Day 161: Six.Fifteen.13

I am a firm believer that true beauty comes from within.

But sometimes. Sometimes, there’s something to be said for a small external beauty update to get your inside beauty believing in itself again. In my case, some highlights and a cut did the trick. I feel like a whole new woman. As my beyond-fantastic stylist told me, I’m now ready to take on the world…

Ladies (and gentleman), if you need an updated look, call Aveda Bethesda Salon & Spa and make an appointment with Ricardo Lopez. Stat. He’s a true artist.

Haircut

Here’s to another day of creativity…

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Day 150: Six.Four.13

I contend that if we all used one of our strengths to help at least one fellow human being at least once a day, we would be a much happier eARTh.

I know I’m not the only one that contends this. Many people have said it much more eloquently than I just did.

But I’m just saying.

We feel better, they feel better, we make others feel better when we feel better.

In short, we all win.

So let’s do it folks. Let’s help ourselves by helping others.

What do you say, are you in?

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 143: Five.TwentyEight.13

My Health Care Dilemma

Draft One

I quit my job in March. Not something that is highly regarded or generally supported. I did it because, even though I have been brought up in a country that tells us hard work, daily grind, selling your soul in pursuit of the almighty dollar, is key to happiness, it hasn’t made me that way. I would rather get to the end of my days knowing I lived a full, compassionate, creative life with some additional struggles, than to spend the rest of my time behind a desk for the ease and convenience of it, just to wake up and do it again tomorrow. (Well, I should point out that my last job wasn’t easy. Nothing about working in a middle school is easy. But for the sake of this argument, you get what I’m trying to say, right?)

But I digress. This is not a post about work, per say.

Although, I think it important to mention that I work incredibly hard. Even to my detriment, I would argue. So, me quitting my job wasn’t an excuse to be lazy. Exactly the opposite. I simply want to work hard and put my energies into what I believe in and feel passionate about. That, for me, means following a creative path and working for myself, in order to support other artists, individuals, and young people in living creative, compassionate, sustainable lives.

Back to the point.

As my work end date was approaching, I took care of all of my routine health care visits. It’s an incredible thing to have health care. Something I took for granted while fully covered by my employer. I didn’t ever really go to the doctor. Yearly check up or teeth cleaning. Visit to get a new contact prescription. That was the extent of it. So when I knew I was finishing with my fully covered health benefits, I didn’t think too much of applying for my own health insurance plan.

It’s fair to say I was completely beyond shocked when I was denied.

Let me back up and say, I don’t mean to brag necessarily, but I am kind of exactly the type of person health care companies want to insure. This is to repeat that I rarely visit health care professionals, have no medical history (except for cutting off the top of my thumb several years back, but I don’t plan to repeat THAT ordeal ever again), I am (fairly) in shape, don’t smoke, have no illnesses requiring treatment or medications… I don’t even have allergies, for that matter.

I was denied for two reasons:

1. About a month before leaving my job I was given medication for a rash that was potentially caused by bed bugs. (No evidence was ever found in my apartment, but something had a field day on my skin for several weeks.) Disgusting? Absolutely. Cause for denial of preventative health care? I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

2. My routine women’s health exam came back with an ‘abnormal’ result. I got the news as I was in the middle of applying for health insurance, so I hadn’t known this would be an issue while still employed and covered by an insurance plan. I needed a follow-up test to determine what caused the abnormal reading. To rule out anything serious, to get the all-clear. A rather expensive follow-up test, I might add. But a fairly routine one, that women with health insurance get all the time. One that the health insurance company I had applied to, so that I could PAY them monthly to be insured, didn’t want to pay for. When I called the representative to discuss their denial, she simply told me I was “too risky.”

OK.

Let me pause right there and say, SERIOUSLY?!?!

A paid customer service employee, one whom I’m guessing – hoping – had to go through some kind of training, just told a slightly freaked out woman being denied health coverage that she was TOO RISKY?! Again. I’ll let you be the judge of just how well that situation was handled.

I’m not looking for pity here. I’m not even trying to make the case that I am in a position as unjust as so many in this country. I am lucky to have had insurance for as long as I did. To have had the opportunity to live as healthy as I have.

What I am arguing as completely unreasonable is the lack of humanity on the part of those who don’t support Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, specifically. If I can get on my soapbox here for just a minute, it seems to me, people are so quick to jump on a cause, throw themselves so fully into arguing for or against something, they fail to see that there are real people at the other end of their hard-line decision-making. Real people whose lives are affected by the decisions they make in the comfort of their health insurance-wielding offices.

The only health insurance I can actually get at this point, is Medicaid. It seems completely backwards that someone would rather have federal money pay for my health care, than to let me pay for it myself.

Planned Parenthood was the one place I found compassionate, respectful, helpful health care professionals who offered the services I needed at prices I could afford. Cutting their funding means cutting services to help keep women, future children, and their partners healthy and in control of their own bodies and lives. I’m not sure how anyone in their right mind could argue against that. I know, I’m glossing over (or actually, not even touching) the abortion issue. All I can say is, no one, NO ONE, has the right to tell me what or what not to do with and for my own body. This applies to all women, all the time. End of story. In my case, I’m trying to make sure I am healthy so that, when the time comes, I can have equally healthy children. Denying me health insurance now potentially affects not only me down the road, but my unborn children. And that seems totally unfair.

I’m always such an idealist. And I keep being completely unprepared for just how unfair this world is.

I’m not looking for a handout. I have always played by the rules, and applying for health insurance was no different. I was prepared to have to pay a larger amount than those in more financially stable situations – those in full time jobs that offer employer-supported health plans.

Come on people. We have to do better for each other.

In a just world, all women would have the right to decide how best to care for themselves, their bodies, their families. And they, we, would be able to do it without having to fight for it every step of the way.

So.

Here’s my not-so-silent prayer (I don’t think I’ve EVER prayed before?!) that my lab results come back clear, I’m able to ‘qualify’ for health insurance, and above all else, people in places of power will find compassion – particularly for those they don’t understand or agree with.

We all deserve better.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 142: Five.TwentySeven.13

Love Us 2013

Love Us 2013

So excited to be a part of this LOVEly lineup of talent.

So excited for you to come and experience the heART with us. Get advanced discounted tickets HERE.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 138: Five.TwentyThree.13

Shared via Diablo Ballet’s facebook page.

Dance With Heart

Dance With Heart

I’m so busy trying to get to the finish line – perfectly – (forgive the mixed metaphor) that I have so overlooked just why I move in the first place. It’s all about the heART. Always. No other reason. Grateful for the reminder.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 136: Five.TwentyOne.13

I’m a big fan of space. Not the outer kind. Although, that’s cool too. But I’m talking space of the nature or man made variety. And more specifically, I’m fascinated by how we humans interact within and around these places.

I looked at a space today. One that was something and will soon be something else. But in between, I, we, will be using it as a temporary vehicle for conducting art experiments. Live ones, visual ones, networking and community ones. All the kinds I, we, can think of.

This has been my dream for as long as I can remember – to have a space I get to create, and then create in. With all kinds of other creating people. When I was little I used to sit at the dining room table and design houses. For hours. And then I began dreaming about arts spaces. And now, I am making those dreams become reality. It’s a bit much to wrap my brain around.

This was how I began my day, listening to this disheartening report.

There are, thankfully, fascinating things happening in the space realm in DC, too. Particularly as it relates to the arts. (More on that soon, I don’t want to spoil the big reveal.)

So by the ending of today, having connected with people who are making the most positive use of space within this city by and for artists, I feel all rejuvenated and so glad to be part of what’s happening right here and now in this city.

Summer of heART, here I, we, come.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 130: Five.Fifteen.13

When I moved to Washington, DC the first time around, I reconnected with my dancing and found a company I just HAD to be a part of. I became a regular in company classes, took every other class I could get my hands on, and soaked up all I could about this new experience. I just knew, deep down, this company had to be a part of my life. I auditioned first chance I got… and didn’t make it. While I was of course devastated on some level, more than anything, I just remember trying to figure out what I needed to do to get there. I had a conversation with the director afterwards, asking why, what I needed to work on? She was encouraging and thoughtful. It was my ability to speak through my movement, communicate, show dimensionality, character, personality. Become larger than myself on stage. I could do that – I knew I could. I just didn’t know how.

I came from the world of precision and uniformity that is ballet. A corps of dancers is nothing if not perfectly in sync. I knew how to move my body so that it became part of the landscape of beauty that made up the entire picture. I didn’t know how to be free, expressive, how to be THE image or picture.

I was so cerebral about the whole thing. I remember trying so hard to figure out just how to make these transformations, without giving my body permission to discover them organically. My head knew what the final outcome should look like – my heart and soul did not know how to get there.

It’s an unsettling feeling for someone who is so in tune with their body to not know how to move it.

Flash forward almost a decade, after letting go enough to make it into the company, dancing with several others, moving out of the dance world and into other career paths:

It’s amazing to find myself back in this same place. Returning to DC, to dancing, to evolving.

My struggles this time are about evolving on my own, for my very survival. As a dancer, an artist with a point of view, a human with a need to connect in this world on a deeper level.

The piece I’m developing has until this point, felt small. Both in my connection to it, as well as in the movement itself. I’ve been struggling with it, on my own, each week, and not getting anywhere. Except also getting exactly where I needed to be to have a breakthrough.

My guiding light, no matter where in the world we may physically be at the time – my best friend and fellow creative spirit – surprised me with a visit during my rehearsal. I was reluctant to show her what I had, because I feel so the opposite of confident about it. Thank goodness she is as persuasive as she is.

Fellow creative spirits

After watching, and offering some helpful, if polite, feedback on the movement itself, we got to talking about the essence of the piece. What am I trying to say? How do I communicate that through movement? The three words that have emerged about this piece for me are: truth, love, always. That’s what I want to say. End of story. So why is it so difficult for me?

The question of how I show love came up, and I struggled to find an answer. Finally, “I am giving of my time and energy, am compassionate, caring, empathetic, a good listener,” emerged. But more importantly, the realization that I have forgotten how I show love. True, unconditional – a pure emotion that has no expectations, boundaries, ulterior motives. I have forgotten because my past, same as many, is filled with examples of how this pure form gets clouded with other emotions – jealousy, anger, frustration, hurt, sorrow.

All of this work I am doing – my move, my business, my blog, my dancing – is about reconnecting with my heart. Life meets dance meets evolution. It’s all I could ask for, even in the difficult moments. Because those moments of struggle are how I know something beautiful is taking hold.

I have this image of my heart as it has been in recent months – still intact in shape and size, but with a hardness around it. A protective cover that has been allowing it to heal the cracks. Today I feel this shell breaking, I no longer need to protect myself from the world. I am ready to let my heART spill forth.

Hearts Breaking

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 128: Five.Thirteen.13

Spreading the word and the love:

Love Us 2013

Love Us 2013

I’m pretty freaking excited to be participating in this, both as a performer and as a sponsor.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 123: Five.Eight.13

I was turned down for another job. (i was so angry – i could have done that job in my sleep. they couldn’t have found anyone better suited.)

I was a terrible teacher. (my choreography just plain old sucked.)

I feel free.

All of the doors are closing.

I feel free. (to do exactly what is in my heart.)

Windows are opening wide.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 122: Five.Seven.13

Nothing about this day has been particularly awesome.

I tried a new yoga class. The teacher had an incredible way of explaining our practice. Poetry.

Imagine the back of our heart, she said.

I don’t know that I have ever thought about the back of my heart. Of anyone’s heart.

It has made it’s way into a line in my poem: “Heal backs of hearts.”

Here’s to another day of creativity…