Wishing the very best to you in 2014!
Here’s to love, joy, peace, happiness, and fulfilling lives with friends and family!
I’ve told you before about my hair and makeup prep for Showcase. But a friend of mine asked about what tips and tricks I have for the day. So, AD, this one’s for you!
I actually have a list of stuff to bring for the day. (And yes, by list, I mean a Word document I save on my computer. Nerd alert.) First, my dresses. Oh my dresses. I love my dresses!! Anyway, before I had dance dresses, I used to list my smooth skirt, my rhythm skirt, my top to go with both. Oh, and don’t forget the shoes! Both rhythm and smooth shoes. I keep my old pairs – there’s a whole rotation scheme for each – so I always bring one old pair just in case something happens to my performance shoes. I also bring an extra pair of nylons.
(OK, the scheme is this: I buy a new pair of shoes. That pair becomes the performance pair. The pair that was the performance pair becomes the shoes I wear every day at the studio for lessons and groups and parties. The pair that was the pair I wear every day become the old pair that I use to practice at the gym and for studio dance outings. The pair that was the old pair gets tossed. See? Simple.)
I bring the clothes I’ll need for dinner, since we have a dinner/dance afterwards. So I’ll bring a dress and a change of nylons. Usually because I’m done with fishnets at that point. Worse case scenario is I just change into a different pair of fishnets.
I used to bring my flat iron, ponytail holders, bobby pins, a brush and a comb. But I’ve gotten lazy and comfortable, so I just leave my hair up for the evening portion. Too much work to try and change it for dinner. Oh I also bring jewelry for dinner as well as a purse. To carry my ID and cash for the bar. Best tasting cocktail is the one I get after dancing all day.
I bring my makeup so I can do touch ups throughout the day if needed. And also to prepare for the dinner. I bring deodorant and perfume – for the same reason.
I bring whatever medication I might need – ibuprofen, Tylenol, Pepcid, etc. I bring breath mints. ‘Cause, ya know. Ew.
I bring food. The studio does have the hotel provide morning treats and afternoon treats. But the morning treats are pastries and fruit, and the afternoon treats are cheese and crackers. All really great, but there’s rarely enough, and there’s not a lot of protein there. So I try to bring food to eat throughout the day. Especially protein. I bring my water bottle. Again, the hotel provides a ton of water; it’s just habit for me to bring mine.
I bring my camera to take pictures throughout the day and videotape some stuff.
Almost most importantly, I bring my IPod. I’m an introvert, so I worry that being around people all day like that will be draining. So I’m always prepared to sneak off for a few minutes and decompress with my IPod. I haven’t had to do it yet, but I want to be prepared for it. Of course, the tough thing for me is that you’re part of the studio community, so you should show up for others because they show up for you. That’s being part of a community. So I would probably feel guilty if I snuck off, which is probably why I haven’t done it yet.
I bring a highlighter (although I forgot mine this time!) so that I can highlight my name in the program. That makes it easy to find, so I can quickly tell when my next heat is. I bring a small bag to hold the stuff I want to keep in the ballroom with me – phone, lipstick, face powder, snacks, mints.
I pack (or at least lay out) everything the night before. I don’t want to make the morning too crazy, and I want to spend the morning focusing on my hair and makeup. I review my list a few times before I leave though. Gotta ease the OCD tendencies.
I try to get there right around the time warm-ups start. That gives me time to change and warm-up a little. I rarely have anything except maybe a 45-second spotlight in the first hour, so warming up isn’t super important at that time. But I do like to do a few warm-up dances just to loosen up. I try to actually do a few warm-up waltz boxes by myself a few heats before my heats. And when it’s rhythm, I do a few moves to loosen up the hip muscles before my heats.
I also support my fellow students and help them with whatever they might need too. I also try hard to stay positive and just enjoy the day. I’m lucky that I don’t get nervous that day. To me, it’s just the one day (or 2 days technically) each year that I know I’m a great dancer, and I dance better than I ever have, even on lessons. I’m so thankful for that.
So that in a nutshell – or a wordy post – is my plan for Showcase.
But then it did.
So when I last left you, I was starting to come out of my funk. But then, for whatever reason, I couldn’t sustain it. I fell back in the funk, and it got worse. On Tuesday, I took some medicine to help. It took the edge off a bit, but the anxiety kept creeping back up.
By Thursday, I was in horrible shape. My stomach was upset, I was incredibly nauseous, everything I ate made me want to throw up. That night, I talked to a friend of mine who is a GI doctor. He told me something I didn’t know: anxiety produces acid in the stomach. Even if you don’t feel heartburn, you can still have excess acid in your stomach. He suggested I try a Pepcid Complete to see if that helped. And it did. I took another anti-anxiety pill Thursday night.
I stayed home from work Friday. And I realized that morning that some of this anxiety was due to Showcase. I missed the last Showcase because of my broken foot. And apparently I had some doubts about whether I was good enough, about whether I could prove I was still a good dancer, about showing improvement since the last one I did a year ago. (To which my friend SP said “I don’t understand this ‘good enough’ you speak of”. And she’s right. Everyone is good enough. It’s just my stupid standards for myself.)
So I talked to my therapist Friday night and saw her Saturday morning. We talked about Showcase. And I just kept reminding myself about medal ball a few months ago. I was checking out of Bronze III, and at medal ball, I felt like every dance (all 4 of them) was going as perfectly as they could. There were mistakes of course, but I felt like I OWNED the floor. I really felt like I was a great dancer. So in thinking about Showcase, every time I got nervous or started thinking about being good enough, I just thought about medal ball.
I also realized that some of my anxiety was just from the fact that my ex-boyfriend has looked up my LinkedIn profile about 6 times in the last two months. It makes me miss him, and it makes me sad that we’re not together, even though it’s right we’re not together. So you know, once I had a good cry about that, I could move on.
Sunday morning I woke up for Showcase. And I was EXCITED. So excited! I felt I always feel on Showcase morning – like it’s Christmas morning.
And how did Showcase go? Like medal ball. I felt like I was a great dancer, I was happy with how I danced, it felt so amazing to be back dancing on that floor again. My teacher and I could not stop making jokes while we were dancing, just because I was so happy to be dancing and in such a good place that I couldn’t stop teasing him and being a smart-ass. And my parents came out to see me, which was nice. And a couple of my friends came out too, and their support means so much to me. I was so grateful for it.
So I’m doing much better now. SO MUCH BETTER. And I’m in that place again where I just want to LEARN ALL THE THINGS with dance now.
I just want to improve it all and fix everything. My teacher, of course, loves it when I’m at that place. I’m a lot easier to teach when I’m there versus the thinky place.
There were a few people who really got my through that week: MS, SP, SH, CS, DP, LS, and others. I’m lucky to have friends like that in my life.
And I’m so lucky that I’m happy with dancing again!!
Pissy rant ahead. But hang on til the end.
I’ve been in a horrible funk the last two weeks. I read blogs like “Hyperbole and a Half“, “The Bloggess” and Wil Wheaton’s, and I admire how open they can be about their struggles with mental illnesses. And I think we should all be that open about it. But I still want to hide that part of myself. I hate that part. I hate that my brain is wired for that. I’ve come to accept that I’ll never be cured of it. All I can do is try to manage it when it flares up.
Mine shows up as anxiety. I’ve learned A LOT over the last seven years or so how to cope with it and how to have less of it. Those of you who knew me 10 years ago can attest to that. But I still have it. Usually, I can tell what has triggered the latest episode. Then if I deal with the trigger, the anxiety goes away.
Sometimes, it takes a while for me to be able to figure out and deal with the trigger. Until then, the anxiety shows up as a lack of confidence in myself and in my value and worth to the world. Then it starts showing up as losing my sense of humor, making poor eating choices, and not being active.
A few weeks ago, I noticed an episode was starting. And I (still) have no idea what triggered it. And it slid down the slope so quickly, I never had a chance to catch it.
And it’s been awful. I had a long talk with a friend of mine about a week ago, and he was trying to help me figure it out and pull me out of it. God bless him. But nothing worked. But while talking to him, I heard myself saying things about how I hated being this person, I hate being around this person so how can I ask anyone else to be around me, nothing I do matters, I don’t know how I can contribute anything, blah blah blah. SIGH.
So here I was yesterday, still in a funk, still feeling anxious. I slept about 3 hours Friday night (I love it when my old friend insomnia comes back). I’ve had a ball of knots in my stomach for about a week. I’ve been unable to stop eating crappy food – way too much sugar consumed lately. And all I could think about was what was wrong in my life.
I kept mentally going over the list…
My foot still bothers me sometimes where I broke it
I don’t have enough money
My cardio stamina has not come back fully from my foot and my bronchitis
Who would want to hang out with me really?
I have nothing to offer anyone
And it spirals from there.
Now, the rational part of my brain knows this is not true. It knows that there are lots of things I can offer. But as the Bloggess says, depression (or anxiety) lies. Your brain tries to tell you differently, and it’s wired to believe it.
So yesterday, I had a dance lesson first thing. I went to it exhausted and drained and anxious. (Thankfully not anxious about my dancing.) It was an OK lesson. My teacher and I got a bit short with each other, mainly because I was pissy. Which made my responses to what he was saying be short. And he was trying to pull me out of it by giving me a kick in the pants. Which sadly this time did not help me. So I was getting more and more frustrated with myself. Not thinky. Just frustrated about being THIS PERSON on my lesson and in my life. And wanting to get over it but not knowing how because all the tricks I have weren’t working.
I left the studio and was going to go to the gym. I got into my car and immediately burst into tears because I was so frustrated with myself. But also, I clearly needed to process something. I’m still not sure what. So I cried in my car for about 10 minutes. Once I stopped crying, I decided that I was too tired and emotional to go workout. Probably not the right decision but this is what anxiety does to me. Instead, I decided to be a productive member of society and run a crap ton of errands.
Then I had about an hour to kill before group class. The only reason I went to group class was because I knew my friend CS was going to go, and we usually have lunch afterwards. I knew it’d be good to hang out with her, so I knew I would go to group class. To kill time beforehand, I went to my favorite coffee shop. I finished reading the book for book club next week. Then I had about 20 minutes to kill.
Then I thought about this blog I follow. I think the author writes to remember the good times in life, not the bad. Maybe I’ve been doing the opposite and have been focusing on the bad and the negative. I am Irish after all. So what if I deliberately tried to focus on the good things?
So I decided to start a list. Brainstorm what is good in my life…physical, emotional, talents, gifts, anything positive. No censoring except for censoring out the bad and the negative. Just write.
So I did. And you know what? I had two things on it: I have great hair (yes, I’m vain about it, it’s the only thing I’m vain about) and I can dance.
Again, I know there are a lot more things. That’s just how deep the anxiety hole is right now – I can’t even see the rest.
So I went to group, which was fine. Then me and CS went to lunch with her husband MS and our friends SH and SH. And it was actually a fun lunch. I started to enjoy myself a bit, which I haven’t been able to do much recently. Then we split off for the day. I had an appointment to have my hair colored. So I went to the awesome Jennifer, and she colored it. I love seeing her for my hair. She pushes me to try new things but in a very gentle way because she knows me. I enjoy chatting with her. And she makes me feel beautiful. This time, she added slightly more red to the color. And when she dried it, she curled my hair. So I had fancy hair, which made me feel so good.
Then I met SP for dinner. She really wanted a doughnut, but we couldn’t find parking near Glam Doll. So we ended up at Butter, and I could feel myself relaxing more and more the more we talked. I got to hear all about her most recent trip, we talked a little about my issue the last few weeks, and then we just caught up. I always have a good time with her! Afterwards I needed groceries and she did too, so we went grocery shopping together. And we ended up making fun of so much stuff in the store. Like the Barbies. And the Twister Skip game. And trying to find window insulating kits. Which we walked by about 3 times before we asked someone for help. And the how to speak Wookie toy. And the sandwich post-it notes. And the Christmas music samplers. Oh good, we laughed for about 30 minutes straight, I think.
And by the end of the day, after crying a little and seeing Jennifer who made me feel pretty and laughing with SP, I felt so much better. I slept all night and have had a productive day so far today. Laundry’s done (almost), food is made for next week, bills are paid. I still have a little knot in my stomach. But I’m hoping I can cling to how I felt last night and this morning, and just keep building on that.
Because I hate being the anxious insecure person. And I want to be who I normally am now. And I will fight to get back there.
Because Showcase is next weekend!!! And I’m ready for it. And I will ROCK IT.
I saw this on Facebook on Friday and need to have a giant version of this framed:
Because really, I am and I do. And I need to get out of my own way.
Daily prompt from November 12, 2013: On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?
1. What is your favorite word? Oh, there are so many. Judging from what I hear myself say, “whereas” and “hence” and “ergo” and “awesome” and “dude”. I apparently mix intelligent words and the words of Jeff Spicoli.
2. What is your least favorite word? Probably “literally” when it’s used wrong. Do you mean literally or figuratively? GET IT STRAIGHT.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? Dancing. DUH.
4. What turns you off? Annoying, petty, pessimistic, passive-aggressive people.
5. What is your favorite curse word? The F-bomb. ALWAYS.
6. What sound or noise do you love? My friends and I sitting in a coffeeshop, talking and laughing.
7. What sound or noise do you hate? The sound when the dentist scrapes your teeth.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Actor. Not that I could do, I just wish I could.
9. What profession would you not like to do? Middle-school teacher. Those people are SAINTS. And should be the highest paid people ever.
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Well done!”
People have been holding up the mirror for me again. I’ve talked about that before, and before, and before, and before. (Apparently this is a recurring thing for me.) I’m always shocked by how others see me.
For instance, I’ve been called “disciplined” about 3 times in the last month. Which is intriguing. Because to me, discipline is a negative. It means rigid, controlling, this…
But clearly these people meant it as a compliment. Typical me, I can tell you exactly where I’m not disciplined. In case you’re wondering, it’s diet, exercise, and dance homework. But these people have helped me see that I am disciplined. I do eat fairly well for the most part. (Don’t look at last week though.) I do work out at least 3 times a week. (Let’s ignore last week on that.) I do practice dance on my own, maybe not as often as I would like. I do laundry every Sunday. I make food for the following week on Sundays. I pay my bills and track my expenses every weekend. So I am disciplined, but in a good way.
I was told today that I’m beautiful. Now, that one is difficult. Because I know I’m not beautiful. (Which sounds totally narcissistic or that I’m fishing for compliments – neither of which is the case.) And again, being me, I can tell you in what ways I’m not. (See my nose and my weight around the middle. And my height.) But the fact that someone thinks that I might be beautiful? And this is not the first person to tell me that. It does not compute in my poor little brain. Because yes, I still see myself like this…
But having someone point out that I might be considered beautiful? Makes me think about what my good assets are, and makes me realize there are some. And how someone might actually think I’m cute.
I’m a bad friend.
I don’t call my friends and see them as much as I would like, especially the ones outside my immediate circle of good friends. SP, MK, LS, SH, DP, ND…I see and talk to them all the time. But others, I don’t contact them as much as I would like to. For example, my good friend SS was here this summer. She lives in Asia, and she came back to Minnesota in June. I kept meaning to call and see her since she was actually within 45 minutes of me and not literally halfway around the world. I never did, and she left last week to go back to Korea. That makes me sad – that I couldn’t get around to call her and get over my slight phone social anxiety to call. FAIL.
My roommate SR moved at the end of June. I have no idea what happened, but she stopped talking to me right after that. I considered her one of my really close friends, and all of the sudden she doesn’t talk to me anymore. I even sent a message to her saying, hey I noticed this, I miss you, I’d love to know what happened, and she never responded. And I didn’t get invited to the wedding either. So clearly I did something (although I honestly cannot tell you what that might even remotely be), so clearly I was a bad friend to her in some way. FAIL.
I have a few people from high school that I’ve reconnected with on Facebook. We have great Facebook conversations, and when I see them at a random social event, they say we should get together sometime. Then when I message them to set up a date, I never hear back. FAIL.
But on the other hand…
I have friends that say I’m a very important person to them. I had two friends last week go through some sort of crisis, and for both of them, I was able to be there and listen and share my experiences and perspective. Both said I was a huge help. WIN.
I have friends that I talk to on a regular basis, and they contact ME. It’s not always me driving the friendship. And that tells me that I mean a lot to them. WIN.
I’m very loyal to my friends. And they say that I’m an important part of their lives. WIN.
I give gifts, including awesome pumpkin hats I knit for babies which look so damn cute, if I do say so myself.
I just have a hard time reconciling these things. Am I a good friend or a bad one? Am I both? How can I be both? I know I’ll probably never have an answer to this; it’s just been on my mind a lot.
If any of you have any ideas on this, I’d love to hear them!
It’s a beautiful fall day here in Minnesota…sunny and a high of 54. I love fall, as I’ve mentioned before. And colder weather means CHILI! So I’ve got a crockpot going of it right now.
My chili is super basic. It’s actually my ex-husband’s family recipe. When we were married, we made it each Christmas Eve for the family gathering. I still love it, so I kept the recipe when we divorced. I like it because it’s basic and you can make it as spicy as you want. I usually make it in a crockpot, but in a pinch I’ve made it on the stove in about an hour.
1lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 family-sized can of tomato soup
1 large can (28oz I think?) of diced tomatoes
3 cans of dark red kidney beans (drain two cans, leave one can undrained)
Chili powder and cumin
Brown ground beef and onions. While they’re browning, in a crockpot mix the tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and beans. Add chili powder and cumin and whatever spices you want. When beef and onions are done, mix them in with the tomato/bean mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Set crockpot to low and cook about 8 hours.