Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘dancing’

The Comfort of Familiarity

Understanding the Attraction of Certain Types

Years ago, I embarked on a friendship with a woman who I’ve come to realize has certain characteristics she shares with an unusually large cross section of females. She isn’t stunningly gorgeous, nor does she stand out in a crowd. In fact, over the years, I’ve seen many who remind me of her. The similarities are really rather striking when observed from a distance.

These women are attractive and take care with their appearance. They tend to dress a bit more conservatively than those around them. They all seem to wear their hair in what we used to call a flip, or other basically straight but casual looking style: one which looks like they just pulled a quick brush through it, but in reality probably took them an hour in front of the mirror with curling iron and blow dryer. They’re typically found with two or three other women, none of whom seems interested in anything but the conversation between each other.

But here’s where things change. No matter where they are or how many women they’re standing with, the men in the clubs I’ve frequented always single them out. First, they ask them to dance. Then, they continue their conversation off the dance floor, often culling this woman from her pack. Even so, she’ll often be found in a circle of men, buzzing around her like she’s the Queen Bee. It’s gotten to the point where I can accurately predict who will approach her and who will be one of the hoverers.

For years, this puzzled me. What was it that these almost cookie cutter women had which caused the men to approach with confidence and interest? Tonight, after watching one such woman dance with several of the men, eventually leave her pack to stand alone, and even attract the attention of a man who is more of a loner, I had one of those ‘Aha moments’.

Birds of a Feather May Flock Together, But They Also Flock to What they Believe to be Safe

Because this type of woman is so common, men have come to believe they’re safe to approach. They represent a type from whom they can expect predictable and familiar behavior. They aren’t likely to be outrageous until they know him well. They are well-behaved and attentive. They are always well groomed and rarely break a sweat. They are also not the ones the men watch when they’re enjoying the free show being staged on the dance floor.

I used to dismiss as wishful thinking the feeling that someone was watching me dance. I’d give the usual excuses: “There are younger, prettier women than me out here.” “They’re not asking me to dance, so there’s no reason to be watching me.” “They’re probably watching the really good dancers.” The usual, self-effacing crap so many of us use to explain our single state.

I realized tonight that they are watching those of us who dance with unbridled passion and utter joy in the music and the steps. They watch as we laugh at something a dance partner said, or play off of the other dancers. But it’s that same passion and differentness which prevents them from approaching, from asking for a dance or just introducing themselves. Just as the women I described were a familiar type with whom they feel safe, I belong to the group who is unashamedly, unabashedly unique and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. And because I’m not afraid to be different, I terrify people who like their world to be neat and orderly.

What Price, Conformity?

This revelation does, of course, beg the question: Do I want or need to conform? In this case, the answer is clear and comes without thought or hesitation. Some people are meant to conform, to fit in, to be Corporate, if you will. And some of us are not. We are not meant to be gay and witty on the outside, nor match a particular theme. But we also don’t hold deep, dark shadows inside our bland, conformist selves. We wear our blazing reds and glaring neon pinks, greens and oranges on the outside for all the world to see. We are rainbows and fireworks, knowing not everyone will be comfortable around us, but in the end, we don’t care.

Tonight I came to the realization that I am, indeed, the one who’s meant to be watched; the one who exudes joy for anyone to grab a piece of and share. But I’m not comfortable or easy to approach. Only those who are strong and comfortable with themselves; who relish the hot pink Gerbera Daisy in the bowl of white chrysanthemums; who are disinclined to follow the flock, who will have what it takes to approach the passionately non-conforming, dare-to-be-different types like me. And I’m learning I like it that way.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful I’ve learned to appreciate and love who I am.
2. I am grateful to be rid of some of my self-effacing ways.
3. I am grateful for revelations which alter my outlook for the better.
4. I am grateful to be one who approaches whatever I do with passion, joy and wonder.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, differences, health, hope, happiness, peace, harmony, motivation, inspiration, friendship, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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Putting it All in Perspective

Challenge or Opportunity?

A couple of months ago someone came back into my life who had been a brief but painful interlude during a time when I was making a lot of poor choices and spending a lot of time struggling; a time before I learned to think positive thoughts and allow. He showed up at a place where I go to be social, to hang with my friends and follow one of my passions, dancing.

At first, I was polite, but tried to make it clear he was my past and not particularly welcome in my present. Though he seemed to take the hint at first, his efforts to regain my attention were pitifully awkward, much like the man himself. Eventually, when I had resorted to simply ignoring his presence, he went away again, leaving me heaving a sigh of relief.

Yet, the incident has been on my mind. Why am I suddenly being forced to confront a very painful, best-forgotten time in my life? Last night, the answer came when I least expected it, and this morning, more answers came, unprovoked. When I left it to recede to the back of my mind, it seems I allowed the answers to come.

The epiphany last night was both comforting and inspiring because I was reminded that though the times were tough and I did some really stupid things, I got through it, played the cards I was dealt to the best of my ability and became stronger for it. I also found “The Secret” and “Laws of Attraction” not long afterwards and started changing my life for the better.

The second epiphany came this morning and followed a train of thought which began last night. A couple of new men have wandered into Borderline in the last week. One is a little geeky and awkward but adorable in his geeky-awkwardness. He can’t dance a bit, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best, and I have to applaud him for it. Watching him talk to people and generally interact with the room, he reminds me of a cheerful, clumsy puppy who’s never met a stranger. I look forward to watching him blossom and smooth out some of those klutzy edges.

The second one is more self-confident on the outside, yet he stands on the sidelines drinking his beer and hardly interacting with anyone at all. My initial guess is that he’s in that group of men who are either recently divorced, in the middle of a divorce or recently out of a long-term relationship. In other words, wary and gun-shy, but fair game for those women who are aggressive, needy and don’t take no for an answer. I hope for his sake that one of the confident, self-assured type befriends him before that happens; someone who, like me, is comfortable in their own skin and doesn’t need someone else to validate them, but who, unlike me, can just walk up to a strange guy and start a conversation without being awkward.

Which really leads me to the actual epiphany. Between the 3 completely disconnected men and their entry into my world, albeit from afar, I realized that though my self-confidence and self-esteem have improved greatly, I’m still awkward around strangers, both men and women alike. In that regard, I’m too much like the man from my distant past; pitifully awkward.

One Plus One Equals Ninety-Seven

If I put the two pieces together, I realize that the message is a sort of encouragement. A kind of “You’ve got this, girl” with an added “Don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that could happen? And what’s the best?” kind of affair. I’ve even been given the opportunity to start slowly because the geeky awkward one will be an absolute joy to encourage. In the years I’ve been country dancing, I’ve seen my share of guys who started out clumsy and unsure and ended up being great dancers and a lot of fun to boot (pun intended). Call me a sap, but I find a guy who’s not afraid to make a bit of a fool of himself oddly endearing.

The other will be hard for me to casually approach, though I know I can count on some of my friends to smooth the path if he keeps showing up. There are a couple of women, one of whom I’ve known for over 20 years who simply have a knack for welcoming new people and making them feel comfortable. Once they’ve smoothed the way, I find it easier to be friendly and easy too. And yes, I know I need to get past that before my first book comes out. Getting out into the world and talking to strangers has to be more comfortable for me by then.

Fewer Blog Posts, More Lessons

This has been a week of getting out into the world, learning new things and getting some of the tasks I had handled and off my plate. My writing has suffered some. This is only the second post this week for me, though I wrote 2 for a client. But I’ve met with some people about possible work, gotten up-to-date on client work and even managed to edit a couple of chapters of Sasha’s Journey. And my own journey continues with surprises around a few turns. It keeps life interesting if nothing else.

So How Are You Going to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Today?

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons the Universe sends me and the little prompts it gives me until I see the whole picture.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to step further from that comfort zone I wallowed in for so many years.
3. I am grateful for my friends and the examples they set.
4. I am grateful for dancing as it has helped me breach that comfort zone with a common bond I share with many others.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, music, dancing, money, friendship, joy, lessons, opportunities, challenges, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

September 26, 2015 You Never Want to Hear Your Own Words From Someone Else’s Mouth

Oft-Uttered Words Hit Pierced My Heart

Tonight I was chatting with a couple of girl friends while waiting for the next line dance set when one of them made a comment which froze my blood in my veins, not because it was frightening or heinous, but because it was one I’d oft-repeated myself. Hearing it from her made me realize just how ludicrous the statement was. Not only that, I realized that I’m in good company in sharing the utterly false belief she voiced.

The words she spoke were Oh, I don’t attract anyone. If I had a nickel or even a penny for every time I’d made that ridiculous and utterly false statement, I’d be a very wealthy woman. It brought home to me the fact that there must be far too many women who blame their singleness on their own inability to attract someone when the reality is something completely different.

Many years after the fact, I learned on more than one occasion that someone was indeed interested/attracted to me but I just didn’t understand the signs. Because I’m not expecting anyone to be attracted to me, I’m completely oblivious when they are. Though I’m sure none of them went to great lengths to try and let me know how they felt, assuming I understood the rules of the game and would respond appropriately if I shared their interest, it bothers me that others besides myself have such a false assessment of their own situations.

This particular friend is attractive, smart, independent (I know, that one can sometimes be the kiss of death, but frankly, I have no patience for women who need a man more than life itself!), happy, friendly and altogether delightful. There is no reason on earth why she shouldn’t be attracting all manner of the male of the species…except for that one, single self-defeating statement.

As single women, especially those of us on the north side of 50, we’ve often spent a number of years raising kids, growing our careers and, in many cases caring for aging parents. We don’t have time for the sophomoric games we probably weren’t even interested in when were were 20-somethings. Those of us who don’t find it necessary to actively seek a mate enjoy the company of friends, have interests which take us outside the home, and wonder of wonders, are comfortable in our own company as well.

That does not mean we wouldn’t enjoy the attention and maybe even return it under the right circumstances. But as we have been managing our own lives for so long, we often don’t know the subtle signs that say “Hey, cutie, I’m interested in you. Can you give me a sign so I know whether it’s safe to approach you?” You might have to actually walk over and introduce yourself or ask for a dance. Most of us have learned not to crush a man by declining an invitation unless we have a really good reason like we’re about to leave or someone already asked or we’ve been on the dance floor for 30 minutes straight and just need a break. In the last case, we’ll usually make it clear that if they ask later, we’d love to dance with them. (and in my experience, most, if not all of them do come back).

Yes, the number of single men who have learned to dance at least a passable two-step is about 5 times less than what is necessary to keep us on the dance floor as much as we’d like. Even worse, we have to compete with the married and attached women who come without their husbands or boyfriends. Line dancing has definitely saved us from life as a wall flower. And yet, couples have met dancing. Some have dated and eventually married. Others have decided that they weren’t compatible after all. Either way, connections do occur, despite the dearth of men who dance. (that was a not-so-subtle hint, by the way).

To wrap this all up in a nice, neat package, I just want to say that as women, we need to lose the notion that just because we’re unattached it is because we don’t attract anyone. Take that statement and strike it from your repertoire before the Universe thinks it’s what you want and grants your wish.

Revising the Mantra

I’m giving all of the single women out there a new mantra. This is good for any of you, regardless of age.
“I am a beautiful, intelligent, interesting, talented woman. I want to attract the few who will understand, respect and appreciate the unique and wonderful individual I am.”

Or you can use my abbreviated version: “I’m beautiful, sexy, sassy and delicious.” Look yourself in the mirror and say one or both of these mantras every day. You might find the results surprising.


1. I am grateful for my friends who show me where I need to work on myself.
2. I am grateful for my crit group who gave me a great deal to think about today.
3. I am grateful for a better attitude and approach to my writing.
4. I am grateful for weeks which are more productive and full of variety and change.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, changes, love, friendship, joy, productivity, dancing, connections, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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February 3, 2015 So, what is it I’m working on these days?

Yesterday someone asked me “You keep saying that you’re writing, but what is it you’re writing?”

I decided that her question deserved a blog post, so here it is, kinda sorta chronologically, but not really.

“Sasha’s Journey” was my first NaNoWriMo attempt which I began (and completed the challenge) in November 2013, writing over 50,000 words in one month. It is currently being reviewed by three fellow writers. Once they’ve finished, I will spend a few days reviewing what they’ve written, and probably another couple wallowing in self-pity, even though I knew before I gave it to them that there would be a lot of things which need fixing. Finally, I will take their suggestions along with some thoughts I’ve already had about cutting, slashing and rewriting, and get to work on the second rewrite.

“Frederick” is a children’s story I wrote for my daughters when they were about five. I plan to do a complete rewrite before submitting it for critique.

“A Dubious Gift” was my second NaNoWriMo challenge, the 2014 edition. It is still a work in progress at the moment. Once I finish the first draft, I will begin the first rewrite.

The last of my current writing projects is what originally began as a self-help/memoir about coping with my parents’ suicides. I have since decided to fictionalize it, and have maybe the first paragraph written.

Other projects include my website which is up, but will need a lot of work before I get it right. In the meantime, I’m looking for people who have taken a leap of faith to follow their dreams. I have my first interviewee lined up and need to put some preliminary questions together for the interview, though I have a feeling she will either leave me with more questions or will give me a lot of unexpected information. I am looking forward to writing this one, and it will be the first of what I hope will be many articles I’ll post on my website, shericonaway.com.

Some might think I sound completely scattered, but my fellow ADD and ADHD’ers will confirm that it is impossible to have just one project on the board. If I get stuck, I can simply move to another project. Without that option, I would find myself stuck in the worst kind of writer’s block, frustration. Just as I’m typically reading three or four books at a time, I need to have an equal number of projects as well.

But wait! There’s more!

I’ve recently been introduced to a site called Wattpad on which writers post their books in serial form. It appears to be a good place to gain exposure, so I’m considering posting Sasha’s Journey there after some serious work to improve my very rough first rewrite.

Last but certainly not least is my ongoing commitment to regular posts on my blog. Ideally, this would occur daily, but until I learn the fine art of brevity (which will likely occur somewhere around the twelfth of never), there will be days when a post will not appear. I’ve learned though, that beating myself up about it is pointless. Stuff happens. Life happens. When you put it in perspective, unless you’re part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (which, by the way, I’ve also done…twice) there is no law which says a blog post must appear every single day. It is more of an expectation one sets for oneself.

In true ADHD form, I have a second last one which I nearly forgot. In setting up my website, I set up a mailchimp link for subscribers to my newsletter. As I actually have a few subscribers already (aside from the .ru ones I deleted as they seemed kind of suspicious), I guess I have to get cracking on the promised newsletter.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but my humble little list is quite enough to make this writer dance with ecstasy!

Certainly, I’m not writing every single day. Some of my projects will take awhile before they see the light of day, but others will begin appearing before you know it. In the meantime, I also have commitments to others to help critique their work, and in doing so, learning more about being a better writer myself. I have a small library of reference books to plough through for the first of many times and some online resources to look into as well.

I sometimes wonder if, had I known when I took my own leap of faith that this was what a writer’s life really was, would I have still wanted to take that leap. But I don’t wonder for long. This is, for me, all of the things I love to do rolled into a single, somewhat messy package. I get to write, I get to learn, I get to read and I get to share my thoughts with whoever will listen. Does it really get any better than this? (aside, of course, from a publishing contract! The Holy Grail of aspiring authors like me).

Thank you, Becca for not only posing the question, but inspiring tonight’s blog post. I even managed to answer in less than 1000 words this time! A new record!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my readers, especially those who ask questions and inspire posts. Just when I think I’ve run out of things to say, they come through for me!
2. I am grateful for a killer dance lesson tonight. One step closer to dancing more again.
3. I am grateful for my dance friends who encourage me to move more and sit less. (It’s just a good thing I do my best writing late at night, after dancing!)
4. I am grateful for another visit from my daughter, and a couple of nights for her to dance.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, perspiration, dancing, writing, reading, friendship, laughter, love, joy, peace, harmony, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

December 28, 2014 Time for a face lift (or is that a change of face?)

Something came over me, something strange, something new…

…and with that something, I knew I needed to make some changes. The first of those changes is this blog. At first, I thought it only needed a face lift, but the more I played with themes and colors, the more I realized that what was needed was more than just a face lift, but a complete change of face.

You see, I realized that I had outgrown my original theme, quite dramatically. It only took me the last year to figure it out, too! Though the web address will remain survivingandbeyond, I find that since the onset in 2009, I have truly grown beyond merely surviving.

Leaps of Faith and other sudden and thorough sparks of energy.

What began, with a little help from my friends, with a leap of faith in late 2013 has grown into a brand new lifestyle, for better or worse. In fact, when asked if I’d consider looking for a job in my old profession again, I reacted with very real horror. And so, along with the thematic change you might have noticed overtook my blog this weekend, you’ll find that the name has also changed to reflect the path I’m currently treading. So, my loyal readers and followers, allow me to present the new and improved blog:

Leaps of Faith: Dancing outside my comfort zone

I’ve discovered that even on days when I hang around the house in my pajamas, I am still living outside of my comfort zone now, if for no other reason than I don’t have anything more than my faith that financial prosperity is just a sailor step and two wizards away; that as long as I keep dancing, keep moving, keep growing, whatever I need will be there when I need it. Not only what I need, but the means to support the causes I believe in; those which take into consideration the health and welfare of our children and animals.

The strides I’ve made in the last year may seem puny on the surface, but changing ones life and livelihood so completely still, like anything else, requires baby steps. Maintaining this blog at the level to which it has been maintained is, in and of itself, no small feat. But to complete one novel and be 50,000 words into a second is nothing short of amazing, given that it isn’t what I was doing for the last 30-odd years. It takes time to twist my head around into the direction I mean it to go.

As I seem to have finally grasped the direction I mean to take, 2015 should see further evolution and growth. I expect to see some new ideas, a growth in the amount of material I produce and variety in what I produce. I expect to see completion of some classes I signed up for in 2014 and use of the information I glean.

Numeralogically speaking, my birth year is 9 which is represented by the Hermit in Tarot. I have certainly been living up to that image as I pursue a career which is largely done in the privacy and safety of my own environment. The Universal year, 2015 is 8 which is represented by the Strength card. This is an apt card for a year which will require perseverance and strength of character as well as strength of purpose.

The real kicker, though, is my personal year which is 6 and is represented by the Lovers. This indicates partnerships, contracts and choices to be made in my work environment which will change my life for the better.

All in all, changing my blog is only a small step towards what lies ahead in the coming year. This prompts me to add another affirmation to the stickies which ring my monitor (good thing it’s an extra large one!)

The New Year sees me becoming what I was meant to be

Which leaves only my gratitudes tonight, or a smidgen of them, anyway, as to list them all would require several posts, and even then, I’d surely still omit a few.
1. I am grateful for the love and support I am receiving as I wander around, seeking the path for my new journey.
2. I am grateful for the leap of faith, and the support I received to take it last year. I am more certain than ever that it was the right thing to do.
3. I am grateful for my unwavering spirit, even when things don’t appear particularly successful.
4. I am grateful for the groups I’ve joined this year which have provided insight and direction on many levels.
5. I am grateful for the healthy lifestyle I’ve embraced as I search for my new path, and which is, in fact, a leg on that road.
6. I am grateful for the vivid dreams I have which may not always stick, but leave wisps in my brain which come back to the surface when they are needed.
7. I am grateful for the company of my cats who are often the only ones I speak to for a few days. They show their appreciation for my almost constant company in so many ways.
8. I am grateful for my daughter and my friend Candy who have encouraged me along this road, but never beat me up when I failed to produce as much as I might have had I treated my days like a job.
9. I am grateful for the ladies form my A.R.T. class who gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get out of a lifestyle which was killing me slowly.
10. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, support, love, joy, inspiration, faith, health, harmony, peace, gratitude, lessons and prosperity. (that piece of land overlooking the beach, an artists retreat and cat rescue may be dreams now, but they will ultimately be reality.)

Namaste and a very Happy, prosperous New Year to all.

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