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Veronica Varlow
  -  How To Tuesdays   -  How To Turn Jealousy into Inspiration: A True Story

One thing I knew I had to do when I decided to start The Danger Diaries….

Reveal all.

The good, the bad, the ugly.

Here’s one of those stories I’m ashamed to admit.

It went down at the original Slipper Room, and it was one of the greatest lessons I’ve had.

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I had a bad week. I wasn’t feeling it. I threw my costumes in a suitcase to perform and raced to the venue. I wasn’t feeling pretty. I wasn’t feeling awesome. And I was in need of a nap.

Another performer showed up and had a brand new act that she worked really hard on. Her hand made costume was incredible and the idea for her number was genius.

I wanted to punch her in the face.

Where the hell is MY star hair thingy?

Where the hell is MY star hair thingy?

As we got ready side-by-side in the long mirror, I felt the ugly heat of jealousy rising.  She looked amazing and I felt blah. She had a gorgeous new costume, and my costume was crumpled in a suitcase at my feet.  Damn it.  WHY did I have to be working with her tonight – when she was so perfect and I was a mess?

I was getting into that horrible zone of feeling “less than”.

She took to the stage and killed it. She was on.

Her act even lifted my mood.
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I was waiting in the wings of the stage as she came off and I was honest…I told her that she was a genius.

“Are you serious? I felt like I was completely off. This number is brand new and I haven’t figured out how to work it yet,” she said.

I assured her she absolutely DID figure out how to work it. And I was surprised that she didn’t realize how incredible she was.

Lesson #1: Our minds are weird sometimes.  They tell us things that just aren’t the truth. I was battling a serious case of low self esteem that night, and here was this stunning performer beside me who didn’t realize how amazing she was.  So when I’m feeling off and that self-critic attacks my brain, I tell it to shut the hell up.

Lesson #2: Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s a trap and a lie. I refuse to compete.  I am not better than someone else and someone else is not better than me. I can only beat my best self from yesterday.  If I’m trying to beat someone else, I’m going to fail every single time.  Nobody is gonna be better than them, and nobody is gonna be better than me.  As Oscar Wilde said:  Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.

Lesson #3: Flip jealous feelings into inspiration. After seeing her new burlesque act, I was inspired.  As I watched her onstage, I realized that an incredible performer will take you to another place…they can take a bad day and turn it into a fantasy.  An incredible performer can make you forget everything.  I yelled louder than anyone else at the end of her number because she taught me a huge lesson…. this life is to learn, to experience, to enjoy, to love and to push us to try new things.

I was on fire with inspiration.

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My secret was…I had been stalking the fire spinning class schedule of teacher Claire de Luxe. for about a year.  I really wanted to try it, to broaden my horizons, learn something new and also become a better performer.   That night inspired me to finally sign up.

Seeing someone else being their best, encouraged me to find my best me by continuing to grow.

After four months of training, I stepped onto the stage at the Coney Island Sideshow and performed my very first fire spinning act.

It wasn’t perfect…but I DID it.

Growing is both awkward and awesome, simultaneously.

And I never want to stop.

This is what me growing looks like.  Photo by Jeff Stark.

This is what me growing looks like. Photo by Jeff Stark.

Tell me in the comments if you’ve had an experience like this. Have you seen someone really kicking ass and have turned it around and been inspired? Tell me someone who inspires you to be a better YOU. On your mark, get set……

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