Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's not about the destination...

Five weeks left in the school year. Wow.

Next year holds...?? Not entirely sure yet. I am putting myself out there and seriously applying for high school positions. After careful reconsideration of my finances, life as it is currently being lived, and more personal things, I feel as though I should stay in Atlanta for at least another year. I am tired of running. Tired of moving. My life has been one big giant move for as long as I can remember. I have moved every year since 2002, and let's not even start in on my nomadic, house-less, childhood. I need roots.

Last week, when I was leaving Piedmont Park it hit me. I am living in Atlanta. Not just residing. But living. Life is full, but not cramped. Variety. New faces. Positive activities. Giving and receiving. There is so much left to explore in this city, and I am ready for it! Sure, there are some mindsets that just don't jive with me, and I am frustrated with the need for a car. But, there are so many other wonderful things going on here. This feels like home, for once. And I am going to thrive and grow on that feeling until it is really time to move on - not when I am just running away.

Summer Plans
Work and all it's professional learning ends on June 3rd.
My crazy idea this year was to drive all the way to San Francisco. Each summer I try to travel somewhere new. After looking at the map and the giant expanse between Austin and CA I cringed and reconsidered the reality of such a quest. I would absolutely have to have a road buddy to make this happen--for both money and sanity. I have been cross-country and I know how you can drive for an hr and see the same pair of headlights coming towards you because it is. so. freaking. flat.

Things that will make this trip different? Hmm....I would like to spend a great deal of time exploring the cities I visit instead of *just* dancing. Although, I must admit that my first two stops will be focused on dance. I am going to Instagram the ish out of this trip and meet some other IG'ers. I don't have any driving buddies lined up. I am open to the idea of someone joining me for a leg or two, but I would really like to make the bulk of this journey solo. It's all part of recuperating from the school year.

Summer 2011 is going to be spent in my beloved TDI, Lola. Heart her. Here are my Hopes and Dreams. I will pin down the exact dates soon.

1 week - NOLA
1 week - Austin
10-14 days - Boulder
4-5 days - St. Louis
Overnight in Nashville
3-5 days - Knoxville for a quick stop
4-5 days - Boone

Home to recover and get back in the mindset for teaching and learning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Checklists: Part 2

Now, to follow-up and finish my previous post on the idea of a checklist...

I don't want to spend this post quoting other people, nor do I want it to run away and turn into "journalesque" reflective rambling. So, I will mix it up and do a small amount of each.

I will start with what a dear friend said to me during a phone conversation last night. While discussing 'where we are' in terms of relationships she made a very accurate analogy. Relationships are like dancing. I had to pause for a second, because I really don't like to relate those two parts of my life. It usually ends up very messy for everyone involved. But, since she is such a good friend I let her continue. ;-)

Relationships are like dancing.
When you first start you jump right in, eager and with all of your being. You want everything right away and can't get enough. You spend ludicrous amounts of time with this new interest. You don't really care if you are doing everything right because it is just so damn fun.
When you hit the intermediate level you think you have it under control--you know what's up. Your attitude is of confidence and flashy moves because "this is how it is supposed to be". Take it or leave it is how you present yourself to your partner because damn straight, you are experienced!
When you hit the advanced stage you throw everything out the window and realize that pretty much everything you thought was right was, in fact, complete bullsh*t. Now, you want the nuts and bolts of things. You care about the little details, about what feels good, and how the other person feels. You want things to actually work, not just magically happen.

I. Dig. This. So. Much.

At the tender age of 27 I feel as though I am slowly moving into the advanced stage. Relationships aren't magic. They don't just work. Nor does your dancing. I am doing so much more reflection on my last few relationships and thinking about the details of what worked and what didn't. (end journal-like rambling)

On to my next point.
I am an organizational freak, and I love checklists. And I mean love. They give me a sense of accomplishment and focus for my slightly ADD, fast-paced brain. So, I felt like after every relationship I 'add' to my checklist of what I want and what I don't want. However, even when everything looks amazing on paper, and he added up, I still wasn't happy. wtf. So, obviously since I was the common element in all of these situations it must be me. The last 8 months have been a hell of a ride of freedom, choices, reflection, growth, and realization. And I have come to some conclusions...that I will share with you in the form of a list for the sake of irony.

1. Don't like what a person does, like how they act. I mean, common activities are all fantastic (and stuff) but the real deal is in like how that person relates with the world around them. How do they treat the person at the checkout? Their server? The homeless person on the street? Are you comfortable with their interactions or are you put off? There really isn't a right or wrong way of dealing with people--beyond the expected politeness--so I am not trying to be judgmental. What it boils down to is, does it jive with you? I tend to be a very open person when dealing with society (as long as the new individual isn't creepy) and I am made more comfortable when the people around me exude a similar confident attitude. Again, not right or wrong. Just an observation.

2. Feeling safe is the bottom line. Why do we end up dating our friends? Because they make us feel safe. There are only 2 people in the world outside of my family who have ever made me feel as though they accepted all the little parts of me that make me, well, me. Good, bad, ugly, funny, weird, serious. And for everyone, not just me, that is a big deal.

3. Communicate. This only happens if point two is reached. You never say what you really mean if you don't feel safe doing it. Either you lack the sense to be afraid (brash and insensitive) or you simply keep your mouth shut because you are too scared to speak the truth. No one wants to feel vulnerable. If you are willing to communicate on an open and honest level then you are completely at the mercy of the other person.

4. Repeat points 1, 2, and 3.

So where does that leave us? Checklists have their place. I know what I want. Hopefully someday I can give what another person wants. But, the bottom line isn't things, stuff, or common activities. (I am being vague on purpose) It is about feeling safe, open communication, and are you comfortable with how that person interacts with the world?

I know that whenever the next time happens there is going to be a lot more understanding, communication respect, and patience--both required and given.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lungs: F+tM

A week of blogging isn't complete without musical discoveries =)

Florence + the Machine released her album Lungs in 2009, but I somehow managed to have my head under a rock and miss it. A sweeping epic journey through 13 tracks; Welch powers through her vocals, and pulls you in with some wicked hooks. Love the lyrics and the diversity of instrumentation. Here are three songs that I can't get enough of:

1. Dog Days are Over - on regular rotation on a typical alternative rock station, this song is probably familiar to the average radio listener. It is so positive. Roll down the windows and crank it up.

"Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive"

2. Cosmic Love - this track caught my attention right away. The chorus picks you up and sweeps you along in the current of the orchestrated rhythms...but then you listen to the words. Sadness has never been so beautiful.

"The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart"

3. Blinding - the opposite of the previous track, it took me a few times through to fully appreciate this song. Just keep listening. It has a melancholy quality to it -- minor and deep. She can be difficult to understand sometimes so all I kept hearing was the word 'death'. Upon looking up the lyrics it makes so much sense. She is wanting something that she can't have anymore. He might actually be deceased, or it could just be that they are no longer together. She is trying to convince herself that there is no point in dreaming and wasting time in longing for what is no longer alive -- be it him or the relationship.

No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone
No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world


Do yourself a favor and add her to your collection if you haven't already. Another powerful, well-written, un-afraid female vocalist with some serious lyrics and beautiful music. And she has an awesome name. Florence for the win.

Checklists: Part 1

I have an acquaintance who moved to Europe a couple summers ago. Talk about ballsy. Just up and left with her boyfriend. I love her writing as it is much more eloquent and precise than my own. Also, she has variety in her blog (poetry, experience, recipes, reflections) which keeps me coming back for more. You can find her blog here.

This poem was an entry on 3/20. With all the thoughts swirling around in my head, changes I am making in my life, and new decisions in terms of what it means to 'be with someone', I find it more than pertinent these days. I will write another entry soon about my evolving philosophy on the whole concept of a checklist when finding a life partner.

an unknown mountain dreamer:
“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living…
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it….

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
even when it is not pretty

every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”