Friday, January 30, 2015

2015: Just Keep Swimming

My last post was depressing, so I am going to try to pick it up a bit.

2015 is here. I'm 20 days late in announcing that fact, but the world would literally stop spinning if I started doing everything on time. So, truly, I am saving the world.

I don't make New Year's Resolutions to a point. I have a rolling list of goals that I try to reach throughout the days, weeks, and months of every year. So, 2015 didn't start with me stating I would specifically do certain things because it is 2015. Rather, my many unmet goals of 2014 rolled over into this year.

Now, to completely contradict mysef, I am going to tell you some of my goals for this year. These aren't New Year's Resolutions, though. Those fail. These are goals that I will reach, dammit. There is no particular order here.

Muscles. I have slowly been working on adding some more muscle strength to my body. I am a very tough girl and I have a lot of strength, physical and mental. I seem to have week shoulders and wrists. It's weird. I can lift very heavy things and I pack quite a punch, but my arms get extremely tired in dance class. I specifically get tired in my shoulders and part of my upper arms (mainly triceps) and my wrists. I have a lot of wrist injury as well as chronic tendinitis in both of my elbows and wrists, so that probably plays a part in it. In my style of belly dance, Improvisational Tribal Style, we hold our arms up a lot. There's quite a bit of arm involvement in many moves. We also utilize movements from our wrists called floreos (these are inspired from Flamenco). I have also taken a few classes in sword work and those things are freaking heavy. I want to continue to work on increasing muscle strength in my arms as well as the rest of my body.

Sewing. Dear God Almighty, I want to learn to sew. I can sorta hand sew. I can stitch things onto other things and make it okay. My stitches are questionable, but functional. I really want to learn how to sew with a sewing machine. My mom has sewed for nearly her entire life. I wish I learned from her as a child and I really don't know why I didn't. I know that once I was older I was nervous to learn because I didn't want to suck. My mom would never make me feel bad if I didn't pick it up - it's just my own insecurities that stopped me. A few months ago, a friend attempted to teach me. We dance together and we were going to put together some costuming out of stuff we already owned. To be fair, my sewing machine was being a bit of an asshole, but I definitely presented a challenge for her. It took me a long time to figure out how to thread the bobbin. In the end, I sewed a wee little bit, but it was scary knit fabric and it looked like I had sewed it blindfolded. I'm not ready to accept the possibility that I may lack whatever it takes to learn to sew. I will keep on trying and I hope to have something to show for it this year.

Routine. Routine. Routine. I need routine. I function best when I have specific goals, lists, things to check off, a clear routine, etc. I have slacked off recently primarily due to health challenges and I need to get back into better routines around the home. I want to - and everyone says this - work on getting my cute little butt to bed a wee bit earlier at night and getting the same cute little butt up earlier in the morning. My goal is to get up and hour to and hour and a half before the kids. Typically, I wake up about 20 minutes before my son gets up for school. I think getting up an hour before them allows me to get just a little more work done without distraction. Plus, getting my work done before they wake means I can devote more attention to them.

Better health. I have a lot of health issues that have components somewhat out of my control. My health was a major challenge in 2015. While I have conditions that are chronic, progressive, and don't just go away, it doesn't mean that I have to willingly submit. I am only 36 years old and last year was very troubling for me in the way that my health got in the way of nearly everything. There was an insurance miscommunication (they sent me the incorrect cards and miscategorized my benefits) at the end of last year that prevented me from keeping appointments with specialists. All of that appears to be settled now, so I need to get my butt back into a whole lot of doctor offices and undergo more and more tests. It's not something I am excited to do, but if there are things that can give me definitive answers it would help with moving toward maintaining better health. Additionally, I want to pursue some complimentary therapies. I found success with acupuncture treatments, especially for my esophageal condition. Now, I cannot normally afford acupuncture. I am lucky that I am friends with an acupuncturist and that I can barter services. If not for that, I would have to do without. I am also constrantly striving to nourish my body better. It can be difficult when you are in a crushing financial situation like ours, but I try my best to make sure I am putting things in my body that will not harm it.

Decluttering/More organization. Just.....GAH!!! I have a very hard time organizing things in a sensible manner. I don't know if my brain just doesn't process things in that way or if I just suck. Either way, I constantly have to work hard to come up with an organization plan. Once I get to that point, however, it is smooth sailing. Once I have something organized, I can keep up with it. The challenge to this is my husband. This is constantly a work in progress.

Go to Church. I have a somewhat complicated belief system. I am a Catholic, but I have many pagan leanings. I am also very liberal. Religion is a tough spot for me. I believe in the bones of my Catholic faith, but there are certain aspects of the religion that do not sit well with me. I often avoid services because I do not want to hear hate mixed in with a sermon. However, I like church. I like going to Mass. I have found a couple of churches - plain Roman Catholic, Independent Catholic, and ELCA Lutheran - that I like with priests and ministers that I like, so I want to attend services a little more often. I went to Mass on New Year's Day and the priests homily was just perfect and I was definitely in the right place at the right time.

Become more financially stable. This has been a work in progress for a few years. It's been a major struggle for our family and we are working so hard to get out. I am very much dedicated to this year being the year we truly succeed. I said that last year and the year before that, but I have a much better feeling about 2015.

Visit family. My family is scattered all over the world. I never had grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles to visit with on a very regular basis as a child. Okay, that is a bit of a lie. My paternal family lives in the same portion of the city where I grew up. However, my grandfather was a bit of a Nazi (as in wearing Nazi armbands on Jewish holidays) and my father distanced himself from them a long, long time ago. Plus, they're dead now. My maternal grandmother passed away last year. My mom's family is large, but very much scattered throughout the country and the world so we do not have regular visits. I have an aunt and two cousins who live two states away and I want to make more of an effort to see them more than our usual once a year. I want my kids to have more of a sense of family. My brother moved 1,000 miles away. He has two children and I have barely seen them in the last 6 years. I really want my kids to know their cousins, especially since my one niece and my son are close in age. Unfortunately, neither of us can afford to make the trips for visits. My mom has mentioned going on a roadtrip to my brother's this Summer. I am hoping we can make that happy.

Pay it Foward. My family has received a ton of help in the past year. I have so much good karma to pay forward. I have been working hard at that, doing the best I can with limited resources. I believe there is always good that a person can do not matter how much money you do or do not have. While I am always in the mindset of helping others (this is also heavily influenced by my religion - this is how I grew up in the Church), I am really hoping to have more resources this year so I can do bigger things for people.

Stop sucking at make-up. I can't girl. I do not wear make-up regularly. First, I am just gorgeous as I am. Stop laughing. Second, I have extremely sensitive skin and cannot wear 99% of the make-up out there without breaking out. One of the only brands that hasn't bothered me is Bare Minerals and it is extremely expensive. I was given their powder foundation and pencil eyeliner as a gift, so I use those. Third, I suck at application. I won't even tell you how many YouTube tutorials I have watched and I still can't apply more than a very basic line of eyeliner. No wings for me. I can do simple eye shadow as well. It's enough so that my face doesn't disappear on stage. As a belly dancer, I wear make up to perform. when you look at Tribal belly dancers, their make up is amazing. Mine is meh. My teacher held an in class make up tutorial, which I found extremely helpful.

Belly dance. I just want to keep striving to be the best dancer I can be. I could definitely drill at home more often and need to commit a specific amount of time each week to doing that. To tie into my my Pay It Forward goal - I want to give back in some way to my studio because I have been given so much in order to even take classes. I have no clue how to manifest this, but it will come. Back to the dance - there are specific goals I have in mind for my technique. First, I need to work harder at executed left-sided moves. Like many people, my left side is weaker than the right and it's harder to execute moves. Second, I want to increase both my strength and flexibility. Third - zills. I need to play better. Finally, I need to work on my nerves. I used to shake like a leaf in class when it was my turn to lead. It's stupid, to me, because I have nothing to be afraid of. I think it is due to a long held fear of people laughing at me....rooted in my past. I no longer shake in class. I shake during performances. This is especially frustrating because I was never shaky during my first few performances. It just started to happen in the last 2 or 3 performances. Pisses me off. I have two performances (how many more times can I say that word?) coming up in a couple of months, independent of my studio's student troupe. One will be the first time my own little troupe will perform. I hope my nerves take the day off.

So those are a few of my goals for the upcoming year. Here's to hoping I succeed in meeting all of them. Much love!!

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