I’ve been to a few burlesque shows. I have loved the glitz, glamour and art of seduction. I’ve always sat in the audience happy with my view from my seat.
Something happened last year though. A shift. A friend asked me to come to the local burlesque show with her. I was still recovering from my double mastectomy and about to start chemo and honestly I was on the fence because I didn’t know how I would feel. The night came and I just wasn’t ready to be out and about. I didn’t want to have people tell me I looked good or ask how my surgery had gone (I live in a small town, going out means being ready to see a lot of people you know)
A few months later my best friend asked me if I wanted to go see Dita Von Teese with her. You can read about that here. It’s what led me from being unable to even go to a show to being on stage a couple weeks ago.
As I practised my solo (honestly who the fuck does a solo their first time doing burlesque) I was so nervous. So many thought went through my head. “Why am I doing this. What if I mess up? What if I throw up” The first time I did my routine in front of all the other dances my heart was beating so loud I couldn’t hear the music. My timing was WAY off, I messed up, but I heard our leader say “keep going!” so I did, I kept going and it was ok. The world didn’t collapse and no one told me I was horrible. I came home that night and practiced over and over. I listened to my song on repeat. The next time we had rehearsal I was better, and the next time after that even better. With each practice my confidence grew, my heart was beating less. I could actually hear the music.
One night after I had practiced in front of my partner he has asked me why I was doing this. My first response was that I’m doing it for other women. That I wanted women in the audience to go “if she can love her body with one leg and reconstructed breast than I can love my body too” Since then I’ve thought a lot about why I’ve entered this world of burlesque and here are my so many reasons why.
I do it because I don’t just want to find beauty in normal, I want to find beauty in all bodies period.
I do it because I’m told over and over again that disabled people are less worthy and I’m tired of it.
I do it as a fuck you to all the men who told me they would date me “if only you had 2 legs” and anyone else who has shown my pity because I only have one leg.
I do it because I love my body.
I do it because I love to dance.
I do it because I needed to take ownership of that this new body is in fact mine and mine alone.
I do it because I LOVE seeing people with disabilities challenging peoples perceptions of what we can and can not do.
I got on stage and I was addicted. The music, the lights, the audience. I went into another world. I got off stage after and it was all I could do not to burst into tears from the rush of emotions. I did it and trust me I’ll do it again.
Introducing…..Ms Eileen Wright 😉
All photos credited to Kendal Blacker Birth and Photography. Please do not edit or alter in anyway.