Why I no longer get offended

I went to a dance performance a few weeks ago… a wonderful company, wonderful performance. Very avant garde. There was split second nudity (ok, ok, the audience got mooned, it was meant to be shocking, surprising and hilarious and it was) and in one dance there was what I perceived as twerking and some very sensual movement between dancers. It made me feel a little uncomfortable. Possibly because it was a black box theater and we were extremely close to the dancers. Possibly because my own students (teens and pre-teens) were sitting in front of me. Possibly because the performances were so real.

Anyway, I mentioned my discomfort to my friend on our drive home, and then my friend mentioned something about being offended. Not that she had been offended by the performance but that one of the dances had the potential to offend.

And that’s when I realized I don’t get offended any more.

I need to clarify: yes, the performance at times made me feel uncomfortable (good art often does) but I still loved the performance. I was not offended. And I rarely get offended. Especially by art, but I also don’t get offended by political statements, religious beliefs contrary to mine, or when my friends don’t invite me out with them.

Ok, maybe a little bit on the last one.

I think people spend too much time being offended. And by offended I mean, feeling wounded by someone else’s words or actions, as if they were made against me, as if the offending party is targeting me.

Don’t misunderstand. There are plenty of people who are targeted for various things, and perhaps they get offended. And that’s ok. But I’m trying not to be offended, and I have a few reasons why:

1) I grew up white, upper middle class, and my parents paid for my college education.
I had and have a lot of privilege. I’m not generally targeted because of my race, economic status, or really anything about me. I don’t have much to be offended about when I have all the opportunity in the world. I hope I can use that to help others that might not have the same privileges, and I can’t really help if I’m wasting time being offended.

2) Offense is a waste of time.
If something angers me to the point of offense, I find myself spending a lot of time obsessing about it. What generally works better is identifying why I’m hurt, not going on the defense, and moving on.

3) Most things that could potentially offend me are really just sad.
If someone says something unnecessarily mean to me, or if I hear someone talking bad about my religious beliefs or even if someone says something misogynistic to me or in front of me… it’s honestly just sad. It saddens me that someone would have a reason to be mean-spirited, that they don’t understand my faith enough to at least accept it or that they would still say sexist things in 2014. It’s just sad. I have no reason to be offended.

4) There are enough people getting offended out there. Me adding to it won’t help.
see: internet comments. And have you ever heard of someone changing their mind, worldview, or habits over internet comments? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

What about you, do you get offended?

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What training to teach barre classes has taught me

I recently started teaching for Fort Worth’s own barre studio (learn more here!) and I’m having so much fun getting into the more fitness side of movement teaching and practice. And like anything, I learned a ton of lessons from it:

  1. Teaching is teaching
    I have been teaching in various forms for 10 years now. True, most of my teaching experience has been dance (which is of course, similar in many ways to teaching the barre classes, but it’s also a very different form with different goals in mind as well), but I also spent 3 years teaching technology classes to adults. Teaching is teaching, let me tell you. If you can explain or demonstrate a difficult concept simply… you are a teacher and could probably teach anything that you fully understand yourself. Looking for potential mistakes to help students learn is the same whether you’re talking computers or chemistry, ballet or biology, and fitness or pharmacology… well, that’s how I imagine it since I have not taught any science class ever, but you get the idea.

    Related: public speaking is public speaking, and if you are a teacher that’s not comfortable with public speaking then you are going to have a hard time.

  2. You can change your body
    Even though I’ve danced all my life, I’ve always been kind of complacent about things like weight and body shape. But after just weeks of training, teaching, and taking class (granted, I was doing lots and lots of that) I already look and feel different. The work we do in barre class targets certain parts of my body that other dance classes never well. The lesson: find something that you enjoy and put in some effort and you likely will be able to change your body in some way.

  3. You can change your mind
    I took my first barre class this past January and I hated it. Like I really hated it. It was super hard, I was out of shape, and I left convinced it just wasn’t for me. I came back in July just to try it again and realized that not only did I want to be in class but I wanted to teach. I generally decide things pretty quickly, but now I’ve changed my mind.

  4. Pursuit of excellence, not perfection
    One of the things I like most about barre class is that it’s a pursuit of bettering yourself… not a pursuit of perfection. One thing I struggle with when I teach ballet is teaching proper form, but without really messing with kids heads… they have to try hard and know what perfect technique consists of,  but I don’t want to encourage masochistic perfectionism either (an unfortunate side effect of some ballet instruction). There’s less worry about this with barre because you’re working with adults and we’re constantly giving modifications. Unlike most dance classes, the point is not to do the exercise so that you look awesome while you do it, the point is to do the exercise so that you get the benefit of the exercise. If you do it with a low leg or a high leg, doesn’t matter, you’ll still see the benefit.

  5. When possible, work with people you really like
    Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been so nice, and so positive. I really can’t say enough how great it is to work with people you genuinely like and respect.

    Have you ever taken a barre class before? What did you learn?

30 Things: Open my Roth IRA

30 things before 30
As you may know,
I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 8 on my list is to open my own Roth IRA or similar type of retirement fund.

With a husband who is a real estate agent you meet a lot of people in the client service businesses, including financial planners and advisors. One week The Guns told me he wanted us to meet with an advisor that he’d met who is part of Edward Jones Investment. Joel C. Morgan met with us and spent a lot of time talking about financial planning… for now, for emergency, and for the future. Most of it we were already pretty familiar with, but having never worked for a corporation (except as a contract employee) the big miss in our financial plan was my retirement fund.

Which of course is really fun to think about at 28, but whatever. Anyway, after 2 meetings and a lot of talk about my comfort level (which pretty much amounts to “I’d rather not think about it, use your expertise, please”) with investing, now I have a Roth IRA… and the plan is to not really think about it for about 35 years and then be super impressed with my 28 year old self.

And of course that’s another item off my 30 list! Which is really, incredibly satisfying.

September Shorts: Fall Favorites

It’s finally Fall! Here are some things I’m loving:

Pumpkin Spice Latte – from 7/11 because I can’t be bothered with $3 drinks, and there are no Starbucks near my house or work. Also pumpkin everything. EVERYTHING.

The chill – I swear I woke up yesterday to 60 degree weather as if Texas had just decided to turn on “Fall” on the exact right date. Crazy. Now if only the leaves would change to orange instead of going straight to brown…

Sweaters – ok I haven’t worn a sweater yet, but I can’t wait to wear my new  Jcrew sweaters… and I can feel it coming and even that makes me feel super awesome!

New TV – Parks and Rec coming back! Also Season 6 on Netflix on FRIDAY!

THANKSGIVING! Ya’ll I love Thanksgiving. and it’s coming up!

BOOTS!

Wearing burnt orange. I don’t know, I just only do that during the fall, and then I miss it a little bit…

Back to School Shopping – Ok, I’ve already done this when I bought my new planner. But I’m still buying stuff like I need to go to school.

What about you? What do you love about Fall?

September Shorts: Care and Communication

Ways I’m caring for myself, my home, my career this month:

barre and gyrotonic/gyrokinesis workouts
dance classes
cleaning (? well, I try)
grocery shopping (you gotta eat)
cleaning up my photo and music files
vitamins
scheduling my yearly wellness exam

People I’m talking to/meeting with/and thanking this month:

our board of directors of FurtherDance Fort Worth
our board officers
my team teachers at ACBA
my team teachers at Kids Who Care
my Grandparents (birthdays!)
wonderful FurtherDance contributors and participants (thank yous!)

September Shorts: Consume

You have to consume in order to create. There is not output without the proper input.

Here’s what I’m consuming this month:

social media (ie, Blogs, my facebook and Twitter feed, instagram)

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my to read pile (which consists of a pointe shoe book, an already outdated issue of Fort Worth, Texas magazine, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, and Still Writing, a book on creativity. I have not gotten very far on this pile but I’ll be travelling over the next few weeks so I’m hoping to get a bit further)

Dance Performances! I’ve seen 2 this month already and could literally fill this month’s weekends if I was able. So glad to live in a place where I have so many opportunities to see great work!

my training manual for barre classes

HBOGo and Netflix (we can’t wait for Parks and Rec season 6 to be available on September 26 and currently we’re watching Big Love since our current HBO favorites- Veep, Girls, and Silicon Valley- are on hiatus).

The Bible (I’m on a year long reading plan)

Spotify (for choreography music choices as well as class playlists)

B12 vitamins

Coffee

What are you consuming this month?