an interesting few months

First and foremost: my squat is up to 220lbs.

I also broke up with the dude I had been seeing for a year+; I cut my mid-back-length hair to above the chin; I got a pretty decent score on the GMAT and have applied to a few programs; my boss tendered his resignation so work is in a tizzy; another dude who I thought I would never talk to again was back for a visit and I was digging him all over again and now he’s gone…again.

Oh, also the riots in Baltimore. I was OK and I participated in one of the peaceful protests (which was also fine). It was really weird to have National Guard standing around.

Additionally, my house got broken into like 5 days after my previous entry. It took me a week to figure out what they took (the shittiest notebook computer in the world; really they did me a favor by taking it) and I have since bricked up that window entirely (unnecessary basement window that was basically begging to be broken into).

I was feeling bummed out last weekend and nothing cheers me up like wasting $20, so I went to have my tarot cards read. The reading was pretty generic and she asked me what motivates me. I was like “wut.” She said most people say “happiness,” but what makes me happy? The only thing I can figure that makes any sense is when I’m in that state of flow while creating. I’m looking at my life and see how that has all but dried out. Even now I’m taking a break from dance (because I am burned out) and so I just sit around and watch dumb youtubes.

Why is it so hard to do things that I enjoy AND are good for me?? I guess it’s not hard, it’s just that vegging out is easier.

I will say I still get my flow in while baking — if I may brag about my roomie’s bday cake, this is the first time I’ve ever done rosettes! I used that weird spray-on icing color and really liked the effect.

A photo posted by @marizaiscool on

So here are a couple journal pages. I have two because I started writing this a week ago (when I did the first one) but felt weird about blogging again. It’s interesting that I “grew up” on the internet but now that everybody has a blog I feel weird about having a blog. :)


doing the ‘impossible’

I finally hit 200lbs on my squat!!! And then I fucked it all up by dropping too low and jacking up my hip again! The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away (Your Gainz). I don’t mind though — I still did 200. 😛

I have had so many issues with my hips that I just kind of assumed I’d never make it to 200. I wasn’t even mad about it; it was just something that I would never do. So it was weird and strangely anti-climactic when I just, like, did it. Slow and steady wins the race, I suppose!

I joked that when I hit 200 I would be done with fitness but now that I have I’m like… what now? What is Life After 200? I am not built for squatting – I’m actually not built for powerlifting at all (too tall) – so I don’t really care to push my squat to a certain number. I’ll keep doing it because it’s good for me but I don’t need to “get” anywhere.

My gym is doing Strongman Saturdays every other week. Last week we lifted Atlas stones and I was the only one to get the 185lb stone over the bar! And on my first try! A couple of other ladies at the gym who regularly compete in Strongman-style competitions are trying to recruit me. I had such a nerve-wracking experience at my first (and so far only) competition that it’s hard to want to do it again… but IDK, it’s kind of fun to train “for” something. Strongman stuff is the one area of lifting where being tall is not a disadvantage – when you’re lifting big/awkward things, it’s helpful to have long limbs to get around whatever it is.

I think I would like to work on pistol squats. I did the initial test below and rolled backwards so I don’t even have the basic mobility required — working towards it would be really beneficial even if I don’t get to the full squat.


This is from a longer blog post that is really interesting…if you’re interested in pistol squats I guess. Click here if you wanna read it. :)

Oh, I’ve also decided to go back to grad school?????????? ? ?? I would like to get my MS in Business Analytics. I have to pass the GMAT first though so step 1 is to get through that. I took the pre-test and I’m concerned I might be an idiot; hopefully studying will help with that. 😛

I’m really looking forward to balancing school, full time job, teaching dance, personal relationships, the gym, and occasionally doing laundry! JK I’m going to lose my mind. There is a good chance I will have to give up teaching weekly classes. I would keep my student troupe around in a more informal form (i.e. no weekly rehearsal, more performance-based) and maybe teach a few classes online as requested…but IDK if I can do the weekly grind while also trying to do schoolwork. It sucks because I could really use that extra income! Plus also something about the joy of teaching dance. 😉

We’ll see though. That’s not until fall. I guess studying for the GMAT will be a good practice run?

 

I have a problem & need help. just not right now.

In this video I’m making my own “semi-opaque decorative tape” based on this tutorial. It’s super easy – just put the tape down (older books work best) and peel it up; it’ll bring some of the text or whatever with it.

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There’s a CVS near my work which, according to my credit card statement, I visit an average of 3 times a day for snacks. Some people grab chips or whatever… I grab cheese. And then I forget about them in my pockets until I go into some meeting at work.

DON’T JUDGE ME

being the worst & keeping the faith

1-12-15-a

That backwards Y tho I made the exact same mistake again!!


1-12-15-b

I didn’t like this page. And I’M SO INTO PAPERCUTS RIGHT NOW so I just covered it/cut it out and posted the video anyway because I’m trying to stay in that habit. And by “stay in” I mean “re-establish.”

I have to come up with a new piece for my students. Long story short, I have settled on a type of folkloric dance with which I am not super familiar (but I will be after this!) so it’s a challenge for all of us. There is part of me that is nervous to do something so outside of my comfort zone but the thought of doing another piece just like the ones we did makes me go “merhhh.” Plus there are other reasons that I won’t go into here (not secret, just boring).

Every time I have to start a piece I am convinced that it’s not going to work, I had my ideas already, there are no more. Every time I successfully come up with something feels like it’s the last time it will happen ever. And yet, somehow it always happens? And I’m like what is this thing and where did it come from? Also is this the last time it will ever happen? It’s the last time for real this time.

Even after all this time and empirical evidence (is that the right kind of evidence? IDK words) it’s still hard to trust the process. It’s especially frustrating that it’s happening in all the major avenues of my life right now (art, dance, lifting) so I’m basically not feeling like I’m succeeding anywhere.

BUT

I know that if I stick with it I’ll eventually get somewhere. I try to remind myself to take the long view. The nice thing about lifting is all the concrete examples: I was annoyed with myself for “only” squatting 150lbs today. Not too long ago 150lbs was brag-worthy! And the first time I squatted 135lbs I shared the picture all over; now 135lbs is my “girls just wanna have fun” weight.

So even if you feel like the worst and like you’re in the same place all over again, you’re really not. It’s always different.

A different kind of being the worst.
Yaaayyy

I mean…
it’s totally gonna work out guyyysss

anniversary papercut

Today is my 1 year anniversary with some guy. 😉 We didn’t want to do big gifts or anything but I always want to do “something” so I figured I’d put my not-so-recently learned papercutting skills to use.

anniv_papercut_1

I did have a little frame that I could have used, but I thought of it more like a card than a thing you put on the wall. I glued it down and cut the card stock with some decorative hearts that made the whole thing end up looking like a whoopie cushion, which I am totally OK with. Also, the little hearts could totally be butts. It works on so many levels.

anniv_papercut_2

The lady I took the papercut workshop from (Annie Howe of Bmore Papercuts) originally got started in shadow puppetry and I can see how the two are related.

anniv_papercut_3

My first attempt…not so great. Much to my own surprise, writing backwards is actually not too hard for me (all of the drawing etc is done on the back of the paper so you have to do it all in reverse) but I have to pause for a moment on letters with tails to remember which way the tail goes. Clearly I didn’t pause on this Y. Also: it was only later that I got the “achievement” idea and I thought about putting it in the bunting at the top, but it was waaaay too small. Plus that Y started to really bother me. I liked round 2 much better. :)

I HOPE HE PRETENDS TO LIKE IT
😉

habit patterns


12-27-14
It’s true in the sense that it’s part of my personal narrative, but it’s not true in the sense that it is true.

I sometimes wonder how much of my “personality” is inherent and how much of it is habit patterns because a) I apparently don’t have enough real stuff to worry about and b) I sometimes behave in ways that annoy myself (particularly in social situations*). If the past isn’t real, why can’t I just choose another path today? Something something reinforcement, risk aversion. I “could” behave in a way that is not what I’m used but I’d be stressed the whole time. Would I eventually get used to it and be different?

There are probably books on this I should read instead of wondering about it. I do hear through the self-help grapevine that cultivating mindfulness helps with choosing your actions vs. reacting to a stimulus. But who’s got time for that amirite???

*After a few years I finally learned how to fake small talk so I’m less awkward than I used to be, but I’m still pretty awkward.

PS, this page had a demo round (below). I couldn’t get the face right (the one below was actually the third attempt) and finally decided this was not a girl page, so I scrawled something on this one and let it be. ART


12-26-14


Leslie: OK, you know what? Let’s cut the crap. Is this audit even real?
Tammy One: In a sense, yes, but in another, truer sense, no, it is not. I want Ronald back. But I had to learn about his finances to make sure my future was protected. I’m impressed. He’s acquired quite a bit of gold…
Leslie: You gold digger! You are literally a gold digger!
– Parks & Rec

DIY Lotion Bars

Whew! What a weekend (yes, I know it’s Wednesday). I hosted an out-of-town instructor for a workshop, informal lecture, and she performed in a local show (I performed as well). It was a very successful weekend (both in the sense that the community enjoyed it and in the sense that I actually covered all my expenses for once). I also really liked the instructor herself as a person, it was fun to hang out with her. She is also an anthropologist and has studied dance in the Middle East so she had a lot of cool stuff to talk about.

Anyhoos, before I got swept away for the weekend and then spent 2 days on the couch watching movies to recover (I’m off until January!!), I made lotion bars for gift bags for some of my gym lady bros.

Lotion bars are really easy to make. Like, “there’s no way this can be right” easy.


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1 part coconut oil
1 part types of butters (shea, coconut, mango… probably not butter butter)
1 part beeswax
Some drops of essential oil (optional)

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IMG_2798

Melt it all in a double boiler (aka glass bowl in a pot) and pour into some kind of mold. I used a little extra beeswax because I wanted a firmer bar. I used shea butter and coconut butter because that’s what I could find. Shea butter smells terrible; would have preferred mango. I happened to have some lavender essential oil that I threw in there but the scent is overpowered by the beeswax (which I don’t mind).


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I had the molds leftover from soap making so that was my back-up but then I remembered I had some empty mini cinnamon roll packages which I ended up using instead. UPCYCLING. The wells had some indentations in them that actually looked pretty cute, and as a bonus, the ones in the middle ended up connected to each other when I poured all the stuff in so they actually ended up looking kinda like barbells which was even better.

The complete gift was a “Lifter’s Hand Repair Kit”: soap (for chalk), sugar scrub (for calluses), and lotion bar. I even found tiny kettle bell and 25lb plate charms! (would have preferred 45s but couldn’t find them, oh well) I have cute gift ideas sometimes if I may say so myself. :)

PS Merry Christmas (eve)!

finding time, making time


12-15-14
aka every time somebody pays me a compliment

Towards the end of this video you can see the (sleeves of the) kickass hot pink robe I got for free at Ulta with my fragrance purchase. Yeahhhh buddy

When uploading this video I looked in my “2014” folder and found three (3) other spreads since August. 3!! I wonder if it’s just not a priority anymore – well, clearly it isn’t, or I would make the time – but it makes me sad to think that. I guess I’m so used to art stuff “coming naturally” aka “I used to have a ton of free time.”

Now I have to really make a point of fitting it into my schedule which isn’t ~fun~ or whatever. I think somewhere in my feels I secretly believe that if I schedule art time then I must consider myself a real artist (vs somebody who just dabbles when I have the time) and look at this crap I make; this isn’t art, who does this.

This is not compatible with my general philosophy re: the democratization and accessibility of art. So I think I avoid the whole issue and general cognitive dissonance by just not making anything. And then I look back at my empty folders and go :< whoomp whoomp.

I have been forcing myself to write for 15 minutes before bed. At the least it helps me unwind and go to sleep but I think it is also unclogging some stuff. If I am not too fatigued I have also been drawing a Soul Card and moving it (not really “dancing” it) for a few minutes which I think is the choreographic equivalent of a free write. Sometimes I get too caught up in the structures I create for myself so it’s nice to just move and write and not think too much.

I feel like this is all coming across kind of depressingly and it’s really not that bad — just an extended lull and/or reorganization of priorities. At any rate I have renewed this domain for another year because I’m not ready to let go so I may as well use the damn thing. ;P

I do have a big piece coming up next summer and I’m sort of trying to get back to some good creative habits so I don’t churn out something lame. I’ve been tapped to create a group piece for an upcoming show. The show itself is more theatrical so the piece will have to be as well, i.e. no “2 lines with a stagger dancing towards the audience,” but dancer interaction, perhaps even doing different things at the same time WHAT. CAN THEY HANDLE IT??? We will find out. My student troupe is mostly comprised of people with, like, lives? that don’t revolve around dance? so I often have to choose between quality and complexity (quality usually wins….better to be simple and clean than complex and messy!).

Dance is an interesting art form (as a creator) because it relies so much on other peoples’ abilities and interest. I often find myself having to “sell” certain pieces to dancers because it’s gonna look sooooo good 3 months from now just trust me! There is not a great deal of instant gratification. And if people are not interested* or able to perform, it provides an interesting challenge (“interesting challenge” is the diplomatic way of saying “show up to class god damn it you mean I have to re-block this AGAIN?”)

* = It’s a student troupe (they pay me which adds a whole ‘nother level of complication because I feel a need to serve their desires…but part of their desire is to learn my choreography and improve as dancers, which means sometimes I have to push them) AND belly dance is like 98% hobbyists…I assume professional dance companies where the dancers are paid to be there are very different.

Wait what was I talking about.
Oh yeah,
so I will try to schedule in art time even if it feels dumb and too full of myself. Nobody else is gonna do it for me!

crafting failz

Maannn it’s a good thing I started my xmas gifts early because I have lost my crafty touch.

Plus I do dumb things like decide to try silk painting?
But I’m too cheap to buy the stretcher frame
so I nail it to the back of a canvas that’s too short
and basically just spray water and dye everywhere
(Poem about my creative process)

I’ve always considered myself to be somewhat of a “brute force” crafter which is why I am spiritually incompatible with things like sewing or bridge building or things that require fine details. I guess it’s good to be kinda fearless re: trying new things but now my room is a mess and I’ve produced something rather … uhh well a mom would pretend to like it, especially if I got her something else. It’s kinda growing on me, though. I think I just wanted a deeper red but (lesson learned) in that case I should just start with red silk.


silkscarf
IT’S A SCARF

I decided to stick with the “I’m 12 years old so you have to pretend to like my art projects” theme and make soaps from a kit as well. These were “successful” in the sense that I made peppermint-looking-ish soaps that smelled like peppermint but… meh.

I also made others with inlays but they were too delicate and clouded up when I poured the rest of the soap in, which I wasn’t not expecting, but had to try anyway.


soaps

My roommate asked me why I was making jello and I was like noooo do not eat that!

All in all pretty disappointing; however, I did make brown sugar scrub that turned out because I’d have to be legitimately stupid to screw that one up. I made that last year and had people asking me about it, so I guess it was pretty good. I think I did lime last year but went with cinnamon this time. Hopefully I’ll get over my soap insecurities so I can put together a little bath kit.

And/or just buy something from somebody who knows what they’re doing. I’m not shopping I’m hiring an expert

A photo posted by @marizaiscool on

The tree turned out, though.

dance musings

After waiting forever (long enough that I’ve decided to bite the bullet and get my own “nice-ish” camera, because really, how high quality does it need to be when it’s mostly for personal catalogs?) I finally got the video from my show.

I am very happy with my performance if I’m allowed to say so. It still needs work but this is the first solo I’ve done that I’ve actually wanted to continue work on – like it has more to offer. Usually I just bust something out once and then I’m done with it.

I really forced myself to chill out and slow down with this performance. Which isn’t to say that I’ve been spazzy or unorganized in the past, but I tried to work with bigger movements and lines, more traveling, more floor patterns. There still aren’t very many or the ones I used aren’t satisfactory (hence why I want to keep working this).

I also worked with a character which I don’t usually do – although that usually has to do with the fact that the music motivates my movements directly so I haven’t needed one. In this case, it wasn’t a need so much as an enhancement. The song is called “The Fortuneteller” (“Kariaat El Fengan”) and it describes a man going to have his tea leaves read.

She sat.
She sat with a fearful look on her face and
Examined the overturned tea cup.

She said, my son, don’t grieve.
For love is written for you, My son.
love is written for you, My son.
My son, you will die a martyr.
But death is worth it for the one you love.

I interpreted it.
I interpreted it but thought it was a mistake.
Because I never read
A cup that resembles your cup.

I interpreted it.
I interpreted it but thought it was a mistake.
Because I never witnessed
Grief that resembles your grief.

So tragic! I looked at videos of other dancers and they danced this song happy (and in fact the song sounds pretty happy, particularly this version which has this amaaaazing 70s aesthetic) so I think we’ve all agreed that we don’t care about the lyrics. There are actually a lot of happy-sounding Arabic songs with tragic lyrics that we all dance happy; I figure it’s kind of the equivalent of pop/club dance songs with sad lyrics…you don’t actually dance sad.

That said, I felt a little weird going into this song and being happy about it. But then I figured out a technicality to get around it: I would not dance the story, but I would dance the woman the fortuneteller describes:

I swear to you, my son, this woman
Her eyes are beyond belief.

Her face looks like a painting.
Her laugh is as beautiful as a song or roses

And her wild and crazy hair,
Travels all around the world.

[…]

It’s impossible to love a woman,
My son, who has no home.

Once I figured this out, everything else fell into place. I felt “OK” simplifying things because this woman has nothing to prove (sometimes I feel like I do, so I overdo it). I traveled more than usual because she goes all around the world. I wasn’t sure how to end the dance because it ends rather anticlimactically (the videographer faded the music out which is annoying, but it ends shortly after the video with just a drum beat) so an end pose would have been weak – but then I realized that this woman wouldn’t stick around for an end pose anyway; she comes into your life (twirling in) and then leaves when she’s done…so I took my bow (mostly a practical matter so as not to confuse the audience) and went on my way.

It’s not super complex and I didn’t create any vision boards or anything like that — I’m just so fascinated by the whole process because I’ve never had a song with such strong opinions about its own interpretation, and taking on the role felt natural rather than some kind of conceit. Totally personal opinion alert: I think a lot of dancers try to be a character and they just end up doing really bad pantomime at the expense of dancing. You’re dancing normally but just “look sad.” That’s not the same as dancing sad.

But what is dancing sad — especially in a belly dance context? This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve been reading a lot of choreography books (Western dance) and it seems to me that a lot of what is expressed through our bodies requires full use of the body, in a way that is almost mutually exclusive to the isolations of belly dance. A lot of (fusion) belly dancers have been adopting modern dance vocabulary and I think that’s why. Some have been going too far and losing the characteristic hip work…it’s a constant balance.

I am teaching one more class this year – on Monday – and then I’m off until January. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to tune-up my own dance.. I feel guilty about how little I practice these days — Datura Online has created little pre-made playlist “programs” for people to follow and I think I’ll do one of those. I’m also going to drop in on some ballet and jazz classes. I’ve taken ballet before but I’m really bad at it and I’ve never taken jazz (interested to because that style has isolations as well) so I’m excited to be a beginner again.

halloween & do-nothing november

oh lawd. I need to decide what to do with this ol’ blog thing. I would like to write more regularly, but then I don’t. Basically I don’t take any of my own advice about consistency being key. :)

So I guess I’ll start easy and just re-post from Instagram!

A photo posted by @marizaiscool on

Here is a shrimp brain I made for my Halloween party. It is just shrimp held together with gelatin (put in a brain mold). People weren’t sure about eating it: mission accomplished. The funny thing is that when I was trying to eat the leftovers the next day, the lack of party noise made the gross squishy sound as you pulled it out of the jello really apparent. Pretttyyy gross actually.

A photo posted by @marizaiscool on

My other Pinterest 101 food item. People did ask me what it was and I was like it’s just salsa and spinach dip dudes calm down. The intestines were puff pastry filled with refried beans. POOP GET IT

Even though the “body” thing didn’t work out that great, I think just having a pile of goop and meat sitting out is pretty gross by itself.

SUCCESS

I also watched a documentary called The American Scream which is about people who make haunted houses in their own house (“home haunts”) and promptly ordered a book on the subject. So hopefully next year will be more elaborate. The reason I’ve never had a Halloween party before is because I knew in my heart that I wanted to acquire enough Halloween stuff to create my own haunted house, and you can’t do that when you move every year. But now I have a house with plenty of basement space…

Anyhoos, every weekend in October had A Thing so BF and I decided that we weren’t going to do ANYTHING in November. I already failed having danced at a thing on November 1 and attended a surprise bday party on November 8, but the rest of the month looks pretty chill (really looking forward to that week off for Tgiving!)

For the bday party I made kettle bell cakes. I’ve never made a spherical(ish) cake nor have I ever worked with fondant; may as well go for broke and do them both for the first time AT the same time, right?? Anyway it was all worth it because they turned out awesome if I may say so. My favorite part is that they were layer cakes (tryna maximize frosting) — I wish I got a better pic of them being cut, it was so gratifying to see them cut open and little stripey slices coming out.

A photo posted by @marizaiscool on

So that’s it for now. Oh, other important updates: My squat is up to 190lbs and my hip doesn’t hurt at all!!! and today I hit 200lbs on my deadlift. Usually one’s deadlift is farther ahead than one’s squat, but it took me a while to get my deadlift off the ground (no pun intended) due to some issues with the position…that I no longer have! at one point I couldn’t even get into the right position with the straight bar so I’m very pleased (to say the least) to be pulling 200 with it now.

ok bye see you again in 2 months

it’s over!

We did it!

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It was a full house! Thank you to everyone who came out!

View on Instagram

I didn’t get many pics of the backstage situation because I was too busy running around. Note to self: get some sort of assistant next year. I think part of the problem is I legitimately forget all the things that need to be done for a show and/or there are unexpected challenges.

Things I need to remember for next time:

  • Stage manager/dancer wrangler. People were actually very good about being where they needed to be and I didn’t have to track anybody down, but to have somebody back stage that can get people organized, help them find the stage entrance, etc, is nice to have and not something I personally need to be doing. It also helps to have more than one person who can assist, in case I am, you know, getting my costume on or something.
  • Get somebody else on the show programs. I don’t mind designing it, but printing and folding is a huge pain.
  • Empower somebody to take care of the entire front house operation. By that I mean they already have programs/cash box/will-call list and don’t need to wait for me to show up and set them up. This means I will have to delegate it BEFORE the day OF the show.
    • This may mean that somebody else is in charge of online ticket sales, because communicating the online will-call list was part of the hassle.
    • The good thing about running a little belly dance show is: who is going to try to sneak into that anyway? So I told the ticket ladies that if somebody said they bought a ticket from me they probably did and just let them in. GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICE
  • Flashlights or little lamps for backstage. The theater was in an entirely different configuration last year; this year the backstage was completely dark. We opened the hall door which provided just enough light not to kill yourself, but it would have been nice to have something back there. This depends on the theater but I think in general it is probably wise to at least bring a flashlight.
  • I’m not sure I have the technology for this, but maybe find a way to make all the songs the same volume? Also, send the music to my sound person (again, pre-show-day-delegation required!!) so they can familiarize themselves with it.
  • Make sure dancers check in with the sound person with any special requests (I actually ended up running the sound myself for a portion because a dancer had a request that only I knew about).
  • Delegate delegate delegate!!!!

But it was a very successful show! My students did a wonderful job, my guests of course were amazing, and the audience really enjoyed it. I did have an incident where one of my finger cymbals just… fell off (which has NEVER happened before) so I very dramatically threw the rest of them on the GROUND which was kind of a power move — luckily it worked out, haha. I did have a moment of “how do I fix this? can I put it back on?” but getting a finger cymbal on is annoying enough when you AREN’T mid-performance with an audience looking at you, so I had to go in the opposite direction.

WHEW
4 student pieces with my choreography
19 pieces all together
Some 40-ish performers
Some 100-ish audience members
Photographer
Videographer
Theater venue

I am proud of myself if I may say so!

And to finish out the weekend, the workshops. I am currently being awkward and typing this rather than talking to the workshop instructor but I never know how to handle these situations. I’m always paranoid that I come across as ignoring you when actually I’m just trying to give you space…people wanna have time to sit and check their emails right? I don’t need to constantly be up in her biz right??? #badhost

OH: one thing I DO NOT need to delegate is the creation of the show poster BECAUSE I AM ON THAT.


shimmiboog

show prep!!

I am hosting my annual (it’s my third year but both of the last times I said I wasn’t going to do it again so it feels weird to say for sure that it’s “annual”) show next Friday which is taking up a lot of my mental energy. I’m also hosting workshops that nobody is signing up for (I’m not even teaching them, otherwise I’d say it was just lack of my personal appeal).

I find that if I treat it like a game or a problem to be solved it’s less painful, so I’m trying to solve this problem of tons of “interest” NOT equaling tons of registrations. HOW GET CONVERSIONS? (to use business speak) I guess when it comes time for people to put their money where their mouths are, suddenly they are not as interested.

The good news is I am working on an actual choreography for myself and I even managed to make some parts of it challenging…that sounds really arrogant — what I mean is just that when you choreograph for yourself you tend to use your own movement patterns, so you have to kind of make a point of making it challenging for yourself. Luckily I found a song that spoke pretty strongly to me and had its own opinions about what should go where so now I am trying to make it happen.

I even went to the gym last night after a full afternoon of errands to practice because I was excited about it for once! So that was nice.

Some practices are better than others, though. :)

Just a short update. It’s still a week and a half away and I know from experience that some people will wait until 11:59 to register for something so it could still turn around. It just sucks to bring this lady (for whom I have a lot of respect) all the way down here and then not be able to fill the room for her. :(

Welp back to playing the Sims to avoid all my responsibilities. Design the show program? PFFFTT

I strongwomanned

I survived the Strongwoman contest! I only cried a little bit! I was SO FRUSTRATED by the log press — my second attempt was 85lbs which I have done before (multiple times!) but I was SO nervous that I just couldn’t control it. I even had trouble controlling 75lbs. It was particularly upsetting because I got 85 over my head but didn’t lock out my left elbow and didn’t get the points. UGH. I was also really bad at the medicine ball toss, I basically just spiked it down behind me.

strongwoman_log
LEFT ELBOW Y U DO DIS?

BUT, I was told I got 2nd place in the Zercher yoke carry (175lbs). The power stair wasn’t bad – that was loading 150lbs on a platform and back down. I did 15 reps in 60 seconds and have the bruises on my legs to prove it!


strongwoman_zercher
50 feet down/back for time

I don’t know that I would compete again. This was for fun and for charity (we raised over $10,000 for the Susan Cohen Colon Cancer Foundation!!!!) but I was still so sick and nervous the whole time. I was hoping that during the events I would get into some kinda zone but that did not happen. During the loading medley I wanted to puke the whole time and every time I ran back to pick up another thing the only thought in my head was “I can’t do this, I’m not going to get this one up.” Despite the fact that I’ve successfully completed that same medley before (in one basic training class I had to do it repeatedly!)


strongwoman_sandbag strongwoman_chain

So it was basically a huge exercise in negative self-talk that I couldn’t seem to control. I am glad I did it though because I always regret NOT trying something. And the pictures do look pretty bad-ass. And I guess it’s a pretty cool thing to do in the first place. AND I did genuinely have fun with the other ladies from my gym; it was fun to hang out with them and support them (as well as the ladies from other gyms). But damn it was stressful! I’m not even really sure why. I guess because I get embarrassed easily so it was hard to have everybody looking at me (even if they were totally supportive).

In conclusion, it’s a good thing I didn’t harbor some secret dream of being a professional strong woman because clearly I lack the constitution for it. 😉


strongwoman_shirt
at least I got a cool shirt out of it

why did I get the sims

So I haven’t been updating anything because I’m busy updating my blog in The Sims 4. I also do crazy, fantastical things like eat entire cakes by myself, which obviously I would never do in real life. Obviously….


09-11-14_6-09 PM
not yours

So that’s a cool waste of my life.

I also went camping last weekend in, like, nature. I’ve never been camping as an adult because I generally avoid doing things outside, but it wasn’t so bad. It did rain most of the second night but BF is all into camping gear so we were dry (albeit a bit bored, cooped up in the tent). I also got to make s’mores which was my only camping objective! They were not as good as microwave s’mores. Perhaps that is blasphemy to some but with the fire I found it hard to get the marshmallow consistently melty (NB: we had a shitty fire)

THIS weekend I am competing in a Strongwoman competition! I’m in the Fun group and I use the term “competing” very loosely. It’s more like, “getting my ass kicked by everybody else because I just joined because my gym hosts the competition and everybody else was doing it.” It’s for fun and for charity so I’m trying to be cool about it but I’ve been having stress dreams out the wazoo.

The events are: throwing three 10lb medicine balls for distance; putting 150lbs on a stair (and back down) for max reps in a minute; Zercher yoke carry (AWFUL – and for the “fun” group there’s no weight on it. It’s still 175lbs); log press for max weight with a starting weight of 70lbs; and a loading medley where we have to run 50 feet with and load various things into a wheel barrow, then wheel the whole thing back. The things: 70lb sandbag, two 35lb plates (one each hand), 32 kilo kettlebell, and a chain that weighs about 70lbs.

I can do all of the events but I know I’m going to get smoked (there are ladies in the Fun group pressing 100lbs or so on the log what’s up with that!!) and sometimes I get all overachievery and “if you can’t win why bother” which is not a great attitude. I know I’ll have fun when I get there, I just get a little anxious about having an audience for something I’ve never done before.

People get surprised when I express anxiety about being seen because “but you’re a belly dancer” but I don’t have 10 years of experience in the field of strongwomanning. Just because I’m comfortable with being on stage doesn’t mean I like being watched all the time. Obviously this is true for a lot of performers because wanting to be seen is why they began in the first place, but there are plenty of us who don’t feel the same way. Interestingly, I have met a LOT of “awkward” (self-described) introverts in the belly dance community. So it’s not just me!


boogaloo

Show prep is coming along. I’ve been too busy having nightmares about log press to think much about it, and then I remember it’s only about 3 weeks away and lose my mind. I did spend a good chunk of time yesterday adding the event to local calendars and I’m forcing my student troupe to sell tickets, haha. We’ve definitely sold more than one ticket. #focusonthepositives It’s not really the money so much as that crappy feeling that nobody wants to come to your show. :(

I just have to remind myself that most people don’t get tickets way ahead of time anyway. This year I’m really jacking up the price at the door – $30 – which I keep going back and forth on. On the one hand, I’m trying to incentivize people to buy ahead of time; on the other, I don’t want to drive away door traffic. Maybe I’ll drop it to $25 on the day of. Last year, due to online fees and me being dumb, it was cheaper to buy at the door than online so of course nobody bought online.

So anyway these are all the things that are making me anxious. I’m gonna feel soooo relieved on October 5 (the show is October 3 but I am also sponsoring workshops on October 4, so I’m not “done” until the 5th!)