Posted on Knox Harter's Facebook:
Ok, I'm about to go on a bit of a dangerous rant. Feel free to debate, but you've been warned.
Recently on the Book of Faces I've being seeing lamenting, sighing, even down right whining from performers, especially new or unseasoned performers. The posts go along the lines of this:
"Feeling blue because I didn't get into "X" festival/expo/miscellaneous theme-specific show. I must not be good/"X" festival/expo/miscellaneous theme-specific show must be big meanie poo-heads!"
"God, everyone is so talented! I'm not talented! I can't dance/sing/breathe fire/perform heart surgery like those other performers can. I suck! Why do I suck?"
"Oh I wish I was talented but I don't think I am. I am now going threaten to quit burlesque to passive-agressively fish for compliments on the internet in search of validation and boost my self-esteem"
I would like to cover a few points in response to these terrible, car-wreck Facebook sentiments:
1) You are fully entitled to feel like shit. In fact, you should occasionally feel like shit. The key to creating any great art is that you never like it. You're never satisfied with your own work. This dissatisfaction is one of the forces that will drive you to continue to make art, and create better art! Even the most experienced, alluring, talented, outstanding performers will feel this way. Myself (DEFINITELY) included. If you doubt me, just ask them.
2) All is see you do is WHINE! It makes you absolutely abysmal online and no one wants to talk to you. It's a masterbation status. The only person it satisfies is yourself. And what a sick way to find satisfaction! (no really, think about it! That's a new form of masochism). If these feelings are really affecting you, I highly suggest finding someone to talk to: best friend, mother, confession... I actually highly recommend having a professional therapist. It's done wonders for me over the past 4 years, especially in a career that can be very taxing and high stress and where you give so much of yourself to other people. If you want more info, please shoot me a message.
Which leads me to my next point - if you're so dissatisfied with your current state...
3) DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
If this makes you unhappy and you actually want to quit, then quit. No one thinks less of you. Honestly! Go find your bliss.
If you actually love burlesque and being a performer (which you should always do it for love because this life is hard, and it's fucking hell to turn it into a sustainable career...trust me. You gotta be fully dedicated to the cause if that's your goal), here's a list I recently posted on a new performer's post as she lamented quitting burlesque. I feel it is universal:
1) Get yourself to class. Any class. ALL the classes. I still take classes, and I've been doing dance and theatre for a loooong time.
2) Stop comparing yourself to those who have more experience. They have the years on you that you don't, and so what? It's not a fair comparison. It's like comparing yourself to an Olympic gymnast when you can't even do a cartwheel. Actually... Generally don't compare yourself to anyone, as it's pretty detrimental. Instead appreciate and find inspiration.
3) Do your homework. Go see shows, talk to performers, learn to network and be social. Learn to create a persona. If you're lost on how to do that, talk to Dottie Dangerfield, she's done well.
4) Get feedback from those who know, trust and have the right intentions. And don't go to friends. They'll only tell you you're great, which doesn't help you in your creation process. As you're cultivating your work you need to hear from people who are going to be honest and stern, but kind as they do it.
5) Practice. Practice. Practice. Those people who have the training you talk about... you think they got it overnight? You think it was handed to them? Everytime I come across new burlesque dancers like youself who lament that I'm great and a great dancer or performer and how they'll never be able to do that and they wish they could move like me and blah blah blah... I am personally insulted because you belittle the work I have put into my craft. You have belittled the hundreds of thousands of dollars and the millions of hours I have put into my work. You belittle the blood, sweat and tears I have literally lost, the valuable mistakes I have made, the struggle and abuse I have endured to create everything I have now. This shit is fucking hard. You have to fucking earn it. So you have to ask yourself, what have you done to deserve greatness? Just showing up in glitter isn't enough. In the words of the impeccable RuPaul: YOU BETTA WORK!!!!
There you are darlings! Feel free to debate, but this is where I stand. Happy Monday!