Of makeovers and parents

I’ve been binge watching What Not to Wear lately.

If it were still on the air, I would nominate my mother. She would kill me if she got picked, but watching the show has brought to light the wild insecurities that most women have. For as much as we butt heads, she did rear me to be the woman I am. She has a very, very hard time of letting go. We lived in Virginia for 7 years, from the time I was 5 until I was 12. She has a Master’s degree in counseling and worked at the high school attached to my elementary school. When we moved to Georgia, she had a very hard time finding a job in a school. She gave up fairly quickly. For a time, she worked at Barnes & Noble. I don’t remember why, but if I had to guess, it was when my sister started high school. She hasn’t had a job at all for years. Frequently, she’ll bring up how much she misses living in Virginia. It was only recently that I realized she doesn’t so much miss the location as she does what she had there. She felt useful.

What baffles me (and I’m sure other members of my family) is why she doesn’t find a part time job or volunteer somewhere. She loves to place blame on her age. She’ll be 60 next year. She certainly doesn’t look it for as much as she gets down on herself for never being a great beauty. She’s plain, but so are a lot of people. Watching the show made me think about how low her self esteem must be. Not having a job came in handy when my dad spent 2 months in the hospital & it certainly gave me no doubt about the state of their relationship. It’s frustrating to not be able to convince her to even try. She can feel useful again, even if it’s selling books for $10 an hour. It’s frustrating to hear the same song and dance which she has complete control over. If she put half the effort into herself that she put into her adult children, she’d be a completely different woman. Maybe someday she’ll see that.

Moral of the story: Getting older is going to happen. Be grateful for every year that comes and goes. A lot of people don’t get to see 30 or 40 or 50 or 60. Put on a nice pair of shoes, some lipstick, and tell the world you aren’t afraid of it.



Of getting to the point and finding it in the first place

Commutes give me a lot of time to think. It’s one thing when there’s another person in the car and you can chat on the drive. It’s entirely another when you’re by yourself for half an hour or more. For example, Boy was watching Cosmos last night (a reboot of the original Carl Sagan show about basic science. I had to Wiki it, personally). I asked what the point of the show was. He replied it was simply to get people interested in science in the first place, nothing more grand than that. Say what?

Sometimes, there is no point. Some things just are.

It hit me on my commute in this morning. Not everything has to have a “point”. This, of course, goes against everything the contrary part of me loves. Everything has a point. It’s the natural order of the world. Maybe, just maybe, that isn’t how it works. I love to prove a point and I love being right. Who doesn’t? Being right is awesome. However, if there’s no point to be proven, there’s no right or wrong (see how I tied that back to my last post? Go me!). Things don’t have to have a grand ending or a high level reason for existing. Nothing should have to justify itself. That includes me.

I haven’t been to dance in a week nor have I gotten any real exercise since then. That little voice in my head started up after a few days. “You’re lazy”. “You’re going to get fat”. “Why are you wasting your time lazing on the couch with your boyfriend when you should be spending hours in the studio?”. Because, goddamnit, I want to laze on the couch with my boyfriend watching mindless TV. I’ve been worrying about my dad the past week because of his brain surgery. They couldn’t find the right combination of medication for him and he ended up back in the ER. Daylight Savings Time, as usual, took its toll on top of that. I don’t need to justify my actions to that little nasty voice. Once again, the BFF filter kicks in. Would I ever tell one of my friends any of that? Of course not. One of the things I love most about my hobbies is I can walk away from them for a little while. My brain is trying to prove a point to itself. Half of it, the nasty half, is right. The rational half is wrong. It’s one thing to give a little nudge. It’s entirely another to say “I’m right, you’re wrong,”. 

I have a sticky note at my desk that reads “be fluid, not forced”. Fluidity is something I constantly struggle with. I feel guilty about not going to enough dance classes to justify the cost. I set up a regimented schedule for the week, then beat myself up for not sticking to it whether it’s for work, play, or both. I’m no longer at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. If I decide at 4p that I don’t feel like going to a dance class at 5p, that’s okay. I may want to hike to the northern suburbs on a Saturday morning to take some of those classes. I may not feel like it the following week. If I get something thrown at me suddenly at work, it’s okay. I don’t have to flail around like someone threw a ball at my head. I have a replacement hired & ready to round out my department, but I won’t have him full time until the 24th. More and more people are requiring my time. I’m happy and grateful to be promoted, but I have to flip things around a lot. I may have my own little plan for the day that could very well, and frequently does, get shaken up. Inflexibility makes life harder on everyone. No bueno.

It’s okay to let go of having to be right. It’s okay for things to not have a “point”. It’s okay to ebb and flow. It’s best to take my own advice. 😀


Of ten seconds of fame and tiny, smart muscles

Two classes at the new studio with the same teacher. Results so far – my psoas muscles are like “wassup!”. For those not familiar with anatomy, the psoas muscles are largely responsible for lifting your leg up toward your body and vice versa. If you’re lifting your leg and turning out correctly, those muscles do all the work. New Teacher was getting my turnout working more than it has in a long time. I didn’t start ballet until I was 16 which made developing a good turnout a lot harder. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the younger you start something, the easier it is to train the muscles. I’d been doing only jazz (parallel feet) or volleyball up to that point. I have stupid flexible hips, but very little control of the muscles. The ballet classes I’ve been taking don’t offer any corrections, so I’ve developed a lot of bad habits. New Teacher took the time to come around both classes giving physical corrections. The only exception I make to my “no touching if I don’t know you” rule is in class. Physical corrections help you feel the difference in your body when you do it properly. My hips are now very much aware of what I was doing incorrectly.

I took a ballet class and contemporary class over the weekend. Both were billed as “beginner” or “beginner / intermediate”. The thing about levels is they’re fast and loose. It depends on the teacher, studio, and the student’s interpretation. My definition of “beginner” could vary wildly from what the teacher considers “beginner”. In this case, I would have called these classes high intermediate. Of course, the teacher started giving us the professional level choreography in contemporary and realized it later. Thanks dude. I didn’t feel so bad that I spent half the combination facing the wrong way. I didn’t give up, though. He told us during center work to fight for it. Whether your leg is 90 degrees from the ground or you’re barely lifting your toe off the floor, keep the right placement. Don’t just give up. I saw several students flat out stop during the combination. Even if I was royally screwing it up, I didn’t stop. How am I going to get better if I just give up and walk away? Watching the combination will only get you so far. It was a beautiful piece and I could’ve watched the teacher dance all day, but that’s not what I’m paying them for. I’m paying them to learn something. And learn something I did. I may have been a bit out of my league, but that’s okay. There was no risk of grievous bodily harm. Might as well run with the slightly bigger dogs. I’ll be back next week. I’ve got nothing to lose.

CNN will be filming at the second location of Studio 1 tonight. They’re doing a spot on fitness that will run sometime in the spring. I missed it the last time they came through. This also happens to be a class I really like. Sore psoas be damned. I’ll get my 10 seconds of fame even if it’s just the back of my head. Maybe it’ll be my big break. 😛