Of hippies and inappropriate items as pillows

There’s a lot to be said for emotional distance putting things in perspective.

A month ago, we had hit the first day of Bonnaroo. I look back and what the hell was I thinking? I hate being outside. I hate being in large groups of strangers. I hate the sun. I hate bugs. I hate the smell of weed. I love esoteric music, but I can get that from the comfort of my Google Play account in my air conditioned apartment. Instead of kicking myself over it, I have to laugh. It was doomed to fail from the start. Most of it was the sleep deprivation. I totally understand why that’s used as a method of torture. However, I wouldn’t be ready to tell you the nuclear weapon launch codes. I’d have already ripped off your head and started using it as a pillow. The next dude in the door would have his work cut out for him.

Give yourself a little emotional distance. You may not be able to laugh at a situation, but you can get a better perspective. Whatever you’re struggling with, separate yourself as much as you can. Even a quarter of an inch is more than you were able to see before. You’ve got this. Someday, it’ll make a great story.

XOXO!

Of not wearing pants to work and turn offs

I was head hunted yesterday (a colloquialism for being recruited elsewhere while still employed) for the first time. I admit, I was flattered. The recruiter found an old resume hanging out online and called me based on that. I decided to play it straight and ask what company they were recruiting for and how much they were willing to pay. The company is a small, local independent firm. The minimum they’re willing to pay is $18,000 more than I’m making now. The maximum is $38,000 more than my current salary. My eyes about popped out of my head.

It’s no secret that my company is one of the lowest paying in the industry. I witnessed it firsthand when I saw how much my new hires were making and how low their salary would still be after a significant raise. After consulting with my dad, Boy, and my boss, they told me to go for it. I submitted my application and now I’m waiting to hear back about an interview. On paper, I’m a pretty good fit. My licenses alone are good enough to get me through the door. With 6 years in the industry under my belt, I’d be surprised if I wasn’t offered the chance to interview. I always knew I could get paid more for what I brought to the table. What I’ve been missing in pay, I’ve been making up for in environment. This opportunity definitely put that into immediate and harsh perspective.

My tattoos are almost universally a turn off to more “legitimate” firms. It doesn’t matter how smart I am, how much experience I have, or what kind of promise I show. You have tattoos? Thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you. My boss scoffed at the idea saying it was ridiculous that people should judge me based on it. The only thing our dress code mentions regarding tattoos is that they can’t be offensive. Unless I decide not to wear pants to work, my offensive tattoo will remain covered. Frankly, not wearing pants to work is a much larger offense. Should I be offered an interview, I won’t go out of my way to hide them. I’ll present myself in proper interview attire, but I’m not going to show up in a full suit and tights in July. Been there, done that, wasn’t worth the effort. I also don’t currently have a suit that fits. I’ve given up on the bullshit. Let my qualifications speak for themselves. If someone is unwilling to hire me because of my body art, then I have no interest in working for them. Officially, we’re a business casual office. Typically, I’m one of the better dressed ones. I do consider my audience and dress appropriately. If I’m going to be standing up in front of the president of the company and other execs, I won’t show up in a sleeveless top, no matter how well tailored, which shows my arms in all their glory.

My plan is elegant in its simplicity. Show up as I would on a “nice” day to work, be honest about my experience and expectations, then leave it be. If they offer me the job, I can always say no. If they don’t offer me the job, I’m no worse off than I am now. 

Watch what happens.

XOXO!

Of major life events and bucket lists

Everything in life is a relationship. Y’all know I love to make analogies to romantic relationships all the time. Right now, I can’t be in a committed one with dance.

I got a wedding invitation last week. A friend of mine is getting married in October. I’ve had her save the date up on my wall for months. You know how things tend to blend into the background when you stare at them too long? That was the case with me. I can’t take a week off for dance when I need that time off to see my friend get married. I’m also planning a trip up to Virginia to spend time with my niece for her birthday. In the grand scheme of things, I would feel like a horrible person for missing her wedding. I haven’t seen my niece since she was 2 months old. She’ll be 2 next month. I don’t want to put myself in a position where I have to be extra careful with my PTO. Doing the Friday night – Sunday afternoon turn around SUCKS. My friends and family are more important than a week of dance.

I’ve been wasting money for months on memberships that I don’t use. My schedule and my life just aren’t conducive to any kind of lengthy commitment. It’s much better for me to have a drop in card that I can use when I have the time. We need to be in a more casual relationship. It doesn’t mean I love it any less, there are just other things that have a higher priority. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to scale it back. I don’t know about y’all, but I get a heavy feeling in my chest. Now I know where the term “heart sinks” comes from. I try to ignore it, but that doesn’t make it go away. Who knew? I have to accept it sooner or later. It’s hard enough to walk away from a relationship where nothing went wrong. It’s even harder to walk away from a relationship where you still care, but it just isn’t working out. Might as well rip the bandaid off now.

As for fitness options, Boy & I are well on our way to the 5k. We started Week 2 on Saturday. My ultimate goal is to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. I’ll be up to a 10k by the end of October. I’ll be up to half marathon distance about a month before the race. It’s definitely a realistic goal. There are tons of apps that will coach you through the various distances. My dad has done everything from a 5k to a marathon and his best distance is a 10k. It can’t hurt to try every distance to see what happens. For all I know, I may turn out to be a marathon runner. Plus, it’s something to check off the bucket list. 😉 If someone had told me 6 months ago that I’d be looking forward to running every week, I would have thought they were insane. I think this “runner’s high” thing is real. Even though we’re panting and sweating out 5 pounds of water weight, there’s still the *high five* fuck yeah we did it!* feeling. So we only jogged for 90 seconds, but we did it. Baby steps.

You remember that comment I made about completing a triathlon? That was a real goal I set back in 2010. I went about it all wrong. I thought because I was doing CrossFit at the time (terrible idea, btw, but another blog post for another time), I was 100% equipped to handle an endurance event. Yeah, no. I burned myself out largely before I even began. I had no idea how to properly train. It’s still something I want to do, but one thing at a time. I *know* there’s an app for that. I doubt I’ll hit Ironman level (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, & 26.2 run), but who knows? I be crazy sometimes. The sprint distance (1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, & 5k) is a much more reasonable goal. 😛

Good bye for the moment, dance. It was fun.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Feeling Inadequate

One week from today is the first day of the Summer Intensive. After reading the description over a few times, it’s geared toward dancers who are significantly more experienced than I am. Even though the studio assured me it was for all levels, I know I’m going to walk in there as one of the least experienced dancers. It’s not that I’m not properly trained. I’ve had solid training, but I haven’t been using it regularly.

I plan on taking a few classes before the SI starts just to get a feel for the studio again. That will be a good test to see where I stand (or plie or jete) overall. The technique class in particular will definitely put that in perspective. Every time I get a little anxious, I think back to an experience I had in high school. My school offered four levels of dance. The fourth level was called Dance Company and required an audition to get in. At that point, I had just started taking ballet and had about 3 years of jazz under my belt. A friend of mine who had been dancing since she was 5 didn’t want to go to the audition by herself. She asked me to audition with her. I knew I was in no way prepared to participate, but I agreed anyway. I knew up front there was no way I was getting in, so I went in with no expectations. About a week later, they announced the new members. My friend, of course, was picked. I shrugged it off and kept going. The teacher later pulled me to the side and told me that the other judge (an outside choreographer) had thought I was a solid performer. She was impressed by my effort. I’d done the best with what I had and it was recognized. I’ll do the best with what I have this time around and see what happens. If nothing else, I’m going to have a good time. The other dancers aren’t looking at me anyway.

If you’re feeling inadequate whether it’s your job or tying to plant your own garden, do the best you can with what you have. If you’ve invested yourself in it, that will show. Smile and hold your head high. You’ve got this.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Leave it all on the dance floor.

XOXO!

Of books and writing good ones

Writing has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Even when I was a kid, I would write stories  based on my favorite books. I’m one of the American Girl generation. When the American Girl of Today dolls were released (now called “Just Like Me”), they came with blank books for you to write their stories. I was all over that. I think I still have it somewhere in my parents’ basement / uber expansive library. When we moved from Virginia to Georgia in the days when the Internet was still a luxury, I wrote a *ton* of poetry. I had no way to connect with my old friends except through physical letters and expensive long distance calls. Kids these days will never understand that *shakes cane*. Writing was the only way I could express my feelings. Going back and reading what my 12 year old self wrote, I was in a deep depression. I just didn’t understand what it was at the time. I met one of my closest friends through blogging *bows head for the passing of Teen Open Diary*. I still kept my creative writing close. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a few times. I took a playwriting class in college. I’ve dabbled in longer works. I love creating new characters and seeing what happens to them. Plot has always been a bit of a sticking point for me. I’ve got a whole bunch of characters, but I can’t make them do anything.

I’m a big fan of the Writing Excuses podcast. Across the board, they recommend reading A LOT, ideally in the genre you’re looking to write. Any series with the major architecture of the desired book is fine. After much throwing at the wall and seeing what stuck, I’m looking at a 5 novel collection with each book told from the POV of each major character. I love the idea of a major story arc. That said, I haven’t a clue how to go about it. I put together a list of series I’ve enjoyed with an overarching plot. I’ve also taken suggestions from the audience (Boy). They all have a fantasy element, either traditional or modern. My list currently includes:

1. Harry Potter (duh)

2. NewsFlesh triology by Mira Grant (reread).

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (new read).

4. Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer ( My “how to write a really crappy series” case study. I only made it halfway through the first one last time. Major Deities help me).

5. The Caster Chronicles by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia (reread-ish. I’ve read the first one, but not 2 & 3).

In the spirit of learning more, feel free to jump in with a series, regardless of genre, that’s worth a read. Ideally, it would be a series between 3 and 5 books. I would also prefer books with multiple POVs, but not rehashing the same story just from a different perspective. That said, I’m willing to try pretty much anything.

On that note, back to my coffee and Book 1 of the NewsFlesh trilogy (Feed, if you’re curious).

XOXO!

Furry Cuteness Friday!! (and other notes)

Happy Friday all! And happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. I actually busted out the red, white, and blue today. I’m quite proud of myself for getting into the holiday spirit. Unless it’s Halloween, most holidays are just an extra day off (not that I’m complaining, mind you).

My guest poster Carrie now has a blog of her own. There was an awesome response to her post here and I wanted to present her larger body of work. Read, love, repeat.

Now onto the fluff!

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I panda want a nap.

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I seal you!

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A tail of two kitties.

Pippa and Peyton

And they say cheetahs never prosper.

Whisker and Pup -- Jennie Miller

You otter learn how to swim quickly!

Enough bad puns for one day. Go light something (no yourself or another living thing) on fire & have a beer for me.

XOXO!

 

Of lighting things on fire and aliens

For those of us in the States, tomorrow is Independence Day. It’s traditionally a day of drinking lots of beer, cooking meat over an open flame, and setting things on fire (meat or otherwise). Sarah of Yes and Yes posted her personal declaration of independence. I know I good idea when I steal one, so here’s mine.

I declare independence from my past views of people, places, and things. I pursue my right to allow myself to evolve and allow others to do the same.

I declare independence from petty sniping at others behind the safety of a computer screen. I pursue the right to make new friends from behind that same screen and meet people I never would have found otherwise.

I declare independence from running the highlight reel all the time. I pursue my right to be authentic, honest, and ridiculous. 

I declare independence from the “should” and the “must”. I pursue my right to do what’s best for me at that very moment.

I declare independence from the entrepreneur vagabonds. I pursue the right to work for someone else and enjoy it.

I declare independence from fitting into one tiny little box. I pursue the right to have Backstreet Boys, Lana del Ray, and LMFAO on the same playlist.

Somewhere in between lighting things on fire and watching things being lit on fire, Independence Day will be watched. Favorite quote: “I’m stuck dragging your heavy ass through the burning desert with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute. And what the hell is that smell?!”

XOXO!

P.S. 11 days until Big Kid Dance Camp! (aka Summer Intensive)

Of running up hills and ridiculous selfies

Y’all I have been having an awesome body week.

Last week was my first pole class. After much thought, I signed up for the 8 week series. I shoved all my excuses (“It’s too late. I don’t want to be in class that late!” “What if the other girls don’t like me?” “What if I’m the weakest one in class?”) to the side and signed up. There are all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. I can’t do a pull up, but I can stretch myself into shapes most people only dream of. I walked out smiling and that was the point. I still have a bruise on my knee from my first attempt at a spin. This week’s lesson is learning to properly walk in heels. Hilarity will ensue.

In that same span, Boy has decided to run a 5k. He gets a discount on his health insurance if he participates in some kind of fitness program. I thought “What the hell, I’ll come along”. We downloaded the Couch to 5k apps & have finished the first 2 workouts. Running for 60 seconds is way harder than it looks. Up a hill. In Georgia. In July. Now I see just how nuts my dad is for running marathons (Sidenote – he’s been home from the hospital for almost 2 months now. Woohoo!). We’ll get back sweating and panting with our various body parts screaming. Then once we’ve rehydrated and cooled off, it’s a case of “Fuck yeah! Go team! *high five*”. We’ll finish the program on the day of the race. Go team^2!

Lastly, I’m participating in Radical Self Love July on Instagram. It’s a set of suggestions from Gala Darling for things to post during the month. Day 1 was a ridiculous selfie (my soul cries a little when I write that down). Day 2 is post a picture of your idol and a brief explanation why. If you wish to follow my antics, I’m RetroIndieQueen. The bed head post day [July 25] will traumatize small children. You have been warned. If you want to join me on this month of insanity, search #radicalselflovejuly for the full list of ideas. All of this babbling brings me back to my opening line…

I haven’t once in the last week looked at myself in the mirror and thought “ew”. I’ll get dressed for work & think “Looking good, girlfriend”. I spent almost all of last week wearing heels to work after months of running around in flats. I can stash them in my desk and wear practical shoes to drive. Who knew?! I’ve tapped into some deeply buried part of me that was itching to be seen. I’m not a fade into the background kind of gal. Even before I had all the tattoos and a very distinctive personal style, the proverbial record player would screech when I walked into a room. Maybe it’s because I’m tall. Maybe it’s because I’m loud. Maybe it’s some unholy combination of the two with a dash of charm thrown in. My dad is the same way. You *know* when he walks in a room. I spent a long, long time trying to push that back. I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to be heard. I was too embarrassed by all the broken pieces that people didn’t even know existed. I lay it all out on here because it’s one less thing to be dragging around. It’s a lot harder to look good in heels when you’re dragging dead weight behind you. Don’t even think about running while dragging all of that shit. I can’t remember the last time I went an entire week without finding something to pick at. I’m taking care of my body in ways I enjoy. I’m taking part in a larger project that will involve me making an ass of myself on the Internet. That nasty little voice isn’t being heard over the fabulousness that is my inner RuPaul. Lord knows Ru can outdo pretty much anything. I’ll let her take over for a little while. Nasty little voice can keep chilling the hell out in the corner.

XOXO!

P.S. Lipstick totally makes it look like you made an effort. Try it sometime.