Drama Queen

Tonight was rough.  Nothing happened, actually, I mean, no event transpired during my day today that would have triggered this reaction.  No, this is a reaction to the past, and it is painful.

I’m trying to wrap my head and my heart around it.  I want to understand this breakdown because I believe on the other side, there is a breakthrough to be had.  This is an opportunity to let go of something that no longer serves me.  It means there is something for me to surrender, I just have to figure out what it is and then have the courage to let it go.

So I showed up for my lesson today and although I felt pretty neutral coming in the studio, as I made my way to the bathroom, I began to feel a bit blue.  The truth is, as I got dressed for my lesson, I put on a shirt and I didn’t like how it looked on me – my body looked, to me, wide, round, not curvy, just blobby.  And don’t even get me started on my arms.  Mental sigh.  Wear a different shirt that you are more comfortable in so you can ignore the way you look.  Focusing on my body brings me no joy and I know this so I try to be as kind as I can to myself and wear things that make me feel a little bit better.  So, anyways, the point of this is that the self-judgement, criticism, and rejection had already started before I left home, even if subtly.  I tried to brush it off.  I tried to take an action to alleviate the demons and shift my focus by changing clothes.  It didn’t work.

So the conditioning that I’ve internalized saw that it had a toe-hold on my brain and it hijacked the operation.  It took advantage of the mirror in front of me, using it as a rapier to slice my heart, reminding me of all my perceived flaws, making me aware that I’m wishing that I were other that what I am.  I waste so much time and energy on this stupid spiral, I keep engaging in it.  I know, from an intellectual place, how insane this is, and yet I’m still doing it.  It makes me cry.  I don’t even want to repeat all the crap this conditioning spewed at me, let’s just say it’s exquisitely painful to look in the mirror and wish that the reflection was different.  It’s painful to reject yourself.

I mentioned to Kristijan that I felt like I was twelve years old.  This wasn’t so much about the fact that I was being emotional for no apparent reason, but rather because I felt small and insecure.  Being the type of person who believes nothing is coincidence and that honing in on a specific age could be a clue, I thought back on my drive home about when I was twelve years old.

I recalled that when I was twelve my family moved from Colorado to Arizona and I started 6th grade.  The summer before this move we came to visit and attended a pool party.  I remember my mom pointing out to me that everyone in Arizona was fit and trim and that we should be that way too to fit in.  Over that summer I was put on a diet and I dropped lots of weight.  By beginning of the school year I was deemed acceptable.

I must own my part in this and the fact that I’m going into victim mode around this to a point.  I took on the beliefs that created this perspective on the experience.  Also, the unconscious message I got very clearly was that I was unacceptable as I was and needed to change to be accepted and loved.  I did change, but on one level, this was a betrayal of self and the buying into of a lie that there was something to fix.  Also, I remember being so hungry on this diet that I snuck uncooked pasta from the pantry.  That doesn’t seem like a normal thing, nor a compassionate way to transform one’s body.

Anyways, that event was what it was. But it was a seed which I then must take responsibility for watering and nurturing until it has grown into a thorny weed around my heart.  This weed pricks deeply, I bleed self-rejection.

I say I want to be a joyful person and yet I’m doing this to myself.  I’m showing up as sad, drama queen.  I’m told one must first fully acknowledge exactly where one is before it can be healed or addressed properly.  Normally I’d berate myself for choosing to slide down this particular death spiral, admonishing myself for once again being an asshole for choosing misery when I theoretically know better.

This time, I want to explore it more fully.  I want awaken to it so that it can reveal the gift it has in store for me.  I don’t want to resist this anymore because that doesn’t change anything, in fact it probably keeps it in place.

One thing that arises is compassion for my twelve-year-old self, who just wanted love and acceptance, who just wanted to be okay, and who rejected herself, took on the job of self-rejection, so that she wouldn’t have to endure it from others around her that she loved.  She was trying to protect me/herself in a way, and that is lovely.  The only problem is, this protection is not actually protecting me from anything – actually there is nothing to protect me from.  Actually, this armor that was built to protect me is weighing me down and causing harm.

I really want to be with whatever this part of me is that needs my love and attention.  I no longer wish to shut it down or make it go away because it’s not effective and painful.  I want to embrace this sad energy, cradle it in my heart and whisper to it, soothing it, saying, I have enough space for you.  You are welcome here.  I’m sorry it took so long for me to hear you and attend to you.  I love you and I need your love.

I surrender the need for you to grow up or be other than you are.  I surrender all my expectations.  I let go of all I pressure I put on you.  You are perfect just as you are and I’m grateful for your contribution to my life.  But this process that we’ve been doing together just brings us both down.  It’s not moving us forward, in fact it’s keeping us stuck!  And we are missing out on the joy available in the moment.  I apologize for every time I think a thought that rejects you or resists reality just as it is, with nothing added and nothing taken away.  I’m choosing to choose you and life and me and my body just exactly as it is.  I forgive myself for being human and having erroneous thoughts.  I will do my best to be aware of them and lovingly correct them as soon as possible.

So here I am, at the end of all that writing and it has nothing to do with dancing.  I just knew that I was in a tizzy and needed to work this all out.  Writing is my therapy and I thought it might contain something worth sharing.  For whatever reason, the place in my life where this particular storyline plays itself out most vehemently is while I’m dancing.  It’s the place where I can access the rejected parts of me, they are right there barely under the surface.  In most other areas of my life I don’t get this down on myself, nor do I feel the depths of despair.  I guess this is why I say that dancing is my practice.  Hopefully next time I go, me and my twelve-year-old self can go hand in hand and enjoy our time together, for I am the possibility of compassion and self-love and she is welcome here.


Award Time!

Hello chickadees!  It’s me, your incredibly inconsistent blogger friend.

I’m not even exactly sure what I’m going to write today but I left my iPad at the studio (it’s safely behind the front desk at this point awaiting me), so I’m unencumbered and have pulled out the old laptop.

I danced tonight, so that seems like a good place to start.  We had a “competition simulation” at EuroRhythm which is basically dancing rounds.  I signed up for just 2 rounds, mainly for financial reasons, and boy did it kick my butt.  Seriously.  That is some serious cardio.  I danced full-out during both rounds to the point that I got sick to my stomach toward the end and the last 45 seconds or so of the jive. At the end of each round I was thinking, “this is NOT fun!”  Seriously (did I say that before?) I’m a bit worried about my cardio stamina.  I thought it was better and I did really well at Galaxy but after tonight, I’m doubting where I stand.  I suppose the good thing is that I have 4 weeks left.  And we are scheduled to have one of these killer cardio sessions for the next 3 weeks, so hopefully that will help.  That plus I signed up for “Hell Week” at Orange Theory next week which consists of attending 5 workouts over 6 days, so that will be quite a stretch…Oh and each workout has a clever name like “Death by Rower” or “The Hills Run Red”…I hope I survive and get the t-shirt they promise you for completing the challenge!

So back to tonight’s drama, I was so winded at the end of the second round that I decided to be dramatic and lay face down on the carpeting beside the dance floor.  It cracked Anja and another instructor up pretty good.

The other cool thing that happened was that one of my favorite fellow dancers who also dances with Kristijan was there and we conspired to create a little magic and gratitude.  So what occurred was that I won a silly award for performance at my work that earned me a certificate and a tiny plastic trophy, probably from the 99 cent store.  I threw it in my car and it was sitting in my console staring at me.  As I got out of my car I saw it and thought, “Hmmm, maybe I can give an award tonight.”  Part of me was like, “Well, if you are going to do it, do it right!  Create a certificate and make something polished.”  I hesitated, ignored the perfectionistic comment from my brain, and decided to be spontaneous.  I then grabbed the golden trophy and threw it in my purse.  I saw my dance friend and my idea grew.  I won’t share her name since I didn’t ask her if I could but we’ll call her “SweetP.”  So I told SweetP, let’s make up an award for Kristijan.  She was like, “To express our gratitude?”  And I was like, “Yes, exactly!  We can maybe grab him after the simulation and speak from the heart and give him his award.”  And she was like (and I’m so grateful for this), “And we have to give it to Anja as well!  She helps me so much with my dancing, too!”  And I was like, “Of course!  She has contributed so much to my dancing as well.  We will give it to them both!”  I love how this silly idea evolved and expanded and I love SweetP’s willingness to participate and make it even better.


So that’s what we did.  After the sweating and heavy breathing, we called over the wonder couple and I said, “I bet you didn’t know you were up for an award, did you?”  And they were like, “What are you talking about?” So SweetP said some words, and I said some words, and we basically thanked them for being kind and encouraging and joyful and helpful and for adding grace and beauty to our dancing.  It was a super fun moment.  And SweetP thanked me for including her afterwards which was great as well and also I was so glad to share it with her.

So that’s cool.

And in other news, Ivan and I continue to put together our Best of the Best routine and actually I’ll see him tomorrow in the evening but not for a lesson.  There is a Rhythm Dance Camp here in town with Sam Sodano and Bill Sparks and Decho and Bree that I will be attending tomorrow evening and during parts of the weekend.  Ivan will be there for tomorrow night but then is off to somewhere else for a professional performance with Marieta so I’ll be doing the rest of the workshops solo.  If I’m inspired, I’ll write about my experience and share it with you.  If I’m being incredibly inconsistent blogger then you may not see anything.  I make no promises.

One other cool thing to share is that I’ve started a new program in which I will be creating a project for the community.  We get to create whatever we want within the guidelines of the seminar.  It’s a 4 month-long event and I just had my first work day last Saturday.  There are such amazing people in my team and I have an amazing coach to help along the way.  It seems like each week we will get different assignments to work on and by the end we will have created something wonderful, each of us, and put it out into the community to make a difference.  I’m really excited about it and thinking that I want to create a program for dancing and working with women’s shelters.  I’ve often thought about how dance profoundly changed my life and my image of myself.  I’ve also often contemplated, as I saw people walking around on the streets, “I wonder what that person would be like if they had a ballroom “makeover” – if they had the opportunity to learn a dance, wear a glamorous gown, have their hair and make up done.”  They probably wouldn’t recognize themselves.  And I also thought that dancing, and being around the amazing women who have influenced my dancing, has created a space of Worthiness, Power, and Beauty.  And I thought what might a woman whose life has led her to be at a shelter be missing?  Maybe a good dose of Worthiness, Power, and Beauty could be transformational.  Maybe these woman could have a totally different experience of themselves in a totally new way, and maybe they could walk in the world differently.  So that’s the seed of my idea.  I am flexible and have no idea what the final product might look like.  It’s an adventure.  And it’s probably going to expand just like what happened tonight with SweetP – the idea will grow and change and improve as I enroll various partners’ in crime to help me make this happen!  Please send your good vibes, thoughts, and intentions for what is about to unfold!  I would love your support.

So I guess that’s it for the moment.  It’s 11:05pm and I’d better get some sleep!  I have a lesson with Ivan tomorrow at 10:15, then a pedicure, then who knows what might occur until 7pm when the first session of the dance camp begins.  Wish me luck!

And one final thing – big shout outs to BC Ballroom for completing her competition and to Girl With The Tree Tattoo for her committment to do the 31 day writing challenge!  I’ve been loving reading all your posts!  Best wishes to BC as she prepares for her upcoming surgery.  You are loved.

Your incredibly inconsistent blogger friend, Stef

Ohio Star Ball Here I Come!

Hey!  It’s a surprise to me, too!  I wasn’t expecting to be going there this year but an opportunity has come my way that I refuse to miss.  It might be a stretch for me to make this happen but I’m determined to seize the day.

So what changed from a few days ago to now?  As you may or may not know, I attended the Galaxy Dance Festival here in Scottsdale, Arizona over the last two days.  I danced in the bronze Rhythm category with Ivan.  We completed 2 rounds of closed dances and 1 round of open dances.  We also competed in the scholarship for closed bronze which was a Best of the Best qualifier event.

Now before Thursday I did not know this Best thing even existed, much less what it was or what it meant.

But let me back up here for a moment.  Before I get into all that, I want to share a bit about my experience over the past days.  Because although the news I have to share is wonderful and exciting, it actually isn’t the biggest “win” I had.  You see, I had many “wins” over the last few days that had absolutely nothing to do with how I placed or what my results were.



This was my first competition back in over a year.  That in and of itself is a bit intimidating.  When I left the scene I was doing reasonably well and I felt like people, certainly Ivan included, had expectations for me.  This is wonderful in the sense that people believe in me and want to see what I can do, how I will grow and develop, what I can show, and that they are interested in me at all.  On the flip side, this can easily turn into pressure, unhealthy, dysfunctional thinking, and misery through trying to strive to be something I think others want me to be, or trying to be perfect.

Okay, so during my break from the competition scene I’ve gotten myself to a much more grounded, healthy, stable place around how I think about myself and my dancing.  Stepping back on to the competitive ballroom floor was testing this new way of being.  I haven’t faced the nerves, the expectations, or being judged in a long time.  So I’ll count it as win number one to have had the courage to brave the uncertainty of dancing in public for the purpose of being compared, judged, and ranked.

The second win was how Ivan and I danced and related to one another.  We enjoyed ourselves.  He gave me feedback but it didn’t descend into the negative pit of despair.  We definitely had our hiccups out on the floor, we missed some areas in our open routines especially, but we never stopped dancing, we never lost connection, we made it work, and it was fun.  He was pleased with how it went, even with the mis-steps, which was a relief.  He told me flat-out before the competition that he had expectations for me about dancing in closed bronze, so I appreciate his honesty, but the thing is that we lucked out that our results matched his expectations.  I had already resolved myself to be completely at peace with however the results panned out.  I refuse to get myself in to that space of being disappointed by reality not going how I imagined it “should” go….instead I choose to accept it as it is.  This made the most challenging part simply waiting to for the results!  The waiting made me sick to my stomach.  But a result is just a result.  It is inherently meaningless.  Any meaning I assign to it is created by me.  I have no idea what the judges are looking at, and quite a few times results I saw in other heats and some of my own heats, I did not agree with.  Oh well.

So we related well to each other, we danced well, especially for slapping together the open routines is such a short amount of time (truly they are not practiced enough which is why I screwed them up here and there), and we actually enjoyed ourselves.  We went to lunch after our single dances and talked things over, noting that this is the way it can be each and every time we compete, whether there are 5 or 50 couples on the floor, because it is up to us the pressure we put on ourselves.  We don’t need to go to that nasty, misery place ever again.  In the end, for me, I think it is about confidence, believing in myself, doing my best, which is exactly what I did this time.  I did the very best I could.  I see that I have room to grow in confidence, and there are specific goals I have in regards to elevating weaker aspects of my overall game, and, with where I am right now, I left it all on the floor.  Yes I did.

So that being said, sometimes the person on the floor with you is better prepared and has a better overall game.  There were some confidence-boosting perks that occurred (which I will get to shortly), and there was also this situation.  When I saw the girl dancing in the Latin scholarship with me (it was a 2 couple final) I knew I would be second.  You know, sometimes it can be really a close call, and sometimes it’s really clear who is the superior dancer.  In this case, it was clear.  The cool thing was that I was cool with that, and this is no way demeaning my dancing.  There is no shame in doing my best and placing second such a polished dancer.  I’ll call this win number three.  I mean, what a great feeling to be so happy after completely bombing my cha-cha, “losing” to this great dancer, and ripping my dress!  I’m starting to be un-messable-with!

So yeah, that happened.  During my closed silver Latin scholarship (um, yeah, why in Silver in Latin when I have more experience in Rhythm….that was intimidating, but how the teachers did it so I go with the flow) I got so into my cha-cha that I forgot where I was in the routine and did the second set of cross-overs before the first single one, lost connection with Kristijan, and we stood still on the floor for a moment not dancing at all.  All I could do was laugh about it, and be like, meh, well, I’m still second place.  So I screwed up that pretty royally and then during the Paso Doble my heel got caught in my dress and I had to do this weird kick to get it free.  Well, I freed myself and then a dance later, during the Jive, I was spinning and a panel on my dress flew off across the floor!  And get this – I didn’t miss a beat!  For all I knew my butt was hanging out but I didn’t skip a step.  How is that for irony?  So as a cherry on top of the sundae, not only was I okay with my result, and okay with how I danced, but I got money for showing up!  Yep, even through it was a 2 couple final they still gave me a payout, which was super nice, and combined with my Rhythm scholarship winnings, really helped a lot with the cost of things!


Yep, did you catch that?  I earned first place in the closed bronze Rhythm scholarship.  It was a 3 couple final.  Then we danced a cha cha in the best of the best round, which was like a solo, and I won that as well….which got me an invite to compete in the Best of the Best at Ohio Star Ball….which is why I’m now going to Ohio Star Ball.  Can you believe it?


I mean, granted, Galaxy was a smaller competition with a small final, but still, it’s an opportunity.  Not everyone gets the chance to participate in this event and I even met Sam Soldano, the owner of Ohio, who is also a co-presenter of Galaxy, and he seemed keen to have me come.

Okay, so I won and I got my butt handed to me.  I also made new friends and that was win number…well, I’ve lost count at this point.  They are really adding up, aren’t they?  I mean, I can’t see a single downside when it comes right down to it.

And you know what, even though all this has been beautiful and wonderful, it’s still emotional.  I find myself tearing up today, for no particular reason.  I’m happy.  I’m satisfied.  And yet dancing, especially when I put myself out there on public display, taps into something deep within.  I sense that there has been a breakthrough, even if I can’t exactly put my finger on exactly what it is.

I don’t know what to name this breakthrough, all I know is that I feel clear – clearer than I’ve felt in a very long time.  I know exactly what to do for the next two months.  I know what to eat, how to work out, how much I want to dance.  I know the consistency I want to foster.  I love this time frame of 2 months – it’s enough time to make a significant difference, and yet still creates a sense of urgency, so that I show up even more alive, vibrant, strong, grounded, joyful, and grateful at Ohio, even as I rocked Galaxy exactly as I am right now.

There is something powerful about being willing to show up even when I know that I’m still in the process of developing.  I acknowledge myself for being courageous.  I acknowledge myself for being willing to be imperfect and to look the fool.

As you all know dance has been, and continues to be a healing experience for me. Another of the amazing gifts garnered from participating in this competition was seeing the progress I have made.  I used to be 85 pounds heavier. I used to  get winded after 1 samba.  I used to be afraid to express myself.  I used to be ashamed of my body and who I am.  The evidence is clear, I am no longer who I used to be.  I am no longer Biggest Girl In The Ballroom. No, I am Beautiful Girl In The Ballroom.  And that’s the biggest win of all.

Gah!  I am freaking sobbing writing and reading this!  I couldn’t tell you why it’s all so emotional, but it is.  I just feel like so much has happened, and there is so much more to come…starting with tonight!  I’ve got to dry my eyes, get cleaned up, and get back for the final session.  Then back to work on Sunday with a lesson with Ivan.

Stay tuned and I look forward to meeting those of you who will be at Ohio!

Love, Stef


Everything’s Wrong! Cue The Pre-Competition Freak-Out

Why I do this to myself I seriously don’t understand.

Boy did I get myself into a tizzy today.  So the deal is that I’ve signed up to do the Galaxy competition here in Phoenix and it is in about a week and a half.   I’m going to dance Rhythm with Ivan and Latin with Kristijan.

Do I feel ready?  Not at all.  My body and endurance is not where I want it to be.  My new shoes got here today so I’m breaking them in and they hurt.  I do not feel practiced in either set of my routines – we are still working out details in Rhythm open choreo (closed is just lead and follow but there is still technique to remember and execute with excellence), and I don’t know that we’ve run the routines completely start to finish, certainly not full-out with all tricks.  Oh, and also for sure we’ve not done any complete rounds.  In Latin, I learned both Paso Doble and Jive just last week.  Needless to say I don’t feel entirely comfortable with everything.  (Or ANYTHING!!! Gah!)

Not to mention that this is my first competition back in a year or longer.

Until today, I’ve been cool with it all.  I’ve been in a space that I am dancing for me, I love to do it, I need to get back into it at some point so why wait, we never really feel ready, and I’d thought I’d come to peace with how I am dancing and how my body looks.  I was really calm about everything just trusting that I don’t have to be perfect, but to get where I ultimately want to be, I need to get back in the game.  I was choosing to not take things so seriously because of everything that is going on, and really people don’t care that much anyways! I’ve been watching a lot of reality shows lately like Project Runway and RuPaul’s Drag Race and all the judging that happens comes down to opinions.  I’ve been working on making my own opinion of myself more important than those of others around me.  This isn’t to say I’m not open to feedback or coaching, but rather that such feedback doesn’t shake me to the core like it used to, that I can decide what works for me and leave what doesn’t, that I don’t just accept it as fact, and that at the end of the day it is about loving myself and being okay with being me.

I’ve been telling myself that this year was indeed about transformation.  I’ve made a lot of changes, although they may be invisible, but they have culminated in me changing the name of this blog, creating a situation where I can pursue dancing with two amazing instructors, and feeling ready to step back on to the competitive scene knowing that I am not as polished as might be expected.  I was (or at least I thought I was) strong and centered – determined to play my own game at the competition – one in which winning meant no nerves, enjoying myself, sharing myself, and really feeling the dancing (not just going through the motions or doing the steps per rote).  Not to mention it is a privilege and a blessing to get to pursue dancing.  First world problems, all of this!  I’m generally grateful about it!

Speaking about grateful – here is a pic of the new dress.  Animal print, red and black…RAWR!

New Dress is heavy! All those crystals...wish I had lost more weight just so I could be the same pounds after putting this dress on, Grrrl! lol

New Dress is heavy! All those crystals…wish I had lost more weight just so I could be the same pounds after putting this dress on, Grrrl! lol


Here is a nice detail of the cool 3-D flowers Julia added

Here is a nice detail of the cool 3-D flowers Julia added

Well, today, all of that went right out the window.  About half-way through my lesson with Kristijan, as we were running through rounds, it hit me, like out of nowhere.  Suddenly a cacophony erupted screaming mercilessly all my fears and insecurities, self-judgements, harshest self-criticisms, doom, gloom, and crappy self-talk.  I have not been triggered that intensely in a very long time.

“What will people think?” they said.  “You look exactly the same, you fatso!  You took a year off!  What the hell have you been doing?  Does your dancing even look different at all?  No! You know there will be expectations and what do you have to show for it?”  They continued, “And what about dancing with two different instructors?  People are going to comment on it.  You are going to be judged. They will be judged.” (Cue dramatic, horrifying music…dum dum daaaammmmm!)

And then probably my most familiar demon spake, “You stink! Your dancing is so bad, so gross.  How messy your feet are!  There is no upper body movement.  You are moving your hips wrong.  Seriously everything you are doing is horrible.  You really need to let go of the idea that you are or could be a good or excellent dancer.  You are just never going to look like that! Stop trying to be something you are not.  You will NEVER be enough.”

I got so fixated on looking good, or, not looking bad, that all the joy was sucked out of my being.  I was so caught up in all that was so completely, obviously WRONG with me, and how I am still not able to fix it, even after living 37 years on this Earth… “If only I could fix it.  Then I would be okay, then I would be acceptable.  Then it would be okay for me to dance…..”

I know it’s all bullshit but it feels so very real.  It’s so depressing. The black hole of egocenteredness….

I’ve really been working on letting go of trying to feel “special” or “better than/worse than” others.  This is just an ego-trip/ego-trick.  The ego is concerned with such things. (side note, ego is not bad…it’s just getting in my way in this particular issue.  We, as humans, must have some sort of ego persona to function properly…I guess I’m referring to an overblown ego, a needy ego, one that is not balanced or neutral in nature…)  I’ve been practicing my mantra of this is it, and this is perfect.  I am enough just as I am.  My body is exactly how it is and exactly how it isn’t.  It is changing every day based on how I take care of it.  I am so blessed to have such an amazing body that moves so beautifully and to be in such good health.  I’ve been practicing freeing myself from self-judgement and criticism so that I feel safe enough to just express myself freely.

And then today, oh man!  It sucked me right in!  Right back down to the deep black pits of despair.  Honestly, I’m still upset about it – that’s why I’m writing about it.  I want to get it all out and get the freak-out processed and gone so that I can show up how I want to show up at the competition, with a big, joyful smile on my face, nonplussed by how anyone reacts to me, really focused on enjoying the magnificent experience – to enjoy it for every penny I’ve spent on it (Am I right?  Ballroom is stupid expensive $$$$$), all the time I’ve put in to get ready for it, and all the energy I’ve put toward it.

(And shout out to Girl With The Tree Tattoo – how upset and disappointed I would be if I couldn’t even do it!!!! Humans, including me, are INSANE!!! I am lucky to get to do it…)

Although it was apparent I was emotional during my lesson, I pretty much held it together until I made it into my car.  Once I reached my vehicle and closed the door, I collapsed crying and coughing.  I even began retching a little bit (luckily I had tissues in my car) and my throat spasmed tight just like it did when I was a little girl trying to hold my emotions inside.  I felt like I was being choked from within the internal tissues of my esophagus.  Maybe you don’t believe in chakras or anything but it so happens that the throat chakra is related to self-expression, which makes total sense in my mind as to what’s going on inside my system.  It’s an old pattern of the feeling of being judged and needing to be other than I am which steals my joy and tightens me up to hold in the emotions.  Unfortunately it also squelches free self-expression, and I do not feel safe to be myself with abandon, without filtering.  Oh my! Time to let that one go, don’t you think?

The hilarious part is that I’m the one judging myself.  I do recall as a little girl wishing that I could just be accepted for who and how I was.  I did not feel that it was okay to be me.   I suppose every child experiences some flavor of that while growing up and being socialized so that we can actually fit into society and all.  So it’s probably just a normal part of development.  However I really seemed to have internalized the voice of self-judgement and it is rearing its ugly head right now.  There is no problem with it existing, it’s just that I am buying into what it says, and what it says is vicious.  This doesn’t serve me at all – it steals my joy, makes me sad and depressed, and just generally sucks!  Why am I believing what it says, anyways!?  If someone said these things to me out loud I’d tell them to go fuck themselves!  I’d walk away and know that they were full of crap projecting on me and that it was not the truth. OMG. So the fact that I was so very taken in by fear today was a real eye-opener.

Okay, so yeah.  Cue the freak-out. That’s the space I am experiencing today.


I’m determined to feel the feelings.  I am grateful this happened today and not the day of the comp!  (Yay? lol) Only when such vulnerablities that we want to hide in the shadows are exposed can we address them and heal them.

Moving forward: I, Stefanie, am committed to intentionally create for myself the experience I’ve described about how I want to show up at the competition.  I do declare that I will be joyful, calm yet excited, open, grateful, ready for fun and magic, limber, relaxed, connected, sensitive, centered, strong and powerful!  I will move people.  And, I choose to love and approve of myself exactly as I am.

That being said, I would still really appreciate encouragement and reminders of how awesome I am :)  It would help me shift out of this dark space quicker.

Love, Stef

A New Ballroom Village Member

Hi guys!

I’m on my (slow) phone right now and have no home internet service so I can’t do a long post just now (well I could but it sucks typing with just my thumbs on the Qwerty keyboard).

But! I’ve been remiss in not getting this information out sooner so I wanted to get it posted at least.

Please welcome our newest Ballroom Village member, The Dancing Housewife. http://www.thedancinghousewife.com/

Please post a link to her on your Ballroom Village Page so we can all spread the word about the new kid on the block.

And…lots more to share, Galaxy Comp in like a week…eek!

Condolences to Girl With The Tree Tattoo about your latest bummer news and Congrats to BC Ballroom Dancer for getting the go ahead to compete even if it is getting difficult. It is amazing all the ups and downs we all experience during our journeys. Remember, we are all in this together and never alone. Someone can always relate to what is going on for us, individually. Keep sharing, beautiful Ballroom Villagers!

Xoxo, Sparsely-posting Stef

Really Dancing….No, Really! I Mean Like REAL Dancing.

Hi everyone!  I’m baaaaaaaack!

I went on vacation for a week in Ireland, and the week and a half before that I was down for the count with bronchitis.  It’s been a while.

It’s been a while since I wrote and it’s been a while since I did anything physical.  It’s certainly been an eon since I last danced.  It’s also been an age since I last worked out or did any cardio.

What I have been up to is driving in a tiny car on scary one lane roads in the back country of Ireland, eating lots of food, drinking lots of cider and generally laughing, enjoying life, and getting soft.

Also, my husband took lots of amazing photos of our trip.  Below are three:  The Hedges, Giant’s Causeway, and the Cliffs of Moher.




It’s been great and now I’m glad to be back to “real life.”  In fact, on one of the lay-overs during my sojourn home (it was a 22 hour travel extravaganza from Dublin to our doorstep) I made a point to call and schedule my dance lessons for the week.  It was a priority!

Today was the day for my reunion with Kristijan (Ivan is in Bulgaria until the end of the month) and I had a grand time on my lesson.  I began in my practice shoes.  I’m still recovering a little bit from my respiratory infection and still have congestion and a cough, plus I haven’t been “in my body” to dance for the better part of a month so I thought 3 inch heels right off the bat might be a recipe for disaster.  Anyways, we warmed up with Rumba walks and off we went.

“What do you want to dance?”  He inquired.

“Rumba!” I exclaimed, “I’m a slow starter!” I exhorted.

And it’s true.  Rumba is probably my favorite dance and I love it so much.  It’s a slow burn and a nice way to warm up and reacquaint oneself with one’s body after a long absence.

So we reviewed the choreography.

“How much did you practice while you were gone.”

“Zero,” I said.

“But there is a thing called visualization,” he retorted.  “And it can be a good form of practice,” he explained.

“I did nothing of the sort,” I replied, honestly.  “I ate and I drank and I got fat! I did not practice one iota! So let’s see how this goes,” I said.

And we danced.  And then he suggested we turn on some music.

And I really liked it.  I liked the music, I liked the dancing.  He told me he missed me and the energy I bring.  He corrected me and told me not to put my head down like a bull.  He told me my center of gravity was high and to get more settled in my hips.  He told me to fix my wonky, weak arm.

And I was in a goofy, playful mood.  I pretended like I was Latin champion on of the world and began the Rumba dramatically.  He liked it.  “That was very good,” he said.

So we did the choreography and he told me I was leaning backwards during my spiral turn (which is a bad habit of mine) so I said, “Oh, so you’re saying this wouldn’t work if I were in heels.  Maybe I should put on my heels so I could have a reality check.  These practice shoes give me the illusion that I can actually dance.”  I say this because with the lower heel I can get away with more bad habits and still stay on balance and make things work.  The moment I put on 3 inch heels the entire landscape changes and I often feel like I have strapped on not just shoes but the wobbly legs of a newborn deer.

So guess what!?  I changed into my heels!

And we danced some more.  And I emoted and I played.  And the best part was we danced!  We really danced!  I mean there were all these little gems scattered hither and thither in the routine.  I wouldn’t say the routine rounds were perfectly polished, but there were these amazing moments and sequences of moments where magic happened.

For instance, I began my Rumba with conviction and Kristijan reacted.  Somehow we started the routine totally differently.  We did a hip twist into a double spin and then began the official choreography.  None of this was planned and none of it was communicated except that we were both present and both dancing, together, and it was just the natural evolution of the next right thing to do.  I have no idea how it all was coordinated – it was from a realm beyond words.  It just worked, it just happened, we just created it out of nothing because we were both there, together, connected…which is all the more amazing since we haven’t seen each other for like 3 weeks.

Then there was this moment where I decided that I really liked the music and the movement I was doing so I delayed it.  I stretched it out and made it happen over twice the timing it usually does.  And it was awesome!  I totally took the lead and Kristijan had to react to it.  He totally did and it was so awesome!  I don’t know how this all happened but I just knew that I was planted on that spot and that I was going to finish what I was going to do and then I would move, and somehow through the ethers he got the message and figured it out and then our next move was even that much more sharp and impactful because we delayed so long.

I loved it!  I loved creating something together, from nothing, with no prior planning or scheming or communication.  I loved how it all unfolded, naturally.  I thought to myself, “If I dance like that, so relaxed and joyful and playful and open, at a competition…if we could spontaneously create something in the moment so that each time we danced a routine it was genuinely new, I would be so satisfied and happy with that!  I wouldn’t care how we were ranked!  I would be pleased.”  So I told Krisijan as much and I said, “So let’s dance like that in competition, m’kay, deal?”  And he said, “Okay, Deal!”

I mean, in my view of the world, what we did today was ACTUALLY dancing.  It was not just going through the motions.  It was connected.  It was alive and breathing.  It was co-created space.  It was magic and spontaneous and felt free and joyful.  It was the best!  Yay!

And besides that, the other big news is that Krisijan and Anja got a puppy named Don.  He’s a rescue Lab-SharPpai mix, black, cute, and exploring the world with his sharp-puppy-toothed-mouth!

Also, I’ve decided I will dance in the Galaxy Dance Festival here in Phoenix in September.  It will be my first competition back.  I don’t know if Ivan will be game, but I know Kristijan will so at the least I will do Latin, and I’m hoping I can do some Rhythm as well.

Lastly, I have a fitting for my new dress by Julia tomorrow on my lunch break.  Fingers crossed I love it!

I think that gets me caught up for now, on my end.  But in a parting note, I did wanted to give a shout out to all my Ballroom Village bretheren.  I’m getting caught up in all I’ve missed over the past couple of weeks and you all have been a busy lot, posting!  I’m working my way through your recent adventures.  Also, and importantly, I wanted to send a very special congratulations to BC Ballroom on completing chemo!!!!!  Yay!  This is cause for celebration and I’m so glad to read that you are dancing up a storm right now!  You GO girl!  You are an inspiration to me….and I’m not just talking about how consistent you are with your blog posts lol! (I could use a little of that hahaha)

Oh, and I have a guest post on Girl With The Tree Tattoo!  It’s about how I got to the place where I changed my blog name from Biggest Girl In The Ballroom to Beautiful Girl In The Ballroom….go check it out.

Come to think of it, there are at least two more pieces of exciting news in the works!  I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!

I’m glad to be back with you all and I’m looking forward to sharing more dance adventures, insights, breakdowns and breakthroughs with you!

Love, Stef

AKA Beautiful Girl