Hello, if you read yesterday's blog post you'll know I'm not actually here - this is all an illusion...
No seriously, I've scheduled this post to be published whilst me and the family, or for all you grammar snobs, the family and I are having a good old time at Lake Havasu City, site of the London Bridge (is no longer falling down) and yesterday I promised you a previously unpublished post about how burlesque saved my life.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find where I'd filed that, so here instead is a tale of how becoming Tempest Devyne and having my photo taken by the astoundingly wonderful Mr Devyne saved me, originally posted on the Ministry of Burlesque website slightly before I started maiding at burlesque shows, which led to stage managing them, which led eventually to becoming a performer.
As you'll see I wrote this on finding out I'd reached the final 5 in a modelling competition (but here's a spoiler I didn't win the competition but I'd already won by beginning to find myself again):
I'm having a bad time at the mo. My cyclothymia is throwing my moods all over the place and my self-esteem is rock bottom. One day I'm coping really well, being a 'normal', well as normal as I could ever be. Then the next day, all is darkness, I'm convinced I've gone too far with all my friends – a 5 minute delay in them answering a text is interpreted as me having lost their friendship forever. For anyone sane out there, you're sitting there thinking 'pull your socks up woman, stop over-reacting'. For anyone who has suffered any sort of mental health problem or experienced any form of depression, you know what I'm talking about, don't you? I wish that you didn't, I wish that no-one had to go through hating themselves, thinking themselves a pile of ****, thinking the world would be better of without them. Luckily as was pointed out to me the other day by a wonderful friend, I bounce back far quicker than I used to, the depths of despair can sometimes be only a day or two…..when they used to be months on end.
Anyway, what am I waffling on about? Oh yes, I'm a bit wobbly at the mo.
The only thing that can lift me when I'm like this and get me out of the house, is having my photo taken. If you haven't perused my albums, why not have a look – they might make you smile, some of them a tad surreal :-)
In the past year, I've gone from a woman who couldn't leave the house (the kids got on the school bus outside the front door, I did all the shopping online and had it delivered – it's very easy these days NOT to leave the house, in fact, in someways, it's too easy). For just over two months, I didn't leave the house.
I started working seriously with my Community Mental Health Team in January but just as importantly I discovered burlesque and Tempest Devyne was born. I'd watched Channel 4's Burlesque Faking It and seen a woman called Sharon with similar self-esteem issues to myself grow to like herself and become Scarlet Fever. I'd watched How To Look Good Naked and seen women take similar journeys of discovery and grow to like themselves. And I thought, why can't I do that?
I'd always hated having my photo taken. I was a 'big disgusting blob'. It was a name I was repeatedly called….and I'd taken it on board, hook, line and sinker. Any photos of me at family gatherings usually have me looking at the floor, or when I had kids, holding a smiling child in front of my face.
So I asked my gorgeous husband to take my photograph.
We had no idea what we were doing at first. I checked out pics I liked of other pin-ups, burlesque performers and models and we worked out why I liked them and did similar sorts of things. My confidence grew. We discovered how to improve lighting and posing and backgrounds and makeup for photos etc. We laughed. We did stupid, silly things. Vacuuming the lawn at a Moreton Corbet sticks out :)
I started having fun. But most amazingly, from the beginnings of only having certain bits of me allowed in the photos we posted online, and initially photoshoppping them to make me 'look better' (yeah though!)…..I started to, at first, accept myself, but slowly to start liking what I saw. I don't photoshop at all now. I am what I am. Yes I AM a big woman, with lots of wobbly bits, and stretch marks, I don't have perfect skin and I definitely don't have perfect teeth…..but I gradually realised just as Gypsy does …..that I am pretty!
I totally believe that every woman CAN be pretty (and so can men)……the beauty is inside, you've just got to start it radiating and let it break free.
Lots of people who see my photos now (well to be honest Tempest's photos, I still have a lot of difficulty being photographed when not in 'character') have no idea that I have self-esteem issues or hate having my picture taken. But 'tis true.
Anyway, do you want to know the cheesy Hollywood movie ending to this miraculous year of changes?
You're not going to believe this (I know I can't) but I've made it through to the finals of a modelling contest! How wacky is that! I've made it into the last 5. Yes I know – I was gobsmacked too hahaha.
It's really thrown me. I was having a very up and down day and I just found out. And now I don't know what to think. I have to confess the only reason I entered was in the hope that if any other big, older women with self-esteem issues saw it, they too might have a go at having their photo taken and might realise that we don't have to listen to what society and the media dictates to us about what is beautiful……that we can be beautiful too. But now I'm in the final, blimey o'reilly, what does it all mean?
So anyway, I guess the 'don't vote for me, I'm only here to represent big, older women' campaign failed miserably :-) Now does that mean if I actually ask you to vote for me, you won't? We'll have to see……