Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The End as I know it!

As I sit here on this snow day in the middle of April (thanks to winter storm WALDA), I think....what better time for me to write a final entry into my "Confessions of a Flaunt Girl" blog.  It has been nearly 3 months since my last post and many wondered.....What happened to your blog?

I will take this moment to recap the past three months and close this door only to open another.  I hope you enjoy.......

The top is about to BLOOOOWWWWW!

It is the end of January, shortly after my last blog post.  I am sitting in my living room on a Friday night and receive a text message from a PISSED OFF friend/fan.  Turns out, my former teammates have made an announcement on their facebook page that they have hired a new Flaunt Girl and are giving her the name Ivanna SpankYou.  That's right folks......you heard me correctly and in case you didn't, I will quote their post for you.....
"Attention all! Due to the increasing popularity of the Flaunt brand (yay) we will be holding Flaunt auditions for 2013! Ps.. We love our fans!!! We will be casting a new Vera Naughtygirl and Lacy Bottoms! Submit your photos and information ...on theflauntgirls.com or message us at theflauntgirls@yahoo.com! Exciting new additions coming to Flaunt! Todays exciting news...Please welcome Sarah! She will be playing the role of Ivanna SpankYou! She is from the great state of Kansas! Give her a big Flaunt welcome and Have a" Flauntastic day!"
My first reaction was one of complete sadness and disappointment that they would be so careless and vindictive to do such a thing.  After all, I had spent 8 years of my life creating the Ivanna Spankyou persona and THAT is a big deal to me.  I was flooded with message, texts, phone calls, emails etc. from fans in outrage.  It was a reaction that was very difficult for me to handle.  On top of being extremely upset myself, I was trying to soothe hundreds of others.  The support was amazing from all of the people that had come to support me over the years....they could all see right through this little tactic.  Flaunt even went as far as having this person create a new Ivanna Spankyou fan page.....BALLSY! (and I don't mean beach balls)
Nothing like throwing the new girl into SHARK INFESTED WATERS!  My opinion, completely unfair to put a new girl in that position.  At least give her a fighting chance.  Bad, bad decision on so many levels.  I guess that's what happens when you act on impulse.
(insert Jaws theme song)

While some people were supportive of the new girl, others were angry and they weren't afraid to show it.  They responded negatively and I'm not really sure what my teammates expected them to do.  It was an outpouring of anger....posts about it non-stop on my facebook page, the other members' pages, the Flaunt page....it was like a facebook riot!

In the end, my belief is, this was a ploy to try and make people "forget" that I was Ivanna Spankyou.  In response to a fan post saying they wish she had a different name....
Flaunt Girls Thanks Nick:) at some point after she is with us for a while that may be what happens but for now she is filling that role. She is going to be GREAT!
They weren't happy with my blog, with me being vocal about the truth and my personal beliefs.  This was their attempt to "cut the head off the monster" as it were.  Let's face it...I was on a roll (can you picture my head rolling across the floor)

A meeting of the minds

4 days later, after 3 months of not being in the same room with ________, I agreed to meet with her in person and discuss things.  The meeting went well and was long over due.  There were a lot of misunderstandings and we both had a chance to tell the story from our side of the fence.  It by no means "fixed" everything but we left it on better terms. 
"How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage. You tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with them.  You tend to have nothing left to say about it."
I then proceeded to do my best to right the wrongs of which she mentioned to me.  I am a reasonable, caring person.  If I have wronged someone, I will do what I can to make it right.  I am a believer that even if you didn't intend to wrong someone, if they felt wronged that is all that matters.  So, fix it!  I took down the blog and discontinued future posts.  I personally contacted several people that had been mentioned in our discussions.  Apologies were made and reciprocated by everyone and the world moved on.    

Nothing like setting the bridge on fire!

One short week later, I received a "certified letter" notice in my mailbox.  Hmmmmmmm, one can only wonder when they get that notice.  IRS? Letter from an Attorney? I almost didn't pick the letter up, trying to avoid it altogether.  As it turns out....that's exactly what I should have done.  One of my inclinations was correct.....as disappointing as that is.  I will let you guess which one.  Without divulging all of the gory details of the letter, my response was simple........this is RIDICULOUS and not worthy of a response.  So, I suppose you could say I called the bluff. 

"The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff"

Will you ever return?

Do me a favor and don't hold your breath.  The last installment of this fiasco has drawn a line in the sand and you won't be seeing me step across it. 

For those of you who are holding out hope that I might some day rejoin the group......my sincere apologies.  I have moved on.  Over the past few months, I have been happier than I have been in a long time.  It's amazing the difference it can make when you remove a major stressor in your life.  Do I miss it? Of course I do but all of the heartache and frustration that was attached to it is not something to be missed.  I am a much stronger person now.  I am seeing the world through fresh eyes and starting my new adventures.  When you spend so much of your days and nights thinking about the same thing it starts to take over your life as you knew it.  In the end, I'm not sure if I knew where Ivanna ended and I began.

And the period at the end of the sentence?

Think before you react.  When life throws an unexpected curve ball at you try to take a step back and let it simmer for a little while before responding.  Put some thought into what your reaction should or should not be.  Often times we are reactive instead of proactive which many times can cause more harm to an already volatile situation.  I think we need to ask ourselves, is it really THAT big of a deal?  We are often more worried about what others are doing than what we ourselves are doing.  Don't let your own insecurities make situations worse.

Until next time.....Lay it out and ROCK IT!

Watch for my new blog on life as I know it!

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Personal Reflection from 2012....

You did WHAT?!?

Do you ever get to the end of the year and wonder "What the hell just happened"?  You sit back and you think about everything and you can't believe that ALL of those things could happen in that amount of time.  I take this moment to reflect on an experience from 2012 that was extremely personal and difficult. My hope is that it might help others who are face with a difficult decision.

A year ago at this time, I was making one of THE hardest decisions of my life.  Something that would change my way of living.  Something that would change my family unit as I knew it.  A decision so huge that I wasn't sure if I could actually do it even though in my gut, I knew it was the right thing to do.  Have you ever had to make one of those decisions?  One that pained you to the core?  One that took every ounce of selflessness that you could muster up?
“This was what love meant after all: sacrifice and selflessness. It did not mean hearts and flowers and a happy endings, but the knowledge that another's well-being is more important than one's own.” ― Melissa de la Cruz, Lost in Time
I have a 14 year old son (then 13) who adored his father and missed him.  I had spent the previous 13 years raising this boy to be kind hearted, caring and affectionate.  For the sake of this post we will refer to him as "J".  I made sure J knew that a relationship with his father was important and wanted him to always be comfortable and free to love him as he chose regardless of my feelings towards his dad.  You see, even though  J's father and I couldn't work things out, I always said to myself....this is not his fault and I will do everything in my power to remember that he is the most important thing.  I will forever make the necessary sacrifices for his well being.  I love this boy with every ounce of my being...he is my world. 
For about a year and a half, J had been hinting at the fact that he wanted to go and live with his dad (6 hours away) and naturally there was a strong force of encouragement from his dad to make this happen.  The big issue there was his dad did this in a very negative way, making me feel like I was not doing a good job of parenting.  Of course, my initial reaction was...NO WAY!  I just didn't believe this was what was best for him.  Only I could give him what he needed....right? At least that is what I believed.  As time went on and it continued to be mentioned and he started growing up, my feelings began to change.  You see he never said he wanted to live with his dad in anger towards me.  A lot of times you hear kids doing this because they are mad at the other parent or didn't like the discipline so they use this as a tactic.  This was never the case with J.  When I would talk to him about it and ask him why he wanted to live with his dad he would say "I miss him and I just want to be with him for a while".  I started to realize that my "little boy" is starting to grow up and he is really needing his dad more than ever before.  Then the dreadful question....."Was it time to let him go?"

I can feel a KNOT in my throat

Christmas 2012 - one of the most difficult to date.  I was troubled, I was confused, I was sad but yet I had to put on a happy face and a good celebration for the sake of my family.  No one can know my inner struggles.  I must be steadfast.  All the while, my heart was in pieces.  I knew exactly what I needed to do but how could I ever do it?  I needed to make the call to J's dad and discuss a move with him and let him know that I had decided to let him go and see how it worked out.  But, how could I possibly do that?  I knew that once that phone call was made.....it was locked in.  It was happening.  My boy, that filled my cup up everyday with his smile and hugs, would not be there at the end of the day.  It was almost insurmountable.
"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child." ~ Sophia Loren
I had to keep reminding myself, this is NOT about you Nichole...this is about J.  He needs his father in his life right now.  I had to tell myself, just because his father may not do things exactly as I would do them....doesn't make them wrong. Christmas passed and then New Year's and I finally mustered up the courage to make the call.  He would move in a few short weeks.  It took so much courage to step off that ledge and make the call but once I did a huge weight lifted.  Don't get me wrong....I hung up the phone and sobbed but at least the initial sting was over.  Next ledge would be saying good bye.

This might be a FREE FALL! 

February 11, 2011 - The moment of truth.  The day had come.  That day that I had never imagined.  That day that I thought would never come....but alas it did.  All of his belongings packed into the car we (my husband, myself and J), the family as it had been for many years, drove the 400 miles to Montana.  I was holding myself together surprisingly well.  After all, I was at peace with my decision and that helped.  Reality was soon to set in...in a big way.  As we pulled up to the house that my boy would now call his home....I could feel the knot in my throat again.  This is where the self talk started...."keep it together", "you can do this", "don't let him see you cry", "you don't want J to feel bad because he sees you crying", "you want him to feel good about this". 

As we unpacked his belongings and helped him settle into his new digs....things were going fairly well.  J continued to unpack as my husband and I sat and talked with J's dad and step-mom.  We discussed all the details they would need for a smooth transition to his new school.  It seemed like the conversations repeated and I was dragging them out as long as possible.  The thought of walking out that door was EXCRUCIATING.  Finally, there was nothing more to say but.....Good bye.  I could feel that moment arrive.  I have never known a moment where it was so incredibly hard to hold back the tears than this moment.....I wanted to sob but I wouldn't allow myself.  As we all exchanged hugs, my eyes welled up, I did my best to shield my son from my heartache.  My husband said his goodbyes and was instantly hit with the anguish of the moment.  As I walked out the door....it was as if I was free falling....praying that someone would catch me.  With my back to the door the tears streamed down my face.  The minute the car door closed....it was time to let it out.  THANK GOD for my husband at that moment, he caught me.

Where there's a will....there's a way

It's been almost a year.  The pain is still as real as it was then, but I have found a way to move on in spite of the difficulty and heartache I faced.  I had to, or I would have fallen to pieces.  As with everything in life, there have been good moments and bad moments in regards to this topic.  There have been times over the past year when I felt so down that I didn't know how to get back up.  The answer? LOVED ONES.  I see my son today and know that he is happy, healthy, thriving and well adjusted.  I have peace knowing I did the right thing.....for HIM.  Doesn't make it hurt any less but peace of mind is a powerful thing.

I believe you have to have a will to do what's right and have faith that even though it hurts....it is the right thing and you can have peace knowing that.  I believe that in the years to come, J will realize the sacrifice I made.  He will love and appreciate me that much more because of it.

And the period at the end of the sentence?

Love means sacrifice and selflessness.  It takes an enormous amount of inner strength to do the right thing despite what your heart is telling you.  Sometimes you have to lead your heart instead of letting your heart lead you.  You see, our heart is filled with so many emotions that can lead us astray and deceive the mind.  I think the saying "follow your heart" is misguided and everyone should spend a little more time LEADING their hearts.  I challenge you to lead your heart this New Year.  Make 2013 a year that you do the right thing no matter how difficult it may be.  I believe the rewards are endless.

Happy New Year everyone!
Until next time....Lay it out and ROCK IT!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ivanna Spank You hangs up her fishnets?

To all my fans, I dedicate this blog to you.....


In light of the season premier of Full Throttle Saloon last night and the overflowing amount of responses and comments on facebook, I decided the best way to express my thoughts, feelings and opinions is to create a blog for those people who want.....the dirty details.  I believe there is a truth to be told that no one wants to tell.  It is not my intention to bad mouth anyone but only to speak the truth that I feel my fans deserve. 

I would first like to make the announcement that after spending the months since the rally pondering where I personally wanted to go from here, I came to the decision that I felt was best for me.  I have decided to leave Flaunt and move forward with new adventures.  It was a very hard decision but in the end the right one.  I will truly miss all of the fans who have taken the time to interact with me on facebook and in person.  You are all amazing and I have been very blessed to be a part of it.  I will always hold Flaunt dear to my heart and I am saddened that the time has come for Ivanna to hang up her Flaunt fishnets. I truly wish my fellow Flaunt Girls all of the success in world!

But Why?

(insert sobs)

It comes down to two basic principles, SELF RESPECT and INTEGRITY.  Those are two things that I take very seriously. Flaunt started 5 years ago as a small burlesque theatre show in Deadwood, SD and has evolved to an amazing touring burlesque variety show.  Over the course of this journey we have grown as a team, learned many new things and dealt with a lot of growing pains and personlaity conflicts.  We have also been faced with the cost of fame (however slight it may be) and everything that comes with that.  You see fame can cause people you thought you knew to turn into something entirely different.  When you are constantly dealing with this and are unable to see an end to the maddnes you have to know when to say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH".  I reached that point after the Sturgis Rally this year.  I made a vow to myself never allow it to happen again all the while knowing that just might mean me leaving the group SELF RESPECT.  Well unfortunately, that is exactly how things unfolded.  The group decided to say "bygones" to everything that happened.  I don't hold that against them, that was their personal desires and they are certainly entitled to it.  I, however, was then faced with a decision....go along with the group or stick to my statement "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH".  This is where the INTEGRITY part comes into play.  You know they say the test of one's integrity is always in times of difficulty....that's when you know if you truly possess it. 
"Honesty is telling the truth to ourselves and others. Integrity is living that truth and being the kind of person you want to be regardless of the situation."
You see I found myself constantly complaining to my husband and friends about things going on.  They could all see how upset and frustrated I was.  Then I said to myself....
"Don't complain about what you allow!"
And that my friends, is the period at the end of the sentence. 

Sometimes the fear of the unkown keeps us from succeeding and moving on in life to become bigger and better than we could imagine.  You think about things you want to do but you are afraid to do them for fear of what might happen next.  The lesson here is take a leap of faith....believe your gut...believe in yourself.  Without change, you will not grow.  Live your life with self respect and integrity and no matter how hard the decision will be, when you are able to make it you will feel peace with it.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way.....let's get down to business.  Stay tuned for more on my thoughts, comments, truths etc. 

Until next time.....Lay it out and ROCK it!