Hi. I’m Annika. I’m sitting in my favorite café that used to be a church not wearing any panties trying to latte and positive-thought my way out of a spiral of “there’s something wrong with you” yipping at my heels days after I ended things with a romantic endeavor.
I’m wondering if my lack of enthusiasm about getting up in the morning is because I chose the wrong career or my micromanaging boss just sucks. The filler that I got injected into my face two weeks ago is doing this lopsided thing but I’m telling myself it’ll work for the mermaid banshee look in tonight’s show.
Onstage tonight, though, I’ll be playing a femme dome-y, super-humanly confident, possibly polyamorous, extrovert who grinds the patriarchy to sand with her stripper heels. My alter-ego, Lucerne: a caricature of a "BADASS.”
Lucerne came out of my birth canal when I was a shy, kind of insecure, 24-year-old who nonetheless managed to shake (and drink) herself onto a stage for a student showcase in NYC. Somewhere near the beginning of the act while I was dry-humping a boa, something clicked: like a stroke, but less numbness.
I realized that I could be whoever the fuck I wanted on that stage. Lucerne became all the things I wished I could be, or was told I should be: A BADASS.
Over the last few years of stage fuckery, Lucerne's helped to me amplify parts of me that I like and make fun of the parts I don't so I don't take myself so goddam seriously.
But she’s also a problem.
Lucerne has shaped herself into the image of BADASS, a caricature birthed by well-meaning Beyonce-reared feminists. An idea that you too can rule the world if you slay all self-doubt, never take shit from anyone, kill it at a fulfilling career and have open or casual relationships without a trace of neediness or jealousy.
The cult of badass teaches us that this is what the self-actualized feminist should aspire to and if we fall short, we’re, well, just “still working it out.” Bless our hearts.
The problem happens when people, be they romantic interests or potential BFF's, first encounter me onstage while watching me, say, pull a rosary out of my pussy. Assumptions click in, stereotypes happen, fantasies are projected and I guess I can't really blame them.
Who wouldn’t want to meet that elusive BADASS unicorn who doesn’t care who you make out with in front of her, you don’t have to support emotionally because she has all her shit together and will dress in latex, tie you to a piano bench and make you atone for your sins every night (that part’s kind of real).
For many people I've met, they have an easier time buying into the extreme caricature of Lucerne/BADASS than a real-life, nuanced, sometimes-contradictory, sometime-fragile Annika.
Lucerne, with her butt-plugs and face-humping sexuality is more digestible/ acceptable because she's consistent in what she presents every time she gets on the stage. You think you know what you’re gonna get when you meet her.
But, many times, Lucerne has made me feel like a disappointment to people when they really get to know me. Like, oh, you're not so super-hero-level secure and you talk about normal boring things sometimes …. like your day job. Ugh.
I’m not a BADASS.
I’ll act like a glamorous snob when I first meet someone because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m not cool, I want to peg you, sure, but more so, I craves cuddles and holding your hand. I stand in front of my mirror every morning and tell myself over and over I’m enough for the world, maybe even for that elusive “someone”. (then burn shit-tons of Palo Santo) I have impostor syndrome every goddamn time I’m in a court room.
I’m still very much working on my shit. And it’s important for me to tell people that. I want women to stop drinking the BADASS poison fantasy and realize that IT DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST.
What does exist is beautifully nuanced humans who, if you're smart, you’ll find you can connect to most deeply in their fragility and imperfection while still reveling in their sparks of occasional BADASS.
Lucerne is a tribute to those sparks.