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Friday, December 30, 2011

Forgive and forget ain't so easy

Throwing around the "forgive and forget" cliche makes the act of doing so sound as simple as wash, rinse, repeat. On the contrary, friends.

Oh sure, we can delude ourselves into thinking that forgetting about something that someone did that cuts into our hearts is just a matter of thinking about it, and boom, it's done. Maybe in some cases, in cases involving simple offenses that don't injure beyond a superficial scratch. But when harboring anger at an offense from months ago, a gash that is deep and throbbing, genuine forgiveness is more an act of daily exorcism.

Harboring bitterness, resentment and rage is so very toxic. Often we mistakenly believe that holding on to that anger will hurt the perpetrator in return for the pain they caused us. Oh, how deceiving that is. In all reality, we hurt - prolong the hurt - no one but ourselves.

It's hard to forgive. It is painful and tiring. It is a daily process until every last poisonous tendril is uprooted and healing can begin.

I did not realize until yesterday during a conversation with a very wise friend that I am very angry indeed. I've been harboring it for a couple of months. In doing so, I allowed it to grow, to fester, to permeate areas in my life that it did not initially reside. It's a tricky little thing, anger... entangles itself like a relentless vine, twisting and tangling over, around and through everything it touches. It makes sense, too, now that I think about it. I've been indifferent to things that normally snap my attention right up. Creativity and inspiration have been elusive, sporadic at best or simply resulting from necessity. I've avoided people to avoid addressing any heart matters or having to honestly answer "how are you?" inquiries (for I am a terrible liar). Oh, I've pretended to be tough, to be the stoic ninja that is incapable of weakness, and for awhile there I had quite a convincing act.

Ironically though, my behavior and attitudes toward things perplexed even me. I could not understand why I was completely indifferent to how my choreography project ended up last semester. Or why I cared less about how I performed in my modern dance final exam? Why was I counting the remaining months, weeks and days in the semester until it was over and I could get away from that place? Why now, knowing I should in the very least be doing barre exercises in my kitchen to maintain some level of dance conditioning over the break, can I not even bring myself to consider dancing without feelings of dread bubbling up? And most of all, where the heck did the sassy, doesn't-accept-defeat-without-a-good-fight ninja go??

Well duh.

The fact that I don't even want to dance kills me. And that angers me the most.

Sharing all of this with my friend, combined with his legit two cents on how to reclaim me, immediately lifted some weight and I feel lighter. And the instincts to fight and show 'em what's up started to resurface.... they're faint, but they're there.

I want my dance mojo back, dammit. And I'm going to get it.

Someone pleeeeeease buy me this tee...


{Images via We Heart It}

Monday, December 26, 2011

I found Christmas spirit.... or did it find me?

The gingerbread men and peanut brittle didn't happen. No cards were sent out, electronic or otherwise. I didn't even get around to putting up my mini tree with it's fake mini presents that sit underneath... but Christmas was lovely. Any harbored anxiety that yet another bittersweet holiday would be my Christmas were dissipated by genuine laughter and good cheer amongst my family. Might I even say, the Christmas spirit that I longed for?

On Christmas Eve, Boyfriend and I, along with my brothers, sis-in-law and nephew, gathered at my Dad's for Christmas Part 1. Dad and his girlfriend made us turkey dinner, at my special request (I don't dig the Christmas ham thing), complete with my grandma's Christmas bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce. That business is gooooood. And of course gifts, complete with the little liquor filled chocolates my dad gives us every year. Boyfriend got some, too.

Speaking of Boyfriend, this was his first Christmas! He's from Iran, so Christmas is not really celebrated in the predominantly Muslim country. Between the delish grub, the sweet art set my dad and his lady gave him and the comedy provided by my brothers, his thought was "I love Christmas!" Haha, oh Boyfriend...

Once adequately stuffed with turkey and bread pudding, it was off to my other grandma's house to meet up with Mom and her side of the fam for Christmas Part 2. More food, more vino, more gifts and much more laughter. It's amazing my abs were not sore yesterday.

On the brink of food coma, we trekked back home and collapsed. Christmas Day was quiet, just Boyfriend and I. We began the day with a nursing home visit with some of our church crew to bring the old folks gifts and Christmas cheer. Then we brunched at the dive diner my grandpa (the bread pudding grandma's sidekick) used to frequent when he was still alive. Totally unglamorous but special - I know Grandpa was there. Later that night, dinner was sushi and Chinese at one of the best Asian bistros in town.

It was a very merry Christmas.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

She's crafty

Or at least I want to be. I used to be all kinds of crafty when I was younger... I made throw pillows and cross-stitched little ornaments for my family as gifts. I made play sets out of random household items for my dolls and stuffed toys... Anyone play with Mapletown toys? I made them furniture out of things like empty thread spools and fabric scraps. Yes, yes, y'all, I was quite the cool kid.

Last weekend Boyfriend helped me drag my grandma's sewing machine up from my basement... it has been sitting down there for several years, following 10-15 years of collecting dust in hers. Sad, I know. It's a Kenmore from the late 1970s, I think (I'll have to ask my mom to be sure), and its nice and sturdy. Boyfriend cleaned and oiled it, getting it running again - well, he did break the needle in the process, but other than that, I'm golden.

Love the retro flair of this li'l work space

Honestly, though, I'm glad for the delay because I'm so intimidated by this! I asked for basic sewing stuff last Christmas, thinking that would be the impetus to get back into it, but all of it just sat in the basement alongside the machine. In classic Jessi fashion, I don't know where to start. I suffer from analysis paralysis. Where do I buy a replacement needle for the machine? How do I know what kind to get? I don't know what half the dials and switches on the machine mean and I'm sure the user's manual is long gone. I'm not even sure if I remember how to use this thing... Should I take a class? Surf YouTube for how-to videos? Wander around a fabric store until a store clerk takes pity on me and asks if I need help? I know that this will probably be a learn-by-doing situation and I just need to start with something... but I still get hung up by all the details and the anxiety of not knowing how to do it all. right. now.

Oooh, what delish organization, me oh my....

I stalk all of the DIY-ers across the interwebs, such as the amazing Maegan, wishing I was as talented and just knew how to make cool stuff. I dream of making things from hair accessories to shopping bags to {more} throw pillows to aprons to cosmetic bags to dance shoe bags to full out dance costumes. I think a DIY-er lives inside me, too, but she doesn't know how to find her way back to the surface. Maaaaybe I should stop being a spaz, take the first step and just make one of the projects I admire, yes??

And baby step numero uno should probably be replacing the sewing machine needle. Then get on the ball with some easy projects for my family's Christmas gifts... 'cause t-minus 10 days 'til the big day!

Any tips? Suggestions? Tough love, stop-being-a-spaz comments?

{Images via We Heart It}


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My favorite are the lights

The crazy, emotional breakdown-inducing semester has officially come to an end. A big thanks to those who left encouraging words in response to my previous post... I took to heart each one and am still pondering what's next. Further thoughts to come. In the meantime, it's time for Christmas!

I'm anxious to put up my decorations, start making gifts and begin some serious cookie and candy operations. Christmas for the past six or so years has been lacking in the spirit that I remember as a kid, and I really miss it. This is mainly due to a split family and the corresponding drama. Sure, sure, the magic you feel as a kid from believing in Santa and the insomnia-inducing excitement you experience waiting for Christmas morning is something that remains in childhood... but I think there are adult versions of Christmas magic and I'm on a mission to find it. (Wow, the cheese factor on that statement was off the charts, lol!) My family's sitch is what it is, and I know that all I really have control over is me and what I make of it, so this year I'm determined to reclaim some of the Christmas spirit that I've missed so much for too long.

{All images via We Heart It}

What are your Christmas plans??


Saturday, December 3, 2011

At a crossroads

Since my last post, I've been thinking and pondering and mulling over this next one. Ideas have been swirling around my head like a big pot of word soup, but I've been so loathe to put it on the table. Afraid, almost. Why? I'm not sure I even know. Part of me wants to just forget about it and move on to happier things, fearful of being uber-negative and turning off the few readers that may have stuck around once my posting began to be few and far between. But the other part of me feels like that's one big fat cop-out. This is life right now, my reality... Unless it's on stage in some fun costume and makeup ensemble, being fake really isn't my thing.

In my last couple of posts, I've alluded to some tough times this semester. It's been a roller coaster ride that's left me exhausted and reeling and wanting to leave this amusement park asap.

To refresh: remember that I took last year off of school, to take care of some financial things that prevented me from continuing. That was hard, but I worked with it, finding ways to keep dancing despite having to work a 9-to-5 desk job (read: dancer buzz kill). I took care of what I needed to take care of, and this past August I got the green light to register for classes once again. I was so excited to get back to business, finish my final two semesters and get on with my dance career at last.

That sunny, happy, skip around like a giddy school girl place? A silly day dream.

Fast forward to this moment. I am deeply disappointed. I am questioning whether I should have returned, was it even worth it. I am angry and resentful. And I am struggling to find any inkling of inspiration that may be left. I have reached the point of apathy and that is very, very sad to me. Frankly, it breaks my heart and my eyes sting with tears as I write this.

It wasn't a single, profound event that crashed my dance party. It was more like a virus, sneaking in, getting comfortable and taking root long before it's presence was realized or felt. But when you finally do realize, you're weak and ill-equipped to fight with your full potential. The environment in the dance department has been toxic... yes, a strong word, but when I survey the damages around me, that's the best word I can come up with... and frankly, I blame the leadership. I feel very strongly that those in a position of educating others have a big responsibility not only to impart knowledge, but also to encourage and mentor their students to do and become their best, to prepare them for the very competitive working world out there. The performing arts is a hard, cutthroat field, y'all. And I'm very sad to report that my professors are falling short.

I have tried. I tried all semester to give benefit of the doubt, hope for better, have compassion, but dammit I'm tired. There is only so much giving without getting in return that one person can handle. The apathy I mentioned earlier? Yeah. I'm at the point where I don't even want to dance.

There, I said it. I've been holding that in, ashamed to admit how I feel. But it's the real deal for me right now. And that completely sucks.

I still have much thinking and seeking to do. This isn't the grand finale of dance for me, but it's definitely a crossroads and I have some decisions to make. A big priority is rediscovering inspiration that will nurse my dance mojo back to health, and then go from there...

Thanks for listening, y'all.