Dare To Do Something New: 21 Ways to Make Yourself Uncomfortable

When Jeff Stark asked me to do it,
I felt a little nervous and even more uncomfortable.
I said yes.
And last Saturday night, I played my own original song on guitar and sang for a gathering of 40 artists.
For the first time.

Let’s think about this.
When you look back on your life…think of the most important things you’ve done,
the pivotal choices you’ve made,
the events that helped you grow the most
and helped define who you are
will almost always be times when you tried something new,
dared to do something you weren’t good at, or didn’t fully understand.

Those moments are wildly uncomfortable for me.
My heart is beating a million miles a minute
and I want to run.
But I stay.
Because that’s what happens when a person grows, learns and really fucking lives this life.

Moments away from going on stage - me and my wild burlesque family.

Moments away from going on stage – me and my wild burlesque family.

I dare you to play with me.
Pick one of the things below or add your own in the comments, you can also accept others’ challenges in the comments.
Take a photo, video or write about your experience by next Thursday…
Report back in the comments.
Hashtag it to me on twitter as #dangerdiarydare
and I’ll do something daring, too.


Here are my uncomfortable things no one should miss out on….

  1. Start A Blog and Write Your Uncensored, Honest Views.
  2. Take Yourself Out To Dinner Alone.
  3. Stand Up For Something You Believe In Even When You Might Risk Disapproval.
  4. Go and See Live Music in a Genre You Don’t Normally Listen To.
  5. Introduce Yourself To Someone You Would Like To Know But Have Felt Too Intimated By.
  6. Learn a New Language.
  7. Travel To The Country Where They Speak That Language and Try It With Locals.
  8. Dress Opposite For Your Comfort Level.
  9. Write a Heartfelt Poem and Share It With Someone.
  10. Volunteer To Help Someone Who Is Very Different From You.
  11. Give a Compliment to a Complete Stranger.
  12. Go on a Polar Bear Swim (Jump In a Cold Lake).
  13. Make a “Free Hugs” Sign, Go Out In a Public Place With Your Friends and GO FOR IT.
  14. Order a Strange New Dish at a Restaurant.
  15. Explore an Abandoned Building or Area That’s Unfamiliar To You.
  16. Go on a Road Trip Without A Destination.
  17. Get Naked In Front of an Audience (whether that’s Burlesque or Telling a Personal Story or Sharing Personal Art that You Created).
  18. Learn a New Skill (Take a Dance Class, Learn a New Musical Instrument).
  19. Initiate a Conversation With Someone Far Younger or Much Older Than You.
  20. Figure Out Something You Really Want to Do That You Feel Timid About Doing.
  21. What are Some Things That You Have Heard Your Friends or Acquaintances Talk About and You Think – I’d Never Have The Guts To Do That….But It Would Be Awesome.

Share with friends. Let’s do this together.

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


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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3 Surefire Ways to Stick To Any Goal

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.


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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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,
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