Friday, April 26, 2013

Realistic Expectations

I am one of those people that sometimes has dreams that are a touch on the vivid/detail-oriented side.  Oh, here, allow me to hand back the eyeballs that rolled clean out of the heads of those of you who know my dreaming tendencies at that slight understatement.  If it were possible to smell colors in dreamland I'd win the gold medal.

A couple of weeks ago I woke with a striking memory of my dream.  This is not uncommon for me, I can remember dreams I had in grade school, but more often than not I lay in bed thinking about the dream with absolutely no earthly idea what was going on in my subconscious to have conjured the often epic levels of crazy.  This one, however, I understood completely and spent the rest of my day, and several days since, analyzing.

It started with some kind of shenannigans about stepping in to chaperone a youth trip to an amusement park.  I was happy to go, of course, but the last minute nature of the request made me feel unprepared and confused.  I became more confused when I learned that before we could leave we needed to wait until the end of a dance workshop I was urged to attend.  I found myself in a giant ballroom packed with women in various work out and dance attire and hip scarves.  About half of the women were sitting at tables placed around the back of the room while the other half were up in the front participating in a beginner belly dance work shop.  I found myself with that group, feeling like I was quite easily understanding and performing the simple, basic movements.  Soon it was time for the groups to switch and I quickly noticed the second group was for more advanced students, working on combinations and routine embellishments.  I felt a bit confused and oddly hurt, thinking I must have been accidentally put in the wrong group.  I noticed some friends that were in the second group, but none of them spoke up for me to join them.  I moved to the very back of the room where I could watch the lesson going on and try it quietly.  I got consumed with the movements and found myself practicing a spinning skill I had discovered.  I did it over and over, pushing myself to keep the spin for longer and longer, trying to perfect the foundation and control.  Suddenly the instructor of the workshop noticed me and stopped her class, bringing everyone's attention to me in my quiet corner.  She came to stand in front of me and lectured the entire room about how their dancing should never be about a one-trick pony, how they needed to learn variety and emotion to become excellent dancers.  I was mortified at being unfairly chastised and tried to tell her I could do what she was teaching, even following the moves she was demonstrating as she used me to prove some point, but she wouldn't see me, and no one spoke up...

The little title under my profile for this blog is "Jill of all Trades", which is sort of accurate, but not exactly.  To me calling someone a Jack of all trades is implying they are proficient or experts at a number of skills.  I am not much of an expert on anything, though I my range of skills, interests, and hobbies is vast and varied.  Capoeira, swing dancing, belly dancing, photography, gaming, knitting, crafting, scuba diving, ren fair-ing, first aiding, garden/landscaping, etc... I love all of the hobbies I participate in and can't imagine having to give any of them up.  The problem is in many ways they all suffer as a result.  To completely excel at a task I think you have to be completely committed, give time and dedication to honing a specific set of skills.  I don't have to the time, energy or will to sacrifice other things I love to pursue just one, and so in that regard I'll never perfect any of them.

I used to feel more frustration about this than I do now.  Getting older, that "maturity" business, helps keep things in perspective and understand the hows and whys of life.  Obviously if you don't focus on perfecting something, you won't perfect it.  I've come to that place of understanding and I'm thankful for it, though I still have my moments of struggle.

In addition to not having the refined physical skill to excel in most of these activities, the social interactions that are associated with them also suffer.  It's harder to be as close to a group of friends that are dedicated to one activity when you're constantly flitting from one to another.  I think that is the most difficult for me to handle.  I'm built the way I'm built and too far gone to come around to some star-quality physicality for any of these activities, but feeling like I'm on the outside of all the social groups I frequent still hurts, and I fear always will.  I'm present enough to join in the festivities but not enough to notice when I'm missing.  Glad to be a part of the activities I can be, but disheartened when I miss out on the opportunity to join more, even if I can't make it all the time.  Sad at discovering a group of friends has gone out to have a good time and I missed getting an invitation.

Now, this is NOT a pity party.  Several years ago it may very well have been, but today I can write these feelings from a much stronger, more level headed and understanding place.  It's been an incredible exercise to break myself down, look at all the places I excel and fail and try to think of ways to change the things I don't like.  One of those is my horrible ability to reach out to those I love.  Between a phone-centric day job, an ever rotating list of things that keep my busier than a one-armed paper hanger and that 50% Introvert part of me that needs alone time to recharge I have a hard time doing my part to work against feeling left out.  I realize that as my flaw and know that it is a fairly engrained part of me that will possibly always be difficult for me to try to overcome, but I'll never not want to try.

The physical perfection I will never have, but the efforts to build and support my structure of friends and loved ones, to be more involved and less lazy, I will always strive to maintain and improve.  I'm thankful for the personal growth I've had to be able to be in this place and glad for a dream that truly opened my eyes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Liebster Award

I just noticed this link in a comment to my last blog here and while I don't know anything about it except what I read on the nominator Trish's blog (This Girl's Messy Head), I thought it would be a fun exercise and wave back of thanks.   Sorry, Trish, TOTALLY stealing your formatting b/c I'm lazy like that. ;)

Here is a little rundown in case you're wondering what receiving the Liebster Award entails:

  • Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  • Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed.  Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)
  • Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.

    Here are my answers for Trish's 11 questions:

    1.  What motivated you to start a blog? The blog started as a place for me to log all the crazy dreams and sleep walking stories I've gathered through the years.  I've yet to spend much time posting about them yet, I got distracted by other ramblings.

    2.  Where would you go if you could travel anywhere for a week? Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Bora Bora, Germany... I have a fairly long wish list.

    3.  What is your favorite time of day and why? Bed time because it's often the most peaceful part of my day, curled up in bed with a book, my hubby and often times any number of our 4 fur children.  That much love and contentment in one place is pretty wonderful.

    4.  Do you have pets? If so, what kind? I do!  I've even dedicated an entire post to our babies.

    5.  Do you regularly clean under your couch or do you only clean it when you realize how disgusting it is underneath? Oh, goodness... Every so often it gets moved and I am horrified by the creatures that are trying to spawn underneath it, and every time I SWEAR I will clean under it more often but I never seem to remember.

    6.  What is your least favorite thing about getting older? Aches, pains, pops, cracks; basically my body putting up more of a fight (or less, depending on how you look at it).

    7.  What is your most favorite thing about getting older? Confidence, for sure.

    8.  What is your favorite expletive to use?  If you don't curse, what is your favorite alternate word to use in place of an expletive? I try to maintain clean language, but toss in a 'shiz' or 'frack' when 'golly gee' just doesn't cut it.

    9.  What is your favorite charity and why? I don't think I have one in particular, there are so many great causes.  Certainly anything that benefits animals, children or abused women who need a chance to get their feet back on solid ground are top contenders.

    10.  What is the best advice you've ever been given? Any that comes with a finishing line of, "but I'll love and support you, whatever your decision is".

    11.  What is the worst advice you've ever been given? Any that is contrary to who I am and what I wish to accomplish: in other words advice given by someone who doesn't know me at all.
    Here are the 11 bloggers I've nominated for the Liebster Award:

    11. Obviously I need to read more blogs...

    Here are my 11 questions for the nominees:

    1. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?

    2. Describe your ultimate dream home.

    3. Do you garden, if so what do you plant?

    4. If you could pick any person in the world to have dinner with, who would it be?

    5. You've won a $100,000 shopping spree at the store of your choice.  Where is it going to be?

    6. What is your favorite holiday and why?

    7. What are your best traits?

    8. Which traits would you most like to improve?  

    9. What would your ideal job be?

    10. Favorite book or movie?

    11. What is your favorite way to unwind and relax?