How To Get Wildly Inspired.

gala-darling-veronica-varlow.jpg
With the Empire State Building as our witness,
and the tides singing their East River song against the pier where we sat,
Gala Darling and I sat in the sunshine
brainstorming for our wild magic futures.

Why am I telling you this?

Because the number one reason that people stumble onto Danger Diary, is because they google….
How to keep going for your dreams when all you want to do is give up.

If you are here – either because you googled that phrase, or you are a long time reader back for more…
I’ve got your back.

As someone who nearly gave up my dreams, I know what that’s about.

There is an antidote.

I lust that word.
Antidote.
Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a medicine or other remedy for counteracting the effects of poison, disease, etc.”.

Not believing in ourselves is a poison.
Other people not believing in us can also be a form of poison.

When I first moved to New York City, I knew 3 people.
I started waitressing a billion hours a week to pay for my rent.
I started befriending my co-workers, because I spent more time around them than anyone else.
I remember one night, the city was hit with 2 feet of snow, work was dead, and we all sat around the bar talking about life.
It was on that night, I revealed my dreams, and what brought me to NYC.
The bartender was about 5 years older than me and while everyone nodded along with her, she said something like this….
“You need a backup plan. I think it’s cute that you’ve got this wild imagination but that stuff doesn’t usually pan out. I don’t mean to burst your bubble or anything…..”
And then she went on and on about how “real life” works.
I started to feel faint.

To this day, I can’t hear the words “I don’t mean to burst your bubble…” without wanting to throw up in my mouth.

I went home absolutely wrecked with a million questions in my mind….
What if she was right?
Is this what “real life” was about?
Was I destined to fail and had bought into some sugary imagination be-who-you-want-to-be bullshit?
What if all the daydreams I had about my future that seemed so real were just that….daydreams?
What if I took myself a billion miles away from my family, my friends and my home to chase an impossible dream?

I never felt more defeated than on my walk home that night in 2 feet of snow.
I was poisoned….
with doubt.

Dreams can be fragile…
easy to kill with words of poison.

And I found the antidote.
My True Co-Conspirators.

As soon as I started hanging around people who were doing their dreams, rather than people naysaying dreams, my world started to take shape.

Two things happened:

1. I would tell them my “crazy” ideas and they would not only cheer me on, but encourage me to dream even further.
They saw the best me, and I saw the best them.

2. When any one of us had a success, we would celebrate because it meant that it was POSSIBLE. It was good news for ALL of us. It encouraged us to keep moving, keep creating, keep imagining and making strides.

I tell you these things because in the last 48 hours – this is what happened in my world:

My dear friend, Gala Darling took the reigns, self-published and released her book “Radical Self Love”.  Her book FLEW to the top (NUMBER 1) on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list. As the numbers were coming in, we were side by side, squealing with excitement.  It was so inspiring to watch my friend’s book slay the charts and know that her positive message will be in the hands of people all around the world.  Here’s the link to check out her book – it’s a MUST HAVE!

gala-darling.jpg

Then Burke just started his brand new directing job for a major CNN show.
He heard that there was a spot open for a director – and he took a chance, called the producers, showed his work, showed his passion for what he does and nailed his interview. Friends of his also put in their good words for him which helped even more. Through his bravery to boldly go after what he wanted, a dream of his came true.

Here’s Burke directing Revolver with director of photography, Marshall Rose – who will be back at it in late Summer/early Fall with the second and final shooting of our dream film.
burke-heffner-marshall-rose.jpg

I came home from chilling with Gala and there was a text on my phone from Emilie Autumn, with two brand new songs she wrote for the Asylum Musical.  I sat in the dark, lying on my bed with the phone to my ear and the summer night breeze coming through the windows.  She told me about new twists and turns in the show, new ideas that made me excitably text back “YESYESYES” and songs that left me with goosebumps.  She knows how to create a world so very well – it blows my mind.

veronica-varlow-emilie-autumn-maggots.jpg

Jaye Bartell played one of the best music gigs I’ve ever seen in my life at a sold out show with Jessica Pratt.  He commanded the audience to pin-drop silence with his smoky voice, in a manner best described as hypnotic.  The next day, my inbox binged with the finished first song of his upcoming album and closing my eyes to listen to it for the billionth time that day, I imagined all the incredible things coming up for him, because it’s impossible NOT to see…. I know, I had watched while he put a spell on everyone in the room he was playing to.

jaye-bartell.jpg

These are a few of my favorite co-conspirators.

People that move me.
People that inspire me.
People who have my back and I have theirs.
People who are making their worlds happen.
People who say fuck the naysayers, and let’s DO THIS.

They are the antidote to the poison.

Who are people that inspire you?
Who are people that let you know it can be done
and also believe in you?

Tag them in this post on twitter and let’s lift each other up.
Gush about someone and their dream.
Let us know all about it.
Feed it.
And watch the world open for us all.

Love it? Share it.

Andy Warhol and 6 Ways To Create Your Own Artistic Community

Andy Warhol.jpg
Andy Warhol rocking an old school selfie with the Factory.

Part of my love affair with New York started when I was 1,200 miles away, in Florida, looking at old black and white photos of Andy Warhol and the community he created. Yes, Warhol was an artist and a pioneer of pop art, but what enchanted me most was the scene he created, the “magnet” he had to draw other creatives to make wild art together. Now, I don’t know what the Factory was actually really like, but I know when 15 year old me found photos of them in an art book in the school library, I was enthralled.

These were my PEOPLE!

None of them would have batted an eye when I wore my butterfly wings that I was so fond of at the time. I remember clearly making my choice to move to NYC based on the fact that I could get away with whatever weird things I wanted to do without everyone judging it.

Shortly after my arrival in NYC – here I am with those butterfly wings on:
Veronica-Varlow-Butterfly.jpg

My friend, Simon, always says that New York City is the “Island of Misfit Toys” – it’s the place where we all find each other when we’ve felt slightly off in all the other places we’ve been.

But I digress, this isn’t just about New York City, it’s about creating this wild artistic community no matter where in the world that you find yourself RIGHT NOW.

What I’ve learned is that when I’m creating on my own, it’s a lot harder. But when you have your wild creative cohorts each putting work into a project, it can be easy and fun (and when it’s not easy, you can at least all commiserate over a good cinnamon latte together).  With a creative community, you and your Creative Co-Conspirators can help propel each other beyond all of your wildest dreams.

Let’s DO IT!
you-are-here-520x245
♥  You are Here.  Before you can even start a community, you need to understand where you are starting from.  Understand who you were in the past, who you are today, and the person you want to be in the future.  (Hint:  Past question -What did you want to grow up to be when you were little?   Future question – Think about what kind of ideal life you want to be living in three years.)

♥  Know your strengths. What are your unique individual talents that you can bring to the world table?  (Hint:  These are the things that you do that make you feel 100% alive when you are doing them.  If you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, one way to figure this out might be to look back on what people have complimented you for in the past.  Getting feedback from friends you trust helps.)

♥  Find Your “Factory”.  Search for people in your local and online communities who inspire you and reach out to them.  If you are shy, the internet is a great way to take that bold step and reach out by just typing on a keyboard!

♥  Get out there and do what you’re best at.  Make small steps every day to further your dream.

♥  Show up and spread the word.  Go out and support people who you admire and do work that inspires you.  If you love what they are giving the world, tell everyone you know about it. They appreciate it, and will return the favor back for the things you’re doing. That way you can both expand your audiences together. Win Win!

♥  Identify Your Creative Co-Conspirators.  Brainstorm of how you can take what unique talents you have and envision how you can mix them with the talents of others to create projects and art beyond anything you could have done alone!

Who are some people who inspire you that you would like to reach out to start your own artistic community?
Have you created a community already? Have you found that it helps you stay on your art game?

Share!

Love it? Share it.

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

frustration.jpg

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.

Love it? Share it.