But this time it was my burlesque closet.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that my mom is one of my gems, my best friend, and a huge influence on who I am. (Read THIS POST about how badass and amazing she is!) You also know that we’re super close and that she means the world to me.
What you might NOT know…is that I’ve never told her about my career as a burlesque entertainer and go-go dancer.
::cue dramatic music and collective gasp!::
Shocking, I know. And pretty ridiculous, seeing that I’ve been doing this for YEARS. I’ve kept it a secret from her, and it’s been the ONE thing that I’ve never told her about.
I came out to her about being gay, and it was easy as pie (-ish). [Read HERE for my coming out story and how my mom took the news.] She has ALWAYS supported me in everything I do, and it has KILLED me to not have her be a part of something so huge in my life.
You don’t know how many times I’ve finished a gorgeous sparkly costume, and all I wanted to do was show my mom. Or I made a really good mix for my number, and knew she’d love it. Or when I was featured on a magazine (or two…), or when I got booked somewhere awesome, or when something really cool happened, or when someone wrote me and told me I changed their life…
It’s been awful to not include her.
And the silly thing is that my mom is RAD! She LOVES alternative cultures. She has always encouraged my weird quirky creative side. She used to go to Southern Nights and Parliament House back in the day [Wednesdays were quarter drinks!], and thinks drag shows are fabulous. So why, you ask, did I keep it a secret from her?
Well, when I was 18 or so, I mentioned that I wanted to audition to be a go-go dancer at Southern Nights. She told me that she didn’t want me to do it because she didn’t want it to come around and bite me in the ass later on in life. Fair enough. But I knew that I would never work in a traditional office setting for a traditional company doing anything the traditional way, so I didn’t think being a burlesqueteer was going to be a problem with my actual career. But my mom thought it might.
Months later, I decided I was going to go for it, anyway. I didn’t think I would even get the gig, and if I did, I didn’t think I would do it regularly. I didn’t think anyone would know my name or that I’d run my own show or or or…you get the picture. I had NO IDEA it would be the way it is. So I thought, “Hey, if I get a random go-go gig once a month, there’s no point in telling mom…I don’t want her to think that I went against her wishes, I don’t want to hurt her, and I don’t want her to take it personally.”
But then Ivy blew the eff up! I was performing multiple times a week, I was developing a fan base, and I was starting to really get my name out there. And by then, I thought it was too late to tell her. How could I explain this crazy world of community, stages, cages, performing, glitter, feather boas, top hats, pasties, gay empowerment, lifestyle, and everything else that is part of the reality of this wonderful job?? How could I make sure she understood I’m not a stripper, I’m not in porn, I’m not compromising myself or degrading myself. How could I not hurt her because it’s been a few months…a year…a few years…six years(!!) and I. Didn’t. Tell. Her.
IT WAS KILLING ME.
I’ve debated telling her so many times over the years that it would make the Count from Sesame Street want to throw down.
I knew it was going to come down to one of three things:
1.) I never tell her and then when I’m 40 I’ll say, “Hey, mom! Guess what I did in my 20s?”
2.) I break down and randomly tell her.
3.) She finds out, via the Interwebz, someone tells her (she has several gay friends), or I slip up.
So..yeah…funny story. Guess what happened on Sunday??
The Bunny and I went to hang out with my mom and my stepdad, and I don’t have a washer/dryer at my place, so we brought laundry with us.
Just towels and sheets and the like. No big D.
My mom and I are in the laundry room when ONE BEDAZZLED GLOVE falls to the floor.
And my mom says, as she picks it up off the floor, “Oh…by the way…I saw a picture of you online….”
And that’s when Ivy came out of the closet. It all just started spilling out, and I don’t think I could have stopped it if I tried. I’d wanted to tell her for so long, and my brain just short-circuited.
The picture she had seen was at the end of one of my numbers at Cold Keg, so not only was I in zebra-print pasties, but there was a pole in the photo. YIKES!
My word-vomit just wouldn’t stop, so everything I SHOULD have told her years ago, I told her then. And she completely understood. She knows what burlesque is. She knows what go-go dancing is. She knows the difference between working in a strip club and being a burlesque entertainer.
Once I told her (and my stepdad…YIKES!) everything [at least, the best I could in the moment, sweating and bright red], my stepdad asked why I wasn’t making more money from performing (lol I ask myself that SAME thing every day) and my mom told me she was proud of me. Proud of me for doing something I love. Proud of me for never crossing the line into stripping or porn or the escort business. Proud of me for never touching a bit of alcohol or drugs, even though lines of coke are available as easily as Bud Light. Proud of me for being a positive influence on people. Proud of me for working so hard. HOLY SMOKES!
Yes, she was hurt that I didn’t tell her. But she said that there is nothing I could do to make her stop loving me. The amazing thing is that, for my mom, her bottom line was this: “If you’re doing it because you HAVE TO, and you’re compromising yourself, then we’ve got problems. If you’re doing it because it’s fun and you love it, then I envy you!”
^which was what she thought when she saw the picture. She just needed to know that I’m happy, and that I’m okay, and that I’m not being forced into a lifestyle that isn’t making me feel good about myself. But once I explained how it’s pretty much glitter, unicorns, rainbows, and a sh*t ton of fun…she got it.
And then I told her I’m pregnant. JUST KIDDING, MOM! I’ve got two cats and that’s enough.
Oh, and also…hey, Mom, I have a blog! [which is actually how she found that picture…but that part of the story would turn this into a biblical-sized post.]
So yeah. My mom knows about the Vixen side of my life. She wants to come check out a show. She knows I have a blog. And I guess she’s got a lot of reading to do.
Feel free to post on here and say hi to my mom!
[you guys, I feel a thousand times better about life! What a relief to have this off my shoulders!!!! You can’t even imagine!]