A friend and I collabed on terminology for the discomfort experienced post pole dancing class.
PDF - Pole Dancing Fatigue
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Warning - this PDF may cause bruising on the legs and arms, burns on the inner thighs, and tenderness in the wrists and knees from overuse.
Can be relieved by using warm liquids, soft touch/gentle massage, or a night of passion that causes one to forget their discomfort and name.
Intolerance for bullshit or shaming. If this persists, please call a doctor immediately. Someone is likely going to need one!
Today I had a wake up call. COVID had and is having a devastating impact on our communities and the world. When I’m in a good head space, I always try to find the silver lining. I try to find the why in the thing that was clearly meant to happen. I think we all learned a variety of lessons in 2020. One of the many lessons I learned was to value my energy and be very intentional about how I spend my time.
Pre-COVID I was always doing something. I was driving all over the place and attending everything under the sun. If I wasn’t at work, I was at some meeting. If not there, a rehearsal or audition. Perhaps a film shoot on the weekend. Working my second job. Going to the gym, aerial yoga, or some other activity I picked up that month. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t just be - be with myself and be in the moment.
When COVID hit and I abruptly had to change and cancel all my plans, it was truly shocking how much time I spent doing “stuff.” I was driving 200 or more miles on any given day. I was in 3 or 4 states a week even when I lived and worked in only one. I only really spent time with my Gabey before I started my day and when I was winding down my day. I had calendars in multiple places. I had all kinds of alarms set so I wouldn’t forget this or that. There were days I literally forgot to eat or drink water. I was a mess. I thrived on the chaos of my schedule. It made it difficult to sit down and be with myself and face facts. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted or what the hell I was doing. Three cancelled concerts planned a month apart. Theatre events and performances cancelled. Traditions uprooted. Was all of this really important?
COVID made me sit down and reflect. It made me ask myself some tough questions. What was I avoiding? What really matters to me? What do I keep going forward? What do I let go of now? How can I keep this sense of clarity and awareness post-COVID? Early on in the pandemic I said pretty quickly I need to be more intentional about my time and how I spend it. I didn’t need to have a maxed out calendar to be productive or impactful. Sitting with myself and having tough conversations was going to be my reality for a while and I needed to embrace that. I’m realizing that was easy to say and do when I literally didn’t have any alternative. Now things are opening back up and some of our routines can commence. I looked at my calendar today and I’m doing it again. I’m not driving over 200 miles a day, but I am spending so much time in front of a screen doing a myriad of things. I’m working two jobs and often picking up extra shifts at the second job. I’m going back to school. I’m attending board meetings. I’m attending virtual events. I’ve started doing aerial yoga again. I signed up for an 8 week intro to pole dancing class. I’m doing it again.
While I have probably gone overboard with the schedule again, I am noticing some stark differences. I am spending time with myself daily through meditation. I have been regularly practicing now instead of haphazardly sitting down and breathing. I am much more intentional about introspection and have been faithful about therapy. I’m making time with friends a priority in ways I hadn’t before. I’m spending time with Gabe and Cleveland in a more intentional way. My communication with Christopher has shifted during this time. I’m much more consistent about communicating with others than I think I did before. Silver lining, while I’m not slowing down my pace, I am slowing down my brain.
I told my sister today I feel like I’m having an identity crisis. I feel like I’m going through the motions and don’t always know why I’m doing what I do. I need to revisit that commitment to myself. My time and energy are valuable. Once expended, I can’t get them back. I do need to sit down with myself again and really make sure I’m living my life with purpose, with intent. I need to make sure it’s not all just because, rather because it matters to me and future me. Take a breath, Tya.
Today is the day of the woman aka International Women’s Day. I take time today to reflect on the women having an influence on who I am today.
My sister has always been a source of inspiration. While we haven’t always gotten along and we’ve drifted apart over the years, her strength, courage, conviction, and passion have always pushed me to be my best. She continues to inspire me each day when she steps out on a limb to try new things seemingly without a care in the world. She is so brave and believes in herself in such a way I aspire to one day. I’m so grateful to call her my sister.
My therapist is another strong black woman in my life. She has been there for me and challenged me in ways I never could have imagined. She has pushed me hard and called me on my shit time and time again. I am growing into a stronger person because of her belief in me. She leads by example and I am so blessed to have found her.
My bestie, Rebecca, is an incredible human and I am so in awe of her strength and determination. She and I have experienced some setbacks, but we came out on the other side. She has been to hell and back. She is my slice of heaven. I can’t believe we have been able to get to this point in our lives and I am so happy she has been by my side for so much of it. I truly look up to her and thank my lucky stars often she sticks with me. I love that woman to pieces.
Lizbeth, as I like to call her, is a God send. She has been my mom, my sister, my girlfriend, my friend - all the things. She has been there for me in ways I never knew I needed. When I need someone, I can count on her to be in my corner. She is selfless and does so much for others especially for me. While there are times I want to shake her because she doesn’t see how amazing she is, I could also squeeze hug her constantly for everything she has been to me. The Gabe and I love her dearly.
There are so many amazing woman who have taught me and been part of my educational experience who will never leave my heart. Ms. Savage, Ms. Best, Ms. Rehnstrom, Ms. Shalley-Leonard, Ms. Masten, Ms. Dehl, and others have pushed me because they saw something in me I still struggle to see in myself. They saw promise and I pray I am making them proud. I hope to be a source of hope for someone the way they were for me.
Doris, Diane, Mary Lu - While our close relationships are essentially nonexistent now, I will never forget the care and kindness they showed me and the connections we once had. When I so desperately wanted a mom, they filled that void. I am experiencing that void now, but it’s so comforting to know I’ve had those bonds and I can have them again in the future. I thank them for everything they have done for me - the hugs, the talks, the support, everything. I am so grateful to have had such strong women to look up to in my life.
Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou is one of my favorite poems. I performed it at the Teen Miss Milford pageant many moons ago and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a poem I still aspire to internalize. I don’t believe a woman’s strength comes from her looks or ability to bear children. It comes from her zest for life, her confidence, her belief that she is strong and capable. She knows she is a force and carries herself as such. All of these women are phenoms. They have shaped me into the phenomenal woman I am today. Thank you all for blessing me and helping me grow.
It’s been proven with science and shit that expressing gratitude is like a really good thing. When I went to the Dominican Republic for a yoga retreat, I was gifted with a gratitude journal. I took it very seriously in that I wrote something (3 things) every day. I sometimes struggled to find things I was grateful for when I had a tough day. Sitting and reminding myself there were things that gave me joy even when I felt like hell was so important.
Today I’m grateful for technology. It sounds so first world and it is, but I am grateful nonetheless. I haven’t been able to spend quality time with my closest friends because you know COVID. If it wasn’t for Zoom, Marco Polo, and texting, I don’t know when I would ever see or talk to them. I believe we have become even closer through the pandemic and much more grateful for each other. We appreciate our time together so much more. I know I do anyway. Thank you universe, inventors, and the like for making this possible.
This picture was taken in March 2011 before I boarded my first plane on my first trip overseas. I spent a little over a week exploring England and Scotland with some brilliant minds from the University of Delaware and the UK. I was in grad school working on my MPA. I was doing something huge, on my own. This picture was my defiance. I broke through so many of the barriers I was never supposed to get through. Sexually abused and assaulted before reaching high school only to encounter an entirely different kind of predator upon my arrival. Abused, neglected, ignored, and so shattered, I did anything I could to just feel loved. In that search, I became pregnant at 16 prior to starting my senior year in high school. Isolated, alone, and desperately afraid, I did the only thing I knew how to do - hide. I hid from everyone (not well to be honest), but mostly I hid from myself. I didn’t want to face the truth. I was never going to amount to anything and I was never going to get away from the life I desperately wanted out of. April 18, 2003 something changed. There was this beautiful little face of the sweetest baby boy I had ever laid eyes on. Looking at that face, I knew I had to try like hell to change what felt like my destiny. I graduated high school with that baby boy in my arms. I graduated with my BA with that little guy watching me from the stands. I graduated with my MPA with that slightly bigger little guy watching me from the audience. I was slowly becoming the someone I only dreamed I could be. The second picture, the not so little guy who pushed me to be the best person I could be. He is the reason I have worked so damn hard not to take things lying down. He is the reason I get up every day. I walk this earth and move through this life praying one day I will make him proud. When I look at that face, I still see the baby who blessed and inspired me that Good Friday in 2003. The universe had other plans and I am so grateful those plans included him.
We all have things we don’t talk about, right? It’s not just me I hope. Sometimes I’m an open book and other times my door is locked. I don’t want anyone to come in and see what’s on the other side. I wonder sometimes if privacy is all it’s cracked up to be. Would letting people in, the right people, make me feel less compelled to lock the door? Perhaps there would be less to keep behind the door. I have to really interrogate the idea that at times I am an open book, because if I do have a locked door occasionally, the book probably only tells the story I want told. It’s a book of my own making. Through many MANY years of therapy I have been told time and time again to not keep things bottled up. It’s not helpful to keep everything behind the door. Over the course of my life I have also become intimately aware of what can happen when you open the door to new people. How do you strike the balance?
I rarely take pictures that turn out any good. I know I shouldn’t judge, but they really are pretty bad. No perspective, no thought, just point and click. I went to Longwood in January and took a picture that I actually thought about, although briefly. This is the picture. I chose this picture for today’s challenge because I cannot get over the light in this picture and the lack of light. This picture felt deep for me. I went to Longwood with a friend, a woman I’m incredibly attracted to, but not really sure how to go about expressing it. While part of me is out in the open and I’ve sort of said something, part of me feels hidden and as if I can’t act on that feeling. I’ve always associated yellow with happiness. This flower reflected my happiness in the moment, but also the hidden joy of spending time with this incredible woman in a place I dearly love, sharing this moment with her. Way too deep for a Monday, but there you have it. Light.
I was introduced to Zach indirectly through a fellowship program I’m in. Zach has expertise in so many areas related to film etc, but he chose to spend time talking about the value of writing. Doesn’t matter what, but just writing something everyday.
I used to be an avid journalist. I have so many journals it’s hard to believe I had that much to write about. Somehow I got away from it. Got away from putting pen to paper and just letting whatever was inside spill onto the page. I would often think about how therapeutic it was, but convinced myself I didn’t have time. Convinced myself I had to have a purpose. Zach reminded me I didn’t. I can write just to write. I can write about whatever I want.
Today is Day 1 of that journey. I’m planning to write something, who knows what, but something every day. Who knows what will come of it, but frankly that’s not the point. I just want to get back in the habit of putting fingers to keys and letting my brain do the rest.