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.