Cherry Lush Travels- Manchester”

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Why I hate before and after pics.

Over the last 9 months I have been losing weight. Actively not accidentally. Not by starving myself or dieting. But by simply looking after myself more. It’s not been easy for many reasons. I’ve done it for personal reasons related to hereditary health conditions. It’s really no-ones business why and unless you are a close friend it’s really not up for discussion.

It’s been slow but the improvements to my health are already showing. People have started to notice the changes to my body too.

However you won’t see me posting before and after pictures here or posting pics on Facebook showing how much I have lost.

There are many reasons for this. Personally I think before and after pictures are a world-class rort. The before usually unflattering and poorly lit/clothed. After with nice clothes makeup etc…

Another is that a lot of people are perfectly healthy at a bigger size. Body size and health are not in my belief always related. I am a big supporter of the Health at Any Size Community.

And finally these before and after pictures are trying to say that look at the hideous creature before and look how amazing she looks now… But you know what, I think my body looks pretty fucking awesome no matter what size I am! It is strong, capable, curvaceous, has the ability to cycle 40km,  move furniture and give my 8-year-old Niece piggy backs! 🙂 So I won’t post any pictures comparing myself negatively to myselfImage

Pic by http://www.duskdevi.com  This happens to be me near my biggest and it also happens to be one of my favourite ever images.

For the people who comment how much they love my body- well don’t worry I am never going to be skinny. 😛 I have a large frame, very wide hip bones and a high muscle mass. After many years I’ve come to accept it, and I like it that way!

Vulnerability

(Note:this blog has been sitting in my drafts folder for a few months now. Oddly I was feeling too vulnerable to publish it…)

I have been thinking a lot about vulnerability lately. Both as a part of myself and as an aspect of my performances.

Last year I went to Canberra to be a Judge at Kitten of the Year along side Holly J’aDoll and Lauren LaRouge. It was really a wonderful experience with lots of great performances, and special for me as many years ago Kitten of the Year was the very first show I performed in. Before the show we got to interview each contestant, which was a great way of seeing some of their personality shine through. 

I was moved by a lot of responses to our questions. How the Miss Kitka’s course has changed their lives and made them more confident. I can personally vouch that the course is truly empowering. 

Each contestant has to study a performer from the past, and devise a tribute performance. If the performer is alive they are supposed to also contact the performer and get permission. Some of the contestants from this year and previous years have formed friendships with these performers- something that is wonderful to hear about and keeps the links to our history alive. 

One contestant- Sugar Starr – did a tribute to: “the Bearded Lady” She explained to us that the central aspect of her performance was about vulnerability.

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Vulnerability, can be seen as something quite scary. The dictionary defines it as: capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon.

Wow, capable of being hurt… I am a person who shows my vulnerability. It has always been the case. I think it is part of what makes me a good performer. If I feel something you see it on my face, it is there for the world to see and judge. I cry easily. I get hurt easily.Image

I’ve struggled with this all my life, for to show emotion and vulnerability, leaves one open to the cruel, those looking to bolster their own ego or those looking to take advantage of it. So over the years I have learnt to protect some of my vulnerability with some armour. Just enough to fight off those who will take advantage, but still leave me open to the great things that can come from showing my vulnerability. It’s really important to me, to not let those people change who I essentially am. I’d rather be hurt occasionally, when the alternative is to shut myself off from my emotions.

Brené Brown puts it into words far more eloquent:

You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle. But there’s another way, and I’ll leave you with this. This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

I’ll leave you with this great TED talk. Listen to it- it is worth it:

2012 It’s a wrap!

Every now and then I like to put on a nice dress, some makeup even and go out by myself. Usually I will get myself some dinner and sometimes go to a movie, or walk down King St in Newtown at night perusing book shops. It is great.

Last night I did that. I enjoyed a meal and the 1st cider I have had in months. And I thought about the year that has gone. The more I thought the more amazed I felt. I’ve done a lot in 2012 both personally and in performances.

Personally, I’ve travelled & I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve had my heart trammelled a bit and I have broken someone else’s heart…  I’ve made discoveries about what I will accept from others and how I expect to be treated (as well as thinking about how I should treat others) I’ve seen a dear friend recover from a serious accident. I’ve seen my friends have more babies and watched my Neice and Nephew grow taller, smarter and more amazing.  Most of all I’ve made the huge scary decision to leave a very safe public service job in 2013 by taking voluntary redundancy and pursue a new career. I am not 100% sure still what I will be doing but I am pretty sure I won’t be an Environmental Manager anymore! J

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. 
Eleanor Roosevelt 

As a performer, I started on New Years day throwing and squirting drunken  enthusiastic  music lovers  with “beer” whilst horribly sick with the flu at Field Day and ended it at Gallery Burlesque in Dec  by turning from Hagrid into a dragon whilst nursing nasty injuries from a bicycle accident only a few days earlier.  Luckily the bruises were easily disguised and the make do silver bandages covered the wounds.  The show must always go on!

In between some of the highlights include, my very first classic act at Miss Burlesque NSW, Anything Goes Cabaret at  Adelaide Fringe, Boom Boom Broads at Mardi Gras festival. Going to BHOF in Vegas, performing in San Francisco and Coney Island New York.  Meeting World Famous Bob, Dita Von Teese and meeting Dirty Martini again (and having an in-depth discussion of skirts not being able to handle our arses, and getting personal tips on tassel twirling!), and so many other incredible people!!!  Winning 2 Bustie awards at the 1st Australian Burlesque awards (and being nominated for 3 more!).  MCing for the first time at a fundraiser in Canberra. Not to mention performing at several Gallery Burlesque, and 34B nights (including GBs 4th Bday and the honour of performing at the very last 34B). Being painted by the amazing Wendy Sharpe and performing  at the opening of her Burlesque themed exhibition.  Letting out my inner Elvira over Halloween  at Night of the Living Dead and Cabaret Mystique, and having lots of fun with it and Judging at Kitten of the Year in Canberra (which is where Cherry first performed!)…

Whew…That’s not even everything!  All that a full-time job and lots of family and friends to see. It’s no wonder I get tired 🙂

So what is 2013 going to bring? I am never sure where I am going but I have a few ideas! I want to work on a few creative projects (sorry all secrets!), which I will have time for in the 2nd half of the year and will culminate in 2014. I will be studying at TAFE. More travel and some personal goals! Maybe a tour?  Of course performing at my favourite shows and some new shows I’ve heard whispers of.

 Life is like a bowl of Cherries my dears! There may be pips to spit out now and again but boy does it taste good.

2013 is going to be amazing, see you then!

XC

Just go and swim

Today I took my first swimming class since I was a child.

As an Australian where swimming is almost a religion, I was always sad that I couldn’t really swim. I can do basic breaststroke and backstroke but the infamous Aussie Crawl (Freestyle) was always too hard. 

Like most kids here I went to lessons at school, but 20 kids in a class was not enough. I really needed one-on-one attention to get me past that fear of putting my head in the water.  Too many ocean dunkings and a near drowning had left me with a fear of putting my head under the water. 

As I got older I swam less and less, until my lack of confidence and dislike for how I looked in a swimsuit stopped me from going in. I went years without a dip in the ocean! Living in a place with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and a public swimming pool only ever less than a km away, this was utter madness. 

One day I was at the beach for a picnic. I had recently started to come to terms with my body and the smell of the ocean was heady… The sound of the waves lapping made it irresistible and despite not having a swimsuit on me I went in, in shorts and a t-shirt and it was DIVINE!!!

Since then I try not to go too long without a dip in the ocean. Which brings me back to today’s lesson. It was a workshop full of people who to me were fit and could swim well. But I didn’t let that daunt me and in I went. It took a couple of goes before I relaxed but I loved it. I loved being able to see the seaweed and the little fish swimming below me. Such utter peace and calm. 
ImagePanorama of Clovelly Beach by Dave Tozer

This summer beach swims will become a regular thing as well as more lessons, till I get to the stage where I will be able to proudly say that I am a swimmer! 

Is there something you have always wanted to do but always thought you couldn’t? If so go and do it. Ask someone for help if you need to, but like I did- just go and swim! 🙂

XC