Monday, November 28, 2011

There’s a lot of talk in the burlesque community right now about what constitutes a professional.

…Truthfully, I’m not even going to touch that right now, because I’m not a professional. Yet.

But I would like to be.

I have a passion for burlesque as an art form. I remember back when I first started Vixening for Vaudezilla, and even before that, when I saw my first burlesque show. I remember how I ravenously watched each and every act, sucking up the experience like a sponge. Quite frankly, it made me a good Vixen. I watched every layer as it peeled off and hit the floor. From an analytical standpoint, it meant that I never once had to look for someone’s stray stocking or glove.

I began to differentiate. What made good burlesque. Or, maybe, what made burlesque that *I* enjoy. The difference in styles that girls had. The difference between someone who spent hours prepping and polishing and someone who got onstage with a concept, some rhinestones, and a prayer.

Somewhere along the line, it became very mechanical. Very arbitrary. I continued to Vixen because that is what I had always done. By this time, I had worked with Vaudezilla for nearly two years, and I had seen many of my fellow Vixens become performers in their own right. Some, like the lovely Cherry Brandi, became incredible, valued members of Vaudezilla.

And I was still in the same place I was, two years before.

In my defense, there was a lot I had to do before I could be in this place I am now. I was not *ready* for burlesque, and, perhaps, Chicago burlesque was not ready for *me*. A lot has changed since those hazy days of the past, clambering up on Blue Bayou’s bartop to reach a pair of panties.

The first time I attempted to make a change was around this time last year. Vaudezilla, still in it’s state of rapid expansion, was holding auditions for new acts. I threw something together, kind of half-practiced in the bathroom mirror, beaded a bra on my lunch-breaks at my last job, (Health Insurance. I’m sure they were terrified.) and… generally looked like a big idiot. I was painfully nervous. I had this… complex about not being as good as everyone else, even though I had *watched* these people onstage a million times, and I *knew* that I had just as much, if not more, dance training than some, and just as much charisma welling up in me somewhere. If only I could remember where I’d left it…

It was immediately after that, that I completely disappeared from Burlesque. I took a Stage Managing job on top of my day job, which meant that I was working or driving for approximately 16 hours of the day. Every day. I stopped Vixening, partly because I wasn’t asked to very often anymore. I got defensively very angry, because it was easier to say that the higher-ups didn’t like me, than it was to admit that I had made an idiot of myself and that, if I really wanted it, I should have worked harder. I dug deeper into the hole I had been wallowing in for the last several years.

But then, something happened. I took a hiatus from my hiatus. I even called it the hiatus-from-the-hiatus-tour. Because I’m so self-important that the things I do need titles.

I took three burlesque gigs in a row, starting with February BROADZILLA, then jumping straight into the Windy City Burlesque Fest. In addition to Vixening both nights of the festival, I ended up signing up for about 5 workshops over the course of the weekend. My excuse was that I had been so busy and unemployed during the FIRST Windy City Burlesque Fest, the year before, and I had to make up for lost time. The reality was that I was coming back from an extended (nearly six-month) break, free from the arbitrary-ness of my actions, and really ready to ask myself if this was something I wanted. And I mean *really* wanted.

Two things happened. I saw Ammunition for the first time. I only mention this because she combines two of my favorite things: Pyrotechnics and the artful removal of clothing.

But the other thing that happened was that I saw this performance. Watch it. It’s not quite as incredible on Youtube, but these things really never are. I saw Michelle L’Amour perform this act, while crouching in a dark corner, just offstage. She butt-shimmies for over a minute and a half straight. A minute and a half. And her shimmy belt could have been diamonds for all I care. I had that image in my head all weekend, and when I went back to work on Monday, I cried. I cried because that fucking shimmy had destroyed the stone approximation of me, the one that numbly shuffled off to work a normal job and was routinely cut off from the beautiful things in life, and put in its place someone who knew *exactly* what she wanted to do with her life.

That’s when I knew that I was going to be a burlesque dancer. Not *maybe.* Not *someday.* Not *If I’m good enough.*

And I’m only going to go up from here.

I said in the beginning of this post that I’m not a professional. And I’m not. But I will be. Because I’m right here, in America’s heartland, and I’m coming soon to a theater, bar, venue near you.

You know, there is a *serious* lack of burlesque-oriented blogs on Tumblr.

If you are interested in seeing what I do, you can follow me at:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's a big 'ole life update.


So. A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. A few weeks ago, I was super gung-ho about going back to school. I was going to do another Bachelors' for Fashion Design and Photography. Now... I'm not.

And before you go all "why's she so wishy-washy?" I'll fill you in on my logic.

Last weekend, Columbia college had their annual open house. I went, because I wanted to get the scoop on their programs. The first thing I learned: I fucking love Columbia. Their facilities are amazing, and I would kill to have access to their darkrooms.

The second thing I learned: That I'm WAY more excited about the possibility of shooting and developing my photography than I ever was about fashion.
It's one thing to be fashion-conscious, and to have an interest in the way clothes are constructed, and it's another thing altogether to be thrown into a fashion program.
On the other hand, I got really excited when I could smell the photo chemicals. It was a very familiar atmosphere. And it reminded me why I do stupid shit like compulsively buy cameras, and why I spent a summer afternoon hosing 20 year old darkroom equipment off in my backyard. I really love the process of creating a photograph. I love shooting film and digital equally, but when it comes to physical prints, I prefer traditional printing methods hands-down. If you shoot digitally and print digitally, the whole process is mechanized, and I think there is a coldness to that. But if you print in a darkroom, and your hands are in the chemicals and the paper's in the chemicals and everything is stewing together, you made that thing out of love and human touch, and it becomes a very vital, living object. It becomes a part of you, and you are a part of the art.

Lastly, I've spent the last week kind of stewing over and thinking about the next steps for me. Unlike fashion, Photography can be taught effectively outside the collegiate environment. I don't *need* that degree to progress. It's possible to get enough training and build a portfolio, as well as distilling what I want out of the process, either on my own, or without dropping the $70 thousand for another BA. So I'm looking at a certificate program with the Chicago Photography Center. It's pretty close to my house, and the whole program is three thousand. It would shore up my skills in the darkroom after three or four years of not using them, give me a quick and dirty intro to editing and printing digitally, teach me the basics of Photoshop, and afford me a (somewhat more limited than academically offered) range of electives I could take to broaden my expertise.

The only thing missing from that equation is the wealth of 19th century photographic processes that I'm interested in learning. Those, unlike gelatin-silver and digital processes, I will have to learn on my own. Color photography, I might have to seek special instruction in, since it's so damn difficult and precise. (The actual developing and printing process, that is)

So... that's where I'm at. It's a lot less money, and a good bit less time to invest. And if I think getting a degree is still a good idea at the end of it, then I can always apply to an MFA program with my newly updated and condensed portfolio.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This sounds like something I would read on Hyperbole and a Half, but it's my life, I swear.

So... You remember Space Ice Cream?

You know, the freeze-dried brick of... whatever... that was about the size of your palm that you could buy at any museum anywhere for about seven dollars?

I loved that stuff.

I probably had it twice in all my life, because it's so goddamn expensive, and I was cognizant of that as a child. I was a weird kid. As an adult, I still want to buy a brick of the stuff every time I end up in the Adler, or the Museum of Science and Industry or what have you. But, as an adult, I'm even poorer now than I was when I was a kid, if that's even possible, so it's just out of the question.

This story has a point, I swear.

So... yesterday, I was in a JoAnns, because I needed some fringe and felt and tinsel, and that's where I go when I need things to glue on my panties. They have a wall of candy by the checkout. Including a lot of stuff you don't really see at the grocery store. Among these offerings was something called a Three Musketeers Truffle Crisp. I'd seen them there before, and always been kind of curious. Quite frankly, I kind of thought it was going to be gross, but I'm on my period, and everything sounds good as long as it's smothered in chocolate, so I figured I'd give it a go.

So I get into the parking lot, and I'm ripping the thing open, because I can't even wait to get in my car, apparently. And it's really kind of tasty. That crunchy layer, whatever the hell it is, has a really pleasant texture. But what *is* it? It's so damn familiar.

I get in the car. I take another bite. I drive halfway across the parking lot and then slam on the brakes.



And it was a dollar.

I'm tempted to buy myself a case of them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I'm busy!

Whee busy!

Busy is good, right? Sort of? Maybe?

Some of the busy is good. I guess that's all I can ask for at this point.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

So... here I am again. Another workday at a desk, struggling to stay awake, much less do anything productive. The phone is silent.

I, for once, am not alone. Doubtless, they probably think I'm hard at work on something. Well... that's partially correct, I guess.

I just don't know how I got so far away from the things I wanted. I don't know how I've just sat complacent and waiting, and not screaming or setting the house on fire, or burning it all away, until there's nothing left but the real, vital me.

It's like there's something underneath my skin, and it's crawling constantly, telling me that this isn't the life I need to be leading. That I'm wasting my time. I only have so much, and I'm letting it all slip away on a wisp of a breeze. I was 19, and I blinked, and here I am, 25, and still no plan, no... nothing. A shell. A husk in the city, with no way to be happy.

I'm not happy, and I'm not even sure I know that all these grandiose plans I have for next year will help. I'm unhappy sitting here at this desk, day after day, accepting minimum wage. I'm unhappy looking at how useless my Etsy shop is. I'm unhappy that, most days, I can't muster the energy to work on anything, keeping my costumes in good shape, researching the possibility of my next degree, making sure I'm well fed. Going for a goddamn walk and not taking the city for granted.

I'm losing so much, blind to so much. I can't see it anymore. The city that I fought and died for, it's not here. I want to go home, and walk along my lakeshore, and feel the sand under my feet. I want to hold my camera again. I want the crunch of fall leaves and the color and the freezing breezes calling me off the lake and home. I want to live that. I don't want to worry about money. I want enough. I'm not asking for a fortune, though the fame wouldn't be so bad. I just want enough. Enough to go out to eat every once in awhile. Enough to keep my clothes looking new. Enough to climb in my car and not worry about running out of gas before I get to where I'm going.

I don't need to live extravagantly, I just want to live well. I want to be able to indulge sometimes without feeling the insane, nagging guilt. I want to know where my energy and will to live went, and why it's been gone so long. Somewhere along the line, I had convinced myself that Mike Moody had it, and if he came back, I would be just the same, but he's here and gone again, and I never found it. And I'm starting to wonder if I just lost it, and I'll never get it back. The will.

I want to pack my car, or maybe just get on my bike, and ride til I fall over. North. All the way up. Through Wisconsin, and into Canada. Me and the camera. I just want to lose everyone for awhile. Stop looking at the concrete and glass for just long enough that when I come back, I'll appreciate it all again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

long and rambly

Hey kids,

Yet another day, here in the city. So... I found this site called WePay, which is kind of like Kickstarter, but you can use it to raise money for anything. Like... begging people to pay for you to go to school.

This is my shameless self-promotion, by the way.

...Anyway, I posted this to Facebook, and, as fast as you can blink, I had a page-long rant from the lawyer-brother of a friend of mine, someone I barely know. It basically boiled down to "Ooh, look at the poor, privileged, upper-middle-class American white girl, thinking she's got it SO BAD, and panhandling! Why don't you just take out loans, like the rest of us?"

First off, I'm planning to, asshole. But bear this in mind. the 100,000 plus dollars in loans I'll need? You, Mr. Lawyer, make that in a year. You'd pay those loans off in about five. *I*, on the other hand, make $15,000 a year, and, after expenses, it would take me about fifty years to pay them off. If my aunt Milly sees me on Facebook, and throws a hundred bucks my way, don't you think that's going to make my life a little easier?

Urgh. I'm a lot less mad about it now, but it was pretty bad when I was at work and smoke was billowing out my ears. Seriously, I don't seriously believe that utter strangers are going to fund my education. But my family might help. And also, if you take that much offense to something, instead of poking the hornet's nest, just GO THE FUCK AWAY. I'm not asking YOU for a handout, just move along. How hard is it to keep your opinion to yourself and just go on your way?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

For the record...

I'm not usually as depressing or bitter as I've seemed lately. I've been in a rough patch. Which will just continue to be a rough patch until I miraculously become famous for something.


Carry on.

Random fact

Apparently, the search keyword that most often directs folks to this blog is "ravenwcatz straight"

...which basically infers that the ENTIRE UNIVERSE is curious about my sexual orientation.


Probably not really, right?

I've been having some killer days here. Simultaneously shirking the work I'm supposed to be doing, getting horribly frustrated with the new act I'm working on (for Hallowe'en, oh my god, kill me), and eating everything in the whole world.

Apparently I do that. Eat everything in the world. Because I'm trying to retain SOME measure of control in a life that has absolutely no certainty. No idea when I'll be able to purchase food again, not sure I'll have the money to pay my rent next month, DROWNING in my desire to be able to spend TWO CENTS on a thing that I WANT, instead of being conditioned to want only the most basic necessities. So I respond by eating an entire pan of brownies, because I want a brownie, goddamn it, and who knows when I'll get one again?

Probably not a good thing to do, but at least I'm aware about it now. One more thing I'm going to have to try and control.

I'm so goddamn sick of being poor. I've gotten to the point where, it's three days from my birthday (25, holy god, how did we get here?), and all I can think is how I don't want any presents, because, though I WANT all sorts of fun things, I feel guilty asking for THINGS, when I *should* be asking my parents to just give me money that I can spend paying off my credit card, so that, maybe, in six months, if I've managed to pay the whole thing off, I'll have enough money to actually get the $10 I budget for groceries into the grocery store each week, instead of needing it to pay for other things.

And I'm bitter, because about 6 or 8 years ago, my grandma bought one of my cousins a CAR when she was in all sorts of financial trouble, but the last help I got was a card about two years ago with a ten dollar bill in it. Like... I realize that I'm the one people tend to pretend doesn't exist, or doesn't need help, but... I kind of do.

I mean, yes. I will ultimately still spend each and every cent I have on dollies, burlesque bling, and junk food. But at least I won't be selling pieces of my body to do it, right? And the burlesque stuff is an investment. I'll get that back one day.

I just feel guilty because I'm 25, one of the few unmarried cousins left, my dad keeps sneaking me money, which I know my parents don't really have... My parents are getting old, and I want my dad to be able to retire and I want my parents to be financially secure. I always figured I'd be paying them back by now. But I don't have a husband to help me out, and my extended family spends a lot of time pretending that, because I live in a different state, I just don't exist. And that leaves my dad to help support me.

And I guess that's just the way it's going to be for now. I don't know what else to do.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hi to whomever was reading my blog from Latvia.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

I just want to let you all know that I may or may not have written a two page operetta of sorts, so that I might apply for a scholarship to go back to school.

Ahh, the allure of $100,000.

But, seriously. Not only am I juggling a life I can barely finance as is, I ALSO want to put some money in a hole somewhere and then dig it up next year so that I can go back to school.


As time wears on, I feel less and less substandard though. I've been reading a lot lately, especially stories about people in my generation, and how there has to be no shame in moving home or working a shitty job, because that's all we have right now. I mean, look at me. Yes, I'm still clinging by my fingernails to my own apartment in the nicest neighborhood in the city. But at what cost? My job doesn't pay me enough, so I fill literally every free moment of every day applying for and going to various studies, focus groups, taking paid surveys, looking for online income supplements, working like hell on my burlesque, if only to scrape together a few more dollars. And I'm donating my eggs. If I make it through all the screening tests.

Because, if I do, that pays my entire credit card off, and I can start from scratch again, with the sigh of relief that is not having to devote a whole hundred dollars to trying to dent it each month.

None of this, mind you, gets me any closer to school. All of this is solely to close the gap between how much I make at my day job, and how much my rent/groceries/utility bills cost. Because I'll let you in on a little secret. I make $200 less per month than the absolute minimum I need to live. We're talking $10 a week for groceries, and I *still* need to work an extra job just to make sure I have that.

The good news? You can take out up to $45,000 in private student loans per year.
The bad news? I might very well need every cent of that, unless I can whip up a good amount of private scholarship cash. Because I know myself, and I know that going to school full time AND working full time will never happen. A part time job will only get me so far.

We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Remember that part where I'm BAD at this?

Still bad at keeping up with the Joneses blogging.

I'm still trucking away at life. Burlesque things are going well. I'm debuting my SECOND act this Friday, hurray!

The downside to everything is that I'm hopelessly poor, as always, and I'm entirely sick of it. So I'm looking at finding ways to supplement my income a little.

I've dabbled with several online moneymaking schemes in the past, things like CashCrate and other GPT sites... most of which just flood your life with spam, which really isn't worth the $20 or $30 you do end up making with them.

I used to use Associated Content (now owned by Yahoo!), and I continue to receive a few dollars in my PayPal at the end of each month from them. (Not bad for someone who didn't contribute regularly) I really like Associated Content/The YAHOO Contributor Network, or whatever they're calling themselves nowadays. They pay based on page views. If you're savvy (not like me), you can generate a good amount of targeted content that will end up making you quite a lot of money in a short amount of time. I never did make much money through them, but I was never really aiming to either. And the bonus of looking at my PayPal every few months and finding five bucks I didn't know I had is always nice too.

But I'm thinking I need something a little more substantial this time around. And while I *could* pop onto AC and crank out some crap about Kim Kardashian, Dancing with the Stars, or The X-Factor... the truth is I don't even own a television, so I'm not exactly at the forefront of popular culture. So I'm looking into some sites that offer work as a transcriptionist. These are and

As of right now, I know absolutely zero about either of them, as I've just signed up. But I have heard some decent things about both, so I'll try to remember to tell you how it ends up.

Really, if I can manage another $10 or $15 per week, I'll be better off than where I am today. And it will be $10 or $15 I can play with, instead of racking my credit card back up through the ceiling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I am SO BAD at keeping up with this!

I have a good thing going and then, BAM. Don't update for a month. O_o

BUT. I've been a busy little bee in the meantime.
My Etsy Shop has got some fun new items in it. AND I've been commissioned for a custom piece for one of my fellow burly-q girls. I get to finish that up this week and get it on its way to her.

I made my SUPER OFFICIAL burlesque debut at Exit the last friday of July. I did perform a few times before that, twice doing a group act with some of my friends, and once doing my own act... but it was a last-minute thing, I didn't get asked until literally three hours beforehand, because they had a last-minute cancellation.

So, as of today, I've performed my own act three times, and will be performing again on Friday.
My second act is in the works, and it is HELLA frustrating me. I'm broke so I can't get my costume together, my choreography needs SO MUCH HELP.... Blargh. But we'll get through it. We will get through it.

Oh, and I know this is kind of afterthoughty, but the new job is WAY better than the old one. Even if it does only pay half, and leaves me 200 in the hole every month.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I was looking at my blog stats, and apparently, one person from the Czech Republic has viewed my blog.

You know you've made it when... ^_^

In all seriousness, I'm really just here to point you in the direction of

Raven Gemini

Also known as my burlesque alter-ego. I'll eventually have a real website for her. Just like I'll eventually blog on a regular basis. :P

Um... anyway. The whole point of this is to say that I will be performing (in my official DEBUT, no less) this Friday in Chicago. It's going to be fabulous. I'm sure video will be forthcoming.

Monday, July 25, 2011


...Apparently, one word titles with an exclamation point have become a thing. :P

No, I am just here to let you all know that my Etsy store is up and running! You can find me at:

The Raven's Nest

Right now, my shop is a little bit empty, since I've had about two seconds to do anything the last few weeks. But I did make myself a new fascinator, as a prototype for a new design I'd like to implement. And I also got to test out some new, improved construction techniques. So, a partial yay all around.

The other big news is that I'm leaving my current day-job to be the full time box office manager at a theatre I've been working with for the past year. It's nice to get to keep building relationships with people. It is a fairly large pay cut for me, but I think I'm going to be a little happier being with theatre people all the time.

To help ease that financial burden, I also brought my bike up from Michigan. Cycling is free, it's healthy, zillions of people in Chicago commute by bicycle... and it will allow me to decompress before I get home. I'm looking forward to hopping on that bike and zipping along the lakeshore.

Alrighty. Time to get this party started.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Thanks to a power outage at work, which prevents us from operating... I'm on day three of an unexpected vacation. This has afforded me a LOT of time to get things done, as well as time to heal, rest up, and get my mind in a better place.

Since Monday, I have:
~Taken a walk every day (something I want to do regardless of my job situation)
~Finished sewing the vest for my debut burlesque costume
~Finished the pasties for said costume
~Rhinestoned one half of the bra for said costume (while listening to season 2 of MacGyver)
~Washed all the dishes in my sink
~Re-watched season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race
~Checked out a book from the library (well... I had put it on hold last week, I picked it up today)
~Made a cherry pie

...I also have been making all kinds of excuses as to why I get to treat myself to lunch/dinner/ice cream/etc. Which is not so good for my budget, but the upside is that I haven't used the three-quarters of a tank of gas that I would have used to get to work the last three days... so I think it evens out.

I've been told we might also have tomorrow off, which means I will likely get to finish blinging out my burly-q costume (finishing the bra/panties, and then adding sequins), as well as photographing and posting on Etsy the 8 or 10 feather fascinators I haven't yet sold. I was going to photograph them today, but I've been having a hell of a time trying to find a place in my apartment that will make nice photographs. I'm settling on using my nifty looking radiator as a backdrop, but that means I need to wait for a time when the bright afternoon sun isn't streaming through that window. ...Also, I need to wash my floor, because this apartment is NASTY.

(It's a lot cleaner than it was last week, due to my having time to clean, but...)

It's... uplifting to be accomplishing so much. I have a hell of a lot more energy at the end of the day, and I feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. I was afraid, by midafternoon yesterday, that I wouldn't be able to handle working for myself, now that I've got the chance for a mini trial-run. But really, I've gotten a lot done, and I've been pretty disciplined about sitting down to do my work.

I tend to be really... spacey about doing things, washing a dish, then coming back to watch an EPISODE of some show or other, but I'm tired of letting that be an excuse. So... at 8 this morning, there I was with Pandora playing on the countertop, buzzing through the whole sinkful. Learning how to manage myself is definitely going to be a learning curve, once I get there, but I'm starting to think I'll be ok.
Plus, this week is also proving that, once I *do* quit my day job once and for all, I'll spend at least a week doing basically nothing, until I get bored enough (and concerned enough about my income) to jump back up and take care of business. And I'm ok with that.

All I can say at this point is THANK GOD for unexpected vacation. It is exactly what I needed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Raven Gemini

I've been realizing lately how terribly negative I am when it comes to my own accomplishments. And I'm setting out to change that.

Yes, I'm slower than a tree when it comes to making, doing, accomplishing. But there are a lot of reasons for that, and my goal now needs to be working within those reasons, instead of using them as an excuse, and getting down on myself for being useless. Because I've done a lot, in the grand scheme of things. I just need to foster the focus and discipline to really buckle down and make my life happen exactly the way I want it to.

Accomplishment of the week: I got myself a Chicago Public Library card. Which means I can take out all sorts of books to read up on starting a small business, not to mention honing my crafts.

Sort-of-accomplishment: I've been doing ok on the cash diet. I did use my card a little this week, but it's still under the limit, for the first time in three months. I'm having a tough time adjusting to not going out all the time... but I'll get better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Woe is me

There is a lot I should be updating here, but I'm actually... at work and not supposed to even be here... Oops.

Over the last nine months, I have been employed processing insurance applications for a business in the northern Chicago suburbs. It's decent work, and it pays ok. But *I* am an Artiiist, and I cannot subsist on such soul-crushing boringness.

So I spend every penny and then some to self-medicate. Another coffee, one more trip to the Arby's on the way home. A new doll (0r four). I drown myself in excess and ice cream, hoping to kill the emptiness that comes from being unfullfilled in one job, but too afraid of both the possible success and failures of making the leap and doing something you really love.

So, here I am, after nine months of self-destruction and making excuses for why I just *can't* strike out on my own... I'm completely destitute. No savings, maxed credit card, just as unhappy as I was yesterday, and utterly trapped.

The silver lining in all this has to be that part of the final blow to my finances comes in the form of the costume pieces for my first two burlesque pieces, one group act, and my solo debut act. With these pieces, I'll finally be able to start making back some of the money I've spent... Earmarking performance payments as investments on future acts. It will be a long, painfully slow road, but I'll soon have a portfolio built up, and be on my merry way.

Unfortunately, that leaves me with the day-job, and $2500 in credit card debt. I've spent the better part of the day drafting up a tentative budget, putting myself on a cash-o-rexic diet, and planning to stash my credit card as soon as I get back home.
I'm terrified of facing six months of ramen noodles, peanut butter sandwiches, and mashed potatoes, even more terrified of not being able to stop off for a frilly coffee drink whenever I feel like it. I'm afraid I'm stretching my money too thin, trying to pay off the card quickly, while still not giving up expenses like the money I set aside to take classes. (Classes in things like Burlesque and maskmaking, not, like, school or anything) And in the midst of all this, I'm winding up to start a business venture of my own, in the hopes that I can get that on its feet at the same time I'm getting back up on mine. It's been a long time since I put together a fascinator, and I'm a little wiser in terms of construction techniques... I've been stalking Etsy like a madman, trying to pick up any tricks that I can... And I'm finally ready to get going with my life.

So... six months from now, I'll have far less debt hanging over my head. I'll be entirely sick of Ramen, peanut butter, AND mashed potatoes. I'll be yearning for a shopping spree. But, hopefully, I will also be an established performer, a diligent student of art, and a budding businesswoman. Hopefully, when that day comes, I'll be ready to stand on my feet, get out of the suburbs, and really be able to enjoy the city that I gave up so much for.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I... kind of lost my train of thought with my last post. I was listening to records and zoned a little.
So I'm back!

I'd like to make being here a little more of a habit. In the imaginary land where I have time and energy to do anything, ever.

But I did realize something today. I like to be in bed by about ten o'clock on weekdays. Not sleeping, since I typically don't get around to that until about 11:30. But I like to be settled in and decompressing by about ten. But I get home from work by seven. (or, I did when I wasn't in rehearsal every day.) So I'm trying to iron out what I can be doing with those three hours that sit there between work and sleep, to make my days a little more bearable. Some nights, dinner and a shower are going to take up most of that time. But I want to make the most of what I have.

So I think I'm going to try and avoid the computer until 10 on worknights. If I get home at seven, there's still a little light, and I do live right across the street from the park, so I can at least fit some walking into my schedule. In addition, I have 500 pages of my sewing book to plow through, and a resparked interest in Parsons' fashion design program.

Ok. Parsons. Yes, Parsons The New School for Design. As in: where Project Runway films. Last winter, when I was confused and jaded and desperate for a change, I actually had the crazy idea to apply to Parsons' photography BFA program. Mind you, I never actually *submitted* my application. But I did attend an info session here in Chicago, and I started everything, before I realized that going back to school was the *last* thing I needed to do while in a compromised mental state.

And, right now, thinking about going to school for fashion design is putting the cart miles ahead of the horse, seeing as, though I can sew, I have never made a finished, human-size garment. But I was looking at their curriculum, and it was like looking at a laundry list of things I'm dying to learn. Patternmaking (both flat pattern and draping), Millinery, a course on making shoes, accessory design, knitting (both hand-knitting and machine). All things I've been saying that I need to find a way to learn. (please note that I do know how to hand-knit, though I rarely finish projects). But, how fun would it be to go back to school knowing one of your semester projects was to KNIT A SWEATER. And make shoes!

The only wrench in the cogs of this fantasy is that I no longer have ANY desire to leave Chicago. I love my city dearly, and I really don't relish the thought of going anywhere, much less leaving all the friends (and connections!) I've gathered here. I could always leave and come back, but two cross-country moves in three years would be insane.

So I looked at Columbia's curriculum (I also looked at Columbia for Photography last year, as my hometown backup plan... but never followed through) and their program has some interesting differences. For one, they require their fashion design majors to take photography courses, which is *impossible* at Parsons. But they entirely omit shoes AND (shockingly) accessories from their curriculum. They had a millinery class, and a jewelry design class, but nothing beyond that.

Lastly, I took a look at SAIC's website, which is insane to try and navigate. They have a fashion program, but I was completely unable to find the required courses.

I mean, this is really just me living in a dream world right now, but it's an option for my future. Going to school would mean a three-year hiatus from any serious work in the theatre, and I'm not sure how that would turn out for me. I suppose I'll just have to see what happens.


Every time I come here, all I seem to say is that I've been away, and that it sucks. So I'll tell you what's really been going on.

I've been working for the last... seven months. The epitome of the 9-to-5. (except that it's really 8:30-5:30) It's the longest I've ever spent continually in one day job. That should be impressive. That should also make you think that I'm happy, finally able to settle into one thing without changing my mind for a whole seven months!

Not really. The day-job is in the northern suburbs, which means I have something like an hour and 20 minute commute in *either* direction. Plus I'm doing a show (that I open next weekend!) so I never see home. I've been blowing all the money I make at this job on fast food (because I'm not at home to cook) and cheap thrills, because I cannot stand this life I'm living, but I don't see a way out of it, so I have to make it as tolerable as possible.

Nevermind that the $2000 credit card bill makes things kind of intolerable.

But I got kind of a wake up call recently. So I've decided to do something. To move my cemented feet. To stop *talking* about doing something different, and to start *doing* something different.

And maybe, just maybe, one of these days, I'll be able to get out of this cycle, and live for myself.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I am really terrible at this "blogging" thing.

Really, I'm pretty terrible at this "life" thing. I don't motivate myself to do a hell of a lot. Including blogging. I have all these huge ideas, and they are so huge and have so much potential that they terrify me, and I don't even know where to begin to tackle them.

Part of it is because I'm busy, but mostly that's just an excuse. Plenty of people can work a full time job and manage to be successful on the side.

I get all wound up in these random schemes to try and make more money. If only I had more, to pay off my credit card faster. If only I had more to save up faster. If only I had enough to quit my day job entirely.

I'm overwhelmed by the need for just the basic necessities, how can I ever be expected to *save* anything? To pay off the debt I've been allowing to fester?

And lets face it, I've been living in my new apartment for three weeks... maybe a month now, and I still haven't finished getting my furniture or putting things away properly. Everything is living in a heap in a corner, and the only place to sit is on my bed. I have to talk myself into loading the dishwasher...

I keep thinking "one of these days, I'll have the time to catch up on everything." well... I have the time, I'm just not using it. I'm checking Facebook. over and over and over again.

How do you re-train yourself to function properly?