The Life Lessons Of Competitive (Performing) Sports – OWN It

There are countless benefits to participating in competitive and / or performing sports, but one of the best lessons therein embedded is the idea of “owning it.” 

What does it mean to “own it”? Fear, anxiety, self-doubts be dammed, you walk on the floor or take the ice like a champion, PERIOD, as if you know you’ve already taken first place.

At first blush I thought that concept was not only egotistical, but also downright rude – I (I know – GASP!) actually cared about my competitors, and felt it was important never to seem cocky or rude, or even a hair too self-confident. It felt wrong to me, as if I might offend someone or be misconstrued as an insensitive person.

Really!?

Competitive sports are just that, and I’ve witnessed such an array of absurd / inappropriate / infantile behaviors over the years you wouldn’t even believe them…not only on the part of my fellow competitors, but their parents / significant personages in their lives. There’s plenty of “ugly” going on behind the scenes and perhaps for that reason I felt particularly compelled to rise above it and ensure that people knew I was a good person who sincerely wanted us all to succeed. 

 

 

Well…no one really cared WHAT I was thinking or how I came across! I wasn’t that important in the scheme of things (as it is said, no one is paying attention to you because they’re too busy with / worried about / preoccupied with themselves!) Yes, I’m the INFJ queen of reading into things and I was certain that I might offend someone if I acted a little too sure of myself…

But, as the Grinch once said, “W R O N G O!”

I learned very quickly in my competitive and performing career that my attitude was always VERY apparent – not only to my partner (in the case of dancing), or to my coaches and family, but to every person in the audience…and the judges. If I wasn’t 1,000% confident, it was visible – it is no matter who you are. How, you ask…?

When our self-confidence falters, we don’t carry ourselves the same way – our self-doubt often manifests as over thinking. And OVER thinking causes a host of physiologic changes in our body, posture and movement:

  1. We become more rigid, less fluid and flexible in our movements, as if they are contrived and strained
  2. Our breathing becomes shallow and we are aware that we might be sweating…
  3. Not to mention the torrent of butterflies that decided to stampede the “calm” within us right at that moment. Sigh. Nice timing!
  4. We also show it in our face…we lose the smile or seem overly concerned, so much so that our expression can be easily misconstrued as something negative by anyone observing us. Never a good thing when performing, in an interview or presentation, meeting someone for the first time etc….

It is therefore CRUCIAL that we pull it together and act AS IF (article here). As if what? As if we know damn well we are going to win, wow the crowd, have the desired result we want etc…

That doesn’t mean it’s easy because some of us may not totally have that self-confidence. YET. Owning it is very much a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” thing…and that’s okay. You have to PRACTICE.

You have to push the discomfort to the side and recognize that your internal “stuff” is going to show externally. People will also FEEL it, so if you want to come off as a shining star, you need to be sure your energy is aligning with that vibe. When you “own it,” you help to get the brain on the same wavelength as what you are aiming for, and that will make a world of difference in how you are perceived.

Remember, owning it doesn’t mean you are cocky or rude or anything else that may feel “negative” to you. It’s about acknowledging all the asweomeness you have to offer, and ensuring that others catch a positive vibe from you. If they are wondering what your problem is, think you aren’t taking the opportunity seriously, or that you don’t’ believe in yourself, they are going to reflect that in the scores / in their response to you (or your performance.) If you want to bait them hook-line-and-sinker, you want to be absolutely certain that they know you feel confident in your abilities, and that you KNOW you have value. It will be clear in every aspect of your behavior and physicality. 

So next time you have to get out there…shake your tail feathers, smile a huge smile, and say to yourself, “I OWN this. I already know I have the result I want because I have all the tools I need to achieve that, and the hard work and talent to back it up.”

Go GET IT!

SaveSave

SaveSave

Think Like A Warrior

This think-like-a-champion mindset is the kind of approach that always works. You may not always have the answers, nor the most skill.  You may not have the most experience, nor be (even remotely) the most brave. . . But when you adopt a “I’m not going to lose” attitude,  you will come out on top no matter what.

In Ninpo, we teach the children to “love to lose” – when we ask them WHY they love to lose, they say “WE LEARN!!!” And that’s 1,000% true.  

When I read “I don’t know how I’m going to win, but just know I’m not going to lose” I see words that express…“I may not win, but that doesn’t mean failure.”  To me it isn’t as much about dominating the battle and coming out on top – it’s more that, in this semantic case, the “lose” part isn’t an end-all-be-all defeat.  There will be something gained from the experience and in that way, the warrior wins no matter the physical outcome.  

For us in Ninpo, we want to tie the word “lose” specifically to “learn” for the kids – that association, the notion that losing is not a negative, needs to be strong and firm in their minds. 

But another layer to this – and what I also read in the quotation – is  the idea of “walking on the floor like a champion.” It is the way I took the ice as a figure skater, the way I walked to the center of the mat when testing in Martial Arts, and the way I took the ballroom floor in dancing competition – you have to OWN it. You have to own yourself, and what you have to offer – even if you don’t have as much as the other competitors (PS: THEY don’t know that, only you do!) you need to act like you are on top.  

If you walk out there with any self-doubt, it’s going to show, and it will leave room for someone else to sneak in.  If, however, you raise that head high and own what you have got to give. . .you will astound yourself with how much you can achieve.  Trust me, you can do that without the ego too – it’s about knowing you have what it takes and acting in accordance with the idea that you have already won.

Holiday 2016 – Lime Crime Diamond Crushers

Wait…WHaAaaAT!?  Where were THESE when I was competitively Ballroom Dancing, dang it?!  

These are the PERFECT, iridescent light catchers (and I’m highly irritated that they’ve come out now…several years too late!)  The names are as sassy as the shades, and I love that they (along with many other companies) are following suit of such brands as Colour Pop and showing swatches on a variety of skin tones.  *LOVE*

Trip

STRIP

FLUKE. . .

I can’t well wear them to the dojo (lest my partner’s gi light up like a Christmas ball) but…I hope other people indulge in the high-wattage glow! 

The Diamond Crushers are meant to layer over lip color, but I’m sure you could use them on your own.  You could also very likely get creative (because…why not?) and use them to reflect light to / from other areas.  Eye gloss, anyone?  

FY-EYE

New jazz from Maybelline that wasn’t supposed to be out quite yet…but that IS.  Ballroom dancers rejoice – less need to wear the falsies (which I couldn’t STAND!)

The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara promises to sweep your flutter to the side, giving a lifted, winged effect – how pinup and fabulous!

Ulta.com

Ulta.com

Maybelline’s Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer is hopping on the heels of the brow building trend, not only adding color, but filling out sparse areas with its fiber-infused gel formula.

Maybelline.com

Maybelline.com

L’Oreal Cushion De Soleil

Not here in the USA but happy to see this L’Oreal Glam Cushion De Soleil all the same (thanks to msqueenbee617 for posting.)

 This would have been a benefit when ballroom dancing for sure – bronze was the way to be, and maintaining the self tan on my face (while also being a skincare nazi!) meant that I had to have products to replenish the “glow” I often (by default) vigorously washed off!

Cushions have been trending like nobody’s business so I do expect we will see this in the USA at some point in future.

Beauty Humor – Stock Up

I haven’t done competitive ballroom dancing in years, but I was just talking to someone about the ARSENAL of makeup that I have.  Some of it is with me, some is in storage…and the darn stuff has a shelf life, so WHAT THE HECK!?!  

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Somehow, though, it seems to be this crazy affliction that most of the population has – we always stock up on MORE when we have plenty to begin with!  Why IS that!?!?

I’m pretty natural, using very little on my skin – as an athlete, I really can’t wear much anyway (talk about a sweaty, pore-clogged mess!)  So the fact that I have more products that a store has stock of certain brands is KIND OF alarming… *lol*

But then…I’m not exactly alone, am I!?

 

Beauty Humor – Contouring

As a former Ballroom dancer, this cartoon is especially entertaining – I saw it and thought of the time one of my judges did a double take and said “OH MY GOD!  I didn’t recognize you without your warpaint!”  

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Yep…  

It can make a marked difference!  *LOL*

CAMERA 1

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CAMERA 2!

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Change of Pace…

The point of this post…

My main passions (beyond the Love of my Life and my family!) are Martial Arts, and living a happy, healthy Life (with animals around! 🙂 )  I care about taking good care of myself as I get older – internally and externally.  

Fashion was my career for over a decade, and I LOVED it.  By the age of 23 I was managing over 200 people in Cosmetics and Fragrances in a massive NYC department store – serious fun, and serious education!  By 24 I had forayed into ladies footwear, where I’d stay and grow for many more years – here and overseas.

But while I know those worlds intimately, and cherished that time, I feel like those topics are wildly saturated these days.  When you do Fashion Trend Analysis, the concept of “fast fashion” and obsolescence isn’t novel…  But I have so much “new” to share on here that I can’t seem to disseminate it quickly enough!  

So I’m shifting my focus a bit, and hope that’s okay – I know that “newness” will be covered in spades by some AMAZING bloggers out there.  I’m so grateful to all of you who read and enjoy – I love connecting with the larger Universe, and appreciate the kind support. ❤

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I feel like in many ways I am a dichotomy – a proverbial oxymoron, as it were.  I blame my zodiac most of the time…  Scarcely a disservice to other Gemini – we all know just how multi-faceted we can be!  

Because of my, er, celestial classification I have a habit of taking on seemingly highly opposing activities (boredom is a kiss of doom for us!):

  • Figure Skating —> Takekwondo
  • Classical Ballet —> Hapkido
  • Ballroom Dancing —> Ninjutsu 
  • Hip Hop —> JiuJitsu
  • Aerial Yoga —> Kumdo

In my own mind, of course, EVERYTHING is a dance.

EVERYTHING.

Still…not all of my sports are focused on grooming the way many of my childhood ones entailed – Martial Arts?  Looking pretty is the last thing on my mind!  I didn’t grow up to be a glamorous girl – I admire those who are, absolutely – but glam won’t work for me on a daily basis.

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I am far too active to maintain a quotidian routine of lipstick and updos.  I strive for “natural.”  I want to enhance, not hide.  I want to look the same when I wash my face at Night (lest my other half wonder what happened!) 😉 

Having been trained to perform most of my Life, I was bombarded with notions of grace, beauty, polish, and sophistication very early on.  There are worlds revolving around skincare, makeup artistry, hair design – if you haven’t been exposed to it, you’d be wowed! Those things mattered enormously in the sports in which I was predominantly trained in growing up.  You wouldn’t dare take the ice without your “war paint,” or the stage without the proper bun and shimmer!

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As a result, I know a TON about those arenas – makeup artistry was essentially required for my sports.  I was drawn to it as a child because it was openly creative and there really wasn’t a “wrong way” to do it.  It also took a lot of skill to pull oneself together and, most importantly…

Grooming boiled down to taking your performing sport and competition seriously (not to mention the judges taking YOU seriously at the same time.)  

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At the root of all that, skincare was therefore a big deal – my mother always told me that the canvas matters the most (painting over a blemished surface is much more of a challenge, and means you forego “natural” in pursuit of a hard-to-obtain perfection.)  So, I also know TONS about skincare too, and am often asked about my own regimen.  Having good habits starting early will make a big difference down the road and I’m incredibly thankful I don’t appear to be 37.

As an athlete, taking care of our skin is vital – we are often covered in sweat, rolling on mats, or using communal equipment at a gym / school / dojo etc… So unless cleanliness doesn’t matter, we have to be a bit more mindful. 

I also L ❤ VE being a woman, and I care about aging as gracefully as I am able (I probably own every product known to man! 😉 )  I will never run about in complete shambles, and when I am going out somewhere, I will pull it together! I love Fashion and I loved working in the field – I can’t say I don’t miss it!  And I love womanly things – gowns, pencil dresses, lace, stockings, glitter…  So while “badass” and “edgy” work…so do sexy and beautiful.

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When I’m training, though, I’m probably going to be a ruffled mess…so I always felt like “If you can’t handle me like [this], then I’m not for you!”  I mean… I used to live in a town where people would say, “you should wear your hair down when you workout!  You look so different!  It’s much prettier!”  

“Uh…Excuse me?!”

For me personally, the gym is for working out, staying fit, pushing my limits – not impressing anyone with looks…or anything else!  Superficial doesn’t fit in my scheme of things – I’m there to work, and to do something kind for myself.  There is always room to get dolled up later.  

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The great news? Most of my friends are furiously hardworking – whether in their career, Martial Arts, extreme sports (rock climbing, for one, blows me away!), lifting, or seriously skill-perfecting  sports like shooting, I am always in awe, and ever-encouraged to learn more.   

I’m blessed and thankful to be surrounded by supportive people who could care LESS if my hair is a mess, and I’m purple-cheeked and sweating.  Even if we are doing different activities, there is always respect and support.

I need to make a point to also say that the support of my other half is huge. He inspires me every day with his work ethic, talents, eagerness to learn, and his phenomenal heart, among many other things. ❤  

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The point is…going forward, my posts will reflect more of this aspect of my Life (a huge part of it!) than they have in the past.  As much as I am asked about my skin, and the “outward”…I am also asked on a regular basis about what I do for sports, what my routine looks like, what my nutrition consists of etc…  I feel like I can be most helpful in this way.

I love to inspire, I LOOOOVE to encourage, and I find that there is strong community in sharing… So that’s my plan for now. 🙂

As always, many thanks – I love the wonderful comments, and I appreciate the time all of you take out of your day to spend a moment with me. 

XX ❤ X

*Pascal*

 

 

Closet Mad Max-ery!

I have SO. MUCH. STUFF…!  

Particularly on the shoe front.  

I spent about 8 years of my career working in Ladies Footwear in Product Development, so it’s safe to say that I have seen the birth-to-death of many a pair…in my professional Life and in my personal!  Prior to that I worked at Bloomies in NYC in executive management – I was known for wearing black, and for the heels I never seemed to take off!  I’d march from Grand Central at 42nd to 59th and Lex every morning, and back again when my shift was over for the day… That’s a good 34 + blocks in three-inchers (as they often were.)  It was definitely not “good” for me…and my ice skater / dancing feet weren’t entirely pleased.

I started b allroom some years later and it became my new passion.  That said, my passion for heels started to become less and less…not that I don’t LOVE them any less…but that my feet finally had more of a say that I did!  I’d say I’d limp for a good five minutes in the morning after waking up – ballroom shoes are often half-shanked…so a woman can point those lovely toes in her routine!  BUT…the constant pressure, and extra contact with the floor…any dancer will tell you, NSAIDS (yes, topical versions too!), ice, bandages, sports tape…they’re often on hand.  Still…I love the way heels look and REFUSE to do away with the majority.  (I incidentally have some of display as “art so even if I don’t WEAR them, they are enjoyed.)

When I delve into my closet, I find myself saying Oh, I LOVE THOSE!...as if I am in the store buying them for the first time!  *lol*  I guess that works out, right?  I mean, I’m consistent! 😉

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So upon snooping the other day, I found the rockin’ distressed gunmetal Steve Maddens.  I remember getting these WAY back when down in Soho in NYC – the flagship there is pretty rad and I OFTEN found styles you’d never see on the site (courtesy of having a USA factory situation where the “sassier” or “test” styles could be made for the bigger volume, edgier demographics stores.)

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These are about 3.5″ from the back… The heel is chrome, so they definitely catch the eye from the back view.  I remember getting these and thinking there was like a Mad Max or Escape from NY thing going on… They have a well-trained, sportier underscore – I can’t tell if that’s because of the perking or the velcro straps… It could even be the curving stitching and piece up over the counter.  I of course LOVED the the sock was red – RED is such a great color!  

The leather has a distressed burnish to it, making the pewter-like gunmetal WAY more edgy.  Frankly, solid metallic can look very drab and inexpensive – certainly with this upper style, that would have been the case…BUT…they were going for grunge.  Post apocalyptic footballer or something…but it works.  

I’m so glad I found these.  If my feet want to play along, maybe I’ll give them a spin sometime.  If I run into a band of rebels, at least I will look the part…and sassy to boot! 

Love my CHUCKS!

I’m a big Chuck Taylor fan.  I have a really hard time with traditional sneakers because…well, they just AREN’T on the same level of badass as Chucks.  I know, I know…they are better for running (I have a pair of Adidas I spray-painted black for the very occasion) but they just feel so BLAH compared.

Is there ever NOT a good time to wear Chucks?  NOPE!  Mine go everywhere!  They’ve been to the Dojang, to the Ballroom World Championships Ohio Star Ball, USDC Nationals…  

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They go to the grocery store, hold my hand…er…feet…at doctor’s appointments… And they are my go-to in the gym (LEG DAY, ANYONE?!) 500 lbs, I got you.

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The badassery is really at the forefront – they are just AWESOME to begin with.  The rarer they are, the cooler – I feel like if no one else has them, or they’re ultra difficult to track down, their badass-ness increases exponentially!  The X-Ray Halloween Pack kick can be found, but the flaming skull Metallica ones are a hair trickier (I got these babies on eBay Turkey.  Thank you, person in Turkey, for having my size!!!!)

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All that aside, I DO feel like they provide a better “level” for me to work with on the gym floor.  I already have a pronation issue so with running I do have to be conscientious…but having the flat surface makes me feel like I get more out of my stabilizing muscles, and I am more “planted” without any heel pitching.  I am NOT a doctor, and I know my Podiatrist buddy would “like to see [me] is something more supportive” but…I can’t workout without my Chucks.  On the leg press, with squats, lunges, step ups… They’re my truest training partners.  They can’t spot me, I realize…but…I love them anyway!