This year has been a lot about vulnerability. Being blatantly honest. Making bold choices. Having ballsy conversations. Baring myself to people in my life and the world without shame or hesitation. “Doing the damn thing.”

So it is only fitting that a few months ago I said “YES!” to taking on a theatrical role that literally means stripping down in front of an audience; dancing in my underwear; and twirling tassels while looking theatre-goers in the eyeballs and talking to them.

Charlotte aka “Cheeky Charlie” is an atmospheric character. Her storyline in this iteration of The Last Burlesque is very simple. But while she doesn’t ask me to delve deeply in an emotional way, she – in all her simplicity and sexuality – is a gift and a treasure. Charlotte approaches the world with enthusiasm and is shameless in her love of her body and life; she wants to spread the love.

Shit goes down? Life isn’t what you expect? A tassel flies off? “Oops! Don’t worry about it, Sweetheart! Just stick it back on and keep going! And don’t forget to smile, everyone! SMILE!”

Cheeky Charlie is only serious about not being serious. (photo credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography)

Cheeky Charlie is only serious about not being serious. (photo credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography)

As someone with a past with disordered eating and body image issues, this small role is even more monumental. I have never before talked about this struggle in an open or public way, but from age 13 – 24, I battled intensely and often silently with my body.

I warred with myself violently in my teenage years because I sought a physicalization of an idea of “perfection” that is utterly unattainable. As an adult-ish in my early twenties, the issue was not as intense but still quietly lingered and re-surfaced from time to time.  I (thank goodness) finally came to a form of bodily acceptance in my mid-twenties. Though the newly found “I’m beautiful the way I am” mindset excused a different kind of damaging behavior – eating crap, drinking too much booze, and settling into physical stagnancy which often left me feeling sluggish and sick.

In the last year, I’ve changed emotional and physical habits. It would be disingenuous to not admit that a lot of the habit-shifts came out of a painful break-up from a relationship that had also become stagnant and unhealthy.  But that split gave me the opportunity to assess the way I was living and in the habit-shift, I have become the healthiest I have ever been.  And not through anything bonkers. Through better choices. Through listening to my physical self in a way that has led to feeding both my body and soul in the manner that they apparently need.  It would also be disingenuous to not admit that after spending a chunk of my later 20’s feeling under-valued in many ways, the gift of playing a character who values herself as all-around beautiful has not been lost on me.

Charlotte has come along at the perfect time. I am finally comfortable in my skin. I am mature enough to embrace the stretch marks and cellulite alongside gentle muscle tone. I dictate my own value – and it is no longer reduced to my appearance. Granted my body can do incredible, beautiful things. Also HILARIOUS things that the audience gets a kick out of.  It’s slightly reductive to say this … but it’s pretty cool.

I am so grateful for art. For the way that the right shows happen to come around at the right times and challenge parts of me that need stretching and pushing and illumination.  I am grateful for my beautiful cast and production team who are supportive and adventurous and body-positive. And I am so grateful to my dear friend the playwright along with the director and casting team who unknowingly gave me this opportunity to put to bed some old ghosts and grow some new love.

The smoldering cast of THE LAST BURLESQUE - minus one beloved cast member (photo credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography)

The smoldering cast of THE LAST BURLESQUE – minus one beloved cast member (photo credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography)

… Not to say I wasn’t flipping my shit before going on in front of an audience for opening night.

Before heading onstage for the tassel twirling scene with a real crowd for the first time, I was so nervous that my actor-brain was working overtime and lines were flying out of my head.

Panicked, I looked at my scene partner backstage during the last lines of the scene before ours and said:  “I say ‘Because of self-consciousness… then YOU say ‘eyes up here, ladies!’ then I say what!?!? WHAT!!?? OH MY GOD. WHAT DO I SAY!!”

And as the previous scene ended, he said: “It’ll be alright.”  And urged me on stage.

And he was right.

The lines came. The robes came off. The tassels twirled.

Years of build up. 17 years of concern over what I look like. Out the door.

I did the damn thing.


And the audience cheered.

And even if they hadn’t, a part of myself cheered.

#TheLastBurlesque #NakedSummer #trustyourheartandtrustyourstory #iwillboldygo


This evening, I came home and furiously cleaned my apartment. I vacuumed. I wet-Swiffered. I did loads of laundry…and put it all away. I tackled a heap of dishes. I sorted mail and bills and put things in my very adult, hot-pink accordion file folder.

I wanted to start my thirties fresh and feeling as unencumbered and “together” as possible.

But in my cleaning I came across The Birthday Banner; this had become a thing with me and the ex.  The first birthday we celebrated together was his – I purchased the banner and secretly brought it on a weekend away to hang in the room when he was getting ready for dinner.  And it went up most birthdays from then on.

I debated.

Then I said: “FUCK IT – some years you have to hang your own birthday banner.”

And as I hung this silly collection of foiled-over, cardboard letters while dancing to atrociously wonderful pop music, it struck me that these are precious times. I am not beholden to anyone. I get to write my own story – no real co-authors or ghostwriters. And while my twenties were spent mainly lost, my thirties are starting at a place of exploration.  I’m no longer floundering; I’m just seeking.

I am on a grand adventure.

As the clock struck 12:00 midnight, I stood alone* in my tiny, candlelit apartment with Hozier’s “SOMEONE NEW” blasting from a Spotify playlist, popped open a bottle of pink bubbles, said a prayer, and danced.



Cheers, loves.

(*obviously Fabian was looking on very confusedly from a distance)

Stories of Singledom: Pierre

I have the best, worst dating stories. I may share some of the harmless, more amusing ones about relative strangers from time to time. Names will be changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent alike.  And I will employ gifs to illustrate as much as possible. Enjoy.

The other night I went out with a colleague whose last day at work is fast approaching so we were going to celebrate. We met up with another colleague and random friends of her friends and went to reggae night at a joint I have never been to before. I HAD SO MUCH FUN. The music was amazing – I was in my zone and just grooving.


And there were SOOOOOO MANY HANDSOME MEN THERE. Soooo many. Like. A distracting amount. At 10pm on a Wednesday night. WHO KNEW THIS WAS A THING?!?!  I certainly did not. Which is why I was wearing a dress befitting a toddler and my rhinestone cowgirl boots from Limited Too – I do not kid you and I don’t know why they fit me, but they do.
Anyway – handsome men.

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shemar moore gif criminal minds wife

I was in my neo-hippie-dance-zone and thinking I looked like a baby, so was not trying to do that whole flirting thing…but a fancy French man who we’ll call Pierre approached me.  Now when I say French, I mean that he just moved to the States and this city somewhat recently.  He chatted me up on the dance floor and after 20 minutes or so, asked if he could buy me a drink. Which apparently meant champagne.

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Honestly, Pierre’s personality was such that half the time we were talking and dancing, I felt like I was hanging out with this guy…

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… which – while slightly confusing because he was  obviously interested – put me off my guard in a good way.  I was relaxed and just existing and enjoying chatting with a new person without stressing about him hitting on me; plus I love meeting new people and Pierre leads a fascinating life while being very relatable.

My colleague and her friends eventually headed out for the night but I was having a blast and music was still going strong, so I decided to stay behind.  Pierre and I broke it down on the dance floor for a bit longer.

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Towards the end of the night when I said I was going to leave, Pierre kissed me.

lady and the tramp

This is where I should say that I am typically unfazed by kissing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, but I have had to kiss so many people in my life because of theatre that kissing isn’t often a big deal – and when it is a big deal, that’s when I know I’m in trouble. For example, in the recent past I was hanging out with three of my friends after a show; when my scene partner for the current show said something about my lips, the other two jumped in with their comments BECAUSE I HAD KISSED ALL THREE OF THEM IN SHOWS AT SOME POINT… which I had completely forgotten. My unfazed-ness also means that in adult scavenger hunts with my non-theatre friends, I’ve always been the one to check the “kiss a stranger”/”kiss a bartender” box off my team’s list. Because if I don’t care – then why not?

2010 Scavenger Hunt: Complete Stranger

2010 Scavenger Hunt: Complete Stranger; All The Points.

So … getting back to Pierre, he kissed me and I was all unfazed and like “OK! Nice to meet you! It’s 1:30am so I have to go home and feed my cat now! But you have my number if you want to see me again!” (this is not verbatim but is pretty close…God help me).

And then Pierre said he was going to kiss me “in ze French way”….

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And he licked my face around my mouth. Brad The Bad Kisser style. 100%.  And I was shocked and appalled and started laughing so hard because IT WAS SO WEIRD. If I had myself together more, maybe I would have been somewhat tactful or kinder. But I literally laughed “BAHAHAHAHA!”-style *into his mouth* and backed up. Because WHAT?!

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I think he was insulted. Understandably. And I did feel slightly bad. But also it was 1:30am and I was too tired to try to mask my feelings on the matter. AND SERIOUSLY. WHO TOLD YOU THAT WAS OK, SIR?!?!

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I recovered and reiterated that I was going home to feed my cat (not kidding); he said he was leaving, too, and suggested we share a cab. I said OK. Because while I’m awkward, I’m not a monster and I did enjoy his company for the bulk of the night.  And it’s just sharing a cab.   As we were getting in the cab, Pierre said he had a “surprise” he wanted to show me and that it was on the route back to where my car was parked.  Now a red flag presents because I am no dummy and I know that often when a man tells you he has a “surprise” to show you in the wee hours of the morning, it relates back to one thing…
I cut that short right quick and told Pierre that under no circumstances was I doing anything but going right to my car and to my home by myself. He assured me that he was *not* trying to take me back to his place and that the detour would only take 3 minutes. So, ever the optimist, I said (like the dummy I am not) “OK – then show me the surprise.”
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He gives the address to the cab driver and it is absolutely on the way to my car – that checks out.  Now I figure it’s going to be a statue or fountain – something very specific to the city, something that he likes or relates to and wants to show me. Which – cool, right? I mean I’ve lived here for 11 years, so I bet I’ve seen it before – but I’m game.  HOWEVER I ask the driver if when we get to the location he can wait so I can hop right back in the cab and zip to my car post-3-minute-surprise. The cab driver says “Yes,” as we pull up to an apartment building. To Pierre’s apartment building.
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“DUDE. PIERRE. No. Absolutely not. I told you I was not going to your place.”  And he gives me a song and dance about wanting to show me his “rooftop deck”. So I give him a song and dance about how at close to 2am on a Thursday morning, I don’t need to see a relative stranger’s “rooftop deck”.  Also I’m not that stupid and there is a good chance that he is substituting the words “rooftop deck” for
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 He kept trying to get me to let the driver leave saying that it would be too expensive to have the cab wait and that I should Uber after I see the “rooftop deck”. And I was not having it.
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As we parted ways, something was mumbled about inviting me to a French dinner but that he wasn’t going to contact me because American girls always play him, so I’d need to reach out for the invitation…
I hopped back in the cab. The driver was shaking his head and said “He was being very pushy.”  And I agreed.  Which is sad because it was a fun night otherwise. But Pierre got shady. He took me to his apartment building and tried to get me in an isolated spot when I told him I wasn’t going for that. Not cool, yo. Add to that the mouth-licking….?  So I think I’m good on the French dinner front. I’ve got me some morning star farms chick’n nuggets and frozen pasta meals at home.  Plus I’m not really into foie gras so much.
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I picked up my car, drove home, called my biffle to recap the night, then went to bed at 4am on a Thursday morning. Like the 21 year old I’m apparently aspiring to be.  This is fauxdulthood at its finest.
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(special shout-out to my lady CGriff for being an editor on this post and an encourager on the share-your-weird-stories front)