figure out how to balance your dreams with your health AND your sanity, only then can you truly enjoy what you can do.