Hello World

I don’t know why but I felt compelled to write about this. I just ate a particularly large meal and was feeling bad about it. I feel bad about it because I have leaky gut and chron’s disease and i know that small meals are better for me. But I was really hungry and went for it.

Then I still felt hungry and realized that I must be thirsty. I decided to throw some DGL in the water. DGL stands for degylcerized licorice. deglycerized licorice helps restore gut lining and cuts the half life of cortisol in half. But can I tell ya, dgl scares me. You know why?

 

Because when I used to live in Boulder, I thought that i was getting very sick from food, including DGL, little did I know, I was getting sick from something in my environment that was making me get sick from food. I tried DGL when I was living in that apartment and had what I thought was a reaction to it and now whenever I have it my body clamps up and gets scared. It is funny how your body can remember things like that. How it can learn to be afraid of things. Now it makes me wonder if DGL really is a problem for me, but I really do not think so, I think I am just scared.

It is so strange to have problems with food though. To really be that scared of a food, you know it’s not really the food that is doing it, there is something emotional happening. A void that is not filled, a hidden fear from your childhood.

What I can say is this, in college, I do not remember being particularly scared, maybe I got scared of a few things, like a scary movie or something, but generally in college I felt very safe and happy. I had amazing friends, V I M we called ourselves. and outside of my group of friends I had other friends, I had a good social life, I enjoyed my classes, I absolutely loved Boulder, I felt safe and happy.

But growing up I did not feel safe and happy and I do not know why. I had a perfectly good childhood, loving parents, two lovely sisters, a roof to sleep under, a nurturing environment through my school. Yet my earliest memories are of me being scared. I was so so scared. It makes me sad. My earliest memory is of me crying in my bed for my mom to come get me. My next memory is of me crawling from the bottom bunk to the top bunk to my sister’s bed because I was scared. I remember going across the hall to my parents room to sleep in their bed with them because I was scared. Then when we moved to a new house and I was bigger, I remember sleeping on the floor of their bedroom. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason I was extremely scared. Was I abused, it I go through some horrific event that I know longer can recall? Was there an environmental toxic effect that played a role in shaping my personality and demeanor from an early age? These are questions that as a person, as a psychology major, that I can’t help but ask. What the hell made me so scared. Why is my earliest memory of me being scared? Did we have a problem with mold in my first house? Is that what started it all along? I don’t think so, and I don’t think it helps to know, but it does make me curious.

 

And now, as a 25 year old I am no longer living in an environment that is making me sick (I hope), but since being in Chicago I have regressed back to that frightened little girl that used to crawl up to her sisters bed at night when she was scared (i don’t crawl into anyone’s beds these days), but I’m scared.. of every thing. I don’t know what the fuck happened but it’s true, I am.

 

Something spooked me, and when it was first suggested that I had leaky gut and several food intolerances aside from gluten and dairy, I clung to that, I clung to that hard. I then I got scared of it. I became obsessive about what I was eating and became so freightened to eat because I thought that food was making me sick. But it wasn’t food, it was something in my environment. It is such an odd feeling to be so scared of food, I guess the fact that things that are supposed to be medicine to us can make us feel so awful is kind of scary and bizarre to me. Well, that’s all I have for now. When I start writing, I am always pleasantly surprised, because my writing never takes me to where I thought. I hope you enjoy this, whoever you are.

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Patience 

Patience is a virtue, but it is also something that is hard to have. Especially after a year and a half of trying to be patient, happy and healthy. But last night, in the company of good friends, I was reminded of who I am and how I do want to do this. I want to live a full life and for life to be fun and beautiful again. And even though I’m a wee bit messed up right now. I believe in the power of healing. Through friends, through mundfulness, through sunshine and good friends. My life will be beautiful again 🙂 

Swing Dancing

My love for big band swing and swing dancing happened due to three events. The first, was when my sister took me to a now closed swing spot in Chicago, called Fizz, two years ago over Christmas break. I remember being so excited when I saw everyone dancing, especially my sister and brother-in-law. They were good, and everyone looked happy. I also remember her forcing me to dance with someone, and if you have never danced before, partner dancing is hard! And embarrassing. I remember asking the guy if we could move away from my sister. Her being the talented dancer that she is, I didn’t want her to see my foolish attempt at lindy hopping. So I stumbled through the dance, and yes I did poorly, but I think that part of me enjoyed it. I mean I must have, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am now.

The next part took place at the Green Mill in Chicago. This is a popular jazz club here in Chicago that has been around for decades. It is a great spot to see live big band swing music. I went there with a group of friends and the Fat Babies were playing. They are an eight piece big band swing ensemble and boy are they swingin’. Their tunes are fast and fun. This was the first time I got to experience live big band swing music AND see people dancing to it. For the most part, lindy hop and other swing styles have specific steps that you follow, but the fun thing about swing dancing is that it allows for improvisation. There are tons of moves you can throw in along with the standard steps that add flavor to a dance. That is exactly what the couples dancing that night did. And I loved it. I loved seeing the freedom that they had in the dance, in addition to watching the intricate footwork of the lindyhop.

The third and final part took place on Valentine’s day. I was out with my friends for Galentine’s day and we happened upon a speakeasy style bar beneath the Hotel Boulderado in Boulder Colorado. Little did I know, 6 months later, I would frequent this bar almost every Saturday. But back to the story. We happened upon this speakeasy style bar one night. We strolled in, the bar was below ground and we walked past elegant, yet comfy looking couches into the backroom where a swing band was playing. There was a woman singing and playing the washboard, a man playing the guitar and a guy playing the saxophone. They were called Banshee tree. There was a small dance floor, only large enough to fit three couples comfortably. But oh were people swinging. Banshee Tree had the whole place moving and grooving to the music. Whether people were on the dance floor or not, you could tell that they crowd was hooked by the band. Banshee Tree is an eclectic band. They do not play your standard swingin’ jazz songs. Instead, they draw on a variety of styles, from folk, to blues, to swing and jazz and what they produce is this beautiful fusion of music that makes my heart sing. Seeing people dance that night, how the couples moved in harmony to the tempo of the music, how their eyes danced and their bodies moved with ease and pure ectasy, that made me decide that I needed to learn how to dance. I would learn the lindy hop.

So six months later I enrolled in an intro to lindy hop series at Boulder Swing dance and learned how to lindy hop. Lindy hop is an eight count dance. To be honest, I am poor at explaining these things so I will add a link if anyone is interested. At first, I was terrible. Having never taken a partner dancing class before, it was challenging. But as the weeks wore on, and the more I danced, I began to get the hang of it. The CU swing club started their weekly dances for the semester and, and I began going to License no. 1, so soon I was dancing three times a week and I got good. Actually, I got really good, and I was happy. Swing dancing gave me an outlet that I had never had before, a way to express myself creatively and a way to participate in something that gave my body and mind pure joy. It also brought me many friends and a wonderful community of people at a time that was challenging in my life. At the time, I was in my final (and extra semester) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and most of my friends had left. The swing dance community in Boulder was an opportunity for me to make new friends and for that I am forever grateful.

Fast forward a year and a half later and I am still swingin’ but located in Chicago. Unfortunate circumstances have forced me to move back home to live with my parents (and that is putting it very lightly) (Also, I am grateful that they are allowing me to live here, but the circumstances are not great) but what I am oh so grateful for, is that swing dancing is alive and thriving here. Because to be honest, it has saved my soul in more ways than one. And the swing community here in Chicago is fabulous. The caliber or dancers is remarkable. I mean the leads are incredibly talented and I wouldn’t mind being spun around on the dance floor by them all night long. But in addition to the talent, I am impressed by the versatility of dancers here in Chicago. There are a variety of swing styles, and here, people are skilled in at least two of them. Here, I can easily find someone who knows lindy hop, in addition to balboa, as well as some charleston, maybe even some collegiate shag and it is wonderful. For those of you who aren’t familiar, lindy hop is a dance that is danced lower to the ground, you have a lot of bend in your knees and want to be light on your feet, sometimes you fly across the floor and there is typically an arms width of space between you and your partner.  Balboa is danced with very quick and small steps and you and your partner are chest to chest. Being versed in a variety of styles makes dancing much more enjoyable because there are more options, more room for improvisation and your body and mind never tire because there is a whole world of possibility of moves for you and your partner to do and it is wonderful.

But besides the versatility and talent of dancers in Chicago, the people are kind. In a city where I do not know many people, I am ecstatic to have become a part of the swing dance community. I have made several new friends and although they are all primarily dance friends, my heart sings when I arrive at a dance event and I see familiar faces like my friends Julie, Stephanie, Shirev, Andy and Francis. Swing dancing has brought me back to myself in more ways than one, rain or shine, even if I’m exhausted or sad, I will go dancing, even if it’s just to dance a song or two, because it makes me feel alive in a way that I never could have anticipated, and in a way that is good for my mind body and spirit.

So thank you to my sister Alexis, because she kind of started it all and introduced me to swing in the first place, thank you to Banshee Tree, the first swing band that I really fell in love with, but most importantly, thank you to all the friends I have met along the way, because hey, swing dancing is a partner dance, and one cannot do it alone. I love you all and I love to dance. ❤

 

 

 

 

If anyone is interested here are some spots in Chicago to dance at!

Monday nights Fizz at Dance Center Chicago

Every Saturday there is Java Jive at the University of Chicago

Once a month there is the wonderful monthly Balboa outing at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro

Once a month there is traffic Jam at Forteza Fitness

And Gallery Dance opening up this Wednesday at Gallery Cafe here in Chicago

Also for more information on dancing in Chicago go to facebook and search Chicago Lindy Hoppers

or Chicago Swing Dance Society

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=chicago%20lindy%20hoppers

https://www.facebook.com/uchicagoswingdancinggargoyle/

Here are some links to some swing dance videos! I hope I inspired some people to dance 🙂

This is a video of people dancing balboa, I have used this video because the woman dancing in it is the woman who taught me both how to lindy hop and dance balboa 🙂

The bad moments are fleeing

In the past 6 months, I have faced some of the hardest challenges I have ever faced. Despite the hardships I have endured, and the bad moments I have experienced, the past 6 months have also been filled with beautiful moments too. It has been a time of joy, growth, wisdom and laughter. That is what I want this blog to convey. Apart from being a source for me to share my thoughts for my own sake, I want it to be a source of guidance for others as well. I want to share the wisdom I have learned in the past 6 months. The wisdom of positive thinking, that happiness is something we have to work for, that bad moments are fleeting, and that we should savior the good ones. Two weeks ago, I had some of the worst anxiety of my life and was feeling depressed. I had been feeling that way over a for a week, and I  was worried that I would sink into a depression. Fortunately, I ran into a friend at the perfect time and he pulled me out my abyss of sadness and anxiety (I talk about this more in my next post). He saved me in a moment when I needed to escape my own thoughts and have the comfort of a friend.

But this is all part of life. Some moments are bad, and some are good. I’ll say it again, the bad moments may seem unbearable at times, but they are also fleeting, and I want to celebrate the good ones to the best of my ability.

Serendipity

I just experienced serendipity, or perhaps it was fate. Either way, I am grateful for what happened.

I was in a yoga class and could not find my zen. My mind was racing with thoughts, something that had been happening a lot the past few days. I needed peace from my thoughts, I decided to leave the class, go for a walk and get some fresh air instead. As I leave the studio, I see my friend Max walking to his car. I call his name and we walk toward each other. I had invited Max to the class, but he said he got there too late and had stuck around talking to some friends on the phone.  We went for a walk together and it was supremely blissful. The combination of sunshine and not just good company, but company who listens without any judgment, and who shares so many similar ideas with me about life, our purpose, spirituality, and about following your passions and being true to yourself, well it was exactly what I needed to pull me out of what I had told my mother that morning was rock bottom. I feel grateful for having run into Max today. It is the second time that his presence and his words have given me hope when I had almost given up on it. What are the chances that he had stuck around long enough for me to decide that today yoga was not for me and to leave the class just as he was on his way to the car? Whether it was fate or not, getting to make a deep connection with a friend and speak my mind uninhibitedly was exactly what I needed.

Life can be hard and it can shake you to your core, but there are so many beautiful moments that make it worth living, even when it feels like there are more bad moments than good moments. My life is not anywhere where I want it to be right now, but I am grateful for my family and good friends like Max who pull me out when I’m hitting a low point. Thank you friends and family, and thank you life, you are worth living and I am grateful for every second of it.