Dance Party Friday: IT’S MY 30TH BIRTHDAY! Edition

Who’s that little Ms. Sassy Pants? Ignore my father’s ashy knee. It was the 80’s-ashy was like blue eyeliner & teased hair-it was “in.”

Tomorrow, December 1st, is my birthday. I will officially be 30 years old at 7:20pm. (I think. When I called my mom to verify this information, it was 11pm EST and she was asleep. So for now, let’s just go with this, mmkay?)

I’ve spent this whole week thinking about this post and what I want to say about turning 30. It means a lot to me for pretty significant reasons, the most important being the fact that I’VE BEEN ALIVE FOR 30 YEARS. Seriously. Between my father telling me everyday he was going to kill me from ages 12-17 (and trying to on numerous occasions), and my own suicide attempts, I consider it a blessing that I’m still here to celebrate such a major turning point in my life and that it’s the first birthday where I’m free from so much of the shit that’s plagued me since I was a child. I may still be repairing the damage my father and other family members caused, but I’m happy to say I’m not buried under or blocked by it anymore.

Imagine being trapped in a building that’s collapsed itself upon you and you have to fight, climb, and dig your way through the rubble to get out and get the help you need. That’s what the first 29 years of my life have felt like and I’ve spent them pushing every broken piece of concrete and other debris off of me. Some of the trauma and injuries I sustained through it all have only recently begun to heal within the last 3 years through therapy and a lot of honest self-reflection. Others, I’ve come to realize, are more nuanced and difficult to treat, requiring lifelong medical treatment and therapy to maintain stability and improved mental health.

But, nonetheless, I’ve broken through it all, and here I am, my eyes squinting from the brightest sunlight I’ve ever seen. In front of me is the rest of my life with it’s arms open wide waiting for an embrace. Lying within that embrace are my sons, the love of my life (he really is!), and friends I’ll be able to laugh and reminisce with when I’m all wrinkly and have a glorious grey afro; one I’ll trick my grandkids and great grandkids into combing for me because I want to spend time I have left with them…and because by then my hands won’t be able to rake a comb through said glorious grey afro and will need someone to do it for me. I’ll pay them for their labor don’t worry. I think kisses and sugary treats will be a proper payment for services.

Ok somehow I just went from talking about being 30 to being 95 and manipulating future generations that may or may not actually be alive. Ahem…where was I?

I survived the last 29 years but I’m really looking forward to actually LIVING the next 30. Exploring, building, growing, pursuing creative endeavors (lots of writing and painting!) giving back, helping others, mental stability…these are the things I’m ready to give my full attention to as I enter this next decade of my life.

I’ll finish sharing the rest of my thoughts on turning 30 over the weekend. (Don’t hold me to it though, I’ll be drinking pitchers of margaritas and partying till I pass out at 9pm all weekend, so I’ll try, but no promises, mmkay?)

Speaking of partying…I have a little gift for you. It’s been awhile since I’ve done this, and I’m a tad rusty, but since I plan on dancing my ass off on my birthday (even if it’s just in my underwear in my living room) I figured, why not invite you to join me? Have fun shuffling and please-DO laugh at my Napoleon Dynamite dance moves and at lack of coordination in this one-it’s hard at this age to drop it like it’s hot in skinny jeans. (I also blame procreation. For some reason your ability to twerk it like the club hoochies  and work it like Janet Jackson diminishes with each child you push out of you.) I used to be able to do stuff like this….

 

Now I just throw my body around erratically. I thought about not publishing this, but then I saw this video, and said shooooooooooot. If other people can destroy the Interwebs with their malarkey, a little huffing and puffing from me ain’t gonna hurt nobody, now is it?

Enjoy. Leave a comment if you actually got up and danced with me! (You should. It’s my birthday and guess what?! This post is under a thousand words. Totally worth celebrating! Now get off your sass and shake something dammit.)

Dance Party Friday: Just Dance Edition

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

It’s been a hellish week for myself and some of my friends in the anxiety and depression department. Both have been rearing their hideously ugly heads this week and devouring people left and right.

School has reached that point in the semester when midterms are approaching and the pace is becoming frantic….fueling the raging fires of anxiety even more for me.

But this afternoon, in the middle of a panic attack, I said ‘eff this. I thought of my friends who have been struggling this week and of how much we could all just dance away our fears, panic, depression, and anxiety. I shuffled through my iTunes until I found a song that seemed appropriate and I just danced my a– off. I played the song over and over and danced until I felt the panic and anxiety start to fade.

I don’t know how to make anxiety go away for forever. But I do know how to help it subside for a little bit.

So Charity, Jaime, and Susan….this one’s for you. I know it’s been a hellish week. I know you’ve been getting beat up and have felt pretty low…but take a few minutes and bust a move to some Lady Gaga with me?

Dance Party Friday: What Gets You Movin?

” How can moms find time to work out?”  asked the Circle of Moms Q & A email sitting in my inbox.

Hmmmm.

Good question considering exercising is something I struggle to find time for myself.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that a year ago I was obsessed with exercising, but not the kind that I enjoyed, mostly because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Slaving away with Bob Harper and the Biggest Loser crew wasn’t helping me lose weight or feel good about myself and I darn sure wasn’t looking forward to it each day. It took me realizing that I needed to work on loving myself before I found what kind of exercise I enjoyed. I had to start paying attention to what my body was saying and how it felt during exercise to find what it enjoys as well.

My new philosophy on exercise is this: if I’m going to take time out of my day to focus on my physical health, then

  • It has to be fun
  • It has to be worth my time
  • It has to help me feel good and motivated
  • I have to look forward to doing it
  • My body’s gotta love it and it has to teach me how to love my body as well

So for me, yoga and dancing do all of the above. Yoga teaches me how to find comfort in the uncomfortable mentally and physically, and dancing teaches me how to tap into how I’m feeling and just let loose. Dancing sets my mind at ease, and helps me feel free.

It’s a little difficult to make time for yoga, but because I’m a music lova, making time to dance is easy. I can do it while I’m vacuuming, washing dishes, folding laundry, or just goofing around with my boys.

So if you’re struggling to find time to exercise, don’t give up but give in to what your body’s trying to tell you about what it likes. Find an activity that you really enjoy and make 20 minutes a few times a week for it. If you have kiddos, get them in on it too, that always helps. Whatever activity you do, just make sure you love it.

Speaking if loving it, this week I’m dancing to “Moves Like Jagger” for Jessica over at Really? I’m a Mom? . When I say I LOVE this song….oooooh weeeeee! Man I love the groove in this song y’all. It gets my head bobbing, toes tapping, fingers snapping and body moving from the first note. It’s infectious. I have to dance every time I hear it….and admit it…so do you, right?

OH! One more thing-I published my 200th post this week! WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! OH YEA! To celebrate, I’m having a giveaway. Leave a comment with the name of  your favorite exercise and a song that gets your body groovin and you’ll be entered to win

  • The Beauty of Different, by Karen Walrond to help you on your self-love journey
  • A $25 music gift card from Amazon or iTunes (whichever you use) to get some groovin tunes
  • This nifty cool “fit book” to help you develop a healthy workout plan as well as track your eating habits. (This book has helped me tons the past 3 weeks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lucky winner will be chosen by random.org, so comment away and good luck!

Dance Party Friday: Remembering Those Who Inspired Us to MOVE.

sou-train

image courtesy of newsone.com Before there was Michael Jackson, before there was Prince, before Madonna, Mc Hammer,  Janet, Usher, Chris Brown, Britney and an influx of late nineties boy bands, there were people who inspired me, a 3-5 year old to … Continue reading

Dance Party Friday: Stronger Edition

This illness won’t get you…You are too strong…tomorrow holds the promise of a new day.”

My friend Kim’s words rang in my ears as I fell asleep last night, and were the first words that I heard as I awoke this morning.

The past 3 weeks have been a roller coaster ride with more loops than I’d like, some throwing my mental health off track, others reminding me of how fragile life is, as several of my friends and even my mother are facing serious health & life issues….and yet still others have forced me to face painfully abusive memories I’d rather forget, but can’t because working through them is the only way I’ll heal and be able to eventually forgive.

But….

You are too strong….this life needs you

I woke up with these words pushing me out of bed and on my feet. I looked around at my apartment, at the mess that accumulates during my lows, and these words directed each step I took as I set to cleaning it all up.

This illness won’t get you….You are too strong….this life needs you

I repeated them, over and over while taking a shower, combing my hair, painting my nails, eating breakfast, watching cartoons with my sick kiddo….until I finally felt strong, strong enough to keep fighting and keep moving.

A friend of mine told me on Facebook this week that she doesn’t understand how I can continue to hold onto a belief in God when I’ve been through so much hell in my life. She then asked me a rather poignant and difficult question: why does God allow bad things to happen?

Not wanting to give a cookie cutter answer full of Christianese, I waited and directed the question at God: “Why do you allow bad things to happen? Why do you allow us to suffer if you love us so much? Why God? Why have I had to endure so much pain, so many rough circumstances? Why do I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle with this illness and everything else? I’m tired God. I’m just tired.”

I spent the week telling God that I’m tired of being beat down and broken, but woke up this morning with Kim’s words guiding me and an answer…or at least some kind of theory.

You might not like or agree with my theory and that’s ok….but y’all I think we experience brokenness and pain in our lives as a reminder that we are human. We like to think we’re invincible but the truth is we aren’t.  What if we went through life never experiencing loss, pain, hurt, rejection, or a part of us that malfunctions and needs fixing? If we didn’t experience these things, I don’t think we would know or understand and value things like LOVE….we wouldn’t know how to be vulnerable, which would render us incapable of empathy and compassion for others.  We wouldn’t know how to care for one another, and be there for each other, and be able to bear one another up in times of need. Pain and brokenness….no one wants to endure or experience either, but without them as the fertilizer, seeds of courage, hope, love, empathy, and strength wouldn’t grow in us and we would be nothing more than calloused, cold, stagnant beings.

So we experience things that challenge us…that break us…that remind us that life is fragile and to not take it for granted, no matter what hand we’ve been dealt. We only get one hand in this poker game y’all. That’s it. Just one hand and one set of chips is all we get to bet with. It’s up to us how we handle what we’re dealt.

So no…I don’t like the fact that my meds aren’t working and I need yet again to keep searching for the right cocktail. I don’t like that I have to live with a condition that renders me incapable of wanting to live at times. I don’t think it’s fair that I had to endure abuse at the hands of men who were supposed to protect me. I hate that I have to struggle my way through life….

But guess what? I’m too strong, only because I’ve endured these things and am still here today, writing this to you. I’m strong. Only because I have been hurt and broken. I am strong because I have known pain and am learning  to use it as the bridge to vulnerability and wholehearted living.

I am too strong. This illness will not get me. My painful past will not keep me trapped and tangled. I won’t let it. Instead I’ll use it; to help others, to encourage and inspire, to empower those who have been through the same to overcome and choose to keep living. I’ve had bad things happen to me, but I’ll let them teach me how to treat and love my boys and others I encounter in this life.

I don’t know what you’re facing, or what you’ve had to endure in this life. But I do know that if you’re enduring it, if you’re surviving it, then I know for a fact that you are a stronger person because you experienced it. I know from first hand experience that if you spend all your time asking why, the pain will only intensify and breed more pain. Choose to use what you’ve been through to help someone else-let it teach you how to live wholeheartedly.

The hurt and pain won’t last forever. As Kim told me last night….it’s always darkest right before the dawn. So stand up. Dance your way through the rain drops. Your’e stronger than you think.

note: my video isn’t perfect..I just couldn’t get the syncing right for some reason today. so I apologize for my crappy editing skills. I hope you still enjoy it anyway. 

Dance Party Fridays: Song Suggestions

I want to apologize for not having a dance video for you today….

If you read yesterday’s post,  then I’m sure you can understand why I’m taking a break today.

BUT

That doesn’t mean there won’t be one next week…and the week after…and the week after that…

In fact, I have a lot of nifty things I’m working on for Dance Party Fridays this year and I’m really excited!

  • Guest Dancers
  • Linky tool so you can link up your own dance video
  • Dancing contests w/giveaways and a chance to be featured here on ‘Confessions
  • a monthly “dance party” hangout on Google +

Next week I’ll be dancing to “Moves like Jagger” for Imperfect Momma over at Really? I’m a Mom?….

It’s highly probable my two BFFs Tori & Kelsey will be joining me for a little Risky Business a couple of weeks after that…

The always fabulous Joy Tanksley and I will be dancing together…(YAY!) Seriously y’all…she’s GOOD!

And I’m already working on concept ideas for “Shake it Out,” , and “Raise it Up” by the lovely Florence & The Machine….(think scarves & ribbbons…lots of color!)

So that gives you a glimpse into what I’m planning for the year…But I need your help, friends. I need to know what you want to see! I’m taking any and all song suggestions, ideas, you name it, I want your feedback. I’m even open to doing dance video dedications…know someone who could use a smile, laugh, or some inspiration to get their body groovin? Leave me a comment here or email me your request at bconfessions(at)gmail(dot)com. And if you’re a new reader and have never seen a DPF? Well head over to the Tag cloud or categories list & watch :)

I’m serious. I’m looking for all kinds of songs, any genre. As long as I can move my body to it, it doesn’t have heavy profanity, isn’t hateful, and is inspiring or groovalicious in some way….IT’S ON.

So bring it dear readers. Hit me with your best shot ( Hey, another song idea!)

and now….for some “dance biscuts”

and because I’m obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance, I thought I’d show a couple of my favorites from hip hop choreographers NappyTabs, a husband & wife team :)

(I WISH I had their skills, UGH! Fab. So fab.)

He’s Got the Funk

So apparently dancing runs in the family….

My. Kid. Rocks.

Dance Party Friday: GET FREE Edition

When it comes to writing and blogging, inspiration can come at any moment, in any form. For this particular post, my inspiration came while watching Brennan rock out with his new favorite Christmas gift: a Paper Jamz guitar.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Paper Jams instruments come loaded with 2-3 songs your kiddos can rock out to. It must have been fate that chose me to pick the one I did, because guess what? It happened to have one of my favorite songs from junior high on it. It wasn’t until I was watching Brennan try out his new shredding skills though, that I actually realized the song was on there.

Before I knew it, I was up on my feet, hairbrush in hand, rocking out; Bren on his Paper Jamz, me on my fierce air Les Paul, fingers and afro flying at a furious pace…something like that Tom Cruise/Risky Business scene…

(don’t worry, I had sweatpants on)

As I slid onto the floor to finish with rockstar flair (and a serious case of rug burn) it hit me: It’s time to get free.

I don’t know about you, but 2011 was like living in Dante’s Inferno-every month depression, anxiety, BP, motherhood, relationship & health issues, and just life in general seemed to have me in a different circle of hell. I’d say that it’s a year I’d love to have erased from my memory, but there were some really incredible things and an enormous amount of growth that came from the pain and hell I went through this year. So I guess, if you look take the positive approach, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, at this moment, had it not been for everything I encountered in 2011.

I started off this year asking God to help me get rid of all the ashes in my life so I can make room for some beauty. (Isaiah 61:3 for you Bible Geeks) Had I known my ash pile was the size of Mt. Everest, I probably wouldn’t have had the balls to make such a request. But I didn’t, and so I did, and thus I spent 2011 gathering up enough dynamite to blow my mountain of ashes to smithereens. It seemed the more issues and tangles I tried to unravel, the more I tried to understand what was going on with me, the bigger the mountain became…

But here I am, at the end of the year, realizing that I’m not the same person I was back in January. Back in January, I was buried under the rubble and ashes of things I didn’t understand, issues from childhood that kept me tangled and trapped, suffocating from the demands of motherhood, and being swallowed alive by an illness raging out of control. Today, on December 30th, I’m standing next to this mountain of ashes, no longer trapped by the tangles of abuse or expectations & opinions of others, far more self-aware, finding my motherly stride again, and learning how to manage an illness that finally has a name and the proper treatment plan.

2011 has been the most definitive year of my life and I can honestly say I’m standing here at the end of it feeling the freest I’ve ever felt in my life. Free to live, free to love, free to be exactly who I am without bowing to the pressure to be defined by circumstances, illness, or anyone’s opinion about how I should be living my life in the midst of either.

So going into 2012, I thought it would be fitting to rock out to “Get Free,” by The Vines and tear down the things I’m getting free from. I don’t feel like every year is going to be different and a thousand times better than the last, but something in my gut is telling me 2012 is going to be for me…and for you. So if you’ve been through hell this year, take some time to find a way to destroy those things that beat you up all year.

Get free and live free in 2012. And dance your a– off along the way :)

Dance Party Friday: Theme Music Edition

Theme songs. Every one has one. I have several. They are the ones that resonate and connect with me more than others, the ones that seem to define and give voice to a moment, situation, circumstance, or emotion in my life I can’t quite seem to articulate with words.

Tightrope by Janelle Monae is a part of the soundtrack of my life. She’s mixed in there somewhere between Prince, Nirvana, Hillsong United, dc Talk, Shelia E and an incredibly long list of other artists who make music that defines pieces of me. I’ve written about my love for this song before, and the lessons it’s taught me over on James & Jax’s blog, and when I think about what my life is like trying to manage Bipolar Disorder, I can’t help but find myself singing and shuffling my feet to this very song.

So…whether I’m high, low or somewhere in between, I’m gonna keep tippin on my tightrope. Motherhood. School. Faith. Bipolar Disorder. Medication. Therapy. LIFE…I gotta keep my balance and keep dancing my way through….

Now….this video y’all. It’s so far from perfect it’s not even funny. I first recorded a dance to this last week, but every time I went to save it, my software kept crashing on me. When I recorded it today (like 8 times) I just couldn’t get it right. I have to be honest and say I’m pretty embarrassed and frustrated by this….I want to do better quality stuff, but the techie in me must be burnt out because I can’t figure this one out y’all. Maybe I need a better webcam, better software, a new laptop (goodbye Dell, hello Macbook!) or I don’t know a better ME, but….something’s up. I wasn’t going to post this, but my amazingly supportive friend flooded my facebook with demands that I post it and “give the people what they want.” (her exact words, I promise) So…here it is. I hope at the very least it gets ya to boogie because forget me, the SONG itself is pure FIRE.

Shuffle and toe tap away my friends :) Enjoy your weekend. Start it off dancing :)

you can also find my other DPF videos here, here, and here

Dance Party Friday: Everyday LOVE Edition

Can we take a moment and just exhale?

Go ahead-breathe in very deep, all the way down to your core….hold it….and REEEELLLLEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE.

Feel any better? I do. I can speak for myself & say that it’s been quite a week, so taking a few moments for self-care just now makes me feel so good!

How was your week? Was it uneventful? Hectic? Overwhelming? Troubling? Too much? Awesome?

Mine? I’ve spent mine in the trenches, waging war against the Plague that invaded my house. Somehow Brennan is the only one who has managed to escape unscathed (so far). Alex not only had a cold but he was also teething on top it. I went to bed late Monday night with a pretty high fever & was told at the ER on Tuesday that I had strep throat & tonsillitis. Eh, can I get a side order of DEATH with my illness please? Thanks. Thank God for my ex-he was a lifesaver this week, taking care of me, cleaning my apartment, nagging me about my meds, and taking care of the boys. I wouldn’t have stayed above water mentally had he not been here, let me tell you.

So I’ve been eating penicillin like tic-tacs and am feeling way better finally…despite the STYE I have on my left eye. (the rhyming was so unintentional, I promise you) This week my body has failed me miserably, but I’m alive, so I’m grateful :)

Since I’m under the weather, dancing this week is totally out of the question. I don’t want to push it. I took a walk yesterday for some fresh air, and while I LOVED it, it wore me out & killed my back. SO, no dancing this week. But that’s perfectly ok, because I still have something for you to enjoy (hopefully).

This week was a lot to handle, not just because I was sick, but because I watched someone get swallowed whole by despair. I watched someone stand on the edge of their life, of their sanity, and who was ready to step off. They didn’t want to live anymore, they were weary of being under Bipolar’s oppressive thumb, and honestly, I DON’T BLAME THEM. Living with a mental illness, especially one like bipolar disorder is far from easy. Just doing what it takes to make it manageable is not for the faint of heart. It literally feels like you’re constantly swinging back & forth between life & death, and the intensity of what you feel…..I can’t put into words how unbearable it is. For me, it got so bad that I spent a Friday night slicing into my wrist with a piece of glass just to let it out. ( still so grateful for The Band, who let me write that!)

So watching someone else be on the edge and understanding how hopeless you can feel in that state was terrifying. I’ve never met this person but I didn’t want to imagine what it would be like to not have them in my life-even if it was just online or through a blog post. I watched someone else acknowledge that they aren’t doing well either and that they are in a fragile state, that they needed help. And my heart broke for them this week. I thought about Strong Start Day & all of the moms out there who are struggling but aren’t getting the real help they need for various reasons: shame, stigma, judgement, lack of insurance, resources or finances. And my heart broke for them. And I felt helpless. I asked God, “what can I do? How can I do something tangible to help?” The answer I got back was simple: “LOVE. LOVE THEM. In every & any way you can. Show them you love them.”

So this video is about that. It’s me trying to encourage anyone who needs it to hold on to love. When I think about where I was a year ago, when I just look back over my life & all I’ve been through, LOVE is what has kept me. God’s love & the love of people He’s placed in my life. LOVE is what makes an impact, what changes things, what leaves an indelible mark, what brings a person back from the edge….it’s brought me back time & again. I’d be dead & gone without it!

LOVE has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks and I’ll talk more about it & why in another post, but for now, just know that I’m being challenged to have everything I do for others & myself rooted in LOVE.

LOVE carries. LOVE heals.LOVE lifts. LOVE inspires. LOVE completes. LOVE strengthens. LOVE never fails us. Hold on to it with everything you have. I am. It’s not easy, but I’m learning how to…..everyday.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This is for those of us battling, struggling with, recovering from, & triumphing over the parts of us that have malfunctioned. Keep holding on, keep kicking @$!, keep fighting….use LOVE as your weapon.