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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Open letter to my former dance teachers

Dear Former Dance Teachers,
I really wish that I could say that I have many warm memories of our time together but I do not. I joined the team after having danced for four years in high school with instructors that as a whole encouraged, supported and pushed me to be greater. While on your team I had two directors one lets call her Ms. Scale (because she made us weight in prior to performances) and the other lets call her Mrs. Put Down (because she questioned why I even made the team) who effectively broke my spirit.

Below you see me kicking with teammates during football season.
When I made the college dance team I was overjoyed. It was something I  dreamed about since I discovered dance. I went into the first semester with a great group of girls who were welcoming and fun. Unfortunately, I had also left home for the first time and knew no one going into my first year of college. There were also some issues back home that were never very far from my mind.
As football season got underway I was moving ahead with a relationship which would set the tone for my adult dating life. My boyfriend was doting and romantic by most accounts. He was also possessive, jealous, angry at the drop of a hat, and demeaning at times. Dance had always been my outlet so I looked forward to getting to practice.
I thought it was weird that we had to weigh in before practices but I went with it. After all Ms. Scale knew best. When I noticed a really sweet teammate not make the weekly cuts week after week, though she was a beautiful dancer, I was worried. When my body was sore from daily practices and aerobics class I asked you (Ms. Scale) if I should drop aerobics. Your response still haunts me, as you said I should stay in it for my weight. At this point in my life I had never thought about my weight. I was 5'3" about 120-125 lbs. (As you see me above.)
So after my first injury that year I kept going to practice, aerobics and now the trainer. All of which worked my injured shoulder with no rest. I also began to think around this time that my relationship was not as great as I had thought, but couldn't really seem to get out of it. Then a change happened. Mrs. Put Down took over the reigns.
At first I was excited to get to know you (Mrs. Put Down), but this quickly changed. During this time I was having health issues of the female variety. I often felt weak, had trouble getting out of bed and fainted from time to time. I also suffered some dance related issues including a pulled groin and ankle issues. While we prepped for competition you saw me get knocked out of the air and land on my ankle. You of course suggested I sit down that day but there was not much time to recoup. So I struggled to understand your lack of empathy for my difficulty doing turns on that same ankle.
I never saw a doctor during this time. Like many students in that time period I had no health insurance. Based on your attitude I felt like I should just be able to do better. You said to my face that you were not sure why I had made the team at all. You went on to say at a later time that I could not do switch leaps, triple turns, or fouettes. I thought there must be something wrong with me. Though I was not sure how anyone could do turns on the cheerleading mat, but if you said it I assumed it was just me.
Dance was no longer my outlet, it was the dreaded part of my day. Tryouts for competition came and for the first time in my life I did not make the cut. As if this was not hard enough I was the only person on the team that had been cut. I was expected to come to practice to run a routine I would not be a part of. At this point for the first time in my life I gave up. I could not bring myself to show up to practice. I contemplated quitting, which made no sense as dance was my life.
Prior to tryouts you told me that I needed extra practice with you, but you never scheduled it. You also told me that I needed to take dance classes over the summer, but I had no idea how I would pay for that. After I was cut you told me that next year you could see me on the football season team, but that you saw your elite dancers performing at competition. I understood you to mean this did not include me. So the message I received was that you had no hope for me improving. Even with the dance classes I needed you had counted me out.
So I decided not to tryout next year and spent the next three years of college missing dance. When I left school I got back into dance immediately and spent five years as a senior company member and dance teacher. I competed and performed often, once aboard a Carnival! cruise. I did triple pirouettes, switch leaps, and fouttes. There was something so empowering about being told that I could do something even though I could not do it initially. I still struggled with that shoulder and that ankle. Now 11 years later I still have trouble with my ankle. I finally saw a doctor and was told that my old injury had resulted in a torn ligament. The dancing that I had done on my unhealed ankle led to a loose mend that still causes instability. I also had a torn rotator cuff but I am not sure when that happened.
As I look back to my first year in college. I have some good and fun memories. I also realize that I was depressed and in an emotionally/mentally abusive relationship. I believe this had a lot to do with my performance on the team as well as the physical injuries that needed appropriate time to heal. I also realize that my weight became a major concern in my life. Ever since I have been attempting to "keep it under control" I have felt unable to. I also still struggle with feeling that I am good enough as a dancer.
I have tried to get over my experiences with both of you, Ms. and Mrs., and struggle with this. It wasn't until I was talking to a fellow therapist that I realized that this time was traumatic for me. I was a well adjusted young woman in regard to my weight and now I am fixated and feel like a failure for not being able to control it. I also avoid reunions with the team because if I was at risk then I am a disgrace now. I remember the first time I saw Mrs. following graduation, you said "did you finally graduate?". Its like just being cordial is outside of your abilities when it comes to me. I started college in 2003 and finished in 2007 I think I did pretty well where time is concerned.
It has taken me a lot of work to get back to accepting myself as a dancer even though I can not live life without dance. I wish that you knew how much your words hurt me at a time that I was already so vulnerable. I looked up to you as someone who was doing what I wanted to do. I trusted your opinions and your suggestions. Tough love is something that works for some but for me it is deflating.
If you get nothing else from this letter I hope that you understand the need to support other women. Accept them for what they bring to the table because everyone brings something. Also as a coach you should be a person that your team members can go to for support. I needed someone on campus to notice what I was going through. Things could have gone very bad for me, I could have ended my life or had it ended if my relationship had continued down the path that so many do when they start with emotional abuse. I came to dance because I was good at it and because it was a welcoming place. Both of those things were taken from me and I am still working on my recovery.
Unappreciated/deflated young dancer

Monday, July 6, 2015

Silver Lining Living

I remember hearing that "every cloud has a silver lining" and thinking that was a stupid way to say the situation won't suck forever. I never really agreed, how could there be a silver lining to losing a loved one or getting fired?

I experienced something recently that let me know that I am maturing as a woman and it is pretty awesome. A coworker of mine recently pointed out that I had been goofier than usual for several weeks. I, of course, quipped that I have been goofy all my life, but I realized that he was right. I thought about it and wondered if I was suppressing my feelings. I mean I have lost a loved one, a close former coworker (that was the subject of one of my earlier blogs) passed away, and I ended a relationship with a man I thought was perfect for me. So why was I so seemingly happy.

After pondering this for a while I believe that the reason I have been so much more like my normal self is that I am celebrating. I still wake up each day with the rest of my life ahead of me. I also made a choice to end a relationship with someone who was choosing not to put any effort into keeping me. That is a big deal! I didn't resort to name calling, I was clear about what my needs and expectations were, and when I saw that things were not changing after giving some time for change to happen- I got out. How mature am I?

I mean it still stings that someone who seemingly wanted to be with me so much in the beginning could give up and blame it on a busy schedule. Everyone everywhere is ALWAYS busy. Relationships are about making sacrifices and working to make things happen. It is true that things are often easier with the right person but you have to work at it as well. I will (I am sure) never know why things changed between us, but it doesn't matter.

Years ago I would still be in the relationship being neglected and sad, or I would have been breaking up and getting back together with him just trying to get him to see he needed to give me more. I am so proud that I made a decision to stick to my guns without being disrespectful. This was my first healthy, adult relationship. I am glad that I didn't ruin it by turning into a child because he couldn't own that he no longer wanted to date me. I hate when people push you away so they don't have to be the bad guy but hey at least I know that I am mature.
Yes that was shade.
I'm not completely reformed. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to save money and get things for FREE!!

I am a frugal person my nature and love a great deal......

My favorite price for an item is FREE

I have always looked for ways to save, really my mom started me on it and it just grew
from there. We always shopped clearance racks first,
 second hand stores, and discount stores for items
before checking full price retail stores for what we needed.
In the age of the internet purchase came new ways to do similar things.

I shop online pretty frequently especially since my move to a bigger area
 because I don't like lines. When shopping Online I earn money
 back by going through ebates.

The run down

  • is a website that offers you a percentage back when you shop online
  • The company gets paid to help online retailers observe online shopping experience
  • The company then passes that along to you in the form of cash back
  • The company alerts you to deals with companies you like or may like
  • The company also alerts you to extra cash back opportunities
I have been using this service for several years and find it worth it. You can join here.

Walmart Savings Catcher

I recently added the Walmart Savings Catcher to my many apps. I was skeptical
at first because why wouldn't they simply say
no matches were found? Yeah I am a little cynical...
but when I began using the app and actually getting money back?
I was happily surprised. Slowly but surely the cash back is
 adding up.

The run down

  • You shop as usual at Walmart
  • You upload your receipt to the savings catcher app
  • the Savings Catcher searches local advertised prices for what you purchased
  • If you paid more than the advertised price in your area Walmart sends you the cash back
  • You then have the choice of getting an e-gift card back when you are ready
  • Added bonus * the app keeps your uploaded receipts in the app
You can sign up here or here

I have also been aware of Freeflys for quite a while. I was sure that this
was going to be some sort of scam for spam....but I was proven
 wrong the first time I received free products in the mail. It is fairly simple
 to receive items and with Facebook page liking, and twitter updates you
don't even have to watch your email to know when things are being offered.

The run-down

  • Freeflys is a database of samples/coupons that can be requested
  • The samples usually just require your address but occasionally for you to sign up for a membership( I don't do those)
  • There are occasional sweepstakes (I don't do that either)
  • You wait at least 2 weeks
  • Check your mail
  • Enjoy your free things
I love this idea because it is like a surprise every few weeks. I often
 forget that I have requested a sample and when it arrives I am pleasantly
surprised. There are some times that I don't think it wise to enter my info
 on most sites but most of the time the items are from reputable companies.
You can sign up at the following location here

Local grocery chain deals

So I was going to link to Kroger which offers a free item
most Fridays.I feel like an extreme couponer when
I go through with several items and pay nada.
But then I realized based on your location this may be of no help to you.
I believe it is worth it to sign up for an account at what ever grocery store
 you use because most offer gas discounts, special coupons, birthday
coupons and lowered prices for members.

Walgreens and CVS

Just like mentioned above you received benefits for joining up with these
two. Frequent, almost more coupons than you can use.
Also (and this is my favorite part) Walgreens often sends
emails that have codes allowing you to get free picture prints
or photo books. I have personally used this many
MANY times. Have I mentioned I like FREE!?!?!!

If you know of any other ways I can save PLEASE let me know. I love free and cheap things ( that are equivalent to things at full price)

*This post contains affiliate links*

Monday, December 15, 2014

My target haul!

In September I took a new job, it is exactly what I want to be doing but it is a position in which I earn less than I previously did. This has meant that I have had less money to shop. I love when I am able to find good deals.
Check on my finds from a recent shopping trip.

The pink and white stripped dog sweater was $3 and the proceeds go to the ASPCA. The knee socks were $2.50 each and really help keep my legs warm in the winter months. The Oxfords were under $8 and have replaced tennis shoes when I go casual at work.
Summer modeling her new sweater! So cute!!!
My first day wearing my new shoes.
So it is possible to work with less and still have the occasional opportunity to add to your wardrobe with some items or replace things. Glad I made that impromptu trip to Target!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How I reclaimed my weekends

For some reason I made the decision that weekends were for chores
So without fail every weekend I would guilt myself for not doing enough
Then I realized the weekends are for rest DAMN IT!
Pinterest to the rescue!!!
I created a simple way to keep my home clean/organized and rest on the weekends
This week was my first at using this schedule. I didn't get everything completely done but I have not stress about finishing any more until the next scheduled days.
My weekends are or puppy time, family time, veg'ing out time (Just in time for Every Simpsons Ever), and spending times with friends. Oh and doing my hair, but not for cleaning my place.
Consider the weekend reclaimed!

Monday, August 11, 2014

All men are idiots

Before you get too angry let me explain....this is what an ex-boyfriend of mine told me recently.

We were catching up after years of not speaking to each other. He inquired about my marital status and I told him that I hadn't had much luck in the dating department. I was telling him that I had met many guys who just weren't settled or serious. He suggested that I be patient with finding someone and stated that some idiot would get lucky and land me soon. I replied "I don't want some idiot!" To which he coolly replied..."we are all idiots" until one day we aren't.
Source: Microsoft Word clip art

First I just have to say how good it was to hear him say that
he was pretty idiotic when we dated in college
Then I was like wait what?

For him this magic day happened when he had children and found that material things didn't mean as much as financial security. I have to say that even though this didn't come at a time that benefited me I am really happy for him and the woman he is with now. Every person deserves to see the fruit of their labor and 10 smiles for every tear shed.

So this made me think a bit, should I really be evaluating guys on where they are now or by their potential. Who is to say they won't have that light bulb moment when they are with me?

By no means though do I suggest you stay with a man that treats you poorly waiting on them to "wake up". I take this to mean that those guys who I dated just weren't ready to let go of the idiot training wheels. It really just validated me and removed that "what's wrong with me" thought that plays in the back of my mind.
I feel more confident that the next time things go astray in a relationship that I will be able to just keep moving and pray that  man comes out of his fog for the next woman he is with.
It isn't news to me that men and women develop at different rates, but I really thought by age 29 I wouldn't still be waiting on men to grow up. Cheers to all the idiots out there!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fat Shaming- Why we can't love ourselves

I was never really worried about or even paid attention to my weight until I made the college dance team. It was then a requirement that we regularly weigh in front of the director and work out constantly. Often girls that did not "look good in the costume" did not make the cut. So for the past 11 years I have been worried about comparing to others in the body sense. Also since that time I have been struggling to control my weight, unsuccessfully I might add.

I believe that for some those two things are not unrelated. When I thought of food as nourishment and an occasional treat I never moved above 115-125. When food became something to control, that was overindulged in by the "fat" people I began to struggle to return to my previous size.

This sort of microscope on other's weight is rampant in the media especially where celebs are concerned. For instance look what is being said about Chris Brown.

Obviously not Chris Brown (used to avoid Copyright infringement)

This post from TMZ states that Chris was seen "bravely partying without a shirt on" and was Titled "These Rolls Ain't Loyal" as a spoof to his popular song.

Now don't get me wrong, Chris is by no means "perfect" but I think his body is his concern and not ours. 

If you wanted to find a list of "fat" celebs there is an actual website dedicated to this.

If you search Christina Aguilera google will suggest "Christina Aguilera weight loss"
One article found here displays this picture with the opening line "Now that is beautiful"

Source Microsoft Word

They even went as far as to have a doctor estimate how much she weighed in the first picture, how much she weighs now, and how she accomplished this.
Weight is a very personal thing. When there are many people commenting on one's
weight it makes it that much more difficult to actually keep it under control.
I for one am an emotional eater and hearing negative comments about my body only intensifies this...
keeping me further and further away form my goal
I would suggest that part of the reason that we (some of us) struggle with loving ourselves is the constant comparison that we are exposed to. Not only in schools but in sports and media. Think "Who Wore It Best". " Blank's Awesome Post Baby Body" etc.
If you don't love yourself today, you won't love yourself anymore when those 15lbs are gone.
Love  <3