bachata, salsa, and weak ankles

I am writing this post so as to have accountability with you folks on the internet. Even if I don’t have someone specifically reaching out to me and making sure I’m not doing too much too fast, at least I put this out there; even if it’s just for my own benefit. I’m writing this to make known that I, Velvet, am aware that I often do too much too fast. I rush into things and end up ruining them.

Prime example: dehydrating banana chips in the oven. My roommate was doing it and asked me to keep a watch. I didn’t understand the dehydration process at the time and didn’t bother to ask her questions about it: I just turned up the heat of the oven on my watch. The chips were burned and ruined. I felt awful! Haste makes waste.

With working out, and in this case, dancing, I am a beginner. I took ballet when I was a child but it’s been 15 years. So here we are in a new season, and I want to learn bachata. And I want to master it. But. These things take time. SO I’m putting it out there on the interwebs that I want to do this right. My right ankle is already talking to me from all the dancing I did on Tuesday evening, and then again at home on Wednesday. I didn’t do anything yesterday and I will try not to practice at home today either because I don’t want to give myself an injury early on.

I’m really good at being a machine and pushing through, and getting stuff done — no matter what it takes. I wonder what profession I should be in that wouldn’t be detrimental to myself, my health or others?

In this case, low and slow is the way to go!

It’s going to be hard though, since (1) it’s so much fun and (2) it’s a great workout. Great way to boost endorphins. But uhhhhhhhs

 

Anyway, that’s that. Just making it known that I want to take this journey slow so I don’t get burnt out.

Lord please protect me from myself! Protect me from my tendency to rush into things and go all-in or all-out and do too much. Lord show me how to be slow, and trust the process. And enJOY the process! Thank you for always taking care of me and for providing for me exactly what I need when I need it. Not when I THINK I need it. I don’t need to be a salsa-master over night 😉 Thank you for making me more consistent; like You. You are the same yesterday, today and forever… thank you for that! Thank you that you don’t get burnt out and just give up or end up failing. You are perfect in all of your ways. Guide me! Lead me!

<3

 

xxx

V

dancing

is good for the soul. I dreamt about it last night. I am still on cloud9 from dancing bachata and salsa the other night. Bachata can get a little sensual, which I could presume, but have to be careful of next time I go.

Salsa is a whole new world to me. I mean, bachata is too, but it is very easy to pick up. The beat to salsa is on an 8-count, not a 4, like most popular music. The beats that you emphasize with your feet are different depending on whether you’re dancing on salsa1 or salsa2.

I want to take some classes and learn the techniques! Here’s my problem:

I want to learn fast. But I don’t want to screw up my ankle. If I dance too hard too fast, I will definitely hoyt myself. I’m notorious for this, unfortunately. This is how I screwed up my elbow, I think. Overuse. A few summers ago I was a kayak instructor and was kayaking for like 6 hours a day. I hardly kayaked before that summer btw. So I went from doing little to no kayaking to kayaking for 6 hours a day 6 days a week. For 6 weeks straight…. You know what? I really don’t like all these 6’s! Seeing an evil trend here! Get behind me Satan!

Gah.

Towards the end of that summer I experienced some elbow pain that I’d never experienced before. There are a few other factors that could’ve played into the pain though. Like the fact that I started using a pulaski to cut thru large roots in the ground that we were trying to pull to make way for laying down steps. It was hefty trail work, and I probs shouldn’t have attempted it. It’s strange, when you’re young and fearless and seemingly unstoppable. And then you try something that never leaves you the same way.

Between the kayaking and pulaskiing. And probably the veganism. I was vegan for several months at that point and had already been dealing with bruising all over my legs from nutrient deficiency I assume. Not my proudest summer. But actually, that summer was freakin’ great and made me feel on top of the world. I soo loved being a counselor/trip leader. Tons of funs. And everyone loved me too! Which tends to help things. Except the 14 year old who wanted to have a “boyfriend” and hold hands and God knows what else. My co-leader and I shut that down (or tried to) much to her dismay and embarassment, and seeming hatred towards me after that.

Sigggggggh.

Back to dance. I’m not going to screw it up this time. I definitely want to work on some ankle-strengthening exercises…

And I won’t go dancing every night or anything. Though I am attempted because (1) it’s SO much fun and (2) it’s freakin’ contagious! (3) I want to master it.

I truly want to get good at salsa dancing. It’s thrilling. Dancing with men is thrilling. It seems like men who know how to dance will make good husbands. Okay, maybe that is an overstatement… But following a male leader in dance is very sexy and attractive. The man is supposed to lead. The lady is supposed to follow.

Plus, dancing releases mad endorphins since it’s like a workout. Except WAY more fun than a workout. Like, why force myself to do endless cardio when I can go dance………….

Dancing is such a healthy expression of life… I usually reserve dancing for when I’m home alone and can dance throughout the house when nobody is watching me. That is also when I sing loudly. Though lately I have been doing much more of both dancing and singing. Getting used to doing them in front of others is a journey in itself. But just doing the things is a journey for me. Soooo healthy.

Expressive

Exercise

Therapeutic

Romantic

Fun

Joy-filled

I’m looking forward to the next time I get to dance! Thanks God! For creating dance, music, rhythm… for giving me the opportunity to partake in these things!

 

God is good, all the time! <3

xx

V

hurricane and bachata

So. I live in Virginia and am going to be hit with this hurricane pretty soon. Over the next few days, actually. And I have a way out if I want. My dad has offered to fly me home to New Hampshire. Hmmm tempting.

Reasons why I don’t think I should go:

I will miss work on Friday and Saturday. I am currently hurting financially because the man I’ve been caring for for the last couple of years passed away on Saturday night. It feels so weird to say that. It still doesn’t seem real… So because he is gone, and I haven’t found another job yet, I think I should stay here and work at the other job I have.

I love flying. I love adventures. I love spontaneity. I especially love flying for free. I love vacations. I looooooove New Hampshire. And my family. I could fly up for a few days and spend time with my sister, my parents…. my brother! And friends. Friends <3

The decision is coming down to the money though. That hussle is real. I should probably do the responsible thing and stay here and work. Heck, I could even work more than I’m scheduled for since other caregivers may not be able to make it to work in the storm. That would be a major inconvenience to my boss if I dipped out and left, and then he couldn’t find coverage for his wife.

I’ve made up my mind. I’m staying here. Buckling down. And going dancing tonight.

Yep. Tonight I’m going dancing. Ooooh ooh yes it’s going to be fun! Salsa and bachata here I come!


 

Last night I went bachata and salsa dancing. Mostly bachata TBH because salsa is difficult and I didn’t pick it up very quickly. One of the reasons why it’s so difficult is because there are different counts. There is “salsa 1” and “salsa 2” when you emphasize certain steps. I was getting all sorts of mixed up last night on the dance floor as to whether or not I should be going forwards or backwards, and whether or not my partner was doing salsa 1 or 2…. It was disastrous. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too harsh.

I danced salsa with like 5 people last night. The first person, total flop. He didn’t know how to dance salsa very well himself, and certainly was not in a position to be leading me. The second dude was a little more confident, but our steps were not matching up, and I told him I wasn’t sure what I was doing. So then he proceeded to bring me literally right next to the large speaker so I could “hear” the music, since apparently making yourself go deaf is a good way to do that, and then he began explaining footwork right next to the speaker. I couldn’t hear a word of what he saying, and the only thing I could tell that he said was “do you understand now?” to which I shook my head “no”. So then he brought me over to the DJ table to the dance teacher and said “she doesn’t get it” and so the teacher started to walk me through the steps and he said “nahhh she’s got it, she’s got it!” and then luckily the song ended. And the fellow asked me to dance again, and I said I’m going to go sit down for this one.

The third guy that asked me to salsa was pretty good! He led me and I followed pretty well! It really helped that he didn’t hold back with me because it was my first night. He simply danced. And I followed. It was fun! The fourth guy was the same thing. The fifth guy, I actually danced two bachata songs with him first, and then we tried a salsa song. He kept apologizing, which was pretty cute. Though I was like yo, it’s probably not you. But he wasn’t focusing on what was wrong. He kept moving forward and we had fun!

At the beginning of the evening, there was a little lesson for newbies. First bachata, and then salsa. I made it for some of the bachata lesson, and all of the salsa. Though the salsa lesson seemed very short. Probably because it was all new to me. Immediately after the lesson, I had dude after dude hmu to dance. I danced like five songs in a row and was having lots of fun. But I got spun around like forty times in a row, okay maybe 20…  it was excessive — and then I had to go to the bar and drink some water! I got hot and sweaty real quick.

Those were all bachata, and I didn’t even try the salsa for a while. And so when I finally did and the first two people were a flop, I got a little bit discouraged. But honestly, I didn’t learn how to do it all. Didn’t know about the two different counts. It was hard to just feel the music and try to figure out the dude’s footwork without verbalizing it. I’m a verbal kind of girl. Like, if my dance partner would tell me “okay, I’m starting with stepping forward, and we are doing salsa 1” I would’ve been a lot better off (After learning about salsa 1 and knowing how to do it of course). Lol

I think I’m going to practice salsa 1 and salsa 2 today in my room. I want to get good! There were some amAZing dancers there last night. Including a friend of mine and her sister. They were rockin’ the floor! It was beautiful to watch, and very inspiring! It really made me want to learn.

I’m excited, y’all. There are so many fun parts of life that bring life to us, to me. Dancing is something I’ve been craving to do. I remember in 2014, actually right around this time, I was backpacking the John Muir Trail and was going through this open expanse of desert after coming down from a rocky summit. It was very windy and I felt like I sortof had tunnel vision as I followed a narrow, dusty trail across the land, that didn’t seem to be getting any shorter. And I got a word about dancing. I should dance. I knew I should.

That fall I looked into ballet classes. I actually went to a beginner adult class or two. It was super fun. I should dig out my leotard and ballet shoes just for kicks… Oh wait, I think they’re in NH. Hmm.

Anywho, here we are four years later, and I’m beginning a journey of bachata and salsa. God is so good. He gives us what we need! I was praying to him weeks ago asking for an opportunity to dance. And here we are! Beautiful. Fulfilling. Fullness of heart.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

And now we await the storm! Hurricane Florence……. But no matter what the storm brings, I am confident that God will take care of me and continue providing for all that I need; including what I THINK I need, and things that I wouldn’t have thought I needed, but that bring so much joy and hope and life.

He is the giver of life!

xxxx <3

V

 

I dance while I swim

Wow. Here I am, inside Aroma’s coffee shoppe. I just went swimming at the Community Center on Jefferson Avenue. As I was swimming the sky opened up and the sun shone through the many windows on the West wall filling the entire pool room with light. And I thought about the scripture “put on the armor of light” which comes from the book of Romans. I felt as though I was wearing an armor of light in that moment and a wide grin spread across my face just like the light spread across the bottom of the pool below me as I swam down the lane, just before touching the wall.

And I started mentally putting on the armor of Christ. First, the belt of truth. Then the breastplate of righteousness. Followed by the shoes of peace. Then the helmet of salvation. And then I picked up the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. And I lifted up the shield of faith. And nothing could touch me. And I knew it. I know it. Nothing can touch me as long as the armor of God is on me. And I don’t have to consciously put on the armor every day, as in going through the prayer in my mind. I have the armor on already because I am in Christ. I have been in Christ for almost three years. I confessed that Jesus was my Lord and Savior when I was about 7 or 8 years old but I didn’t understand what that really meant until almost three years ago. Three years in June. A child of God. A child of light. For God is light. And we are called to be like Him. And we are being conformed to His image a little more each day.

I am the light in the room. I am the light in the pool that floods the space and brightens my face and the faces of others. I cannot be ignored. I am set apart. I am not of the world. I am holy, because Christ makes me holy. I am righteous, because Christ has made me righteous.

And so I swam. And I… danced. I danced. I smiled and danced. Each time I took a breath I wonder if the lifeguard off to my left side saw my smiling face as I gulped for air.

I hope he did.

And I hope he wondered why I was filled with joy. I like to think that I would have been filled with that same joy even if the sun hadn’t come through the windows. I know I could never have this joy if the Son hadn’t come through the window of my life and woken me up almost three years ago. I was swimming in an especially dark place then and wasn’t even aware of how dead I was. How much I needed Him. But when the light came in, when the Son shone in, it brightened everything. I saw everything so much more clearly. My life. My position. My priorities. My aspirations. My dedications. My value. My worth. All of these things rooted in the wrong things. Because if God is not first and foremost; if God is not at the center of my life and my thoughts and all that I do, I am swimming aimlessly. I’m swimming all over the pool and never getting anywhere. I’m swimming slowly and with so much effort and never accomplishing any goals. But when that light shone in, when the light shines in, I have order. I can see clearly now the rain is gone. Just kidding, I can see clearly how much tile is preceding the wall before I have to turn. I can see rays glittering through the water casting curvy, artistic shadows on the pool floor. I am reminded of light, the Father of light. Jesus, the light of the world. I am reminded that I am that same light, because He bought me and made me so. I am His. And He is mine.

And I swim. And I dance.

V