So, my husband was at a show recently and afterwards he asked me, “Why do the MCs all say the same thing about you now when they introduce you?” And I said, “What do you mean?” And he said, “Everyone says you are the hardest working person in burlesque. Why don’t they say other things about you? They say so and so made their own costume. You make your own costumes. They said she dances on pointe. You dance on pointe. Why do they only focus on one thing that you do?” And my response to him: “…because I am the Drudge of Burlesque. Welcome to my world. “
I am like Cinderella. Except I don’t have tiny mice that help me sew lovely dresses together that subsequently get ripped apart by my evil stepsisters. And I don’t have a fairy godmother either, actually. But the drudgery part, I got that one down. Working and cleaning and sitting in the ashes (figuratively, not literally on the ashes, of course… although we DO have a fireplace and I would be the one who cleans that, too.) Because goodness only knows that once something hits my territory, of course, IT (whatever that is) is now MY job.
Them: Promote shows? – oh, but you do such a good job at that I just didn’t think I needed to bother. I mean, you Facebook it, so I didn’t think I needed to do it, too…
Them: Help costume our group number? Oh, but I can’t sew.
Me: Or apparently, cut, pin, glue, or any other fucking thing that might possibly be helpful.
Them: Oh, by the way, can I now borrow our group number costume for a solo act I am doing?
Me: Ummmmm…. But that is our group costume… it represents our group number, so why should you wear that for a solo that is your number that represents you? The costume that I made, by the way…
Them: Well, I have a full time job – I don’t have time to do all of that.
Me: I have a full time job, too. And I travel for work and often work late nights or weekends to get things done for my work. And I am married. And I teach dance/burlesque classes. And I have a house and pets and I try occasionally to have a life, although frequently I have no time for that, actually, because in my spare time I seem to be writing newsletters and choreographing dances. And no, my job doesn’t consist of costuming all day or promoting myself, or anything remotely related to burlesque or dancing.
Them: Well, you are organized. You know that us creative types just aren’t organized…
Me: Meaning that because I am organized that I am not creative? Organizing yourself actually takes time and there are things in my life that are not organized because I have no time to organize everything that wants organizing. Yes, I have bought a book that I know I already have because I would rather spend the $12 to purchase it again than to look for the one that is somewhere in my house.
Them: Can’t you just handle that? I am just too stressed out to deal with anything.
Me: And what the hell am I at this point?
Husband: “Your problem is you make everything look too easy. Other people look like their choreography is difficult, but you make it look graceful and seamless. You organize things and get them done before other people have even started thinking about the fact that something needs to be done.”
A friend said to me once that I need to get someone to help me organize my shows. And I said to her, “Organizing my shows is not stressful if people follow directions and get things in on time.”
She says: “Well, if you have someone to help you, then it is their problem.”
My mind screams at me: “No, it is still my problem because it is my show, and now I still have to worry about getting the information, I just have someone else also worrying for me.” The stress doesn’t go away, it just gets passed around and shared. Stress for me is like Jesus with the two fish and four loaves of bread. Doesn’t seem like much, but if you pass it around it can feed multitudes!!
So, I have a work ethic, and that passes over into everything else that I do in my life. I am a Type A, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder if you didn’t know) person who has actually mellowed out a lot as I have gotten older… Yes, I really have….
So, why do I do what I do? Apparently because I want things done right, I want them done well, and I want what I represent to be good – at least as good as I can be with the time and energy I can reasonably spend on them. Can I be better? Hell, yah, I could be. But, I learned in college that there were classes that I could work at and get an A in and I would. And then there were classes that I could cruise through and get a B and kill myself for and MAYBE get an A. Those were the classes I settled for the B, because they were not worth the energy to MAYBE get an A. If I was expanding myself and learning something, hell, yes, give it to me. But if it was “make work” and kissing ass, then that was not for me. So, I do compromise, but I try to compromise where I can or where I just can’t give any more than I already am giving. And, I do try to stretch myself, because how am I going to grow if I don’t push my limits?
And the people who aren’t organized and don’t try to be, you never will be organized. You know how to get better at that? You get better at that the same way you get better at dancing or singing or creativity or thinking or anything else that you do in your life – you practice. And the more you do it the easier it gets. Because repetition makes things easier – eventually. It is called learning. Being creative is something you learn to get better at and so is being organized.
So, stretch your muscles – your physical ones and your mental ones and take the next step. Become a drudge once in awhile. Work your ass off occasionally. Will you get a fairy godmother, glass slippers, and marry a prince? I really doubt it, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment. And you know what, if it wasn’t worth being a drudge, you don’t have to continue being a drudge. But at least you tried it…
Lucille Ball said, “The more things you do, the more you can do.” So, get out there and do something. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail. Besides, you might even like being a drudge once in a while.