Monday, June 23, 2014

Lesson Learned from Honey Boo-Boo. Wait, What?

Last week I was doing my usual "it's late and I'm bored" scroll through my Yahoo! "news" feed (all the  information that you don't need about people you don't know doing questionable things) and I came across this brief article about Honey Boo-Boo's appearance on a recent Jimmy Fallon episode. It basically called Honey out for her rude behavior on-set, praised Jimmy for dealing with it as best as possible, and chided Honey's Momma for not only allowing her child's poor behavior but egging her on.

I won't get into a parenting debate because 1) I'm not a parent and 2) holy cow am I not a parent, but what got to me most was the comments at the end of the article. Now, it was a Yahoo! article so it wasn't like I was expecting thoroughly articulated commentaries on parenting and socializing issues in modern first-world countries. However, the speed at which the name-calling progressed (fat slob, hicks, rednecks, idiots, etc) was sad.

I will be the first to admit that I do not find their television show entertaining. I will also be the first to admit that I do turn in to several other TLC shows like 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives and The Little Couple. These shows challenge me. They open up my horizons and force me to confront the question: how different am I from you, really? They give me insights into different points of view and challenge me on long-held, seldom examined beliefs that I hold to be true.

Shows like Honey Boo-Boo and the various Gypsy Wedding/Sisters shows don't particularly interest me, but for me to say that the characters (and that's what they are; unlike the other shows who are just trying to say "I'm no different from you", shows like this are very much putting on an act) are vapid, idiots, fat, slobs, stupid, etc is completely ignoring one simple fact: they are human beings.

You have every right in the world to find their TV show uninteresting. You can even have an extreme hatred towards it (although, if you feel that strongly about a family who enjoys farting together you probably need to examine yourself more than them. Because why are you getting so worked up about a TV SHOW?), but really do you have any right to judge or name call or otherwise demean other human beings? Who do you think you are?

When you get right down to it, these shows are challenging us every bit as much as the tamer ones like The Little Couple. Instead of gently saying "I may be different but I have the same needs and desires as anyone else", these shows say "LOOK AT ME! I'm different than you. Don't like it? You can go fuck yourself!"

And you know what? They're absolutely right. If we don't like how they are living their life (or making us think that is how they live) then we can change the channel. All the petty name-calling does is put on display the parts of ourselves that we fear most. Am I cheap, poor, fat, and/or stupid too? It completely misses what is underneath: an unconditional devotion to and love of family.

So yes, maybe if I had a daughter Honey Boo-Boo's age I would make different parenting choices. But in the end, we are all people on our own journey. Just because I don't broadcast my farts to the world does not make me any better than anyone else. How you choose to take joy in your life, how you choose to live your life is just that, your choice. If I ever hope to receive compassion from others regarding my choices, I must first have compassion for others and their choices.

And hey. Everybody farts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tissues for my Issues

I am a bossy lady. Not Boss Lady. But bossy. Biiiiiiiig difference. I believe I've made reference many times to the fact my Kindergarten teacher likened me to Lucy from the Peanuts. Call if First Child syndrome, learned behavior, inherited behavior, or my shadow issues rearing their ugly heads, I will tell you what needs to be done, how you should do it, and why you are doing it wrong.

Over the years, I have tried desperately to temper my control issues with kindness, compassion, and understanding. I have done my best to let go and let people do their own thing. Because there really is more than one way to do things in this world, and I fully realize my way is not the best - or only - way to get things done

I hate being bossy. I hate seeing the looks on people's faces when I spiral down to that place and I just cannot shut myself up. I know for a fact that acquaintanceships that could have blossomed into friendships never did because my Control Flag flew a few too many times and they said "I sooo don't need this shit in my life." Rightfully so.

There is only so much deep breathing I can do before the Bossy Lady comes out. Sometimes I catch her, but often when I'm spiraling in stress she's out before I know it. Then it's a fight to not let what is underneath her surface. You see, Bossy Lady is another shade of my bitch lady, and Her real name is Morrigan. Let me tell you... once She gets out you run for cover.

I don't want to be known as the Bossy chick. I hate the spiraling and I hate the pressure I put on myself that causes the spiraling. I don't want to be wound this tightly. I struggle with it daily. DAILY. Some days I manage to do okay, sometimes Bossy Lady wins.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Except maybe to say to all of you who run into me on the days where Bossy Lady is driving that I'm sorry and I'm trying.

Although, if you ever run into Morrigan you probably deserve it so it's all on you there.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Getaway: Boston

This past weekend, my friend Echo and I took a quickie trip down to Boston to see Cirque de Soleil's AmaLuna. It was pretty awesome. I highly recommend catching a show if you can. Lots of fun, fast-paced and expertly executed. Doooo eeet.

Back home now, sunburned, sporting a blister due to a long walk in inappropriate shoes and generally very content with my mini-holiday. Just what the psyche ordered!

We stayed in Nashua NH the night before. This was our view coming into Boston Sunday morning. Beautiful!

Fanuiel Hall. Because I think it's mandatory or something.

Quincy Market. Obvs.

South Market.

The Big Top. So exciting!

Echo waiting to go in.

Me also waiting to go in. Heavily cropped as I looked all bloaty and weird from the neck down.

Probably the worst stage shot ever (and this is after I played around with the levels). I only had the one picture as there were people wandering around saying "no pictures" and they were kinda fanatical about it. Party poopers.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Crazy Days

The last couple of days have been STUNNING here in Vermont and I've been spending as much time out and about as possible. It's been fabulous. In fact, a bunch of my dance class got together on Sunday to dance in the park for a couple of hours. Do you want to see the pictures? Of course you do!

We even had our own drummer while we were out. Fabulous!

Don't we look fabulous? Of course we do!

On another note, I finally managed to get to Trader Joe's (one opened up in Burlington about 3 weeks ago). I am in love. They had me at the $2.99 organic romaine lettuce. I eat a LOT of salad and all of the stores around here have it for $4.99 or more in the off-season. I almost filled my basket with lettuce. I was so shocked that I did not do my first trip justice and I feel like I need to go back to see all of the stuff I missed. And to pick up some 3-buck Chuck. 'Cause I hear it's the shit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Few More Performance Pics

Because we had some really talented photographers there and some really great shots were taken.
Action shot! Photo by Joe Netzel

My first Tribal Fusion performance. The crazier the stuff in your hair, the better! Photo by Joe Netzel

Nice pic of everyone in the troupe. It's hard to see me, but I'm the first person in the back row of dancers. Photo by Sarah De Jong.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Post-Performance Hangover

... and I don't mean from the after-party.

This past Saturday was a performance day for me. On top of working all morning, that evening I performed twice in a benefit show: one solo and one group number.

Photo by Sarah De Jong

It was an amazing show. Everyone brought their A-game and the creativity level was through the roof.

Yesterday, I kept jokingly telling everyone that I had a "dance hangover". Ironically, I was not the only one feeling a little off and/or raw the next day. It would seem the conjuring of energy and the subsequent release of it was very, very real.

To which I say... cool.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ethics vs. Bank Account

I am a firm believer in eating organic and locally whenever possible. It's better for the internal and external environment. Eating local keeps your money in-state (and with a state this small, every dollar kept in-state makes a huge difference) and reduces the toll shipping and mass production takes on the Earth. Eating organic keeps pesticides and antibiotics and all other kinds of nasties out of my body. I try to cook a lot of my own food, because the more commercially processed your food is, the more harmful it is.

That all being said, eating organic, local, minimally processed food is expensive. And I am broke.


This is where my internal debate kicks into high gear. Do I suck up my personal food ethics and buy conventional and keep my bank account happy? Or do I wince as I go to three different hippie stores looking for the best and cheapest local meats and organic produce, telling myself spending a little more here will save me thousands in eventual health care costs while refusing to even consider what all the driving around is doing to the environment?


Due to my work schedule I'm rarely able to make farmer's markets anymore, which is a pity. But the sad fact of the matter is, in Vermont farmer's markets are just as expensive as the health food stores. There are seldom deals to be had, although the satisfaction of wandering around the gorgeous stalls piled high with super-fresh veg and buying directly from the person who picked them cannot be discounted. The initial costs of a CSA (usually due in one lump sum at the beginning of the season) is outside my already stretched-thin bank account. And the Dirty Dozen list... well, a large portion of my favorite foods are already on the list, so no money saved there.

Taken in a Florida farmer's market a couple years ago. Where there are deals to be had on friggin' MANGOS.

When you get right down to it... blah blah blah excuse excuse excuse. If you truly believe something is important, you find a way to make it happen. Right?

So if you see me wandering around the hippie section of the grocery store deep in concentration, it means I'm doing math in my head and trying to figure out which thing on my grocery list is going to be put off for a few more weeks because my ethics are loud and whiney and won't shut up until I give them what they want.

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...