JoJo Bellini discusses her new show Crash-Bang Cabaret and talks about how she was inspired to overcome adversity after a car crash, using her own personal experience to give advice on the importance of finding a way to work towards a positive mindset no matter what the setback.
I find the best stories come from real life experiences. The personal experiences we share with others can often inspire, enthuse and encourage. This year I decided to bring to the stage my personal story in the only way I know how, with a squeeze of sauciness, a pinch of piquant humour and a delightfully delicious helping of diva. Crash-Bang Cabaret! is a hilarious show all about car accidents, kink and cucumbers but it also reflects the serious changes needed when your life is flipped over five times in a car and leaves you on a long road towards recovery.
Throughout our lives outside influences will shape and create our sense of self, and our relationships with others. Sometimes along the road we lose our way and get into situations that we feel we cannot get out of. There is always that spot. You know that spot. Deep down in your stomach. The one they call “the gut feeling”. It knows what’s going on. It will always let you know. You can ignore it but it’s there. We need to listen to that. It gives us confidence, hope and our unique voice.
At 27, I was in a horrendous car accident that left me with a broken ulna, both femurs shattered, two cracked ribs, a punctured lung and scalped! I have some rather impressive scars that I carry with pride as they are a reminder of how far I have come. I do not see the scars on my legs where they put the metals rods in or the V-shape scar I have on my forehead as anything other than beautiful.
Without those scars I would never had found the inner strength to remove myself from an abusive relationship. Without those scars I would have believed the doctors when they told me I would be so riddled with arthritis by the time I was 40 that I would be back in a wheelchair. And without those scars I wouldn’t be living a life where I can make my dreams a reality.
Don’t get me wrong, the road to recovery was long. I was in a wheelchair for a year, painful rehabilitation, I had no partner and, due to my location, very little personal contact with anyone except my physiotherapist and carers. I felt so alone, defeated, literally and figuratively broken. But solitude can also be a rejuvenating experience. You then get to reflect on the type of people you actually want in your life; the ones that will lift you up and support you. And then you reach for the phone. (This was 2003, internet was expensive back then.)
Throughout the following years I managed to surround myself with exactly the right people. With people that I care about and care about me. To push myself one step further, to take on new career challenges, to take to the stage and share my super silly ideas and love for karaoke songs.
As for the doctors telling me I’d be crippled with arthritis, back in a wheelchair and dependent on others for my every need by the time I was 40? Come see me sing you some classics, dance to the beat and be the mistress of my own making. My “gut feeling” is you won’t be disappointed.
JoJo Bellini performs Crash-Bang Cabaret! at The Stand Comedy Club 2 at the Edinburgh Fringe from 2nd-27th August.
Tickets available at www.edfringe.com