Mid Year Review | Start, Stop, Keep
July’s PDBA blog hop theme is a mid-year review on what’s been going on in our lives, whether it be from a personal, business, or poler’s viewpoint. I’m going with personal because my poling has become so sporadic. :[ Darn life for getting in the way. (I’m still devising a way to sneak my pole up 2 flights of stairs without anyone in my complex noticing it. ._.)
- Start: being more proactive, studying every day, working out regularly
- Stop: negative self-talk (I noticed how gifted I was at this during my 1.5-month long study hibernation; it’s horrible) + making excuses for myself/other people
- Keep: on truckin’ (+ in touch with + maintain relationships with family/friends, volunteering, and venturing out of my comfort zone)!
There’s been a lot that’s happened over the past 6 months, although there’s really just one thing on my mind right now. Remember my 1.5-ish-month long study hibernation that pretty much sucked all the life and joy away from me?
I PASSED MY BOARDS!!!
I officially get to call myself a third-year medical student, which means I’m finally permitted to re-join the land of the living/interact with human beings again. I’m one step closer to finally becoming a physician, and I am absolutely overjoyed. <3 I can’t wait to start my rotations!
Here are highlights from the first half of this year!
The Body is Art | Self-Acceptance
June’s Pole Dancing Bloggers Association (PDBA) blog hop theme is on the body, and what it means to look and feel your best.
There are a whole host of different things I could write about here, and this will probably lead to a succession of different posts later on, but we’ll start with the concept of self-acceptance.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
As a child growing up, my closest friends were my brother and our family friends (all of which were dudes). In an effort to have common ground, I shunned anything that was perceived to be “girly.” These were poor life choices on my part, but I was young and impressionable at the time, and there’s really nothing I can do about it now, so let’s just move on.
Despite finally branching out into the world of dancing (hula/Tahitian, pole, salsa), I had a difficult time thinking of myself as a dancer. To me, dancers are graceful and possess this mesmerizing ability to make everything look effortlessly beautiful.
I trip over nothing and smash into doors/tables and apologize to inanimate objects on a semi-regular basis.
Suffice to say, the main problem I had when I first started pole wasn’t from not being able to do the move we were working on. Even if I couldn’t do it exactly right, I was still strong enough to muscle my way into whatever it was. Nope, the issue was with my apparent inability to make things look pretty and graceful. Long lines, fluid motion, the absence of a “resting bitchface” (I look kinda angry when I’m concentrating)…they were all things I had to work on accomplishing, and to this day, it’s still my greatest challenge. (Y’know, that and the issue of not having time to ever practice.)
I’ve always been my own greatest critic, which I attribute to my type A tendencies and my need to overachieve. I never want to become complacent, because I believe you can always be better than you were.
There’s a fine line between that and self-acceptance though, and if I took the above statement to the extreme, it would make for an extremely unhealthy mentality. I can’t say that I had very horrible self-esteem issues growing up, but within every Asian household (sweeping generalization, I know, but bear with me), therein lies a fair share of criticism. I like to joke that I’m somewhat full of it because my self-confidence is pretty high. I’m happy with myself and the way I am, but I also recognize that there are things I should probably work on. (My abnormal love for food/compulsive eating habits and cactus-like tendencies, for starters.)
That being said, physical activity (since it’s all-encompassing) made me way more aware of my body and what my strengths and weaknesses were. Lifting weights helps me to become stronger (not gonna lie, it usually makes me feel like a total badass). Running helped with building my patience (heh) and BJJ helped with my apparent lack of spatial awareness…but of all of them, dancing is what makes me feel beautiful.
I think that in order to really be happy–in life, in relationships, or just in a general state of being–you have to be able to accept your faults. Accept that you can’t know/do/be everything, and you’ll have a starting point. These are the five things (my life philosophies on this topic, if you will) I shall end with!
- Know that you can’t be perfect, but that it doesn’t mean you can’t continually strive to be the best that you can be.
- Be aware of your limits, but also know which of those limits are ones that you can push to better yourself as a person.
- If you want something and you get the chance, go for it! Generally speaking, there’s more regret associated with the opportunities you pass up. (This may or may not be the reason behind why I continually try to do everything in the world simultaneously.)
- Never allow someone to be your priority if you’re only an option to them. This is paraphrased from a Mark Twain quote, and summarizes how I learned to walk away from people that meant way too much to me, when I didn’t mean enough to them.
- Believe in your self-worth. We all have different definitions of this–different values, habits and lifestyles–I feel at my best and happiest when I’m doing what I love and/or helping others, which thankfully, happens to go hand in hand most of the time.
What makes you feel and look your best?
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fitness 5 on friday
June marks the beginning of the “Fitness 5 on Friday” over at JVKom Chronicles!
I’m super excited because the hospital I’m going to for my rotations next year, which I chose partially on the fact that it had a free affiliated gym attached to it (yes, I definitely have my priorities straight ._.)…offers free classes (yoga, pilates, circuit training, spin, ballroom dancing)! :D! I’m going to assume that I will never (or very, very rarely) be able to take the weekday classes, but hooray for yoga/Zumba/boot camp on the weekends?!
1. How many minutes of Cardio did you do this week? (Anything that got your heart pumping counts!)
If we’re counting since Tuesday, I did something along the lines of 150-ish minutes! :O
2. What is your favorite physical activity?
It’s impossible to choose just one (I’m sorry!)…lifting weights or pole dancing are my top two.
When I feel the need to change things up, I really like BJJ (even though I kinda suck at it) and hula/Tahitian. :D The one I really, really wish I could do more of (yes, on top of everything else), but don’t have the opportunity to pursue would be aerial silks.
3. How much water do you drink on a daily basis?
I am absolutely horrible with this one, which is why it always remains as a consistent goal on my 101 in 1001. The period of my life where I was the most well-hydrated was last June, when I was training for my first powerlifting competition and attempting to cut weight for the first time in my life. My body is great at equilibrating, but not so wonderful for gaining or losing. My main issue is really that I lack self-control when it comes to food (and would also much rather eat than drink).
4. What is your favorite healthy snack?
These days, it’s been a variation of this! To be honest, I tried cottage cheese for the first time somewhere during my first year of med school (by way of my favorite neighbor, who figured I should try a little first before I went out for an entire tub). I hated it, but it has such a great nutritional breakdown, I figured I could learn to like it (as I did with plain Greek yogurt). These days, I dress it up with the aforementioned ingredients and add in hemp seeds, chia seeds and diced dried mangoes. :]
5. What’s your favorite athletic shoe?
Back in June of 2009, I went to Fleet Feet in Davis to have them check out how I walked/ran, measured my feet, and from there, they figured out whether or not I had any biomechanical considerations to factor in. My feet don’t invert/or evert all that much when I’m running and I’m actually not flat-footed, so they said I could probably get the most average/normal shoes out there.
I decided on these because they made me feel like I’m walking around on clouds. :D! I wore them for my half marathon in 2010 and they made life suck a little bit less. I’ve since obtained a light blue pair that I adore as well, although if we’re going to be honest here, I haven’t really gone running since said half marathon.
My favorite pair of shoes for weightlifting is right here! (I shop in the kids’ section because it’s usually anywhere from $10-30 cheaper. That and the fact that you would not be able to find blinged out shoes like these in the adult section. ._. )
If you’d like to join in on the linkup, answer the following questions and link up your post on Friday (it goes live at 7 a.m. EST!). (On social media, the hashtag will be #F5onF. :)
Social Culture & Pole | Still in the Pole Closet
While 99.9% of the time, this isn’t exactly a pole dancing/aerialist blog, I wanted to write a piece for this month’s blog hop because it’s probably the biggest factor behind why I kept this blog hidden for so long. (In the interest of full disclosure, even now, I’m still apprehensive about letting many people know about my blog.)
This post was also somewhat fueled by my annoyance over this video. While I realize that they may have cut certain parts of the video, it irked me that they were so quick to judge. Teaching someone to pole dance does not magically predispose someone to becoming a stripper. (If that sort of logic were valid and really did apply to real life, I would be a mathematical genius today, and possibly also a boy.)
The #PDBloggers “blog hop” is a monthly blogging event that unites the global network of pole dance bloggers, pole fitness bloggers and aerial art bloggers around a common theme. The goal is for each participant to write about the group topic with their own unique perspective on their independent blogs. This month we want to explore how the industry of pole is covered in the news, culture and within our social spheres. We want the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. We want you to explore how pole dance is marketed, publicized and talked about.
I took my first pole dancing class in December of 2010 and fell in love. It was another couple months before I could start taking weekly classes, and I spent a summer as a fixture at Twirly Girls, which I consider to be my second home when I’m in California. Bel is my pole mom and we all love her. <3
My parents don’t know that I pole. I hate lying to them, and I do it very rarely (past instances include not letting them know that I got a job, not letting them know that I got yet another internship…etc.). But suffice to say, pole dancing is not something that I believe they would ever accept. I explained away my long, long absences that summer by saying that since I was interested in sports medicine (which I really was [and still am]), I was apprenticing under a friend who was a personal trainer and learning everything I could from her before I went off to grad school. It went hand in hand with the athletic training classes I happened to be taking at the time. In actuality, I was helping to teach beginning pole classes and yes, I really was learning everything I could [that was [pole-related] before grad school took over my life.
Since I now spend most of my days across the country in pursuit of yet another degree, pole is unfortunately much less a part of my life than it used to be, and it really saddens me. I’ve met so many amazing people through Twirly Girls. There are men and women from all walks of life in the pole community, and it’s been awesome getting to know them and learning from them.
I’m not quite on the Bible belt, but I am close enough to it that I know better than to tell much of anyone here about this particular hobby. People here are extremely friendly, but it is definitely still a very conservative area. As much as I’d like to be open, honest and upfront about every thing that I do, this is one that I persistently feel that I have to hide, because I don’t want to be written up for unprofessionalism, and because I cannot afford to have this be a (or the) reason as to why someone decides not to hire me in the future.
(“But why would you even want to work for a place if they were going to judge you based on that?”)
Not everyone necessarily has that luxury of choice. Life doesn’t always go as planned, and where I end up depends on so many factors. The fact of the matter is, why can’t it just not even be an issue? If I really do get to go into sports medicine, I want my patients to be able to come to me with whatever it is that’s bothering them, and I want them to know that they can be honest with me. (Where are those bruises from? Was that a stress injury from improper technique for twisted grip? Let me know, so I can better understand your situation and help you!)
I’ve been lucky in that all of my friends back home have been incredibly accepting, but I’ve definitely heard comments here along the lines of, “Well, it could be worse. At least you’re not a pole dancer.” / “You’ve got class. It’s not like you’re spinning around on a pole or something.”
Ah, but I am. I know you mean well, but oh, if only you knew…
And that infamous time when a couple of my closer friends came over and I hadn’t had time to take down my pole:
1: …Why do you have a pole in your room?
F: Because I’m a recreational pole dancer.
2: It’s pole fitness. She’s not a pole dancer.
Why does there need to be a distinction between the two? Why can’t it be both?
I don’t get angry, but it does make me a little sad.
While I recognize that acceptance is definitely growing, as with all things in life, there is always room for improvement.
If I could wish for anything for the pole community, I’d wish for people to be more open-minded, and less quick to judge. I’d hope that they would give it a chance and see what we could do and what we were capable of before they immediately thought, “stripper,” and automatically assumed that all the negative associations that go with that were true. I’d want them to realize that pole dancing or pole fitness–whatever you wish to call it–is an art form, an alternative form of exercise, and a beautiful outlet for self-expression.
I’m still in the pole closet, but I hope one day, I won’t have to be.
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Update: May Fitness Challenge (05/03-05/08)
Pole has definitely been taking its toll basically everywhere, but mostly my legs (they feel shredded, and by that, I mean from murdered nerve endings, a whole lot of bruises and raw skin). Tis the price you pay for greatness! The bruising and battering is because I basically did what could be considered “weekend warrior” pole (but for 5 of the 7 full days that I was back, instead of just a weekend). I haven’t been on one since December, so mayhaps I should’ve taken that into consideration, but who knows when I’ll get to go back to the studio again? :'( I have a friend who’s currently studying for a certification as a nutritional coach and since she was looking for free practice clients, I signed myself up! I figure I have a whole lot to improve upon (I’m fairly certain that my main issue is portion control), and it’d also be great to learn more so that I can counsel my future patients on healthier dietary choices. There were several forms to fill out, a couple of which entailed keeping a food journal, which I have absolutely no problem with since I’ve been myfitnesspal-ing it since, apparently, September (not gonna lie, that ring girl competition was good motivation to keep my binge-eating tendencies in check). However, since I’ve been home for the past week, I’m not gonna lie–I’ve very much been free-for-all-ing all over the place, so she said to just start the journal when I head back to school. :P
- 1×100 bridges
- 1×25 squat jumps
- 1.5 hours of pole
- 2 hours of pole
- I was feeling somewhat broken. :'( Did about half an hour of yoga.
- 2 hours of pole
- 1.5 hours of pole
- ~5 minutes of sprints
Everyone else ordered a small, while my order went something like this: “Um, I’m gonna be a total pig and get a large. Could you please stack the strawberry, pineapple and orange flavors into a cone? :D” ($2.50 for homemade ice cream bigger than my face!)
- 1 hour walk around the lake with my parents!
Total: ~525 minutes this week!
Running Total: 820 minutes!
(See last week’s progress here!)
The internet has not been my friend lately, so checking out other posts and properly linking my own posts up has been somewhat of a struggle. :[ In any case, this fitness challenge is hosted by Jen, Samantha, Carley and Anna. It’s not too late to join if you’re interested! Just 20 minutes per day for the month of May! :]