Clutter

There’s something haunting and beautiful about late night hours, when one day turns into another.  It’s a time when most people are sound asleep, without giving it much thought.  But, for me, it’s when I’m perhaps the most meditative.

On Monday night, I was pacing around my house wearing my gray and neon green running shoes, a pair of black yoga pants and a purple t-shirt with a faded Fanta logo on the front.  My hair was pulled up, I was ready.

At least, I looked ready.  I had looked ready all day.

No matter how ready I thought I was, I couldn’t make myself go downstairs and log some miles on the treadmill.  I was angry at myself for not getting it done during the daylight and I hated myself a little for crawling into bed instead and making self-promises to try again tomorrow.

It had been nine days since my last work out.  In three years, that’s the longest stretch I’ve ever gone and the more time that passed, the harder it was to get going again.

Clutter abounded.

In my house.  In my body.  In my mind.

There was laundry to do and “stuff” was still everywhere from my half-assed unpacking job.  My body felt sluggish and dehydrated from missed workouts and from eating and drinking things I normally wouldn’t.  My brain was kneading aberrant emotions and thoughts.

I could feel myself slipping into a place where I didn’t want to be.  A place I swore I’d never return.

Clutter, in all forms, has a way of paralyzing me.  I don’t want to deal with it; I ignore it for a while, even though I know dealing with it is the only way I can function.

Yesterday I stood at the edge of my treadmill, I had to take that first step.  It was going to hurt, but I had to start the “de-clutter” process.

And hurt, it did.  Forty-five minutes of pure torture that ended in an amazing release. From that one run, I started getting fired up again.

This afternoon I made my way back to the gym where I returned to my regular workout regimen full blast.  It was still incredibly difficult to get through, both physically and mentally.  As I pushed my muscles to power through the pain, my brain worked through some things I’ve had on my mind.

In a way, it’s all connected.  I’ve been kind of bummed out over something for a couple of weeks and that in turn affected my motivation for my workouts and just getting normal things done around the house.  The emotional stuff cluttered other parts of my life.

Think about that the next time you’re faced with something you need to do, but you can’t seem bring yourself to do it.  What’s really keeping you from succeeding?  Once you figure that out… only then can you move ahead.

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A Tale of Two Cities

I drifted in and out of sleep as my fellow passengers and I waited aboard the small commuter jet to take off.  I was exhausted, but a good exhausted, after spending the past week in New York for back-to-back meetings for work.  My mind wandered as I stared out the window while we slowly made our way to the runway.

sky-photoThe plane sped up as we barreled down the long stretch of concrete and the sky was blue with a hint of pink as the sun prepared to fall into the horizon for another night. The Manhattan skyline glistened as we glided into the air and the pilots made a U-turn over the Atlantic Ocean and headed west.

The seat next to me was empty, so I stretched out a bit and settled in for the nearly three-hour flight.  I felt torn.  I’ve felt torn for a lot of years, like I have two lives – one in Minneapolis and one in New York.  Both are places I love dearly and are home to people I adore.  I’m constantly missing one or the other.

Late Saturday morning I grabbed breakfast at a cute little spot in Greenwich Village with a couple of friends.  The morning was bright and crisp, which was a refreshing follow-up to some fun shenanigans that went well into the wee morning hours the night before.

After we ate, we parted ways with one of the girls and continued to meander around the village.  We came across a small park where, settled in amongst the benches and pigeons, was a man playing cover songs on a beat up piano.  Perched on a nearby bench, we sat and listened awhile.

There were people scattered around the public space, eating breakfast, talking, thinking, being.  There was an older man who looked worn, lightly tapping his foot to the music and wearing a sly smile.  In that moment, there was happiness.

It was an inspiring experience and it’s one of the things I love so much about New York.  Creativity and motivation are everywhere.  I feel alive when I’m there and, in a weird way, closer to my real self.

This morning I awoke in my own bed in Minneapolis.  My body was tired and I spent the majority of the day split between being camped out on my couch and doing random household chores before pulling on my gear and heading out into the frozen air to play a game of broomball.  The temperature was hovering right around 0 Fahrenheit as I slapped on my helmet and took my place at goalie.

A lazy day in my 1920’s bungalow and an afternoon playing a favorite winter pastime of the Midwest, I felt happy, too.  It was familiar and comfortable.  It was easy.

To be continued…

Happy Surprises

For the second day in a row, I sat on a hard chair under fluorescent lights around a large conference room table with some incredibly smart people in my industry.  A presentation was projected on the wall and my colleagues were engaged in a very… thorough… discussion about operational procedures and technical possibilities.

Being the operations nerd I am, my mind was going a thousand miles an hour, thinking about potential solutions to the items on the table, when out of nowhere this moment of personal realization smacked me in the head.

It had absolutely nothing to do with work.  It wasn’t remotely related to the discussion at hand.  Yet, somehow, that intense discussion about billing systems caused this burst of self-actualization and I got really excited about it.  I immediately started jotting down notes covertly on my iPad, I didn’t want to lose that train of thought.  I wanted it to still be there when I had time to actually think about it properly.

Fair warning: I’m going to be incredibly annoying and cryptic for now by not getting into what that revelation was specifically, as it’s part of a much larger story I’m working on (my attempt at a book!)  But the experience of it is noteworthy.  It illustrates perfectly what The Awkward Dancer is all about – looking for meaning and inspiration in places that aren’t, on the surface, very meaningful or inspirational.

After all, if I can find incitement in the middle of a business meeting, you can surely find it… anywhere.

More soon…

Smiling’s My Favorite

The past couple of days have been filled with a lot of self-induced intensity for this awkward dancer.  You know, music with lyrics that pack a deep personal meaning and a lot of self reflection; trying to regain my footing after being unexpectedly grounded.

This morning, after being slapped in the face by 2-degree air when I let my dog outside, I threw on a Spotify mix literally called “Mood Booster” and am already starting to feel like myself again.  Positive. Determined.  In control.  Focused.

I don’t even really know what specifically knocked me on my ass the past couple of days.  But I do know it’s okay to feel like that every once in awhile.  Perhaps it’s life’s way of forcing you to re-prioritize what you’re doing.

I always encourage you to try and “Find the Positive” in every situation.  (I smell a Twitter hashtag… #ftp?)  And while it was hard for me to do that myself this weekend, I did find it eventually.  It made me look back and identify other periods where shitty situations turned out to be a positive in the end.

The main one, for me, of course being the lifelong battle with body image and the battle against fat.  All the failures, all the self-loathing, all the years of not feeling good enough… made me who I am today.  Stronger.  Confident.  And maybe just a little bit wiser.  Dropping 120 pounds was HARD and wasn’t just about losing the weight.  It was about shedding the emotional garbage that kept me from succeeding in the past.  The HARD is what made it REAL.  The HARD is what made that struggle a positive.

The point I’m dancing around, is that it’s okay to feel down on occassion.  You’re going to doubt yourself sometimes.  The important thing to always, always remember is that that feeling won’t last forever… and that you’re already stronger because of it.  Keep moving forward, even if you’re heart’s not totally in it.  Your heart will catch up.

Be well.  Keep going.  Find the positive.

 

 

Re-focused

Last night I partook in a couple of adult beverages after a less-than-awesome day and then proceeded to type unfiltered right here on this page.  I wasn’t drunk, but I definitely didn’t care what I was publishing.  I woke up this morning and read what I had written and took it down, simply because it was a little too personal for publication on The Awkward Dancer – for now, anyway. (Update:  I’ve since restored the post.  I think it’s something people can relate to, so what the hell.)

Even though I pulled it down, it’s given me a little nudge to push the limits on what I write about.     And I realized that the reason I’ve been so stuck in writer’s block is because I haven’t really been doing anything.  Work, gym, sleep, repeat.  I haven’t exactly been living a life worth writing about lately.

I’m heading out to New York for the next week, though, hoping to reignite the creative part of my brain and get into some shenanigans in the process.  You know, in between the actual work I’m going out there to do.

Take a moment and look for the lessons in your own lives.  The lesson I learned in my buzzed writing is that you can’t grow when you hide out in the shade.

Time to get back out in the sun…

Alterations

It’s late.  I’m tired.  I have absolutely no point in mind.  I’m just typing.

The Awkward Dancer is about life, after all, and while the majority of the time I see the positives… life isn’t always rosy.  Sometimes we go through periods of doubt and ambiguity.   Sometimes I just want to write without editing myself or steering towards a “point” or pretending to be in an upbeat mood when I’m just not.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

You see, I believe I’ve mastered the art of being stuck.  I’ll convince myself I’ve figured “it” all out and will be flying high on that coup for awhile, blazing down a path towards something that I’m so sure is right, until that instant when the truth smacks me back to the reality of the situation and I realize it was all in my head.  It’s like that awkward moment when someone is waving at you and you wave back but then suddenly recognize they are actually waving to someone standing behind you.  In that moment, you realize that you’re just a moron standing there, waving like an idiot.

“It” could be any number of things – or not a “thing” at all.  “It” could be a someone.  Regardless, what “it” is this time around doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I caught myself before I was that aforementioned moron standing there, waving like an idiot.

I’ve felt like I’ve been walking around in a fog of sorts for the past month or so.   It clouded my judgment.  It made me, in a way, completely irrational and ready to dive into uncharted waters.  The crazy part is that I liked it that way.

That illusion seemed more tolerable then the reality of improbability.  And I’m still not convinced I was completely delusional.

Delusional or not, the actuality is staring back at me and I’ve put my game face back on, waiting for someone to prove me wrong.

Vagueness at it’s finest, right?

That’s all.

Hope.

I’ve started 2013 fairly quiet here at The Awkward Dancer, and not really on purpose.  I’ve had a lot rolling around my mind lately, yet whenever I sit down to write… words seem to elude me.

I’m still observing, though.  Experiencing. Learning.  Searching.

I read the news every morning and the majority of the time I find myself shaking my head, completely dumbfounded by how this world functions.  Yesterday, I read a story with the headline “Woman Robbed While Having Seizure on Light Rail” and it seriously messed me up.  For the rest of the day, I felt this sense of sadness and anger.  How could someone do that to a fellow human being?  I don’t understand how such selfishness continues to run so rampant in our society.  I didn’t know this woman, but reading her story made me feel defeated.  Like the world had gone to hell and I was left wondering what the point was.

Last night, I was up late struggling with an epic RLS flare up.  I was pacing around my dark house, frustrated and trying to calm the muscles in my legs while reading the latest news on my iPad.

Airport cleaner turns in lost iPad with $13,000 in case, gives away reward

I clicked on the story and stood still in the middle of my pitch-black living room, reading.  I was smiling by the time I reached the end.  Patrick Morgan reminded me that the world has not gone completely to hell.

There’s hope for us, yet.

hope