Dancing Queen


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I have a confession to make- I really like to dance.  In my last post I mentioned that I had started to take dance lessons, and I am so glad I made the decision to start!

I have always thought that it would be great to know how to dance- nothing fancy, just the basic steps to be able to hold my own on a dance floor in a social situation.  I enjoyed watching movies where couples would dance, it just always looked like so much fun!  About a month ago, I decided to look into taking some lessons.  I honestly can’t figure out what it was that triggered me to look up classes, something must have made me look into it, but for the life of me I really can’t think of what prompted the thought right then.  However it occurred to me, for some reason the idea wouldn’t let me go.  So, I called my local Arthur Murray studio and signed up for an introductory special.  I had my first lesson just over two weeks ago, and I am now officially hooked.

People keep asking me why I started and what I hope to get out of dancing, and while there are many benefits, I think I just wanted to do something new and fun for myself.  When I told a co-worker that I was going to start the lessons, they asked me if I was going with a friend or a partner.  They seemed both surprised and impressed when I told them, no, it’s just me- something I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m extremely glad I didn’t let the fact that I don’t have someone to dance with stop me from pursuing my goal, because even after two weeks, I can see how much good this can do for me.

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Not only is dancing just plain fun, but it’s quite a good workout (something I could use a lot more of) and a great stress reliever.  When I went in last week I had had a terrible day at work and was feeling very drained.  After an hour and a half of both a private and group lesson, I felt like a million bucks!  It’s amazing what movement, laughter, good music, and fun partners can do to the spirit.  I’ve also met a group of amazing people who come together to share dance every week, and I could not be more inspired by them to improve my own dancing.

I’m excitedly looking toward this summer when one of my best friends will be getting married.  It should be the first social setting to put some of my new moves to the test and see if I am more comfortable and confident.  I’ve always enjoyed dancing, but I never really felt like I knew what I was doing.  Feeling like I must look like and idiot, I never really danced unless I was out exclusively with friends.  Now I’m looking forward to dancing whenever I have the opportunity (though that may be few and far between outside of the studio as I’m really not into the club scene).

When all of this is over, I know that I may never have the grace and ability of Fred and Ginger, but I can only hope I will have gained the confidence and commitment to the moment of Napoleon Dynamite.

Re-Arranging Dreams

I haven’t posted in almost three weeks because work has been a bit intense lately and I’ve been doing some overtime and coming home exhausted.  But in the midst of all the crazy, I had a realization over the weekend.  Even though I’m completely wiped right now, I am extremely happy- maybe happier than I have been in a long time.

Last weekend I traveled home to the Portland area for a few family functions.  While catching up with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins it occurred to me that I actually had new and exciting things to share with them rather than the standard, “Oh- work is going well.  Everything else is pretty much the same.  Hanging out with friends”.  This is because I’ve actually been trying to do new things and check a few items off of my bucket list.  For the last few months I’ve been actively creating the life I want to live rather than complaining about the one I’ve got.

You see- my life is not exactly where I thought it would be at this point. I remember when I was in the second grade and my teacher made us write about what we wanted in twenty years.  While I no longer have the book she complied of all of our papers, I remember how it started- “Twenty years from now in the year 2012, I will be 28 years old and I want to be…”.  While I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, I know I thought that I would be married with a kid or two, and have a red car and a house.  Now, a year later in 2013 and at 29 years old, I have exactly none of those things (well, I have a car- just not red, and I rent a very nice apartment that feels like a home).

For a long time the fact that the dreams of my 8 year old self had not come to fruition did not bother me because I kept telling myself that they would come someday.  Up until recently I was either in school or trying to get my career started.  This was where my focus was- I did not have time to pursue a lot of other interests I held or to pursue romantic relationships.  But recently, I’ve wondered if delaying those aspects of my life has been worth it as I still don’t feel as if I completely know what to do with my life.  My career isn’t really where I want it to be, and I have neglected other aspects of myself.

Yes, I am still young and I know I have a lot of time to accomplish everything I want to, but I hit a point over the New Year where I was just tired of living for someday and waiting for life to happen.  I needed to make it happen.  So now I am working on new creative adventures, one of which is writing this blog, another is the dance classes I have recently started to take (more on that to come in a future post).  And I am having so much FUN.  I feel like I am living instead of waiting for things to happen- and that just feels good.

There is a great song the band Keane sings titled The Lovers Are Loosing.  It’s actually kind of a depressing song if you really listen to all of the lyrics, but I love the picture they paint with the beginning of the chorus.  It goes Like this:

You take the pieces of the dreams that you have

‘Cause you don’t like the way they seem to be going

You cut them up and spread them out on the floor

You’re full of hope as you begin re-arranging

Put it all back together

So here I am re-arranging my dreams.  The dreams that I had at 8 years old are still good dreams, I just need to look at them through a different lens, and put them together in a different order.  But just like the song- I’m hopeful as I do this, and I’m having a great time doing it!

I also want to take a minute to say a big THANK YOU to Monique from A Reel Chick who nominated my blog for a Liebster award. This is an award that bloggers give to other bloggers who are still small and have less than 200 followers.  I am extremely flattered and honored by this!  Thank you to everyone who is reading- I really appreciate it!

Choosing to be Single?

Yesterday, I had one of those days where it is hard to be single.  Not hard in the emotional, “oh I wish I had someone” way- but hard in the sometimes things are just easier with another person to help you out, kind of way.

I live alone (well, alone with a cat), and usually I love it.  I like coming home and not having to worry that the mess I create while making dinner will bother anyone if it does not all get cleaned up in the same night.  I like to be able to re-charge by vegging out if that is all I have the energy for, and I am completely in control of what will be watched.  As a rather large Introvert on the Meyer’s Briggs scale, I need a lot of me time to feel re-energized and balanced, and living alone allows that.  This does not mean that I don’t get lonely from time to time- but the positives outweigh the negatives, and my cat is pretty good company most of the time.

However, there are times when it would just be helpful to have someone else around.  My predicament yesterday was that my shower backed up- not just running slow, but full on standing water.  I tried everything I could possibly think of, and when none of them worked, I went to the internet for more ideas.  Finally, defeated, I called my landlord and let him know the issue.  He had me call a plumber and it was both a relief and a disappointment.  It was nice to know that I no longer needed to handle the issue alone, but I had really wanted to tackle the problem myself and feel self sufficient.  In the end, it did drain on it’s own before the plumber returned my call, it just took six hours for the liquid plumber to work.

During this whole ordeal I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a guy I could call to come help me out.  This may be very un-feminist of me, but sometimes it’s just reassuring to have a male presence in the face of household dilemmas- even if they themselves don’t know how to fix the problem.  It is a nice feeling to have someone to share the burden.

I don’t run into these types of situations often, but when I do I always find myself contemplating my singleness.  I read an article once that said it takes courage to remain single in our society.  At first I did not think this was true because courage implied a choice and I did not think I was choosing to be single, it was just my state of being.  I also did not feel personally that my single state was me acting courageously, it was simply the only way I knew how to live.  I’ve been single my entire life.  At 29 I still have never had a relationship.  This is all I know, there cannot be anything courageous in that.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to identify with it.  While I still did not feel courageous, I understood what the article was trying to say.  We live in a world today that is built around couples.  When was the last time you went to an arts event and saw someone sitting by themselves?  It feels like there is an underlying social tabu about not going to events alone.  I actually love going to the movies by myself and do so often, but I feel uncomfortable doing many other things by myself such as eating in any place that is a step up from a coffee shop.

In trying to become more comfortable with doing things by myself I want to take a trip on my own.  This has become a very frustrating process.  When looking through living social getaway packages, they are all directed at couples.  Romantic getaway for two!- they all proclaim.  OK, two is not a problem I think, I’ll find a friend to come along or enlist my Father- he’s wanted to explore some of these places.  But then as I read the details, it’s always for a King room and will have champagne or something waiting.  Not really the vibe you want on a trip with your Dad.  These kinds of promotions only remind me of my single state and make me feel like there is something else I am left out of because of it.

While all of this can be infuriating, I am still going it alone, and in a lot of ways it really is a choice.  One of my favorite go to guilty pleasure movies is The Wedding Date with Debra Messing.  In the movie, faced with the prospect of showing up to her sister’s wedding alone, Kat (Messing) hires an escort to come along and pose as her boyfriend.  One of the main messages of the movie is expressed when Kat asks her date Nick (Hello, Dermot Mulroney!) about a quote of his from an article stating that every woman has the love life that she wants.  Kat is furious-  “Do you think I want to be alone and miserable?” she throws at Nick.

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I agree with Nick, I think the answer is yes.  While I don’t believe that Kat wants to be miserable, I do believe that if she really did not want to be alone she did not have to be.  The same goes for me.  If all I wanted was to go on a date, I could make that happen.  I could find someone to ask out or join an online dating site.  Finding someone is not the problem; finding the right someone is.  I have never desired to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in one.  Yes, it would be nice to always have someone to go to a concert with or to help me with things around the house.  It would be helpful financially to share the rent if I were ever to live with someone, or even to be able to take advantage of those travel deals.  But as great as all of that would be, it doesn’t really mean anything to me if I’m not sharing it with the right person.  I don’t want to have a boyfriend just because it is great to have a boyfriend- I want it to be special.  So, until I meet that person- yes, I am choosing to remain single, and maybe it is a bit courageous.

I’ll fix that drain on my own.  And if not- that’s what plumbers are for.