Thursday, January 29, 2015

Confessions turns Five!

It has been five years since I started this crazy adventure called blogging.  I am so grateful for all of the fun times I've had thanks to the pole dance world, and appreciate the outlet the blogging provides for me.  Enjoy a little slideshow of fun from the past five years!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Volcano Has Erupted!

Barely five weeks after "Tsunami" landed, "Volcano" has erupted!  Welcome my new nephew, Tyler, to the world!  

Why Volcano?  My brother and sister-in-law's friends' four-year-old thought Volcano would be a great name for him, and the rest of us agree!  While both sisters-in-law were pregnant, we then decided the other baby needed a similar name, and that is how Tsunami was born.

It has been really awesome watching both of my brothers turn into fathers.  They are both going to be great dads!  I am also proud of both sisters-in-law.  Neither got to follow their birth plan but both ended up with beautiful babies in the end!  I guess that goes to show us that we don't always get to make the rules!

I am still trying to balance my life and am thinking about making some additional changes.  I'll definitely let people know if/when things happen.  But for now, I plan to enjoy these babies!

Seneti thinks cousin looks yummy!
Meeting Tyler for the first time

Monday, January 19, 2015

Negative Self-Talk: Crushing Pole Dancer Dreams Since 2009

This month's blog hop is about five things you should never say to crush a pole dancer's spirit.  Well, considering the only person who crushes my spirit is me, I am going to write about five things we shouldn't say to ourselves.  I am also giving a shout out to Pole Geek, who already wrote a great post on things you should never say to a plus-sized poler, and who used her last item to talk about negative self-talk.

1.  I can't do the same moves as everyone else, so this is pointless.  It's true.  Not every person can do every move.  Some people are stronger.  Some more flexible.  Some more fluid.  That's what makes us all interesting.  If we were all doing the same moves in exactly the same way, pole dance (and life) would be boring, and we'd already be done with it.  Find something you can do well and build around that.  Maybe it is a move -- I can do handstands, which really makes people cheer for me.  Maybe you are insanely fluid.  I remember a girl coming into class one day and she was saying she dropped out of a show because she could only do pirouettes well and she couldn't pirouette for an entire routine.  Maybe not but I get dizzy doing a pirouette, so I find them awesome to watch.  I bet she could start with some dizzying pirouettes and go into some other moves easier than she thinks.  But do yourself a huge favor and don't compare yourself to the rest of class.  We are all good at something!

2.  I can only make it to class once a week, so clearly I'm never going to get better at this.  Well, while it is certainly true that the more you practice, the better you will most likely become, you have to ask yourself why you started pole dancing in the first place.  Are you trying to compete or participate in high level showcases?  Then, sure, you should be practicing more often than once a week.  Are you exploring a new type of movement and enjoying the benefit of exercise?  Then there's nothing wrong with coming to class once a week.  I don't know about your class, but my weekly pole class wasn't just about exercising.  It was about seeing friends, laughing and enjoying the mental release that comes with closing my eyes and dancing.

3.  I'll try pole once I've lost five (ten...twenty...fifty) pounds.  If I waited for weight loss to do anything in life, I'd truly never do anything.  Get out there and try things now.  The best way to get strong for pole dance is to try it (notice I didn't say the best way to lose weight for pole dance...).  I have very literally spent my entire life worrying about my weight.  Drink Slim Fast, drop 20 pounds in a week.  Weight Watchers, yo-yo up and down.  Even after gastric bypass, I have been as low as 180 pounds (extremely slim for my frame) and have crept back up to 260 pounds (and have been every weight in between).  If I only did fun things during the times that I felt like I was thinner or was at least losing weight, I would have wasted most of my life.  I'm over that.  I get that there may be physical limitations based on what I weigh (I think zip-lining has a 250 pound limit, but I didn't enjoy zip-lining anyway), but for the most part, if I want to do something, I go do it.

4.  I can't wear those tiny shorts.  Okay, then don't.  But after the first class of sliding around in your yoga pants, you won't be able to wait to get into some shorts.  Our very first aerial move (called a sliding prayer) requires a little skin and stick.  Pretty much everyone who tells me they don't want to wear the short-shorts is in them by class 2 or 3 (and I would say the majority of them are looking for shorts in the lost and found before their first class is even over).  One thing I learned in my class is that no one is looking at me or my cottage cheese thighs.  They're all too worried about themselves!  So bring your yoga pants but make sure you have some shorts hidden in your bag.  Trust me, you'll thank me later!

5.  I can't pole dance because my family and friends will think I'm a whore.  The stereotype is still there.  I still get the lifted eyebrow when I tell some people that I pole dance (however, more often I get the "holy shit, that is so cool, when can I come try it" reaction).  So I am careful about who I tell (not always something I reveal on the first day of a new job).  I realize that my personality is pretty gruff.  I don't take a lot of shit from people, I don't waste time with people who aren't worth my time and I generally don't care what people think about me.  That's actually not true.  I do somewhat care what people think, but I am grown up enough to know that what they think about me says more about them than it does about me.  And I remind myself of that when dealing with many, many, many, many people in my life.  The pole dancer in me says, who cares if pole dance came from the strip clubs?  Mind your business.  The real-life-job-holding-religious-family-having person in me realizes it's never just that simple.  Pole dance certainly isn't for everyone.  But I would hope that you would try a class (and encourage the haters to join you) before passing judgment.  Because most of the haters I've brought to class can't use their arms the next day and have a new-found respect for pole dance.

Can you think of some soul-crushing things you've said to yourself during your pole dance journey?  Please share them below in the comments!  Also, please read the other entries in this month's blog hop!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cheat Day

We've all seen The Rock's Instagram page, right?  He posts the most epic cheat days.  Stacks of pancakes.  Donuts.  I don't know.  Carbs galore.  Whenever I see those photos, I immediately go into sugar shock and can't clearly the see the photo anymore.  What's a cheat day?  It's when people who are on a "diet" throw caution to the wind and shove every bad food they can find into their piehole for an entire day.  For some people, it's once a week.  For others, it may be a monthly.  For me, that's called a binge and it's part of an eating disorder.  To each his own.

My first issue with cheat days is the value judgment it seems to put on food.  I do try very hard not to say certain foods are good or bad (I fail at this often).  Yes, certain foods are better or worse for my body, but putting a moral judgment on whether I just ate a cupcake doesn't sit well with me.  I'm not a terrible person for eating it.  I just get to feel crappy after I make that choice.  So, I didn't "cheat" if I ate that cupcake.  I just chose to eat something that I knew would make me sweaty and tired.

I used to be all about everything in moderation.  Rather than engage in cheat days, I figured it would be smarter to just eat anything I want, in small amounts.  Then I learned that I don't have the ability to moderate certain foods.  Such as jellybeans.  Or really, sugar in general.  I literally became known as the cupcake girl.  Certain foods trigger a binge for me.  I was never a "sit-in-the-closet-and-eat-an-entire-pizza-and-chocolate-cake" kind of girl.  But I could (and still can) graze all day and eat tons of foods I didn't need.  For example, if I picked up a bag of Jolly Rancher jellybeans, I could eat a 1,500 calorie bag in a day or two.  Let's forget the calories and just talk about the sugar rush and dump I was putting my body through  I was taxing my liver.  Causing inflammation.  Why would I do that to myself?

So now that I'm limiting sugar and gluten, what would a cheat day do to me?  Well, only a few days after cutting bread out, I went to a birthday dinner and ate a dinner roll.  It wasn't a huge piece of bread, but it was bread.  After dinner, I started feeling a pain in my gut.  It was like I was being stabbed repeatedly in my lower intestine.  That was fun.  Eating too much sugar causes me to sweat profusely, get incredibly tired, and has very literally almost made me pass out.  Sounds like a party.  Sign me up!

I can't remember if I wrote about it here (I probably did but life has been so crazy lately and I'm too lazy to go back and look), but one day, as I was making the long drive back from Rob's house, I stopped by McDonald's.  I hadn't eaten McDonald's in a very long time.  Even before I started this journey with Ellen, McDonald's was something my body had a hard time tolerating.  That being said, I wasn't immune from an occasional craving for a Big Mac.  Anyway, half way through a four hour drive, I was not exactly surrounded by a ton of great food options, and decided to grab McDonald's.  I gobbled it down while I was driving (I love the word "gobble" so describes my relationship with food.  I don't eat, I gobble!).  I can't remember how quickly the reaction started.  But I feel like it was fairly swift.  My throat closed up and my stomach hurt.  And I had a two hour drive home.  The throat closing was weird.  Apparently there was something in the food that my body did not like.  And for the next three days, any time I put any food in my mouth, my throat started to close again.  It was crazy.  I have not had a single bite of McDonald's since.

While I understand the mentality of those who enjoy their "cheat day," I have determined that cheat days aren't for me.  I would much rather continue to make good food choices on a daily basis instead of eating a ton of food that hurts my body from the inside out.  I also would prefer not to stand around in public sweating, exhausted, doubled over in pain and trying not to shit my pants.  Does this mean I won't ever eat something "bad" for me?  No, of course not.  It just means that I know the things I can "cheat" with and pay fewer consequences.  

Do you do cheat days?  How do they work for you?

Sprinkes Cupcake from October 2013 - they were actually too sweet for me

Birthday minion cupcakes from August 2013

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fear of Hunger

About seven months ago, I started on a journey with Ellen of A Balanced Table.  She got me thinking about food in a completely different way.  When she asked me to do a food journal, she didn't ask me to record my calories, she asked me to write down how a food made me feel after I ate it.  Seeing that written down on paper made it much easier to start removing foods that made me feel bad.  She didn't say, you can't eat that food.  She let me decide when I was ready to stop making myself feel crappy. 

I did really well for four or five months.  I wouldn't say I was suddenly the "perfect eater," but I had made changes to my daily diet that made me feel good and I even dropped 22 pounds without trying.  Then October arrived.  Halloween.  The candy started early in my office.  I would stop by a co-worker's desk and pick up one piece.  Then two.  Then four.  The spiral downward was pretty fast and hard.  Halloween really marks the beginning of the holidays now.  Thanksgiving is a month later.  Christmas.  On top of that, I had a death in the family, and a new addition.  So much stuff going on.  I definitely backslid.  I gained 5 pounds.  I wouldn't say my meals suffered, but I was allowing a lot more of those sweet snacks back into my life, especially at work.  I don't feel good when I eat that crap.  

Recently a friend also joined the Ellen journey and wrote this to me: ..."realized I have been living my life from the neck up... I don’t FEEL because it is just too painful (physically & emotionally). For a whole host of reasons. I am a master numb-er." Holy shit. Me too.

At first, I felt like I was afraid of the physical pain of hunger. Like, if I missed a meal or went too long between snacks, it would hurt to be hungry. But, let's be honest. Most of us reading this blog (we can afford computers and the internet), have probably never truly felt hunger. Not the painful hunger. The hunger that hurts your entire body. We don't know how that feels. At most, I've only felt a little grumbling in my stomach, which I immediately feed so that I don't have to feel any discomfort. So the only pain I could truly fear would be emotional pain. So I eat to numb that pain.

I am starting a kind of sugar cleanse type of diet. It is actually not too far off from the food I am eating now. I am trying to remove a few more problem foods and add more protein. Ellen has been great about not pushing me into things that I'm not ready to take on. I feel like I'm ready. I don't feel trigger-y at all. I guess I can't really trigger a binge if I've been on one for the last three months. I am hoping that as I strip away more and more of these food issues, I might actually get to the core of what causes me to eat the things I don't need. It might get ugly, but it probably needs to happen.

The next few months will be interesting. I hope you are all ready for this journey. I know I am!

Tired of being upside down...time to start paying attention to my feelings!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Taking a Step Back

So much has happened in the last couple of months.  My grandmother passed awayMy niece, Seneti (aka "Tsunami") was born.  My sister-in-law is Tongan.  The husband's oldest sister is called the Fahu, and I am the Fahu.  That means I need to step up my game and be the best family person I can be (plus, I will need Tsunami to take care of me in my old age)!  The holidays were crazy.  I am tired, but happy.  Very, very happy. 

I have been teaching pole for three years exactly.  And it is time for me to take a break.  Teaching at 8 PM on Monday nights has been rough since I have a regular 8:30-5 day job.  I get home around 10 PM after class and am all amped up, so it takes forever to fall asleep.  So I start every week already exhausted. 

I have long complained that I have a hard time finding balance in life.  I have so many amazing friends that I want to spend time with.  I have so many awesome adventures always presenting themselves to me.  I have to go to work.  I have to workout.  I want to visit my family.  I have a boyfriend who lives 4 hours away.  How do I make all of that fit into 168 hours each week?  Something's got to give. 

So, right now, work and family are taking center stage.  I am trying to get out to visit my brother, sister-in-law and niece at least once a week.  Luckily, my other brother, sister-in-law and "Volcano" live right across the street, so visits will be productive -- TWO BABIES...SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE. 

I am not giving up on pole, however.  I will still be attending Fly Gym at Twirly Girls every other week, and I am making sure I get to Ellen's Pole Flow class each Saturday.  Past that, I want my weekends to be free so I can visit those babies and drive down to see Rob.  And, so that I don't get out of shape, my Monday and Thursday nights will swap out pole for yoga.  That means I have the potential for yoga six days a week.  Realistically, that means I will be in yoga four to five days a week, and that's ok with me. 

I have already taken a private with Ellen and have another scheduled to help me create a good routine for Robert's next fundraising show at Club 1220, and I am really excited for how it will turn out.  I love taking Ellen's class because I always come away feeling like I learned something.  I know many instructors don't know what to do with me because I advance to a certain point, then get stale.  Ellen always has a little surprise for me -- a move that I laugh at because I don't think I'll be able to do it.  But I always do (not always well, but I do execute the move), so I feel like I accomplished something. 

I am very relieved about this break.  I feel like I can't bring my A-game to teach a class if I have no game to speak of.  I am teaching the very beginning classes but I still feel like I need to find my mojo before I can truly pass it on to others. 

I don't set New Years' resolutions, but I guess deciding it is time to take care of myself is as close as I'm going to get.  What are you doing to take care of yourself in 2015?

She doesn't know it yet, but she loves when I sing to her