Chelle's online journal of weight loss and fitness.

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In July of 2009, I decided to push myself out of the box, do something so totally "not me". Having successfully lost my weight (80 lbs) and maintained that loss, I was ready for a challenge.  I signed up for an exotic fitness class... Burlesque Fitness, called the MYLF Workshop. It turned out to be one of the most difficult, and rewarding, things I've ever done... all in an 8 week period! I've pulled the journal / blog entries together and placed them all here in one place. I've tried to limit the postings to those just pertaining to the experience. At the end, you'll find a link to the photos and video.

I've also listed the songs that helped me practice, as well as the music videos that helped me learn to move.

My Experience with Burlesque!
July - August, 2009.  

Thursday, 7/2/09: Are you stressed out? I have a challenge for you. Do Something Fun! Preferably, outside your comfort zone!

Ok, here's the deal. I am stressed out. 4 teenagers, a down economy, and general life has bent me so far I feel I'm about to break. My usual stress relievers aren't cutting it... I can blow through 2 new books in a day, I can workout till I drop, I can window shop till I drop, I just can't seem to truly relax. I feel stymied. So... I'm challenging myself to do something totally outside my comfort zone. 

I found what I'm doing for my challenge and it will give me something to look forward to, work hard at, a goal to achieve. And I'm tellin' you, if I pull this off.... it'll be a whole new me! No, I'm not going to tell you what it is, at least not yet (and no, it's not pole-dancing). But, I will tell you, that I'm going to have to be in the shape of my life! That means total dedication to my exercise regime, clean eating, and classes. And if someone had suggested I try this a year ago, even 2 months ago, I'd have laughed my ass of!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 7/15/09: ... [full entry can be read on the regular journal page for this date LINK ] On another note, remember that challenge? It's freakin' kickin' my ass! Oy! I'm trying to practice before my next class, but my brain and my body are not connecting. I am constantly asking myself, "What the hell was I thinking?!"  And, sigh, the answer is that I knew I needed to to push myself to grow and stretch past my comfort zone, and the only way I do things seems to be "Go big or go home."  The good news is that I survived the first class. I didn't break anything, and I only cried for about 3 hours afterwards (did I mention I am PAINFULLY shy?).  So, I will continue to practice, and I will be back in class this saturday.

Tuesday, 7/21/09: Saturday's class was MUCH better than the previous. My fear level is still super-high, but nothing like the trauma of that first week! It sure is hard, though. I don't like being outside my comfort zone. Not one little bit! It's truly painful but I am determined to conquer this. I will make it through. And I will grow.  In the meantime, if I could just stretch out this hamstring! Oy! Lol! 

Thursday, 7/23/09: I did legs with Tabitha yesterday... OMG. I was wobbly when I left the gym. By the time I drank a protein shake and crawled up the stairs at home, I thought I'd better get my practice for my class done before I sank.... well, that didn't turn out the way I planned. Lol. One leg lift and I was curled up in the fetal position on my bed. No practice possible. Today I am severely sore, which is a GREAT thing because it means I hit muscles in a fresh new way... more muscle equals better fat burning! Tomorrow is rest day, whew! :-)

Sunday, 7/26/09: My challenge class is VERY challenging. I found myself lying awake last night going over the steps & moves in my head... stressing over it. I have to figure out how to just roll with this. If I keep stressing & obsessing, then the whole thing is an exercise in futility, and that's not what I wanted from this. Growth, yes... something new to add to my worries, no.

Monday, 7/27/09: Today is my day to come clean. Someone recently pointed out that my online journal here doesn't address any of the emotions or struggles I go, or have gone, through... That's true, and it was done intentionally. However, the result is that if one were to read my ramblings here, he/she could potentially walk away believing that I simply started at point A and arrived later at point B. This is NOT the case. My journey has been difficult, at times it felt impossible, it's also been tremendously rewarding  and joyful.  I believe that true living is achieved through mind, body and spirit.... and my journal previously offered none of my spirit. So, I'm going to start including some of my more personal and emotional struggles. And as usual, if you don't want to read about them, don't.

2 Pounds.  I had no idea how much of a difference 2 pounds could make to me. I have an "optimum" weight that I try to maintain, then allow 5 lb's + that weight to consider myself within my good range. Weight naturally fluctuates, sometimes pretty drastically, so that 5lb range is there to keep me sane and not obsessing about my weight. Too bad it doesn't work that way.

Here's the deal. 125 is pretty basic for me, weight-wise. You add in that 5lb "grace" and I should be able to top out comfortably at 130 and still be ok, obviously I would then check my food & exercise to get myself back under 130 and back around 125. So where's the problem?  Deep inside, I'm still fat. And I'm still terrified of being fat.

There are times I look in the mirror and see the old me and I cry... now you add in a slight (2 lb's is very slight) weight fluctuation and I verge on a panic attack. My clothes fit differently, my body looks different to me in the mirror, my confidence plummets and my stability is shaken. All over a silly 2 pounds! Now, while I recognize that I'm being ridiculous, I can't overcome the fear of gaining back the weight. Nor can I seem to see clearly what's really in the mirror. 

There are days when I do laundry and pull out a pair of jeans from the dryer and admire how cute my daughter's jeans are... only to realize they're MINE. I look at them and can't figure out how the hell I fit into them! And I can't figure it out because I'm not seeing myself clearly.

No matter how many times I tell myself it's not about the number on the scale, or the size on the tag, that it's about how I look & feel... well, to be honest, it is still about the pounds and the size to me. And I hate that. I hate knowing that I border (and often tip over) into obsession in maintaining my weight. That is a struggle I have nearly daily.

I went shopping this weekend looking for a corset-top (for my challenge event) and ended up in Bebe (where the sizing is the bane of most women). I found one I wanted to try, but couldn't tell if I needed a small, medium or large ... well, they didn't have a large, so I grabbed the small & medium and headed into the dressing room. Enter the panic attack.

I stood there for 10 minutes (not an exaggeration) trying to decide which one to try on first. I normally wear a small, so if I try the small, and it's too small... that would really suck, but if I try the medium and it's too small I will be devastated... so I stood there and debated, afraid to try either one on! Thankfully, Tabitha came to the rescue! Driving back from ASU, she stopped at the mall, texted me and discovered I was in the dressing room. She headed straight to me. Her philosophy is that a dressing room should never be faced alone. :-) She's right. She gave me fresh perspective and an honest opinion. I ended up trying on 5 or 6 different tops, and was able to walk out of the store un-traumatized and sane; the shopping trip had become fun. The value of a friend is beyond words.

Mean People:  I was in Ann Taylor a few months back... again, in the dressing rooms (those rooms should simply be banned, they're just no good! lol) and I was out in the common area examining my reflection in the 3-way mirror. I was trying on, and preparing to purchase, my first size-0 pants. And another woman in the dressing room, made a snarky comment to her friend about my size and how someone like me doesn't know what it's like to struggle to find clothes that fit. I was so incredibly hurt. And yes, I did say something, and no, I wasn't thrown out of the store. Lol. But it really, really hurt me. Finding well-fitting clothing is hard no matter what size you are. And dressing rooms are traumatic to most women, not just over-weight women.

The worst part about that experience was realizing that I had said & thought similar things about thin women previously, when I wasn't thin. Like those women in the dressing room I used to have the misconception that just because a woman was thin she had a perfect body, a perfect life, no worries... and she was probably shallow and stupid, too.   I'm not too proud of those thoughts.  Turns out I was, like those women in the dressing room were, way off track.

Mean Family/Friends:  I'm still the same person I was before I lost the weight, but I've been astonished at how some people's perception (and therefore treatment) of me has changed. I've been hurt and horrified by nasty comments people make just because they can. Shortly after I bought those size-0's, someone close to me told me my thighs were fat... just out of the blue said it. I have no idea why that popped out of her mouth, but Wowzer, it really sliced at me. Even though, in my logical part, I know my thighs are NOT fat, now I look at my thighs and hear her voice in my head and the emotional part of me believes her. 

Jealousy: To my shock, some of my female friends now see me as a threat, where I wasn't before... I guess I was "safe" for their menfolk when I was fat, but now that I'm not, suddenly I'm a homewrecker? Really? How does this make sense? People who used to be comfortable hanging out with me now avoid me, and some people have become so blatantly jealous and bitter that I avoid them.

I'm still me, I still have the same insecurities, the same fears, even the same trouble spots on my body... my boobs are still too small (microscopic now that I've lost so much weight... I am a natural AA now... ha, you didn't know they made bras that small, did ya?), my belly is still too flabby (whereas before it was fat, now I am cursed with a flop of loose skin and a mangled belly button that only surgery can resolve). 

So what's my point? Losing weight is hard... but learning to live with the change is hard too.  It's a struggle every day to find and maintain balance. It's never been easy for me, but I am determined to be healthy... in mind, body AND spirit.

That is part of the reason I chose an exotic dance/fitness class for my challenge. I picked  something I never would have done before, something I once harshly judged other women for doing. I am painfully shy, and doing this on my own (without a friend to do it with me) is really scary. The other women in the class are great, I think each of us has her own struggles and fears, but we're there, strangers attempting to find a common rhythm. And we have an incredible instructor who is patient and fun, as well as incredibly talented, beautiful and oh-so graceful!

It's really, really hard. I am graceless by nature, and significantly uncoordinated, so burlesque dance is truly a challenge. And then there's the finale of the challenge... the very public performance as the opening act for an awesomely talented and creative burlesque troupe. And it's happening in just 4 weeks! So how am I doing in the class?

The first class, I ran into a wall, and I bounced into the women on either side of me... all while simply attempting to "walk" across the room. I cried all the way home after class, and for several hours after.

The second class, I didn't run into any walls or people... but I did manage to get tangled up in my boa... twice... nearly choking myself once. Don't ask. It was pretty traumatic. But I only cried a little after that class.

The third class... was fun! I'm still scared spitless, especially about the performance, but I'm finding the fun in it now. We'll see how it goes next week! I'm excited about the class, I enjoy the music, and once I figure out how to move my shoulders and hips independently of one another, I'll be doing great! Lol. I have a whole music list I've put together that I listen to when I'm practicing the moves (while I'm locked in the bathroom where no one can see me).

One of the major keys to success throughout my journey is Tabitha.  
A good friend will make all the difference in your journey. Tab has encouraged, pushed, supported, pushed, cheered, pushed, comforted, pushed...   :-)  She saw where I could go long before I did, and helped me learn to believe in myself. Tab has given me her strength to borrow when my own was not enough. I cannot count the number of dressing rooms she's rescued me from, ledges she's talked me down from, or how many tears she's mopped up (sometimes during workouts!). She gives me honest opinions, wise advice, and a friendship that both humbles and inspires me.

As my personal trainer, Tabitha taught me nutrition and exercise and helped me to form goals for myself.  As my friend, she helped me celebrate those goals and live life more fully. I wish everyone had a Tabitha, and I encourage you to reach out and build a friendship that will enrich your life.  :-)

Wednesday, 7/29/09:
With the burlesque show coming up quicker than I'm comfortable with, I've been stepping up my cardio and cleaning up my diet (it's already clean, I've just eliminated carbs (ie rice/pasta/bread) from my last meal). I had a plan... famous last words, right? Yep. Yesterday morning I reached for my car door and my back seized up. Then it started to spasm. Joy. I started popping ibuprofen, but by 3pm I was toast. Had to go home, lay down with a heating pad and <Gasp!> skip the gym. Now, you're probably thinking, "so what?"... I'm gonna let you in on a little secret... I'm obsessive. "Ha!", you say, you already knew that about me, right? Well, in regards to fitness/diet/weight... I'm uber-obsessive. I'm so terrified of getting out-of-shape, of gaining the weight back, that I get really whacked if my schedule/plan gets changed.

There's a part of me that truly does believe that if I miss this workout, I will wake up tomorrow and be 200+ pounds again. And of course, since I missed yesterday's workout, then in four weeks when it's time for the show, I won't be able to fit into my costume and I'll be too fat to do the routine. Crazy, isn't it? I'm a grown woman, I am capable of reason, and yet... well, there it is: Fear. Geeze. This is where balance has to come in. I know in my head that this is all a crock, that I will not wake up tomorrow and be right back where I started just because I missed one workout. I know that I have four weeks to get ready for the show. I know, in my head, that as long as I maintain my clean-eating and my exercise, I will not go from a size 0/2 to a size 22 before I have to squeeze into a corset & hotpants. That's logical. I know this. Unfortunately, I don't feel it.

And I wonder... when will I reach that point? You know, the one where I look in the mirror and see what's actually there. When I can walk into a store and feel confident entering the dressing room. When I can miss a workout and say "ok, I can make it up later." I really thought the hardest part of the journey would be losing the weight. And it was hard. Really, really hard.  But, it's turning out to be even more difficult for me to change my perspective.

I'm hoping the burlesque class will help with that... I think it is, I feel like it is, but it's also given me more to go crazy over. :-)  And I know when I complete that challenge, I'm going to have to find another one, so I can continue to work toward my goal of being healthy in more than just body. At Christmas, Tabitha gave me a necklace with a circular pendant that reads "Live Life, Be Brave, Love Life, Be Brave".  I'm trying to do that. No more standing still for me. No more letting life pass me by. I'm reaching out and grabbing hold.  I just wish it wasn't so damn scary.

Thursday, 7/30/09: How do you change your perspective of a setback from Mountain to Molehill? All my fitness plans for this week are shot. My back continues to spasm, and I haven't been in the gym since Monday. A very large part of me is panicking, and I'm struggling to focus on what's important.

What's important? Not injuring myself; taking a bit of rest time to heal and recover; remembering that there is life outside the gym.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is minor, even though it really does feel like a mountain to me.

I think it's the unexpectedness of the situation that's got me grasping for control... if I had planned a vacation, and knew I would be missing gym time, I would be fine... but this injury coming out of nowhere is really messing with me.

So I'm keeping a firm hold on my thoughts, planning for my return to the gym, and keeping my food uber-clean, because I can control that. The rest, well, it is what it is. I can accept it or go nuts. Since I'm already a little nuts, I think I'll work on accepting the situation and try to appreciate the down time.


Sunday, 8/9/09:  So, about the MYLF class... Oy! What a crazy ride this has been! My emotional roller coaster has been going non-stop. I get to where I think, "Ok, I can do this," then BAM, all my insecurities and fears knock me flat. I've done more crying in the last several weeks, than in the last several years! I just don't understand why I'm not able to simply reach out and grab my "sexy".

I kept telling myself that once I lost the weight, I'd feel sexy, I'd look sexy. I'd BE sexy. Not so. I'm just a slimmer version of who I've always been. And since I've never been comfortable in my own skin, well... I'm still not. And let me tell you, it's a real sucky realization.

Here I am, shy... painfully so; conservative (no inner-vamp here!); and uncoordinated. I'm attempting to roll with it, to just go with the flow. Which I was kinda doing, though largely freaked out, when the final bomb was dropped on me. The final half of the song is a "freestyle" strip tease.

And yep, I lost it. Melted down. Cried the whole way home from class. Cried for hours afterwards. What the hell was I thinking? I can't do this! It's too hard! Strip??? Ok, yeah, it's not really goin' down to nekkid... but close enough! I'm a wreck! My skin is breaking out, my eczema is popping back up on my hands, my back and neck are a constant state of tense, my emotional stability... ha! None. I've allowed this to completely control me, and that's not OK.

So that was Wednesday. I showed up for Saturday's class having convinced myself that I could indeed survive this. First thing the instructor did was turn on the music, put us in a circle and have each of us go into the center and dance sexy. I couldn't do it. Simply couldn't do it. And of course, the hated tears began pouring out. I really, really hate to cry in front of people. But the nerves, the terror, the insecurity... found their own way out... through my tear ducts. The girls were encouraging, the instructor was patient and supportive, but I just couldn't do it.

We began our choreography, and when we got to the strip-tease, I just stood there holding my robe. That's all I'm taking off! Just a robe! And I couldn't move. The other girls are stripping off cutesy layers and wiggling butts, and I'm frozen.  Now let me explain the outfits... mine is a little babydoll, with a bra and body shaper (cuz the babydoll is sheer) and the shaper comes down like boy-shorts, then I'm wearing fishnets and heels. On top of that I have gloves and a robe. The gloves and robe are all I remove. I stay fully covered.

Even so. I have no concept of myself as "sexy". And this tease is all about the sexy. I can't even pretend sexy! They're stripping and dancing and all I want to do is run around behind them, grab up their discarded clothes and put them on! I don't feel good about myself in this arena. Dressed up, I can feel pretty comfortable. I've worked hard for my body, and I can wear clothes that complement that. But this strip tease stuff? Not so much. And I'm just breaking to pieces. The pressure I'm putting on myself is so much that I'm sure I'll just shatter any moment. I'm crying all the time! That's not me. And something has got to give.

I spoke with the instructor after class, I apologized, but explained that I just can't do this. She was very sweet about it but asked me to wait to make a final decision, and she'd work on some simple choreography for my "tease"; but that if I still wasn't comfortable, that it would be ok to bow out. Ok. What can it hurt to wait another week or so?

I pulled an Ostrich and just stuck my head in the sand. If I don't think about it, I can't stress about it. So I didn't. Mostly. I will finish the class. I will finish what I started. I may or may not get up on stage. I may or may not fall off the stage. Whatever. If I finish, I win. If I don't finish, the whole thing was a waste of time, an exercise in futility. And to be quite honest, I've gone through (and put myself through) too much hell to just quit.


Wednesday , 8/12/09: I've taken advantage of an open schedule and have been hitting the gym twice a day... morning for cardio, afternoon for lifting. Food's been really good. My back has been killing me, though and I finally decided to try a massage... my gym has a masseuse, and I had my first ever. WOW! I was missin' out!! When I left her office, I had more mobility in my neck than I've had in years! And my back... just WOW! Amazing! Kara Jones of Performance Massage is just incredible! Again, WOW!

Class rehearsal tonight. Still not thinking about it.


Thursday , 8/13/09: As promised, Julianna (the MYLF instructor) had prepared some simple choreography for me. Before we started rehearsal, she pulled me aside and walked me through it. It's great, no doubt about it, and maybe I can pull it off. Some of our group choreography changed slightly due to the stage at the club, and that gave me an excuse to feel shaky and unprepared.

I'm the last one in, and the first one off the stage. And I'm a freakin' wreck. My "just don't think about it" isn't cutting it for the long haul. I'm so damn scared. The show is next thursday.


Monday , 8/17/09: I woke up Saturday morning and had an epiphany :-)  I've been ripping myself up over this show, asking myself what I was thinking, why was I doing this. Well, I figured it out. Finally.

Back in October when I hit my lowest weight, what I really wanted to do was compete in a figure competition. It seemed like the next logical step for me in my weight loss / fitness journey. My mentor and fitness idol, Tabitha, had competed and placed and it was something I wanted to be able to do, to gain confidence, to be challenged. However, with the amount of loose skin I was left with, competing wasn't an option. And while I don't know that I would have done it, to have the option taken away was a crushing disappointment. Tab and I talked at the time about finding something else that could be my "competition", but didn't come up with anything and let it drop.

All this time later, the MYLF workshop is that substitution. It pushes me, it's outside my comfort zone, it requires training & excellent nutrition to look good in the costume, and completing it would boost my confidence. I wish I had realized it before! What a difference it makes to my perspective, my attitude... and my tear ducts! It's my challenge, not my cross! It's my competition, not my punishment.

I am now determined to not only survive this experience, but to thrive in the process... I fully plan to ROCK it! :-)  Cross your fingers that I don't break anything or anyone! LOL!

Wednesday , 8/19/09: Food's been totally on the fly this week, but still super-clean. Probably am not getting enough calories, but better clean than not. My cardio and strength training are on track, good thing, as I have to get into a little negligee tomorrow night on stage. Am I still stressed? U betcha! I'm terrified. Trying to just focus on the details and not think about the actual performance aspect. Practicing all the moves, going over it again and again, getting the music "into" my head, preparing the costume... anything but think about the stage and the people out there watching. It seriously tweaks my brain to think about it. I think I'd be better if I didn't know anyone in the audience, ya know? If it's just strangers, then hey - whatever. But with people I know out there...  if I screw up, I'll never live it down. And I'm sure I'll screw something up, maybe many something's, after all, I'm not a professional so it's sure to happen. I just want to do the choreography, not fall off the stage, not knock anyone else off, not injure myself, and really... not make a fool of myself. Doesn't seem too much to ask, does it? lol. Still trying to figure out how to not worry about making a fool of myself. That's really my big fear. And I want to enjoy this, not just survive it. Final rehearsal is this evening, then we have a quick on-stage run-through tomorrow at 8pm. Show begins at 10. Scandalesque will do their opening number, then it'll be us MYLF's, then the rest of Scandalesque's show. Damn, there's that panic tickle again... on to thinking about something else to distract me....

Thursday , 8/20/09: Today is the day. Deeeeeeep breaths! Rehearsal last night was horrible! Lol! Really bad! But I figure, in Theater, when dress rehearsal goes badly, the opening night show is a smash. Crossing all my fingers! :-)  Last night I sat on my boa again... not good when you reach to throw it and it's stuck! Then, as if that wasn't a "me" enough move... well, having completely lost my boobs... I had gone out and bought the industrial size (lol) inserts for my bra... and during my dreaded strip tease... yep! You guessed it! One of those suckers plopped right out and onto the floor! OMG! It was hilarious! I figure if nothing else, I'll be the comic relief. :-)

Today I'm focusing on relaxing, getting loose, and staying sane. I'll practice-practice-practice, then hit the gym and do some cardio just to burn off some nervous energy.

Wish me luck!

Scandalesque Event
The Cherry Lounge & Pit

On another note... when I was driving to my class on Saturday, I heard this song... it's been out for a while, but I'd never bothered to listen to it. As I drove toward my fear,  the words really hit me...

I can almost see it - That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying - "You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking - Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction - My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying - Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing - The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down - But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it  - But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah - Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong - Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

Miley Cyrus : The Climb
Songwriters: Alexander, J; Mabe, J;


Friday , 8/21/09: It's Done!!! I did it!!! Wooohooo! And I feel good about it! During our on-stage rehearsal... I was a wreck! I was missing easy moves, and I fell down! But I thought, "Whatever!" and just moved forward. During the show, I missed steps and a bunch of little choreography faux pas... but I just laughed and kept going. It was fun! Super stressful, but fun! I feel like the weight of the world is OFF my shoulders! Wooohoo! I'll post more later....  Here are the pics and video!!


Monday , 8/24/09: Wow! I was flying high all weekend long! The emotion & adrenaline surge started to wane last night and I got tired! I still feel like I could sleep  a few more days, lol. 

I am so glad I didn't quit! While I was hoping to gain some confidence, I think deep down I didn't believe it would really work... it did. I truly feel different... definitely more confident, more powerful, more feminine... and the biggy... I feel skinny! For the first time, I looked in the mirror this weekend and DIDN'T see fat-me! It's the most amazing thing!

I had a follow up class on Saturday, and we did our conditioning (I'm still sore!), then more dancing & fun choreography (yeah, did you ever think I'd link the words 'fun' and 'choreography' together in a sentence?)... then she did the circle again.  [For those of you who didn't read my previous post, the circle is when one by one, each of us enters the center then dances sexy to the music playing while the other girls cheer you on. The first time I simply couldn't do it and cried throughout.]  Well.... I did it! I didn't do much more than wiggle my hips, but I got in there, I moved, I laughed, and I DIDN'T CRY!  Then I had to take a turn at "follow the leader" dancing 'sexy' through the studio while the other girls had to copy my moves. Woohoo! Growth!!

I seriously am stunned by the huge difference in how I feel. NOT that I want to do it again, mind you, but... WOW! I feel so good! :-)

So... what did I learn throughout this class?
That I'm stronger than my fear.
That I'm more than I thought I was.
That the only hold the past has on me is what I allow.
That it doesn't take rhythm or coordination to have fun or be sexy.
That no matter what someone looks like, or dances like... we all have problems.
That I'm not fat.
That growth is painful, but can also offer fun.
That getting on a stage in a negligee is scary.
That getting on a stage in a negligee is freeing.
That seeing stunned pride on my husband's face is an amazing thing that makes me feel beautiful and causes all the pain of the process to fade to the background.
That I like who I am today, more than yesterday.
That I'm excited to discover who I'll be tomorrow.
That I don't want to stop growing, no matter how painful the journey.



Burlesque MYLF Show:  
View pics & video!


Burlesque show, August 2009. Scandalesque and the MYLF class.


The workshop required a LOT of practice, both in and out of class. To help me "get in the mood", I created a playlist for my ipod. Having music like this really helped me loosen up.  I still use the playlist for my at-home yoga sessions, or when I feel "in the mood".  :-)

(The song we performed was Feelin' Love, by Paula Cole)

My Burlesque Mood Music

Song Name Artist
Feelin' Love Paula Cole
Feelin' Good The Pussycat Dolls
Blue on Black Kenny Wayne Shepherd
#1 Crush Garbage
Universe & U KT Tunstall
Love is Blind Alicia Keys
What Love Can Be Kingdom Come
E.T. Katy Perry
Miss Independent Kelly Clarkson
Black Velvet Alannah Myles
Glory Box Portishead
This Boy's Fire Santana w/ Jennifer Lopez
Buttons The Pussycat Dolls w/ Snoop
Closer Nine Inch Nails
When Doves Cry Prince & The Revolution
She Wolf Shakira
Tell Me Billie Myers
Black Magic Woman Santana
Say It Right Nelly Furtado
Criminal Fiona Apple
Scream Timbaland, feat Keri Hilson & Nicole Scherzinger
Oye Como Va Santana
Nasty Naughty Boy Christina Aguilera
Loving Me 4 Me Christina Aguilera
Still Dirrty Christina Aguilera
Falling Into You Celine Dion
Feeling Good Michael Buble
Walk Away Christina Aguilera
Sexy Back Justin Timberlake
Fever Natalie Cole & Ray Charles
True Love Pat Benatar
Eyes On Me Celine Dion
Damsel in Distress Idina Menzel
Bust Your Windows Jazmine Sullivan
Naughty Girl Beyonce
Dip it Low Christina Milian
Starstruck Santigold
Smooth Santana


To say that I am rhythmically challenged is like saying that Mt Everest is kinda tall. One of the things I did to prep for the class & show was watch a lot of music videos to try to learn how to "move". Here's my list...

My Sexy Dance Videos List

Song Name Artist
The Way I Are Timbaland
Scream Timbaland, feat Keri Hilson & Nicole Scherzinger


She Wolf Shakira
Hips Don't Lie Shakira, feat Wyclef Jean
The Way I Are Timbaland
S.O.S. Rihanna
Buttons (Snoop Version) The Pussycat Dolls
When I Grow Up The Pussycat Dolls
Whatcha Think About That (feat Missy Elliot) The Pussycat Dolls
Wait a Minute The Pussycat Dolls
Sitckwitu The Pussycat Dolls
I Hate This Part The Pussycat Dolls
Don't Cha (Busta Version) The Pussycat Dolls
Bottle Pop  
Sidekick Natasha
Open Your Heart Madonna
If You Had My Love Jennifer Lopez
Get Right Jennifer Lopez
As (Duet with Mary J Blige) George Michael
Father Figure George Michael
Damaged Danity Kane
Dip it Low Christina Milian
(You Drive Me) Crazy Britney Spears
Toxic Britney Spears
Stronger Britney Spears
Piece of Me Britney Spears
Circus Britney Spears
I'm a Slave 4 U Britney Spears
Circus Britney Spears
Womanizer Britney Spears
Tell Me Billie Myers
Beautiful Liar Beyonce & Shakira
Naughty Girl Beyonce
Halo Beyonce
Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny) Ar Rahman, The Pussycat Dolls


Wrap up....

What is Burlesque? 
Contrary to popular opinion, performing burlesque is not just about stripping (though striptease is often a component).  Burlesque is
a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration. In 20th century America, the form became associated with a variety show in which striptease is the chief attraction. Burlesque dancing is hard work, and not nearly as easy as professional dancers make it look. Strong core and lengthened muscle tone are required to perform many of the moves.

The workshop I took included a lot of conditioning... abs, glutes, gams, arms... it was serious work. The choreography was clever and well designed, and the striptease was entirely individual... the gals could take off as little or as much as they were comfortable with. For myself, that meant gloves and robe. I was fully "clothed", showing less skin than I do in a bathing suit. Some of the other girls went farther.

The professionals, Scandalesque, performed their own routines which were funny, seductive, shocking, and awe-inspiring. While at one point in my life, I may have had a low opinion of exotic dancers and/or pole-dancers, this show alone would have changed my mind. The women and men of Scandalesque are truly fit and fabulous. They work very hard for their bodies and their skills are incredible. I watched Nyla, one of the aerialists, perform amazing feats on a pole. I watched  Pyra Sutra work her wonders with flaming hoops, torches and even pasties! Dolly Diamonds did a beautiful striptease that showcased the true beauty of the female body. Diablo showed stunning grace and strength on the aerial ribbons.  And "Kelly with a Big Ol' K" was funny, welcoming, and enviably comfortable in her own skin.  They each earned my respect. They also won my gratitude because they were wonderfully warm and encouraging to us "Mylf's" who were terrified to take our turn on the stage.

With a show style slightly reminiscent of Cirque, the entire event was exciting, new and fun. I applaud the Scandalesque troupe and am grateful for the brief shining moment to be part of their world.

The Class:

M.Y.L.F. Workshop
"Don't miss your opportunity to reclaim your pre-baby body, attitude, and flare! We will also be training you for our M.Y.L.F. Show, and your chance to perform with Scandalesque at the Cherry Lounge and Pit in Tempe, August 20th, 2009. 



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