Of the dreaded strengths & weakness question and the BFF filter

Today was the first time I got to be the interviewer rather than the interviewee.

I had a minor meltdown over it last night. The perfectionist kicked in. I *had* to be an excellent interviewer right off the bat. I *had* to impress everyone. I *had* to take my boss’ previous experiences with several of the candidates into consideration. I was given a total of 16 resumes and narrowed the field down to 8 for interviews. At the same time, I have to pick up everything in my new position with 100% accuracy. If not, I’m an epic failure who deserves to be publicly flogged for her shortcomings. I put myself through the “BFF” filter. Would I tell my closest friends the same things I was telling myself? Absolutely not. I’d probably kick someone who spoke that way to someone I love. Yet I keep listening to my own bullshit. I take those horrible words as gospel. Once I turned on that filter, I backtracked most of the rest of the night. If I caught myself going down that path, I’d put it through the BFF filter. Only about 2% of the thoughts passed. That’s a bit scary, n’est pas?

I’ve got 9 interviews scheduled from today until next Tuesday. A second batch of resumes will find its way into my inbox tomorrow morning. I navigated the first three with no problems. My boss sat with me for the first one, gave me feedback, and I was on my own for the next 2. I’l give him my feedback on everyone I talk to. He made it clear that this is my decision. He has his opinions and advice, but I have the last word. I’ll interview people through next Friday, then make my decision the week of the 10th (P.S. when did it get to be March?!). I didn’t think it was fair to the people who applied later to not get a crack at it. I also purposely scheduled a lot of people to interview for my own practice. Hopefully by the last few people, I’ll have come up with a better question than “what are your strengths / weaknesses?”. I hate that one. Too bad my BFF filter doesn’t have a solution for that one.

On a completely frivolous note, I’m trying some new perfumes. I learned the hard way to test fragrances out first before committing to anything. I have several small samples to test run. I keep smelling myself to see how they’re mellowing on my skin. I’m not crazy about the one I’m wearing now. I liked the one from yesterday better. Conveniently, there are a total of 7 samples to try. I’m also eyeing more glittery things to wear on my head and ridiculously sized rings. If I could get away with wearing the glittery animal ears at work, I totally would. Until then, I’ll just have to settle for my big, stupid earrings.



Of sucker punches and carriage rides

The end of last week wasn’t exactly stellar. On Boy’s birthday, I found out that my dad had a brain tumor. The cancer had metastasized into his brain. Way to get kicked in the stomach, right? I spent the night alternating between sobbing & feeling completely numb. Boy wisely talked me into showing up to work the next day instead of stewing at home all day. I only cried once at work right before I got a text from my dad. The prognosis is excellent. The tumor can easily be removed, he’ll need minimal radiation treatment, & he’ll be back at it in about 6 weeks. Far from the worst case scenario.

Boy & I had already planned to go to Savannah this weekend & it was definitely the right choice. A little change of scenery, sitting in one of the squares sipping Italian soda, & laughing at each other and everything around it was just what I needed to get out of my own head. We crammed pretty much everything worth doing into about 14 hours. I was totally brain fried at work today, but it was worth it. We played every silly road trip game we could think of, I kept him awake with my Lady Gaga playlist during the last hour on Friday night, and hilarity ensued.

I came back to the parents’ house today and my dad was back to making cancer jokes. He wants to show off the staples in his head to add to his street cred. We’ve been debating the various merits of shaving his head then which ridiculous wigs we could get for him. My rainbow mohawk idea is currently winning. Jokes about how he would be totally safe in the event of a zombie attack because his brain is already rotten. Some people may look at us and think we’re cruel or downright crazy for laughing about it. Hell, what else are we going to do? Bury him already? He’s already survived one round. There’s no reason he won’t come out of this round with better stories and more sick jokes. Some days, we laugh to keep from crying. It always ends better that way.


P.S. We’re headed to Bonnaroo in June. So, so, so stupidly excited!!

Of monsters and men

Five years ago, I never thought I’d say this. In writing. On the Internet.

He’s not a monster. He never was.

It’s all too easy to paint someone as an inhuman caricature. It’s all too easy to use that as a dumping ground for everything that’s gone wrong or hurt or upset me over the past decade. I read something about forgiveness recently that made me stop. Realize that person is still a person with faults, thoughts, feelings, good sides, and bad sides. Monsters, as it were, are few and far between. I’ll never know what was going through his head all those years. I’ll never know if he knew what he was doing. What I do know is he’s human, too. I’m certainly no saint. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t give me free rein to lay every bad thing that’s happened to me, or that I’ve done since then, at his door. That’s my responsibility to clean up what needs cleaning up and dumping out what can stay in the trash. I don’t have the right to point at him and say “He’s the reason I don’t like cartoons! He’s the reason I’m covered in all these tattoos!”. I don’t like the way it makes me look or feel. It’s worlds easier to point at someone else rather than say “Yup, I screwed this one up,” or “No, that’s just not my bag,”. It’s finally seeing a picture of yourself in the baggy sweatpants, messy bun, & old sneakers in public and realizing what the rest of the world is seeing. Then it’s getting off your ass, washing your hair, putting on clothes that fit, and walking out of the house knowing you look like a completely different person. I don’t know about you, fair readers, but I would much rather be seen in public looking fabulous.

When all this occurred to me last night while I was falling asleep, I felt nothing. As strange as it sounds, I didn’t feel a sense of relief or a deep gut reaction. Maybe this is what real peace feels like. It doesn’t provoke a strong reaction either way. It just is. I forgive him for having his faults and making very poor choices when we were young. I forgive myself for hanging on to something so horribly broken, I cut myself in the process.

Just like yesterday, another small step. A small step that when I look behind me has left a trail of hundreds of miles.


Of short hangs and long TV series

Today’s theme: Little steps make more progress than big jumps.

I’ve been reading several other blogs which decry “fitspiration” and “thinspiration” as little better than anorexia or bulimia campaigns. That’s fair. I won’t argue that point. I did, however, take issue with “strong is the new skinny” being another slogan for self hate. I admit my bias. The silks gym’s slogan is “strong is the new skinny”. Let’s face kinesthetic facts boys & girls. The more muscle mass a female body has, the less space it occupies. When I was doing CrossFit regularly, I actually gained weight because I gained muscle. However, people were constantly asking if I lost weight because I was more compact. I could also do a push up on my toes for the first time in my adult life. About the time I fell out of CrossFit, I started aerials. I still couldn’t do a pull up, but I was stronger than I’d ever been. I took great pride in being able to physically do things that seemed impossible before then. I was focused on what my body could do from day to day rather than obsessing over a dress size or the number of calories I was eating. Again, I concede there’s a very fine line between “fitspiration” and actual motivational slogans for alternative work outs like aerials, boxing, martial arts, and Olympic style power lifting, the latter three being rarely marketed towards women.

A while ago, Boy bought a pull up bar. We mounted it in the doorway between the living room and the bedroom. After a few days, it got taken down so I could close the door and not be disturbed by light or the TV. It never went back up again. I decided to do something about that today. I remounted it in the doorway and every time I pass from the living room into the bedroom or bathroom, I make myself do something. Whether it’s a straight arm hang for as long as I can hold myself up or hanging leg lifts, I do something before I finish walking through the door. When one is doing laundry and the washer and dryer must be accessed through the bedroom, that adds up to a lot of arm work during the day. When I finish an episode of TV (I’m currently bingeing on The Borgias) and before I start the next one, I get up and do 5 different exercises be it hanging for a few seconds with different grips or more hanging leg lifts. My grip usually gives up after 3-5 seconds. It’s still something. By the end of the day, I’ll have done around half an hour of arm & lower ab exercises. I attempted bicep curls with a 15 pound weight while I was stuck in the house last week. Doesn’t sound like a lot, right? I barely managed 5 reps and didn’t keep any kind of form trying to do the last few. If nothing else, it helps keep me on track until I can get back in the air. On that note, time to change the laundry.


Furry Cuteness Friday: Valentine’s Day Edition

What better way to celebrate the (made up) holiday of love, chocolate, and cheesy cards than with adorable fluffy creatures? There is no better way.

Penguin 6



“Mommy, was I adopted?”

“Don’t be silly dear. Your father and I love you very much,”


“Look at me! I’m pretty!”

3 Eleanor


5 lion

“Get off me, you’re heavy”

Hope everyone has a lovely (and loving) weekend. Go cuddle something cute.


Of learning how to fly and a very good place to start

Captain’s Log:

ClusterFlake 2014 2.0 – Day 3

We have spotted land! Dry land! The weather gods have seen fit to bless us with sight of dry land and freedom! Tomorrow will be back to normal. Work is open and I’ll be able to get there without incident. Several school districts are still closed. Though I believe they’d already planned that since it’s a holiday weekend (President’s Day for my non US readers). At least I’ll be getting out of the house. I made a point of getting up and moving around yesterday and today. I did a 10 minute circuit of lunges, arm hangs, medicine ball sit ups, lower ab leg lifts, bicep curls, & high knees. I was panting by the end of it. Dance does not cardio endurance make. Today we got out and walked to Waffle House. There may have been my entire caloric intake for the day in the middle, but it was about a mile and a half walk total. At least I was moving and wasn’t inside. On the exercise note…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I started taking circus classes almost 4 years ago. A mutual friend was part of the performance company and suggested I try it out. As with most things in my life, I kept up with it for a few months, then got distracted by something shiny or other circumstances. When the program started, it was 4 silks rigged in a rock climbing gym with a handful of classes available during the week. Since then, they’ve moved to a new space offering trapeze, partner acrobatics, lyra (aerial hoop), handstands & contortion, and pole (not that kind), in addition to the fabrics classes. While I’m one of the longest standing students, I’ve been inconsistent at best. Moving, job changes, epilepsy, and life in general seem to always get in the way right when I start to see progress. I’ve always had trouble with upper body strength and beat myself up for it constantly. I’m comparing myself to former gymnasts and pole (yes that kind) dancers with a serious edge.

As soon as my shiny new license comes in the mail, I’m on the road again. I’m in a position at work where I can largely come and go as I please provided it’s about 40 hours a week. I’ll be living in one place, not constantly switching half my life from one location to another. I’ve fought hard to keep my “level 2” status. I’ve felt like literally starting from the beginning in level 1 classes is admitting failure. This is ignoring the fact I’ve lost most of the terminology and virtually all the technique over the years. In my vast amounts of free time to think over the past few days, I’ve accepted that my body can’t handle the more advanced work. I don’t have the strength or endurance for it. Starting over isn’t admitting failure, it’s accepting where I am right now. It’s realizing I get to choose where this fits in my life. Most of the girls who took the same intro class I did are now performing professionally. I don’t have to live up to that standard. I don’t have to keep up with them. This is something I love to do because it’s fun, it’s a good workout, and I’ve always felt welcome and accepted no matter what my level. Sooner or later, I’ll make it up through the ranks. If they’re performing, I’m happy to go out and support them when I can. I don’t have to match them pose for pose and drop for drop. It all circles back to self acceptance. This is where I am. This is where I want to go. What anyone else is doing isn’t my business. As long as I keep getting up, doing my best, & leaving what doesn’t serve me behind, I’m on the right track.


Of Muppets and bouffants

Day 2 of ClusterFlake 2.0

We still have power! Hooray! We were madly charging any and all electronic devices last night. The worst of the ice & sleet came through last night. It’s since turned into freezing rain and snow. Work is officially closed today and I’d be totally shocked if they open up tomorrow. Officially, they’re “evaluating conditions in the morning” to see if they’ll be open or not. They’re aiming for a delayed opening, but again, I’d be shocked if that happened. There’s literally a half inch of ice that’s getting covered by snow. Boy’s office & my dad’s office have already declared they’re closed. We would’ve ice skated to Waffle House this morning, but it was just too windy and wet. I hate wind. I would fail epically at living in Chicago.

In my vast amounts of free time yesterday, I watched Top Chef Season 4, worked on my French, read a little bit, and fiddled around with an updo. I’ve had my hair short (chin length or shorter) for 6 or 7 years now. It’s just now a tiny bit longer than chin length. I’ve been wanting to try a bouffant for a while. It’ll take some refining, but I got it mostly how I wanted it. I was impressed I got it to work with such short hair. My hair is thick & curly which lends itself to all kinds of creative updos (I hate the way that looks written down. Gah). The one thing I forgot is a fancy updo can be rough on the scalp. I managed to give myself a headache from the bobby pins. Ouch. It’s nice to have an alternative to low pigtails or some kind of headband to keep it out of my face. There’s a fine line between keeping it elegant and looking like a parody of the 60s. I’d like to keep it on the side of elegant as much as possible.

And I think this nicely sums up how I’m starting to feel.


Of more winter weather and our dirty little secrets

Alright y’all, I’m going to be straight with you.

I like being a bitch. I like the hit ’em where it hurts, twist the knife, then walk away feeling superior feeling. I like to doing it to people who have it coming. I’m not shy about it. I’m not sneaky. Given I have all the subtlety of a shotgun blast in a SmartCar, this comes as no surprise. If you piss me off or hurt someone I care about, I will use every trick I know to prove a point. If you’re being an idiot or just trying to get attention, I’ll gleefully knock you down a few pegs. You may prefer to pick on the little guy, but I’ll give you no choice but to face someone your own size. There will be no doubt as to how I feel or where I stand. There will, of course, be classless profanities thrown in for dramatic effect. As I said, it’s its own rush. I like knowing I’m the smartest one in the room. I like knowing that I can insult you and leave you thinking “What the hell just happened?”. That’s if the insult didn’t do a flyby entirely. I’ll let you parade around for a while thinking I have no interest. It’s the emotional payoff of a movie. It’s the scene where the asshole gets their ass handed to them. I take great pleasure and great pride in my own contribution to this. If you’re on my good side, I’ll go to the ends of the Earth to defend and protect you. If you’re on my shit list, do the math.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m working from home today. Clusterflake 2.0 is kicking into gear. It’s been raining / sleeting off and on. At first I felt guilty not going in, but my ride wasn’t going in either. It looks like tomorrow and Thursday are only going to get worse. Looking out the window at the rotating precipitation has helped, too. There’s a real possibility I won’t be back in the office until Friday. Fortunately, I can access most of what I need remotely. For as much as I just flaunted my bitch side, I’m still a responsible employee. I do have a reputation to uphold, after all. It’s the same drill only instead of a blouse and a skirt, I’m in rainbow colored knee socks, a penguin sweatshirt, paisley shorts, and frizzy hair fest 2014 on my head. Milan is calling. They’re dying to replicate my style for next season.

For those of you in fabulous weather, I am jealous. For those in consistent cold weather, I am also jealous. For the rest of us where Mother Nature appears to have developed multiple personalities, March can only bring better things. Right? Right?


Of private Bollywood classes and choices we can’t take back

As I may or may not have mentioned, I swore off mainstream media a while ago (CNN, Fox News, etc.). My level of happiness has gone up infinitely since I’m not dealing with a painfully biased spin in either direction of current events. As silly as it sounds, if something really major happens, Facebook and Twitter will take care of breaking the news. Like the announcement of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s passing.

Whether or not he set out to kill himself when he took his last hit, he chose to go out that way. Drug addicts know their limits. Especially if they’ve been clean or sober for any amount of time, they know just how much will take them out. Every time I hear a story like this and it comes out there was some mixing of alcohol and heroin or a speedball, it gives me pause. I haven’t had a drink in almost a year. I have no desire to have one. I was given a simple choice. I’d rather stay seizure free than have a drink (or 12) and lose my freedom again. It was a no brainer. Now that I’m getting to watch the whole show from the bleachers, I see a lot of my old habits in others. The root of it all is lying about how much or how often you use your drug of choice. Then those lies spill into other lies like why you didn’t come home last night or were late to work for the third time in a week. Sooner or later, there’s no possible way to keep the story straight. It doesn’t matter if you’re a heroin addict or an alcoholic. The lies end up staring you in the face and you have a choice. You can get your shit together or you can keep letting the drug lead. For every one I’ve seen of the former, I see two or three of the latter. Not everyone has the same cut and dry choice I had. Logically, jail time would seem to be a big enough deterrent. Epilepsy ended up having a positive outcome for me. It forced me to choose to give it up. Left to my own devices, I would’ve wandered back to it sooner or later. The DUI scared me out of it initially, but there was no finality to it. And the 15 pound weight loss definitely didn’t hurt.

On a more positive note, I spent 3 hours last night with my favorite drug of choice. I hadn’t intended on taking the hip hop class. I got there about 10 minutes after class started and the owner asked if I wanted to jump in. I agreed. He’s one of the new teachers and I’d watched his class once before. I really liked his style and he’s a very enthusiastic teacher. When I can drive again, I’ll probably make a point of coming to his class even if it’s not *as* convenient as the other location will be. I definitely got a work out in his class, cooled down just enough in ballet, then had to warm back up again in Bollywood. I ended up getting a private Bollywood class because no one else showed up. It was a bit surprising given the class has usually had 7-8 people. It’s always nice to get a little extra attention. She gave me a choice of choreography and we took an extra long cool down. I appreciated getting to have a conversation with her while we cooled down. I’ve been doing my best to show support for this location. I know it meant a lot to the owner to get it open. I’m just happy to be able to get in more dance, work with new teachers, and expand my horizons a bit. Also my new, more traditional dancewear came in. As I was trying it on to make sure I didn’t need to return it, I felt like my 16 year old self. It was a great feeling to look at myself in a leotard and tights and feel confident. I look forward to this weekend and walking in feeling a bit more prepared and on top of class.