It was a Saturday night and I was blaring from the speakers, candles flickered around the room, and everything that I ever wished for was right in front of me. Literally.
My orange-handled scissors had snipped my dream life out of magazines, photos I printed off the internet, and vintage postcards I’d found in thrift stores. With one final click of the scissors, I cut out my favorite photo of my-self—the one where I look the most like “me”—and placed it right in the center of everything.
It was 2006. I was working as a temp in a job I hated. I had never been anywhere, had never traveled beyond the two states I had lived in. My self-confidence was at an all-time low. The faerie tale life I had dreamed of since I was little had not arrived. I knew I had to take matters in my own hands.
Each night, I would light a candle in front of my dream college and sit there and look at it for ten minutes before bed. In it, I was surrounded by famous landmarks from all over the world. Renowned burlesque performers stood beside me, cheering me on. My film, Revolver, that I co-wrote with my husband Burke Heffner, was being projected onto a screen with a packed audience full of people appreciating it. A vintage type-writer swirled words.
Within less than a year, I was contacted out of the blue by musician Emilie Autumn, who wanted me to perform burlesque and sing on tour with her. The tour has taken me all over the world for the past eight years. I have since seen every single one of the landmarks I pasted on that original collage.
I started getting more and more opportunities with burlesque and was able to quit my day job. Last year Revolver surpassed the funding we needed to make our film on Kickstarter, against all odds. And I started my Danger Diary blog almost two years ago; it now has over forty thousand readers per month.
Dreams can come true. And if I can do it, ANYBODY can. Here are my seven tips to turn your life into a faerie tale.
Tip #1: See It and Believe It.
We are very visual creatures—we need to see it to believe it! Cut out pictures of everything (travel, love, abundance, awesome job) you want to bring into your life and put a photo of yourself in the middle of it all.
Hang your collage in a place where you can see it every day. Light a candle and sit in front of your collage for ten minutes a day. Let your eyes and mind take in those photos and you’ll start to believe that all the things in them are possible.
When I made my first collage, I glued crystal jewels on my head in the photo so I could see myself as “queen” of my world. My self-esteem was so low at the time that seeing the candlelight flicker on those jewels and seeing a photo of myself surrounded by the things I wanted to grow in my life had a huge impact. Not only did my self-esteem rise, but my dreams started to come true.
Tip #2: Find Your Co-Conspirators.
Partners-in-crime can help bring a dream to life. Surround yourself with people who support the biggest dreams you can muster and encourage you to keep fighting during the rough times. Kick the people who nay-say your dream to the curb. Friends who are negative about your dreams are not your real friends.
Reach out to people who are doing things that inspire you and befriend them. Help each other succeed in your goals.
Tip #3: Get a Game Plan.
Don’t be overwhelmed with feeling like you need to accomplish your biggest dreams by tomorrow. Start small and break down those things into little steps. As Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Tip #4: Tell Everyone About Your Dreams.
Being vocal about what you want will help you get it faster. Be bold and tell people about what you dream of. They might be able to help you in some way or connect you with people who can. Shout it from the rooftops!
Tip #5: Keep Your Eyes Open To Opportunity.
Seek out ways to get your “foot in the door” of your dreams. Volunteer, take classes, and intern. When I started burlesque, I was a “pick-up” girl for two months. I helped the burlesque girls in the show and collected their costumes to bring backstage after a show. It helped me learn to be on stage in front of an audience and helped me gain confidence to do my own shows.
Tip #6: Kill Your Excuses.
It can be scary launching into our dream lives because everything is a mystery. Embrace being a “wild risk taker.” When pursuing our dreams, we’re pushing ourselves into the unknown and taking a chance. Sometimes we want to make excuses or give up because we’re trying to do something we’ve never done before. Don’t. Keep fighting. Remember that all your heroes and people you look up to went down this same unknown road.
Tip #7: Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.
Be proud of who you are and how you rock it! Comparing yourself to others is a trap. Seeing the world as a competition against others isn’t fun. Instead, compare yourself to the You from yesterday. Have you improved? Are you learning and growing in the direction of your dream life?
If not, every day is a chance to start anew! If you are, then keep pushing forward. I’ll be right there with you … as we write the faerie tale of our own existence.