Day 85: Three.ThirtyOne.13

Everything about this video is absolutely gorgeous – from the song itself to the choreography, location… you name it. Also, it doesn’t hurt that everyone in it is simply stunning. I mean, it doesn’t get much better, in my opinion.

This was brought to my attention via dancer extraordinaire Lyle Beniga’s blog.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 83: Three.TwentyNine.13

My phenomenal friend shared her art supplies with me. In the time it took me to create these doodlings – my first attempt with these materials and techniques – she had created a beautiful piece of artwork. There was no way I could help my comparing, and judging (myself), but the fact that I didn’t rip mine up is progress. It was also a strangely soothing way to spend a Friday night; after a good meal, great company, and lovely scenery, coloring your heart out may indeed be the way to go.

art project 1

art project 2

art project 3

art project 4

art project 5

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 82: Three.TwentyEight.13

A visual display of young people in support of marriage equality. These pictures of our future give me hope.

#22 is my favorite because I love his shirt. It’s currently my facebook profile picture.

#19 is pretty awesome. As is #25.

#9 about sums it up.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 81: Three.TwentySeven.13

I got into the studio today. Finally.

Here is the video as proof.

I had no direction, no intention. Only fear. Of not being good enough.

There is the mantra about practice – that as an artist our first many rounds of practice will not produce good art. It is only through repeated practice, and willingness to fail, that we will get any better at our craft. I know this. I believe in it. Except.

The thing is, I have never been good at letting myself fail. (Which keeps me from doing many, many things because I give up even before I give it, or myself a chance.)

I have also been at this dancing thing a long time. But hardly ever as the one pushing the creative vision. That’s what scares me. So the idea that I would now need to practice, and possibly produce not-so-good work along the way, is a difficult reality to swallow.

I’ve gotten much more comfortable SPEAKing here, on this blog, over the past 80 days, but that has yet to translate to my dancing. I’m working on it. This time, I’m not in the mood to give up.

Working Title: Uncover Us

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 80: Three.TwentySix.13

liebster award

I am honored to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Ruminationville – a wonderful blog, who also received the award. You should go and read it. All of it.

Here are the rules of the award:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

(In no particular order):

  1. I really dislike feet. This deserves more of an explanation, particularly since my feet are my livelihood as a dancer. But I’m trying to keep this brief so will leave you to wonder how this can be.
  2. I want to own a barn someday. I want it to be part of an eco-friendly community arts center.
  3. I studied at four colleges/universities before finally finishing my degree.
  4. I believe in being nice. And in smiles. And most definitely in hugs.
  5. I’m not known for brevity in writing. I’m having difficulty not writing a dissertation in these 11 facts.
  6. I have been to Cuba. It was life-changing. I hope to have many more life-altering travel adventures.
  7. I once had my eyebrow pierced. I took it out when I got my nose pierced.
  8. My first job was in a video store. Waaaay back when those things existed.
  9. My cd collection includes everything from Dixie Chicks to Kurtis Blow. Yes, I still have cds.
  10. I am (slightly) obsessed with pink flamingos.
  11. I want to help make the world a better place.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.

  1. What is your happiest memory?
    Such a difficult question. I’m not sure I know how to answer it except to say that I am most definitely dancing in my happiest memories. And laughing.
  2. What three words would you use to describe your closest friend?
    Genuine, limitlessly talented, hilarious
  3. What is your favorite thing to eat?
    Pizza. And brownies. (I know, that’s two favorite things…)
  4. Where is the last place on earth you would want to go?
    I think this question is asking where I do NOT want to go on earth. I can’t really think of one (except maybe DC in the middle of summer in the middle of a cicada attack.) But since that is going to actually be my reality in a few months, I am going to instead answer it as if it was asking where I would want to spend my last days on this earth. In that case, it would be somewhere in the Greek Isles.
  5. What is one thing you would change about the past?
    I would be kinder to myself.
  6. What food would you be happy never to eat again?
    Tomatoes. At least in their raw form. Bleh.
  7. What is your favorite movie?
    Amelie.
  8. What is the kindest thing someone has done for you?
    Let me be myself. And love me for it.
  9. What is one thing you would not be able to forgive?
    Lying. I would much rather know the truth, even if it hurts.
  10. What makes you laugh?
    I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one thing. I love to laugh. I try to do it as much as possible.
  11. What do you want to learn this year?
    Gardening. Particularly, Guerilla Gardening. (I wrote about it in Day 79.)

3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.

I have selected two blogs to pass this award on to. Not because there aren’t millions out there deserving of this award, but because I am not a well-rounded blog reader. Yet.

Both of these blogs, I believe, have received this award in the past. So I completely accept the fact that my round of the Liebster Award may end here with me. (Man I would be terrible at chain letters. Oh right, I am.) I still want to acknowledge these two blogs because well, they deserve it:

Girls Like Giants

The Belle Jar

This is a pretty great Liebster acceptance, should you care to read it. Much more creative than my response.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 79: Three.TwentyFive.13

My dear friend, fellow dancer, and soon-to-be business partner (we’re working on some awesome upcoming events, stay tuned!) shared this video with me and several other friends. It was the inspiration I needed today. Here was my response on Facebook:

“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Especially in the inner city.” – Ron Finley

1. I think I just fell in love. You should watch this, and fall in love, too.
2. I wanna ‘Plant some ish’ and ‘Change the soil of our communities.’ I’m working on it, but sometimes, if truth be told, I feel like it’s hopeless. Like there’s nothing I can do. And then sometimes, I just don’t know where to start. Ron is a testament to what can, and is, being done. A reminder that it doesn’t take a huge, earth-shifting act to make those changes possible. A reminder that passion, integrity, creativity, and a healthy does of defiance, is the best recipe. I WANT IN.
3. Side note, make sure to peep Ron’s shirt at like minute 7:20 – ‘Unfuc* The World’ uh. DOPE. I WANT ONE.

So… Let’s get to planting, and creating, and sharing!

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 78: Three.TwentyFour.13

It has come to my attention that I am single on purpose.

Until now, it simply had not occurred to me.

Until now it seemed it was because of circumstances, or luck, or any other host of reasons that might suggest I had nothing to do with the decision.

There is nothing wrong with being single, of course. It’s just, I didn’t realize I was trying so hard to be.

In fact, my behaviors over the past seven months or so would suggest the very opposite. That I was indeed looking, hoping, for love.

It turns out I am doing all of the things that would make it seem like I was looking for love, a relationship, companionship. Except, I’m looking in all of the wrong places. Or, looking in all of the right places with no intention of actually trying to capture it.

Complete eye-opener, this realization. I don’t understand it all yet. But here’s my truth. At least, as much of my truth as I can see today:

I’m terrified of falling in love.

Not so much because I’m worried about getting my heart broken.

More so because I’m not sure I actually know what it means to be in love. I thought I did. I thought I had been.

What I think is, I was. But my capacity for, and understanding of, what it means to love has changed so significantly over the past several years, that I feel lost without a road map of how to discover this new way of being with someone. Of being with myself.

I’m terrified of being boring.

Of ending up with the life I have always thought I should have.

I know what it is to turn into one of those boring couples. The kind that loses all sense of self and becomes an entity entirely separate from the two beings actually in the relationship. I don’t want that life. ever. again.

I wish I was ready to find love. Or have love find me. Or, however that works.

As I am discovering, though, it matters not what I wish. There is no way I can make my heart ready any sooner than it will be.

Still. I cannot help but wish. That my un-broken yet un-ready heart would be ready to let another in. Wholly.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 77: Three.TwentyThree.13

I change my photos on social media sites frequently these days.

Photo by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

Part of it is pure vanity, sure, I’ll admit it. It’s nice to get ‘likes’ and comments and all that sometimes. (Except when the comment is from a facebook ‘friend’ that feels the need to mention how often I change my profile picture.) That was just annoying. But not untrue, so I can’t be mad at that comment, either.

Photo by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

I’m not used to the attention, so it still feels monumental each time someone tells me I look pretty. I’m always kind of suspicious of it, in fact. Like, they don’t REALLY mean it. Or, they will change their mind. Or, tomorrow I may not be anymore. Pretty, that is.

Photo by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

Except, something has shifted. As evidenced by the fact that I am changing my photos so often. You see, that NEVER would have happened ten years ago. Or five. Or even one. I wouldn’t even have been taking photos I felt good about posting. Until recently.

Photo by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

I have always enjoyed taking pictures, but the only ones I typically felt good about were the ones that didn’t have me in them. I felt ugly growing up. A product of staring at my own reflection in the mirror day in and day out in the ballet studio, years of looking at glossy Photoshopped versions of models in magazines, and the usual dose of insecurity that accompanies adolescence.

Photoshoot - Em Arden

My feelings of ugliness settled deeper, though. A feeling so intense that I was constantly in a battle with myself. To do, and accomplish, and strive, and achieve. And at the same time to hide, and change, and look outside of myself for a way to be beautiful.

Photo by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

The moral of this story is not that I am now, nor ever will be, a model. Unless it’s the ROLE model kind. (That would be pretty cool.) But rather, the reason my photos might be ‘good’ now? I feel good. About myself. On the inside. That’s what’s coming through. I still have plenty of insecurities that creep in. Ones that could and would completely take control again if I’m not careful. (And I also have plenty of pictures I don’t ever plan to share with the webiverse.) But in spite of, and maybe because of those insecurities, I have finally grown into myself. My real self. I have found a confidence and acceptance that was always there, somewhere, but that I could never reconcile. Until one day, it seems, I did.

Photo by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

I have finally stopped struggling against who I think I SHOULD be, and come to appreciate who I in fact, BE.

I wish this for anyone out there who struggles with insecurities. Above all else, BE.

Photo Credits: All photos by Aanya Photography. Styling by Styled by Ali.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 76: Three.TwentyTwo.13

For Sean and Katie, on a day where there is nothing else to do but FEEL.

It hurts.

A kind of pain that you can’t describe, or share. You can’t know it until you do. And when you do, you only wish you didn’t.

There is no way to prepare.

No amount of steeling yourself, saying your goodbyes, recalling the memories from happier days can make you ready.

I don’t know the right words to say.

As your big sister, I want to be able to take the pain away – have you not feel it in the first place. Since I can’t, I am instead trying to think of what I would have wanted to hear a year ago, when we were all feeling a similar grief.

There are no words.

No hug is strong enough, soft enough, long enough, to dissipate the missing and sadness left by a loved one no longer with us.

I offer my hugs anyway.

Today, when I feel millions of miles away, not just the two-thousand-something that really do stretch between us, I hope you can feel my hugs reach across all of that time and space. And even though they can’t take the pain away, they do serve as a reminder that family, however it is defined, is EVERYTHING.

All I can think to share is this photo.

The one I took of the flower arrangement from Markey’s service.

markey flowers

A reminder of life, and beauty, and hope, and above all else, the sanctity of family. This picture reminds me of our family, coming together under difficult circumstances, more united and loving than ever.

A love that never, ever, leaves us.

I am sending that love to you today. And on all days. May you feel, deeply, love and joy and happiness, even amongst the pain.

Here’s to another day of creativity…