International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.

I have a plethora of strong, amazing, incredible women in my life, and I’m beyond blessed to have them there.

Women are amazing beings.  We really are.

I’m talking about all women: Literally any human being who identifies as female/woman.

How amazing are we, ladies?

We are friends, lovers, mothers, caregivers, daughters, sisters, executives, teachers, IT professionals, lawyers, doctors, singers, artists, bloggers, stay-at-home moms, business owners, politicians.  We are warriors, fighters, queens, princesses, saviors, knights, Madonnas, Jezebels, strong women, power lifters, dancers.

My women.  My amazing, inspiring women.  My friends, my family.
We are.  We are women.  We have struggles.  We are beaten down, oppressed, depressed, repressed, pressing the laundry, pressing the grilled cheeses, pressing matters, pressing the button for the destruction of inequality.

My women.  My amazing, inspiring women.  My friends, my family.
We are.  We are women.  We are creatively mothers, even those of us who are child free.  We give birth:   We birth ideas, babies, recipes, knitting patterns, home decor, weddings, funerals, business plans.  We work tirelessly, up all night feeding our children, our infants, our pets, our spouses, our projects, our music, our dance studio, our painting, our depositions, our desperate friends.  We nurture and mother, whether we are mothers or not we are nurturers.  We care deeply.  We love.  We comfort.  We give advice freely, over coffee, over tea, over whiskey.

We are.
We are WOMEN.  We endure.  We live it every day.  The passive aggressive turned aggressive turned violent in less than 5 minutes dating site messages.  The fragile egos of the fuckboys who insist that they are “nice guys”…who aren’t so nice when we politely say that we aren’t interested.  We endure.  The constant catcalls.  The men who tell us to smile.  The ones who leer, and call us prudes for going slow when it comes to sex, but call us sluts if we admit to enjoying it.
We live through the victim shaming.  The repression of being told what to wear, how to dress, how to avoid being raped, when it is NEVER our own fault!  If I walk down the street buck ass naked as the day I was born, it will NEVER BE CONSENT UNLESS I SAY YES.
We live through being TOLD we are being repressed, oppressed, simply by dressing a certain way.  If I cover my hair, my face, my body, its oppression.  But what they don’t realize is that I choose this.  What they’ll never realize because they never ask is that I feel empowered by modesty.  I feel empowered by nudity.  My empowerment is not for you to dictate.  Only I can say what empowers me.

I am a woman.
An Amazing woman.

A woman who sees other amazing women beginning to spark changes.
Women who make it their mission to build other women up.  Realizing that we are NOT in competition with each other, but we are striving for a sisterhood.

Striving to understand one another.  To break through barriers that divide, united in the fight for ALL women.  For our right to CHOOSE.  For our right to have control over OUR OWN bodies.

Today, I celebrate WOMEN.  All the beautiful women in the world.
You are all strong, courageous and inspiring.

Ladies, don’t give in.
Don’t become complacent.  We have to fight.  We cannot be comfortable.
Stand up for each other, and each others rights. ALL rights.  Don’t tear each other down.  We are ALL in this together.


A healthy shift

This past week was a little rough for me.
I’m not sure why I was so affected by the events that happened.  Maybe its because I don’t do well with passive aggressive behavior (like my old roommate Pat used to be)…maybe I still just care FAR too much about other people’s opinions of me.

Long story short, without causing more issues:  someone I thought I was fairly close to was apparently talking about me behind my back, and people were making passive aggressive statements to/about me on a forum I used to participate in quite frequently.
As of Friday, I deactivated my account there, and “unfriended” the vast majority of the women I knew from that site.  Not all.  But the only ones I kept are either: not active there much anymore, or women I actually interact with on FB.  There were a few that I probably could have kept on FB, but in reality…I was upset and didn’t know who I could trust anymore.  (If any of you happen to see this, know that I didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings…I just seriously was unsure of who all had participated in the gossip.)

My anxiety and depression have kicked in pretty hard core.
I don’t like that I’ve allowed myself to become so upset over a handful of internet strangers opinions of me…but then I’ve always cared just TOO much.

I’ve decided, however, that this is a blessing in disguise.

At some point, we have to just move on.  At some point, we realize that not everyone we meet is a friend.  Not everyone who says they love you mean it.

What I can do right now, is I can focus on the people in my life who actually do care.  I can focus on myself, and on making my life better, without worrying about being judged.

On that note, I’ve found a spark of inspiration this weekend.  After feeling extremely low for two days, I had the opportunity to kind of immerse myself into the dance community this weekend.
The Tribal Massive is an event that takes place in Las Vegas every year.  I know the organizer/producer, but haven’t ever really done much with the event, because tribal/fusion isn’t my forte.  I do more Egyptian style, and folkloric dance, even though I do love and appreciate good fusion.

This year, I opted to volunteer at the Festival stage and the Fission show.  I was a “Stage Kitten,” meaning I helped out if costume bits/props, etc were left on stage/fell off/exploded.   It was the most fun job, even though people kept picking up their own stuff.  I had a blast.  I got to see all of the Festival performers on Saturday, and I got to watch the Fission show from the wings on Saturday night.  It was really great!  So many awesome performers.

Its put a bit of a fire under my ass to start working on more pieces.  One of my goals this year is to perform more often.  I have a Khaliji piece that I want to do in April…although it will be mostly improvised, I definitely have to start working on practicing, and work on the hair tossing…

I’d like to work more on the duet that Nina and I have put together…

I also want to put together a couple of fun pop numbers for shows put on by friends/should the need arise for a fun, peppy number.

I also desperately want to do a gooey, beautiful, classical piece.

Then, I had the brilliant idea for a double assaya piece.

Add to all this my desire for appropriate costuming, I’m actually going to be looking at asking friends for sewing lessons so that I can make my own costumes.  (the easy ones, like Saidi dresses, etc)

I definitely have my work cut out for me this year.  I just have to be diligent and not allow myself to get sidetracked.  I need to spend any free time I have working on improving my dancing instead of playing stupid games on my phone.  I need to work on conditioning, and exercise.  I need to work on strength training, and endurance.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like its possible.  But I know it is.  I know that its worth it.  I know that all the hard work, the dedication, the tears, the frustration, the elation, the pain…its all worth it.

If I can make just one person smile with my dancing.  If I can touch just one person…its all worth it.

Life is too short to allow yourself to be brought down by things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

While I’m here, I’m going to dance.

Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2015

Me dancing at the LVBDI in 2015.  Photo by Lee Corkett