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!

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A Happy New Year Free Of Fear

I’ve largely lived my life by these words, in spite of sometimes vacillating when I’m on the precipice of going through with whatever it is that’s frightening me…

Generally – after tears have dried, and doubts have reached their peak – I dive in. Why? Because ANY day could be my last. Not going through with something is a disservice to every part of me – heart, soul, mind, body, spirit.

For years, though, I shied away from figure skating, a sport I grew up doing. I learned at so young an age that the slick, icy surface of the rink was like walking on solid ground is to a toddler… The rink was my second home. But after a massive setback in 2012 with a leg torn in three places, severe contusions, a 2-in-1 reconstruction surgery, and a complicated…very long-winded…recovery, I always seemed to find a reason not to lace up again.

With the goal to become a Black Belt (and getting sidelined while at Brown) I went back to the Martial Arts that claimed my left knee. A year and a half later another round of ballistic kicks tore the right ACL and meniscus, though this time I flat-out refused to fix it. As my right leg is my “landing leg” in skating, the fact that I’m missing the tendon responsible for holding the patella in place (in the forward direction) has been the key driver of my anxiety.

Enter needing to move my belongings from my home of 33 years, five years after the first knee injury… There I find my beautiful custom ice skates, hand-crafted by a legend, in desperate need of TLC – I actually shook my head in disgust that I’d have let them sit there so long unloved. After brining them back home and finding a pro sharpener, my husband hopped in the car and drove me a distance to get them tended to.

Once at the rink I began to share my experiences with the sharpener and his wife, both of whom remember what figure skating was in its heyday (honestly, a lot different from what it is now.) We gushed about compulsory figures and the impeccable edge manipulation of the pros back when…and of the strength, power, and infinite grace of the skaters who were on the world stage at the time I was training. I mentioned some of the places I trained, and the coaches I worked with – to my joy, they knew exactly who I was talking about – it felt like I was chatting with old friends. ❤

I’m certain I was brimming over with happiness – feeling as though I was back in my world – and as such, my husband decided to give me a nudge. And then a few more… He could tell I needed (and deeply wanted) to be encouraged…but that anxiety was doing it’s best to keep me derailed.

No such luck!

I remembered the phrase above (uttered brilliantly in a favorite Bar Luhrman film, Strictly Ballroom) and I thought…“damnit, I’m here. I am putting these on and I’m just going to try…” I was sure I’d face plant but the encouragement of my husband (and knowing my parents would have been at my side too) helped me brave the moment.

I went around two times, came off…and burst into tears. I feel the tears overtaking me even now, and can’t begin to enumerate the breadth of feeling within me. I posted a photo on social media as some of my friends (who endured the brutal winter winds at 5:30am alongside me!) would understand the accomplishment. The comments – wholly unexpected – not only warmed my heart, but brought (thankful) tears to my eyes. To know that I was remembered is like receiving a gift I never dreamed of receiving… The joy of my parents and in-laws too…it’s overwhelming and incredible. Figure skating was my “language” – it gave me words when I could not speak, and courage when I was in the throes of fear. I felt as if I was the wind itself…  

Feeling “home.” And…once a performer, always one! 😉

I have struggled over the last two decades feeling that I shouldn’t have given up the potential, the dreams, and the hopes… I remind myself that going to college was the “right” decision, and an important one. . .but I would be lying if the “what-if”s don’t’ plague me at times (never a good thing – to read my post on “Letting Go Of SHOULD”…click here.)

Part of my emotion is sadness – I know I can never go back, and that my landing leg isn’t stable enough to sustain the jumps I so loved doing…

That hurts

But I also know that no other sport has been as “right” for me as figure skating. I was meant to be on the ice and if getting my sea legs back means I can at least help others (Special Olympics and adapted sports are on my mind!) in future, then I know it was worth doing.  

2018 arrived in the same silent fashion as the sun each day – there were no fireworks beyond what we (as human beings) artificially set off. It is, therefore, up to US to “just do it”  – carpe diem, carpe noctem, carpe VITAM. We can easily sit on the sidelines and watch life go by, but we deserve so much more than that. . .

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay to need an extra nudge or two…

It’s even okay to say “I don’t know if I can do this. . .”

But once that’s out of your system (and I’ve been there too), dust yourself off and take the plunge.

You deserve the richest and most wonderfully happy experiences in life – without trying, you’ll never know what you are missing. . .or. . .what you HAVE missed all along.

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CoverGirl TrueBlend Contour

Sharing newness that I only saw at BeautyBudgetBlog so far…(I am writing this on the 31st, so we shall see.)

This three-color cream palette will be available in Light, Medium and Dark, and supposedly launches today… There are so many products of this ilk to choose from – partially overwhelming, as most people don’t do this on a day to day basis – but what’s nice about this one is that it does appear to be pretty natural in coloring – easy to use, and far from over the top.  

For me personally, this was strictly a ballroom dance or ice skating “thing” – on ice, or under hot lights, you need to see expression.  While it certainly can make a difference, contouring can make a daily routine long-winded and too high maintenance.  Not for everyone, but I guess nice to have the option.

This Is Me…Minus The Gi!

A friend posted this and basically it sums up, well…MOI…minus the Martial Arts gi, of course.  And when I say gi, I alternate – Takekwondo, Hapkido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese Ninjutsu –  A girl can never have too many gis!  

Or quality figure skating blades…

Or pointe shoes…

I blame my Geminian temperament for the contradictory multi-facetedness.  One never knows with a Gemini, but then…it does keep it interesting, no?

It’s kind of fun being on your toes…in SO many senses of the term.  Triple flip or pirouette, anyone?

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I think ce sont très chic!* (these are very chic! 😉 ) 

Figure Skating and Childhood Sports

The other evening the US Championships came on…and I just lit up.  My hunnie watched with me, which I really enjoyed also.  🙂  

I was blessed to have started on the ice around two or three years of age…and I continued with my training and competitions into my very late teens. Skating is, I believe, the sport I was meant to do – I took to it immediately, and so did my body, my heart, and my soul.  I remember being utterly captivated, watching the stars of the 80s and 90s  on television with baited breath – the sport had competitors who would change the sport forever at that time.  Oh, it was SO exciting!!!  (The Olympics in Calgary 1988 was a favorite!)

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Me in my teens doing what I loved… Rather like being an athletic swan! 🙂

One of the most substantial aspects of my Figure Skating was that it offered me a “language” with which to speak, when words failed me.  I remember dedicating a show program to a friend of mine who was killed in a car accident – we were only 16 and the news of his passing was not only a shock, but horribly devastating.  I took the ice with him in my heart, and skated that program the best I ever had – I didn’t know his mother had come to watch.  When I came off the ice, she was waiting for me, with an angel he used to keep on his dresser – she embraced me and gave it to me as a gift, and I will never forget it.  I “spoke” without a word, tracing the ice in complex patterns, to tell a story that pained my heart.  

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I participated in countless other activities growing up – Ballet was a big part of my training for a decade, but also including school sports and additional extracurriculars.  I wasn’t terribly GOOD at many of the other sports, but I certainly gave them a whirl! (Admittedly, some under duress – BUT, I am thankful to have tried as I now know what I prefer, and what works for my physiology!  I sincerely believe it is important for children to try all manner of activities – in this way, they can discover what they love (or don’t love!) most.  Personal passion is different for everyone and the exposure afforded me the opportunity to learn more about myself, and what made me “tick!”)

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Watching, missing, and loving!

There is something about the freedom of a clean sheet of ice, the cold winter air in your lungs (I trained outdoors six months of the year, during Autumn and Winter!)…  The sounds of the blades cutting the ice, the wind in your face, the roses that bloom in your cheeks – there’s nothing quite like it for me!  I miss it enormously and watching just made me want to float on air and dance about!

I transitioned into Ballroom Dancing and Martial Arts in my adulthood, though – it was Figure Skating or college at that juncture in my Life, and the prospect of staying behind my peers wasn’t something I was keen on.  It is also much more challenging with age so after later 20’s the field narrows substantially – I had that in mind, heaven forbid I put all my stock in it and get injured!

After tearing my knees in Martial Arts, I had to bow out of the dancing, sadly.  I often miss it, and I miss the ice!  But the blessing of having done so much of it in my earlier years, and growing up as an athlete, is that I have countless BEAUTIFUL memories.  I know what it is like to train that hard.  I know what it feels like to lose, to win, to perform, and to move an audience.  In fact, the latter was one of the things I loved most – telling a story and touching souls.  ❤

Our activities may change over our lives, and that’s okay.  It doesn’t mean we won’t miss the level at which we participated in the past…or that we won’t year for it still, but we do have other channels to explore…and so many memories to cherish. 

 

Spring / Summer 2016 – MAC Future

This is a SHARE of two posts…

I saw PerilouslyPale post some great photos of this up and coming Spring 2016 Collection, as well as ChicProfile, and wanted to pass them on! 🙂  MAC has been a long time favorite with my background in Ballroom Dancing, Ballet, and Figure Skating – their products ALWAYS perform as hard as we do, and the pigment stays true! (Impressive!)

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Thanks to Christa and ChicProfile for their wonderful entries – enjoy!

http://www.perilouslypale.com/

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Scheduling Posts…and Various

As an aside, I do schedule posts ahead of time – I tend to run around a lot with my training and I want to be sure there is always something new. I am admittedly a psychopants about skincare, in part because of what I was taught growing up…and also because, as an athlete, it’s important to be mindful, lest I walk away bruised and blemished.  Martial Arts are far from glamorous, but having been a performer for much of my Life, I’ll never show up a disaster.  Just won’t happen.

My background in the Fashion industry, as a competitive ballroom dancer, figure skater, and performer has afforded me a TON of knowledge with respect to skincare and color cosmetics – again, it isn’t as much as daily thing for, so much these are areas I’ve been exposed to for a LONG time. Many of my friends are pinups, pinup photographers, models, performers and dancers…so the makeup artistry is an interest by default! 🙂  I am also always curious to see new launches, though it is more relegated to new developments in the world of skincare, haircare, color technology etc…not so much that a product is jiving with a runway trend.

So all that said, my posts are indeed quite varied – I’m the dancer my friends called a jock, but who has more heels and thigh highs than a store!  So I’m thankful for those who read, even if only certain posts. Since I’m not always sitting at the computer (I am, rather, off rolling on a mat!) I tend to post things ahead of time.  When I do, I add the photos on my FB page, so they will show up with the shortlink, and then a date when the post will be published.  

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Exhibit A – Facebook

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Exhibit B – WordPress Gallery

🙂