Dance Until The Music Stops

This is a difficult subject for me to discuss, but this blog is like my diary so I need to be honest.  I recently took on the project of turning my dance recital DVDs into digital files so I could put all of my routines into one video.  Doing so brought up a lot of good memories but also an equal amount of bad memories.  I am my own worst critique.  It is a rare occasion for me to watch myself dance and think that I did a good job.  Watching old routines makes me realize how hard a time I had as a dancer.  Was I a good dancer?  Yes.  Was I a great dancer?  No.  What made the difference?  Fear.  The biggest problem I see when I dance is my tentativeness.  I was never able to to dance without flooding my mind with doubts and fears:  “Do I look fat in this costume?”  “No one will watch me if I look fat!”  “Suck in your stomach!”  “Do I remember all the steps?”  “What if I forget the routine?”  “I’m going to forget something!”  “That was a terrible performance!”  “I never want to dance again!”  That’s the basic idea of my dancer’s brain.  Never stopping, never quiet.  Unfortunately, I fall into the category of dancers who’ve fallen prey to distorted body image and eating disorders.  I went to extreme lengths to lose weight.  I thought that if I looked more like a ballerina, I would improve at dancing.  At the time I thought my body was an eyesore, but now I realize I was indeed skinny.  I looked the part, but it wasn’t by healthy measures.  I loved to dance, but I could never overcome the obstacle of fear.  When I first watched “Riverdance” on VHS and saw Michael Flatley and Jean Butler dance, I had no reservations.  I just wanted to dance!  Somewhere along the way, I allowed fear to beat me down and destroy my passion.

“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.”  – Merce Cunningham

• On a happier note, I will forever be grateful for my dance mates.  No one understands the bond between dancers until you have navigated the ups and downs of dance with the same group for years.

I want to encourage boys, girls, men & women dealing with these or similar struggles.  Please don’t let fear run your life!  Take one step at a time and give your all to whatever you are doing.  Failure wont harm you so don’t be afraid to try.  If it doesn’t work out, don’t blame yourself.  When dance turned out to be a stepping stone in my life, I blamed myself for being fat and lacking talent.  The truth is God had always intended for me to turn my attention to something else.  Each and every one of us is dealing with obstacles.  You are not alone!

• It is time to start dancing with abandon & have some fun! :D

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcWPiHjIExA

• I leave you with wise words from a special group of vegetables. ;)

Source: https://twitter.com/veggietales/status/421387397167722496

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– Lauren Michele <3

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The Fickle and The Faithful

(Image Source: http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mc6ohtA7MX1qbhmovo9_1280.jpg)

Once again I find myself blogging early in the morning about a not-so-pleasant subject.  But, it must be done because bottled up emotions are never a good thing.  This morning I am venting about fickle friends.  OOOOOHHHHH SNAP!!!!!  You are probably thinking I am  calling out someone specific.  These thoughts are inspired by personal experiences, but I am speaking generally.  The first thing I want to address is this:  Everyone has been a fickle friend at one time.  Do not beat yourself up if you have thought badly of a friend, gossiped, yelled, or been physically mean.  Those things are terrible, but what truly matters is your heart and what you do to make things right.  Friendship is a two-way street; if all persons involved are willing to trust one another and fight together, that relationship will last.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  – Proverbs 18:24

I have lost more than a handful of friends during my twenty-two years of life.  I have grown a thick skin and would even say I have a certain amount of bitterness in my heart towards friendships.  However, I would be lying if I said that losing friends does not hurt me in the slightest.  No one should ever feel like they are convenient for another person.  “Our parents know each other.”  “We do the same activity together week after week, year after year.”  “We go to the same school and attend the same classes.”  I know what it feels like to have compartmentalized friendships.  Once those “compartments” are no longer part of your life, the friendships eventually fade away.  Why?  The convenience is gone, and suddenly the friendships requires effort in order to last.  It hurts to share secrets and fears with someone for a significant number of years, and then one day find yourself on the outside looking in at their life.  No matter how high your walls are and how thick your armor is, the pain of losing a friend will find its way to your heart and sting.  I want to encourage those of you who have had similar experiences and/or feel like you have no friends.  You are not alone!  Do not give up on yourself!  The only people you need in your life are the people who want to be there.  I know this has been said a million times in a million different forms, but it is the truth.  I would rather have one genuine, through-thick-and-thin friend than numerous fake friends.

*** Cue the friendship quotes and gifs!!

My best friend Gabby :) :D :P

My brother John <3 <3 <3

(Source: http://www.prettydesigns.com/25-friendship-quotes-for-summer/)

This is just for laughs because I actually hate hugs.  LOL!

(Image Source: http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llizvp2ILY1qfyncko1_500.gif)

*Tears*  Disney for the win!

(Image Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/1a6aa6fb37763f6a3b2ff96d7a581597/tumblr_mm3bbne7R21so67mao1_500.gif)

I hope you feel encouraged.  I will “see” you very soon.  Feel free to leave comments and thoughts below.

Cherish your true friends and no matter what, be a friend readers!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Moving On

Moving On

On Monday I left Texas, my home of 13 years. My family’s 6-bedroom house provided shelter to 26 people, not including me, my parents, and my brother; I always had extended family around me. On Tuesday I arrived in California, my new home; my family currently lives in a one-bedroom apartment above a garage. Quite the adventure we are on!! The picture you see above is my room, an empty room bursting at the seams full of memories. It is amazing to recall all the things that took place in that space: Babysitting, beauty transformations, concerts, counseling, dance practice, dreams, doll shenanigans, dramatic dress up, DVD viewings, emotional breakdowns, exercise sessions, fashion shows, fights, hide-and-seek, 2+ hour phone calls, illness rehabilitation, internet browsing, late night reading, outfit planning, schoolwork, and sleepovers. One last thing: Me and my best friend Gabby officially became friends in that room thanks to “Lord of the Beans.” I moved to Texas when I was 8, and I am now 21. My middle school, junior high, high school, and college years took place in that state. Many different struggles and transitions took place in that house; perhaps now you have a better idea of why it is so special to me. It is bittersweet to move on, but I will always carry the memories with me in my heart.

Treasure each moment readers! You never know when you will be uprooted and replanted.

– Lauren Michele :)

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Love Out Loud

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I am going to try very hard to get these words out without becoming overly emotional and rambling.  I apologize for the serious note of this post, but my heart is telling me to write.  Because of the picture, you already have a basic idea of what I am going to discuss.  I have watched quite a few Holocaust-related movies but am not sure why because it is very hard for me to do so.  I suppose that as a Jew I feel a strange sort of loyalty, a loyalty that urges me to watch and empathize to the best of my ability.  I did not experience a concentration camp nor did my Sephardic ancestors.  However, Jews are brothers and sisters no matter the category one belongs to (Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, or Sephardic); after all, we all descend from the same bloodline.  I cannot speak for other Jews, but I can speak for myself.  When another heart hurts, I hurt, no matter how far back in history that hurt occurred.  I have been emotionally disturbed by Holocaust movies in the past, but this film wrenched my heart to the point of illness.  As soon as the credits started to roll, I ran away from my computer and wept alone in another room.  My head throbbed, and my stomach was in knots.  I do not pretend to have felt pain anywhere near that of the Jews in concentration camps, but I did indeed feel pain.  Pain and anger.  I could not speak, only weep.  One word kept coming to mind over and over and over again: Why.  Why?  Why??  Why??!  Why!!!

– If you have not seen “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, I suggest you stop reading now. –

There is one specific element in this movie that grabbed my attention.  It is subtle but very much significant.  When Bruno is mistakenly taken with a group of Jews to the gas chamber, the Nazi soldiers do not question his presence.  Yes he is disguised, and yes he is surrounded by numerous other Jews, but take all that away.  Cut off Bruno’s hair.  Take away from Shmuel the dirty appearance and malnutrition.  Line them up side by side in matching “striped pajamas.”  They are two young boys, same age and same height.  Shmuel could be German.  Bruno could be Jewish.  Both could be one or the other.  It is unclear whether Bruno was visible to the soldiers, but he looked just like everybody else therefore he received the same treatment and tragic death.  He was one of them, a German, and yet the soldiers could not tell the difference.  What does that tell you about prejudice?  Hatred will show you what you want to see, not what is actually there.

If you think your contribution to the fight against prejudice as one person is too small, think again.  Love goes a long way no matter the number of contributors.  I will end with some lyrics from a song called “Let It Be Love” by Family Force 5.  I encourage you to read the words, click the following link to hear the entire song, and take time to reflect.

“Stronger than every fear
Comfort for all the tears
It’s where the war is won
And it has overcome
Louder than the loudest shout
Deeper than the deepest doubt
We’ll watch the walls fall down…

Let it be a heart wide open
Bigger than the words we’ve spoken
Let it be a heart for the broken
If we’re gonna light, light, light the way to You
Let it be love…
It’s love that lights the way”

“Let It Be Love” by Family Force 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTZHl5cNLJE

Please don’t pick and choose who to love.  Love everyone!

– Lauren Michele :)

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