I didn’t realise there was such a security wall up around me, until starting burlesque classes!
Over the years a persona has been built, an image portrayed and cultivated out to the world of the person everyone thought I was.
That is strong, determined, nothing fazes me, and that I have time for everyone, and whilst that’s true, I do have time for everyone, I’ve realised that it’s just not possible and we have to look after ourselves first. If we want to be giving, then we also need to be receiving.
Starting burlesque has made me face myself, literally, and really look at who is Anna, how I position myself, what my story my eyes, smile, body, and movement are telling. Am I portraying confidence or putting a wall up so others can’t see in, who is the person in the mirror - at times I don’t know the person looking back at me.
After just four weeks, four classes, four hours of burlesque I can now - still slightly uncomfortably - look in the mirror and appreciate the women staring back, accepting my body for its abilities and limitations. Helping to push it through those barriers and grow each week, through burlesque and yoga.
We put so much emphasis on how we portray ourselves to the world and that is just b#*^@t… if we don’t accept ourselves and love ourselves for who we are then how the heck can we expect our friends, family, partners and clients, to see us.
Along with my ‘outside the comfort zone’ journey, I’m also adding a breaking down the walls mission and that I believe will come hand in hand, to be vulnerable - not just say it, to open up - not just change the topic, to answer when someone asks ‘how are you’ - even if I know they don’t really want to know.
My life is great, I have a roof over my head, can put food ‘on the table’, live minimally without much want or need - apart from experiences or time - but there is something missing and that is truely loving myself, accepting myself for who I am imperfections, weaknesses, strengths and all, and to realise I don’t need external validation.
Then at times it isn’t great, I struggle to break out of a funk, feel like there isn’t anyone to talk to or if there is then they don’t need to know what’s going on in my life - bar the good stuff - as everyone has their own lives going on. The last few years have been really tough and a process to work through, a balance to meet and yes its meant I’ve pulled back from social activities or don’t last as long due to not drinking, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be invited.
All in all, it seems that signing up for burlesque classes is opening me up to be vulnerable, authentic, to work out who the heck I am, what I stand for, what I like and want to be doing with life - or maybe this is what turning 40 is about, going into a new decade and questioning what’s next. So far life hasn’t worked out as expected - think white picket fence, 2.5 kids, dog and partner - but it’s full of amazing friends, family, experiences that I wouldn’t change for the world.
Listening to a podcast this morning and Robin Sharma mentioned that ‘we seem to forget we aren’t here for a long time’, so it’s time to go after what we desire, the experiences, adventures, moments that we will be remembered by, and we do that by being real, by being us.
It’s time, if my words can encourage anyone it’s to be real, to speak up, to break down walls and strip away the layers (a bit like burlesque…) to always be your authentic self, even if that is a complete mess for a while - sometimes that is just what’s needed.