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A year in review: 2019

Going on my first hike

2019….where do I even begin. This year has been, put simply, one of the toughest for me in terms of my mental health and my anxiety. But it has also been one of my most rewarding! So I wanted to really give this crazy year, the last year of my 20s the attention it deserved. With a blog post on this space I’ve not used much in 2019, as a way to bid this crazy year farewell and move onto greener pastures that I’ve been attentively watering all year! 

So I thought we’d start at the beginning…

Jan/Feb/March

Sherbet birdie pool party
Shooting Daisy Jean goodies in Melbourne with Scarlet Soda
Started burlesque classes at Sky Sirens
Attended the Irregular Choice Melbourne Store opening
Did my first burlesque performance in house at Sky Sirens end of term speak easy (photo from the studio)
Recovering from my grade 2 ankle roll


My start to 2019 started off really well. I got to attend the all amazing Sherbet Birdie pool party with some amazing gal pals. I flew to Melbourne to shoot with the amazing face of my business, Daisy Jean for 2019: Scarlet Soda and I got to head back to Melbourne for the grand opening of the new Irregular choice Australia store.

January was also my first term of classes at Sky Sirens and my first burlesque term…after years of basically telling myself I couldn’t be a burlesque dancer til I ticked an imaginary and irrelevant weight I had as an “ideal” in my head. I was nervous as hell but was made to feel welcome and accepted at the studio. I participated in the end of term speak easy and performed to my fellow studio goers, which was insanely exhilarating. I enrolled for another term along with a pole floor work class but ended up rolling my ankle on a day of overdone physical activity. This roll took almost 3 months to full heal up and caused me a lot of angst, anxiety and pain. It also affected my confidence with some of the things I enjoyed doing that involved this ankles flexibility.

During this time I went through a massive anxiety spike which triggered so much self growth and self reflection this year. I’ll touch on the a bit later.

April/May/June

Vending for my business Daisy Jean with Miyuu at the brooch lovers big day our Sydney
Went pink for my birthday and a brief change before a big change
Turned 29!
After years of avoiding my natural hair colour out of some fear of looking “boring”, I finally returned to it 10 years after leaving it
Did an unintentional solo at my second speak easy at Sky Sirens (third term) and smashed it
Welcomed the beautiful Hedy into my life

As the year progressed, so did I. This year I’ve really been looking my at certain parts of who I thought I was to learn a lot of them were actually coping mechanisms from hard times in my life. My people pleasing, conflict avoiding perfectionist ways all came from so long of feeling not good enough and that I was somehow inherently tainted. Learning to say no, understanding it’s ok to ask for help and being more realistic with my self standards have been huge stepping stones for me in 2019.
I did my first market for my business in around 12-18 months in May, at what would be the last Sydney brooch lovers run by Kate and had a blast. I changed my hair colour to pink for my 29th birthday. I went back to my dark brown locks, not long after. For me this was a huge step. As soon as I was old enough I began dying my hair…as I felt my brown hair made me boring. At 29 I decided to embrace myself as a whole and returned to this colour I once dreaded.
I also performed an unintentional solo at my term 3 end of term performance for burlesque. This routine has been one of my favourites to date and was the first performance I really left myself relax into.

June is also Special as it’s the month I got Hedy, my beautiful rescue cat. I’d wanted a cat or dog for the longest time, but believe that a pet is a big commitment and bringing an animal into your home is a commitment you make for their life. Having been stable in my living for 2.5-3 years and being home so much with work, I felt that time was now. Having Hedy has bought such joy to my life and her ability to build love and trust with be despite her rough upbringing inspires me daily.

July/August/Sept

Began to embrace my body and my sensuality again
Daisy Jean attended the around She Goes market in Marrickville
Daisy Jean at the Makers gonna make market
Made Snow White magic with Sherbet Birdie Photography
Did another impromptu solo of Alyssa Kitt’s big bad Booty routine at the Sky Sirens speak easy

I feel like this later middle part of the period held a lot of uncomfortable growth for me. I was thriving in my burlesque journey. It was giving me a re connection to my body and my sexuality I felt I really lost since my endometriosis diagnosis. Endometriosis is such a crushing disease and I was finding it hard to look at my body without seeing it staring back at me. But burlesque, it has helped me stop being so critical of my appearance and really starting to embracing myself as I am. This was also the first month I didn’t feel like my ankle injury/fear of re-injury was holding me back.
I must admit, this year I have also worked an insane amount for my business. Behind the filtered window of Instagram, I’ve honestly worked myself almost to burn out to reach my business goals this year. I’ve been determined as hell though. I wanted to get ahead with my designs to reduce my pressure on designing. I had 2 markers to make stock for and host. I had so so so many orders to fulfil which has been incredible. I cannot describe the buzz I get from seeing people wearing and enjoying what my business does. Running a small business is insanely hard work and props to any other babes out there doing the hard hustle for a living!
I also gave myself a rare treat of being photographed by the amazing Sherbet Birdie for their themed princesses shoot as well in 2019. Felt so fitting for my natural locks to rock Snow White.

October, November & early December

Troupe performance of Big Bad Booty Swalla at the Red Light Confidential, my first performance outside of the studio
Getting to model for Australian Brand Desvalido (shot by Wolf.e)
Performing at term 7 speak easy at Sky Sirens (photo by Katia)
Meeting amazing women as a judge of miss patriotic 2019
Meeting amazing women as a Judge for Pinup Doll Australia
Debuting my solo act as burlesque performer Jean Harlot at Burlesque in Hand November (photo by arb photography)
Attending Alyssa Kitt’s Feminist Fatale Panel Performance night
Successfully completed a babydoll lyra term at sky sirens

Ah, the last few months of the year have been insane. Ontop of Christmas release and Black Friday for Daisy Jean, I had my burlesque solo artist debut and troupe debut, my first Lyra term, judging two amazing retro competitions as well as getting to model again.

Firstly was getting to perform the Swalla routine by Alyssa Kitt at Red Light Confidential. It was my first routine outside of the studio and it was such an exhilarating experience. I had such an amazing time dancing with the girls, especially with this routine being so different to my usual style.

I also had the opportunity to judge both Miss Patriotic 2019 run by the beautiful Bettie Bang Bang as well as being invited to be a Judge at Pinup Doll Australia. These two events really pushed my social anxiety but it also helped me connect with some amazing women and remind me that not everyone ‘hates’ me, which is a thought I often have thanks to my coping mechanisms. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to be part of these.

I smashed another burlesque term at Sky Sirens and really felt I was growing as an burlesque dancer. I felt it was one of my best in house performances to date and I felt like an absolute powerhouse.

Getting to model for Australian Lingerie Brand Desvalido. Not only is she an Australian small business owner like myself, it was beautiful to see an Aussie Lingerie brand embracing showing diversity in their models. This is something that’s becoming more and more important to me and is something I’m all for supporting. I also loved the more natural editing to the photos.

And my Solo Debut. This was an accumulation of a few months of hard work with my Burlesque Mentor to Alyssa Kitt to bring together. I realised this year that because of my perfectionism, if something feels ‘too hard’, I often just throw in the towel and don’t complete it. This comes from a mentality that if something isn’t perfect, why bother with it? But burlesque act development really is the opposite to this thinking as acts grow and develop as you do as an artist and as a person. I worked hard with Alyssa to not just develop and learn my choreography, but also to grow and develop myself as well. Her support this year has been crucial to my burlesque journey and improving my relationship with myself and others.
My debut was an incredible experience. I got really nervous in the lead up but just trusted myself to have fun with it and that nothing was concrete. I was a little nervous initially but once my music picked up I just went with it and had an amazing time. I cannot wait to do this routine again in 2020!
And lastly…Lyra. I never thought I’d do Lyra. I much prefer the raunchiness of pole in comparison to the floatier prettier quality of Lyra. But my grip strength and upper body strength really made making progress in pole hard. Lyra bought new challenges with it, but between classes and practice I saw definite improvement over the term and was so proud of being able to do the routine in full by term 8!

December

Heading off to New Zealand for 3.5 weeks
Exploring hobbiton
At the Auckland aquarium
Getting to see the Maori cultural performance at the Auckland Museum
Seeing the glow worm caves
Enjoying a geothermal spa experience in Rotarua a
Experiencing Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Villiage
Exploring Napier in 20s style!
Exploring lake Taupo
Visiting Rivendell
Doing the Weta cave tour and thunderbirds set

With the later half of my year being insanely busy with the impending Christmas closure of daisy jean, ontop of everything else…we managed to get there and with a weary worn out body and soul I set off for my first holiday that’s more than a few days to New Zealand for 3.5 weeks.
This trip for me has been incredibly soul settling. Catching up on sleep and doing things that aren’t necessarily “work” has allowed me to actually rest my body and brain. My creativity has begun to flow again for my work and It’s allowed a lot of journaling and quite self reflection.

I’m definitely not the person I was at the beginning of the year. I’m feeling like I have a better understanding of who I am, what I want and where I’m at in my life. I’ve also been super fortunate to make some amazing connections in 2019 with some new friends as well as reconnecting with old ones. I’m learning to take more risks despite my fear of failure and to enjoy myself more in what I do.

So with that, here’s to 2020, my first year of my 30s! And may they been amazing!

Happy 2019 gorgeous peeps! Here’s to a more active year here in 2020

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