Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Year that Summer Died

Growing up is weird and I wanna know why no one talks about that? Why does no one warn you and prepare you for all the unexpected changes? Why isn’t there some sort of halfway house between college and the real world? Do people really successfully make this transition and keep their sanity?

You see, it comes in waves. Some of the growing up process seems gradual and natural. For instance, I don’t have the urge to change my AIM screen name every other day, or lick just the middle out of the Oreo and put the cookies back in the box. I would say that is just a natural change that happened when I matured and grew up. However, some things are very sudden and seem to come out of no where. Take summer vacation for example. I can’t think of a time when summer break wasn’t the most exciting time of the whole year. Until now. Until now, summer was a time when me and my friends were all out of school for a little while, and when we all flocked back to our hometowns. It was sad to say goodbye to college friends from different states, but it was always good to go home, knowing it wasn’t permanent. Summers were spent with silly summer jobs, laying out by the pool, and catching up with friends. For 22 years of my life, this is what summer was about. Well, newsflash, ladies and gentlemen. Apparently this isn’t a forever kinda thing. Apparently when you grow up and graduate college, people move away and get real jobs, where they don’t even get summer break! Luckily I picked a dead end major in college and have to go back to more school before I can get a job so I have no real job in my near future, so I still get a summer break. And boy was I excited to come home and hang out by the pool with my friends! But wait…where are my friends? That’s right. They grew up. They have real jobs where they have to work all day, and go to the gym, and make lesson plans, and plan their weddings. Honestly, it sounds silly, but nothing could have prepared me for the death of my usual summer plans. I’ve been home exactly a week and I feel like I might explode. I have no friends,  no social life whatsoever, no job, no schedule, and nothing to do. I feel slightly pathetic and useless. I feel like I shouldn’t be in my own house. I feel like my house was a place to come home for the summer. But this…this is not summer. My mom works from home, which is usually not a problem because I’m out with friends or doing things during the summer. But this year, I wake up, and she’s working. I go downstairs and eat, and she’s working. I watch TV, shower, and go to the grocery, and she’s working. I take a nap, and she’s working. And the whole dang time she’s working, I feel like I should be doing something productive or like I’m intruding in my own house, or just like I shouldn’t be there. So folks, enjoy your summers while you still have them. Cause although the summer season might always be around, the typical summer break doesn’t last forever, apparently.

RIP Summer break (1989-2012)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I am my Hair

Hair. Since we were born there has been such a great emphasis put on hair. Hair is what distinguishes girl babies from boy babies. Hairstyles are different ways to express yourself. You can have long hair, short hair, straight hair or curly hair. There are straight bangs, side bangs, no bangs, layers, bobs, pixie cuts, and more. As a female, I spend entirely too much time fixing my hair in the mornings. Shampooing and conditioning, brushing, combing, drying, straitening. A good hair day can start a day off wonderfully, and a bad hair day can set a terrible precedent for the day. When I really think about it, I’m embarrassed at how much of my identity I find in my hair. And right now it is the longest it has ever been. I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like my long hair is a trophy that I get to wear out in public. It says “look at me. I grow and I’m healthy and I can be styled in many different ways”.
But this all changes tomorrow. Tomorrow I am cutting at least 6 inches off of my hair. It’s too long and tangley and I’m ready for a change. I know it’s just hair and that it grows back, but I’m nervous. I’m used to my long hair and I know how to style it, so this change will definitely take some getting used to. Unfortunately, as soon as I let my friends know that I was planning on cutting my hair I’ve gotten at least 4 texts telling me that I’m making a mistake. In case you were wondering, this doesn’t really ease my anxiety.

So whether you like my decision or not, wish me luck! Because tomorrow afternoon I will lose 6 inches of myself. Dramatic? Maybe. But I’m not the one who wrote a whole song about finding my identity in my hair…

Empire State of Mind

New York, concrete jungles where dreams are made. Oh, there’s nothing you can’t do…” -Alicia Keys

Well Alicia, after my recent visit to NYC, I would have to say that you are wrong. While NYC is full of interesting people, fun sights, and amazing foods, there are certainly some things that you just cannot do in New York.

You cannot:

1. Sit on the steps of Grand Central station. This was proven to us this past week.

2. Make eye contact. I suppose you can make eye contact, but it’s really not recommended.

3. Get seated right away. Anywhere. At any restaurant. You will wait for a table.

4. Hate America. It’s pretty much impossible to feel less than patriotic with all of the American flags around.

5. Be polite. People will get confused and/or take advantage of you.

6. Be alone. Really. There are people everywhere all the time.

7. Drive a car. Again, I suppose you can. But unless you have a death wish, I wouldn’t recommend it.

So, Alicia Keys. While there are many many opportunities and things you can do in New York, I wouldn’t exactly say there is “nothing you can’t do”.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lessons from Dance

As you may know from my previous posts, I used to be a dancer. And growing up as a competitive dancer was not always easy. The time commitment and hard work that was put into it was often undermined by my peers. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “dance is not a sport”. And I couldn’t disagree more. Competitive dance is very much a physical sport. It requires technique, skill, memorization, precision, courage, strength and grace, all at the same time. One of the great things about this sport was the amount that I learned over the years. I truly grew and developed into who I am today because of some of the lessons learned from dance. So here are a few things I learned from dance (excluding pirouettes, fouettes, and other various combos):

1. Time management. I could not have possibly passed school and danced if I had not learned time management. In fact, to this day my mother credits my good time management skills to my time as a dancer. I had school all day and dance all night, with competitions almost every weekend, so it became crucial that I learn how to manage my time and fit homework and sleep into my schedule. Honestly, I have never been more organized and well prepared than I was when I danced.

2. Team work. Dance is a tricky sport. It’s very competitive, individually. (Actually that is mainly the mothers. I never felt very competitive against the other girls in my group, but the mothers compared us to each other all the time, making it slightly competitive). However, unless you are doing a solo, dance is a team sport. You train as a team, you learn choreography as a team, and if one member of your team is falling behind or struggling, it affects the whole group. So you learn to work with one another and play off of each others strengths. You learns that everyone has different strength and weaknesses and that is what makes you a diversely skilled group. You learn to lean on one another when necessary. And you learn that spending 6 days a week traveling, dancing, learning, and growing with one another turns you more into a family.

3. Giving it your all. Unfortunately I didn’t learn this lesson until it was too late. But in class we were always told to practice full out, facial expressions and all, so that when we got to competition we would be so used to going all out that it would just be second nature to us. However, I have always cared too much about what others thought of me, which actually served as a disservice to myself in some way. I never used facials. I never went all out for fear of looking silly or goofy or overly confident or over the top. However, when everyone else is smiling and “ooh and ahh”ing, you actually end up looking like the silly one for not making facial expressions. I was afraid to have too much fun with my dancing for fear of losing control and/or being made fun of. But looking back I realize that sometimes letting go is exactly what is needed. And sometimes giving it your all and really going for it is actually much less embarrassing then playing it safe.

4. Work ethic. You do not simply wake up one day being able to do a tricky turn sequence or one footed wings. You practice. You practice every day. You practice while you are in dance class, you practice while you are waiting in the lunch line, you practice when you’re day dreaming in class, you practice when you are brushing your teeth. You have a continuous loop of “5, 6, 7, 8” playing in your head as you mentally run your dances over and over again. (I have scuffed up every surface in my house and every grocry aisle and school hallway, marking dances over and over again). You work for the skills that you earn. Yes, some people are more naturally talented than others. But in order to memorize 5 or 6 different choreographies for a single competition, you have to practice. There is no way around it. There is something so wonderful about seeing “you get out of it what you put into it” played out in real life.

5. Sportsmanship. This was a hard one. There were so many times that Pierrette Sadler’s dancers were called for platinums as our team just sat and internally rolled our eyes. There were ever times when people from your own studio would win and you found yourself letting out a big sigh. But during the awards ceremony when you are sitting on a stage with all of the other dancers from the whole competition, and all of the judges and parents sitting in the audience watching you, you quickly learn to graciously accept whatever comes your way. You shake hands, you clap, and you cheer for other studios (while silently cursing them). Yes, of course you will probably pick apart the competition on the bus ride home, but in the moment you learn to appreciate the other dancers and handle yourself with grace.

So although some may not consider it a sport, I learned some vital life lessons through my years as a dancer, and I wouldn’t trade in those years for any other “sport”.

Here is one of my favorite dances that I ever did. I have never worked so hard at a dance in my life. We literally worked on this until it was nearly flawless. And while it was hard work, I have some amazing memories with my teammates. Plus it felt good to work so hard at something and get something so great out of it. Disclaimer: The video quality is crappy.




Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Top Blogs

Hello friends. It seems that Blogspot got a new layout, and I’m having a hard time adjusting. However, one cool feature is that it’s easier to see which posts of mine are most popular! So according to views, here are my top 10 most popular blog posts thus far!

10. My Letter to Ellen Degeneres (62 views)

9. True Inspiration: Ben Comen (72 views)

8. My Story (77 views)

7. No One Tells the President What to Do (83 views)

6. Our Deepest Fear (91 views)

5. Follow Friday: Love146 (105 views)

4. It’s Not Just a Sport, It’s a Way of Life (106 views)

3. OTH Wardrobe Sale (108 views)

2. Use Your Words Wisely (154 views)

1. Where Did the Time Go (460 views)

So there it is. If you’re bored or looking for a way to procrastinate, go ahead and read through what are apparently my top blogs. I’m not gonna lie, I was surprised to see what was viewed more! Enjoy! And let me know what some of your favorite blogs are! I’m always looking for something new to read.