This post is part of the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VI! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 11th.
I’ve never been one of those women who can embody soft beauty or high glamour. There’ve been many times when I wished I could be that kind of woman, but I’m not. Even when I try that look on, I end up feeling silly or like I’m playing dress-up in someone else’s clothes rather than feeling powerful or sexy. It’s like wearing a pair of shoes that’s just a little too small — I feel like I spend most of my time fidgeting and trying to get comfortable, and I just come off looking awkward.
It was this discomfort with glamour and pin-up style femininity that kept me from trying burlesque for so long. I wanted to try it — I love watching shows, and I had so many women friends who had been so empowered by it — but I just couldn’t picture myself doing the coy smiles, the 40’s style clothes, the sugar-sweet femininity that characterizes a lot of the scene. I enjoyed watching those kinds of performances, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing that without feeling foolish — exactly the opposite of what I wanted to feel if I was going to get up and strip in front of 200 people.
Then I saw Adelaide Renegade perform. She wasn’t a soft pin-up kitten — she was a WARRIOR. Combat boots, camo pants, mohawk hair sprayed up to the sky. There was no softness, no coyness there — there was only strength. Only power.
That. I want to do that.
It would take me another year to get on stage, but over that year as I prepared to make the leap, I kept that image of Adelaide’s power with me. I wanted to go on stage as a Warrior — to claim my power in a new way.
I’ve always felt most beautiful when I feel powerful. When I’m standing in circle leading ritual for women, when I’m in front of a classroom talking about a subject I know well and am passionate about, when I’m doing advocacy work — that’s when I’m most standing in my power, and that’s when I’m standing in my beauty. I don’t feel powerful just because I look good on a given day — rather, I feel like anything I’m wearing, any way my make-up is, is beautiful when I am standing in my truth and my power.
I feel most beautiful when I am a Warrior.
Burlesque has given me the chance to channel that Warrior Self in a new way. I’m standing in my power and my truth on that stage, because I’ve decided that I deserve to be there even if I don’t conform to what society says is beautiful. When I’m getting ready for a show, layering on the makeup and glitter and clothes (seriously, I wear more clothes to get mostly naked than I do on the daily), it’s like putting on armor. I’m going to battle, going to reveal not just my body but all the magick that lives in me. I’m taking a stand that I deserve to feel powerful and beautiful, and no one has the right to tell me otherwise.