Reflection

LXVII: What I've Learned, Thus Far, From 2018?

Here we are! Another installment and another year of lessons!

I’ve changed things up this year and entered into it feeling a bit more liberated than I was in 2017. I had decided early on that I was going to do what I wanted, when I wanted and try things. But, with that, I also opened myself up to people which is something that I normally steer very clear of.

Whenever you open up your heart, mind, and ears to new people, you’ll definitely be learning new lessons, however. Trust me!

So, here are a couple of the lessons that I’ve learned, thus far, this year:

STEER CLEAR OF THOSE WHO WANT YOUR RHYTHM BUT NOT YOUR BLUES

Wanting my rhythm and not my blues simply means that someone wants to be around me when I am happy and having fun, but when stuff hits the fan of life, they want to hit the road.

I’ve had this type of person in my life plenty-a-time!

The bad thing about me, however, is that when it comes to people who I have allowed into my life, I genuinely try my best to keep them.

BUT, sometimes in life you go through things, not to learn to work through them, but to learn to walk away from bad situations

This year has been one big lesson on walking away for me. It gets so lonely sometimes, but walking away from people who want to be around when all is well but leave when things get difficult is a very necessary reality. 

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

The way you view a situation says a lot about the way you view the world and the way you view yourself.

Now, I generally look at situations from a very realistic standpoint. I also use facts from the past that have created a pattern to assist with the way in which I view those situations. So, in short, when a situation presents itself, I’m an absolute realist through and through.

Now, this year has been filled with ups and downs, and I’ve worked at keeping my outlook on things upbeat enough to allow myself the ability to continue on in whatever direction I am attempting to go in life without letting things get me too down.

Changing my perspective on a lot of the things that have happened to me lately has seriously helped. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so necessary. A lot of times, perspective comes through in the form of a glass being half empty or a glass being half full. 2018 has taught me to look at things with the glass half full which has allowed me the opportunity to fill it the rest of the way on my own.

WHEN SOMETHING IS FOR YOU, IT WILL ALWAYS BECOME YOURS

This is super important for me to remember! 

I oftentimes work overtime to keep friendships and relationships with people who have never even deserved my time in the first place. It’s in my nature, however, to nurture those relationships...

BUT, when a relationship is for you, it will be yours without all of the tug-of-war! I forget this so much and it results in me making people feel way more needed than they actually are by trying to keep them in my life.

This is a habit, in me, that needs to be left in 2018. Because, trust me, you won’t be forcing the friendships and relationships that are meant to happen!  

BE REAL WITH EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES 

Now, first and foremost, you have to be real with yourself! But after that, you have to be real with everyone else.

I met someone this year who was such a gem! A beautiful soul inside and out. But, if you asked me, now, whether or not I still know this person, then my answer would honestly have to be ‘no’.

This person was so good at pretending to be the great person that I grew to very fondly enjoy, but [as you’ll read below] people can only pretend for so long (and sometimes for too long) before their true colors show.

It turns out that this person was a complete stranger to me when they showed me who they really were. What a shock!

I can see from that situation that it is, a lot of times, hard for some people to just be themselves which, to me, seems like it would be more work to pretend to be someone or something else. But, I digress, …

People usually teach me the biggest lessons and from this person, I’ve learned that you have to be super mindful of who and what you are. Remain true to yourself no matter the situation.

Real will attract real, but you have to weed through a lot of fake to get to it.

PEOPLE ARE GOOD AT PRETENDING — WATCH FOR SIGNS

I have made the mistake of underestimating the amount of time that people can live while being fake and, trust me, they can go the distance. 

But, I’ve learned that, eventually the real will always come out. 

I’ve had two friends while in school that people have completely warned me about but I ignored it and instead defended them because I wanted to base my reactions to them solely on my experiences. In hindsight, I completely wish that I would’ve listened to those people, but I didn’t, so I had to eat that loss.

I didn’t believe these things because people are so good at pretending to be things that they are not. They immitate the things that they see being attracted by others. They become so good at the facade that it’s undetectable to eyes that want to believe what they see.

But, I’ve seen that faking it gets exhaustive and they will eventually show their true colors. Some people don’t last a week, others take months, and one took years!  

 My advice to myself and others would simply be to jump ship as soon as the first sign becomes apparent. We’re so inclined to ignore the little signs because we’re enjoying the bigger moments, but trust me, cutting these people off early on is always best. 


So, there you have it! 2018 has taught me A LOT about people and how I should approach the next batch that I meet in life.

But, most of all, 2018 has taught me to look at situations from multiple angles: yes, losing a job will hurt, but there are so many benefits to it; yes, losing a ‘friend’ will hurt, but I’ve gained so many more who actually seem good; and, yes, loving someone is difficult, especially when you’re on completely different wavelengths as far as life is concerned, but opening your heart to someone has the never-ending benefit of showing you so much about yourself!

So for that, 2018, I thank you! 🎊🎊🎊

XLIX: Self-Love in Steps... ? Yes!

Self-love is so important, as we all know! A big part of it that I forget, however, is the fact that:

SELF-LOVE IS AN ONGOING THING!

I often engage in activities and practices in self-love and then, for some reason, end up taking a break which results in me feeling down. Lately this feeling has come up at least once a week which is just TOO MUCH for me. So, this post is all about the Steps to keeping the Self-Love flowing!

STEP ONE: Take Time To Self Check!

When I initially started blogging, I published what I think is my best post yet on maintaining a mentally-healthy and a mentally-happy lifestyle.

This was an important post for me because I do believe that my thoughts and [maybe] my feelings keep me from being as happy as I could be. However, my Self Check post (click the link to read) laid out four steps to keep you in check if you begin to fall victim to the negative thoughts and feelings:

Step One: Acknowledgment

Step Two: Quick Disengagement

Step Three: Inward Reflection

Step Four: Application

Step One was all about acknowledging that your feelings are a bit out of whack. Sometimes, we get to wrapped up in all that we have going on that we forget to check on ourselves and our emotions. So, this was all about taking a tiny look inward so that we can fix what’s going on.

Step Two was about taking ourselves to a new space. This space will allow us to clear our minds and free our hearts so that we don’t continue to be bogged down by the same things.

Step Three was all about using our time away (from the Quick Disengage) to reflect on how we got to that negative space, talk ourselves through feelings that we don’t quite understand, and just be! This step is usually done alone.

Step Four was about applying this exercise to our daily lives. Once we get in the habit of the Self Check, it becomes more like second nature and THAT’S the goal.

We, essentially, want to master our emotions, reactions, feelings and thoughts.

STEP TWO: Stop & Do Things That Make YOU Happy.

I oftentimes forget that my school work and my job search will be waiting for me when I am done taking care of ME.

I act like I cannot leave my desk until I know all that there is to know (so, basically I’ll just die here), or like I have to find my Forever Career today or I’ll be a loser for life. But these thoughts are just that! They are concocted by our subconscious and do nothing but bring us down.

That’s why it is so important to do things that bring you joy! I, for instance, really enjoy eating, going to the movies, and photography. I am not one who finds it troubling to do things alone, so I actually enjoy solo trips to the movie theaters and to restaurants/bars to eat!

The only problem is, I don’t do these things often enough. So with this post, I’m going to make it a point to do things that make ME happy, more times per week.

Do not put a cap on your own happiness.

STEP THREE: Positive Affirmations.

Now, this is a new one for me!

This came about because it’s actually very much needed in my life right now. I’ve put myself in situations that haven’t left me feeling my best, so I have to bring myself out of this slump and into a happier place again.

Doing this is usually not as easy as we’d like for it to be, but it is so necessary. So, because it’s a bit harder this time around, for me, I’ve added a little positive affirmation mantra to my daily routine.

Now, the writer in me doesn’t allow me to stand in front of my reflection in a mirror and chant these things over and over. I get my positive affirmations out by taking a pen to some paper. So far, it’s been working!

You have to love you before expecting someone else to.

SteP Four: Take Life One Day, One Step, & One Problem At A Time.

So, I like Costco because you can buy in bulk, and I’ve found that this is the way that I usually want to solve my problems, IN BULK. But, life just doesn’t allow you to do that type of thing! It’s made so that you learn that you must address life issue by issue, day by day.

There will always be things going on, you will always feel like you’re running out of time, but this is usually when you’re trying to take life in chunks.

I am making it a point to approach issues in a much calmer manner, and definitely one at a time. In this I’m also taking the days as they come… One day, one step, & one problem at a time.

You will not master life, but you can master your Here & Now if you just take it slow.

XLV: Why I Am Not Afraid To Say That I Am Not Enough... ?

in·ad·e·quate

inˈadikwət/

adjective

  1. lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.

  2. (of a person) unable to deal with a situation or with life.

I am not afraid to admit that I struggle in many areas. I am not afraid to admit that I have issues: with trusting people, with communicating, with eye contact, with disloyal people, with accepting when I am not right, with failure, with confidence (some days), with trying to please others, and the list could go on for miles.

I am not afraid to admit that I sat in the shower and cried last night because of all that I fall short in. Every loss is a lesson to me, but some losses are so big that they seem to rock the world that I was comfortably living in before their quake. 

Some losses take a toll on my insides, my outsides, and everything in-between, and I am currently living in the wake of loss.

I cannot change the parts of me that have been fashioned by my past. I have come across many people, done and seen many things, and gone many places. All of these things have shaped me, whether it be negatively or positively, regardless, they’ve changed me.

In being sheltered, I couldn’t understand that people weren’t like me, that they didn’t grow up in the church, that they weren’t selfless but instead were selfish, and that they weren’t compassionate and understanding. I couldn’t understand that they weren’t remorseful, that they weren’t forgiving, that they weren’t humble. I can’t understand that I am not worth a change to these people, at least.

I put a lot into people. I give a lot to people… As scary as that is, I always find one person who is “worth it”, that is, until they aren’t and even then, I still want them to be. I have faith in people that they will treat me and cherish me the way that I treat and cherish them; that they will work with me when I am willing to work with them; that they will appreciate me the way that I hoped they’ve seen that I appreciate them. The reality is, however, that sometimes you just aren’t worth their effort, you aren’t worth their forgiveness, you aren’t worth them choosing you…and YES there is a choice to be made.

It sounds bad, I know, but look at the world that we live in…

Finding out that you aren’t worth a change to someone that you considered special hurts. But there is always a bright side… (I’ll let you know when I find it).

This post is mainly about reminding myself that it’s okay to feel this way as long as it’s temporary. It’s okay to be hurt, as long as it doesn’t control my life. It’s okay to not be okay, regardless of what social media says.

In this post, I’m not asking for a response, I’m not asking for love, I’m not asking for answers… I just wanted to vent.

Thank you to all of my faithful readers. Y’all make my blogging experience all the more wonderful!

All that glitters isn’t gold, & all that hurts is fleeting.
— Brianna J.

XXXIII: Athletes vs. Ballet Dancers, Is It Possible To Juggle Them Both?

Many of you know that I am a ballet dancer and have been for quite a long while. I am also fairly athletic in that I work out and compete in a number physical activities and races throughout the year (although I’ve slowed down significantly this year).

I've noticed, however, that after a week of running a bunch, I suffer at ballet because my hips are too tight to give me any turnout. And, after a week of hardcore ballet rehearsals, my thighs, arms and shoulders just don't have the strength to make it through a gym session (even if I make it an easy one). These things have left me wondering if a balance between the two is even possible anymore...

Being a Ballet Dancer

Ballet is a full body workout. To even stand in first position takes full-on mental and physical discipline. I've worked at this for years and I still have days where I suffer given my inability to get my feet to do what my brain tells them to do. Or, my all time favorite instance of not being able to shut my brain off enough to actually get through a rehearsal while also looking like a functioning human being. 

I do, however, thank Heidi at The Ballet Studio here in Sacramento, CA for all of her patience and hard work at teaching me over the years. I'd also like to extend a huge thanks to my former ballet teachers at The Vallejo Ballet in my hometown, Vallejo, CA. 

I found an insane love for ballet because of these people, and although I don't have the ideal ballerina body (my hips are the least flexible part of my body and my feet are downright awful), I still want to be able to be both an aggressive athlete and an elegant ballerina. My other physical activities, however, make it difficult when my larger muscles are sore from running or lifting weights, and then I go to ballet and attempt to work my smaller muscles (which feels impossible when the larger muscles are already upset with me).

It is difficult to paint a vivid enough portrait of all that must be considered, body wise, during any given evening at ballet rehearsal. For this reason, I've found a couple of cute animations that lay out what must be considered with each below-titled motion, move or position. These do no lay out every ballet position or every leap or jump, but they do give you a minute taste of what ballet dancers have to keep in mind at every moment on the moment:

Being An Athlete

I don't compete as much as I used to simply because time does not permit, but I have goals of getting back to a competitive level soon. I honestly just miss the thrill of it all! 

I always flashback to my days as a wrestler because those were my best competition days, hands down! I lived for that mat time whether I won or lost. I trained long and hard for each meet and even though my diet usually wasn't where it should have been, I still managed to work out enough to maintain the weight that I was supposed to in order to compete (because God forbid I let Coach Jessica O. down for not making weight). 

Nowadays my competitions come in the form of the many runs, races, and obstacle courses that I sign up for throughout the year. That means that my training consists of running (a lot) and lifting weights/strength training. 

For those of you that know about ballet, the muscles that are formed from being a ballerina are usually a bit softer than those you get from going into a gym and just lifting weights. Don't get me wrong, you can totally get ripped from being a dancer! Look at Misty Copeland or Michaela DePrince, but these two are dancers that have found the balance between their athleticism (which is a part of dance) and their dancing. They seem to be able to workout and maintain their turnout and the right type of flexibility which is what I just can't seem to do. 

Even though I stretch after each workout, when I go back to ballet, I just can't seem to get any rotation in my hips (and therefore, any turnout, any extension, etc.)! I know that my stretches work because my Jetés and Grand Battements are becoming things of beauty, but I cannot help but to harp on the fact that my turnout is just abysmal because of all of the running. So, I wonder...

Is The Balance Even Possible?

The answer has to be 'yes'. I can see that the answer is yes in the dancers listed above. In order to adjust my methods a bit to see what helps my turnout, I've looked up alternative ways of running. I tend to run on two extremes: I'm either on my toes, or I'm flat footed. The position of your feet when they hit the pavement, track or treadmill determine how your body reacts (the tougher the medium, the harder the impact on your calf muscles, shins, knees, etc.). So, I am picking one and sticking to it! I am used to running on my toes, but will now make it a point to run from heel-to-toe. This change will certainly create shin splints until my body is used to it, but with this, I'll be able to adjust my stretches to where I keep the strength in my ankles for pointe, and can work on the rotation of my hips for my turnout. But, I figure that, if I keep switching up the way I work out/run, then I will continue to experience extreme muscle rips (soreness) and shin splints which keep me from getting where I want to be as a dancer.

My hope is that these little changes (the heel-to-toe running and different stretches) will assist in reaching my dancing goals, but we shall see! I will definitely post an update after a couple of months of this to see if I have to, once again, change my methods.   

XXVI: Women Empowerment - Are You Helping Us Or Hurting Us?

I am, by no means, a feminist. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the equality of the sexes and  women's rights, but I have not hit the streets for the cause, nor have I engaged in any heated social media rants about social injustices faced by women, BUT, I do believe in doing my part, as a woman, to uplift other women. 

Many people have no clue how difficult it is just being a woman. There are so many things that women face on a daily basis that (some of us) mask, or work through just so that we can secure a seat at the table that was probably made for men and by men.

emotions

For many of us, emotions are difficult. We work to control them. We work to conceal them. And, unfortunately, we open ourselves up and allow others to indulge in them (or do with them what they please). 

I am a woman who conceals a lot of the things that I feel. I keep my feelings as basic as hunger (yes, it's a feeling to me) and anger. Anything beyond these things, are debilitating to me and therefore are a threat to me all due to the fact that I was once very open with my feelings. I was open to friends, family, and past loves, but I've been shown time and time again that that was a mistake. I am of the belief that if you show me a pattern, I’ll believe in it. So instead of being open with my feelings over and over, I closed them off almost completely.

Other women deal with emotions in more healthy ways.  This means, however, that they are bogged down by the emotions that they cannot change, and sometimes cannot control. They work through this to be the strong mothers for their growing children, or to be everything to their friends and families, but this means that they put their feelings on the back burner until the breaking point shows its ugly little head. 

So, as women, are we helping each other or hurting each other by being petty, catty or callous when we could simply use that energy to check in? We could use that energy to make sure that that person is not struggling with their own personal demons and emotions. And, if we're sincere about it, that person may even open up to us. That person may find a safe space in us. And that may blossom into the best and most unexpected friendship. 

peers

Law school is competitive. Everyone knows this, but even with it's competitive nature, it is our job to still uplift those in the trenches with us. 

I see how the competitiveness inherent in law school ruins people's perception of others and keeps us from making the connections that (1) may be helpful in the future, and (2) could blossom into beautiful friendships. But, I am all about taking a step back and remembering that we are all humans with feelings and we are all dealing with life in varying degrees and fashions. So, instead of first deciding to be catty, rude, or judgmental with our peers, we should give them a chance. Trust me, humans are only humans, so they will definitely give you a reason not to trust them somewhere down the road. But, until that's happened, try not to judge others based on your own personal insecurities, inadequacies, or inabilities. 

Take the catty and competitive out of things and be empowered by the fact that you're standing triumphant next to another woman who is also standing triumphant. "We all made it to this point, so let's celebrate that", should be the mindset at all times. 

love

Although I want no parts of it, a lot of people seem to. And although I find myself doing this too, it is important for us to remove ourselves from other people's situations just so we have a talking point and just be there as a friend and a listening ear. If we are not able to listen to a friend's relationship problems or feelings without taking it to judgmental levels, then (1) we don't need to be that person's friend and (2) we have to check ourselves. 

Love is hard. Relationships are hard. And sometimes you just need a listening ear that actually cares. As women, we should have a better understanding of the effects that a relationship can have on us. We should have an understanding of the attachments and connections that, once formed, are hard to let go of. And, we should have an understanding of a love lost. These things are hard to work through, trust me. So, if you're called on to be a listening ear, or a friend, then try to be that full-time. Don't take off the "friend hat" just to try on the "gossip hat." I promise you, the former is a million times more worth it.

 

Women - we are a force. We are necessary. We are amazing. But, let's face it, we need each other. 

There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.
— Michelle Obama