The End of an Era

Another year comes to a close, and with it, the end of a decade.  2019 was a pretty damn good year for me.  Bit of a rocky beginning, but I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress and growth this year.

Something I haven’t thought to do in the past was a decade in review.  Granted, I’ve only had this blog for 10 years, but I saw a friend do a decade in review status, and I thought that it was a good idea.

This year was a good one.  Morgan and I made some huge strides together this year, and have only grown stronger as a couple.  He’s helped me with a ton of my depression and anxiety symptoms.

Morgan started a new job that he enjoys, and in less than a year has already been offered an assistant manager position.  I started my second year as a development coach, and have my sights set on moving forward in the company beginning with more training next year.

We took an incredible vacation in May, for what Morgan got me for my birthday this year:  tickets to see Neil Gaiman do readings and answer questions in person.  We drove to San Francisco and stayed in a tiny house (a one room/one bed hut shaped like a gingerbread house), had delicious Chicago style pizza from Zachary’s, wandered around Haight and Ashbury, ate $400 worth of seafood, and then listened to Neil Gaiman read passages from “Good Omens” and answer questions the audience asked.  It was an incredible trip.

Morgan also planned a lovely anniversary weekend for us:  he took us out to Gordon Ramsay Steak, where we actually got to meet Gordon.  I’ve been thinking about that the last couple of days, and how I was just so dumbstruck, I could barely speak, and I couldn’t even stand up to stand next to him!  I just sat there in a dream.   Dinner was incredible, as usual.   Then the next day, we drove out to Knott’s Berry farm, and spent the day riding roller coasters, playing skeeball, and just all in all having an amazing day.  It was truly lovely.

This year was pretty low key dance wise.  Nina and I were invited to perform at a dance event that was raising awareness for domestic violence survivors and the shelter that helps them out here in town.  It was an incredible experience.   We were set to dance at the Dark Arts in October, but Nina had a slight injury, so I did a 20 minute set on my own…first time in YEARS I have done more than one piece at a time as a soloist.  I had an absolute blast.  I also participated in 2 ½ online dance challenges this year:  Courtney’s summer challenge, which I’ve done for 3 summers now, a tribal fusion choreography challenge, which was SUPER challenging and amazing, and I did 3 parts of a 5 part oriental choreography challenge.  I just got too busy to finish, as it was right around Thanksgiving.  I’m starting to push myself a bit more this year with my dancing. I’ve been posting videos of my practice sessions, trying out slower movements, and stepping way out of my comfort zone with a lot of things.  It’s exciting.

I also received answers about how to reduce kidney stones, and have been trying to follow a low oxalate/low purine diet.  It’s hard, but totally worth it.

 

So as 2019 comes to a close, I’ve been thinking back about all the things that have happened these past 10 years.  Here are some highlights:

*Married the love of my life
*Started this blog
*Had 7 surgeries on my right kidney
*Moved into my own apartment, and lived on my own for a year and a half
*Attended 2 Arab Dance Seminars
*Competed in my first dance competition and made the top 12
*Started working as a KJ
*Got promoted at work
*Adopted 2 wonderful, but bratty dogs
*Saw VNV Nation in concert 11 times (I think…it might be 10, it might be 12)
*Got answers about my kidney stone issues
*Taught dance workshops
*Met Gordon Ramsay
*Met Chef Christina from Hell’s Kitchen
*Met Christina Tosi (and she said my apple pie looked great)
*Experienced the original lineup of Underworld live
*Saw The Cure in concert, finally
*Went to Disneyland
*Shaved 34 inches off hair off for children’s cancer research
*dyed my hair blue
*Went to a Neil Gaiman reading
*Got my first (and 7 more after that) tattoo
*Started deadlifting/weight training
*Had my tubes tied
*Danced in charity fundraisers
*Became Yelp Elite
*Started and ran a book club

 

There are a few more, that stand out, but they’re not entirely appropriate for all audiences, so that may have to wait for another time.

Of course there were some negatives of course.  We’ve lost people that we were extremely close with.  Most of these are simply lost friendships, but we did lose 3 people within the last 5 years to death.  Of course, I lost my best friend Jake 5 years ago, and I still have some sadness about not ever being able to talk to him again.  This year alone, we lost a former roommate, Heather, and someone who we weren’t as close with anymore, but we had considered each other family at one point, Rob.

It’s always sad to lose people, whether its death or falling out, but we’re moving forward and recalling the good times.

As 2019 ends, I’m setting goals for myself again this year.  I’m wanting to keep things simple this year, and I’ve been putting some thought into finding a “word of the year”:  a word that encompasses my attitude for the year.

I think my focus this year is going to be “Meaningful.”  I want to ensure that everything I do and say this year is meaningful.  I don’t necessarily mean “deep” when I say that, but I want to put thought into what I do and say.  I don’t want to have as much mindless scrolling, and if I choose to have a lazy time, I want it to be meaningful:  I’m resting and recovering, etc.

This is carrying over into my professional life, and my dance life as well.  I want everything I do to have meaning and intention.

So without further ado, I give you my goals for 2020:

  1. Cut sugar intake by 50% by the end of 2020.
  2. Take at least 1 dance workshop
  3. Finish Death tattoo
  4. More frequent and regular dance and gym time.
  5. Read 24 books
  6. Knit more
  7. Less screen time
  8. Go hiking
  9. Meditation
  10. De-clutter closets/drawers
  11. Follow cleaning schedule.

 

Short and simple list this year, with goals that are attainable, but will still be a challenge.

My dearest readers, thank you for the last 10 years.  May your 2020 be filled with great things.  Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.

Fit shaming, passive aggressive doucheyness, and grasshoppers

What’s up my dear readers?
Its been a couple of months, and I have a lot of stuff on my mind.  First and foremost…Las Vegas has been overrun with locusts!!!  If you look at the news and online, it will probably say “just grasshoppers”, but from what I’ve read, any grasshopper that swarms is considered a locust.  So.  Its the great locust apocalypse!!
If you know anything about me, its that I hate bugs.  Of all kinds.  Especially flying ones.  Especially when they fly at my face.  I blame my beloved GrinGran for that reaction, really.   She used to freak the fuck out if a bee was near her.   I know that its an irrational fear.  I KNOW that things like grasshoppers, moths,  and butterflies are harmless.  I think they’re cute, sometimes.  But they can be cute away from me.  I don’t want them on me or in my house.

Well.  With this damned apocalypse, they’ve made their way into the house every now and again, and they freak me out.  So that’s been stressful.  I’m very much looking forward to when they move on away from Vegas, which should hopefully be in just a couple more days.

Morgan and I went to San Francisco in May and had the BEST time.  We want to go back again soon.  So much amazing food, and so many great things to see.  We went to the Aquarium on the Bay, and I got to see a giant pacific octopus, up close and personal!!  It was so incredible.  One of the best moments of my life.

Of course, we also saw Neil Gaiman, who read from Good Omens, and Trigger Warning.  He talked a lot about Terry Pratchett, and about creating the show, and it was absolutely incredible.  Didn’t get to meet him, but we knew that was unlikely to happen.

I have photos from the trip on my instagram account:  @yasminadlv if you have any interest in checking them out.

I also have been working hard on recreating a fitness routine for myself.  I have lost about 9 pounds in two months, but I’ve stalled.  Working out is hard when you’ve been walking outside, and then all of a sudden its a hundred and stupid outside, and there are freaking locusts everywhere.  I’ve done a little yoga here and there, but I want to get more into the habit of doing something 2-3 times a week.  The good news is, I have amazing roomies who are willing to help motivate me, along with Morgan’s constant support, so I will be able to be in the habit of working out, and training myself to become strong while I drop this weight.

Which brings me to my next point.  I’ve seen a lot of things recently that feel like “fit shaming” or “weight loss shaming.”  I was a part of a group that was focused on health and healthy living, but specifically black listed any mention of intentional weight loss.
That was not ok with me.  I am all about body positivity, and loving yourself where you are, in the skin you are in.  However, when that body is constantly causing you aches, pains, and difficulty climbing stairs/dancing/walking etc., you want to lose the weight to ease those things.

I feel like the body positive movement has gone to an extreme.  It seems to me that its become “You must love who you are, and only exercise because you enjoy it, and you must never try to change who you are, under any circumstances.”  That is just not the way it should be at all.

Yes, love your body.  Hell yes, exercise because you love the movement that you’re doing.  But if I want to exercise, lift, dance, and run because I need to drop 80 pounds in order to have a better quality of life…why is that something that I can’t talk about?  Its my body, not anyone else’s.  I’m not saying anyone who is my weight needs to lose weight.  I’m saying that I do because I can’t climb a flight of stairs, or sometimes even walk to the bathroom without getting winded.  My feet hurt more than they don’t, and guess what…they hurt less when I weigh less.  I don’t understand the need to shame people who want to lose weight for healthy reasons.  I don’t understand the need to shame people for wanting to be better versions of themselves.  And no, I still don’t see the point of shaming someone who simply wants to feel better about herself when she is naked looking in the mirror.  I DON’T love my body this size.  I want to love my body.  Why is that a bad thing?  I don’t want to go crazy, and get down to an unhealthy weight.  I just want to have less fat on my body, and more muscle.  I want to be strong.  I don’t see why this is such a bad thing, but apparently even commenting about being happy that I’ve lost a few pounds is terrible.

I’m super excited for this next step in my journey.  I’ll be doing weight training, and some cardio, at least 2 x a week, maybe 3, and maybe more.  Definitely at least 2-3 with the roomies, and likely a couple times on my own as well, just for cardio.  I might look into yoga classes or something too, for my flexibility.  They also have steam rooms, and a pool at the gym I’m joining.  I don’t like either of those things, but I know saunas are good for me, so…we’ll see.  lol

Anyway.  I’m just excited to have the opportunity to continue to exercise even when its hot and there are swarms of bugs outside.  And I don’t care who knows that I can’t wait to drop this weight.  Because I will feel better and be healthier when I do.

Ironically, I’m also going to be taking another Facebook break after this weekend.  I don’t know how long its going to be for this time, if I’m honest.  My mental health is better when I’m not facebooking all the time.  I will still have my Instagram although I may try to slow down on the posting there too.  Especially with my hopefully soon to be transformation.  I’m going to take some before photos, and then try not to post so many pictures of myself until its been a month or two of straight workouts, and consistent healthy eating paired with intermittent fasting. I am really looking forward to transforming my mind and my body over the next couple months.

I feel like I’m in a bit of a healthier space than i was before.  Morgan and I have good friends that we’re seeing more frequently, I’ve been dancing more, and am actually starting a second dance challenge on Monday, that’s all tribal fusion, and it honestly has me a little shook.  For someone who hasn’t trained much over the last few years outside a handful of workshops, this is going to be hard for me…and I couldn’t be more excited, honestly.

My anxiety is…weird.  I feel mentally less anxious, but I’ve had a slight increase in physical symptoms:  where i was previously waking up feeling like I was shaking on the inside…I’m now having a full on physical tremor.  I’m not entirely sure what is causing it or why, especially since I don’t feel anxious.  I don’t know.  I need to find a new doctor that I can talk to about these symptoms that are going to actually care enough to look into it for me.

All that said, there is another reason for my social media break…I’m honestly sick and tired of seeing passive aggressive douche baggery happening.  Specifically this time, it was a former friend.  I don’t know why he’s a “former” friend…we didn’t do anything to him, he just decided that we were awful people and that he was going to stop interacting with us PERIOD… like won’t speak to Morgan if we’re in the same room.  (Seems to be a theme from people we used to be close to.  None of them know how to behave like adults anymore.)  This person made 2 comments after I did regarding the stupid locusts/grasshoppers, on people who he barely interacts with anymore’s pages…just to troll me.  And I’m so fucking over it.  Like…I know all about the REAL you, douchebag. You think you fooled everyone, but you didn’t, and if you really think that no one knows, you’re a bigger idiot than I thought.  You think you’re hot shit, but you’re just cold diarrhea.

And I’m over it.  I see too much stuff like this online, and I’m done.  It makes me mad, it makes me sad and it just irritates me to no end to see people that I used to love acting like morons.  So I’m done with it.

I’d rather focus my time and energy on people who deserve it.  Who love and understand me and my husband.  People who will put time and effort into maintaining a relationship, and not just give up on people because it gets hard.  Or who will make all kinds of stupid assumptions about us being bad people because of our lifestyle.  Screw you all.

This post was supposed to go up a week ago, but I got behind on a few things, so it has been postponed.  But:
Grasshoppers are mostly gone, thank god.
Gym has been joined, and I’ve already trained 3x this week.  Maybe 4 today, I haven’t decided yet.
Dance challenge is underway, and its HARD but its ok.  Its a good challenge.
Facebook break is already making me feel much better, although I am still shaking, and want to find a doctor to run some tests.

Anyway dear readers…if you’re still with me, I appreciate you.  This blog is for me to post all my craziness, and I am honored that I have people who read my thoughts.  Bonus points to you for giving a shit.

Have a good weekend everyone.  🙂

 

Updates and excitement

Hello dear readers.

Last month, I did the short social media (Facebook) break I spoke about in my last post, and let me tell you, I am so glad that I did.
I recently reactivated Facebook (just yesterday) and I’m already sick of it.

 

In the couple of weeks that I was off Facebook, I found myself spending more time face to face with my husband, walking the dogs more, and more time actually paying attention to movies.

I’ve reactivated for a couple of reasons, and I think that I will not completely delete my profile for these very few reasons:
1.  Birthdays.  Until I write down my friends’ birthdays in a place that I will not lose them, I want to have a reminder of when they are.
2.  Sharing photos of the upcoming trip to San Francisco with my love.  Lots of my Facebook friends aren’t on Instagram, and I am SO excited about this trip, I can’t wait to share photos with everyone.  More on the trip in a minute.
3.  Dance related information.  I don’t want to be completely out of the loop when it comes to the local community.  Even though I’m not dancing as much as before, I am homing to remedy that soon, and even if I’m not performing, I do want to support the community, and go to see shows.

 

So while you will still see me on FB, I am definitely significantly reducing the amount of time I spend on there.  I’d rather read books or play games with my friends…go outside.  Watch a movie and pay attention.  All of those things.

Please keep in mind, if you’re super active on social media, I’m in no way shaming you for how often you are on there.  I just noticed for my own mental health, I definitely do better with limited time.

I’ve also learned that I don’t really know how to, nor do I care to learn how to Twitter.  It’s just confusing to me.  I still try, a bit, but I think I’m going to stick to Instagram for most of my Social Media interactions.

 

So now, on to the fun topic!!  Morgan and I are taking a short vacation this weekend!!!  I’m so unbelievably excited I can hardly focus.
This is the first trip to somewhere that we’ve never been together that we’ve been on since 2012, and that was solely for the VNV Nation Concert in Tempe, AZ.

We’ve gone to LA and San Diego together lots of times.  I’ve never been to San Francisco, and its been over a decade since Morgan has been there.

Morgan is going to show me the iconic spots that he used to frequent when he lived up there, and we’re going to eat a ton of amazing food.  We’re staying at an AirBnB that looks like a little gingerbread house!!  I’m so stoked.  It’s supposed to be kind of like “glamping” (glamorous camping) which is also something I’ve never done.

Sunday night, we are going to An Evening with Neil Gaiman, which is a dream come true for me.  I’ve been a fan for 18+ years…although I think it might actually be 20 years this year.  At any rate…he’s my favorite author of all time, and I’m just SO stoked to finally see him give readings, tell stories…and the super slim chance of meeting him has me beyond excited.  I know that it’s a super slim chance, but it would be a dream come true to be able to shake his hand, thank him for his work, which has been an enormous influence in my life, and maybe take a quick picture.  I’d probably cry.  In fact…I definitely would cry super happy tears.  😀

 

I’m so looking forward to the whole trip.  We’re going to spend some time down on pier 39, eating seafood, checking out the aquarium, walking around being together…we also have 10 hours in the car both ways, so there will be a ton of singing going on. I love our road trips, and this one will be the longest one we’ve taken together.  Morgan also pointed out that as we drive in to San Francisco, that I’ll be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge…this excited me more than I can say.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that I’d be seeing such an iconic landmark.

Two more days till we’re packing, dropping the pups off with my parents, and getting all the essentials:  snacks, water, energy drinks.  On that note, I think I’m going to hit the “post” button and start doing what I do best: making a check list of things we need to do before we go.

Until next time dear readers!!

39 years old this Friday

Hello dear readers.
Its been a while, and I apologize for that.  I need to start being able to carve out more time for updates.

My birthday is coming up this weekend.  I’m looking forward to a very relaxing weekend.  I’ve spent this week finishing up on chores (laundry, picking up the room, etc) so that I don’t have to do anything on Friday but read and sleep, and maybe knit a little, and then we can have our wine/couch/movie marathon on Saturday with pizza.

This is the first year that I haven’t posted any type of birthday list or request for tattoo funds, etc.  Not that I wouldn’t love to get some things off my Amazon wish list (shameless plug,) or money for my tattoo, but this year, I decided that I would start a Facebook fundraiser.

I feel a bit better doing this, and less like a selfish twat.  (I say this in jest, mostly.  An experience a couple of years ago has left me extremely worried about people perceiving me as greedy or selfish, so I’m always a bit gun shy.)  Besides, we did get my tax return back and I’m able to get some work done on the tattoo using some of this money.  I won’t be able to finish it yet, but I’m happy that I get to have any work done at all this year.

I’ve gone back and forth on posting this, but it feels like something that I need to do.

This year, I’m focusing on my health:  mental and physical.  I know that I say this a lot, but I’ve gotten some blood work back that has me mildly concerned (Nothing bad, but I’m creeping up to pre-diabetic numbers, so I need to take action now.), and so i’m actually going to be taking action.  My mental health has been getting a bit better over the last 6 months, and I’m focused on taking good care of myself, including taking down time when I need it.  I’m also trying to make sure that I get moving, that I make healthier choices with my food and drink, and that I take my vitamins regularly.

I want to put more focus into the relationships with the people who I love dearly…Things got a little crazy this last year, and I feel like Morgan and I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with some of the people we really want to spend time with, or we’ve ended up having to cancel plans, etc.

Our circle has gotten smaller…and that’s not a bad thing.  I want to live a simpler life, with more love and understanding, more dance, more good food, and people who contribute to a healthier me, not people or things that add to my anxiety.

That being said…I’m resolving to spend WAY less time on Facebook.  I don’t want to give it up completely, because it is a good way for me to connect with friends, and see what is going on in the dance world, however, as Morgan has pointed out to me on several occasions, it doesn’t help my anxiety.  I will keep my Instagram active, as I simply love taking and sharing photos, but I’m hoping to spend less time on the book of faces.

I know that my goals are achievable.  I just have to focus and take baby steps, and I can do it all.

39 years on this planet, and I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of it.

Until next time..

 

 

2018 In Review

Oh my dear readers, what a roller coaster it has been this year.

I can honestly say, with 100% certainty, that I will not miss 2018. There have been some awesome moments, and some great outcomes, but all in all, 2018 has been rough. I am definitely looking forward to the coming year.

Similarly to last year, I began my “new year” after the solstice, so I’ve already created my goals for the new year.

Most noticeably, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that this year has been a particularly difficult struggle with depression and anxiety for me. I’ve been seeing an incredible counselor who is helping me, not only with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but also with EMDR treatment to help me process some of the more difficult things I’ve encountered in my life that have caused some of the problems I still struggle with.

I’ve had panic attacks in my sleep, where I wake up shaking. I’ve had attacks so bad that I hyperventilate and feel like I’m going to pass out. I’ve also had attacks where I simply rock back and forth, or fidget really badly. Over the last month or so, things have been getting a little better, even with my depression rearing its ugly head again.

I’ve been given the tools to help myself through bouts of depression and anxiety attacks, and while I still struggle, its an invaluable asset to me.

My relationship with Morgan is stronger than ever. We’ve been through our own ups and downs this year, but we’re both in a better place now than we were last year, or even a few months ago. He’s my rock, and I’m so grateful for where we are today. I’m proud of him and the progress and self improvement he’s done this year, and I can’t wait for the coming year to see how much further we both can go. We are stronger together.

Another huge milestone for me this year was that I shaved my head for charity! I’d been wanting to cut my hair for a long time, but in February, I got the idea to participate in St. Baldrick’s yearly event at McMullen’s. I shaved 34 inches of hair and raised $400 for children’s cancer research. It was definitely an experience I’d love to do again.

In terms of dance, this year was a busy one!
I had the opportunity to perform several times this year, in many different venues, in addition to taking a handful of workshops.
I studied with Karim Nagi when he was here in Las Vegas, and again at the Arab Dance Seminar in LA. In LA, I also got to study with Amel Tafsout and Kay Hardy Campbell for the second time, and Nashwa for the first time. I just adore all of these women, and the incredible group of dancers that I was lucky enough to study with over the ADS weekend. I learned so much from all of the teachers I studied with this year, and I am entering the coming year with a desire to grow, to respectfully represent Arab Dance, and to expand my fusion performances while maintaining respect for the culture.
In addition, my lady love Nina and I debuted our duet troupe Dualitas. We performed twice at the Dark Arts market, where we presented not only the performance of Ghost by VNV Nation that we’ve been working on for 2 years, but we also created a new piece that blew the crowd away!
I performed a few solos this year as well, and look forward to performing many more in the coming year, and pushing myself to be a better dancer. One big highlight was being asked to do a short improvised drum solo with Karim back in February. In 16 years, this was only my second time performing to live music in a performance setting, (not in class) and I had a blast.

My work life has also been pretty amazing: Last December I accepted a promotion at work, and have worked as a Development Coach since January 1. I’ve learned so much from my team, the supervisors I work with, and the agents I support. Every day is a learning opportunity, not only about my job, but about myself as a person.

There have been some developments in other important relationships for Morgan and I this year….but that will likely be a topic for another time.

Finally, to round out the year, Morgan and I have moved away from the apartment, and have moved in with our dear friend Liz. We moved in at the end of August, and have been having an absolute blast. Liz has two awesome dogs, Drew and Peanut, and our puppers have been getting along with everyone very nicely…in fact Drew and Phèdra have become fast friends, and play together ALL the time. I love the side of town that we are on, I am only 12 minutes from work instead of 30-50 depending on the time of day. Most of all, I love that we are living with Liz, who is one of our best friends. We have all kinds of catchphrases and inside jokes that make me laugh like a maniac. JULIEN!!

In the coming year, I’m wanting to continue to work on my self love, my self care, and my personal growth. Without further ado, I present my 2019 goals (my CDFs will come at a later time, I have to find my Desire Map book.)

Personal goals:
1. Walk every day. If possible, take more than one walk per day. Minimum of 10 minutes.
2. Increase water intake.
3. Continue to form healthier eating habits: More veggies, less sugar.
4. Journaling/Morning pages time 3-4 times a week for mental health.
5. One down day/down evening per week: No plans, No chores, No TV, No Electronics (exception: eReader, meditation app, or writing, but no web surfing). Days like this can be used for game days with Morgan, relaxing bubble bath, focusing on the pups, reading, etc.
6. More weight lifting/Highland Games training.
7. Set up and adhere to chore schedule for myself and Morgan.

Relationship Goals:
1. Minimum 2 date nights with Morgan one on one per month.
2. Friend dates once per month.
3. Less phone time, more face to face time.
4. Host a fancy dress cocktail party

Dance Goals:
1. Minimum of 2 practice sessions of 1 hour or more per week.
2. 1 private lesson or workshop.
3. Perform 3-5 times this year
4. Utilize practice DVDs.
5. Fix sagat elastic and start practicing again.
6. Work on and perform classic Egyptian, Folkloric, and Fusion pieces this year.

And finally, my gratitude.

First and foremost: Morgan. I am so grateful to you for everything. Thank you for standing by me, for being my partner, and for helping me when I chase the rabbit. I love you.  I look forward to growing more with you this coming year, and to the fun ideas and plans that we’re scheming.

To my blood family: I love you all so much. Thank you for your constant support, help, and all the laughter.

To my chosen family: You know who you are. You’re the ones that are constantly at our place, inviting us over, going out places with us. You’re the ones orchestrating game nights, dance practices, holiday celebrations. The ones I can count on for help, for an ear, for a laugh. The ones I can vent to. The ones we cook for, and that cook for us. The ones we may not see as frequently as we’d like, but we love just the same.  The ones we only know online, who provide an awesome support system… I can’t ever express my love for you all. Thank you for all you do.

To Sandi, Erin, and Phil: Thank you for giving me a space to perform. Every performance helps me to grow as an artist, and I am always grateful.  I look forward to more collaborations in 2019.

To everyone who has been a part of my dance journey this year, I am grateful to you.  Whether we danced together in a workshop, performed in the same show/hafla, if you were one of my teachers this year, or if you are a Facebook friend who I only get to see online…you all inspire me every day.  I’m grateful to you all.

And so, my dearest readers, I wish every one of you a very happy new year.  Be safe.  Be kind.

See you next year.

“We Were Born to be Powerful!”

One week ago, I was leaving work about this time to go home and nap before an EPIC weekend of sisterhood.

Many of you have heard me talk about GRRRL Clothing before.  For those that aren’t aware, GRRRL clothing does not use standard sizing for their clothes.  Everything is based on your measurements, and named after a BAD ASS female athlete.  Sizes are bullshit.  GRRRL also seeks to unite women as sisters, and allow us to realize that we do not need to be in competition with one another , but rather, to encourage and build each other up to change the world.

I posted last year about GRRRL Live, and how life changing it was.

Well.  We just finished #GL18, and it was every bit as amazing as last year.  If its possible, it was more so.

This year, we talked about so many important issues…sisterhood, intersectional feminism (with the BEST. PANEL. DISCUSSION. EVER.), white privilege, overcoming food addiction, breaking through what is holding you back from achieving your dreams, writing your story/loving yourself where you’re at,  and so many more amazing topics.

There were also INCREDIBLE workshops available, like dead lifting and Strong GRRRL, self defense, ultimate body confidence, MMA with ROSE NAMAJUNAS!!!, plant based living,  and the Nurtured Heart Approach.

Let me start with Friday night’s pool party.

I’m not a bathing suit fan, or rather, I never used to be.  But being surrounded by so many amazing women, knowing that they weren’t there to judge my thighs or scars, or body hair, I was so comfortable.  In fact, they’ve made me feel so comfortable, that I’m planning to buy a bikini for this summer.

We danced.  We sang.  We ate cheese.  We jumped into the pool (I say “we”, I mostly mean “they.”  I kind of hopped into the super shallow end, with my water phobia.  lol) I got to hug and reconnect with some of the AMAZING GRRRLS I met last year, and then met some AMAZING new friends…who are local to Las Vegas!!!!  It was an awesome night, despite the ridiculous wind that tried to blow us all away.

Saturday was amazing.  We heard from 2 of the Next Gen GRRRL models, who are still in school, but are learning important lessons in life about supporting your sisters, dealing with bullies, and finding something you’re passionate about (I’m looking at you, Ava!  You were amazing with your presentation) and doing it to the best of your ability.

Talking about intersectional feminism was one of the Saturday highlights for me.  As a white woman, I need to make sure that I am using my privilege for GOOD (and not being a trash bag about it).  This talk and the following panel opened my eyes to so many things, and reaffirmed so many other things that I had already thought about.  We spoke briefly about cultural appropriation, a topic that always concerns me, as a student of Arab Dance.  It was eye opening, and I’m looking forward to learning all that I can.   I desperately want to be helpful, but not in a “the white girl is here to take over” kind of a way.  I want to find an organization or cause dealing specifically with issues for POC, and see if they’ll let me help out in the background…stuffing envelopes, etc.  I don’t need to be a mouthpiece, I just want to help.

Saturday I also tried dead lifting for the first time, and I am HOOKED.  I am currently searching for places/people to train with, because I just loved it.  The world of power lifting is beckoning me!!!

Sunday was emotional.  We had a talk about freedom from food addiction, and I resonated SO much with what our speaker was saying…I am extremely excited to have some one on one time next week with her so we can discuss steps I can take to be truly free.  So much of what she said hit me…things I can’t really get into here, but lets just say, she could have been talking about my life.

We also had a talk about breaking through barriers…quite literally.  Our speaker brought enough boards for all of us to write down what we wanted on one side, what was standing in our way on the other side…and we broke the boards with our fists!!  Talk about empowering.  I’ve never felt so amazing.

The highlight for me, however, was being asked to co-teach the ultimate body confidence workshop with 2 other amazing women.

We taught body confidence through dance.  There was twerking, chair dancing, and of course…belly dance/Arab Dance.

This was the largest group I’ve ever taught in a workshop setting, and I loved every last second of it.  Even with the 30 minute time constraints, every participant was able to grasp the basics of the moves that I showed, and they learned a short combination to dance to.

Being able to share my passion for dance, while imparting how amazing they all were was incredible.  Dancing has bolstered my confidence so much, and even though I still have days where I feel a little like “Oh, I don’t know…my scars will be showing,” etc…if you love what you do, the confidence will come.

The other awesome part for me was being able to educate these women (albeit a bit briefly) about the origins of the dance, and to impart that this is someone’s culture, not just a super fun “shake your butt” activity.  (Although it is super fun, but its also a cultural dance.)

There were other events that I wasn’t able to stay for, like an AMAZING WEDDING!!!!  2 incredible GRRRLS that met through the Facebook group got married on Sunday night! There was also a movie premier, which I wish I could have been able to attend, but we had other things going on that night.

All in all, after the weekend, I feel much better about some of the things that I’ve been wanting to do, but putting off.  I have new ideas,  and although they will take time, I know that I have some amazing things to do that will help me achieve some of my commitments, and make an impact in the lives of GRRRLS everywhere.

I’m going to leave you with some photos from the weekend.  I can’t wait for GRRRL Live 2019.  It promises to be an even more incredible weekend.  To all my GRRRLS who I met/reconnected with this weekend, thank you so much for everything you do, and everything you are.  We were born to be powerful.  We are warriors!  We are sisters!  We are going to change the world!!!!!

 

 

If I had a heart…

Good morning my dear readers.
I hope this post finds you all well.
I am feeling a little better since my last update, although it has taken quite the roller coaster to get here.

Its been a trying couple of weeks, culminating in the week from absolute hell this week.  But, I feel as though I’ve come out the other side a bit stronger, and a bit more grounded, with many things that I want to work on.

Tonight, however…I dance.

Tonight, I’m excited to say, my friend Nina and I are debuting our new dark fusion dance troupe, Dualitas.  We will be performing at the Dark Arts market tonight, and have a brand new duet, custom made for this event.  Its spooky and creepy, and amazing, and I cannot wait to dance it tonight.

Its amazing how dance and music can bring you through things.  I’ve found so much solace in music lately, I’m building myself a playlist on YouTube right now that is serving to inspire me, in a more primal way.  I can’t really explain it.  Many of the songs are either by Native Throat singers, or Pagan “folk/rock” groups.  The music stirs something in me, that is just…primal.  And beautiful.

Anyway.

My dear readers, I thank you for your love and support.  It makes me smile any time I see that someone has “liked” or followed my blog.  I’m just a woman sharing her innermost thoughts for the sake of writing them down.  I appreciate you all.  Thank you.

Until next time, when I will most definitely have more things to say, and more substance to write about.

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