If you’re interested in any of my writings about the election check here.
I want to talk about something I had a great interest in and let kind of lapse. Burlesque.
I’m watching a great documentary called Exposed about it and because the people aren’t all cisheteronormative types, it has me thinking and remembering.
My interest in burlesque started when I was probably 7 years old. I idolized Josephine Baker, G*spy Rose Lee, fan dancers, drag queens the whole idea of such flamboyant performative feminity that I didn’t necessarily hook to gender (even back then) really pulled at my heart.
I’ve been in a very navel gazey mood and thinking about how I felt as a lil genderqueer baby potato and wow, those feelings are real and they were valid.
In terms of burlesque, in my early 20s I did some. I was stripping under the table and had a burly q type little act. What sucks about it is that NONE of the people I did it for are actually alive anymore. Damn okay.
I had two acts. One was all about me exploring being a big dick Femme Daddy. I wore a big strap on that I tied to my thigh until I started swinging it about. It wasn’t super refined, I had nobody I felt safe working on it with. My other act was very Super Goth Domme with a lot of shiny vinyl and slinking around menacingly.
In spite of my shyness, stripping and burlyqing on the downlow helped me during a time when my body image was broken.I was constantly battling a deep body dysmorphia that was connected to my anxiety and my eating disorder. I wasn’t totally active in my ED but I wasn’t not. It was a weird time. When I was stripping, I felt a kind of bodily power and physicality I didn’t feel at any other time.
Even when I couldn’t get hired at any of the local strip clubs because I was too chunky or weird shaped or not “Black” (I have a small ass) enough, those under the table (and frankly dangerous) gigs gave me something I didn’t have in my life. I was unable to figure out how to present myself in a way that felt good to me during the day, but sometimes I’d get the call and feel good.
Fast forward a couple of years. I quit DL stripping and only did a few more burlyq things. Then Seattle discovered Burlesque as a thing and I went to some shows. What I found were Thin White Pretty women doing stuff and as I tentatively explored the community both here in Seattle and online, I saw no space for someone like me.
At that point in my life I was not the brave fatass y’all know today. I was shy and hurt, I didn’t have the language to articulate why I felt unqualified to even approach the burlesque troupes/classes aside from Fat, Black, weird. Not “pretty” not any of the famous stars associated with neo-burlesque.
So I gave it up. And over the years I felt quite bitter. I felt cheated because I felt like I had some great ideas. But I felt so uncomfortable even approaching the scene, that I stayed out of it.
My desire to do this particular creative thing has been strongish lately. I have that need to move my body, to create something that isn’t writing that gets into gender, transgression, my weirdness, aging, my body. But, I don’t necessarily want to be part of a lot of what I see. This need also intersects with my interest in making little films.
Looking back over the years now, I do regret that I gave it up. Like bellydancing and a lot of other stuff, I let the constant beating of the cis thin white lady beauty ideal push me out. I also acknowledge and honor that baby me, lil potato big dick femme Daddy me wanted to protect themself and their heart and that’s real too.
Currently I don’t want to put myself back in that place. My experiences with anything to do with movement/dance/etc in Seattle is not great to be honest and what would be good for me, I don’t have access to because work. I’m not really keen to expose myself to that overmuch.
So what do I do?
Right now I’ve been doing a bit of dancing. Nothing serious because baby needs a sports bra and Femme Daddy has tig ole biddies and that shit is expensive.
I twerk while I brush my teeth or wash my face.
Sometimes I think about burlyq things I’d maybe like to do.
Sometimes I daydream about a big burlyq/strip show open to ALL bodies and gender presentations and dream about it just being the Biggest Queerest Most Awesome thing ever.
Sometimes I think if the right opportunity comes i might try to perform one more time.
I’m thinking about it.
If you read all that thanks, I really needed to decompress.
Be safe y’all.