PAINTING FOR THE BACK ROW: Becoming Ursula

OK OK I DID IT.

Kinda. I’m actually not happy with how this turned out, figures that not performing for a year seriously hampers with my concept of how I prefer my Ursula to look. I’m seriously annoyed I didn’t bring the blue up much higher. Eh, I’ll film it again in a few months and see how that turns out!

As before, I’ve deliberately not mentioned most of the makeup I use. With a few exceptions that I did mention, the makeup I use isn’t even set in stone for me, nevermind the idea you MUST use the same makeup I use should you wish to do this look. Use what you have!

Now that I’ve finally done this, I want to do a few other ‘Painting For The Back Row’ videos, where I film putting on stage makeup for each of my acts. After I’ve completed that (in about 326 years at the rate I’m going!) I’ll redo Ursula. Sound good?

Oh, and my DIVINE nails are by my wonderful friend Jaki at Nova Nails. This was filmed one full week (and 5 days of autumn deep cleaning!) after application but as you can see, they still look wonderful. She didn’t know I would be filming like this, and it’s not an ad, I just wanted to show support to someone who has always been a caring, loving friend. I’m lucky she’s in my life. Check out her socials :

Nova Nails Facebook
Nova Nails Instagram

Catch you poor unfortunate souls later!

Don’t tell me I can’t call myself fat.

My actual reaction when someone tells me off

It’s a pet peeve. Whenever I refer to myself as fat in front of people, I immediately get a barrage of well intended admonishments.

You’re not fat, you’re curvy!

No. I carry more fat around my body than I should. Curvy refers to the body shape, not how much extra fat I have hanging around. People can be fat and curvy, fat and not curvy, curvy but not fat. The term curvy doesn’t equate to fat.

But you’re beautiful!

Why thank you! But just like the word curvy, being beautiful doesn’t mean I’m not fat. That extra fat doesn’t magically disappear when someone sees me as beautiful. The fat in my body is a physical certainty, an absolute fact of being. Beauty is more flexible, a preference in the eye of the beholder.

Don’t put yourself down!

Where did I do that? Calling myself fat is no different to commenting on the colour of my hair, my eyes or my height. It’s a noun with no nefarious purpose past what cultural norms pins on it. If you personally think fat is a bad word, maybe examine why you feel that way instead of telling me what I shouldn’t call my own body. That is more about you than me.

You’re being so negative!

How so? Let’s try something. Oh no – the term ‘dry skin’ is now considered terrible, horrible and no good. Imagine telling someone who has flaky skin that they shouldn’t say dry skin but ‘dehydrated’. Let’s see what the response is when you tell them how beautiful they are because of their sensitive skin. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Again, that negativity you ascribe to a word is external to what the word actually means. Fat is just descriptor and without additional negative context surrounding it, it’s silly to assume the person using it is meaning it in a detrimental way.

Does this look like a person who is being negative?

I get it. I understand and appreciate that you’re trying to make sure I don’t put myself down and we’ve all been conditioned to have an immediately adverse reaction to the merest mention of the word fat. I also get that every single one of us is guilty of using self deprecation as method of self harm and most people – especially with the people I (gratefully) surround myself – are sensitive to that. So yeah, I truly do appreciate that trying to remove the word from my vocabulary comes from a good place. In the end though, telling me not to do or say something is still harmful. I’m sure you don’t realise it, because I didn’t for the longest time, but silencing my voice, telling me I shouldn’t use the word I deliberately chose is wrong. It’s unconsciously reinforcing both the word fat as a negative term and that I need to care more about what others think about me than what I think about myself.

Not so shrinking violet over here!

Putting it like that might seem harsh – but it is fair. Yes, words absolutely matter. Yes, we should be more aware of the power of words but equally we should be aware of the power we give to words. When I call myself fat, I’m simply stating a fact, not deliberately putting myself down or looking for validation. Please don’t feel the need to tell me why I’m wrong, and just let it be.

I’m fat. I’m also 5ft 4in, a dyed redhead, gothy, (yes) curvy, music lover, sore all the damn time, friendly, shy, a homebody and sarcastic as fuck. All this and more. It’s ok to call myself all that. I’m ok with it. Please, be ok with it too.

Mama Silverside is trying. Very, very trying.

I love burlesque. I love being in the audience, love watching videos on social media, love seeing people create and grow in their own artistry. Mostly I adore being on stage and feeling a particular power in having the room in the palm of my hand. I wish all the time I could do it more. And yet, I’ve never evolved past feeling like a newbie, a fraud even. I’m stuck on not believing I am worth even paying because I’m just not good enough. I’ve relied on only doing friend’s shows when they ask, and never go out my way to apply for different shows after I was knocked back a few times in my early days of performing. I let it affect my confidence and just didn’t bother trying again. I know, rationally, that it’s normal and I can’t be what all producers need, but emotionally I let it fester and really I do know better than that.

There’s also certain shows I can’t perform at for reasons that are frankly boring if you’re not me – and I’m ok with it, but I think I’ve also used that as an excuse to not try to get on other cast lists. I worried that people would question my credibility if I wasn’t ever on on the local, regular burly nights. I didn’t want to get into why I wasn’t because it is wholly inappropriate and unprofessional to do that. I assumed people would want to know and I just didn’t want to add to the drama that sometimes infects this otherwise wonderful scene. Basically, I had no proof that it’d even be an issue but I used it as an excuse not to try. That’s on me, not the reasons I used.

Truthfully I’ve used the physical issues I have to not try too. That’s not to say these issues aren’t serious or worth worrying about – but I held on to the fear of further injury while celebrating my friends who push past their own obstacles with determination and strength. I will always cheerlead for those incredibly powerful people who make their complications their bitch. Then I go home, feel bad about not being strong enough and I spiral into feeling more like a fraud and less like someone who can navigate the road to actually being a regular performer. So I don’t. I wallow. Boss move, me.

I think the worst thing I do is complain about it all the damn time. Seriously, I know I’m boring my friends with the constant ‘woe is me’ complaints about wishing I could perform again – especially when I do literally nothing to change that, because I use the aforementioned excuses not to try anyway. I know I’m doing it when I’m doing it but it’s almost like I want people to know the desire is still there but I just can’t. But it’s not that I can’t. Not really. Confession – it’s won’t and I need to accept that I’m doing it to myself. Is the desire still really there when the one thing stopping me is my own self sabotage?

Well, yes. The first step is realising the problem, right? I recognise that I have underlying health issues that definitely affect this particular conundrum. Yes, I do have mental and physical complications that I need to work around. I just need to actually work around them – not use them as a stop sign. I literally just don’t know how to do that yet. How to get out of the mental block of giving up already. How to stop using the excuses that have been a crutch for so long. And learn – finally – how to actually push to get into shows. Not to take it so hard when it doesn’t happen.

Wish me.. not luck. Wish me a kick up the back side. And maybe point me in the direction of producers who would cast a hopelessly out of her depth, but tries really hard, comedy and character plus size stripper?