Category Archives: Feelings

2013 – A Year in Review (according to Facebook)

Even before my mom passed away, I’ve always felt a little sad around the holidays. In the lulls between the music, the atmosphere, then general jolliness of friends and family coming together, there was always a twinge of what I now know to call nostalgia for another year about to end. Because for better or for worse, the year and everything that had happened between January 1st and December 31st would be a memory that would fade and we’d be loose on the details as we would retell our favorites during future gatherings.

One reason that I will never be on the side of the naysayers of social media is that I love how it preserves these memories. And while we may not be able to remember the exact words or events, it’s there for us to look fondly over when we feel nostalgic.

So here are my top 20 moments of 2013 (according to Facebook):

20. Left Job at Canopy Road Café

One of the best things about Tallahassee is the number of family owned establishments still around and thriving. And I always recommend Canopy Road to any visitors, saying you can’t get better Tallahassee food and atmosphere anywhere else.

552623_454016977976800_1835067350_n

One of the customers sent us an Edible Designs fruit basket.

19. A Picture My Grandfather Took

(And it’s still my desktop to this very day.)

16609_10152101868341953_536352166_n

Love you, Opa.

18. My Third Swing Dance Anniversary

Or better known as a “swing-a-versary”. This year I think I figured out that the exact date of my introduction into something that has become so much more than extracurricular to me. As I said in my Facebook status:

It’s given me one of my best friends, a family away from home, and experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. This has been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see where it goes for many, many more years.

I am continually thankful for swing dance and its community and cannot wait to see what 2014 will bring.

17. Making the Newcomer Jack & Jill Finals at Lonestar Championships

And placing 3rd! (video below, I come in around 3:20 minute mark)

16/15. The Countdown To And Graduating from Florida State University

Graduation April 2013

Graduation
April 2013

14/13. Visiting Cyprus This Summer

IMG_5688 My beautiful host Fani (right) and me (left).

nailedit

I am so lucky to have a friend like Fani. She is such a good soul and just a beautiful person all together. I hope that I get another chance to visit her again. Or return the favor.

12/11. Booking My Flight and Traveling To New York City

nytravel

Continue reading

Advertisements

Why I Swing Dance

And I mean besides all the reasons that everyone else says: it’s fun, it’s exercise, it’s social. Of course I do it for all those things. I also enjoy the people that seem to be attracted to this dance: outgoing, funny, nerdy people that are on the whole friendly and welcoming to anyone who has even the slightest interest in what a rock step is.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Fritz.

Photo credit to Andrew Fritz Photography.

In my almost twenty three years of life, I can’t remember being this happy with anything else: violin, tennis, speech and debate, even ballet (which for all intents and purposes, should share the same category as swing dance).

Many people, including members of my own family, don’t know that I struggle with depression.

It was hard, and still is, to admit it. I was brought up to believe that one’s feelings could ultimately be controlled through, if nothing else, sheer willpower. But in my sophomore year of high school I found myself circling a cycle of depression I could not break. My self-esteem was at a record low, I felt guilty and fake for pretending that everything was okay when everything was not, and the want/need to cry was a constant weight that I often gave into.

I persisted as long as I could, but eventually I broke down to my best friend Ellie and she encouraged me to seek professional help. And even though I did not follow her advice immediately, I eventually sought out and received much needed help.

Looking back, I realize how lucky I was to have such close friends for confidants and those who listened patiently and were there for me. All of them were people I had met through swing dancing. And because I was so involved with the swing dance club (at this point I was acting President), I was forced to continue a normal social life even though part of me desperately just wanted to go underground.

Now I realize how necessary those times were. Swing dancing got me out of my room and interacting with people multiple times a week. Swing dancing gave me sufficient distractions where the cloud of depression felt lighter. Swing dancing provided me with strong social circle that gave me support when I needed it the most.

66626_10152237777561953_1570873179_n

Photo credit to Jamie Lynn Photography.

Swing dancing was also an activity that made me feel happy. When you deal with depression, it can feel like the weight of the world is slowly crushing your chest. Even more so, when you pretend that nothing is wrong because it feels fake and a lie. But when I dance (because this is still true now) I get this elated feeling of what I can only assume is pure happiness. I feel lighter, I do not feel like I’m lying when I’m smiling at my dance partner or my friends.

Sometimes even just listening to the music lifts some of the weight of depression.

Even now, when I can say I honestly have not experienced that level of depression in over two years, I notice how much happier when I get to go out and dance regularly versus when my schedule forces me to miss dance opportunities.

I want to continue dancing “until my feet don’t move any more”. But I also want to continue to be a contributing member of this community. I love giving to the swing dance community because I feel the return is ten fold. Even if I end up having a regular job and just teaching/DJin/event planning/whatever on the side, I will to the best of my abilities continue to do so.

I know that “swing dancing makes me feel happy” is a very common response. But I honestly feel that without swing dancing and its community I would be a different person. And I don’t think I would like that person nearly as much as I like who I am now.

Going Through the Motions

Today’s theme song is brought to you by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Some humor to alleviate an otherwise fairly blah entry.

There are at least two entries that I will never publish. One day I might delete them, but for now I’ll let them hang out in WordPress purgatory.

I said some pretty hurtful and nasty things about some people, including myself. There are a lot of feelings poured into those entries that are for private use only. After two, however, I do feel like I need to make some statement; publicly acknowledge them so they get some peace.

It’s been a rough semester. Hell, it’s been a rough 2013. Not that it’s been all Hell and now Heaven. On the contrary, I have never been so thankful in my life for those in it: friends and family mostly. I’ve been the most honest these past few months than I have for the whole of some of these relationships and it has only served to make these bonds stronger.

Still, I am human and am allowed to be weak, something that is very difficult for me.

For a terrifying twenty-four hours I saw my impending graduation in danger. It ended up being a failure of communication more than anything (stressing, once more, it’s not redundant if it’s really important), but in those twenty-four hours I let myself, for the first time in a very long time, get honestly angry.

And it felt good. An honest release of emotions. Now, with everything more clearly laid out in front of me than it has been in a while, I feel like I can finally sleep through the night without waking up half way through, feeling like I’ve forgotten something important.

Even though my To-Do List remains staggeringly long, it somehow feels smaller, less of a mountain.

I can do this. I will do this. And soon a very important chapter in my life will be brought to a close. I will be sad that it’s over, but still be able to look ahead with hope in my heart and confidence in myself to navigate the unclear waters of my future.