Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!
My long-awaited book LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion & the Radio City Rockettes is finally published and for sale at amazon.com! Join us as we celebrate with a Book Launch Spectacular party and book signing on Sunday, February 21, 2016 from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM at the Arbor Brewing events space in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For you out-of-towners, we’ll have a Virtual Book Launch Spectacular on the same day (on this very website) with loads of fun and frolicking, goodies and giveaways. Until then, we’ll be counting down the days to book launch–52!
But an even more imminent countdown is the ball drop to welcome in 2016! I love the idea of a new year, a fresh start, a second (or third or fourth) chance, an opportunity to begin anew. Every January 1st, I use the holiday not only as an excuse to sip champagne and toss confetti (which will never come out of your carpet no matter how much you vacuum, but it’s worth it) but also as a symbol of rebirth encouraging me to rethink my life and where I’m headed. If I’m not on the path to Blissville and pleased as New Year’s punch about what the future has in store for me, I’ve got some changes to make. Pronto.
To put you in the mood for both the Book Launch and a Happy New Year, I’m reposting a vintage blog entry that is perfect for sparking your New Year’s resolutions. So pop your favorite bubbly, put on your sparkly party hat, and let the story below inspire you to make 2016 a thrilling adventure.
SHOW BUSINESS, TAKE 2: YA GOTTA MEAN IT
There are times when we feel unsure, confused, and befuddled about what we want to do with our life. We send out wishy-washy signals: “I want to be a professional dancer! That should be me up there on that stage! It would be such a blast! No, wait…I’m not sure I want to do it. It’s too difficult. I don’t know how. I’m not ready. I might not be talented enough. I’m scared.” The Universe obliges by giving us wishy-washy results. Perhaps little gigs trickle in here and there, but the ball never really gets rolling.
I was that wishy-washy, namby-pamby person who floundered in doubt and dismay. As you’ll read below, it took a couple years of unhappily dabbling in other careers before I could say without a shadow of a doubt, “I am going to be an entertainer!” Once I truly meant it, once I was committed, dedicated, and unwavering, the magic and miracles gathered momentum and the Universe took me places beyond my wildest dreams. It will do the same for you!
Please enjoy this except from my recently published book:
New York wasn’t for me. I loved dancing, but that wasn’t enough to overcome my fears and the challenges of life in The Big City. Plus, becoming a professional dancer was a tremendous shock to my system having come from such a sensible, academic, risk-averse family. Tossing my education out the window to do something so frivolous and insecure seemed selfish and foolish, two characteristics I did not wish to possess. My parents didn’t discourage my wacky dance adventure, but I knew they’d sleep more soundly (as would I) if I went to graduate school. Consequently, I decided to get my PhD in Social Psychology. “Dr. Davis.” Now that sounded respectable. What a relief to be doing something that seemed like the intelligent, practical thing to do—a decision that would bring sincere support from my parents and a guaranteed paycheck.
While waiting to get accepted into graduate school, I took on boring jobs in retail and fundraising. They were the perfect reminder of how the real world and I did not get along. I did not thrive in a practical life of nine to five, suits and nylons, weekends off, one-week vacations, and bottom lines. Working an office job, I felt like a piece of cheese sitting undiscovered, molding away in the back of the refrigerator. If I didn’t get out soon, I’d shrivel up and die from a life of missed opportunities, wasted potential, adventures not experienced, and what ifs. I didn’t want to be eighty years old thinking I had never really lived. This “normal” existence was killing me. I stared at the clock, watching the time tick slowly by, wishing my life away. After a few months, I noticed my saggy derriere in the mirror and decided it was time to start working out again. I missed the dancing, so I auditioned for and was accepted into a modern/jazz dance company in Ann Arbor. It kept me somewhat sane.
Finally, I left Michigan and my humdrum routine for graduate school at the University of Minnesota. At first, it was very exciting to be doing something supposedly worthwhile with my life. I was successful there, too—got a full teaching scholarship, earned good grades, had a nice apartment in a fun neighborhood, made some friends, and even dated a bit. Still, it was lonely living all by myself in a new city, so I bought a beautiful, blue, Siamese fighting fish to keep me company. Once again, I missed dancing and started taking classes at a reputable dance school downtown. Grad school turned out to be terribly stressful, and the chain-smoking assistant professors seemed more overwhelmed than the students. “This is what I have to look forward to?”
I was at a loss. I sat down by the fishbowl and confided in my fish, “I am miserable here. All I do is study until midnight and then wake up and study again at five a.m. It’s kind of interesting stuff to learn, but I hate statistics and I don’t really want to do social psychology research for a living. Will it really help anyone? It’s too stressful, and not the least bit fun. But I just moved here. What will people think if I abandon yet another career plan? What will my parents think? More importantly, what am I going to do with my life if I give up on this, too?” My fish stared back in silence with a look that said, “I’m stuck alone swimming circles in this tiny bowl for the rest of my God forsaken life. You think I give a rat’s patootie? Stop your whining. At least you’ve got choices.”
The thought of quitting was so embarrassing and horrifying, however, that I mustered all my willpower and forced myself to stick through another semester and make it work. I chose to keep right on swimming circles, feeling alone in a tiny fishbowl. But, once again, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. This time felt even worse than the time in New York. When would I learn to follow my heart and do what I truly loved?
Apparently, this world of academics wasn’t for me either. I had tried the business route, the academic route, the safe and secure and practical route, the route that garnered parental approval. “Now what?” Hoping to find some clarity, I pulled out my credit card and booked an emergency trip to San Diego, California to visit my sister, Cindy, who was in transition herself. She was abandoning her PhD program in Oceanography to pursue something much sexier—screenwriting.
There is no better place for soul-searching than by the ocean, and as I walked barefoot in the sand, I asked myself, “How do I really want to be spending my twenties?” The most exhilarating, thrilling, exciting, passionate, scary, enticing, challenging, rewarding, suitable thing I could come up with was to be an entertainer traveling the globe.
“I want to meet unique, interesting, artistic, creative, outgoing, talented people. I want to see the world. I want to be learning, changing, growing, and challenged on a daily basis. I want to stand out in a crowd and be fascinating. I want to experience life as an entertainer, living on the stage, being paid to do what I love most–sing and dance. I want to wear exotic make-up and glitzy costumes and meet famous people and go places I’d never go on my own,” I answered myself enthusiastically.
What it boiled down to was I wanted my twenties to be a thrilling adventure, and I was finally willing to take the risk. Truth be told, everything else made me so miserable that I was forced to do it as my last option. I was terribly afraid to try again, but what did I really have to lose? I had no money, no house, no husband or family. I could only really move up in the world. If I failed, I would have wasted some time and felt like a fool in front of friends and family. But if I never tried, I would regret it for the rest of my life. There’s nothing worse than wondering, “What if?” I could always go back to school later, but this was something I had to do when I was young. It was now or never.
The hardest thing would be telling my parents about another seemingly flippant, haphazard choice. All I knew was that I had to find myself, discover the world, and fill the void of dissatisfaction that was gnawing at me.
“Move out here and live with me,” Cindy offered. I felt relieved at the thought of having my sister around, plus California seemed like a logical place to relaunch my entertainment career. And it’s sunny California, for goodness sake.
So much to my parents’ chagrin, after finishing the semester, I quit school and moved back to Michigan, where I spent two months working as a secretarial temp at Ford Motor Company to bank some cash. I was headed off to California with $5000.00 and no idea how to make my dreams come true. One thing I did know, however: I wanted to be an entertainer. And this time, I meant it.
What would your eighty-year-old self advise you to do with your precious youth? How do you want to experience life now and in the future? What kind of groovy people do you want to hang out with? Where? This is your drama. Set the scene so that it rocks your world. And mean it. Thanks for reading.
Allow 2016 to be the year your dreams come true!
Kick high! Be spectacular!