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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15 years of dance

Can it truly be that as of today, I have been studying Arab dance for 15 years?

Not quite a third of my life, and yet, I have difficulty remembering my life without it.  Recalling days when some of my favorite artists didn’t include Oum Kalsoum, Abdel Halim Hafez, or Mohamed Abdel Wahab seems impossible.  Remembering life before meeting all of the absolutely amazing friends I’ve met through the bellydance world and community is strange to me.  Some of my very best friends are dancers.

I remember back to when I knew that I had to learn to dance:
I was at the Bristol Rennaissance Faire, and I saw this woman dancing.  She was just STUNNING.  I’d seen belly dancers before, but never had I seen someone embody music the way she did…and she was only accompanied by a drum!  I knew then that I had to learn from her.
I waited until the show was over, and approached her, asking if she taught.  She did, and said she would come back with a card.

This was the day that I met my first teacher, Nadia Sahar.

The first lesson that I took was, quite literally, life changing.  I searched for and bought any music that sounded remotely like what was used in class.  I fell in love with singers like Amr Diab and Hakim.  I practiced every single day.

From that first class on, I was unstoppable for a very long time. Searching for knowlege from multiple classes, multiple teachers, spending every waking moment either dancing or thinking about dance.  I took a handful of workshops in Milwaukee and Chicago, with amazing, big name dancers.

After moving to Las Vegas, my horizons expanded even more, as I was fortunate enough to join a troupe and perform with some amazing people.  I took more workshops than ever, and attended my very first dance festivals.  I even started teaching beginners classes, and was lucky enough to teach at the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive before it ended in 2015.  I also competed for the first time that year, and made amazing friends and memories.

I’ve slowed down a bit over the last few years, due mostly to my health, but my passion is still there.  When given the choice, i would gladly listen to Arab music over anything that’s played on the radio today.

I’ve found performance opportunites within the belly dance community locally, and also with friends hosting charity fundraisers. I still take workshops whenever I can, and am travelling to a festival next July.  How exciting!

As I do every year, I find it so important to thank the many amazing teachers, mentors, and peers who inspire and challenge me to become the best dancer I can possibly be.  There is no way I could possibly thank every single one personally, but here are some general notes of gratitude:

To my mentors, the teachers I have studied with in countless classes and workshops over the years. From the instruction of movement, to, folkloric dance, to Arabic words, songs, and music structure, to origins of the dance and music, you’ve given me a firm foundation to build upon.  You’ve opened my eyes to the wonder that is Arab dance and music.  You all make me want to be the best dancer that I can be.   Your passion, your patience, your continued support, your feedback…I cannot thank you enough.  Thank you for challenging me to grow.   You inspire and amaze me.  I cherish everything you’ve done for me and for other dancers, and hope that I make you proud when I dance.

To the amazing teachers that I have only studied with for a short time/taken one or two workshops with over the years:  Thank you for everything that you’ve taught me: choreographies, variations of movements, warm ups, Arabic words,  drills, props, makeup techniques, facial expression, stage and spacial awareness, and so many other amazing things.   Thank you for everything that you’ve taught me.  Thank you for what you do, and for providing areas of growth and development, inspiration, and wonderful memories.

To my peers: Other dancers, professional or just for fun, dance partners, troupe members, students…friends.  Thank you so much for believing in me.  For challenging me.  For unbiased feedback about performances.  For providing performance opportunites, and workshop opportunities.  Thank you for listening and understanding when I post swoony things about dance and music.  Thank you for your friendship.  You also inspire me so much.  I’m inspired by the dedication to doing what you love.

This dance has changed my life in so many amazing ways.  Here’s to the last 15 years, and also to many, many more.

Shadow Woman Exercise Notes

I am participating in an online book club with some friends.  The book we are working through is:  This is Woman’s Work: Calling forth your inner council of wise, brave, crazy, rebellious, loving, luminous selves by Dominique Christina.
The book walks you through exercises, and I felt compelled to blog the exercises, in the spirit of transparency.  These exercises are not easy for me to work through, let alone post.  But here we go.  For details about the exercises, please refer to the book.

Shadow Woman Exercise in Balance:

Do you know me?  The woman who moves as the moon moves?  You haven’t seen me yet, although you may have caught a glimpse of me here or there…

Me, who moves gracefully and sensually.
The one who embodies the music, so it appears that her body is the instrument.  The one with power in her hips, and her hair.  The one with knowledge like a tree: deeply rooted, and stretching vast into the sky.
My hips orbiting, my torso undulating, creating power, controlling tides, waves, emotion.
I am here, waiting, in the dark.  Dancing alone. Emitting joy.  My body is strong.  My spirit is soaring, making music.   I dance in shadow, dreaming of the light.  Dreaming of the day that my beauty will shine.

 

Shadow Woman Exercise Out of Balance:

I see my silencer.  He looms over me, a dark void, an endlessly black figure.  Darker than the darkest night, there is no light to him.  He screams at me, breath foul and reeking of decay.
You can never afford this.
You can’t take classes:  there’s no money.  Think of your medical debts.  Your car repairs.  Your debts to your friends and family.
You’ll never pay them down.
You’ll never participate in the classes and workshops that you need to succeed.  To be born.

Behind me, they slither.  As dark as the void, but they whisper in my ear, endlessly the whispers:
You’re not as beautiful as the successful women.
You’re fat, and you’ll never lose the weight.
They’re better than you.  They have more opportunites, because they are thin and beautiful.
You are fat and ugly.
You’ll never make it.
You’ll never realize your passion.

Random Musings for mid January

The first two and a half weeks of the year have passed.
So far, I have to admit, its been pretty awesome!

We spent New Year’s Eve drinking margaritas, eating delicious food, and playing games with some of our best friends.  Its the first NYE that Morgan hasn’t had a karaoke or DJ gig in 4 years, so it was really nice to be able to just relax.

I participated in a “Decadent Desires Challenge”  through Life Transitions for Women on their Facebook page, and not only did I win some cool prizes that I can’t wait to receive, but I have an actual plan of action to start achieving some of my deepest desires this year! It seems so simple when you sit back and make an action plan.

So, the next big thing on my agenda is surgery tomorrow.
I have an 18mm kidney stone in my right kidney.

I know.

After a year and a half of not having any kidney pain or problems, almost 2 months ago, after going running one day, I came home, and when I went to the bathroom, there was blood in my urine.
Now…I know this isn’t normal, and I probably should have had it checked a bit sooner, but, I don’t have a primary care doctor, and the urologist I had been seeing for my surgery no longer takes my insurance, so I didn’t have a urologist either.
Morgan suggested that it was my cycle.  And while I know my cycle, and knew that it wasn’t that, I convinced myself that it was.  It went away after a day.
A week later, my cycle came, the way it always does.  And then a week after that, after running again, there was more blood in my urine.

I ended up waiting longer than I should have, but after the 4th time seeing blood after a run, I decided that something wasn’t right, and that I needed to go to the ER.

After my CT, they told me I have an 18mm kidney stone.
That’s the size of a dime, in case you were wondering.   Most kidney stones are the size of a period or smaller.

So, I have to have another Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (or ESWL) procedure done tomorrow.  Its non invasive.  My recovery time should be short, and then I can get back on my C25K training, and weight lifting.
This happens tomorrow, and I’m hoping that by January 31st, that I’m feeling up to exercise.  Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve actually worked out, and I’m dying over here.

Besides my health, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and research about dance.
As a student of Arab dance for the last almost 15 years, it blows my mind how much I still don’t know.  I don’t say that out of arrogance.  There is ALWAYS something new to learn.  I’m a big fan of remaining a student for the rest of my life.  The moment I think I know everything is the moment I need to quit.

However.

Sometimes I feel like I’m LOSING information I used to have because I’ve been out of classes for so long.  I have days when I listen to a song, and I simply cannot pick out the rhythm, and I should know what it is.  I find myself pondering what maqam a song is in, and even though I’ve only studied a handful of the maqam in 3 workshops….I still beat myself up when I can’t pick it out.

I think sometimes after watching my videos on Facebook that I’m a mediocre dancer.  All I can do is pick out the trouble spots.  My arms suck.  My turns suck.  My musicality has suffered by not dancing.  I feel that I’ll never be as good as I want to be.  That I’ll never travel and teach.  That I’m not as good as some of my peers.

But then I think about some of the compliments that I’ve received on my dancing, recently for one of them…how I’ve been told by 2 of the teachers that I HIGHLY respect and admire, who are in a class all their own…who are actually Arab…one has told me that I’m a classy dancer, and the other commented that I dance “very Arab” which is the highest compliment I believe I could ever receive.  These people aren’t the kind of people who will simply compliment you just for the heck of it, or to stroke your ego.

Not saying that my friends or husband would say that I’m a great dancer when I’m actually  not…but its different coming from people who are of the culture you are representing.  I want my friends to know that I love and appreciate their support and compliments too.  I always have and always will.  This is by no means a slight.

I’ve also been told by 2 strangers at different points in my dance life, just while social dancing (the “get up and dance” portion of a set at restaurants where my friends are dancing) that I must be Arab.  So I must be doing something right…

Its hard to not be in my own head sometimes though, to be honest.  Dancing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, since I was 22 years old, falling in love with the dance.  I’ve wanted to travel to Egypt to study.  I’ve wanted to travel all over the US, studying, performing and also teaching.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have taught 2 workshops at the beloved Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive before it died.  I taught a handful of extremely dedicated beginner students before I started having all of these horrible kidney troubles.
I want to get back there again, and surpass it.  I want to be able to dance full time, and actually make a living at it.

I know it can be done.  I have friends who are doing it now.
But here comes that insecurity again…they’re so much better than I am…even though I might have more years of Arab Dance under my belt, they’re able to put in the time and money to continue taking classes where I can’t right now, and haven’t been able to for several years (because of my health, mostly.)

But guess what.
I can still do it.

I just have to make getting into classes a priority this year, and I’m going to. Whether its a 5 or 6 week session, or 1 hour long private class a month, I WILL get back into class.  I WILL work my technique and improve.  I WILL perform more often, and more varied styles (Khalji anyone?  Coming up soon!).  I will make it.

Because I have the drive, and the DESIRE to do it.  To share my passion with people.

I just have to prioritize and commit…and I’m doing that right now. Insha’Allah, this year will be the year that some of these dreams come true.

Yalla!

 

Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2015

Me dancing at the LVBDI in 2015. This photo SO captures how dancing makes me feel. Photo by Lee Corkett

 

 

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.

I am Thankful! Even if its 2 weeks late.

Ah, life.
The fun never stops, let me tell you.

We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks.
Work has picked up and been busy.  Lots of busyness over the last 2 weeks, so my yearly “Thanksgiving” blog is late.

As mentioned in a recent post, its been a rough year.
People have left our lives.  We had to move.  Money has been tight.  We owe people money. People owe us money.  The election.  Standing Rock (but hooray for the victory that happened this weekend!).  So many bright stars have passed on this year…2016 has been rough for a lot of people.

Even as I write this, I feel myself succumbing to my seasonal depression.  I’m exhausted.  I’m sad.  I feel like an afterthought sometimes. I know that its just my depression, and that these things aren’t true.  They’re far from it.  Still, sometimes its difficult to remember, and it can be hard to see a silver lining.

There is, happily, much to be thankful for in my life, however.  It doesn’t matter how bad I feel, or how hard it is for me to see the good sometimes.  Its there.  Part of why I love doing this blog every year, is because it forces me to think of the good things in my life at a time when I generally feel very low.

  1. I’m thankful for our new little home.  Yes its small.  But its all ours.  We don’t have to cater to anyone but ourselves.  We can be naked all the time if we want.  We can listen to music.  We can cook at all hours of the night.  We don’t have to worry about anything but ourselves.
  2. I’m thankful for the amazing friends that I have in my life.  Near and far.  Some I’ve never met.  Some I’ve known for years.  Some I just met on Friday night after being online friends for years! (Leslie!) In a time when people seem to be flaking and dropping us, I’m truly grateful for the friends that remain.  Who stand by us.  Who still care.  Who understand that even though we may have disagreements, or even fight, that we still love and care about them.
    I’m grateful for a couple very  specific groups of ladies who I know online.
    My sounding board.  My soul sisters, across this country and others.  My encouragers, in life, in love, in dance, in fitness.  Ladies who make me laugh.  Ladies who have a love for food, and a tremendous respect for each other.  Ladies who give tough love, who tell it like it is, even if its not what you want to hear.
    I’m grateful for my core friends here in Vegas.  The friends we have dinners with.  The friends we have game nights and poker nights with.  The friends we karaoke with.  Attend children’s birthday parties with. The friends who have helped is in our time of need, be it financially, physically helping us to move, or just by offering moral support and an ear.  Friends who laugh with me.  Cry with me.  Eat delicious, stinky cheeses with me.  Share music and videos with me.  Play D&D with me.  Dance with me.  Sing with me. Share amazing concerts and other awesome experiences with me.  Just hang out with me.
    I’m grateful for my friends who don’t live near me anymore, but who keep in touch.  Who ask how I’m doing.  Who send love, and post things to make me smile.
    There really is nothing in the world like a good friend, and I count myself VERY lucky to be blessed with some amazing friends.
  3. I’m so thankful for my family.  We’ve really grown much closer over the last few months. We visit almost every week, and I’m grateful to have grown so close with my family that lives here again.  I miss my family in Illinois too.  So much.  But thanks to Snapchat and Facebook, I’m able to chat with my nieces and nephew, and my SEESTER and cousin.  I love you guys.
  4. I’m grateful for dance.  Always.  I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made through dance.  For the fun experiences I’ve had.  I’m grateful for my partners in the Gin Fizz Jezebels, even though we haven’t danced together in a long time, I have amazing memories of Steam-a-thon with you ladies, and hope we can get together again soon.
    I’m grateful for my teachers.  For the ones I’ve studied with for years, or years ago. For the ones I’ve taken workshops with, whether it was one or many over the years.  I’m grateful for having venues to dance in, whether they are community haflas or the awesome Benefit Shows put on by my friends.
    I’m grateful for the way dancing makes me feel.  For the amazing music that I love so much.  For the maqam, and the lyrics, and the instrumentation.  I’m grateful for all of the knowledge I’ve received, not only about the Dance but about Arab culture:  the culture I’ve fallen so in love with.  The culture I hope to someday be able to teach others about, and spread the love.
  5. I’m grateful for discovering my spirituality.  Learning more this year than I have in years past about the spiritual path that I want to take.  I’m grateful to have very recently (Sunday) gone to the Goddess temple with two friends who are helping to guide me on my path.
  6. Finally, I am grateful for my husband and dogs.  For OUR little tiny family.  For our little branch on the tree.
    I’m grateful to have a husband who is patient with me when I’m cranky, or sad, or crazy, or confused.  I’m grateful that he takes time to understand how I feel, and where I’m coming from.  I’m grateful that he shows appreciation for what I do every day, and for all the things that he does as well.  I’m grateful that he cares for and is training our two fur babies.  I’m grateful that he’s helped Jack come so far from where he was.  That he’s helping Phedra to learn to walk off leash, to come when called, and so many other things.
    I’m grateful that my pups are such a source of joy for us.  That we’re able to just lay in bed with them, and snuggle, or throw a ball, or take them to the park and play, and we just laugh with them so much.  I love that they both are such crazy characters.
    Weekends with my little family are my favorite times.  Playing games with Morgan, taking the dogs to the park, or just laying in bed snuggling, and watching Downton Abby…it really is my favorite time.
    Morgan, my love, I am truly grateful for you.  I love you so much.

As this year starts winding down, I choose to remain grateful for all the abundance in my life.  I am truly blessed to have the life that I have.  To all those who continue to choose to be a part of our lives, I love you.  Thank you.

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.