I will not miss 2 days in a row.

Life is hard. Even when things are seemingly going your way, sometimes it all sucks. That’s kinda where I’m finding myself. (Also, I’m a girl with emotions I’m having trouble controlling.)

I skipped out on writing yesterday because I was a little afraid of what might come out. I don’t want to scare you all off already! But I will not skip a second day. I know it would be the end of this endeavor.

So here I am. Nothing fun to write about to fulfill the topic, but I’m here. I’m still a little afraid of what might come out if I pry too much. So I’m sorry if this is a bit surface. I’m writing from my phone, so formatting might be off. 

I’m struggling most with loneliness and feeling unfulfilled. Even though I have great friends and a good job, these two issues keep resurfacing. I’m an action oriented person but I can’t figure out what to do.

I’ll get deeper into these things in the future, but I wanted to get it out there for now.

See you out there!

Wednesday – Dance Topics

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The schedule says I’m supposed to talk about dance topics today. I’m not sure that I will have enough topics for all the Wednesdays, so please offer me some other things to go with Dancing. 

Since this is the first Wednesday, I do have some things to talk about for now. 

I love dance. Dance has taught me so much over the years. I have been swing dancing for 15 years and just took up contra dancing in April. I would definitely not qualify as a great dancer, but I do love it. I think a lot while I’m dancing, too much sometimes!

I love the patterns in dance. As a math teacher I guess I can play the nerd card here. Contra dancing, especially, has amazing patterns. I would love to see someone map out the path a single dancer takes over the course of a dance. Contra dancing is constant spinning and passing. The pattern is repeated with each new set of neighbors as you make your way up and down a long line of couples. 

A little about contra dancing since many of you have probably never heard of it. NPR once called it “swirly awesomeness” which I would say summarizes it fairly well. A little like a square dance, a line dance, a swing dance and a social encounter all mushed into 5 minutes or so, contra dancing has stolen my heart. 

My contra affair started on April 1st. I must have decided that I should find something to make a fool of myself at, so I looked up and dance group and went for it! I instantly knew that I was hooked. For each dance I take the hand of a partner, decide who is going to lead and “take hands four” as the band settles in. The caller gives a series of moves that we practice with those nearest us. They are called our neighbors. Once the band starts, we jump right in. Trying to remember my left and right hands correctly, we swing, alamande, gypsy, do si do, or one of a few other moves. A simple walking step takes us through each move. Swirling is inevitable and the best way to avoid dizziness is to stare deep into the eyes of whoever you happen to meet for that move. Swing with this one, alamande with the other, slide left, circle to some other position and start again. My partner, the one I started the dance with, stays with me through out the dance. I know that if I ever get hopelessly lost, I can find my partner and swing until we figure out where to be. The two of us progress through the dance together, meeting others only briefly. 

There are several stories I will relay over time in regards to this beautiful dance. The acceptance, compassion, joy and love that I have experienced in these wood floored dance halls has changed my life in just a few short months. 

That’s enough for tonight. See you out there!

Tuesday – Traditions

Today’s topic, per my post about having a schedule (here) suggests that today I will breakdown a tradition. This does not require that I rap or rhyme in any way. I just want us to take a deeper look at something we probably all hold dear in some way. 

I was raised with lots of traditions. Some traditions are so integrated that we might not even recognize them as traditions. For me, these are things that we do not have a direct command from the Bible for, but are expecting none the less. 

Today’s topic: Modesty. I’ll probably hit this one several times, but here are today’s thoughts. 

This story When Suits Become a Stumbling Block has been travelling around facebook as of late. A wonderfully funny satire discussing what it might look like if we called out men on some things that might make us women lust. 

Modesty discussions usually come around to men being visual and women offering them too much to view. The general attitude is that women need to be careful what they are advertising, so as not to cause a man to stumble in regards to their clothing choices. This tradition is used to rule out things like shorts (of any length), sleeveless shirts, jewelry, yoga pants, pants in general, etc. But I have a feeling that the issue goes much deeper than a choice in clothing. 

The larger issue, in my humble opinion, is that we have been trained to see one another as commodities for using to obtain our own goals. This is a problem for both genders, and what I believe the article above speaks to exactly. Women are told not to dress provocatively so that men will not lust after them. This is based on the idea that men are visual and want what they see. Women, however, are told that they are not visual and that nothing men could wear would entice them inappropriately. The article mentioned offers men in suits as an example of where that mindset breaks down. 

Women are, supposedly, looking for security and provision as a part of their human nature. They are, by nature, needing a man to provide those things. In our culture, a suit is the uniform of men able to provide these things. So, because of our frail nature, we as women might be prone to lust after a man dressing in the garb of our needs. 

I’m going to stop there before I barf or punch someone. The problem is that we have been told, by society not nature, what our needs are and how to find fulfillment for them. Both men and women are influenced by what we see and experience on a daily basis. Does this mean that we should completely withdraw from modern society? Not in my opinion. But it does mean that we must question what society is teaching us. We must be raising children who are able to question what they see and hear and who can combat gender stereotypes head on! 

I absolutely believe that men and women are in our very nature different, but I also believe that each PERSON is created unique. How can we lump everyone into 2 categories? 

My issue with the tradition of anyone assigning modesty ratings to apparel for another person is that we must look beyond the clothing itself and question the society that places value in one area over another. 

Do I believe that we can forsake all modesty and that anything goes? NO! I do think about my clothing choices carefully to figure out what message they might be sending to those who will have to view me in them. But I also question where those messages might be coming from before they get to me. 

I could rant on this for days, but I think that’s enough for now.

As a random side note, I had the opportunity to work as a COB (Civilian on the Battlefield) at an active military base a few years back. They dressed me up as an Iraqi civilian and we trained soldiers in what they might experience. I was trained in how to wear full hijab during this time. I was covered, head to toe, ankle to wrist, and everything in between. Not a bit of my form was exposed. And yet I learned from the Iraqi men working with us that I was more attractive in hijab than in my street clothes. Their society had told them to want a fully covered woman. And if you ever need ideas about headcoverings, I can wrap a scarf like nobodies business!

That’s all for now. 

See you out there!

Monday’s Musings

Welcome back to another week in the cubicle. You’ll find the stapler to the right and the pens to the left. Sit there quietly and try to look productive. The paycheck should lessen the pain, eventually. 

So I’m not the biggest fan of working in a cubicle. It’s a small office with only 4 cubicles, 2 of which are usually empty. I typically have 2-3 appointments, up to 5 on the busiest of days. So the rest of my time is spent trying to figure out what to do next. Lots of youtube and blogging. 

I danced in Louisville Saturday night and visited some friends on Sunday. The Saturday dance became Sauna Contra because the AC was out in the dance hall. We sweat like crazy anyway, so I wasn’t bothered too much. Danced most of the night in sandals or barefoot, which I’m enjoying quite a bit these days. 

No one commented on my blog about what kind of topics would be preferred (Here, in case you want to visit.) so I guess I’ll move forward with the topics listed until I hear from someone. 

Today I’m wondering how to balance all the expectations that come crashing down on me at once. Being a good person, a good employee, a good citizen, responsible, adventurous, gentle, wild, comforting, challenging, and so many more. It seems like everyone you meet has something they expect you to be. What happens when those are conflicting? How do you balance or choose which one to fulfill first or primarily?

I sometimes play out a situation of ‘what-if’ in my head. What if I jump ship and decide to live totally irresponsible? What if I never make another wild decision? What if I let everyone down? What if I have to keep walking alone? So many questions without real answers. 

That’s all for today. Not super exciting, but I’m not sure anyone cares to read anyway. 

See you out there! 

Packing Home

Yesterday’s blog prompt asked what you might bring if you only had limited space but were leaving for a year long adventure. (An Ounce of Home). 

I really struggled with this idea. Everything I thought of had unexpected leftovers attached. Is any one item ever “just home” or do they all have a string of secondary memories attached to them? Here are some things I evaluated:

~I have a blue blanket that I throw in my bag whenever I’m headed out for the weekend. I’ve had it for 7 years. It’s just the right size, weight, softness to allow for some comfort. I like having my own blanket because I know I’ll have what I like. In my tent I use it when I don’t want to be all the way covered by my sleeping bag. Sometimes it makes a great pillow. Sleeping on someone’s couch requires nothing more than this simple blanket. All in all, it works out pretty well to have it around. BUT… I got it just before my failed marriage began. It was a wedding present. It became a source of comfort throughout the struggling marriage and after. It has soaked up numberless tears and heard many, many screams. While I love this wearing thin blanket, it has too much history. A new adventure would require less history. I have also come to feel that bringing my own blanket and pillow to another person’s house may be questioning their hospitality. Am I suggesting that they might not be able to provide for my comfort needs? I would hate to bring that kind of assumption with me. 

~A family photo? I could definitely pack a wallet size or bigger photo of my family. I enjoy telling people about my crazy family and the eclectic bunch we are. It would be small, flat and lightweight. Sounds like something lovely to pack. BUT… Does this picture bring too many questions? Would I constantly be answering all of the Who, What and Where parts of coming from such a crazy bunch? Is this a problem? What if something happened to the picture? Would I be upset if I forgot it somewhere? I also realized that I haven’t even put a picture like this in my cubicle. I’ve been here for 8 months and don’t have a picture in sight. Doesn’t seem like a picture holds the value for me that others have. 

~A Bible. Sure, this would be a lovely travel companion. I love to study the Word, read it, digest it. I’m sure it would bring me comfort on a long trip. BUT… A Bible would be a personal belonging, I don’t necessarily associate it with home. I don’t have just one specific Bible that is sacred and important to me. I am fairly certain I could find one along the way if I felt the need. I also have apps on my phone, computer and tablet to fill this need. 

~I don’t have any special trinkets from home. There are plenty of things my mom keeps around that I would love to see. But none that I want to carry with me. 

~I appreciated this guy’s idea. (http://fazalabbaswarraich.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/an-ounce-of-home/) My grandfather had a clock that always makes me think of him. Small table clock that folds up into itself. That might be nice. But why do I need to feel constrained by time? I was always a watch wearer. In high school and the start of school I was a nervous wreck about being everywhere on time. If I didn’t have a watch on my left wrist, I would be lost all day! But midway through my freshman year I was challenged with my need for promptness. I realized that I had been missing out on the opportunities for compassion, community and care that I valued so highly. I would pass by a friend in need so that I could be on time (or early) to whatever it was I thought I needed to be at next. Not putting on a watch was hard at first. But I was rewarded in so many ways. I had honest, intimate encounters on a regular basis that I might have missed otherwise. Friendships blossomed and I felt so much freedom. I still value being on time, but there is always a clock to find. Between wall clocks, computer clocks, cell phones, etc. why do I need to have one pasted to my wrist. I broke the shackle of time constraint over a decade ago and I’m happy not to look back. 

~A favorite water bottle. Lots of people have one of these. If you know me at all, you know that I am a bit of a snob about having my glass water bottles with me. I would probably bring at least one, but I consider this a personal item rather than something to remind me of home. BUT… I’m not sure I care to have one. Part of the adventure might be finding new water bottles, or trusting that clean water will be available when necessary. 

 

I guess the problem here comes down to what part of home I want to be reminded of. I am struggling with the definition of “home”. Is it the house where my parents and siblings live? Is it my parents and siblings themselves? Is it where I find my identity and self? 

Maybe I am just not sentimental enough for this question. I hold what I want to hold deep within my heart and mind. The people I have loved, the places I long for, the experiences I’ve had. I don’t take many pictures and I don’t like looking at ones I have taken. The parts of me that are worth remembering don’t need a physical reminder. They are deep within me.

No need to be reminded of home when I’m living in it no matter where I roam. 

See you out there!

What shall we blog?

I would like to blog every day, but I’m not sure what these blogs should contain. Would you all prefer to read random thoughts, some kind of schedule, quotes and reactions, ???

Here’s where I think I’m starting:

Monday: Musings

Tuesday: Tradition breakdown

Wednesday: Dance Topics

Thursday: Theology

Friday: Fun Stuff

How does that sound? I feel like I need some routine or schedule to keep me going in this. Let me know what you think. I’m open to any topics, so tell me what you’d like me to blog about.

See you out there!

An Ounce of Home

Today’s Daily Prompt: An Ounce of Home. You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

I thought this one would be easy. But I’m running the options around in my head and can’t come up with anything that seems satisfactory. When packing to be away from home, with limited space, how can you choose an item that will do justice to home without causing a burden? Any suggestions? Comments? Ideas?