Emotionally Drained

Preparing for my upcoming performance to Miranda Lambert’s Gunpowder and Lead has been emotionally draining. I tend to practice my routines a lot in my head because there is only so much physical training you can do, but the subject matter of this performance- domestic violence and rape- is a dark, exhausting place to be for hours and hours of every day. Especially since I’m choreographing my dance as a struggle to get away from domestic violence- the dancing is violent, the emotions waiver between resolve and panic. I’m generally a happy, cheerful kind of woman, so feeling like this (even though it’s fictional) for so much of my time is taking a toll on me.

 

I chose to put myself through this emotional torture because the topic is so incredibly important. Thankfully, I have never been in a violent relationship. Unfortunately, in our society, this makes me lucky because 1 in 3 women are domestically abused or raped at some point in time during their lives. When you add in emotional abuse, the numbers climb.

 

In spite of not being in an abusive relationship, I have most certainly been a victim to more than one. My mother was murdered in a domestic violence attack when I was eleven. I’ve had other women in my family who very nearly met the same end. Many of my friends have experienced varying degrees of abuse, both physical and sexual. And that’s just the people who share- statistically, I probably know more victims than I think I do.

 

Why does this happen? I don’t know. There’s a plethora of academic and non-academic literature that tries to explain, but it’s complicated; a mix of culture and identity and psychological conditioning. The important thing to realize is that domestic violence and rape are intolerably common, and that there needs to be a better discussion, by every member of society, about why this is so and how we can change it.

 

If you’re in Denver, feel free to come watch my performance on February 15th. The link to purchase tickets is here. If you want to do your own dance against domestic violence, check out 1 Billion Rising, and join the festivities on February 14th. Because I can’t avoid shameless self promotion even in a blog post this serious, I would like to point out those are different days, so you can do both. Thank you for your support.

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10 Comments

  1. “Emotionally Drained poledancecompetition” ended up being a great post, can’t wait to
    read through far more of ur posts. Time to waste some time online haha.
    Thank you -Jamaal

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed reading, and I hope you get to come back and visit my blog often! I enjoy sharing my experiences.

      Reply
  2. If you can, try to “balance” out the darkness with concentrated positivity and nurturing for yourself. I can only imagine the toll this is taking. *virtual hugs*

    Reply
    • That’s solid advice in general! Only a few days left anyways. As draining as it has been, I’m very much looking forward to the performance!

      Reply
  3. I thought of a question that might further the discussion in general and also help me specifically. How do you envision a performance helping the cause? I’ve been thinking about the 1 Billion Rising and would like to make a difference but I wonder if I’d be “preaching to the choir” for those who see me perform. I think it’s statistically probable that I know people who have committed domestic violence but I don’t know of anyone who has. Also, my blog is generally seen by other pole dancers, who I imagine are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators. So I’m trying to imagine in what way my performance could make a difference. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Reply
    • What a great question! I think the important thing is to start talking about what causes domestic violence and small changes we can make to stop it. Some reading I’ve done suggests that there is an idea that the victim of domestic violence has done something that “justifies” the violence. I think a good place to start would be to start questioning those beliefs, both in women and men. I personally believe that domestic violence tends to start with emotional violence and in your communication patterns with your significant other- so both men and women should think about those patterns and try to break them, or possibly break the relationship before it becomes violent. For examples, I think you’re looking for any type of controlling behavior that indicates that he “knows what’s best for you.” I once dated a guy who would frequently comment that I should wear makeup more often, for example. I feel like with more years, that might escalate to try to control more things, which could escalate into violence for “non compliance.” I’m definitely not an expert, but I think looking at communication patterns early is key. I think dance is an opportunity to open up the discussion about what each of us can do, and also to raise awareness that domestic violence is a big problem that must have roots in our culture- it’s not isolated to a few sociopathic individuals, which is what most people assume. I hope that helps! Let me know your thoughts.

      Reply
      • I really like the point that emotional violence can lead to physical violence. And perhaps I was thinking of it the wrong way – my performance might not change the mind of a perpetrator (as none are likely to see it) but it might give courage to a victim. Thanks!

      • Another way it can help potential victims is by making them more aware of what domestic violence is- a friend of mine dated a guy who stomped (hard) on both her feet because she didn’t put them in the right place on a motorcycle. She still doesn’t believe that what she experienced was violent or that it might have escalated. Another woman I know didn’t think she was in a violent relationship because she hit the guy back- being able to identify what’s happening is important, and that can only happen if people are talking about domestic violence.Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      • Another way it can help potential victims is by making them more aware of what domestic violence is- a friend of mine dated a guy who stomped (hard) on both her feet because she didn’t put them in the right place on a motorcycle. She still doesn’t believe that what she experienced was violent or that it might have escalated. Another woman I know didn’t think she was in a violent relationship because she hit the guy back- being able to identify what’s happening is important, and that can only happen if people are talking about domestic violence.Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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