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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Magic Monday: Digital Slumber Parties and IM Chats

I found this today in San Francisco.
Picture 54

I took at as a sign.
Doing what I love (hearts) and my favorite number 9.

Yesterday on a plane, sitting next to Burke, we knew that our dream had reached $30,000. I looked at him in the eyes for the first time and said, “You’re going to be directing Revolver this Summer.”

It was the first time I let myself visualize it – or felt like it was safe to visualize it. And it felt really good.

Last night, it was late and I couldn’t sleep. I was having one of our infamous Digital Slumber Parties on Twitter and we were about $60 away from 33,333. So I tweeted that anyone who backed us for that amount would get the prize and get to Skype IM me for 10 minutes right then.

In seconds, it happened.

Moments later, her name popped up on my screen.

I typed: What is your dream?

We’ve been talking so much about mine and so many people have supported me. I want all of our dreams to come true. And to do so, we need to share them with each other.

Wish.

Picture 56

The sticker I found on the floor of the San Francisco airport right after I found out we hit $33,000.


She shared.

Her dream is to be on Broadway. But we didn’t stop there.

I had her imagine what her stage name would be. I had her think about what it would be like seeing her name on the marquee above the name of the musical. I had her visualize a black towncar driving her to the front and dropping her off in front of the theater. I had her imagine seeing her name clearly on the marquee and then then walking towards the door. In this, she put her hand on the door’s wooden handle and opened it easily. She then stepped right into her dream.

By talking her through it on Skype, I started to imagine her doing that. I started seeing her from my perspective (as if I happened to be walking down the street when her car service pulled up to the theater). I saw her look at her name on the marquee. I could see it, too. And then I saw her confidently go in the theater like she belonged there.

I feel like both of us imagining her doing this, made it even stronger.

And I got off the chat with her feeling really great.

When I allow myself to see other people’s dreams and my own….

life bursts open with possibility.

If you think of your dream, what do you visualize?
What are you doing?
Where are you?
What happens?

Share with me and I’ll visualize it for you, too.

An Unforgettable New Year’s Eve – Lighting a Fire Under Your Desire.

I’ve got a secret…….

And so do you.

I know it.

Something that is growing in the maps of your mind, leaving little postcards behind in your day dreams and your night dreams.

Something that is so raw, so primal, so natural – that perhaps you can’t even utter the words out loud.

When I saw my first burlesque show at the Slipper Room in 1999,  I told my friend – “That’s what I want to do.”  And we laughed about the thought of me actually doing it.

But I was serious.

Years later, I wrote it in my journal and there was my secret desire tattooed on a white page in black ink.

Never underestimate the power of your own hand-written words on a page.

My very first number at the original Slipper Room. This was six years after I saw burlesque there for the very first time. It took me some time to get the courage!

So let me ask you….

“What is a secret desire you have for 2013?”

A wish.  A stirring.  A goal.  An adventure.

What do you truly desire?

Stills from the film Burke Heffner and I wrote together, Revolver.

Two days ago in my Circle of Seduction, I had a room full of women each scrawl their secret desire on a page, for we were about to make desire soup….

Sound good?

This is my own homemade recipe and it’s vee-licious!

This works best with six or more people.  So gather up your co-conspirators for New Year’s Eve to brew up some magic.

  • The Ingredients:  Have everyone in the group write their secret desire on a piece of paper.  Make sure that they don’t out themselves by using names or too many specifics that their desire might be identified as theirs.  With the freedom of writing an anonymous secret desire, each participant is less likely to self-censor.
  • The Cooking Pot:  Grab a pot with a lid.   Have everyone fold their secret desire papers up and add them to the pot.  Once everyone has dropped their “ingredients” in, put the lid on.
  • Sizzle and Stir.   Stand in a circle and take turns shaking up the pot.  Put your hips into it.  Shake it.  Put the voodoo in it.  You know what I’m talking about.  I don’t want a bland ass wonder bread stir, I want some deep down dirty hip-swaying, howling to the moon stir.  You are holding a pot full of juicy, secret desires….treat them as such!
  • Taste.  Here comes the fun part.  It’s even better than the cookie dough batter.  I swear.  Each person randomly picks a secret desire out of the pot to “taste”.  And by taste I mean….read out loud.  Ah, the exhilaration of your secret desire being read out loud by someone else in the room and no one knows it’s yours!
  • Savor.  That anonymous secret desire in your hand?   It’s yours to keep.  You are the guardian of it.  Each person saves the desire they picked and folds it into their wallet, puts it on their altar or tapes it into their journal.  No one can accomplish their dreams alone.  We need each other’s support and love to carry them forward.  And it’s nice to know that you are carrying someone’s secret desire and they are carrying yours.

May all your desires come true in 2013, my Loves.

This diary was a secret desire of mine for a long time.  So if you are reading these words, thank you for being here, thank you for supporting a small dream of mine.

Let’s kick ass together in 2013.

xoxoox

Veronica

 

The Things That Make Us Tick.

Because I like to tease…..come take a peek inside my Fortune Telling Parlour at our magic apartment in Brooklyn.

I’m sitting here with a cappuccino and my journal. I had the urge to reach out to you and have a conversation here. I want to hear what you have to say, too. I read all your comments on these and the thoughts you post. So let’s take a moment in this virtual space together. This is what I’m looking at right now. Pull up a seat…

I should probably warn you, I’m not a talk-about-the-weather kind of girl. If you read this blog, you probably got that already. So if we’re talking, I wanna know what you’re really about.

I wanna know what makes you happy, what pisses you off, what your favorite life memories are, what your wildest dreams are…

I want to know what you have learned in this life so far.

We are all teachers.

Let me ask you this:

“If you were to teach something…. what would it be about? What is your thing?

Think about it. Write your answer in the comments. Let’s dialogue with this.

If I were to ask you – what three words would you use to describe what makes you tick….what would they be?

Mine would be: Magic. Performing. Sacred Seduction.  (I know.  That’s four.  Fuck it.)

This is a picture of a love spell that Burke Heffner and I did together on a cast iron balcony of a haunted hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

I was raised with magic.

It is in my bones, in my blood, it’s in everything I do.

It’s how I carry on the legacy of my ancestors. It is what they left for me.

It is part of their story that they left for me to continue…..


This is on my altar. I made this years ago before I had ever stepped foot out of the country. I created it six months before I ever went on tour. This is the magic energy I put behind this Shrine of Destiny:

  • My confidence was not high, so I needed to see myself in the middle of it being strong.  I decorated myself with glued on crystals so that they would sparkle when I was burning my candle in front of it.
  • There is a picture of me as a happy little kid making muscles below it.  The Me of the Past is a current inspiration.  She is vibrant, happy and strong.  In this shrine, she is the “foundation” of the future success.
  • The butterflies around my head are the spirits and guardians who watch over me.  They are with me on the journey.  In the full shrine, I have pictures of dear relatives, friends, and animal companions who have passed on pasted next to colorful butterflies (for transformation).
  • I put landmarks of the world around me as I was aching to get out of the country for the first time and travel.  Six months after making this, I started touring with Emilie and I am happy to report that I have seen many of those landmarks in person.

What would you put in your Shrine of Destiny?

How do you want to write your life?

I have been writing my book proposal surrounding all of these subjects – magic, passion, confidence.  It’s a book I’m forming to tell stories in, to pass on the magic of my ancestors.  It is a project that I’m pretty damn passionate about.

It is the bones of it all….

Many of the things I am writing about, I will be doing in person in my workshops this Fall.

Side by side, next to you.  Showing you the magic just like my Grandma Helen showed me.

With my upcoming schedule of touring and then Kickstarting our beloved Revolver on March 4th, 2013 and then shooting it the Summer of 2013, it’s probably going to be awhile before I am holding classes again.  I’m grateful to have a chance to do it now, in this perfect Autumn magic time, because it’s something that brings me so much joy.

It’s the creation of a circle.  A tribe.  It is where all of the wild things are….

One week from now, the Luminous Wild Retreat begins in Upstate NY.  If you live near NYC and you want to join my New York City circle on Tuesday nights – my first Fall NYC workshop will be Love Potion No 9. on October 16th.  You can read about the Tuesday NYC Circles and Luminous Wild here.

I will also be teaching Spellbinding Burlesque at the School of Burlesque on November 3rd.  If you want to shimmy with magic – click here. 

I hope to see you in person if possible – to work our unique brands of magic together.

I want this space that we have here in this little cozy corner of the internet to be a place for discussion.  A place for learning, for creating, for growing, for bouncing ideas off each other, for whispering big, beautiful dreams into each other’s ears and making them realities.  Do you have questions for me?

I’m listening.