So, my burlesque classes are a few weeks underway. We’ve started having to “perform” what we’re learning to each other, and it is NERVEWRACKING. Have I ever mentioned that I get very afraid of being the center of attention of a large group of people? Well, I get very afraid of being the center of attention of a large group of people. So as soon as all eyes are on me, *poof* I’m out of my body. This means that instead of feeling what my body feels like, I’m feeling what it LOOKS like to other people. It’s a very weird disconnect, and I think it’s pretty connected to the way I was raised to prioritize other people’s needs ahead of my own. Though I’ve been getting better about that in my daily life, it’s still pretty hard for me to just relax and enjoy the feeling of being in my body when I know other people are looking at me. Suddenly I become all, “are they enjoying looking at me? am I boring them? what if they hate what I’m doing? AHHHHH!” and want to run away. And because I’m not thinking about what my body is doing, but instead am thinking about what it looks like to them over there, my body (obviously) suddenly can’t do anymore what my brain wants it to do.
So, burlesque is a bit of a challenge. But this is why I started it, isn’t it? I think I’m doing okay. Maybe I’m even getting better, bit by bit. I do think, though, that I need to practice on my own if I’m going to start feeling rapid increases in confidence in class. (Class is only held once a week, after all.) And let me reiterate: my lack of confidence is not in my body’s appearance. I’m perfectly happy with my body’s shape and size and what it generally looks like. The problem is maybe even some sort of opposite of that — rather than being hyper-aware of my body and what it looks like from in my mind, I’m all sorts of clueless about it. As I watch myself move in the mirror, I can see my body as if from an external perspective, can see that it looks good at what it’s doing. But I can’t tell what it FEELS like. So when you take me away from the mirror and put me in front of 14 pairs of eyes, my body has no fucking clue what it’s doing anymore.
So I’ve got to take it on myself to do some work on this. I’m starting by getting the book and DVD by my instructor, Bombshell Betty. She’s the bomb. Ha. Seriously, though, she’s adorable and very kind and encouraging and really good at what she does. Here’s her book:
And she has a DVD too which I’m going to buy from her next week in class. The book is great, although it doesn’t have color photos. It’s basically a guide to posing for a photo! And goes into stuff like pin-up poses, “personality projection” (“it’s all in the eyes”), using props in photos, best poses to flatter your body… So even if you’re NOT doing burlesque, you can learn a lot from it. For me, I’m hoping I can practice in front of my mirror and then close my eyes and memorize what it FEELS like. Instead of what it looks like. And having camera confidence and stage confidence are, I think, closely related.
But I’m looking for other ideas too, that I don’t have to stand in front of my mirror to practice. Has anyone else had this problem, this inability to connect with your own body? What have you done to help fix that? Anything you got I’m willing to try!