Can I be your GRRRL?

Its been an interesting week, my dear readers.

Nothing bad  happened, but my mood has been very low, and I’d been struggling with a lot of self doubt, and self loathing.  All I could think of are the many times I wasn’t “enough,”  and the instances right now where I feel removed from my own life.

But then, I attended a conference that was all about confidence, self love, and changing the world.  You know.  General Bad-Assery.   This conference has already changed my life, and it just ended on Sunday.

Indulge me, if you will, in looking at the thoughts that were coming up the few days before the GRRRL Live Conference.  This is going to be a long post.  Please hang with me.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Looking back over my life, as far back as I can remember…I’ve never really been the pursued in relationships.  I’ve always been the girl with the crush on the guy that doesn’t know she exists, or only likes her as a friend.  Yes, there have been one or two exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of my memories of being a teenager into my late 20s involve me doing the chasing, me keeping up most of the communications, and me falling in love with guys who just wanted to “have fun” with me, or wanted nothing to do with me.

All of these instances, I recall wondering what was wrong with me?  Why didn’t they want me? Or, why didn’t they want more?  And the reasons…Oh the reasons I came up with:
1.  I’m not pretty enough
2. I’m not thin enough
3.  Not smart enough
4. Not nerdy enough (yes, that one actually went through my mind)
5. Not Christian enough
6. Not “freaky” enough
7.  Not close enough

You get the idea.

If I ever asked anyone, the only answer I ever got was “You’re great, I just don’t feel that way about you.”  No why.  No reason.  Nothing for me to fix or work on.

I had a chat with Morgan about this the other day, as we were heading to have dinner with family, expressing my feelings on this.  I told him that I felt silly for feeling this way…I’m married, I’m happy.  But he pointed out to me that even with him, for the longest time, I was the pursuer.  I wasn’t the first choice.  He said that it had to sting, and still hurt, even though things worked out for us.  He has a point.

I try not to dwell in the past.  In the end, he fell in love with me.  Enough to want to marry me, which he said he’d never do again.
But before all that…it was just another scenario where for years I wasn’t enough.  Strong enough, and other shortcomings.  (Morgan has told me on several occasions that it wasn’t that I wasn’t enough, he just had a different set of priorities then.  I understand that and accept it…but it doesn’t change how I felt back then.)

I can’t help but feel a bit sad about this.
I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’m not good enough.  So even when I am happy, and I’m married, and am told that I’m enough…I still have days where I don’t feel like I am.  The past comes back to haunt me.

Of course, it bleeds over into other areas of my life too…not just the romantic side of things.  For the last 13 or 14 years, I’ve felt like I’m lacking in the dance department.  Not thin enough.  Not pretty enough.  Not talented enough.  Not connected enough.  Not good enough.  Not good enough to join troupes, not good enough to get paid gigs, not thin or pretty enough to get a restaurant gig…it gets debilitating at times.

There was a trigger to these feelings coming up now, although I’d rather not get into it.
As I said, I’m married and happy.  But it just sucks when you believe something in your gut, and you’re right about it, and then your brain says “See?  You weren’t good enough for that either.”

This concept of self love…of confidence…of being enough…where does it stem from?  Should we base our worth on the opinions of others?  Of being enough for another person or group of people?

I don’t think so, no.  Look at me.  My self worth has been based on if so and so likes me/is interested in me, etc…and its gotten me a whole lot of nothing but depression and doubt.

How then, do we change how we discover our value?  How do we look inside for our worth?  How do we, to borrow from a popular phrase these days, “Stop giving a fuck” about the opinions of others?

In short, how do I become enough for me?

Its a difficult balance, because I don’t want to downplay the opinions of the people I love.  People’s opinions DO matter (to me, anyway), but I get hung up in placing too much emphasis on their opinions instead of my own.

It doesn’t help that I generally have a pretty low opinion of myself a lot these days anyway.  I can’t lose weight.  I’m uncomfortable in my skin, and my clothes.  My clothes don’t fit, and I’ve busted the thighs of 2 pair of pants in the last week.

But…I’m healthy.  I haven’t had kidney problems since the stone was blasted in January.  I don’t have anything wrong with me medically.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and thyroid numbers are all spectacular.  If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

Finding a way to love myself is hard.  Its hard for a lot of us.

The best news is…at the conference this weekend, I was given tools to use.  I heard stories from women who have been in the same position that I am.  People who struggled with loving themselves.  Women who hated who they were, hated their bodies.  These women rose above adversity and grew.  They learned to love themselves.  They learned to treat their bodies well.  And now?  They are MMA and UFC fighters.  They are endurance athletes.  They are power lifters who can dead lift over 600 pounds.  They are MFCEOs of amazing companies that are going to CHANGE THE WORLD!

DO IT LIKE A GRRRL
So, this conference was presented by GRRRL Clothing.
If you aren’t aware, get ready, because this is so much more than a clothing line!  I was introduced to GRRRL Clothing by a dear friend online.  I was just starting to get into fitness again, and she knew the struggles I dealt with emotionally, so she messaged me one day and said “I’m adding you to this group.  I think you will benefit from it.  Feel free to leave its not a good fit, but I think you’ll like it.”

Well.  needless to say, I stayed an d loved it.

What I found in the Facebook Group was a ton of women who are committed to building each other up.   To being supportive.
In so many instances, society and other influences pit women against each other.  We’re told that we’re each other’s competition.

And that’s the beautiful thing about GRRRL.  #notyourcompetition is a mantra.  A code of ethics.  A lifestyle.

Think about it.  As women, how many times do we look at each other and think something negative?  “Could those shorts be any shorter?”  “She’s probably had work done.”  “Cocky Bitch, who does she think she is?”

Why do we say those things?  Why can’t we say something positive?  “Look at that girl, owning her amazing legs, and being comfortable in her own body!”   “Damn girl, you look amazing!”  “Look at all that confidence.  That is badass.”

The other AMAZING thing about GRRRL Clothing is, they don’t use traditional sizing for their clothing.
As a line of workout clothes: leggings, sports bras, shorts and tops, all of their sizes are named after badass female athletes, and are based on measurements.
For example:  I am a size Amenah in pants.  Amenah is a power lifter and competes in strongman competitions.  She’s stunningly beautiful, strong, and just generally a badass.  There’s also size Kortney, after the MFCEO of the company.  You have have seen videos of Kortney floating around the internet…she’s pretty well known for CRUSHING WATERMELONS WITH HER THIGHS. She’s a badass.  And…she’s cool as hell.

So, rather than sticking to the stigma of S, M. L, XL, XXL, etc…now women can take their measurements and say “I’m a size Kortney.  Fuck yes!”  Or, with the addition of their newest size:  “I’m a size Sam!  Yes! Samantha Coleman is an incredibly strong woman! That’s amazing!”

Do I sound like I drank the Kool-aid?  I know I do.  But I seriously love and believe in what this company is trying to do for women.  Imagine how incredible the world will be when we can stop tearing other women down, and start building other women up!  Women are FIERCE.  We just need to harness that fierceness and work together.

GRRRL Live 2017: Break Free in LAS VEGAS!
So, now that you have a little background about the company…Kortney and the crew had this incredible idea to hold a conference for the GRRRL Army.  As women, we all struggle with things.  Addiction, eating disorders, depression, self harm…there’s always something going on with us.  Even those of us who have it all together a lot of the times.  No one can be perfect every day.

I’m not going to go into explicit detail about all of the speakers, or the things that were covered for a couple of reasons.
1.  There’s a lot.  Like, I seriously took 4 pages of notes on just ONE of the many speakers that were there over the weekend.
2.  This was a conference that had sold tickets, and I don’t feel right just GIVING away all of the information.   Plus…you know.  There’s always next year if you want in on the awesome scoop.

What I will say is this.
I learned several new tools for helping myself, including one that I started last night:  Putting the fork down in between bites while eating.  Checking in with my body.  Meditations to forgive myself.  Ideas on how to really get in touch with myself on a deep level.
I heard stories from incredible women who have been where I’ve been.  Different circumstances, different problems, but at the root of it:  women who were at rock bottom, and overcame the problems.  Women who are super successful, and happy now.  They found something they were passionate about: whether it was MMA, Running, Power lifting, or Laughing.  They found what they were passionate about and they pursued it, full force.

It was inspiring.

Seeing so many women, feeling the same things.  Processing the same information a bunch of different ways…women breaking down and crying with people they’d never met before.  Being supportive of the brave women who shared their stories…learning that we are enough.  We are not things.  We are not objects.  We are women.

It kept coming back to me that I’m really not alone in my life.  No matter how isolated I might feel sometimes.  I’m not alone.  I have a motherfucking GRRRL ARMY behind me, helping me, supporting me.

And with their support…nothing can stop me.  Nothing.

 

 

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Ghost Woman exercise Notes

This is the second exercise for my online book club.  This exercise was painful, and eye opening for me.  

In this exercise we were instructed to really connect to our body.  To sit somewhere quiet.  To listen to our breath, and think about each body part individually.  To really connect.
As soon as I really felt connected to my whole body, I started to weep.  Crying, and simply saying over and over “I’m so sorry.”  

So much hatred for my body.  So much disconnect.  So much that I’ve ignored.  Hated, dreaded looking at.  So much anger at this body of mine for not being different.  Stronger.  Healthier.  Its not my body’s fault.  I’ve made the decision as of right now, that I need to do everything in my power to take better care of myself…this goes beyond “Taking care of myself” to lose weight…this is actually really learning to love my body, and do things that it needs me to do.  Starting with the following entry, a love letter, and an apology. 

Dear Body,
My god, I am so sorry.  I’ve always felt that there were parts of you that I didn’t like.  Things I was unhappy with.  Today, I realized that for so long, I’ve been feeling hate, anger, and resentment…but it isn’t your fault.

You see, I’ve been completely ignoring you.
Ignoring steps to make you stronger.  To heal you.  To make sure that you’re hydrated, fed, healthy, happy.  I’ve done things for the wrong reasons for years.  I’ve been more concerned with the aesthetics…losing weight, toning up, being beautiful…but I’ve not thought about doing things for you…I haven’t thought about eating healthier food because its what you need.  I haven’t thought about lifting weights because it will make you strong.

I’ve felt my whole life that you are my body, so you should serve me.  Do what I want.

But I think now that I’ve got that backwards.

You’re my body…and the only one I’m ever going to have in this lifetime…so I really need to make sure that I honor you.  To make sure that I care for you.  That I love you, and give you the correct fuel.  The exercise and work to keep you well and healthy.  And in return, you’ll help me to do the things that I love…like dancing and running.  But it is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Dearest body, I’m so sorry.  I can’t believe its taken me so long to realize this…to realize that I really truly do have to care for you, deeply, and every day…not just once in a while.

Please forgive my ignorance.  Please forgive my anger with you.  Please forgive my mistakes.

I’d like to begin again, to have a real relationship with you.  To allow you to be  cared for in the right ways.  Every day.

Because I don’t hate you.  Its not your fault.  Its mine.  And I want to fix it.  I want to fix us.  And together, we will do great things.

 

body

Seems like the end of an era…

My husband and I moved into our own apartment this weekend.

This is the first time we’ve lived alone together as a couple.  Years ago, before we dated, he and I had an apartment together for 6 months, but its different when you’re actually a couple.

I found it funny that I ended up scrubbing the bathroom upstairs, just like I did 6 years ago when he first moved into that house.  “So it ends as it began,” I thought.

And yet…so very different.

That house has seen so many residents…relationships…
Morgan, Pat, and Goldy.
Morgan, Pat, Tom, and Stephanie.
Morgan, Pat, Tom, Stephanie, and Kim.
Morgan, Pat, Tom, Stephanie, and me, and the occasional stay of Jessica.
Morgan, Pat, Me, and Todd.
Morgan, Pat, Me, Danelle, Heather, Scarecrow.
Morgan, Pat, Me, Heather, Scarecrow.
Morgan, Pat, Me, and Ira.
Morgan, Me, Ira.
Morgan, Me, Ira, and Skylar.

Not to mention all of the pets:  Charlie, Harley, the ferret, Jessica’s dog (I can’t remember her name), Mossyman, Bug kitty, Misfit, Jack, and Phedra…

This house saw the start of Morgan and I as a couple. The house his book was written in.  The house where he decided that he wanted to marry me.  The house that we came home to as husband and wife.

I’m a little sad to be leaving the place where so many good things have happened.

But in truth, leaving the house is the best decision for us.

After all, this is the house that many of our friendships and relationships dissolved in…the house that so many of my personal demons reside in.  We’ve had struggles, and confrontations.  Passive aggressiveness, lies, deceit…

And so this weekend, we moved into our own space.

Its small, but its just us and the dogs.
I mean…its small.  Its a 624 square foot, one bedroom apartment.
The living room is pretty small…only room for 1 love seat.
The kitchen is pretty poorly designed…for a cook, its a bit of a nightmare.

But its ours.
We’re the only ones living here.  Using the space.  Running the air conditioning.  Using the dishes.
We don’t have to rely on anyone else for anything.  If rent is short, its our fault.  If our bills are outrageously high, its our fault.  If we leave the AC on 77 for three days, its our fault.  No one else’s.

There have been a couple of growing pains already.  The power went out last night.  Not the apartment’s fault, of course, the entire complex went out.  But while it was out, some other residents decided to have a pool party at 12:30 AM, complete with diving, splashing, screaming, yelling, and obnoxiously loud laughing.   We couldn’t reach the security guards.  I’m stopping in the office today after work, because that’s not acceptable.  We signed a “silent swimming” clause in our lease about anything after 10 pm…I only got 3-4 hours of sleep because of their noise (and the power being out.)

The pups are starting to settle in a bit too.  Jack has been anxious for weeks, and has had tummy problems for the last 2 days, but I think he’s finally starting to settle down a little bit.  Phedra is actually eating, and is SLOWLY learning to go potty while on a leash.  Its a learning process.

I’m not sure of much these days.
This year has sucked the life out of me, and its not even over yet.  But the two things I am positive of:  my husband, and the decision to live on our own.

We were trying to move in with friends, and things just never worked out in our favor for that to happen.  I truly believe that the Universe was trying to speak to us.  To tell us that its better for us to have our OWN space at this time in our lives.

This process has been exhausting.  Between not being approved for the perfect house with our 2 best friends and goddaughter (someone else applied first and was approved), to submitting an application with another friend and having him bail, to the actual physical process of moving and unpacking, I’m exhausted.

Mind you, the move itself was pretty painless.  We had some amazing friends help us with loading and unloading, but it was physically taxing.  Mentally too, to be honest.  I don’t think anyone likes to move.

I’m very ready for things to settle down, so we can settle in.
I’ll be working on our closet tonight, and maybe the book shelves too.  We have a friend coming into town tomorrow that we’ve offered our couch to…I would hate for it to be covered in junk.

The apartment already feels like home, though.  I think part of it is just intention.  Morgan and I both just want for this to be a comfortable, safe space for us, and for our pups.  A nice cozy spot for our friends to visit.

I think we’re getting there.

I’m hopeful that with this move, we can leave behind some of the negativity that has followed us around for a while…no more sadness about Pat and his ghosting on us.  No more worry about finances.  No more passive aggressive posts from others (who have no cause to bitch, really).  Less drama.  I can’t really say no drama, because that’s really difficult to come by, but that is the general goal.  More time for each other, and more time for friends.

I’ve been working through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, a book that helps you focus on how you want to feel, and how to achieve those feelings.  I won’t go into deep detail here, you should really check out the book though, its life changing.  The basic premise is that you need to discover your Core Desired Feelings (CDFs) and then figure out ways to achieve those feelings.

This move has put me in touch with several of mine:
BLISS
RESILIENT
STEAMY
SPARKLY
ABUNDANCE
…we’re working on UNCLUTTERED.

Its exciting when things start lining up, and I can’t wait to see what other blessings the Universe has in store for the two of us.

 

Performance, self confidence, and acceptance…

This past  weekend, I was fortunate enough to perform at a charity event that a dear friend hosted.  We were raising money for the Sin Sity Sisters of Las Vegas, who promote HIV and AIDS awareness/assistance, and safe sex education.

Since I’ve only started dancing again recently, I’m dealing with some issues as far as body confidence, especially when it comes to my belly.

I’m usually the first to jump in and promote the amazing benefits of belly dance, one of them being increased body confidence.  Its amazing thing, to suddenly find something that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin.

The last time I had performed without a body stocking was about 6 years ago.  I had just finished 6 months of P90X.  I was ripped.  I was thin.  I didn’t have back fat.  I had also been performing monthly, or bi monthly for about 8 years.  I was comfortable as a dancer, performer, and student.

As I started having issues with  my kidneys, I started dancing less.  Having constant chronic pain tends to take away a person’s desire to do anything other than lay in bed on the heating pad.  I also started putting on weight, which made me feel uncomfortable again.

For this performance, I had a friend loan me a really beautiful bedlah (bra and belt set).  I tried it on without a body stocking, and found myself looking at my reflection thinking “I’m almost there.  If I can drop 15 pounds, and wait until my scars lighten up a little, I can dance without a body stocking. ”  As if she was reading my mind, my friend said to me that I should dance without one.

Initially, my big issue was that my scars would be visible.  I’ve had 3 laproscopic procedures done:  2 robotic pyloplasties on my right kidney, and one tubal ligation/salpingectomy.  I have a total of 13 scars on my stomach.  Some of them have already faded quite a bit, but some of them are red and angry, due to post surgical weight gain.  They are truly very ugly scars.  And now, I am about to do something I never thought that I would do.  I’m going to share pictures of my scars on the internet.

Its really difficult for me to look at these scars, especially the big, misshapen ones, and think of them as anything but ugly.  They’re all over.  They’re big.  They’re even visible THROUGH my body stockings!  For the longest time, I’ve been super ashamed of them.

After this friend and I spoke, and after my husband continued to reassure me that I looked beautiful, and thin (even though I know I’m not, he complimented me on how much the costume and bare belly accentuated that I do have a small waist), I started thinking more and more about my scars.

Who would really see them?  The performance was going to be in a dark nightclub/bar setting.

Shouldn’t I be proud to show them off?  After all, 10 of them are from fixing my kidney.  Its because of the biggest and angriest scars that I’m able to dance at all right now.  If I hadn’t had the last pyloplasty, I’d probably still be having bouts of horrific pain every couple of weeks.  I’d be in the hospital, or taking pain killers just to function instead of taking classes and workshops.

As much as I wanted to accept myself, scars and all, as a plus sized dancer, its intimidating to dance without a belly cover, even without scars.  There are so many critics out there.  People who will look only at the physical appearance, and ignore the technique, passion, or musicality.  There was a video floating around a couple of months ago of a really beautiful and talented dancer performing a drum solo in her living room.  She had a beautiful shape:  not super skinny, but smaller than I am.  She was curvy and toned.  She had great technique, and really wonderful musicality.  People commented on the video about how fat she was, and that she wasn’t “a real belly dancer” because she was “fat.”  “Real belly dancers are thin” they said.

Imagine my worries about people saying similar things about me, with my much bigger waist line, and 13 ugly scars.  Similar or worse.

Of course, I know all of that is a load of bollocks.  Belly Dance is for all shapes and sizes.  I’ve seen amazing performances from dancers who are thin and muscular to thick and curvy, and everywhere in between.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.  I wanted to free my belly again.  I wanted to proudly show off my battle scars from the victory I won over hydronephrosis, and papillary necrosis.  I wanted to show that good technique and musicality doesn’t depend on what size your costume is.   I wanted to challenge myself to feel good about who I am RIGHT NOW, not who I will be in a few months.

I’ll readily admit:  I packed the body stocking, just in case I chickened out.  I also happened to be on my cycle at the time, and my emotions were a little out of whack…I wanted that security to be there and available in case I arrived at the venue and decided that a bare belly wasn’t going to happen.

It didn’t come out of my suitcase.

I’m extremely proud to say that I performed for the first time in 6 years with a bare belly.  No one commented about my scars.  No one commented about my weight.  I had people throwing money at the tip chest, and at me as I danced, which has never happened before.  (all of the tips went to the charity, by the way.)  People enjoyed my dancing.

More importantly, I enjoyed myself.  While I was up there, I had no second thoughts.  I had no thoughts of  “Can they see my scars?”  “Do I look bad?”   No, the only thing on my mind was how much fun I was having…and trying to remember Ashtelea’s choreography.
(Forgive the blurry images, sometimes dancing and snapping photos don’t mix.)

I feel liberated.  I feel free.  Who would have thought that leaving behind one extremely uncomfortable accessory would be this big of a deal…but if you look at the photos, the scars aren’t visible from the stage.  I don’t look that big.  I actually feel like I look fairly beautiful.  (A big deal for me to say that…those of you who read regularly know that I struggle with self image and confidence)

This dance style is one that should be empowering for all who perform it.  I’m proud to say that I’ve finally taken a step toward empowering myself as a woman who has been through a lot, and as a dancer.

I’m grateful for the support of my friend, and of my husband.  Without the two of them, I’d have donned that body stocking, and continued to feel bad about myself.

That’s not to say that I won’t struggle.  I’m also not saying I’ll never wear a body stocking again.  Sometimes, they are appropriate.  But at least now, I feel as though I have the freedom and confidence to choose.

**Side note:  The benefit raised $600 for the charity that night, with all of the different performers and raffles.  I’m proud to have been a part of it!!

 

The year in review, and goals for 2016

What a whirlwind this year has been.  Highs, lows, ups, downs.  Sadness, elation.

My year started off fairly well in January, with good times with my love.  January also saw the return of my kidney pain, and my meeting my new doctors.

February was a month I will never forget.  Some low and sad points, but the best memory was on February 20, at Gordon Ramsay Steak with 5 of our closest friends, Morgan proposed to me.  I never in a million years thought that I would ever get married.  He had said time and time again that he didn’t want to get married ever again.  The proposal was sweet, and romantic, and a complete surprise.  The fact that I was able to share it with some of my closest friends was amazing.

In April, I had an exploratory procedure with my new surgeon, so that he could see exactly what he was dealing with to correct my kidney issues.

In June, Morgan and I traveled to LA to see Underworld live in concert.  THAT was amazing.  I danced all night long.  We got to see the original line up, which was incredible.

Also in June, I took Karim Nagi’s “Music Raqs” workshop for the second time.  I learned SO much, and his class really sparked my desire to dance again.

July 11, I had my second robotic pyloplasty on my right kidney.  My surgeon took many more precautions than my previous surgeon did, to ensure that I’d recover with minimal issues.

In September, at the prompting of a dear friend, I participated in my very first Belly Dance Competition: So You Think You Can Bellydance at the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive.  I learned two choreographies, and made it into the Top 12 dancers.  I realized two dreams in one night:  To perform on the Flamingo Library Theater Stage, and to improvise a live drum solo with Issam Houshan.  I had so much fun, I learned SO much, and I made some great friends.

Learning those routines, and performing again has given me the dance bug again.  In October, along with three other talented dancers, I performed the fusion choreography (and another short, sassy piece) at the Halloween Hafla.  The troupe was asked to perform in January at the Steampunk Convention!

November was probably the most memorable, the most monumental month of them all.  On November 6, surrounded by friends and family, from near and far, Morgan and I were married.  It was by far the most perfect day I’ve ever had.  The ceremony was officiated by a dear friend, and it could not have been more perfect for us.  It was funny.  It was touching.  It focused on love, communications, and D&D.  Nothing has changed in our relationship, yet everything has.  I find myself wanting to be a better person, to do more, to take better care of us…

Which leads me into my goals for 2016!  I’m actually working on separate goals:  Life goals, Personal goals, and Dance goals.  Some of these are lofty goals that will not be accomplished in one year.  The point is to start working towards them, so that they are more easily achieved when the time is right.

Life Goals:

  1. Start repairing my credit.  (Pay down my medical debt.  Open a checking account.  Open a credit card, and use once a month, and pay off immediately, in small amounts.)
  2.  Save money.  Whether its $10 a week, or $100 a month, I want to put money away for a rainy day/emergency/vacation/down payment on a house.
  3. Take courses/learn about first time home buyer assistance.

 

Personal Goals:

  1. Asses the risks/recovery time for the tubal ligation surgery, and schedule.
  2. Find a new primary care doctor.
  3. Set realistic workout goals. (Starting 3x per week, etc)
  4. 10-15 minute morning meditation/planning time daily during the week.
  5. Keep up with household chores. (sweeping/dusting)
  6. Check off a couple more items from my 40 before 4o list.
  7. Find a more fulfilling and better paying job/promotion at current job.
  8. Eat more veggies.
  9. Get more information for Arab Studies degree/Apply for Grants/Apply for admission.

 

Dance goals:

  1. Attend at least 1 local workshop.
  2. Volunteer for the LVBDI
  3. Daily practice
  4. If I travel to another city for more than 1 day, schedule a private lesson with a dancer there.
  5. Continue to collaborate with local dancers for fun duets and group pieces, in all styles.
  6. Find and take 1 session of classes from a local Raqs Sharqi dancer.

 

With 2015 being so amazing, even with the low points, I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2016.  I feel that it will be a year of personal growth, change, and progress.  I will become a better version of myself, in all aspects:  a better person, a better wife, a better dancer, a better friend.

May your new year be safe, and happy.  May your goals and resolutions be attainable.  May 2016 be filled with love, happiness, and abundance.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Discovery

I had a profound thought during my candle-lit yoga practice tonight:

I am strong.

I’ve felt weak for so long. I’ve been dependent on everyone else for everything in my life, or that’s how I’ve felt.

My arms were shaking, and I did not lift my feet off the ground. I was attempting “crane” pose (hands on the floor, knees basically in your armpits, and feet of the ground)…I had a lot of my weight on my hands, which I’m not used to, and which is why I didn’t lift my feet. I knew I wasn’t ready. But the thought occurred to me: I’m strong. I currently have 227 pounds balanced mostly on my hands. I am strong.

When I came out of it, I moved from plank to chaturanga without collapsing. I am strong.

I’ve battled depression for over 15 years. I am strong.

I’ve beat suicidal thoughts: I am strong.

I’ve been through 4 surgeries on my kidneys before I hit 32 years old. I am strong.

I’ve learned to deal with the chronic pain of my kidneys without rushing to the ER right away. I am strong.

I’ve survived a broken heart. I am strong.

I’ve made progress in battling my negativity. I am strong.

I’ve asked for help. I am strong.

I can do anything.

Because I am strong.

All my bags are packed…I’m ready to go…

I’m feeling very content right now. My body has a mild ache from yoga yesterday, and from the hour and a half massage that hurt so good. My mind is stimulated by the words of the Dalai Lama, and My spirit is feeling as though we are about to embark on an amazing journey.

After a few really great days, and a few really bleak and sad moments…and a tough love conversation…I’ve come to a few conclusions.

In order to really change the way that my mind works, and to get over this constant negative circle that I’ve been living in for my whole life…I need to make several changes.

I need to change the patterns that I’ve set for myself over the last few years. I need to change what I do, where I go…obviously doing what I’ve been doing has not really contributed to my long term happiness, so its time for a change.

I’m going to be staying in a bit more. I’m going to be spending more time alone. I’m also going to be spending more time with certain people that I feel I’ve neglected a lot.
I’m going to stop drinking so much. I’m going to cut my karaoke activity down. I’m going to read more, and speak less. I’m going to cut my online activity considerably. I’m going to meditate, and change my thought pattern.

I’m going to be kinder to myself, and patient with myself.

I’m asking for patience, from all of my friends…positive thoughts, and support. If you don’t see much of me, please know its not about you, its about me needing to find myself. If you miss me, let me know. I will make time to see you and spend time with you.

My heart feels so full right now…I feel as though I’m on the verge of a huge occurrence in my life…I need to follow my heart. I hope that it will bring me to a place of self-acceptance and love.