Sunday, 6 January 2019

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: How To Be Fearless

     Hey everyone. It's been a hot minute since I've had an idea for a blog post. One of my goals for the new year is to become fearless in life. My current favorite actress, Caitlin Kinnunen, seem so fearless in life and that's something I wish to work on in 2019. I've always been cautious in life, always testing the water first - never jumping right in right away. And it can be super frustrating at time. So here are tips on how to be fearless.
1. Be aware of fear in your life.
Everyone is scared of things but, before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to admit that you have it. For people like me, who deal with anxiety, perhaps fear is your “normal” state of being, and that is quite a bit to overcome all at once.  I suggest you write down some aspects of your life where have fear;  getting them down on paper is important, because trying to simply think them through never works.

2. Stare at fearless people.
Fill your brain with images of what you want your “future self” to look like.  Connect with as many role models as you can, whether in person, through a book, or online.  Use these examples as an energy source to combat your fear. For example, as I mentioned before, my favorite Broadway actress, Caitlin Kinnunen, is one of my role models. From the young age of 16 she moved to NYC with her mum to be in Spring Awakening on Broadway. I'm sure she had some fear about it, but she did it anyways. She has done so many incredible things, despite living with Type 1 Diabetes. She is absolutely fearless and I love that about her.

3. Be objective.
Take some time to investigating your fears. Ask yourself questions such as: What thoughts generate your fear? Where do you feel the fear? How do you react to it? etc.
Try to be an objective observer of your own life.

4. Be willing to look stupid. 
Remember:  athletes fall all the time, and Ariana Grande has had horrible performances.  Once you are willing to risk the emotional pain of making mistakes, you will shed more fear than you ever imagined.  Know that making mistakes will help you obtain information you use to create the correct behaviors, and that everyone who has ever done something great has failed more than once.

5. Adopt a mindset of gratitude. 
I cannot even begin to explain how important gratitude is. Whenever you feel fear, try to feel grateful instead. I have a lot of auditions coming up this month and it is scary!  Instead of freaking out, I have decided to be grateful for the opportunity to show my passion and talent for acting with so many people, and I know that they are there to genuinely listen to me speak and root me on.

6. Put things in perspective. 
Putting your negative thoughts in perspective is a huge way to overcome fear. In the grand scheme of life, why are you afraid? While you are freaking out about something, life is moving on without you.  Sometimes it’s helpful to remember this.

7. Release control.
 Of course we want to be in control, but when we relinquish it we tend to free ourselves up.  Allow yourself to make mistakes—after all, that’s where learning and growth really happens.  We learn from our failures, but to fail we need to release control.

8. Think about the worst case scenario. 
What’s the worst that could happen? I have crumbled on stage in front of hundreds of people during dance performances. I still won an award; I lived. Life goes on.

9. Look within. 
What is the root of your fear? Meditate on it. Look inside and ask yourself when the fear started: How far back does your fear go? Did you have an early failure that has stuck with you?  Explore it.  That’s what life is all about.

     Overcoming fear requires a growth mindset; an attitude that we can grow and change if we choose. Nothing is “locked in” forever; we can change.  It takes time and practice.  Hopefully the tips above will help you begin your journey to ditch fear.

     I hope you enjoyed this post. As always, if you did don't forget to give this post a +1 on Google+ and share it with all your dancer friends. See you all next time!

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From The Heart: Head Above Water | CRPS Awareness Day
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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

From The Heart: Head Above Water | CRPS Awareness Day

“God, keep my head above water.”

     I whisper those words to myself almost every night as I lie in bed in agonizing pain, unable to sleep, due to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS for short. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is when the nerves are overactive and constantly fire - causing pain. This pain can be a burning hot pain or a freezing cold pain. Everyone is different. CRPS occurs primary in a limb that was immobilized for an extended amount of time. CRPS can travel up a limb - say from the ankle to the knee. Down a limb - say from the hip to the knee. It can also mirror into the other limb say from the right leg/arm to the left leg/arm. CRPS can also affect your organs.
     I have had CRPS for almost 18 months now. There was one night in particular, a few weeks ago actually, when I was really struggling with pain. I was in a leg cast because I had broke my leg again due to another condition I have that causes my bones to be really brittle and therefore prone to breaking easily. I was having a lot of muscle cramps that could not be stretched out because of the cast as well as dystonia episodes. Dystonia are painful involuntary muscle contractions. I was in the most pain I had ever been in and none of my normal methods for pain relief were working. I just wanted the pain to end and sleep to come. I felt like I was drowning in this pain and so I whispered the words, “My life is what I am fighting for. God keep my head above water.” Those lines are from Avril Lavigne’s latest song, “Head Above Water.” While Avril Lavigne is not a “faith based singer” this song is definitely based having faith in God during troubled times as Avril Lavigne herself has a chronic illness (Lyme Disease).
     It is honestly really hard to have faith in God when you are struggling with health issues. It’s times like the time I mentioned previously, when I begin to question God and my Faith. I know that God has a plan for my future, he would not harm me etc…but when you are in bed, crying in pain, you begin to question whether or not God even exists. And I know I am not the only one who questions that.
     Rather than quoting Jeremiah 29:11 at you again, the scripture verse that helps me the most is Mark 5: 34, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” This verse helps me because it is a reminder to me that as long as I have faith in God, I will be healed. Maybe not in my time, but in God’s own timing.
     The other thing that really helps me is the song, “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin. This song helps me in the same way that the verse above does. It reminds me that, “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind. The God of Angel Armies is always by my side.”
     The last words I have to share with you is a phrase from the Maori tribe in New Zealand. “Kia Kaha” (pronounced KEY KAH-HA) which means to “Stay Strong.”

     I hope you enjoyed this post. As always, if you did don't forget to give this post a +1 on Google+ and share it with all your dancer friends. See you all next time!

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Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Fear of Rejection

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Monday, 22 October 2018

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Fear of Rejection?

Hello everyone. Long time no talk it seems. I don't even know how to explain why I stopped blogging to begin with. I was just in a writers block, I didn't know what to write about. Nothing was inspiring me the way things usually do. I can attest that to a depression rut I've been in since the beginning of July it seems.
     But I'm out of it and back to blogging now! Today, I'm going to talk to you about something that I personally deal with when it comes to having Borderline Personality Disorder which happens to be common in those with BPD). And that is the fear of rejection. In this post you will understand what the fear of rejection is, how it applies to me, why people fear rejection, and signs that this might be a fear of yours. Next month you will get a post on how to overcome the fear of rejection.
     I constantly deal with this from not being cast in a play, to friends being "too busy" to hang out with me etc. Rejection is one of my biggest fears and you're going to learn a lot about this fear in the next two months.
     First of all, let's define what the fear of rejection is. By definition the fear of rejection is: "The fear of rejection involves the dread and avoidance of being shamed, judged negatively, abandoned or ostracised from one’s peers. Those who fear rejection will often go to great lengths to ensure they blend in and are accepted by those around them." 
     Secondly, why do we fear rejection? Here are some reasons why one might have a fear of rejection.
  1. You fear being alone and isolated from others
  2. You’re scared of having your worst fears confirmed, i.e. that you’re unlovable, stupid, ugly, worthless, a failure, etc.
  3. You fear having old trauma triggered, i.e. feelings of abandonment from childhood
  4. You’re scared of the end product, i.e. plunging into depression, anxiety, self-loathing, etc.
     Take a few moments to reflect on the reasons why you may fear rejection. What is it that you’re truly scared of? Try fast-forwarding to the feelings and thoughts you may have after being rejected. 
Like with most thing there are signs you might fear rejection. Here are thirteen signs that might help you figure out if this is a fear of yours.
  1. You often struggle sharing your opinion about things for the fear of being judged and rejected.
  2. You fear standing out and being different, so you try to blend in.
  3. You lack assertiveness and can’t seem to say “no”. You say yes to everything. 
  4. You’re a people-pleaser.
  5. You’re extremely self-conscious and aware of what people think of you. You need to get validation from those around you.
  6. You don’t feel equal with others. You may feel like fraud in your own life.
  7. You don't have a strong sense of personal identity.
  8. You're always wanting to be like someone else instead of being yourself. (See number 6)
  9. You say and do things to be accepted, even if you disagree with them. You don't have a strong sense of your own morals/ideas.
  10. You don't like to open up to people. 
  11. You're kinda loner with low self-esteem.You frequently struggle with self-loathing and critical thoughts. 
     So there you have it. You now know what the fear of rejection is, how it applies to me, why people fear rejection, and signs that this might be a fear of yours. Next month you will get a post on how to overcome the fear of rejection. I hope you enjoyed this post. As always, if you did don't forget to give this post a +1 on Google+ and share it with all your dancer friends. See you all next time!

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Pointe Shoes 101: Pancaking Your Pointe Shoes
Fall Morning Routine 2018
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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Pointe Shoes 101: Pancaking Your Pointe Shoes

     Just like a snowflake, no two pairs of pointe shoes are exactly alike. From their maker, to their wear time, their customizations etc, the shoes you wear this week will be slightly different than the shoes you wear next week. Lots of times, as a performer you might have to "pancake" your pointe shoes to ensure they look more uniform. The act of pancaking pointe shoes is applying calamine lotion or liquid foundation to satin pointe shoes to remove shine. So how does one pancake pointe shoes, you ask? Sophie Robertson gives us the 411.

Materials needed:
• a bottle of pink calamine lotion (if you're trying to match pink tights) or a bottle of liquid foundation that matches your skin tone
• a wedge-shaped makeup sponge
• a bowl or plate
• a paper towel
•pointe shoes

• Fold the paper towel so that it's thick enough to absorb the calamine lotion/foundation without any seeping through.
• Shake the bottle of calamine lotion or foundation to ensure it's well-mixed.
• Pour about three seconds' worth of calamine lotion or foundation into your bowl or onto your plate. (Less is more! You don't want to over-do it, or your shoes will take forever to dry.)
• If your pointe shoes are well-worn, tidy up any frayed satin by trimming it with scissors.

• Dip one side of your makeup sponge into the calamine/foundation.
• Blot the makeup sponge on the paper towel to eliminate any excess calamine/foundation, which will prevent splotchy streaks on the satin.
• Hold your pointe shoe from the inside. With long and light sweeping strokes, begin to paint the shoe, starting with the top of the box.
• Work your way around the shoe, using the corners of the makeup sponge to reach satin that's creased or wrinkled. Be sure to paint the fabric that cases the drawstring, as well.
• To color the ribbons, lay each ribbon flat over your open palm, making sure that the outside of the ribbon is facing up. Using the same long and light sweeping motions, apply the calamine/foundation from one end to the other. (Don't forget the section of the ribbon closest to the shoe.)
• Hang the shoes by the heels to dry. For best results, let them dry for at least one hour before wearing them.
• Touch up the calamine/foundation as needed. Often, marks from the stage can be dulled by a fresh coat of color.

     I hope you found the valuable information Sadie shares with us. As always, if you did don't forget to give this post a +1 on Google+ and share it with all your dancer friends. See you all next time!

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Spoonie Series: WEGO Health Awards

     Hey everyone! I am thrilled to share some very exciting news – nominations for the WEGO Health Awards have officially opened! As a member of the Patient Leader Network, I could not be more excited for the chance to celebrate the online health community as a whole.
     WEGO Health is a mission-driven company that connects the healthcare industry with the experience, skills, and insights of Patient Leaders. They are the world’s largest network of Patient Leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics.
     The WEGO Health Awards were created to celebrate those who tirelessly support the mission of WEGO Health: to empower the patient voice. With 16 award categories, the WEGO Health Awards are the only awards across all conditions and platforms, that recognize the over 100,000 Patient Leaders who are an inspiration to all of us. These amazing Patient Leaders raise awareness, share information, and support their communities – and, often without recognition.
    So, if I’ve ever given you support, resources, or any kind of assistance that helped you in your own journey, please consider endorsing my nomination in the WEGO Health Awards. I am in the Best In Show: Community category and here's what the website has to say about said category. 
"Who has created an amazing online community or threaded forum that houses important conversations about health? Through either their own site or an open online space, they bring people together. Their leadership takes the form of active community management, engagement, and moderation. They've mastered the art of creating an inviting space for newcomers while still keeping a safe space that people have come to respect and rely on. This is a community or forum you'd recommend to new patients and family members or friends because it has it all. Moderating and managing health-related conversations can be draining, so let's reward them for all of their hard work!"
 Winning this award will increase my visibility and validate my efforts to raise awareness within our community with the ultimate goal of having a positive impact on the state of healthcare. It's truly an honor just to be nominated for this award but becoming a finalist and then winning would be absolutely amazing. Endorsements have already begun, so go and endorse my nomination right here.
     This celebration is for all of the bloggers, tweeters, and posters who are sharing their own healthcare journey in the hopes of bettering the lives of others so if I've helped you in any way, please please, please, endorse my nomination. Again, you can endorse me by clicking here. 

     As always, don't forget to give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites, and let me know what you would like to hear about next.  I love you all. See you next week!

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Feeling Trapped With Chronic Illness

Do you ever feel trapped? Like this massive invisible force is weighting on you, making you feel alone and scared? Like nothing feels right anymore? Having chronic illnesses can make people feel trapped at times, especially if you're undergoing treatment for your illness(es). I know that I feel trapped in a bubble of mental health disorders. I can see a looming cloud called Borderline Personality Disorder hanging over my head with all the "symptoms" underneath. Pushing people away. Lashing out at people. Being over emotional. Being anxiety ridden. Being depressed. Having suicidal thoughts and idealizations. But I can tell you how to not feel so trapped, chronic illnesses aside.

1. You're being passive rather than proactive
     Passivity is defined as a "learned behavior that we’re taught in childhood by our parents, teachers, and societies." An example of this is being headstrong is typically a trait that society discourages you for having because it makes you look "too strong" and therefore people will have less influence over you. Because of this, when we are growing up we are taught to be "submissive", compliant and docile because those traits make us "good members" of society. Society revolves around control and power.
     But at the same time, doesn't it feel empowering to say "to hell with society and what others think of us" while we are proactive and take control over our own lives. This empowerment is not often ideal especially if we don't follow the rules of society, such as: going to university (like others), chasing after money and status (like others), and getting married and having kids (like others).
     So is it really any wonder that so many people struggle with feeling trapped, even those with chronic illnesses? Unless we have the wisdom to see through the futile and unfulfilling pursuits of society from a young age, we end up following the herd and letting others dictate our lives. This is where being a person with chronic illnesses comes to our advantage. We are forced to grow up at a younger age because of all the hurdles we're tossed because of our heath. We all gain new perspectives on life that others, who are lucky enough to be "perfectly healthy" most of time time, don't have. Whenever I meet people and I tell them about my dance accident and why I'm in a wheelchair I always say, "As long as life is gonna throw me these lemons, I'm gonna make some damn good lemonade." And with the head tilt as I like to call it, they always respond with something along the lines of "huh, I never thought about it like that." or "You're so optimistic, given your circumstances."
     Of course, people without chronic illnesses are going to be more passive and therefore, a major cause of feeling trapped and stuck in a life that seems empty.  We on the other hand, have no other choice when it comes to out lives. We have to be proactive because our lives (quite literally) depend on it. When we’re passive, we’re literally giving others the permission to make our decisions and prescribe our existence on this earth. When we’re passive, we’re resigned to accepting our “lot” in life, without realizing that it is actually in our hands to create a life of our own choosing.
     If you have just realized that you’ve taken a passive approach to life, you're not alone. Unfortunately, most people on this planet have a passive outlook on life unless they've had a dramatic life change (like being a chronic illness patient). It’s not that you choose to be passive, it’s that you’re psychologically programmed to be this way by society. But with this new knowledge, you can pull off the blindfold and start consciously being proactive.

2. You've simply outgrown your current life
     Here’s the deal, people are not static beings. We were never made to just sit around. As human beings, we are forever changing, ever evolving and transforming.  When species, ecosystems, and even business and trends don’t evolve, they fade away into oblivion. We can see that with the endangered animals that need protection from poachers, the ecosystems that need protection from pollution and even the local (or chain) business that go out of business. This is what evolution is. Evolution is changing to fit the ever changing world around us.
     The same goes for us as people: we are changing and learning more each and everyday. You are changing right now by reading this blog post. By waking up every morning. Sometimes our circumstances are the same as they were the previous day. Yet again, we spend another day in the hospital with labs that aren't changing to the numbers we want for us to be discharged. We might not be consciously aware of it, but we are not the exact same person as we were this time yesterday. Ask yourself, “Am I the exact same person as I was a year ago?” Likely, your answer will be no, you’ve changed! And this is completely fine!
     Feeling trapped is therefore often a product of simply outgrowing your current life. Perhaps you don’t have much in common with your friends anymore and that's why you've been slowly drifting apart, your career interests have changed because something you read, saw or watched peaked your curiosity into something you have not delved into or was taught at school. Or sadly, you just don’t relate as deeply to your partner anymore so you look for what you want in another partner which leads to infidelity and divorce.
     This change is all completely normal, yet as humans, we tend to despise change. We become really fearful about it because we desperately want to control over our lives as it gives us a sense of comfort and security. But the hard truth is that change is inevitable and resistance is pointless! When you aren’t willing to upgrade your life, even when you’ve outgrown it long ago, you feel suffocated and trapped.
Imagine trying to squeezing yourself into the clothes you wore ten years ago! Yes, you might feel comforted in some small way, maybe you're reminded of a better time in your life, but is the comfort and familiarity you feel really worth the experience of dying inside? It’s completely normal to not want to let go, so be gentle and compassionate towards yourself. It’s OK to grow and change. It is your birthright.

3. You desperately want to fit in and feel "normal"
All of us want to feel like we belong and lots of times, as a person with chronic illnesses we ache for that "normalcy." To be like the other kids. To do what they do without a second thought as to how many spoons we have left, or what our blood sugar is etc...
     In fact, craving to “fit in” with others is deeply embedded into our DNA: it’s a biological survival mechanism. But we’ve come a long way in our evolution, and the proof is that the more we force ourselves to be “normal,” the more we suffer. Evolution, or rather involution, is now calling us to honor our authentic needs in order to grow as a species. Conformity is an old paradigm we no longer need to chase after. In fact, the more we conform, the more empty we feel inside. The more we try to be like others, the more we lose contact with our inner voice. The more we mold our lives to be “socially acceptable,” the more we sacrifice our inner values, dreams, beliefs, and desires.
     Trying to fit in with others because we fear what they think about us, is a recipe for suffering. Understand that wanting to be accepted is completely normal, but it’s time that you start looking inside of yourself for approval, rather than outside.

4. You've taken on too many responsibilities
     Responsibilities are a normal part of life; especially as an adult as they teach us to be mature, accountable, patient, and empathetic. But there can come a point in our lives when we take on more responsibilities than we can handle and we start to feel trapped. Why does this happen, you ask?
     Usually, we fill our lives with pointless or excessive commitments because we’re trying to escape from something, whether that is ourselves, our past or some kind of emotion that haunts us like grief, emptiness, or anger. We push people away because we want to "do things for ourselves, in our own way" and in doing that we sometimes take on a task we know we cannot handle.
Life with chronic illnesses throws us so many responsibilities such as taking medications as prescribed and understanding the side effects of the medication as well as what can happen if you accidentally overdose or mix two medicines together. The benefits and risks of surgery. Going to therapy. Getting insurance to cover treatment, mobility aids etc. Getting into clinical trials...this list goes on and on and on.
     So, if you’re feeling trapped, closely examine your life. Have you bitten off more than you can chew and if so, why? Furthermore, what can you do to decrease your workload? Can you give specific tasks to specific people such as handling money matters, advocating for you, helping you deal with the downs of being sick etc.
     For me, anything related to money makes me feel stressed. Therefore anything related to my taxes, paying tuition for school etc is my mum's job. As an adult, I have given her the direct permission to do these things for me so I can focus on the things that are important to me. Like psychology. Like writing blog posts. Like creating youtube videos. Like taking care of my health.
     My Dad, on the other hand, he is my confidant. The person who is always there for me. The person who takes me to every therapy appointment, talks me through every flashback, panic attack and suicidal breakdown. Sure, my mum helps me with this stuff too but my Dad is always the person I go to first.

5. Soul Loss and lack of life purpose
     Probably the biggest reason why many of us undergo the excruciating feeling of being trapped is soul loss. When we have lost contact with our souls we feel the unshakable sense that ‘something is missing’ from our lives. This feeling is accompanied by loneliness, numbness, emptiness, restlessness, irritability, and of course, anxiety and depression.
Soul loss occurs for many reasons such as a traumatic life experience (for example, being on a 5150 involuntary psych hold for seven hours without any comfort such as a family member, our phones or a book). or simply situations that have caused us to be consumed by the ego.
     The ego is our false self, the concept of “me” that we have inside of our brains. The more we serve our ego and its desires, the more empty and unfulfilled we feel because the ego is obsessed with power and self-gratification something that is ultimately unfulfilling.
     Our soul, on the other hand, is focused on love and unity: on learning how to love, behaving with love, speaking with love, and ultimately, becoming love. When we are in contact with our souls, we discover our life purpose which helps us to stop feeling trapped by our circumstances. We start to feel empowered and begin to listen to the voice of the heart rather than the voice of the mind.

   If you made it to the end of this post I applaud you. This is definitely the length of most of my posts and it feels so good to let all these words come out. I'm still trying to work through my writers but I really hoped you liked this post.
     As always, don't forget to give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites, and let me know what you would like to hear about next.  I love you all. See you next week!

Previous Post: Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Dear Darling
May 26th Vlog: American Girl Place Los Angeles
Spoonie Series: My Mental Illness Journey
May Favorites
Skincare and Makeup Empties

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Friday, 1 June 2018

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Dear Darling

Dear darling,

     I know deep inside, you may think of yourself in black and white and you may judge yourself unfavorably.

     You call yourself hostile names, and you may believe too much bad of your mind and heart.
Sometimes you may think you’re undeserving of love, because you feel awful and difficult and strange.

     You may give yourself a million excuses to explain why the world, your friends, and family are too gentle with you.

     But darling, let me tell you how I see you. I understand the need to berate yourself, but let me share a secret: nobody is perfect.

     And I’ve learned to see that living between my black and white, my good and bad,bare so many shades of gray, and a myriad of colors.

     Every time you smile, and every time you give yourself, it makes you who you are, which is perfectly imperfect and strikingly attractive in its very own way.

     Please, dear darling, don’t call yourself those nasty names. I don’t believe you’re terrible, and I am sorry you feel that way, about yourself.

     We are all comprised of black and white and good and bad. Instead of placing your primary focus on blaming yourself and roller-coaster guilt-trips, look me in the eye, and I will tell you again and again, how beautiful, inspiring and strong your heart is.

     Yes, including those ups and downs. And maybe, just maybe, because of it, dear darling, you’re perfectly imperfect.

By: Gittere Schwartz 

For more information on Borderline Personality Disorder, click here.

As always, don't forget to give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites, and let me know what you would like to hear about next.  I love you all. See you next time!

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