I have a show tonight. It’s sold out. I don’t say that to brag, only to say that I am so grateful for all the women and their loved ones who believe in our mission: to empower women. The venue holds a small amount of humanity, just over 100 bodies. But within this space, people start to change. We have don’t have many shows at this location. It is a raucous celebration of the feminine. Here is the link, if you want to see what it looks like.
I started a burlesque studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, almost three years ago. During that time, I have seen thousands of women come through my door, some of them leave transformed, transfixed. Some of them leave, nose up, determined to find their treasure box elsewhere. I can tell you, it has been my honor to hug every one of those women, to greet them into a space of self-awareness, self-love, and personal investment.
My story started a long time ago. I got married right out of college, as many women do. I found myself mired in a bleak situation. I take ownership of that. I created at least half of that scenario. But what I was left with, was everything, and nothing. I had no money, my only option was to move into a trailer park. But what I did have was my brains, and most of all… my children. I had two luminous souls in my charge and once I realized that I was the only human who was going to look after them. I became a new momma bear.
It was around this time that I started frequenting the dollar store to find levers to make me feel, if only for a moment, more like me, more beautiful. I searched out dollar lipsticks and cheap earrings. When I put them on, I found an uncommon power. I would go to my job wearing this new lipstick. People would stutter-step, looking at me like I might be a new force. And I was. It was the catalyst to a new dream. I was starting to become who I was meant to be.
You know how it is. You run and run, away from that old life. And suddenly you find yourself alone, on a street paved with diamonds. You look down at your shoes and notice that diamond flecks have gotten on your shoes. You know how it feels, when you are in a grim place, but you suddenly find yourself among a group of diamond-plated women, a free space to believe, a new network of women who believe in holding up themselves to the light…
You know how it feels… to be free…
When my girls hit that stage, it’s like they are dancing down that street paved with diamonds. They slip and slide on diamond dust. They create a new reality for themselves. They wear Kick Ass Red Lipstick and dance. They transform from who they were into who they were meant to be. They become exposed and in exchange expose everything in their lives that needs changing.
On top of it, my mother is in the hospital for advanced stage lymphoma. She is skirting the edge, participating in a clinical trial that we hope will shift the balance of everything. But the reality is that we are here for a brief moment. We are here to pass on our lipstick rituals, our dreams, our confidence, to the women who come in behind us.
I hope you join us, in spirit or in person, tonight to celebrate and love who we are and who we were are becoming…