Your Inner Rockstar – How To Be Your Most Badass Self

This morning,
sitting on in my little kitchen garden in NYC,
I pulled a card for you and for this post:

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The Magician came up.

The message I’m supposed to give you is:

You have EVERYTHING you need in front of you.

♥  Wanna channel that inner rock star version of you?
♥  Wanna draw in that swagger and confidence to do anything?
♥  Wanna get an idea of who you are and where you want to go and grab life by the reigns?

How can you achieve superhero status?

It’s easy….
You can’t.
None of us can.
Superheroes are myths.
Our inner rockstars are in for a wild and real life ride – happily rolling in the gutters one day with their friends and hurling a television out of the window the next.
You ever seen a Behind the Music and all the stuff they talk about?
Sure there’s “superhero” moments, but in the end, we are all on the same roller coaster together.

This shit is real.
And it’s not perfect, it ain’t always pretty –
but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

How do we channel that inner rock star more in life?

Things You Need to Know:

  No One’s Got It Figured Out.

No one.
At 16, I had my absolute rock star and riot grrl heroes that I believed had “figured it all out”.
I felt like this loser that had no idea what I was doing.
I believed that I could never be them or get to where they were in life because I had too much doubt and fear.

Well – come to find out in interviews later on – they were struggling with the same doubts and fears I was. Reading about their honest feelings made me respect them more as people AND made me see that we all deal with the same insecurities in life.
We are all in the same boat.

Don’t let fear silence you.

Fuck Intimidation. Get Down With Some Inspiration.

One of my favorite moments at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction this year was from David Grohl who said:

“Don’t look at the poster on your wall and think ‘I could never do that.’ Look at the poster on your wall and think ‘I’m gonna fucking do that!'” You look up to your heroes and you shouldn’t be intimidated by them, you should be inspired by them.”

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Bikini Kill – one of my biggest inspirations.

All Great Things Start Small

Our own wild expectations of who we are and what we would should be doing can be terrifying. Let’s stop setting ourselves up to fail. Give yourself a realistic simple goals.

How simple is this: What is one small thing you can do towards your goal today?

Rock an Original….Your OWN Badass Self.

Don’t get caught up in the trap of comparing yourself to others. We all have our own “Choose Your Own Adventure” life story going on.

The best way to channel your inner rockstar is to do it YOUR way. Crank up your own version of you and watch the things start to feel better.

Judy Garland once famously said: “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

What are your best traits, the things you like about yourself, the things that make you – you?

What are the things you’d mention if you had to brag a little?

Now imagine who you’d be if you boosted those traits just a little more.   Just a little.  I’m not talking about imagining some completely different version of you, some impossible fantasy. Just see who you could be with a little extra boost of the best parts of you.

Stage Dive Into The Things You Love

Photo Credit:  Soul Catcher Studio

Photo Credit: Soul Catcher Studio

What are your favorite things to do? Remember the “What’s in your blood?” question from three weeks ago…? Well how do you apply that to your regular life?

How often do you do this thing?

Can you make steps to do this thing more and more?

Challenge Yourself: If you’re recording a song once every 6 months, can you challenge yourself to do 3 songs in 6 months?

This blog you’re reading right now came from a challenge to myself to write regularly for 7 months – and that was almost a year and a half ago! I love it, so I made it part of my life.

Keep building on the things you love.

Fuck Giving Up

Yep. If you love it and you want it – Do. Not. Give. Up.

Dreams don’t die.
They may go to sleep for awhile, they might take way longer than you want them to. But they don’t die, unless you say they do.

Trust me on this one. My dream of creating the movie Revolver started 10 long years ago. There were things I didn’t know how to do and things I got scared of. I stopped moving forward at times because everything seemed “too overwhelming”. Finally we decided to hurl ourselves back into this dream and with your help, we were able to get the funds to shoot this year!

Don’t ever give up.
As long as you are alive – your possibilities are endless.

Share the answers to these questions in the comments. Let’s cheer wildly for each other as we stage dive.

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Some Girls Wander By Mistake (or What the Eff Am I Doing?)

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Sometimes I’ve woken up in a panic,
thinking that I have no idea what I’m doing,
wondering what my next steps are,
confused as to where life might be taking me.

And those mornings, as hard as it may be,
I realize that I have to push everyday life out of the driver’s seat
and hijack the wheel.

If you’re sick of life pushing you around
and you want to take control –
let’s do this.

This post is part three in my series – I was Slowly Killing Myself Before I Figured Out These 4 Things with questions to help you on your own wild life adventure.

This week we ask: Why are We Here? Why are you Interested In Doing The Things You Love?

You might be thinking…..
I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing in life!

Fear not.
Grab my hand.
We are in this together.

Here’s some questions that can help you uncover your passions:

1. What did you love to do when you were little?

This question helps uncover what you naturally are drawn to doing before bills or school were an issue.
List as many things as you can think of, no matter how small or stupid they might seem.
I loved to do little plays with my friends, I loved to write stories, I loved to explore in the woods and do little magic ceremonies talking to the birds and gathering twigs and sticks to build magic houses for them.
Don’t judge it, just write whatever you loved to do.

2. Moths to a Flame: What are you drawn to? What is something you have seen or experienced that makes you feel so fantastic or hypnotized that you feel like you are on fire?

This question is all about connection and something deep in your heart that yearns to do the same thing! When you see something and are blown away by it, or it speaks to you, it’s because deep down in your heart – you are hungry to do it yourself.

Case in point: I was around 4 years old when I saw this commercial and it had a MAJOR impression on me.

What were these cartoon girls doing?
Is this an actual job?
Sign me the hell up.

Even though I specifically remember seeing this and being blown away as a small child, it took years and years and years before I finally found myself connecting to it again. When I stumbled into my first burlesque show I had that same feeling again – that mesmerized feeling.

It was only a matter of time (and a hell of a lot of faking up some confidence) before I became my own version of those can-can girls I saw when I was 4.

Still racking your brain on what makes you feel like you’re on fire?
Don’t worry. Sometimes things take awhile.
An older sister of my best friend in school who had tattoos and dyed black spiky hair introduced me to Bikini Kill.  Girls playing guitars?  I was mesmerized.  And after all this time… Saturday night I played guitar and sang my own original song for the first time ever.   Thanks for the inspiration, Bikini Kill!
“That girl, she holds her head up so high..
I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah….”

3. If you had three different lifetimes and pick three different professions what would they be?

Let your imagination run wild!
Would you want to be a fortune teller in a traveling circus?
An explorer digging into the mysteries of ancient history?
An owner of a bookstore filled with your favorite stories?
A fashion designer creating inspiring new looks seen worldwide?

What would you want to do? Answer with three gorgeous ideas of your own.

This week, we are behind the steering wheel.
Time to kick ass and take names.

Tell me your answers in the comments
and share to your friends who might be trying to discover their dreams, too.

We can do this together.
Hell yes.

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I Was Slowly Killing Myself Before I Figured Out These 4 Things.

lost.jpgI was stuck.  Hard.
I was in a job that I was whatever about.
I was lost.
The wild spirit I once had was being slowly killed off.

Figuring out my story saved me.

I’m not perfect. I’m fucked up, I’m raw, I’m honest and I feel every thing.
I want to hurl my body into the mosh pit of life…
and there are moments where I’m getting punched in the face
and moments when I feel held up and supported and sailing on top of it all.

But anything I’ve learned along my wild misadventures, I want to share if I think it might help you on your way.

I realized I could change almost everything through really answering four questions.  So for the next four Mondays – we’re going to go hardcore on these four:

♥  Who are you?
♥  What is your back story?
♥  Why are you interested in doing the things you love?
  Who is the superhero version of you?  What are the traits you want to be defined as?

Knowing the answers to these four questions will set you apart from the crowd.
Knowing the answers to these four questions will give you the success you are looking for.

Any rock star, superstar, noted author, sports hero or icon knows their story.
How can you know yours?

Who are you?

You know how to test how important this question is?

Imagine your favorite rock star or actor…do they “reveal” themselves and “put themselves into their work” so much that you feel like you actually know them in real life?

Case in Point:   One of my favorite guitar heroes is Jack White.
Even if you don’t know him and whether you like him or not, by the time you watch this clip of him, you will feel like you know him.

He’s on a farm, he’s dressed in vintage style clothing and he’s making a damn guitar from nailing two nails in a board and tying a metal string to it and putting a glass coke bottle underneath it and then playing it.

If that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.
It reveals a lot about him as a person.

And he lets the viewer feel like they are sitting in a rocking chair right next to him, sipping some country lemonade, hanging out.
He makes you feel like you know what it’s like to hang out with him.

When you put yourself out there…
whether it’s for that job that you’ve been dreaming of,
the gig that you want so bad you can taste it,
that love that you would die for….

if you know your story…..you can write your life.

Try This:  Imagine seeing yourself as the main character in a film or a novel.

♥  How would you describe your character? (This is sometimes helpful if you talk about yourself in the third person – it will help you reveal more and feel safe.  For instance:  She’s a wild risk taker.  He’s the quiet, deep poetic one.  She’s the adventurer with a heart of danger.  He’s the visionary filled with imagination and bold ideas.  Think about it. And also think about how you would like your character to be in an ideal world.)

♥  If your character was in their ideal surroundings where would it be? (In a vintage suit on a farm like Jack White? On a stage with old footlights in Paris? In a bookstore, sitting on the floor with a collection of stories around you?  In the middle of a major protest-holding up signs and fighting for your rights?)

♥  What is “in your blood”? In other words, what comes naturally to you? Surprisingly, by trying new things, you might be shocked at what you have natural ability at. As I’m learning to play guitar, I’m finding memorizing individual chords very easy. It’s making me more confident as a person. What is something that comes natural to you?

♥  If you were going to take one photo that said who you are to the world, what would be in that photo?  What would you be wearing? How can your story be told visually?

This is mine:
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I am surrounded by my magic things that mean a great deal to me.
I am closing my eyes in a moment of dreaming.
I am covered in blue flowers specifically to bring the character of “Blue” from Revolver into my life.
And bright beams are being radiated out – so that my dream and vision can get out into the world.
This photo that Burke took of me – is my story in one photo.
What would your photo look like?

We will continue this conversation next Monday, so you have time to come up with your answers. Please share them in the comments. I always read every single one.

Fun Announcement: For those in New York City or surrounding areas….I am launching The Parlour – an in-person weekly intimate Tarot gathering where I will teach you tarot, how to read and secrets to know. This class is fantastic for all levels – beginner to advanced – everyone will walk away learning something. After the success of my tarot horoscope post, I was inspired! Thank you!

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5 Tips To Keep Fighting For Your Dreams When You Want To Give Up

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Dear Danger,
How do I keep fighting for my dreams when I feel like giving up?
Love, L

I know what it’s like….
I’ve felt the odds against me.
I’ve felt like I couldn’t get it right no matter how hard I tried.
But I keep swinging because all of my greatest heroes were once failures who didn’t give up.
Time to knock out the obstacles and the odds.
I’m here in your corner.
Cheering you on.
You. Have. GOT. This.

Fight Tip #1:  When You Want To Give UP – KEEP GOING and you will push yourself through. 

This is going to seem like fucked up logic, but if you are feeling like a failure right now, it means that you’re attempting something that you’ve never done before, something wilder and harder than you have imagined.

Burke and I have been putting together our film, Revolver for 10 years.  We felt like we tried everything.  Last year, we were almost ready to give up.  We called out to the community in a last ditch attempt to make our dream happen on Kickstarter.  The odds were almost insurmountable, and in that month we pushed harder than we ever had in our lifetime.  All of us were able to achieve it together.  Don’t give up.  Tell everyone.  Keep pushing.

I’m crying tears of joy in this video because I knew how close I was to giving up on this dream…..


Fight Tip #2:  Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down.

People that haven’t done it before love to tell you that it’s impossible or that it can’t be done.  Unfortunately, also some people who we look up to or people in positions of power will tell us – we can’t do it.

I was told by my ballet teacher when I was 6 that I had “clouds behind my eyeballs and didn’t have the grace to dance”.
I left crying and never went back.
I quit.
In fact, for years afterward, I would tell people I was a horrible dancer, because that was what I was told by a ballerina.

Eventually, a full decade later, I gravitated back to dance because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do .

Now I make my living as an international burlesque performer dancing with feather fans.

Oh, and Miss Ballet Teacher when I was 6…..?

…You can suck it.

Photo taken by Jacklyn Shields-McGregor

Photo taken by Jacklyn Shields-McGregor

Fight Tip #3: Find Your Co-Conspirators.

Success is contagious.
Surround yourself with people you admire and who also believe in you.

Seek out people who are doing the things that you want to do and be inspired and encouraged by them.

One of the first burlesque shows I ever saw featured Jo Weldon.
I was struck by how she controlled the stage, captivated the audience and performed powerful and sensual burlesque.

I had to be her friend.

One day I was bold enough to ask her out for tea and we spent the whole time excitedly bouncing ideas off of each other about our wildest dreams.

Jo gave me my first teaching gig at The New York School of Burlesque and got me my audition at the Slipper Room which has since become my burlesque home. We lovingly support each other’s dreams….and in Jo, I found a dear sister, personal heroine and kick ass co-conspirator.

Jo Weldon - My Hero!

Jo Weldon – My Hero!

Remember:  Your co-conspirators might not always be in person. You might live far away from some of the people you admire. Luckily, the internet gives us access to everything! Reach out. Ask questions. Make it happen.

Also, don’t forget to create your own Circle of Seven.

Fight Tip #4: Our Biggest Heroes Were Failures. Remind Yourself of People Who Have Overcome The Odds and Kept Going.

FACT:  When google searching “unlikely success” – over 96 million results come up.  Remember that when you are feeling like a failure, you are among the greats.  Everyone feels like success is unlikely at one point or another!

  JK Rowling was on welfare, was contemplating suicide and had been rejected by major publishing houses before one of them decided to take a chance on her story of “Harry Potter”.

♥  Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” as he was being fired by a newspaper editor. Later he was told Mickey Mouse would fail because women would be afraid of a gigantic mouse.

♥  In 1954, Elvis Presley played one show at the Grand Ole Opry. Jimmy Denny, the manager of the Opry said, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

♥  Albert Einstein’s teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was turned down by the schools he most hoped to get into.

Fight Tip #5:  When You Do The Thing You Love The Most, You Give a Gift Back To The World.

See the people listed above?

What would have happened if they let those things get in their way of success?

What would have happened if they just threw their hands up in defeat? We would have lost out on their gifts!

Most of the greatest music, science, stories, and art came from people that were told they couldn’t make it, had been rejected and felt like giving up themselves.

What would have happened if Jo Weldon didn’t push herself to do burlesque, inspire others and then go on to open a burlesque school?  Perhaps the course of my life would have been changed, too.

If you are giving up on your dream…not only are you taking that gift away from yourself – you’re taking that gift away from the world.

Don’t you dare take your gift away from me.

I believe in you.
Now stop reading this blog and go kick some ass.

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How Dangerous Are You? Top 3 Tips from Femme Fatales

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She was unapologetic for who she was.
She walked slowly and deliberately into a room like she belonged there.
She looked people in the eye when she spoke, and didn’t veer away.
She held her own – in the way she carried herself and the way she handled herself with others.

I found Ava Gardner projected on the screen at the 100 year old movie theater where I was a film projectionist.

She was already dead by then.
But watching her image in film, she taught me what it was like to be alive.

There was something about her…
and at that time I wrote in my diary in the projection booth
a single word
and that was “danger”.

Years later, when coming up with a name for my company…
that word struck me most
because at the time I felt like the most “dangerous” thing to be
was my true self.

By blending in, going along with the norm, by punching the clock at the same time every day, by wearing things that everyone else wore, by toning myself down –
I was safe to everyone.

But by doing the things I ached for, by making a leap and quitting a job I hated, by wearing clothes that were different, by daring myself to do burlesque and not caring how people might judge me. When I let go….
I was dangerous.

That’s how Danger Dame was born.

When I sign off some diary entries with “love and danger”
it’s my reminder to myself to stay true to myself, to keep pushing, to keep being dangerous.

This was my first photo shoot for Danger Dame:
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Here’s what I learned from those femme fatales of the silver screen, the top 3 ways to be dangerous:

1. Stand Up for Who You Are and What You Believe In.
Marlene Dietrich, was approached by Hitler in the late 1930s to come back to her native Berlin and be a celebrated film icon of Germany. She despised the Nazis and what they stood for, and said she would never go back to home of Berlin while he was in power. She became an American citizen in 1939 and was one of the first actresses to help sell war bonds in the fight against the Nazis.

2. Speak Slowly, Make Eye Contact and When You Look Away – Do It Deliberately.
Lauren Bacall is one of my heroes. Watch her deliver her words with punch, slow and sure. When social anxiety is gripping me and I want to just hide, look down and not make eye contact – I remember Lauren and her straight forward confidence.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Up Space.
Rita Hayworth in Gilda is one of the classic films in American cinema – in both of her dance numbers – notice how she holds her arms out to the sides often. She declares her space and takes it over. She’s not a shy violet shrinking in a corner. Demand your space and take it over fabulously.

In what ways are you dangerous?

When have you taken a chance, pushed yourself or gone beyond the norm?

Tell me boldly in the comments.

Let’s start a revolution.

Love and Danger,
Veronica
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3 Surefire Ways to Stick To Any Goal

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We’ve all done it.
I’m talking about the countless promises we make ourselves:
We’re going to work out.
We’re going to stick to a budget.
We’re going to learn how to _______________ this year.

I don’t know about you – but half the times in my life,
I make these promises and forget them almost as fast as I make them.

This year is different. I’m keeping my promises to myself.
Here are 3 secrets that are helping me make this year awesome:

Surefire Secret #1: Snag a Mentor or Teacher to Keep You On Track.

I’ve had a secret desire to play guitar since I first saw Joan Jett and Bikini Kill rocking it out. But I had a million excuses why I didn’t have time or couldn’t do it. This year, I committed to finding a teacher. This helps  in three ways:

  • You’ll be motivated to stay on target when your teacher or mentor is someone you look up to.  I’m motivated to practice and get awesome because my guitar teacher, Robert Burke Warren, is a badass and I want to arrive to my next session showing improvement.
  • You’ll be motivated to keep working because you’re paying for that lesson or session.  Making a financial commitment when you’re on a budget will hold you to it!
  • You’ll be motivated because you’ll be on a schedule.   With guitar lessons, I know that my lessons are Mondays and Tuesdays and that I need to set aside 20 minutes a day inbetween to practice.  Having a schedule with my teacher motivates me, it’s not just me by myself practicing whenever/or not whenever I feel like it.

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Surefire Secret #2:  Rock a Goal TEAMWORK Style – Get Your Friends Involved.

After six months of being on the road, between touring and doing a cross-country Kickstarter living in a van, my body was over it!  Bad road food, limited choices and not many chances to work out had me developing bad habits and getting in a slump.  One of my health and beauty icons, Alise Marie, helped get me re-vamp my daily eating habits (more on this in a future post).  All I was missing was the work out partners!  And then I saw this:

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Aw HELL YES.

It didn’t take me but two seconds to respond. Then more people from around the world, people I’ve never met started joining in to what Alexandra created. It needed a name:
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Within moments, me and roommate, ContessaCreate were on the floor counting out 100 crunches together, rocking it out to some Jack White, The Cramps, Alt J and Lorde. Today is DAY 4 – and I’m going to put in my 20 minutes of workout right after I hit publish on this sucker.

  • You’ll be motivated to continue rocking your goal because you won’t feel alone.  With #20daysofsweat,  I’m working out with a virtual community.  Just knowing there’s others out there doing it, even if I never speak with them or meet them in this lifetime, pushes me to go for it.
  • Supportive friends provide inspiration, reminders and positive feedback.  Last night, when I just wanted to collapse in bed and say eff it, I turned on my music and started with the jumping jacks.  I’m motivated to workout because seeing the tweets about it reminds me and gives me daily inspiration.
  • Healthy competition is awesome!  You’ll help push each other further than you could go on your own.

Surefire Secret #3:  Write Your Future Self a Letter.

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Get a cute box, vintage bottle or decorated envelope.

You’re going to be putting this somewhere that you can see it all the time as a reminder.

Write a letter to You on December 31, 2014.

This will help in 3 ways:

  • It will give you a chance to really envision what sticking to these goals will do for you a full year in the future.  It will give you a chance to explain to yourself why you are actively making these commitments and why it will be beneficial for your life.
  • Writing a letter to yourself in the future and making her/him a promise weighs more heavily over making a promise to yourself right now.  When I think of the “past” me or the “future” me, I want to do anything I can to help them.  It’s almost as if “future” me is not even me, but a future best friend.  Hell yeah, I’d work out for her so that she can be healthy and look awesome.  Hell yeah, I’d skip on today’s latte to make sure she’s got a nice savings account.  You get the picture.
  • If you’re thinking about falling off the wagon, look over at the bottle/box/envelope and it will be a reminder. It is waiting for you to open it and read it and you don’t want to let future You down!

Here’s a snippet of my letter:

Dear Me of December 31, 2014…..

My Darling…. I am here in the snow of February 2014.
The sun shines and I’m thinking of you in the future.
This year got off to a rocky start, but here’s what I’m doing for you:
1. I’m taking guitar lessons for us- I promise to keep this up so that by the time you get this you can be playing all the time.  You know that campfire thing that Kat and Mason do every year where everyone pulls out their instruments and sings?  Yep.  This year, you’re going to be pulling out your guitar and rocking it out with them under the stars.

2. I just went vegan. Yep. I promise to keep this up for you. I’m already seeing differences in our skin looking brighter. By the time you get this on NYE, you’re going to be almost a year vegan. I bet your skin is glowing. Your hair is supposed to look awesome, too – and I bet you’re a lean mean fighting machine now. *high fives* Go get ’em, Tiger.

3. I’m passionate about writing in the Danger Diary. I’ve got all these wild plans for it – you’ll have to see. It’s kind of going to be awesome. I commit to keeping that up three times a week, plus adding all these new things. You are going to be PSYCHED when you see what I’m doing.

4. AND – I have a present for you….I commit to saving $3 a week from here on out and putting it in this jar. Go get that Hot Stone Massage that you always want, but never treat yourself to. It’s on me. I love you, Girl. Keep your chin up. Know that I love you tons and that I care. Go into 2015 making us proud…. Oh, and write a letter to December 31st 2015 us, would you? Tell her how you’re gonna pay all this forward.

Love, Me from February 10th

What would your letter to the You of December 31st look like?
I dare you to share a couple lines in the comments below.
Go for it.
Love and Danger,
Veronica
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