Saturday, July 10, 2010

What a trip down memory lane! - Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No, I'm not that creative that I write 100+ blog post entries in like a week or so. With the ever growing rumors of going away, I decided that I wanted to keep my blogs. So I felt like I had the option of keeping the past blogs in like a Word file or online. I chose to go with online because, well, that's partly the point of a blog.

So I started transferring the blogs to here and, well, because the two web sites don't talk to each other easily, the whole formatting was messed up somewhat (it would copy everything in one paragraph), I had to at least do a quick browse-through all the entries. Actually, I'm thankful for that because it was a very interesting trip down memory lane!

So here's a summary of the past 2 years or so of my life.

The single comment that I put in most frequently was "Man, I have to go back to the gym... bad!" Although that comment didn't pop back as much from like early this year until when I broke my foot. So I take it was I was doing a better job of going. And I do remember this to be true, although I was starting to slack off again right before the fracture.

In close second were body image issues. And statements like "I've gained back more weight that I'd like to admit." Belly dancing is both helpful and hindering when it comes to these things. It is helpful because belly dancers of all shapes and forms are welcome and celebrated. Size does not matter much for success and entertainment value for this art form. However, in my head, the images that I have of me doing certain moves are really of me at a smaller size doing the moves. Well, it's more like some definition in the moves was lost because of the added weight.

And then, tied for third are the whole wishlists of "more"... that is, practicing belly dance more, doing more yoga, sewing more, more, more, more. I love my job. I really do. But it does take 8 hours out of my day (and sometimes more... but sometimes less too) and I need to sleep about 8 hours, which leaves 8 hours for stuff like grooming myself, eating, and extras. Not that much, after all. And, well, weekends are often too packed with activities.

There were a few progressions that were interesting to revisit. Yoga is one of them. I started out with the help of some tapes and then took classes at the gym and I definitely felt the value of having a live instructor (3D is a cool thing when it comes to yoga), and then group lessons with Mark who taught yoga right after my belly dance classes, and then private lessons with Mark. There were also many different shifts in my way of thinking, living in the world, relaxing, breathing (of course), and dealing with things. All welcome changes. Although there were some lessons that I thought I had learned for good and, when re-reading the blog posts, I realized that I had forgotten. lol

I think that the biggest progression was definitely in my belly dancing. I went from being a student, re-learning how to do this art, to being part of a troupe, to being a reluctant leader, to being a leader... period... and teaching. I went from being timid and questionning whether I should even be thinking of doing this dance to just doing it. I have built definite confidence. I don't question things as much anymore. No, I take that back. I do question things as much but the questions are different. I don't wonder anymore if I have the skills and the voice (figuratively speaking) to express myself through dance but, rather, I am trying to figure out what my voice is, what my style is, what I'm trying to say, etc. These are interesting times, to say the least.

So, lately, belly dance-wise, I tend to question everything that I do. But, again, the question is not the same. The question, this time around, is about whether certain things are really where I want to go. I am privileged that, with my injury, I am kind of re-starting so now I can choose to go wherever I want. So I'm wondering, almost at all steps, if this is the direction that I really want to take. It's exciting, actually.

I used to feel stifled some. The issue was that I was attaching too much importance on what others were doing and what people would think about me. The latter is easy to understand: unless your're an extrovert (and even then), most people are afraid of just that. But the former was in the form of questions like "What would Tempest do on this piece? What would Ariellah do? What would Rachel do?" Well, that's all fine and dandy but what about "What would Celeste do?" And that's when I realized that I don't have my own voice yet. It's forming slowly but it's still very much in development. Whatever any of these beautiful dancers would do should have absolutely no effect (beyond inspiration) on what I would do? It's a bit scary to have to think on my own about this but that's where I'm at.

I fundamentally think that, for most of us, we start an art form by being inspired by people and, to some extent, copying them and mimicking what they are doing. After all, when you take your first dance classes, you are just aiming at doing the move like the teacher is doing it. And then you grow out of it more or less fast, depending on your own personality and your experiences. I'm sure that it's true to some extent for any art form. Like the painter has to learn how to paint things first and the technique might be copying something before you can create whatever is in your mind. Maybe the only thing that might be outside of this "copying" stage even when you start is writing.

Actually, this got me thinking... just as I'm writing this blog... ;) Anyway, I'm a professional writer. To be more precise, I am a professional medical writer. I did start out by copying what others had done before for documents and, actually, we are somewhat bound by rules and regulations for a lot of the documents that we write. Still. People here who know me could point out which document is mine vs. any other writer. I have my own voice when it comes to even this very regulated stuff. If I found a voice in that strict of an environment, I surely can eventually find mine when it comes to dancing. Maybe the issue for me is that there are no barriers. lol That can be quite unsettling when you are as cartesian as I am. Thankfully, as I wrote in one of the past blogs, my brain is changing to a more balanced version where both hemispheres can cohabit so this should help.

So I plan on using the book that Rachel recommended, "The Artist's Way." The book is supposed to be about artistic "recovery." Now, so far, I don't have anything to recover that I know of (lol) but it may help me in my quest for my own artistic voice. We shall see what that leads to.

Back when I was on crutches, I lost some weight due to using my arms so much. After I started to walk with my boot, I gained back the weight that I had lost. But, anyway, given that I wanted to go back to that slimmer self (and more) and that I really wanted to lose weight anyway, Jeff and I started on the South Beach Diet (SBD for short). Well, this one worked really great for both of us. It works even better for Jeff than for me.

We started the SBD on Sept.17. I'm going to be genuine and divulge my weight. I weighed 189 lbs!!!! No one really believes the number when I tell them. Thing is: I'm very good at hiding it! Anyway, the diet starts off with a phase where you go without carbs at all. I lost quite a bit of weight at that point. Then, you reintroduce carbs and you see a slower weight loss but you're on this for the long haul so you have to reintroduce those carbs. Well, for the first 2 weeks after that initial phase, I didn't lose any weight. I was disappointed but we decided to get a subscription for the SBD online to make sure that we were eating as we were supposed to. Well, it turns out that it's somewhat typical to not lose weight at all for the first few weeks. Anyway, long story short: after like 2 months on the diet, I lost an honorable 16.25 lbs!

For us, it's really not that hard to stay on the diet and it works and all that good stuff! Believe me! This will help cure all those body image issues that I had!

Having had that fracture put a new perspective on a few things. There are some better appreciations of simple things like even just walking.

When I went to the gym for the first time since the fracture, I cried a little. Not because of the dread (although I was really dreading it) but more because I was happy to go. Unfortunately, I do still have a tendency to be lazy and procrastinate and not want to go. Well, having read all those blog entries that were saying at one point or another "Man, I gotta go to the gym!", well, that gives me willpower to just go already. It seems that, for me, every single time I go out the door to go to the gym is a victory. I know that I need it now. For multiple reasons: for my weight loss, for my health, and for my foot. Yes, my foot needs the gym, actually. There have been quite a few times when I went to the gym with a swollen ankle only to come out with a smaller ankle!

So, when we come back from the Holidays, I will take a session with Bill, the own of the gym, and see what kind of program he can build for me so that I can work those muscles yet not be bored.

Next, Jeff and I are heading to what we expect to be an uber great vacation in Aruba. I plan on doing some yoga daily as it helps me so much to stretch all those muscles. I also intend to start my artistic recovery using the tools from that book. And, of course, there shall be lots of power lounging on the beach and dips in the water! We are leaving this Thursday, which, incidentally is Jeff's birthday and we will be back on Nov. 29.

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