Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Daily prompt: The first person

21 Jan

Daily prompt from January 18: Who was the first person you encountered today? Write about him or her.

This was the daily prompt on last Saturday. Saturday, my roommates were out of town, so I woke up to an empty house. I got up, got ready, had breakfast, drank coffee…all in complete solitude. If that sounds like a nightmare to you, you must be an extrovert. To an introvert, it’s ideal. (Read this article for a bit more insight.) Then I went to the dance studio for my lesson. And the first person I saw there? My teacher.

So…my dance teacher. I’ve said before that I’m extremely lucky. He is an excellent dancer and an even better teacher. His teaching style fits my learning style very well. He knows when and how to drag me outside my comfort zone and when to just leave it be for a bit. He has learned how to deal with my thinky place and whether (in his words) I need a kick in the pants or a hug to get out of it. (Sometimes he guesses the wrong solution. No one’s perfect.) He has seen me at my darkest, craziest place, and I still feel supported. It’s really the first time, outside of a romantic relationship, that someone has seen so much of that side of me and has not walked away. (It’s also the first time, outside of a romantic relationship, that I’ve shown someone so much of that side of me.) That means a lot to me.

He’s not perfect. He is extremely private, which can make conversation awkward at times if he feels it’s going to a place he doesn’t want it to be. He rarely missteps in dealing with people – when he does screw up, he feels very bad about it. We’ve had our arguments and our run-ins, and we’ve always been able to talk it out and move past it.

We do tend to debate on lessons. Not about dancing, but about stupid things. (The latest was the use of “you” vs “one”. I lost.) In the battle of words and wit, I lose. Always. I keep trying though.

He listens and is willing to sit down and talk about goals or issues or problems about dance. I’ve let him dictate what we work on when because he knows my goal (to be the best dancer I can be) and therefore he knows how best to get there. (One of our debates was about that goal. He says that my actions and manner tell him that my goal is to the best dancer. Period. Read about that here.)

I trust him 100%. Except when he compliments me. I’ve gotten much better at believing him. It was hard for a long time because I felt like it was his job to say those things. Then I realized that while part of his job is to keep me happy, he does NOT have to use those particular words.

He’s got a goofy sense of humor that I laugh at, sometimes because it’s just weird not because it’s funny. Other students sometimes say he’s too serious. I have not experienced that. He’s serious about dancing, but he tries to be a little goofy with me to help keep me from being too serious and thinky.

He changed my life as dancing has changed my life. Which is a topic for another day. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture (actually it’s a picture of a picture because I don’t have the electronic file) from our Lindy hop dance at showcase. It’s one of my favorite pictures.

Lindy!

I still thank the stars that I started dancing and that I got him as my teacher.

Daily prompt: Inside the actor’s studio

14 Nov

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!”

I am too much of a rock

8 Sep

Daily prompt from 9/4: “Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?”

This was a very timely prompt. The short answer: No, it is not easy for me to ask for help when I need it. I’ve gotten much better at it, but lately I’ve realized how much more I need to work on it.

First, the why. I have had to rely on myself for much of life. Not that I don’t have friends, but in the past friendships have ended abruptly. So I’ve learned to just do things myself. And no one likes a complainer, and I’m always afraid that burdening people will cause them to not like me. So I’ve learned to just keep things to myself. Not the best approach, but at least I’m aware of it now and have made much improvement over the last 5 years.

Now, the timeliness. This past month has been a struggle for me. Not even going to the thinky place. Just sadness. I talked to my therapist yesterday. She said that all the research points out that it’s the pile-up of a bunch of little stresses that really get to people. We’re equipped as a culture to deal with big things and rally around people dealing with big things. But we don’t do so well with the little things. And this past month has been a bunch of little things.

*I moved. Again. For the fourth time in five years. My roommates moved up north, I couldn’t find another roommate, and I couldn’t afford the apartment on my own if I want to keep working towards my financial goals. So dear friends of mine offered to let me stay with them until I reach my goals next summer. At that point, I’ll be able to afford a place on my own again. So moving was a double whammy: the stress of moving and the added stress of joining an established household and feeling like it was a step backwards.

no-whammies!
No whammies!

*While my foot is pretty much 100%, I still have endurance issues with cardio. SUPER FRUSTRATING. I know it’ll come back eventually. I just feel like I am nowhere near where I was (in terms of dance) before I broke my foot.

*I’m working on checking out of my level in dance. This always makes me thinky and makes me feel like I’m not a good dancer.

*My ex-boyfriend has been looking up my profile on LinkedIn. Don’t need that.

*I don’t need to see he’s been looking my up because I’ve been grieving a new layer of that relationship ending. Still the right thing to do, still miss him very much.

Those are just the highlights; there are other things I won’t bore you with. But it’s all been adding up to me feeling that I don’t matter and having very low self-confidence. And in hindsight, I should have called a friend or two and talked to them. But it’s so hard for me to do that! So this daily prompt reminded me that although it’s difficult, I need to do it. When I’m that far in the hole with sadness, I can’t do it. I just need to remember that I MUST. Otherwise, I just slide further and further.

OK, before you think I came up with this on my own…the prompt helped, but I couldn’t actually do it until I saw my therapist yesterday. That started the air moving in my brain a bit, so I was able to talk to a few friends about it yesterday which also helped. And today I ran the fastest run EVER (well, at least for me):

RUN!

So with talking to friends, running my ass off today, and checking out soon, I’m starting to feel better.

Daily prompt: Prized possession

7 Apr

Daily prompt from April 2: Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?

I don’t remember having a lot of “prized possessions” as a child. I had the usual books and toys and stuff. I still have some of those books: my Little House books, my Betsy-Tacy books, my All-of-a-Kind Family books. I still have my Fisher-Price circus train.

circus-train
This isn’t mine; mine’s in a box in the basement.

But my most treasured possession from my childhood is my teddy bear. I was in the hospital for a surgery over my third birthday. I still remember a friend of my mom’s coming to see me and bringing me this teddy bear as a gift. I called him Teddy (original, right?) and I slept with it every night as a kid. And when I stopped sleeping with it, I made sure it didn’t get thrown out.

He went to college with me, sitting on a shelf in the dorms. While I was married, he sat on a bookshelf in the kitchen. During that time, I found a cute little wooden rocker that is designed for dolls, I think. But it was the perfect size for him, so I got it. He’s been sitting in the rocker ever since. When I moved home to help my parents, he sat in the rocker in my room. Now in this apartment, he sits in the rocker on my nightstand.

He was a great source of security for me as a kid. And as a result, he means a great deal to me. So much, that I panicked this week for a split second. We’re dogsitting for a friend. Tony is a two-year-old lab mix. That equals great energy. One night this week, he was wandering around. He went in my room and took Teddy off the rocker and started carrying him around. I’m sure Tony just thought he was a stuffed dog toy. Luckily Tony dropped him as soon as I told him too. But I had visions of Teddy being chewed up. Teddy’s been through quite a few surgeries already in his life to fix holes. I didn’t want to have to do more. And for a brief moment, I was terrified that Teddy would be destroyed. And that would be devastating.

IMG_0676

But he’s fine, he’s sitting in his rocker in my room, and I know I’ll have him for the rest of my life.

Daily prompt: All about me

1 Apr

Daily writing challenge from Feb 12: Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

happy-dance

When I started this blog, I was kinda at a point of starting over in my life. I had never taken the time nor the effort to think about who do I want to be and what kind of life do I want. So I did that. Well, I’m doing it. I’m trying to reinvent myself into the type of person I want to be. Some days I succeed at that. Some days I don’t. But I keep thinking about who I want to be, and I keep striving for it.

In terms of my life and what kind of life do I want, I’m less successful at that. Mainly due to time and my schedule. But I’m working on it, and I make slow progress towards it.

So my blog title is all about me: I’m a lass who’s trying to reinvent myself and my life. If you want to read more, go check out my about page!

Old-enough-but-too-young

Daily prompt: Apply yourself

27 Feb

Daily writing challenge from January 19: “Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.”

(I know, I know, this is from a while ago. Sorry!)

My last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to me…well, I think it was in dance (of course.) There have been a few things over the last year that have not come easily in dance. Welcome to being an advanced dancer, apparently.

But the one that is sticking out in my mind was actually the first time I ran into this in dance. I started as a newcomer (duh, because I was new) and then moved to Bronze I and then to Bronze II and then to Bronze III. It was about 15 months I think from newcomer to Bronze III? Fifteen or twenty months; I can’t remember. But I know it was fast. Super fast. When I got to Bronze III, I remember my teacher telling me that the days of easy fixes were over.

And he was right. We were working on a turn in my foxtrot routine (which is now my foxtrot open freestyle.) I think the turn is Bronze IV or Silver – I can’t remember – and it took almost the entire lesson before I could do it on my own correctly.

I remember wanting to cry on that lesson. I remember feeling so angry, especially at my teacher for pushing me and not giving up. I wanted to give up and work on it another time. He wouldn’t. I was so frustrated.

But that turn was the first time it took me SO LONG to get something right in my muscles. Dance until then had been very easy: one suggestion from my teacher, and I could fix what was wrong. Suddenly I was faced with something that I had to actually work on, and it didn’t come easily to me. I didn’t get it in five minutes or even fifteen. Oh that was hard. So frustrating.

He rarely pushes me that far anymore. But he knew, far better than I did, that I could do it and that giving in to giving up would set me back further, and it would allow me to walk away thinking I couldn’t do it. He was proving a point and giving me a lesson. A difficult lesson to learn, but a valuable one. (I just realized that sounds like he’s totally manipulative, and he’s not. Occasionally he won’t let me give up and move on, and this was one of those times.)

And I know that he would not choreograph a step without knowing I could do it someday. Maybe not right away, but someday soon. Same with technique. He would not give me things to work on in technique if he didn’t know I could do it someday. When I get frustrated, I remember that. Luckily the frustration has become more and more rare.

And in fact, with the way my lessons have been going, the frustration is pretty nonexistent. There are certainly things that don’t come right away to me, but I know if I keep plugging away at it, I’ll get it. And it will be super good when I do get it.

Daily prompt: Toot your horn

21 Jan

Daily writing challenge from January 16 (yes, I know they’re supposed to be done that same day): Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.”

Haha, an excellent exercise for me! Why? Because I am very good at finding what’s wrong with me. I am not so good at finding what’s great about me. And if I find it, I sure cannot gloat about it. So this will force me to be positive and proud.

I’d say my favorite thing about myself is my loyalty. I am extremely loyal to my friends. I will do anything to help them, I will always wish them the most happiness in life, and I will always stick up for them. I’m very loyal to my boss, because I respect him. I’m loyal to my dance teacher. And I’m very loyal to my dear friends.

loyal-friend

(By the way, you have NO idea how long it took me to come up with something and then write about it. NO IDEA. Being loyal may not be my favorite thing, but it’s one that I feel most comfortable sharing and am confident in its truth.)

Daily prompt: Call me Ishmael

6 Jan

“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”

Who wouldn’t want that? I would love to be so captivating and charming that men don’t realize I’m not beautiful. And not even just men. I think it’d be great if people in general found me so interesting and charming and captivating. Sometimes I feel less than average – that I’m not special enough to be remembered. (This is sometimes reinforced by the fact that people sometimes don’t remember meeting me.) So I’ve always been fascinated by that description of a captivating woman.

“Gone with the Wind” is one of my favorite books. The movie is excellent, but the book is so much better. I think I was about 13 when I read it for the first time. And I’ve been hooked on it ever since. I’ve reread it so many times, the dust cover completely wore out.

gone-with-the-wind

(Yesterday’s daily prompt: Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.)

Daily post: Flawed

28 Dec

The daily post challenge from a few days (weeks?) ago: What is your worst quality?

Oh boy. That’s a hard one to answer because have you met me? It’s hard to pick just one!

Some of them: a little too much OCD (although I’ve learned to back off and not impose it on others), a quick temper (again, I’ve learned to manage that one), insecurity (ditto)…

And it’s hard to distinguish a flaw vs a challenge. Like leaving my comfort zone can be a challenge, but is that a flaw?

I think my biggest flaw, though, is having high standards for myself and a not-always-realistic timeframe for achieving them. High standards are fine. But I tend to beat myself up if I feel like I’m not meeting them. This shows up in dance A LOT. My teacher has become excellent at trying to manage expectations when we’re working on something new. But I still tend to get upset with myself if I don’t pick it up quickly. Which is hard to do because, as he says, the days of easy fixes are gone.

It shows up at work too. I get angry with myself if I make a mistake on a report. My boss tends to laugh at this, because my reaction is so disproportionate to the error. And I’m usually the one to catch the error!

Remember McKayla?

mckayla-maroney-not-meeting-her-standards

She made that face because she was disgusted with her performance. She didn’t meet her standards for herself. I feel her pain. I make that face, but not on the outside.

But luckily, for the last few years, I’ve been aware of this flaw in myself. So I have lots of tools and self-talk to counter it. And most of the time, I remember to use them.

Most of the time.

Writing challenges

27 Dec

I love writing my blog. I write it more for me than anyone – it’s very therapeutic for me to write. But with my crazy schedule, I often push off writing a post.

So when WordPress sent out this writing challenge, I thought it sounded great. A post every day on whatever I want for a week? Yes. It’ll help me get in the habit of writing. After the first week, I can always switch to a less frequent schedule.

Plus who doesn’t love a challenge? Well, me, but I’ll take this one.

Bring it, wordpress.

Bring it, WordPress.

%d bloggers like this: