What a difference ten years makes
It's hard to believe that these women are the same woman. The first felt so pretty in her brightly colored sweater dress and coat, her new hair cut and glasses. She had spent the evening primping and pampering herself for a night on the town with her husband. I don't remember where they went that night. Most likely dinner and a movie, maybe a show. They surely had a lovely time and ended the night wrapped up in each other's arms. Life was good. She was a happy mother of two little boys, doting over them and her husband. She did all the things a mother was expected to do. She was living her life for others. Every morning she woke to serve her loved ones. She would have continued on with that life indefinitely and been happy. When she was old and gray serving her grandchildren fresh baked cookies and milk, she would be pleased with everything she did, with the life she made for her family. She never would have realized that something was missing.
Not long after this picture was taken she discovered a world she never knew existed. It was bright and glittering, filled with personalities so big they seemed to be make-believe. But they were real. They were real and they lived in her community. From the moment she discovered them, she pushed non-stop to become part of the shimmering, stage lit, unapologetic world of burlesque. She fell in love with the art form and eventually the lifestyle.
Fast forward ten years. The woman in gold is still a doting wife and mother, now with a fiery daughter added to the mix. She's struggled to find a work-life balance that suited her and all the many things she wanted to accomplish in this world. And she feels like, maybe, she's found it. She doesn't perform as often as she used to. She spends many more nights and weekends at home, falling asleep on the couch. She writes often. She breathes deep the magic of a life well-lived. She loves and honors every facet of herself. Even the unsavory ones. And now, when the time comes to feed the grandchildren cookies, they'll wonder why she smiles the way she does. She'll carry with her the air of mystery and glamour that sends the curious little ones into the attic to find a chest full of sparkling costumes, posters, flyers, and photographs that tell the story of her adventures.