I’ve hinted around here and there about the title of my work-in-progress book, A Pretty Girl Who Can Dance, but I’ve only talked about it to a handful of friends. I think it’s time to share it publicly because:

A. I don’t cry about it anymore.

B. I want people to understand that the title isn’t a boast.

C. I think it might help others.

A couple of years ago I was hired by a talent agency to be a go-go dancer/hoop dancer at Boogie Nights, Hollywood Casino. On Saturday nights I would dance from 9pm – 2am for 45-minute stretches, taking breaks each hour to drink plenty of water and stretch my muscles. I had an intuitive feeling that it wouldn’t last. I knew it wasn’t the right environment for me; although I love to hoop dance, I do so in a joyful way that celebrates movement and expression rather than to serve as tantalizing entertainment in a bar. But the pay was great, and I had a wonderful time, until I had words with the talent agency. The Boogie Nights management lied about things like the amount of time that I was dancing each night. One night, they told me that I could go home early because the club was dead, and it was, so I did. Later, I received an email that the talent agency forwarded to me, unedited, from the management. Apparently they were unhappy with many of the dancers who were getting booked. This is what I received:

I’ll give you a moment to process that.

Fire hooping
This is me, fire hooping in front of a band in 2014 for a biker party. 🙂

Imagine how I felt… As an adult, I’ve always had a relatively average self-esteem. It takes a little more than that to be able to perform, but that’s easy to fake, trust me. But even attaining that average self-esteem was a long road. I was devastated by the email. Temporarily.

The aftermath of this shows up in my book. I needed to write about it, to heal, so I came up with this blog post on Three Reasons to Always Say Yes. It was my subtle way of saying that I wasn’t going to regret dancing at Boogie Nights. The email, however, was burned into my mind. Eventually, I considered that it would be a great book title. A story about an insecure girl who gains enough confidence to dance in front of others, who becomes great enough to teach and be paid to perform, who gets a slap in the face, who falls, who rises and continues on. The story’s beginning is as solid as stone, but think of the ways it could have ended. She could have stopped dancing altogether.

So, friends, I have this advice to share with you, in case you or your art have ever been, or ever are insulted.

• Process it, and acknowledge the pain.
• Give yourself some distance from it.
• Talk about it! I went from crying when I repeated the words, to a sense of indifference, which is where I still am.
• Find a way to channel the negative into a positive.

This last one is the most satisfying, trust me. You don’t have to write a book about it, but you can draw a picture, write a journal entry, or dance a dance. The key is to not let the words of someone else hinder you. Let them fertilize your flower, because if it’s truly an insult, then it’s likely nothing but horse sh*t.

Peace, love, and fire,
Cherie Dawn

Girl on Fire, a novel | CherieDawnLovesFire.com

To get your copy of Girl on Fire: A Novel, visit Barnes and Noble online, Joseph Beth Booksellers online, or Amazon:
Girl on Fire: A Novel (print version)
Girl on Fire: A Novel (Kindle version)

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6 thoughts on “Harness the Power of an Insult: My Advice and Story

  1. WOW! I so enjoy reading your work. You are so talented in soooo many areas of your life. Thanks for always sharing that talent with us.

  2. Loved this post and sure could have used it 40 years ago. I have all the confidence in the world now because I’ve lived long enough to know exactly who I am, what I am capable of and my BS radar is finely honed. I used to dance and model a tiny bit when I was young and my trauma came when I was about 19 or so and had sent some of my shots to an agent who bluntly told me “if this is what I looked like, they can’t use me.” I can laugh now. Other people had no problem with my looks and now when I see some of shots when I was young, I looked fabulous. I know now it was just that obnoxious person with bad judgment at the time, but I used to have thin skin back then and I did not have the temperament to be in any kind of entertainment. I hated rejection but it really doesn’t faze me anymore. Cool picture!

    1. Thanks for sharing this – I imagine that modeling agencies are brutal…most of my performance experience has been at community events (as in, the dance or fire arts community), rather than in a competitive environment. This was actually my first time working with an agency! But it taught me a lot, and like you, I can laugh about it now. Heck, I can write a book about it! 🙂 Peace!

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