Dancing Queen


swing-time-fred-astaire-ginger-rogers-1936

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.

fred and ginger

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!

Living in a Fantasy….

Over the summer I read a hilarious book by Caitlin Moran titled How To Be a Woman.  I don’t know if I have ever laughed so hard with a book- it was one of the most candidly real tackling of the things we have to deal with as a woman I had ever read.  The chapter where she discusses current waxing trends just about had me rolling on the floor.  Seriously, it’s a great read and I highly recommend it, but be ye warned -it is not for the faint of heart.  She is incredibly blunt and at times pretty crass, but if that does not bother you- go find this book.  I promise you won’t regret it.  OK- disclaimer done, moving on.

HowToBeWoman pb cThe part of the book that I connected with the most however had to do with Moran’s recounting of a relationship she once lived that existed only in her head.  When talking about how active and alive her imagination was as a teenager she writes, “My love life was busy, exciting, and totally imaginary.”  She then goes on to discuss one particularly vivid fantasy.

“My first serious relationship was conducted with a famous comedian of the time and took place wholly in my head.  I’d never met him, spoken to him, or even been in the same room as him- and yet, during one train ride from Wolverhampton to London Euston, I had one of the most intense relationship experiences of my life: all daydreamed.”

Sadly, I completely understand this experience.  For as long as I can rememeber I have loved stories; it started with books and later included movies and TV.  Growing up I was a complete bookworm and would devour volumes as quickly as possible.  While I was reading I would simultaneously imagine myself into the story, and while my imaginings did not always go down the path of romance, this was the case more often than not.

I have lived as a fifth March sister between Jo and Beth who was the lucky one to win Laurie in the end rather than stupid old Amy.  I’ve been a part of the Old West and both Regency and Victorian England.  I’m pretty sure that my first real crush was Gilbert Blythe.  My active imagination actually became a sort of test of how well written and plotted a novel was; if I could not imagine a better story with myself added into it or improve upon the original outcome by recreating separate events, I knew it was a good book.  As much as I longed for Mr. Darcy to fall in love with me just once, I simply could not imagine it into being- it was so clear that he and Elizabeth were meant to be together.

I won’t lie to you and and say that I don’t still create imaginary relationships and stories in my head today, but I like to think I’m at least a bit more realistic about it.  It’s rather embarrassing to admit, but I don’t think I’m alone in this pursuit.  What woman hasn’t spent at least a moment dreaming of what life would feel like on the arm of George Clooney?  However, I do wonder how healthy all of this fantasizing really is.  In fantasy, everything is pretty much perfect, but this is not the world we live in.  Real relationships take work and are not going to go completely smoothly.  Most partners we meet are not going to be near as dashingly hansom as either George Clooney or Colin Firth.

But I’m OK with that.  What reality has that fantasy doesn’t it that it is real.  In the movie You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan has a fantastic line where she says that so many things remind her of something that she once read in a book, but shouldn’t it be the other way around?  As much fun as I’ve had living my imaginary lives and loves, I don’t reminisce fondly over them the same way I do my actual memories.  I know that my friends and family and the times that we have shared together is my real story, and it can’t be improved upon or written any better.  The fantasy is fun, and does serve it’s purpose, but in the end it’s abandoned because it’s never as much fun as the real thing.

In How To Be a Woman, Ms. Moran continues recounting more of her “relationship” with the comedian, and then humorously recalls when she actually met him years later and was overcome with feeling all the emotions of their imagined time together.  But she ends it with a statement that I scarily can relate to.  “On the days where I have to rationalize this insanity to myself, I postulate that these intense crushes are necessary evolutionary byproducts of being a woman.  As our fertility window is so short- allowing maybe a handful of serious, reproductively potential relationships before menopause- these serious fantasies are by way of “test runs”, allowing women to run through entire possible relationships in their heads, to see if they’d ultimately work out or not.  Like a computer running through algorithms.”  Test runs aren’t such a bad thing after all, I just hope some of them can be real some day soon.