I found out recently, after someone else informed me, that I have been performing for 7 years, that makes it nearly 10 years in the burlesque scene!
From the get go I worked a full time job, made costumes in the evening and produced a few shows a year. Working a whopping 10-16 a day, 6 days a week.
I did that for 3 years while I got started and over the years managed to manipulate my business to suit me.
10 years down the line, I have achy knees from dancing, a fully fledged and healthy little online costume shop, shoulders that are constantly stiff as a board, I bought my first property, I get up after 9am, train, cook myself lunch, go into the office for 3-7 hours depending on the workload, and am looking set to be fully booked for Halloween month and 6 weeks over the Christmas season.
I take holidays whenever I want, though there are entire months where I work like a donkey non stop, and the anxiety sets in as I try to juggle managing a business, keeping agents and clients happy & managing my own small events business, if you can call it that – I manage about 6 shows a year for various venues and then the odd private party where I bring in performers.
The last two years I have had bursts of feeling disheartened or even bored.
I want to be creatively challenged while at the same time having too big a work-load, so creative projects don’t get the time they deserve.
I began to wonder what was wrong with me. I spent a long time creating an incredible and flexible career, knowing as a child that most of your life is spent working, so make work something that you love!
It only dawned on me recently that frankly, I am burnt out! I can’t believe I managed to go so long and so hard without it happening before. I joke with friends that I am a machine, but in truth a human does lurk inside me somewhere, and that human is tired.
Achy tired, sleepy tired, lack luster tired and bored tired.
I bash myself for being ungrateful, that nothing is ever enough.
It’s human nature to always want more and I’ve always been willing to work for it.
I do yoga to calm the anxiety, I sleep 8-9 hours a night, greedy I know! I eat well, I exercise, and although it’s incredible how far you can push the human body …. body and mind are now saying no.
How do we cure the burlesque burn out?
We need to pay for this, finish that, reply to so and so, choreograph the act for a show in 2 weeks time, deal with a dispute, chase the invoices going out …… STOP! Stop and breathe.
Chill, you are not super woman! Though I beg to differ, I fucking am! But super woman needs to stop, for more than an hour, more than a day, more than a week.
This modern world is crazy, we are all so busy ALL of the time. You can tick all of the boxes, at the end of the day your mind and body will do what they do, every box ticked doesn’t mean you are happy, every box ticked doesn’t mean you are doing it right.
So now what?
Take a break, simmer down, say no to some work and step back?
I recently read a blog which basically said stop doing things you can get other people to do for you, pay them to make your life easier.
I’m not rich by any means, but step two for the winter season is hiring a cleaner. I highly recommend this, for £60 a month you eliminate a chunk of stress.
Step one started months ago for me, I am meant to just be focusing on the big jobs that bring in the money instead of getting caught up in lots of little jobs.
I have of course gotten caught up in the little jobs again, because they are more fun than the big one’s.
Step three, forced breaks, I never take an hour for lunch, I should. I should switch my brain off, give it a break, as this is the very reason it is currently sizzling away like an over heated car radiator.
I have however moved my office out of my house, so I can’t do work non-stop at home.
This interestingly has not effected my earnings at all, it gave me more free time in the evenings. I work fast at the office, I want to get in and out and I don’t waste time checking social media every 20 mins.
I have found myself desperately selling off stuff and having big clear outs to try and free up my life and mind from an overload of crap.
Other options are hiring an admin assistant for a day or so a week, I’m struggling to get my head around how to pass the multiple streams of admin onto someone else, or to work out if I can afford it – logically if someone else is dealing with the admin I can focus on the big jobs and probably cover the wage no problem, along with them hopefully creating a system that’s better than my current mess.
Massages, sounds like a luxury, really as a full time performer it should be a necessity. I don’t know about you guys, but within a week of a massage my back is tense again.
Maybe I should just make a list of the least favorite parts of my business, and pass them onto other people.
Boring sewing, admin, accounts, cleaning, being polite to people who behave like dicks or any form of interaction with the general public.
Perhaps I should hire a minder to speak for me and randomly push people over if I don’t like the look of them #talulahmademedoit
Final step … stop being so frigging uptight?
What can you do, have you done to make life more simple?
Can you bully siblings or partners into doing everything for you so you Maria it up, buy a Pomeranian and lounge around in fluffy slippers?
Do the maths, will hiring someone to do something for you, giving you free time to do other work actually make more sense?
Final final step, get off the computer love, you ain’t no Carrie Bradshaw.
Grace, Grace Elkin my trusted photographer & amazing friend, and myself wanted an excuse to have some fun, tie it in with a cool new place to take pictures and also an excuse to eat and drink together, as we do at every given opportunity.
That pretty much went to plan. Grace found Malham Cove, and interesting landscape with lots of rocks, textures, and a waterfall.
The English weather did it thing of course, luckily we managed to grab a two hour slot when the weather was clear, the ground was dry, and made the several hundred step ascent to the top of the waterfall, to find the unusual rocks formations on top and a stunning view.
Just as we were coming to the end of this section of the shoot Grace slipped on a rock, I had my back to her, but with both heard the crack of her rib!
We finished up, yep that's right, Grace refused to loose the last few shots, and took the underwear image where I am looking out over the horizon.
We headed back to camp, after pub grub and some questionable 'live entertainment' a lovely chap with a mic and backup on keyboard, and slept in our tent with the rain hammering down on the tent all night long!
Photos: Grace Elkin
Underwear: Daisy Cutter range from Etsy
Model: Talulah Blue
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