Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I have a hustle.

I'm a hustler.

I'm hustling.

"That's not how you use that word," says my little sister with that chuckle the young reserve for the old.

Maybe not, but still, I say:

My hustle: teach writing to older adults, teach Bollywood dance, and teach yoga.

It's a lot. But it's my hustle.

In the last 6 weeks, I've planned and schemed, feeling a bit schizophrenic to have three hustles and not one. But I've decided not to judge the hustle.

Now, the hustle is becoming real: Beginners' Bollywood starts in August (spread the word!). Seniors' yoga has begun, I've got several choreo stints under my belt. Writing is in the works.

I find myself 78% anxious and 12% excited. Math is not my hustle, so don't think too hard on that.

Being a hustler is many things at once:

I don't fall asleep till well past midnight. Either because I'm still working or I'm in bed, mind whirring.

I wake up convinced that no one is going to come to my dance class. Or that they will and hate it. Or hate me. Well, okay, not hate me, because I am adorable, according to (most) people I meet. But they will definitely hate my choreography or see through it and know I didn't grow up learning Bharat Natyam (Oh my God, that's not even how it's spelled!) or kathakali.

But at the same time as I imagine all the ways I will fail, I have moments of excitement, moments of I'm on the right track. Like the choreo clients who say they loved my work. Or talking about the writing idea with friends and hearing their excitement, hearing my own.

Or designing my website. ME. A humble schoolteacher from North Vancouver, BC, designing her own website? But again, I catch myself- because why not me? If I don't believe in me, how can anyone else? And you know what? The website is kind of awesome. I secretly love it. Much screaming and hair-tearing later, I have made my own website.

There is a part of me that thinks I'm dreaming too big. Or to be more accurate: who am I to dream at all?

There is part of me that doesn't think I deserve having things work out. So when things do work out, I don't really trust them. When people hire me for the job I told them I can do, I'm like, "Why are you hiring me?".

But here's the thing: I think part of hustlin' is having your initial idea, which comes from a deep and pure and real place, and then hanging the fuck onto it as you make it happen. Coz on that road from idea to product, these negative thoughts (your inner fear) are constantly trying to derail you.

This morning, I woke up thinking, I can easily cancel the new Bollywood class, it hasn't even been advertised yet. I just mailed the cheque yesterday, I can cancel it, and no one will ever know.

If I let myself cancel this first class, if I give into my fear at this first step, I may form a pattern of it. And then the hustle is over. Before it's even begun. That feels even worse than this pre-hustle anxiety.

So instead, I'm just going to lose a bit of sleep, live for a while with an elevated heart rate, up the self-care by 1000% and keep on hustlin'.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ex Parade

July Eleventh. Cue the Jaws theme song.

July Eleventh, my ex-wedding anniversary.

Last year was my first ex-wedding anniversary. For months in advance, I fretted. How would I get through it? I ended up spending the morning dancing to Bollywood with one of my all-time favorite people, Shelly.  She does this beautiful thing in her cool down where she asks us to scoop our arms upwards and into our hearts, and at the same time, scoop into ourselves positive energy. In the past, I'd have thought, how cheesy. That morning, I scooped with gusto, biting back tears. After class, she and I shared lunch and laughs.

Then I went to a close friend's wedding that night. Oh, didn't I tell you? My friend announced her wedding date as I announced my separation, July Eleventh. Life thinks it's so funny. So last July Eleventh, I went to her wedding, danced, social-butterflied, drank, drank some more. Only goal: get through the blasted day.

This year, when the Jaws music began sometime in June, I considered what to do for July Eleventh. Beach getaway? Writing retreat perhaps. Then a wise friend asked, "What would feel good?" I realized July Eleventh was a Monday, the day I usually teach Seniors Bollywood Fitness. That always feels good. I decided to stay in town.

Then the ex parade began. A painful conversation with a someone who had once been my best friend- another ex, at least for now. A very painful decision to stop teaching Bombay Jam because my foot is still in recovery and can't handle the high impact nature of that class. I had to give up something that brought so much joy for so many years- another ex, at least for now. A week full of exes. The twin shootings on Wednesday, the fear and grief for this country, its people. Simultaneous pain within and without.

Emergency Kit
I cried from Wednesday through Friday. You know the kind- where you wonder how one body can produce so many tears. When it becomes so routine, you can brush your teeth and cry at the same time and still remember to mouthwash. I spent Saturday on the sofa, blinds drawn- stupid California sunshine- alternating between a silly sitcom (which felt like literary gold at that moment) and the epic, Six Feet Under (because, of course, a show about death really lifts the spirit).

Hooray for Bollywood
Sunday I awoke to the sun streaming into my room. I was afraid of what the day would bring, how many more tears. But even before opening my eyes, I felt inside me that the storm had passed. I was still raw, still moved slowly through the day, but something had shifted. Life continued its hilarity by having me go teach Bollywood choreo to a bride-to-be. But it's hard to be morose when dancing to Lungi Dance, so once again, amen for Bollywood.

My therapist pointed this out: last year, July Eleventh was about survival. This year, it was about feeling it. Feeling the painhurtangersadnessguiltfear. Feeling, apparently, means moving through, which leads to moving past.

Feeling your feelings is hard. So hard, I can only use a pathetic understatement like "feeling is hard". Feeling is crying. Multiple time, multiple days, multiple years. Each feeling storm I find myself in it's the same pattern: crying, thinking it will never end, everything hurting. Then, inevitably, finding myself on the other side. Mind, body and spirit lighter, whether a fraction or a good chunk.

Today, July Eleventh was one step closer to being July eleventh. Today, without too much planning, my day filled up with nourishing and pleasurable events: time with my dear seniors, extra therapy session (obvs), and a conference call with my yoga training group.

It is important to note (to actively seek it out, in fact) that even during an emotional hurricane, there are things in life that are rooted, grounded. Things I can reach out through the tizzy of emotion and catch a hold of, anchor myself, slow down, rest.
Do you love this?

As I trace this trail of exes, I can't help but note that despite all this loss, there is new life. All around. Or maybe it's because of all this loss. Sometimes things need to be let go of. Despite how much we want to hang on.

And so, as July Eleventh moves to July eleventh, I find myself winding down the day alone in my (stunning) apartment. Spending time writing this blog to honor this moment. Honor it, and let it go. At least for now.