Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Accepting the Masculine and the Feminine

I almost titled this Masculine versus Feminine, but I'm tired of everything being a fight.  I've also been fighting myself about posting this blog.  I don't know why.  So, here it is.  If it resonates with you, let me know.  

For most of my adult life, I have been a take-care-of-business, accept no one’s shit, take no prisoners kind of girl. In a job performance review once, in fact, I was told I was “too direct.” I told them they never would have said that to a man (probably only serving to prove their point). I was proud that my balls were bigger than most dudes’. The facade was that I didn’t need anyone to take care of me because I could handle my own life just fine thank-you-very-much. I was very aloof and avoidant in relationships. I was a serial monogamist with commitment issues, which doesn’t really make sense.

It’s pretty lonely at the top. But the truth is, we are made to want a partner. And there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s fucked up is society tells us there’s something wrong with us and that we are desperate if we say we want to settle down but haven’t found the right person.

In my 30’s, I had two long term relationships. Neither were good or healthy relationships. And I probably emasculated both of those guys every day, mostly by not needing them. I never really cried because showing emotion like that was a sign of weakness. I rarely told either of those men that I loved them. And I resented them both for wasting my time. Yet I also allowed guilt to keep me in those relationships even though it should have been easy to see that neither were viable from early on.

I spent much of my life living in my masculine. It was almost like I hadn’t even heard of my feminine side. The side of me that gives and accepts love and desires to gratefully share in what another human has to offer. I was too busy just taking care of myself. I hated it. I was exhausted and felt like I never got a break.

Strangely, I have always somewhat disliked the right side of my face.  I always called it my stroke face. I have what I call a “wonky eye” (one eye is slightly more open than the other, which is actually pretty common). I feel like my mouth is more down-turned on that side. I even think my nose looks completely different. When I take photos, I generally turn the left side of my face to the camera. “This is my good side!” I will rearrange a group photo to put myself on the correct side if I can.  To me, the right side represents the analytical/masculine side. The left is the more artistic/feminine side.  In reality, facial asymmetry is pretty common.



I was thinking of how this plays out in my life. In my last long term relationship, I was the “man of the house.” He was working on his doctorate and only worked (for a paycheck) part of the time we were together. So the care of the household fell to me. I worked full time. I made sure the bills were paid. I had to cook. I had to clean. We really were just two humans who lived in the same space. Barely roommates. Definitely not lovers. I never got to just relax. I always felt like I had to take care of everything. He was legally blind so driving responsibilities fell to me as well. I think about how the “masculine” side of my face would have presented itself to him as I drove us everywhere. The ugly face that I hated. The face that hated that relationship and feeling like I had to be the "man of the house."

After I got out of that relationship four years ago, I met the “love of my life.” He’s the one that opened my heart up again and reminded me what love was. He was very much in his masculine. And he made me want to be in my feminine. To accept love. I suddenly wanted to be the traditional 50’s house wife who cooked and cleaned for her man and anticipated his every need. I would have had ten kids with him if he’d asked me to. (Look, I’m not saying this was all healthy, I’m just saying I felt like a crazy teenager in love for the first time.) He would drive and we would hold hands. The beautiful, feminine left side of my face presenting to him. Smiling. Telling him I loved him. He wasn’t the right one ultimately, but he taught me some important life lessons.


Recently, my friend Andrew took a ton of photos of Kim, Ginger, and me at the Golden Gate Bridge. We put on fancy dresses and took some super fun photos. When I saw the pictures, I realized I didn’t hate the photos taken of the right side of my face. For the first time probably ever. Whether 350 pounds, 180 pounds, or somewhere in between, the left side of my face has always been my preference. And on this day, I finally accepted (and actually liked) both sides of my face, the balancing of the masculine and the feminine, and of myself.

This is like the acceptance of my shadow self. Or acknowledging my inner child. All of these parts of me are exactly that...me. And rejecting any part of myself only makes me feel like I’m not good enough. But I know I am.

I spent so many years feeling broken, and then the last few years really working on healing myself. I believe that this realization and acceptance of all parts of myself is kind of the last puzzle piece falling into place. This is who I am. This is how I speak (or write). This is what I look like. This is how I conduct my life. Take it or leave it. I’ve always spouted that script, except now I believe it.

I’m so grateful for the path I’ve been on, and for the growth I’ve experienced. I feel like a completely different person than I was even a year ago. I have spent so many years battling myself and I have finally found some peace in this crazy world.  



Monday, July 1, 2019

Mirror, Mirror

My pinup outfit
I have a problem.  I don't know what size clothing I wear.  It has been an issue for years. 

Post-gastric bypass, you can imagine that it might take some time to get used to a new body and clothing size.  I went from 350 pounds (size 28) to 180 pounds (size 12).  It was actually overwhelming to go from shopping a small store like Lane Bryant to being able to fit in clothes on multiple floors of a store like Macy's.  Studies have shown that it can take your brain a year to realize your body is smaller.  Therefore, you may turn sideways in a crowd to fit through an area you can actually walk straight through.  Apparently, 15 years later, my brain hasn't caught up. 

Chubby Lori
I am currently a pretty solid size 16.  I generally wear an XL, although sometimes I go up to a 2X for comfort.  I am talking about American sizes, not those weird Chinese sizes where I'm sometimes a 4X and sometimes a 12X.  I certainly shouldn't be wearing a 3X in American sizes for any reason.  Tonight, I opened a package of clothing I ordered awhile back.  The dress is a 3X.  It swims on me.  The bathing suit is a 2X even though I've ordered from this site multiple times and a 2X is always too large. 

I was in Hawaii two weeks ago and I participated in a pinup contest.  I went to a pinup clothing website and spent an insane amount of money on an outfit for this contest.  I read the sizing instructions carefully, didn't believe them, sized up, and had clothes that were swimming on me.  These are not clothes you want to be too large.  They should have a fairly snug fit.  I couldn't return them easily so I spent $200 on clothes I probably won't be able to wear again (unless I want to spend more money having them altered). 

"Skinny" Lori
When I worked in San Francisco, I remember often wearing baggy slacks and a shirt that was easily two sizes too large.  My friend said to me one day: stop dressing like a homeless lady.  I don't know what my deal is.  I think I may know what happened though.  When I was going through my first year of weight loss in 2004/2005, I was losing weight so quickly that I was losing an entire size each month, and was essentially needing to replace my wardrobe every few months.  When my clothes were baggy, I felt skinny.  When I would size down to clothes that actually fit me, I suddenly felt fat again.  So I think I now associate baggy clothing with feeling thinner.  However, in reality, when I see photos of myself, and get feedback from friends, baggy clothing doesn't accentuate my assets and actually makes me look larger than I am.  My brain does not comprehend.  I don't know if my brain still equates too-large clothing with being skinnier, or if I am so terrified that tight clothing might show off a fat roll that its just easier to deal with the baggy clothing. 

I was recently talking to a friend about body dysmorphia.  Body dysmorphic disorder is when you are so obsessed with a perceived flaw that you are almost unable to function in life.  I always felt like my issue was special to me being a larger person, but my friend is 111 pounds, and she battles it as well.  The old me would have hated on her for thinking she's flawed or fat at that weight.  The new me recognizes that we all have our issues that we are trying to deal with and I respect that this kind of shit wreaks serious havoc on our brains. 

I'm actually at a weight that would historically make me feel fat and unhappy.  Perhaps I've just gained muscle, but I feel great, my clothes fit fine, and I like what I see when I look in the mirror. 

Golden Gate Bridge photoshoot
The thing is, mentally, I do feel good.  Really good.  Like, I've probably never been this content with my body in my entire life.  I do have fat rolls, loose skin, stretch marks and scars, but I don't have any issues wearing a bathing suit in public, or putting myself in skimpy pole outfits.  I mean, I get that thinking I'm chubbier than I am doesn't mean I can't also love my body regardless of size.  Maybe it's actually a good sign that I think I'm a 3X and I'm still cool wearing whatever I want to wear.  Last weekend I did a photoshoot with some friends at the Golden Gate Bridge.  I didn't hate any of my photos.  I felt gorgeous in every single shot.  In fact, I usually have a weird thing about which side of my face I want photographed, and I even liked both sides of my face!  (More on that coming soon.)

I am extremely grateful for my current mental state.  I have certainly battled some serious demons in the past over how I look and feel.  The truth is, I feel great. 

Sharing my fat with the world

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Koko Head Challenge

Lulumahu Falls
 A couple of weeks ago, I was very fortunate to be able to visit my friends Jake and Wendy in Hawaii - on the island of Oahu.  I haven't been to Oahu in 20 plus years.  I last stayed in Honolulu/Waikiki Beach.  It was kind of like San Francisco, just on better water.  Tall buildings.  Crowds.  Beautiful and I'm certainly not complaining about being in Hawaii, but it wasn't my favorite trip.  Staying with friends outside of the big city was a much nicer experience.  I got to hang with locals in cool spots and saw things I never would have seen had I been in the tourist trap.  

My first full day on the island, we hiked Lulumahu Falls.  It was funny because there were fences and signs to keep out but everyone was happy to point you in the right direction.  Even a police officer told us how to get started.  It wasn't a super difficult hike, but it wasn't easy either.  You're crossing streams and climbing over fallen trees and rocks.  But the falls are beautiful and swimming before we came back down was a treat.  I fell a couple of times on that hike.  Once trying to climb over a fallen tree or rock (got into those splits I don't have).  The second fall was a pretty awesome slo-mo fall on my face in the water when I slipped on some moss.  I also had a couple of slips on the way down.  I started chronicling my falls on Facebook because they were so funny. 
On our way to Lulumahu Falls

After that, we headed to Waimanalo, which a travel website named as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world.  It did not disappoint.  We saw a turtle hanging out around the rocks.  It would poke its head up to say hello every once in awhile.  My friends told me a "hilarious" story about their friend who was almost eaten by a shark and had to swim to this island to save himself.  His friends never came looking for him and he eventually had to swim back.  When they tell it, it is pretty funny, but I can't imagine how terrifying it must have been in the moment.  On the way home, we stopped at the Makapu'u Lookout and Halona Blowhole.  We ended the tour with sunset at China Walls.  I can't even describe the beauty that was China Walls.  You walk out on to this cliff and people are surfing along the rocks.  There is no beach in site.  The waves and sunset were indescribable.  It was amazing.

The next few days included hanging out, a pinup contest (Congratulations to Wendy for taking third!!!), and the full moon at a gay bar.  We did so much but if I go into it all, this blog will be a 20 minute read.  It was such a fun time.  From my friends' backyard, I could see a mountain with some stairs on it.  Koko Head.  I wanted to do that hike.  (Well, what I REALLY wanted to do was the "stairway to heaven," the Haiku Stairs, but they are closed to the public and I didn't want to risk the $1,000 fine or wrath of the locals who live near there.  Also, it is four times as many stairs as Koko Head, so I should probably be relieved I couldn't try them.)

Pinup ready
On my last full day before leaving, Jake took me to Koko Head.  Now, from far away, it looked totally doable.  Once you're standing at the bottom of those stairs, you realized you've probably made a horrible mistake.  This is over 1,000 "stairs."  Not stairs.  This used to be a railroad for the military to get supplies up to their lookout.  It is often steep and the railroad ties are not evenly spaced.  Before we even start, I know I'm going to die.  It is also later in the morning, so the sun is beating on us, and it is humid.  I am sweating before we even take our first step.  I ask Jake how long it takes him to do the stairs.  He says 20 minutes.  So I say, then I can do them in 40.  And so we begin.  I don't want to bore you with too many details, but let's just say that it doesn't take me long to realize I am not going to be able to hike this as quickly as I thought.  My heart rate almost immediately gets up to max level, and stays there.  I was often having to take breaks every five steps.  There are parts where it is steep, or you are going over a ravine, so climbing like a ladder is easier than standing straight up.  There was a point where I am huffing and puffing and I hear a guy on his way down on the phone.  He says something about grandma being up there still.  I was like, your grandma did this?!  Jesus.  I saw his grandma later.  She told me it took her two hours to get up there.  I just keep telling myself to keep moving.  Even if its slowly.  One step at a time.  But I get five steps in and I need to take a break and drink some water.  It was embarrassing.  I kept telling Jake, I know I'm not in the best shape, but I shouldn't be THIS bad.  He was super patient and just kept saying to rest as much I needed to.  I realize now that I probably didn't fuel up properly for this hike, and maybe didn't drink enough water.  There's a video of me coming up the last few steps and I look delirious.  Also, once I was on top, I took some "panoramic" photos, yet they aren't on my phone, which means I didn't do it right.  But I went through the motions as if I had taken them.  Anyway, I was slowly making my way up, and I saw an Australian girl sitting on the other side.  She said she was in good shape and had trained for it, and she was also struggling.  So we decided it was the humidity and heat.  Finally, I am almost to the top and Jake is taking a video.  Later, I'm watching myself sway and kind of lumber up the steps.  I look down and I see a squid painted on something with Lolo under it.  Although Lolo is my nickname, it means crazy or stupid in Hawaii.  I laughed and walk up the last few steps.  It totally motivated me to keep moving. 

Along the hike up, almost everyone who passed me offered encouragement. You can make it!  It will be so worth it when you get up there!  Jake wanted to make it a drinking game but we would have died from alcohol poisoning.  You're probably wondering how long it took me to get to the top?  Only 0.7 miles, but it was practically straight up.  An hour and 20 minutes.  That's how long.  At least I beat that guy's grandma.  And people weren't lying.  The views were worth it.  Once I had the chance to sit and eat a snack, I was a whole new person.  Jake and I made a friend at the top of the stairs that day.  She was an Australian girl traveling alone.  She hiked down off the mountain and came to Cockroach Cove for a celebratory swim later. 

Climbing Koko Head "stairs"
Jake and I talked about that hike later.  He said some people give up.  I couldn't imagine being that close and not finishing.  There's certainly no shame in respecting your body's limits, but I just kept telling myself, "take one more step."  There were points where I was literally pushing down on my knees to keep myself moving.  Failure was not an option.  It was a mini version of my Half Dome trip.  I was going to finish that climb no matter what.  And I owe that to the encouragement of the friends who took me on those hikes. 

On the hike down, Jake ran ahead and our new friend Mallory stayed with me.  Within the first couple steps, I tripped and scraped my leg and elbow.  Then another couple of steps later, I twisted my knee.  I could put weight on it, but bending it hurt a lot.  Getting down one sided was going to be a challenge.  So I sat on my ass and crab walked down most of it.  Way easier on my knees.  Not so much on my butt and hands.  I ripped my pants.  But we made it down in under 30 minutes. 

We then went to Cockroach Cove to swim in the ocean.  The beach is beautiful.  We bobbed in the waves for a bit.  Then I ran to get my phone to go up along the side to take some photos of Jake and Mallory.  I hit some weird sand cliff and did another slo-mo roll down the sand, completely covering myself in this super fine white sand.  It took me forever to get that sand out of all of my crevices.  It was hilarious.  I don't know why I fell so much on this trip, but I provided some good entertainment for others. 
China Walls

Once we left the beach, Jake's coworker took us out in the ocean on his boat.  We saw turtles and rays.  The water was so beautiful.  It had rained, so we worried it was going to be too cold or rainy to be out, but it cleared up perfectly.  He took us to Kaneohe Bay Sandbar.  You're in the middle of the ocean but you can get out and you're just in waist deep water!  It was so beautiful.  His friend's three year old son kept telling me he wanted to look at turtles or find treasure.  ("Aunty, let's look for treasure!!"  He is so adorable.)  So we picked up coral and looked at it (don't worry, we left it there).  Once we were done, as we were driving back, he goes, "oh look over there, its a tiger shark."  What.  The.  Fuck.  We were just swimming in this water!  Still, so amazing. 

I haven't taken a "real" vacation, an entire week off just for fun, in a long time.  I've done long weekends.  I've hung with the family.  But mostly, for the last few years, I've just been saving my time off work for surgery recovery.  This trip was so wonderful and I am so grateful to Jake and Wendy for hosting me.  It's sad how quickly time gets away from us, and we look up and years have passed without taking any significant time to recharge and do something for ourselves.  While I do have to have another surgery this year, the recovery should be much shorter, and this is going to be my last for the foreseeable future. 

I'm super proud of myself for that Koko Head hike.  One thing I appreciate about myself is that I rarely give up once I decide to do something.  Even if it takes me longer than someone's grandma, I will get there one step at a time.  If you want to check out some other photos of the hike, as well as some videos, check out Nature Goddess Adventures on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/naturegoddessadventures/

Waimanalo Beach
Cockroach Cove
Climbing Koko Head
View from Koko Head
View on the other side of Koko Head
Made it to the top of Koko Head
Made it back to the bottom of Koko Head
Celebration swim at Cockroach Cove
Kaneohe Bay Sandbar

Monday, May 20, 2019

My Spiritual Awakening: Nature Goddess Adventures

I have been on quite the spiritual journey lately, and I feel like a completely different person.  There isn't one single thing that has "cured" me.  But I feel like in the last four years, I have learned how to get my anxiety and depression under control.  I have healed my horrible body image issues.  I have generally become a softer and more gentle person.  I am so grateful for this journey.  Recently, I have felt compelled to share my story and help others.  I met someone who said he saw me writing a book and doing workshops for women.  A week later, my friend and I were hiking and we heard chanting.  Being out in nature lately has been extremely important to me.  She said we should host some spiritual hikes.  So we started planning.  I knew I wanted my amazing yoga instructor there.  I figured we could do mini-retreats.  A little hiking to get ourselves out into nature.  A little yoga to ground us.  Then a speaker to talk about self-esteem and other topics that will help women empower themselves to be more joyful in their lives.  I have a multitude of friends who could fill this speaking role.  I went to my team of three friends with my full idea and everyone was on board immediately.  I am currently reaching out to local parks to see if a permit will be required and am planning our first event for July.

I started a Facebook page for this endeavor.  I decided to call it Nature Goddess Adventures.  I don't want to discourage men from joining us, but I do plan to focus on issues that often traditionally affect women.  So much has happened in other states with women's reproductive rights being taken from them.  I wanted a safe place for women to be able to be vulnerable and share their innermost fears and celebrate their greatest successes.  I like to call us a meetup for like-minded spiritual friends!

If you want to read about my progression, here are some posts you may enjoy:

The Shadow Self

An Entire Year of Joy

Living My Best Life

Eager Anticipation

Living An Exuberant Life

Curing Psoriasis

I Am So Fortunate

The Path Of Least Resistance

Everything Happens For A Reason

A Unicorn's Journey

Transformation

The Art Of Being Busy

Mind-Body Connection

I know that's a lot of links, but I kind of wanted to re-live my own awakening.  I feel like body acceptance (helped along by Twirly Girls and Chunky Girls) has morphed into acceptance in all areas of my life.  Letting go and not attaching to an outcome has completely changed my perspective, leading to a more joyful life.  I am really excited to be on this journey, and I am even more excited to invite all of you on it with me.  Please join me on Facebook and Instagram where I hope to share inspirational posts with all of you and have some fun conversations.  If you're local to the San Francisco Bay Area, please join us for an event soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Twirl for a Cause: Chunky Girls Style

Robert has done it again!  He hosted another Twirl for a Cause to benefit his AIDS LifeCycle ride.  I believe he raised $3,500 (and is close to meeting his $15,000 goal).  Marisa and I came with another faux drag performance, this time as Rihanna and Britney. (Thank you to Ben for being our boy toy, and to Cassie Begley for the rope choreography!)

Check out the video:




Hundreds of riders leave on June 2nd.  They will be riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles -- 545 miles.  If you have some spare cash, please consider donating:  www.tofighthiv.org/goto/CowboyWild

GOOD LUCK ON THE RIDE!!






Thursday, May 2, 2019

Your Shadow Self

Recently, I saw the movie, Us.  While I watched it, I thought it was probably the worst movie I'd ever seen.  It was "classic" horror.  Look behind you!  Why aren't you running?!  Why are you going back in there??  The twists were pretty obvious and there was little jump factor.  Once I got home and thought about it a little more, however, I realized there was much deeper meaning hidden in that movie (other than how offensively horrible race relations are in the United States).  Without ruining too much of the plot in case you haven't seen it, the movie really makes you think about your shadow self. 

What is the shadow self?  It is the part of us we don't want to admit to having.  We may consider her weak or lazy.  We probably blame her for weight issues or the inability to commit to a relationship.  Most of us push our shadow selves away.  Reject her.  Tell her she's bad and needs to stay locked up.  She sits in a dark room stewing until some day she reappears.  Maybe you need her and you subconsciously call to her.  Maybe you have a moment of "weakness" and she just shows up.  But you'll have to face her sadness or rage someday. 

When you reject your shadow self, you reject yourself.  You tell yourself that you aren't good enough because this small piece of you is "wrong" in some way.  You spend so much of your life trying to keep her down.  So much precious energy that could have been used in a much more positive way. 

I recently did a Seven Day Healing Program through Preside Life.  Each day you listen to audio then journal answers to the questions he asks.  Although he doesn't specifically call it the shadow self, he does talk about the wounded inner child, which is essentially the same thing to me.  He talks about the masks we were made to wear as children in order to fit into our families.  I won't go too much into what he teaches, but the end result is accepting that your parents did the best they could, they did love you unconditionally, and you should learn how to talk to your inner self when you are feeling insecure and unworthy.  For me, it was important to realize how many things I use to stuff my feelings, and how I can rewrite my script to self-soothe in more healthy (or, at least for now, less damaging) ways. 

So many of us have those feelings of unworthiness.  We settle for sub-par relationships.  We don't ask for raises at work, or go for the better jobs.  We have to take sleeping pills to sleep, then we have to down gallons of coffee to wake up.  We eat to damage our bodies.  We exercise to punish ourselves.  We drink alcohol or take drugs to excess to dull the pain.  We make ourselves too busy so we don't have to sit in silence and listen to our own brains scream at us.  We push people away and pretend we don't need anyone else.  We spend hours looking at our phones, and not living in the real world.  It leads to a life of feeling very much alone in our misery.

What if you flipped the script?  What if you accepted your shadow self?  What if you looked at your wounded inner child, the one telling you that you aren't good enough, as trying to protect you, not keep you down?  If you don't go for that better job, you won't feel rejected if you don't get it.  But what if, instead of feeling dejected and freezing in your tracks, you took that feeling and let it propel you forward?  You weren't ready for that job, but now you're motivated to go back to school or get more training, which will allow you to get an even better job down the road.  One of my favorite things to say lately is: "Rejection is always protection, and delay does not always mean denial." 

I recently listened to the audio book, The Obstacle Is The Way.  The book tells you that obstacles aren't what keep you from success, they are, in fact, what will ultimately make you successful.  I have begun creating a program that combines hiking, yoga, and a little bit of a spiritual lesson.  I have also been writing a book about manifesting.  I realize now that I wouldn't be able to do these things had I not had the life lessons that led me to the hard work I've been doing in the last four years. 

So, that overly loud, chubby, mediocre, semi-attractive, commitment-phobe I've loved to bag on for so many years, is the same girl that is going to help me write the program that I hope will help many other people in the world.  She was my shadow self for years, but she recently walked into the light, and she and I are going to rule this roost together, hand-in-hand. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Surprise!

I can't believe it has been over five months since my last post!  A little over five months ago, I had surgery to fix my breast implants. I'd love to tell you how that surgery was completely successful and I'm sitting here with amazing boobs and completely happy with all the money I've spent in the last couple of years.  The Universe had other plans for me.  A lesson in being happy with what I have perhaps.  My implants are uneven and I'm facing the scar revision (more surgery) that my surgeon didn't have time for during my last surgery.  I hear you yelling, you should sue!  Yeah.  Well, since I didn't die and the saline was just absorbed by my body, so I didn't get sick, no decent attorney wants my case.

Anyway, if you're wondering what I've been up to in the last five months, here we go.

I am (happily) back up to yoga five days a week.  You're probably thinking, man you must be extremely flexible.  That is not the case.  In fact, I am noticing that, at only 42, I have lost so much mobility -- it is actually scaring me.  I can no longer get even close to flat in "frog" position.  Even though my hips have always been a bit tight, and I've never been able to do the splits, I could still do a decently respectable frog.  I can't squat down without pain in my knees (don't even ask me to stand up from that position without touching my hands to the ground).  Sometimes when I am walking upstairs, especially if I'm carrying heavy bags, one of my knees just doesn't seem to want to work.  It doesn't hurt.  It just doesn't want to do what its being told.  My hammies are tight (which I understand is a sign that the muscle is short -- and weak).  My calves are floppy (they really never recovered from weight loss after gastric bypass 15 years ago).  I was trying to do what one trainer calls "prison squats."  It is really just standing up from being on your knees (with your hands behind your head).  Yeah.  I couldn't do it.  I can't deep squat without pain.  My lower back and left hip are often tight and sore.  My core is almost non-existent and I still just feel so bottom heavy because I can't lift my legs to my chest (or invert) without help.  Basically, my body isn't happy.

When did this happen?

I was trying to figure out when things went bad.  I was still good when I started pole dancing in 2009.  I never poled enough to gain the strength I needed to do all the "cool moves" but I was still fairly flexible in my own little inflexible way.  I did start having major hip pain in 2010 (later connected to my relationship, which I didn't end until almost six years later).  I started teaching my pole class regularly in 2011/2012.  I began a job in San Francisco in late 2012.  I was commuting (often standing for long periods) on public transportation, which I truly hated.  It was a job I disliked, and I gained a lot of weight.  This lead to foot surgery (plantar fascial release) in 2013.  I think this is when my body got mad.  In 2014, I lost almost 40 pounds and got back to being active, but my body didn't bounce back.  I also feel like that's when I lost my pole mojo.  I lost the ability to free dance/flow, and I stopped enjoying class as much as I used to.  I took a new job in 2015 and stopped teaching regularly.  I feel like that was probably the final nail in the mojo coffin.  I have been caught between needing to workout for the health of my brain and body, and being tired of injuring myself.

Suddenly, I have learned the value of doing movement that makes my body feel good.  Forcing myself to do things I don't enjoy was causing me more injuries and pain.  However, I recently felt like I needed to step it up a little in order to gain strength and reverse the lost mobility.  In addition to my yoga classes, I am doing Betty Rocker HIIT workouts (15 minutes in the morning to get the day started right).  I am also starting to walk more after work (now that the weather is nice), and am hiking on the weekends (to prepare for a trip to Hawaii in June).  I feel like it's making a huge difference in how my body feels.

Although I was pretty certain I wouldn't return to pole after this surgery, I recently offered to teach a class and took a class with Grace in order to try to find some of that lost mojo.  Due to surgery, and NCPP last year, it has probably been eight or nine months since I've been on the pole regularly.  Last Monday, I showed up to dance and was pleasantly surprised.  I really enjoyed myself, and I was able to do more moves than I expected.  I still feel like I won't be poling regularly anymore (it is just way too lopsided, even if you do train both sides), but I do think I'll take some workshops and one-off classes on occasion.  I paid a lot of money for these boobs and I don't want to do anything to damage them (or make them uneven).

So, there you go.  Sorry for disappearing for five months.  I will have some updates on a recent performance and perhaps my upcoming class.  For now, enjoy the dance we were learning last week in Grace's class. 

Check out the video on my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TwirlyGirlConfessions/videos/2471042509572403/

Until next time...