Lola Frost shares her thoughts on another year in burlesque as 2014 approaches…
Last December I posted about my intentions for entering 2013 and my mantra being “I am a wild success” plastered to my vision board to be seen every morning and night. Being of the mindset of not making resolutions but of setting goals, I held to a loose but vibrant collection of what I would like to make manifest in the coming year.
Like most paths in the mind’s eye, they are seen as clear and abundant. You stride along a golden winding road intently, boldly wearing your finest attire, armed to the teeth with sass and ready for anything that might come your way – a fresh year, a fresh start and a fresh spirit.
Having this outlook is integral for working with the universe to make what you want yours. But be not fooled, it’s not an easy path – it takes all the work. The dedication, commitment and sacrifice that goes into creating a successful life can be one of the greatest challenges you will face. And it’s not a one-time deal either. It’s an everyday deal, one you devote your heart, body and soul to. That path might be golden, but it is uneven, sloping and gloriously treacherous.
Flash forward – to November 16th. My body woke before my eyes opened. A smile crossed my face and I squeezed my eyes tighter shut. I snuggled deep into the covers and wiggled with excitement. New York. I’m here. I made it. I’ve wanted to perform here since I was a little girl in a small town in Northern B.C, and here I was – nine days, eight shows, two classes and a photo shoot to boot! Upon wanting to get myself there, I reached out to those I knew in the vibrant NY burlesque community and was met with open arms, arms full of encouragement and help. Those I didn’t know in the scene I was introduced to graciously, and from there I was able to book all my shows.
It sounds dreamy and ideal, but it was not without its struggles. I had a hard time with each step – I was nervous to reach out, nervous to get on the plane, nervous to be with those I admired on their stages, nervous if my style would hold up in a city with such history. I get nervous, you see. Like a true masochist I live for it. Nothing makes you feel more alive that conquering your personal fears and stretching past your limits to reach a goal.
That courage can be found in the great and small moments, and each time you use it, the trust in yourself grows. That is valuable. That is success. My trip to NYC was a success for me on so many levels; I celebrated in tiny quiets moments and also with loud hands-in-the-air shouts. There were many smiles.
Celebrating success can be a tricky thing. It’s something I ponder often. We live in a society fraught with being ‘busy’. A word I removed from my vocabulary in 2011 and replaced with others, like full, engaged, hustling, topped up. When you’re always busy, you are always on to the next thing, forgetting or discarding what you have just achieved. That achievement can be small or grand but it should be met with a moment or two of celebration – a personal high five, a pat on the back.
Everyone acknowledges success differently, and in our society we are sometimes met with a shame in having pride. To be proud of oneself is to honour the self, to have love for yourself and for what you struggle to accomplish. Allowing those moments to wash over you nourishes the creative spirit, gives you fuel for the next ambition and allows those you love and care about to be part of your life. Often success is not just about you; it’s a shared experience.
By no means do you have to party the night away every time you do something worth merit; in fact, I find the deepest and most satisfying celebrations to be fleeting and quiet moments with the self. Success is not something to be held onto and shown off on a shelf. Success is the shivers of excitement that rush the body spontaneously, reconfirming you are on the right path. Feel them, acknowledge them, share them and let them go.
Flash backwards to June 2nd. It’s about 1am, maybe; it’s hard to tell in the blur of emotions I’m feeling. Overwhelmed would be an understatement. I’m standing in my hotel room in Las Vegas after the door closed and the last guest had left the room. That guest was my beautiful Mother, who flew to LV to see my amazing sister Villainy Loveless and myself on the Burlesque Hall of Fame stage that year. It’s the first bit of quiet I’d had in a whirlwind day and night.
I was supposed to be changing and heading to the afterparty. I was supposed to eat something, I should make a cocktail… but all I could do was stand and look at the boudoir, every inch covered in accessories, shiny and feathery, in true showgirl fashion. My eyes were fixed on the giant trophy of pink and gold looking back at me. I was confused. It made me… emotional. I was not sure what I was supposed to feel so I felt everything all at once. This was an achievement; in my position was some physical proof of that. But I think where the confusion arose was that this success did not belong to just me. It belonged to everyone that helped me get there – every word of encouragement, every stich in my costume made with love, every inspiration I had seen before me, and every heart that held me up.
In this instance, the appropriate celebration technique was a personal, magical little wash-over and a LARGE and IN CHARGE partying of the night away! How grand to be able to celebrate everyone’s successes that night all at once.
2013 – Flash forward to August 19th. I’m on Vancouver Island, looking at the dawn sky after a full moon. The sun is threatening to overtake the land in an hour or so. But for now, the gentle dusk is cooing sweetly to me.
I’m contemplating some of the past experiences that have held me back over the years. Ones associated with pain and fear, ones that hide out in the psyche and come up when you’re either triggered or reaching for greatness. The ones that tell you, you can’t or you shouldn’t. I attribute some of my past traumas to creating some great art. Some of my best work has been in triumph and know I am not alone in that struggle.
What we come up against is so personal and unique and we all experience getting stuck there. The key is to not live in that state, to not associate your person with what happened, but with who you are now – with who you want to be.
That day was a deeply personal success, and I’m sharing it not to air my laundry on what those experiences were – that is unimportant – but rather to recognise that in that moment and in this moment now, those experiences no longer have power over me. There will be new ones, oh yes, but for now a personal freedom of sorts was attained, one to allow new paths to be carved. That sense of accomplishment will allow me to keep tearing open and going forward – blood and glitter and sex pouring out unapologetically!
So now it’s winding up to Dec 31st, 2013 and I’m looking intently into the next annum. It’s been just over a year of being a full time artist. It’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding. I’m manifesting some things I’ve not given weight to in a long time as well as a refocusing on the things that matter most – and I’m dedicated to living for them wholly.
Making money, travelling often, diving into more explorative work on the stage and in myself, teaching outside my comfort zone, giving generously in love, being with family (given and chosen) and being naked as much as possible! As. Much. As. Possible.
I’m also keeping that mantra on my vision board, for it now encompasses my being and feels good to not only think, but to say. Say it with me and take it with you – “I am a wild success!”
Rock’N'Roll Flapper, Burlesque Performer, Bad Ass Dance Instructor, Ninja, Make Out Artist, Sass Master, Rebel with a Cause. Co-Director of The Vancouver Burlesque Centre and member of Sweet Soul Burlesque. Lola's thoughtful and eloquent articles have attracted a whole new wave of fans on 21st Century Burlesque. Stay tuned for more.