I wanted to share a big achievement with you... last night I performed burlesque to an audience, on stage, all by myself! This was huge for me.
I've been attending burlesque classes and other dance classes run by the group for about two years now. I've always loved the classes and the people that go there have become my friends. We're like a little burly family.
I attended one set of classes that were to get us ready for stage performance and it ended with a show for our friends and family. I loved the class as always, performed to the girls when practising and always felt nervous but did it because I knew I wanted to get on stage one day. I finished the class and told my friends and family about the show, inviting everyone I could. I was so excited.... then I had to cancel.
Before the show I began with my depression and anxiety. I was too unwell to perform and having panic attacks. I didn't even want to go and watch the show which really isn't me. I would have done anything to see my group get on stage for the first time. I was so proud of them all and happy for them but just couldn't go. I decided that I may never get on stage. I'd eventually go back to the classes but just as a hobby and never perform.... REALLY?! So I continued to practise in my kitchen and thought I'd never get further than that.
A few week ago I was the maid for our groups show. It was my job to set and tidy up the stage for acts and help backstage or wherever needed, I'd done it once before for them the week before my panic attacks started. I nearly cancelled then too because an hour before setting off I started choking, felt dizzy, went really hot and felt sick. I didn't realise at the time that was a panic attack. Being the maid means getting on the stage but just to tidy or place things out.
As soon as I went in the back where everyone was getting ready I wanted to be in their sparkly little shoes! I worked on the stage. I noticed with the lighting on stage and the dark room that the audience are quite hard to see once you are up there. I didn't feel like everyone was staring and felt comfortable. I blogged about one day wanting to go for it and perform and my friend got in touch. She had her own show coming up, the one I did last night. She said I could just turn up on the night, get ready and see how I feel. I could go on whenever I wanted and I wouldn't be advertised. If I turned up and didn't go on it wouldn't be noticed by the audience or letting them down. I knew I would have let myself down though; wanting something, getting the chance and then not going for it.
I worked through the day and felt ok. A little nervous when driving there, my head went clammy and I was a little unsettled and shaky but more naturally nervous than anxiety setting in. I got to the venue and got ready; hair, makeup, costume on and a walk about on the stage. I went into the toilets and listened to my music, miming and thinking through the act.
My friends who were performing started coming in and asking what I was doing there. As soon as I said performing they gave me a huge smile and a hug and were so supportive. We're all like that in our group and wider group. The lovely ladies who didn't know me also gave me a hug and wished me luck too. Lovely!
So please take a leaf from my book and don't ever tell yourself you will never do something. Don't let depression, anxiety or mental illness dictate your life. It might get in the way and hold you back but please don't let it be the end of something you love!
Thank you so much for the opportunity lovely- you know who you are!