How did we ever get to 2018? I feel like last year just flew by, and in many ways, it really did. Last March, I was in Alaska for the Freezing Tassel Burlesque Festival, and since then, life has been an absolute blur.
I finished three (of four) semesters of a second BA in fashion design at the end of last year, but I’m calling it quits on that final semester. I just couldn’t juggle my life as a full-time, freelance artist and a more-or-less full-time student. (I know, just saying it out loud sounds insane.) I’m literally one of those people that poses for art classes to pay the bills, and while that was a viable living in 1963 (when Dorothy Kilgallen asked a woman on What’s My Line? if that was her job), it’s a little tough to hack in 2018.
Nonetheless, I’m still here, and I’m still making my living from posing for art classes and taking it off on burlesque stages across the country.
I have a fairly wide swath of the beginning of each year dedicated to thinking about where I’ve come from and where I’m going. I get swept up into it at the end of the old year, when everyone else is doing it, but it continues for some time for me. The first job I ever worked in Chicago was as stage manager for U/RTA, a weeklong theatre conference that I’m still working, 10 years later. I lived on a friends’ couch that first week, looking for jobs and apartment hunting in between shouting the names of some 500 potential graduate school acting students to a panel of auditors. It marks the beginning of my life as an adult, and because of that, the lead up to the first week in February is full of reflection for me.
Because 2017 passed me by so quickly, and was so full of panic, anxiety, and procrastination, I’ve been thinking a lot about slowing down and being more mindful in 2018. I juggle a lot of things. (So many jobs, so many hobbies, and a heaping helping of major depressive disorder and anxiety that make those jobs and hobbies very difficult to do, much less enjoy.) I spent numerous years hoping that the solution to feeling so overwhelmed and anxious was just to run away from it, as fast and as hard as I could, but the result of that is that I wasn’t managing my life at all. I felt like I was always working, or always supposed to be working, and in reality, I was just spending 80% of my time desperately scrolling Facebook and Instagram, looking for the magic thing that would make me feel better. To no one’s surprise, I did not find it there.
So I’ve instituted a minimum number of hours within which I have to work. It can be any work. Posing and performing and teaching count just as much as keeping my website up to date, listing pasties and gloves on Etsy, or sewing. At this juncture, I’m including sewing personal projects, since I don’t get many commissions right now, and the reason I don’t is because I don’t have a body of completed work that would get them for me.
I’m also finally buckling down about the way I appear in public. I’ve tended to slum my way to the coffee shop in the same jeans that I’ve worn for the last 23 straight days (I wish this were an exaggeration), some random tee or sweater, and no makeup. That’s fine, but I’m also kind of a public figure, due to my life as a performer. (You can be a public figure even without being Dita von Teese, I tell my anxiety. 50 thousand Instagram subscribers does not a public figure make) It’s kind of a pain in the ass, because I’ve gotten so used to my maintenance-free existence, but it’s now basically a rule that I have to put on makeup if I’m going outside. I said it once, years ago, that there’s something to the Donna Reed pearls-to-vacuum-the-house mentality. It makes you feel better about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself, you get more done.
To that (lengthy) end, I finally appeared in public in 2018 wearing the Christmas-dress-that-came-to-my-rescue.
Somewhere around December 21st, I decided to jump in and make my long-dreaded Anne Adams 4526 and… well… I didn’t finish it. (I will finish it! It’s on my list!) Fortunately, I had asked my mother for this dress from Unique Vintage for Christmas, sort of as a sneaky backup plan. Which I totally ended up using.
On Christmas, I wore this dress with my 1930’s pumps and vintage overshoes, but since it was a balmy 14 degrees outside (I’m an American, that’s Fahrenheit) today, I paired it this time with some delightful M stockings from Sock Dreams and my trusty Doc Martens. Barely visible is my favorite hat, a little skeleton hat with a mink front piece. And, of course, a fluffy, warm vintage silver fox stole, so I didn’t freeze to death in the five minutes it took to shoot these photos.
Hat- vintage- Uncle Winnie’s
Fur- (real) Vintage fox fur- gifted!
Dress- Voodoo Vixen Ella dress- Unique Vintage
Socks- M Stockings in Charcoal- Sock Dreams
Boots- Doctor Martens.
(I’m also sneakily wearing an Orchard Corset CS-201)
(I’m also wearing MAC D for Danger lipcolor!)
I’d love to know what your goals and plans are for 2018! I’m sure I’ve got more to say about making plans for the year, but I’m trying not to overwhelm myself for now.
…Also, here’s a bonus shot of me (…me?) while my partner was trying to figure out how to focus the fancy lens on my fancy camera.