Yea. I find myself chuckling a little bit at the title of this post - it was inspired by the short documentary on burlesque I just finished watching, A Wink & a Smile: The Art of Burlesque. It's fascinating. It's real women stripping. It's a tease. I find myself thinking about my own body image - where I am today, and how far I've come.
Growing up and into my early 20s, I was so ashamed of my body. It didn't look right to me. I'd compare myself to the other cute white chicks in my mainly Caucasian school and say, well, I don't feel like I have anything in common with them. I'd compare myself to the girls in magazines and think, well, I don't look anything like them. I'd compare myself to other Asian chicks and say, wow, I don't look like them either. Being an Asian chick - I envied the other Asian chicks with slender narrow bodies, small hips, small breasts, ...they were like asparagus. Cloths just hung from their bodies effortlessly. Sizes 0 and 2. I was a size 4 - crap! I worked for a lifestyle magazine on Fifth Avenue in New York City as a marketing intern, and all they seemed to praise were the slender waify bodies. They would often look past me to the other marketing intern to praise her beauty - also Asian, ... but sans ass and boobs. I covered myself up because I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. DUDES - I'm Asian and I had these fatty boobs to deal with, ... these hips, curves. I couldn't and still can't shop at Banana Republic because of these lumps on my body. Guys would stare at my chest and make me want to just shrink away - disappear from their curious eyes. I always wore a longer sweater or a longer coat to cover myself up. I hunched over with my shoulders, used messenger bags to hide my ass, ... you have no idea how much I just wanted to hide from everyone.
I'm content with myself now. I don't know exactly when it happened - but it feels like one shiny gorgeous day I woke up, and it was over. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, "Wow. Hello there. I like you. I like me." The anxiety, the fear, the self consciousness, ... I told myself, what's the point? I gots what I gots. Like it and get used to it, babe. Try drinking a glass of some self confidence - it tastes better than hiding. I used to bartend in downtown Seattle, and the fellow bartender I used to work with would say, "Damn Arry! In all the years I've been working behind this bar, your ass is the biggest I've seen behind here - it's the only one I keep running into". Ha. Few years ago, I would have probably burst out crying or just taken it too personally. I shrugged and laughed it off - and I still think that was funny. Or that one day, I'm walking down the street in my camel wool pants, a denim button down, messenger bag on shoulder... and these two African American dudes start hackling me. "Man... check this out! This Asian chick got a booty like a black woman!" And yes, they shouted for me to stop and talk - I continued to stomp on forward. The funny thing about that day was that instead of wanting to die and shrink away, but I found myself laughing as I walked on. Yea - funny story, huh? Somewhere between the age of 22 and 26, I accepted myself. I've grown into liking me, my differences, my weirdness, my quirks, my ass and boobs, all of me... I'm not hiding anymore. Remember - confidence is a woman's inner goddess.
A wink and a smile to the old shy me - I'm here to stay. I'm going to leave my mark in the world - change it for the better. I've got a vision for where I'm headed. In the words of Tony Hsieh, "inspire and be inspired". I'm sitting here wondering, ... thinking ... am I brave enough to do a full on 6 week burlesque course plus put on a show in front of a real audience? One of my current idols in burlesque that teaches Burlesque 101 is the Shanghai Pearl in Seattle - how cool would it be to do what she does, and she's Asian!? ...to be so comfortable in your own skin, to play and tease an audience on stage... maybe you'll see the performer in me come out one of these days... *wink!
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