Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Back in the Saddle...Again

Class with Jen
I have been pole dancing for seven and a half years.  In that time, I have become an instructor (beginner level) and have had a lot of fun.  But I know I am not a particularly amazing or strong dancer.  I don't do tricks.  My flow isn't that always great.  I lack strength and flexibility.  I often freeze during free dance and have maybe five go-to moves.  Basically, unless I'm going to push myself, I've pretty much done everything I'm going to do. 

So I realized last week, it is time for a change.  I subbed Grace's beginner class the past two Mondays in a row.  Last week, Janet subbed the intermediate class after mine.  This week, Jen subbed.  It made me realize it is time to get outside of my comfort zone (I am still training to be a hospice volunteer and need to find time for that as well; in addition, I've been missing my Sunday yoga class lately and needed to find a place to fit that back in).  So, I re-arranged my life.  It used to be (in a perfect world if no conflicts came up), that I would have Tahitian dance on Mondays and Thursdays.  Yoga with David on Mondays at lunch.  Pole on Tuesdays (I would help Bel teach her beginning class, then I would often stay to take the Intermediate class).  Yoga with Theresa Sunday mornings (yeah, except it has been a month since I've been to that class). Sometimes other bonus classes would be thrown in, but that was pretty much my schedule. 

Class with Janet
I decided to let Tahitian dance go.  It wasn't that I don't enjoy it...but I needed to prioritize what I spend time on and I need more yoga in my life if I want to sleep well (eventually, I'd like to get back to four days a week, but I have to start somewhere).  I have been getting up and doing 10-20 minute yoga videos in the morning, but I need a good, deep stretch at least two days each week. 

So, the new schedule is yoga at lunch on Mondays, pole with Grace on Monday evenings, yoga on Tuesday evenings with Theresa, pole with Janet on Thursday evenings, and yoga on Sundays (when I'm home).  This is in addition to my morning yoga, which takes up very little time but seems to be packing a decent punch.  I'd really love to re-add in my morning strengthening exercises and evening/stretch-while-watching-TV exercises, but I haven't actually been home much, or watching a lot of TV, and I've been sick for so long, I haven't been able to wake up early enough to do much of anything except drag myself into work. 

My Artista swag!  ABALM10 for 10% off!
So, let's talk about Janet's class and why I chose this class in particular.  Janet's class is called Bottoms Up.  The whole point of the class is to gain strength for inversions.  That's what I need.  I think I have a long way to go, but I feel like I am at a crossroad.  It is either time to push myself or find a new hobby.  I'm going to ask Janet if we can find an exercise, move, or some other way we can measure my progress through photos or videos.  I will be happy to share it here.  I am going to call it "Project Get Lori Upside Down." 

I'm really excited about this new path.  Sometimes your life gets in a rut.  Groundhog's day.  Wake up groggy.  Go to work.  Workout.  Go to bed.  Although I kind of need some routine in my life, it can also be maddening.  I am inspired by all of the women in the plus sized pole group that I help moderate.  I know I have the strength to do more than I do...I just need to start choosing the path of least resistance and stop mind fucking myself.

Last week, I taught the intermediate girls most of the Dangerous Woman choreography:



Last night, Jen taught us some sexy choreo:



Monday, June 12, 2017

The Art of Worrying

How many of us spent our childhoods just itching to be grown ups?  "When I grow up, no one is going to tell me when to go to bed, what to watch on TV, where to go...I won't have to go to school or do anything I don't want to do.  I cannot wait!!"  Then we grew up and started wondering how the fuck we get off this shit show merry-go-round and go back to having almost zero responsibility.  We replaced school and homework with jobs and projects.  We need to keep our house in order, keep the boss happy, find some time to exercise, feed ourselves, and for those of you crazy enough, take care of the spawn who are oblivious to the fact that they are living the high life right now!

I know I've written about anxiety before -- I won't bother to repost links.  I used to poo-poo people with anxiety...just suck it up and tell yourself everything will be ok!  It's pretty simple.  Then it happened to me.  I started to worry about everything.  Did I say something stupid?  Do I have something in my teeth?  Why did I trip on that stupid crack in the sidewalk, I should have been paying attention!  Do I look fat?  Are my clothes ugly?  Did I write something stupid in a blog so everyone could see it and judge me?  I always associate depression and anxiety issues with my weight loss surgery.  I'm sure I've always had it a little bit, but it didn't flare into a "thing" until after I lost a ton of weight.  One theory for women is that estrogen is stored in fat cells and when all of that is released at once, it kind of turns you into a crazy person.  Another theory, and probably the one I feel affected me the most, was that we thought life would be perfect once we were thin(ner) and it wasn't.  Skinny people are all millionaires with no real jobs and housekeepers for those fat houses they own, right?  However, we woke up to find we still had to go to work, pay the bills and live our normal (and apparently boring) lives. 

I still deal with both anxiety and depression, although I feel like I've really gotten a handle on it over the last five years or so.  I find that unrealistic expectations along with not taking action when I'm in an unhappy situation can lead me down the road of feeling shitty.  And if I let myself spiral out of control, I can go from being on top of the world, to feeling like a hormonal teenager where everything and everybody sucks and my life is over.  So the trick for me is to not let it spiral.  I try to catch it when it's happening, and remind myself that "this too shall pass."  I remember being in the middle of a break up almost ten years ago.  My ex was asking me to stay and work things out.  He just kept telling me to "fake it til you make it."  And I thought, what a stupid fucking concept.  I had no ability to fake it.  In fact, when I'm pissed, you know.  Everyone knows.  I'm not always loud and angry, but my brooding teenage silence will let you know.  If I stop talking, you should probably leave the area.  In that case, faking it wouldn't have worked.  I was done with that relationship and needed out.  However, now I apply that in another way.  I don't necessarily fake it til I make it, but I DO reframe and remind myself of all the good in my life so that I can pull myself out of the spiral. 

You're probably wondering why this is even a blog post.  Yesterday, Dave told me about a friend who had died doing something he loved.  He was sad and we were discussing having dangerous hobbies.  I told him how, when I rode horses on a regular basis, I had people give me a hard time on many occasions because I didn't wear a helmet.  My response was always essentially that if I fell from a horse as tall as mine, I was going to break my neck, so a helmet would do nothing.  And also, people should know I died doing something I loved -- so celebrate me and my awesome life, rather than mourn my death.  (I also don't have a family to support, so I get why people choose to wear helmets; it is just something I don't choose for myself and people should respect my choice.)  So, after we got off the phone, I guess I just started thinking about all the things I do appreciate in my life.  I have an awesome group of friends and I truly enjoying hanging out with my family.  Don't even get me started on how much I adore those babies (who are growing up WAY too fast).  I have a body that I have spent a lifetime abusing but it still shows up and allows me to dance, do yoga, and throw babies in the air.  I love my job.  I have a roof over my head, clean water and a table full of food.  I don't know.  I guess I could start comparing my life to people who have more money and the ability to travel and do many things I am not doing right now, but then I think the depression and anxiety would kick in again.  So I don't.  I have a good life.  I have goals...more things I want to do...but if I died today, I know I made my mark on some people.  I don't want to spend the second half of my life worrying about the little things.  I want to travel more and continue the adventures.  I want to spend more time with my friends and family laughing and living a great life.  I am not saying there aren't things worth worrying about.  But I am saying is there is no need to sweat the small stuff.  If I worried a car might hit me every time I leave the house, I could easily become homebound and never experience things like amazing sunsets or horseback riding on the beach.  I'd never get into the paraglider with Dave.  I'd never take a trip out of the country. 

Life is long if you're miserable but can be too short if you're making the best out of every day.  I guess maybe I have embraced "fake it til you make it" but only in the context of keeping my life filled with positive people who embrace me for who I am rather than telling me I'm doing everything wrong.  I know I haven't been posting much on this blog lately.  I have definitely had a lot going on.  In addition to regularly scheduled life, I am training to be a hospice volunteer, and have spent the last 4-6 weeks being pretty sick (see my previous post about gluten).  I am heading back into the studio tonight and tomorrow to both teach and take pole classes, though.  I sometimes feel like I should be making more efforts to progress and become stronger at pole, but I'm kind of enjoying just growing and being comfortable with free dance and flow.  As always, I am not the strongest poler or the best dancer, but I certainly do enjoy the fuck out of dancing my heart out. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Gluten Dilemma

On this trip, I was rocking an awesome cold
I wrote about going gluten-free two months ago.  Was that only two months ago?  It felt like six months ago.  You can read that HERE.  I initially felt like it was fairly easy to do.  Sure, I felt like I'd miss out on a few things here or there, but for the most part, I figured I would be fine and my health would be better for it.

I've spent the last month being sick.  Maybe allergies, multiple colds (one chest infection that actually has me thinking there is mold in my office...the air is actually being tested right now!), a UTI (with antibiotics), an ear infection (again with antibiotics, but I got off schedule with my probiotic, which gave me a yeast infection), a threatened sinus infection (thwarted by a nasal rinse regimen) and now a cold sore (not A cold sore, like 12 cold sores covering half my face...I haven't had a cold sore in over 7 years!!).  Seriously, my body is harboring some crazy kind of ick and it is trying to get OUT.  At some point, I expect my head to spin and to puke out green slime.  I'm off my exercise schedule.  I'm not sleeping right so I wake up overly exhausted every day.  It has become a joke at work how I am such a mess.  Let's play a game: What's broken on Lori today?  It's hilarious.  Clearly, my body missed gluten and I should start eating it again immediately!!

Babies don't have time for a sick Aunty
My friend joked that all of her friends who eat healthy are always getting sick and maybe we need that shitty junk food to make our bodies constantly fight germs to stay healthy.  Maybe its stress.  Or maybe about a month ago, I started stressing less about gluten and wouldn't beat myself up if I took a bite here or there.  Bite of a cookie.  A small piece of regular pizza at a work event because no one really gives a shit about the gluten-free people.  These aren't instances of sneaky gluten getting into my food.  They are instances of me being lazy and an idiot.  I am paying the price.  This has been the worst month I've had in...years. 

Anyway, back to being strict about not eating gluten.  I have way too much going on to spend my time laying in bed.  Last weekend was the first time in over a month that I felt decent and I spent it drinking and dancing with friends.  I expected that to ruin me but I feel fantastic.  I'm not made to sit on a couch and rot.