My goal for this year was to blog every fortnight. I got ahead of myself for a while there which was great, but I’ve not blogged now for a month! Naughty me. It’s been a rough month though. I had suspected food poisoning, am now sick again with a cold, and had to lay to rest my beautiful companion, my baby girl Afghan Hound, Chilli. On the burlesque side I’ve been launching a male burlesque course, moving studios in Kapiti and fundraising/scraping every cent I could to get me to the Show Me Burlesque Festival next month with both merchandise and a producing a show. Oh and this is on top of my day-job. Yup I’m a busy crazy women. So this blog I thought I’d give you a peek of my ‘working week’ and show you the fine line that I walk between passion and crazy.
For my day-job I am a career women. I work in a high-risk industry as a health and safety advisor, working in a male-dominated and outdoor environment. This is not your average 40-hour a week job. Things can change in a moment, and being that I cover a region from the centre of the North Island, across to New Plymouth right down to Wellington, I’m always on the move when not working on the paperwork side when in the office. This is a legislative compliance job after all so of course there is a lot of paperwork. I love my job, I enjoy the challenges it presents, but as I said it’s not an average forty hour working week. Last week for example I worked 4 days. “Woo hoo” I hear you say. No. I worked 46 hours in 4 days. I loved every minute of it. But man was I knackered.
Not content with that though I teach burlesque at least 3 nights a week. Two of those nights I drive an average of an hour each way to get to my class. That’s just to do the physical aspect of teaching. It doesn’t include the admin behind it, including class notes, registrations, marketing of future classes, and don’t even get me started on accounting. That admin time is then doubled up on for the producing aspect of burlesque, both for our regular show Black Tie Burlesque, and the New Zealand Burlesque Festival. Oh and then there is the social media marketing and web updating for all aspects of the burlesque business including promotion of myself as a performer. Tired yet? I’m not. I don’t drink coffee either. Maybe I should.
It’s the weekend. Day off, right? No. If I don’t have yet more admin or a show to produce, I could be having a photo shoot, teaching a burlesque party, or, of course, performing. Performing may only be seen to be 4-5 minutes worth of work, but I spend a couple of hours prepping – doing hair, nails, makeup, checking costume and doing last minute repairs, packing – and then a varying amount of time travelling, mingling at the event and continuing to market my brands. Add on a bit of rehearsal into my burlesque weekly ‘routine’ and I usually need a nana nap at this point.
The burlesque side of my life takes up minimum of 20 hours a week. MINIMUM. Some weeks I can do twice that depending on what events are coming up. Relative to how much I make, it’s definitely a labour of love! I’m working on it though.
Did I mention I’m also wife and mother? Yea… fulltime 24/7 job there. My family is so important to me and some weeks I feel like I’m letting them down by having both a day-job and a business to run. I have to remind myself that they don’t feel that way and that these activities are supporting their needs and mine. Thankfully I get some pretty awesome quality time with my family on a regular basis. I do wish I could support my husband better though. He’s also a professional entertainer, and I work fulltime to financially support him in that, but don’t feel I give him the emotional support he needs sometimes. I guess with all I do I can’t always balance everything and be everything to everyone.
At times I struggle with doing all of this and my sanity becomes questionable. I get hard on myself when I don’t rehearse (which to be honest takes more of a backseat than I would like), when I can’t do the things I need to do because burlesque isn’t paying for itself, when I can’t catch up on my favourite TV shows or see some of my amazing friends like a normal person. When I slow down and take a break I tend to become “under the weather” although I can’t afford to get sick. I have the rare occasion of “full-on-snotty-sit-in-the-shower-hiding-and-cry-like-a-big-baby” breakdown. I have very little annual leave as it gets swallowed up quickly by a day off here and another one off there to head to events and I would rather spend my last $100 on taking my family out for a nice day out than go to the optometrist to have my prescription updated (something I desperately need to do). And ya know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure… I’d like to have things a little bit easier than struggling to make it all happen and even more so actually getting close to the equivalent monetary reward for the time invested. Really though, I wouldn’t change how I spend my time, if not only say I wish I was able to spend more time on making my business successful. Time is what I have most to offer though and yet, is still limited.
The biggest thing that keeps me from crossing that line of passion to crazy though, is the support I have from an amazing and elite group of people. My family… both actual and chosen. If you ever decide to spend your time doing a lot of crazy things, my tip to you is make sure you surround yourself with supportive people. You’ll need to lean on them occasionally, to lend an ear, to have a place to feel safe from your own doubts and from the criticism of others. They will fuel the fire when you have decide you want to extinguish it in that moment of despair, they will help you find a way to make it all happen and they will console and then pick you up and slap your arse back on track you when you fall. Without a support network it’s you against the world. Nobody should do it alone.
Like I said though…. there’s a fine line between passion and crazy.