“The Winner takes it all, the loser standing tall”
The famous ABBA song. The winner takes it all; takes me back in time to a chapter in my life to 1980 when I was 15 and without a care.
I didn’t for a second care what others thought & I did my own thing. I was a typical selfish styled teen who had an interest in sex, music and drama (the stage kind) yet had not explored the three explicitly. In my view of life we were all winners and we took it all.
Currently, we are in the middle of “Competition Time” here in New Zealand – Burlesque competition season that is; and as I watch the results of DIY Burleskiwi held in Wellington last night I ask myself – Does the Winner take it all? In short: No. Is the loser standing tall? Yes it seems so.
To be Frank, these compititions have one official winner. And one only. But does the community win? That’s for you; the reader to decide.
As a performer I go through so many emotions when I apply for competitions. If you are asked to apply, pay the fee, send in the application and find you are not accepted you are understandably pissed. It may seem like you were asked to merely gather revenue for the organisers. Nothing is further from the truth. You might have been asked for a variety of reasons but it won’t guarantee you a place in the show. Accept that if you can because it is just not guaranteed.
If you apply (without prompting by the organisers) and are unsuccessful don’t take it to heart. It may be a simple case of the submitted act simply wasn’t fitting for the show. You don’t know what acts have been submitted – imagine a full show with 10 classic acts all similar in presentation; I know what I would be doing as an audience member by the time the final performance appeared on stage; yawning and that is not fair to that artist.
Considerations like this are made for every show – why would competitions be any different?
Yeah I know; it stings, it hurts and for some they may think they are not good enough. To quote the delightful Constance Mayhem “you are enough” remember that.
Actual photo of Constance Mayhems actual fridge magnet on my actual fridge!)
So you got in!!! Now what!
Firstly – what a feeling!! You got in!! Yay go you!
This is where it gets tricky. Really tricky.
For me the first emotion is excitment;. Yes they want to see me!! Like an excited puppy greeting its owner. This is quickly followed by “let’s check out the other competitors” and its at this point that my insecurities surface.
They are way more pretty/talented/sexy and younger than I am, with abilities that supersede mine. More this and more that I picture the audience not finding my acts sensual or funny. Starting to envisage a quiet audience I have already told myself I am going to fail – before I have even started. The Darkside of Burlesque creeps in and subconsciously I start to speculate who will place where and I am not there.
My inner critic tells me I am too old/untalented/fat (gasp the f word) and all those harsh things we tell ourselves and I begin to question why I do this. I cringe when I hear others compare – and let’s face it I am the Queen of comparing; but it is the quickest way to destroy you own self beliefs.
Like a set of 80’s styled bangles around my wrist, my insecurities bang and ting around until they cause headaches of extreme proportions.
I know I am not the only in the community with this; it shouldn’t be hidden and should be talked about. How we treat others and ourselves at any show (including the lead up and aftermath) is very telling and, sonetimes it seems the newbies are better at it than those who are considered elitist, high level performers as well as those that are in the process of climbing that ladder.
Competition entries are for our own satisfaction; to grow our personal development, to validate our being and lastly to feel like a winner – even if we aren’t the overall first place getter. (Although We do enter these compitions to win).
Disappointment reveals itself when we stop believing in ourselves and believe in others more. I know competitions aren’t there for that, however they can foster the line of thought. So how do we stop doing that? One mechanism I use is to talk to myself as if I was talking to someone else;. Now I am a big complimentor – so I start paying myself compliments every day. I watch my food and tiredness levels like a hawk. As time passes I find self care needs to be parmount.
So you won! – now what? Bask in the glory, bask in the sunshine that is you and your achievements. Be loud and proud; boast #insufferablecrownwearing or #insufferablesashwearing or #insufferablerosewearing but please don’t be am insufferable dick about it. We all love to see our friends and fellow community members win but not many respect a Diva who stops communicating with their grass roots, tossing them aside for the professional/elitist’s and those who will book their acts because of their new found title. Give respect to your past as much as you will your future.
Remember, a title is a privilege; not a right, and as such carrys a number of expectations.
Not the winner – or so you may think.
You have this routine you think the judges will love as much as you do. But, on this occasion they might have liked someone else’s more. It’s so very subjective, very subjective.
It doesn’t mean your act was crap. It doesn’t mean your ability sucks. It doesn’t mean your size/gender/ethinticity/age had a bearing on the outcome. It means your flavour just did not appeal as much as someone else’s on the night.
You see, being the entertainment is quite the battle at times and often it is subject to the audience’s taste.
You should have learnt something new with this experience, you have extended yourself and most of all you should have had fun.
Be an #insufferablecompetitor and not and insufferable tall Poppy enabler.
Don’t give any care to what anyone else thinks.