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

 

furious-dancing

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So long, 2016. You will not be missed.

This year has been a rough one for a lot of people.
From the death of legends like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher , to the presidential election that still has me praying that I’ll wake up and this terrible dream will be over…a lot of folks have had a rough time this year.

We have too.
Long time friends have vanished, without so much as a “Fuck you.”  We moved and are struggling to pay things off, with car repairs, old bills, and new.  (We are getting there though.  Thankfully.)

This year has also been pretty damned amazing though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dwelling on the negative side of life will never be helpful.  Acknowledging negativity, and allowing yourself to be in your feelings is one thing…but to dwell.  To let the bad fester…that’s not helpful.

What amazing things happened this year?
Well.
I got to spend some amazing time with friends this year.  Whether we were going to see The Cure, VNV Nation, exploring Disneyland, fan girling over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gothing up a good friend, playing poker, playing D&D, playing disc golf, painting, dancing, drinking, eating cheese, seeing each other for the first time in 5 years, singing,  moving, laughing, crying, or visiting the Goddess temple and sharing struggles and successes…2016 was an incredible time for being with true, real friends.

I celebrated one year of marriage with my amazing husband.  That right there feels like a huge accomplishment, even if it was the easiest thing that either of us did all year.  Being with Morgan is easy.  Even when we disagree, argue, fight, or completely misunderstand each other.  With the things we’ve gone through this year, I love that our relationship only grows stronger every day.

I embodied 6 of the 7 CDFs (core desired feelings) I set for myself this year.
1. Bliss:  I was able to find a lot of good in many things this year, many of them simple pleasures.
2. Resilient:  This year has thrown me some curve balls.  But here I am.  Bouncing back.  Coming back stronger.
3. Sparkly:  I danced  A LOT this year!  I performed at 2 haflas, Steam-A-Thon Steampunk convention, and a fundraiser hosted by a dear friend.  I took a workshop AND was able to take a 6 week long raqs sharqi class with Aradia!
4.  Abundance:  This one was hard, because my focus was always on financial abundance, which…to be honest…we don’t have.  And we haven’t found it yet.  (I’m convinced 2017 will be the year we get to catch up AND save, but more on that later.)  This year, I was reminded of the abundance of LOVE and COMPASSION I have…I’m surrounded by friends and family who love me.  Who help me.  Who listen to me.  I am, in that aspect, abundantly blessed, and rich beyond measure.
5. Uncluttered: This one started at the old house after Pat disappeared.  We cleaned up.  We organized.  We threw things away.  We had a house that was fit to throw parties in!
Then we moved, and we got even more uncluttered.  The apartment is small, and while we do have SOME spaces that are a little cluttered, its nowhere near as bad as it used to be in the house.
6.  Healthy:  I’m most proud of this one.  Since my surgery last year, I’ve been mostly healthy this year.  Minimal pain, and that’s just been recently.   I haven’t had as many colds…I’ve been eating better, and exercising too.  Health is SO important to me, now that I have it back, I intend to keep it, and work hard for it.
(*side note, the one I didn’t really get to much was “steamy” but I might keep it as an honorary CDF for this year…embody my sensuality and sexuality a little more this year.)

I also set several goals last year that I actually met!!  There’s nothing better than reaching a goal.  Here’s what I accomplished last year:
1. Found a primary care doctor
2. Had my tubal ligation
3. Set workout goals, and started working out 3 times a week.
4. Set up and use planning time in the mornings (bullet journal)
5. Keep up with household chores
6. Eat more veggies
7. Take 1 local dance workshop
8. Take 1 session of raqs sharqi classes
9. Collaborate with local dancers for fun.

I’m really proud of myself and my progress!  So, as 2017 approaches, I am preparing myself for a stellar year.  I am visualizing and manifesting greatness and success for myself and for Morgan, and all of my friends.  I have 3 categories of goals again this year, and I’m excited to get started!

Life Goals:
1.  Find a better/better paying/more fulfilling job.
2. Save money.
3. Repair my credit/pay off medical debt.

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 62 pounds.
2. Get fit, strong, and healthy.
3. Observe and celebrate solstices, and holidays: Samhain/Yule, etc.
4. Read AT LEAST 1 book per month
5. Attempt to read 1 book a week (52 books this year.)
6. Continue to keep up with chores.
7.  Run a 5K/7K
8. Finally get memorial tattoo.

Dance Goals:
1. Daily/3 times a week practice
2. Take 1 local workshop
3. Take a workshop/private class with an OOT dancer (example:  When I go to San Diego, take a detour through L.A. to study with Aubre, Courtney, Princess Farhana, etc)
4. Perform/record the duet that Nina and I have choreographed, and send to VNV Nation.
5. Perform at least 3 times
6. Try to attend the Arab Dance Seminar

I’ve set my Core Desired Feelings for 2017 as well, and I’m really excited about them.  Here’s how I want to feel this year:
2017cdfs
1. Cultivated: I love this word.  This encompasses so many feelings that I want to experience.  I want to feel cultured.  Intellectual.  Intelligent.  Rooted.  Earthy.  I want to read books, I want to experience new music, see art galleries, sing, dance.  I want to explore my roots and my spirituality.  I want to learn more about my spiritual path, but in a grounded way.  I want to be more cerebral, but keep my emotions in tact.  Cultivated, for me, has all of those feelings and emotions and plans all wrapped up into one.
2. Magical:  This means so many things to me.  I’m exploring actual magick, and learning about witchcraft.  I know that magick is real, and I want to have magick in my life.
I also want to be amazed by life.  To find sparkly wonder everywhere.  I want to take people on a magical journey with my dancing.  I want to spend time with my head in the clouds.  I want to be entranced and enraptured by life itself.
3. Connected:  I want to feel more connected to my family and friends.  I want to spend less time with my phone in my hand, and more time face to face.  Laughing.  Talking.  Singing.  Eating.  I want to connect with people.  I want to connect with music when I dance. To connect to culture, and spirituality.
4.  Strong:  Strength is something I desire in all areas of my life.
I want to be physically strong.  To do pull-ups.  Push-ups.  Weighted squats.  Lift heavy things.  To be able to run a 5K or 7K.
I want to be mentally strong.  To be able to lift myself out of my depressive times.  To deal with stress in healthy ways.
I want to be strong when it comes to my resolve:  to find a new job.  I don’t want to be complacent about this anymore, and this is going to require a TON of strength to move outside of my comfort zone.
I want to be financially strong.  Bills are paid, in full, on time.  Debts are repaid.  There is money in the bank for a rainy day.  I live abundantly, all my needs and the needs of my husband are met.  We are strong and successful.
5. Cozy:  Cozy brings to mind comfort.  I have a tendency to put off self care and self love.  I don’t take down time until I am completely exhausted.  Cozy, to me, is curling up on the couch with my love and the dogs with a hot cuppa and a good book.  Cozy is a nice, long, hot bubble bath with more tea or wine.  Relaxing.  Blankets, and sweaters, and snuggles.  2017 I will take better care of myself.  I will not be afraid to say “No thank you” to plans, and to just stay in and relax.  To have a night in where I read one of my 52 books.
6.  Playful:  We, as adults, don’t play much anymore.  I feel very stressed, and tired all the time because of work.  I want to find a job where I can be playful.  Where I don’t have to be serious all of the time.  A job where I can have a bit of  fun.
I want to take the dogs for walks and to the park, and play with them.  Throw balls, chase them, run with them.
I want to play with my husband…he likes to be goofy and playful, and I tend to be cranky and old.  I don’t want to do that.  The key to a long life is laughter and fun.  And I want to play.
I want to play games with friends.  Game nights, poker nights, disc golf.
I want my life to be playful.  My dancing to be playful.
Let’s Play!

As the new year arrives, and we release the crazy year 2016, I want to thank you all, each of you who read this, for coming on this journey with me.

May your New Year’s eve be fun, filled with joy and laughter.
Be safe.

And may 2017 bring you closer to your goals, and leave you feeling the way YOU want to feel!

Happy New Year.

Random musings

Its been a while since I wrote last.
I’ll admit, things have been crazy, and I’ve had too much on my plate to think about updating a blog…I apologize, if any of you who read this missed me…although to be honest…I really don’t think anyone reads this very often.

When last I posted, Morgan and I had just moved into our own little apartment.

We’re loving it here.
There have been issues.  Our dishwasher is wonky, and has to be turned on with a wrench.  The washer broke, and we ended up getting a new (and bigger)one.  The refrigerator didn’t work upon our move in, and so we got a new (and bigger) one as well…and had to wait almost 2 weeks for them to change the laundry room door, as it wouldn’t close with the new fridge.

There have been 2 shootings since we moved in, which is never a fun thing…but oddly enough, I don’t really feel unsafe at home.  We’re on the 2nd floor, and we have a gun.  If anything goes down, I feel secure.  But our neighbors are polite, if not super friendly.  They keep to themselves, and we keep to ourselves.  I like it that way.

We’re pretty settled into a routine.  The dogs are doing great.
We finally got Phedra spayed, and also found out that she had pyometra, which can be fatal.  (Spay and Neuter your pets, folks, it could save their lives.)    She’s recovering really well, thank goodness.  She’s actually amazing off leash.  She knows “go home” and will run right upstairs when she’s done going potty.
Jack is learning to walk really nicely on leash, instead of pulling, and has recently discovered that he REALLY wants to chase cats.  He’s become a lot more vocal too: groaning and moaning when we’re snuggling, if we stop paying attention for a second.

We’ve celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary last weekend.  It was really a nice weekend.  We spent it mostly by ourselves…during the weekend, we played cards with some friends, and had a nice buffet with my family.  But the day of our anniversary, we spent together, with the dogs.  We went to the movies (Doctor Strange!  So good!), and then Morgan made a delicious steak dinner that was just amazing.

I have also started a Couch to 5K training program.  I’m almost done with week 3, and let me tell you, this is the hardest thing I’ve done since P90X.
I’m running a minimum of 3 times a week, and each week, the running time and intervals increase.

Since starting to watch my weight back in September, and since really watching my portions and what I’m eating, I’ve lost 4.8 pounds, and 3.5 inches off my waist.  This is without regular exercise.  Now that I’m exercising more frequently, and I’m also starting to add to the running (abs yesterday! Ouch!), I can’t wait to see the results.

I’m feeling better.  I feel stronger.  My joints hurt less, ironically.   I thought by trying to run outside on the pavement that my joints would hurt more, but they don’t.  I’ve also discovered the beauty of an Epsom salt bath!  So relaxing, and it really soothed my aching muscles.

There have still been some rough patches.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t keep it completely real.

I’ve been having some serious body image issues that are playing into my dance time.  Even though I’m making progress physically, I feel like my dancing is off, and I feel stagnant.  I know what I need is a good workshop or private lesson to get my creative juices flowing again.  I just don’t have the money right now…

Financially, its tight.  We’re still paying down old balances from the move/before the move, and are owed over $300 from a previous roommate.  We have people who helped us out before the move that we want to pay back, but haven’t been able to yet, because we can’t get the old bills paid off until we get this $300.  Its beyond frustrating.  Because of this, and because we owe people money, we don’t go out and do things like we used to.  Doctor Strange was the first movie that we’ve seen in the theater since WAY before we moved…and that was free from using points at Station casinos.   We went to a concert in October, and Universal studios, but only because Morgan donated plasma to get the money for the hotel and gas (the concert tickets were bought LONG before the move and the financial crisis) and our friends payed for us to go to Universal.
We wanted to go to the new Gordon Ramsay restaurant.  Its the cheapest one he’s got, at probably $30 per person without extras (fries, shakes)…and we couldn’t do that.

The silver lining to this, as frustrated as I am, is that Morgan has 2 karaoke gigs this month (one was last night) that we can use to pay back 1 of the 3 people we owe.  I’ve started making and selling fingerless gloves, so I’m making a little extra money that way.  Morgan is still donating plasma to help out with extra money, and we finally have his resume set up, so he can find something part time while we finish the edit of his novel.

gloves1

the first pair that I made

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest.  I won’t lie, it has been a ROUGH year.  But our marriage has been the easy part.  Knowing that we have each other’s backs through all the hard stuff makes it easier to get through the rough patches.

As Thanksgiving fast approaches, and the worst year of a lot of people’s lives draws to a close, I can only remember what I’m truly grateful for, and put out positivity to the Universe for a better year next year.

Stay tuned for my annual Thanksgiving and New Year posts!  I should have at least one more coming soon, about this amazing thing I’ve been doing for almost 3 months, Bullet Journaling.

…till next time dear readers.

Journey, Paths, and Happiness

Its only been a month or so since my last blog post here, yet I feel like its been AGES since I’ve had anything of substance to post.

I’ve started and deleted posts a few times.  Mostly because they were overwhelmingly negative.  I was going through a rough time, and while things aren’t 100% better, I have a better outlook on things.

In my last post, I spoke a bit about body confidence, and self image.  I wrote that I felt beautiful and proud of my body the last time I performed.  I’m glad that I was able to experience that feeling, because right now, I’m going through an internal battle about my body.

Its not that I don’t think I’m beautiful.  I do…kind of.  But what I’m having a lot of trouble with is the fact that because I’m so overweight right now, my body hurts.  Its a struggle for me to bend down, to go up stairs, even dancing can be pretty rough on me.

Over the last week, I’ve started watching my portion sizes again.  I really don’t eat badly.  Morgan is a great cook, and is conscious about what he makes for me.  He knows I want to eat cleaner and healthier.  I just have a bad habit of stuffing myself to the point of discomfort.
This week, I’ve started to eat more frequently, and smaller portions.  I feel more awake during the day, and I am starting to have more energy.

I also have started going to the gym with a good friend.  Just Monday, I did 2 miles on the elliptical, in 30 minutes.  That’s HUGE for me.  I burned 311 calories.   In 30 minutes!  That’s amazing.

I’m so sore today, but I’m anxiously awaiting 6:50pm when I meet my friend at the gym again.  More elliptical.  More abs.  MORE!!!

The ultimate goal that I’ve set for myself is that I want to lose 37 pounds by September.  In September, I’m going to start P90X again.  I feel, knowing my own body and limitations, that I need to wait until I’m under 200 pounds.  My joints and knees will NOT like me doing Plyometrics with all of this extra weight.

Once September hits, I will start my first 3 months of P90X.  I can do this!
Now, I will not be following the P90X diet guide.  The last 2 times I did this, when I increased my protein, my kidney started having problems.  That’s way too much of a coincidence for my taste these days.  So I will be having a high protein diet, but not overwhelming myself with it.

I’m excited to be in a place where I can take back my health. Being almost a whole year pain free is incredible.  I honestly don’t know why I waited so long to start exercising again, and to eat better.

The important thing is, that the time is NOW.  I’m going to be healthy.  I’m 36 years old.  If I want to be in this body for another 70+ years, I need to make sure that she’s running in top form!

I’m dancing more too, which will help with my stamina and my fitness level.  A dear friend of mine and I are polishing a duet that we’ve been working on for 2 years off and on.  I have 2 solo performances coming up in July.  Things are picking up and looking up for me, here, and I’m very happy about it.

Beat with an ugly stick

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about beauty the last few…well, who am I kidding. I’ve been thinking about beauty my whole life. But I’ve been really contemplating things here lately.

The problem that I have is that…I don’t think I’m beautiful. In fact…I think I’m pretty hideous most of the time. I think that I clean up well when I really put effort into it, but most of the time, I think I’m just ugly.

I’m about 100 pounds overweight for someone my height. I have ugly scars on my face from old acne. My skin is dry. I have horrid breakouts on my back from stress. I have ugly scars on my fat belly. I have dandruff. My teeth aren’t as white as they could be…they’re still crooked, even though I spent about 6 years in braces and headgear. And no matter how much I brush or floss, my breath is bad. This one is new for me. I’ve had a friend point out no less than 5 times in the last 3 days how bad my breath is. He’s not doing this to be cruel, he’s trying to help me, because he knows how self conscious I am about odor.

Now, I’m trying to address some of these concerns. I’m taking extra care of my oral hygiene starting tonight. I’m washing my face and back with a face scrub. I’m on a diet and workout plan that is going to help me lose weight, so I can finally start to be healthy.

Truth be told, I’m really concerned that my insides are more ugly than my outsides. I’ve been told recently that I’m beautiful outside, but emotionally and mentally hideous. And I can see that 100%. I have a tendency to dwell on all of my misery, because I’m not sure how to get over it.

So…why am I writing this now, during two of the happiest days I’ve had in a while? I’m not sure, really. I’m feeling just a little bit down about this since the end of the day…and I hope that by purging these thoughts in writing, that I can feel better in the morning.

How does one achieve this inner beauty? If I knew, I certainly wouldn’t be writing about what an ugly person I am, that’s for sure.

I look at people that I know and admire, and they are all so beautiful…inside and out. They are caring, giving, They have their lives together…or at least they present the positive far more than the negative. I know that this is something that I need to work on.

So, I’m pledging to meditate more. I started this a few weeks ago, and sadly have not really continued too much with it, but now that my space downstairs is coming together a little better, and now we have a place for exercise and yoga, I’m going to set up a meditation spot, with my Buddha fountain and candles. Frankly, I know that 2 of my roommates won’t mind…and the other two basically have the whole house in disarray…so…I deserve a spot to sit and meditate. I know that this will help me to calm my mind.

I need to quit drinking. Drinking only amplifies the negativity in my head. A glass of wine is fine. Even a shot or a drink…but I really need to control myself better.

Also…and this one, oddly enough, has just come to me, as I sit in the corner of a hookah lounge, typing away, smoking a lovely mix of pomegranate and mint shisha. I need to stop focusing on myself, and think more about other people. I want to volunteer more. I want to give more of myself. Help other people, and stop focusing so much on me. That’s the one thing that really gets me, is how selfless some people are…I want that. Granted, I don’t tend to think of myself as particularly selfish most of the time, but…I do know that when I’m brooding or moody, I tend to focus more on me than anyone else. I don’t like that.

Granted, yes. I need to focus on making myself a better person…but I don’t need to focus anymore attention on what I don’t have. I feel that when I dwell, it only accentuates the ugly.

I want so badly to be beautiful…to be a beautiful person, inside and out. I know that I can achieve this. I’ve already lost a half an inch off my waist since I started dieting. I know its going to be a long battle in the physical aspect.

I’m really hopeful that the mental, emotional and spiritual change will not be such a struggle.

Its in my nature to put others before myself…but now I need to find a bit of a balance.

It always comes back to finding that delicate balance between selfless and selfish. Not putting others so far above myself that I don’t take care of myself and my own needs, but not subjecting others to discomfort or discontent to get what I need.

I feel that I’m close…I’ve been really content the last few days…it seems that just when I’m on the verge of discovering balance, something happens to throw me out of whack. I need to stop being so extreme in my emotions.

I know that positive affirmations of myself will help.

A friend mentioned this last night…she said that she recently realized that she says mean, horrible things to herself all the time. I don’t want to be this way anymore. I’ve started carrying a notebook again, so when negativity comes up, I can write it down. I’m going to burn the notebook when it is full. I’d rather not speak the negativity…I’d rather not think it at all. But until I can control my thoughts a little more, I need to write it somewhere, and pray that the thoughts do not manifest.

I’m not the praying kind much these days, but occasionally I will offer a petition to the Universe or the Goddesses that I relate to in hopes that whatever powers there are…even if its just the divine power in myself…will hear and manifest goodness.

I believe that I have the power to achieve this balance. I believe that I have the power to transform myself into a beautiful being, both inside and out.