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Sacrificing for Muggle Life

I’m pretty heartbroken right now.

I was honored to be accepted into the inaugural 2019 Panama Burlesque Fest going down on May 4th. This was to be the weekend after my finals, so I was going to do the Fest as a celebration. I bought my tickets, started planning outfits, coordinated with family and friends to come along, the whole shebang. Then, early last month, my grad school program re-scheduled the last day of the semester (i.e. our final exams) for the same exact date I’m supposed to perform at the Panama Burlesque Fest. Since I got that email, I’ve been desperately trying to work out a plan with my professor to no avail. They are basically unwilling to make any alternatives, even though they kinda threw the change at us last minute. This is a school-wide exam date that applies to all classes, so my advisor’s only advice if I have to miss the May 4th exams was to take a leave of absence for the whole semester, which I can’t do - I’ve already taken out thousands in student loans for the semester!

I basically had to make a decision. Long story short: I chose school. No Panama for me. Booooo!!!! I am really sad and this was hard. I’ll explain my decision.

For those who don’t know, I’m a recovering law school graduate who quickly realized that I hate practicing law. It took me years, but I found my true calling as a law school librarian. That’s my current Muggle gig, and I absolutely love it. It’s one of the few things I’m a natural at doing.

I would LOVE to dance full-time. I would take it incredibly serious and I would work my ass off and be the best f burlesque dancer I could be. But the gigs just don’t pay enough for me to make that a reality! I also have a toddler. My partner, who I lovingly call The Illustrator, and I work hard to give our son everything he needs. And that includes healthcare, my friends.

With that being said, I never put down my job or anyone who needs to work a 9-to-5 to support their creative dreams. For me, it’s a necessity - and the only reason I can keep my librarian job is because I’m currently in grad school (they specifically wanted a grad student they could train from entry level, and that was me!). If I put off school or don’t take it seriously, I could lose my job.

And if I lose my job, I would *definitely* lose a lot of what I love about burlesque (traveling, costuming, studio practices, etc.).

I feel blessed to have a steady + stable income, and honestly I pride myself on loving my brain just as much as I love my boobs. If I did full-time burlesque with no librarianship, I would probably lose my mind! Both jobs are a huge part of my life and they definitely co-exist.

In order to switch gears from my old policy-wonk legal job to becoming a full-time librarian, I first must get through grad school. That’s right: most full-blown librarians had to get multiple degrees to even get interviewed for their position. This is my third degree, and if I ever want to teach law librarianship at the graduate level I’ll need yet another degree. But first I have to finish, and I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am. 

So I’m sacrificing a dream opportunity to travel to a beautiful country and strip with some amazing creative people, all so I can get this degree and keep taking care of my family and supporting my burlesque. I am heartbroken, but I tell myself that this sacrifice will pay off in the future when I’ve graduated and am able to make even more money to fund even more opportunities (and maybe even the same one in Panama - I will definitely be applying again in the future).

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