The worst thing about being grown up.

I think the worst thing about being an adult is having to make decisions. Life is so much easier when you’re a kid – all of the major decisions are made for you! The biggest thing I had to worry about was what I was going to buy at the school canteen with my pocket money. The jam tart or the sausage roll? But when you’re grown up, the decisions are bigger and there is no one to make those decisions for you but yourself. And that SUCKS!

Mini me!

Mini me!

I recently realised that I was actually quite unhappy. I felt overworked (and of course, as an artist, underpaid) and had no passion left for what I was doing. Overall I loved the work, but I think I loved the idea of it more. I never really realised that I was unhappy because I was so busy and there always another project to focus on. But when I really thought about it, I saw that I was down more than up. So I decided that I had to make some major changes.

Sapphire and I in our very first photo shoot! OMG we were such babies!

Sapphire and I in our very first photo shoot! OMG we were such babies!

The decision to downsize my business (The Swing Sesh), and leave the partnership I had been in since 2009 (Peaches n Gin Burlesque) was the hardest decision I think I’ve ever had to make. I felt like I was letting everybody down and that people would be angry with me. I really struggle with letting negative judgement get to me. I was also terrified that I would regret it, that I could never go back, and that I would miss out on a lot of opportunities. I agonised over it, but when I said to myself “I’m doing this”, I instantly felt like it was the right decision. The hardest thing was telling people I cared about – especially the teachers at The Swing Sesh who I was essentially letting go, and Sapphire.

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Now that I’m a few weeks out of letting everyone know, I have a much clearer head. I still feel bad that my decision has, in some cases, had a negative impact on people, but I also know that if I hadn’t made it I would have burnt myself into the ground with the same result (except I’d be ashes!). I think Peaches ‘n’ Gin will run a lot smoother and more efficiently now that there is one person at the head, and I will still be involved and doing the things that I love, like teaching and performing. With regards to The Swing Sesh, I’m excited about having more time to focus on planning awesome classes and events – I can feel the fire start to burn in me already without the burden of running a large school. I’m confident my classes are going to be much better with more time to dedicate to them.

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Decisions really do suck. But sometimes you have to make them even when they don’t please everybody. If you don’t look out for you, who will? I am so happy that I get to spend time with family and friends now, and still have time for burlesque and swing dancing. As a friend aptly put it, I’m “right-sizing” not “down-sizing”. I think I’m done for major decision making for a while though now, so if anyone needs me I’ll be on the playground. 😀

Last night I sang in front of people and I didn’t die

I have this crazy anxiety about singing in front of other people. I don’t know why – I enjoyed singing as a kid and was in my primary school choir, but I also have memories of feeling like I wasn’t very good and feeling ashamed of that. I think I stopped singing fairly early on. Up until recently I couldn’t even bring myself to sing in front of my husband – not without putting on a funny voice and making a joke out of it.

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Ella Fitzgerald – one of my favourite vocalists.

When we were writing The Gin Sisters the plan was to have a couple of songs in there, and I was going to do a song by myself. The idea terrified me but I was determined to give it a go and get over my fear. The first time I tried to sing in front of our director I was a mess – as soon as I stood up the anxiety washed over me and I could barely get anything out. The next few times I got a bit better, but my voice was still shaky and I was so nervous that we pulled it from the show. I was bitterly disappointed in myself and angry that I was letting my own self-doubt get in the way of my goals. I put it away for months while we focused on the rest of the show, and said to myself “well that’s just one skill you can’t do”. I beat myself up so badly over it – ridiculous right? I stopped practicing and became shy about singing at home again.

I played my uke in The Gin Sisters but didn't sing!

I played my uke in The Gin Sisters but didn’t sing!

We did two runs of the show – Perth Fringe World and Adelaide Fringe, and I tried to see as many shows as possible. I’ve been so inspired by the work I’ve seen that I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone even further than I had with The Gin Sisters (where I still have my partner in crime Sapphire to rescue me when I forget my lines!) and do a one woman show, which I am writing at the moment and will be performing in the Cabaret Fringe Festival in June. In that vein, I have been trying to do new and scary things and so I decided that I would try singing a little song in our amateur night, Bloomers.

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Some of the gals performing in Bloomers with Sapphire – some for the very first time!

One of my biggest problems is that if I don’t start in the right place, I can be singing way out of tune but not know how to get back in tune. Sometimes when I hear notes next to each other I can’t tell which one is higher or lower, and I also struggle to tell when I am doing it right. The fear of being out of tune really puts me off. So, to get over that, I sang accompanied by two egg shakers (skilfully manned by audience members), so I wouldn’t have to stress about being in tune with anything except myself. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it so I could back down shame free, but I also didn’t bring a plan B which meant I pretty much had to do it.

You know what, I was ok. My voice didn’t break, I think I hit the right places and my words didn’t come out muffled. I’m not going to be doing musicals any time soon, but I did it. And I’m really proud of myself. It was just a silly little song that lasted all of a minute, but it’s a wall I’ve been running into for years, and it feels great to have broken through a little, and I’m interested to see what’s on the other side.

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