As the new year approaches, I feel the need to reflect on 2013.  At least that’s what Facebook told me to do and according to Mark Zuckerberg the highlights of this year included a lot of drinking and dragging my kids from place to place.  Yay me!  Carrying on the family tradition of drunk parenting.  Humph.  I hate you Facebook.

In all honesty, its been a very good year for me, I created my own position within the company I’ve worked for for 13 years, started performing again in a most fulfilling way, continued to hone my improv skills, reconnected with lots of old, positive friends, made new friends that support me in a meaningful way and started writing seriously again.  And yet despite all that I’ve accomplished and all I have to look forward to in 2014, the terrible monster inside me that tells me I’m not good enough is still lurking inside.  A friend of mine told me he calls his Carl.  I’ve decided to call mine Nancy, as in Negative Nancy.

Nancy is a real bitch.  She is constantly telling me I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not wealthy enough, not thin enough, not anything enough!  Despite many great triumphs this year, she is harping inside me that this is all a facade and that everyone will figure out I’m really just a scared 14 year old girl who doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing.  And Nancy is right.  Most of the time, I’m totally faking it.  I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t feel confident, I don’t feel good enough, I’m heavier than I should be, I’m don’t manage money well, I can hardly manage my day to day life….but if I just keep telling Nancy to go fuck herself long enough to get through whatever it is, then things are okay.

Nancy has been with me my whole life. Not in that fucked up Sybil multiple personality kind of way, but you know, the regular fucked up way.  I grew up in one of the wealthiest counties in the US and we were far from being anywhere close to the median income.  Thus Nancy started out very early in life comparing everything about me to everyone else.  My parents were the first of anyone I knew to divorce.  Nancy made sure I knew what a freak I was about this and used every opportunity to point out whenever another parent would look at me with pity.  If there is one thing I despise most it is pity.  I’m strong, I stick up for myself and even though I may end up in the fetal position crying my eyes out from time to time for no apparent reason, I don’t want to be pitied.

Nancy whispers into my ear all the time that everyone I know is having a “let’s have fun without Amanda party.”  And she’s right.  I’m sure there’s a party going on right now somewhere, where everyone is toasting and yucking it up over how much fun they’re having simply BECAUSE I’m not there.  You sons of bitches- if I ever walk in on one of these parties- well I don’t know what I’ll do- but the party will definitely be over, because…well, I’ll be there and then what’s the point of the party?  So there.

Nancy second guesses every compliment I ever receive.  Now, I do have some manners.  I know that when someone gives you a compliment you should just say, “thank you.” But inside, Nancy is telling me they don’t really mean it, they’re just saying it to be nice, they really just feel sorry for you and what a fool you are.  Fuck you Nancy!  Why can’t I just receive a compliment and enjoy it?

Nancy is even looking back at me every time I look in the mirror.  She is sure to point out every imperfection.  She especially likes to turn the mirror to the magnifying side so I can get a real close up look.  Ahhh..I’d never noticed that one little black hair that’s growing out of the wrong place on my face, or those fine lines beginning to form around my mouth and eyes, or the black heads that go unnoticed by everyone else, but in that magnified mirror, well they’re like the goddamn Alps.  She sees every dimple in my thighs, every stretch mark, every scar, every new spot (my mother calls them age spots- I like to think I’m just super hip and am developing a leopard print on my face- because, ya know, leopard print really never goes out of style).

2013 is the first year that I made a New Year’s resolution and actually stuck to it.  Now, it wasn’t very hard, but at least I accomplished it.  I ate on the fine china every goddamn day of 2013.  And even though Nancy was against it from the get go, she did not win!  I’ve even become a bit superstitious about it.  If I have something extra special happening that day, I make sure I eat off the fine china or I fear things may not go so well.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to fully kick Nancy’s ass.  I’m pretty sure she was born with a black belt, nunchucks, and chinese throwing stars.  But, I’m going to try very hard in 2014 to ignore her nasty comments, to tell her to go fuck herself everyday, to tell her she’s the one with the complex and to evict her from my head.  They (whoever “they” are) always say you should make resolutions that are attainable to achieve a sense of accomplishment.  I’m pretty sure Nancy will be with me to the grave, but if I can just learn to duct tape her ugly little mouth shut more often- well I’ll take that as a success.

The Top 5 things I’ve learned in Burlesque

I am currently “starring” in a wonderful production entitled “Santa’s Naughty & Nice Burlesque”.  It is a magical musical revue inspired by the golden age of Hollywood musicals from the 30’s and 40’s.  We still have 6 more shows to go- so I’m sure I’ll learn much more along the way, but here are a few items I’ve learned thus far:

1. Burlesque does not = g-string and pasties.  I know!  Who knew??  It doesn’t even have to include stripping of any kind.  Its an off-shoot of vaudeville and did not take on the stripping conatation until the 60’s.  Thank goodness, because after two c-sections, breastfeeding and well… pushing 40, I’m pretty sure me stripping would’ve cleared the room faster than someone yelling, “FIRE!” 

2. Show Girl Make Up:  This means lots of it!  Far more than you can ever imagine.  If you’re a woman, you’ll look as good as any trannie, in fact, if you go anywhere in public outside of the theatre, most people will mistake you for a man.

3.  False Eyelashes:  A MUST for all show girls.  And a major pain in the ass.  You must apply glue, wait 30 seconds for it to become gummy then apply the lashes directly to lash line.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!  The lashes inevitably end up lopsided, upside down, eyelids glued together and you looking like a drunken whore.  Then taking them off is a real treat.  As you peel them off your eyelids, taking several of your real lashes with them, your left with a lovely line of glue stuck to your eyelid.  You MUST remove the glue before going to sleep- or you may never be able to open your eyes again.  So, to remove them you must ever so carefully pluck said glue from you eyelid with tweezers- and it hurts like bitch, no not a bitch, a motherfucker (and that’s exactly what you’ll be saying the entire time you’re doing it, “fucking, motherfucker”)- especially when you accidentally (and this is everytime) pinch your lid with the tweezers instead of just the glue. 

4. Show Girl Pose:  This is a beautiful pose that is meant to accentuate the hour-glass figure and the long line of your leg…when done properly.  You stand with one leg bent in front pointed down, all weight on your back leg, hands on hips, waist twisted with your tummy looking to the side and your shoulders facing forward, chin up and looking elegant and relaxed.  Easy peasy!  Standing in this position for anyone over the age of 35 for more than 5 minutes will cause major back strain, leg cramps and loss of blood flow to your lower extremeties.   But, man, the truth is you will look great!

5.  Uncle Ben’s Boobs:  I’m a D cup.  I always thought that was the ideal size, big even.  Boy was I wrong.  Just a few days before opening, our two directors pulled me aside and said, “We need to talk about your boobs.  You need to get some.”  They kindly suggested I wear a push up bra- I was wearing one.  Then they gave me the inside secret all drag queens know but aren’t telling.  Fill two stockings full of rice and stuff them in your bra right up under your tit and lo and behold you’ve got cleavage as good as any silicone filled slut jogging down the beach on Baywatch.  I’ve even had friends stop me after the show and say, “I never knew you had those things hiding under there!”  And here’s a bonus,  if you get hot and sweaty enough, it works like a slow cooker and you’ll have a nice snack for after the show.  

BTW- I’ve decided to refer to my boobs from here on out as “the rice bags.”  For example, at my next mammogram…”time to flatten the old rice bags.”  Or when old Hef finally gets me my Playboy centerfold…”turn ons include playing with my rice bags.”