Me vs the World

So if you follow us on Instagram you know we recently did the student show case with the Vancouver Burlesque Company. I got to dance with a level 2 group. I was totally out of my element and felt very insecure.

Dancing puts me in a vulnerable position.

  • 1. I’m not a small girl. So I feel like its obvious, me, this giant chick on the stage
  • 2. Being giant, you are gunna see that a) I’m bigger than others, height and weight and b) you will see I’m not a good dancer (especially since I was dancing with former dancers).
  • 3. Others in my dance classes are good dancers. They have danced before and they know what position 1 means.
  • 4. I was told when I was younger, and wanted to join ballet, that I cant be a dancer because I’m to tall (Stupid that the things we are told when we are young sticks with us). 

So yah, I’m feeling vulnerable but determined to do it. But this experience got me thinking about my thoughts vs others. What I see is me as an elephant in the room, dancing with cute ballerinas. BUT what others see is me doing well. I got good feedback from my friends. But these crappy feelings of me looking stupid flood other parts of my life too.

For example, at my gym, for the longest time, I always thought I could see my tummy reflecting off the heater that is located on the roof right above me. It literally took me over a year to realize it wasn’t my belly at all, but the big ball I was using making the reflection!

Like what the heck!?

Why? Why do I assume, this big ball is my stomach reflecting? Why do I go to a negative place? Why didn’t see a ball? Why didn’t I see me accomplishing this one work station that I’ve struggled with for so long?

Whhhhhyyyyyyyyy???? 

I’m so annoyed with myself when I realized I’ve been doing this. Nals and I have talked about this (a lot). We always remind each other that we are pointing out negative things and will say “that’s not what I see”. As much as I have focused on trying to be body positive, and not negative on myself, I still find I have moments (like mentioned above) where I still beat myself up. I still see negative things. 


But here’s what I can do:

 1. Listen to the positive feedback

2. Recognize when Im being negative 

3. Continue to challenge myself

4. Remember to love myself 

5. Celebrate my accomplishments 


I know I’m not the only one that goes through this. Please share the ways you challenge your negative self talk and ways you love yourself!! 

Thoughts on Burlesque

As you N&Kers know, both K&I are taking burlesque classes through Vancouver Burlesque Company. In fact, 2 each this term!
So, this will be K’s 2nd & 3rd performances. And my 3rd & 4th performances.

Instagramming our way through chair burlesque

When I first started burlesque, I was shy about telling people.

I thought I would be judged for the type of dance, or that I would dare to do it because I don’t have a dancer’s body. And culturally speaking, I was taught to be modest. Prancing around in your undergarments is not modest. I’m also too old to take on something like burlesque! And lastly, there are only a handful of visible minorities in burlesque. I definitely felt out-of-place. This translated into me being shy about talking about it.

Holy batman! All these internal battles!

Rectifying internal battles

Type of dance: I try to educate people on the burly history. It’s not just about shaking your tail feathers. This is another way to express how you’re processing society’s zeitgeist. Don’t believe me? Then look at all the sub-genres: nerdlesque, contemporary, chair, etc.

Dancer’s body: Burlesque initially came out because poor folks poked fun at the richie-rich operas/shows. With burlesque, essentially, anything goes. Different bodies, shapes, colours, abilities… it is about you telling your story. How are you interacting with the audience?

Too old: Yes, I’m older than my instructors and classmates. But, the only person who has made me feel ‘too old’ is me. Last showcase, there was a 60+-year-old woman who did a saucy chair solo. She was fantastic!

Modesty: This term means to act demure, and can include dressing in a non-sexually aggressive manner. Is it a vehicle of oppression? Perhaps it is to be deliciously explored in future burlesque?

When you are on stage, you are taking on a persona that’s bigger-than.

Maybe you’re klutzy? Super comedic? Have the ability to sensually slither along the stage? Have long legs? Expressive face? Love performing in drag?

Now…

… I talk about being in burlesque all the time. I’m excited that I can be part of it! I’ve got access with Vancouver Burlesque Company. (Screaming Chicken, K&I are coming for you, soon!) It’s affordable both financially and timewise.

The benefits

I’m engaging in self-care. I’m getting fitter and honing in on different fitness goals. I get to dress up, make costumes, have fun, learn to move, meet new people, dance with Kells, listen to music, feel inspired, feel empowered, feel confident, have a creative outlet and be around positivity.

I’ve learned that I’m not as klutzy as I thought I was. I’ve got a bit of rhythm. I’ve learned that I can jellybean, plank off of a chair, go from a standing position to the floor then do an inchworm push up in heels… all in rhythm to music!

Stage Presence

Performing on stage isn’t for everyone. With VBC, you can actually just take the class without doing the final show. And, last Fall when I took my first class, I didn’t plan on performing. But by the end, I thought: why the frig not?

Being on stage is simply exhilarating. Hearing the audience cheer and whistle. Feeling those positive vibes. Performers excited and buzzing with adrenaline. It is a fabulous feeling!

So, if you are remotely interested in this genre, K&I encourage you to take a class with VBC (or SC). Or in the very least, come and check us out. Tickets available online here.

You’ve gotta fight, for your right, to heeeaaaalllttthhhh care! (cont’d)

Last week I talked about my car accident that left me with disabling back pain, the struggle to get a specialist appointment… all while completing my masters & working fulltime.

So the doctors ordered surgery. Finally, I was getting somewhere!

The next hurdle.  I was put on the list for surgery, but was told that it could be years before I get it.

I cried.

I was not going to make it.

I wasn’t thinking about hurting myself, but I understood why those in chronic pain end their lives.

More ideas from the physiotherapist

Thankfully, my lawyer was also there to help me. She got my surgery done in a private clinic a few weeks later. I walked out of surgery standing tall. (also vomiting, but I was able to stand up straight).

Heading in for an MRI (post surgery)
  • Here’s what I realized:  I know my body. And after this whole ordeal, I really learned about my body.  
  • doctors also know what you tell them. Which also means that what the doctors hear and what I say can be 2 different things.
  • I need to ask. Ask for referrals to be sent. Ask for results, ask for the better imaging.
  • And when I hear, well you need to do A before we can do B. Ask that B also be started.

The other thing I learned was that I have put a few other parts of my health on the back burner because I just didn’t have energy to to keep advocating for myself. I wasn’t happy about this…also annoyed, that I would have to speak up again to have my health taken seriously.

As women*, we are often not taken seriously when we tell the doctor that something is wrong.

We are often viewed as overreacting or unable to manage the slightest bit of pain.

We often have to put our health on the back burner because we need to care for others.

This has got to stop!

And it will stop with us advocating for our own health.

Yes, this is a scary thought. BUT we deserve it. AND we need to support each other. We don’t need to do it alone. Please share with your sisters*. We don’t need to be embarrassed. We need the support and their motivation to get through.

My back surgery and injury was a motivator for me to get my health in order. As I have shared before, I need to keep active in order to keep my back health in check. BUT this also motivated me to get the other health issues in my self checked out. I will post on those later.

But please, today, share with your closest person the health concern you have and what you need support with.

And advocate for yourself! You are worth it.

Packs a punch!

Nals tried 30 Minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIT)  on Sunday.

It’s a power packed kickboxing and boxing routine for ladies only4. The circuit is designed to hone self-defense skills, improve core and increase strength.

 

                   Activity                  

There are 13 stations that last 2 minutes each.

You start off with a 2 minute jump rope warm up. Next stations are something like:

  1. hook/jab,
  2. sit ups on fitness ball,
  3. round housing a punching bag,
  4. semi sit ups with arms slightly throwing medicine ball¹ straight up,
  5. kneeing an-imagined-assailant-turned-kicking-bag,
  6. hook,
  7. Bridge & squeeze on a fitness ball,
  8. on a mat, turtlekicking & punching a heavy douchebag squarebob-a-thinger, ²
  9. free-for-all kicking/punching the stink out of Bob, the flesh-coloured silicone bust on a pole, with the invisible Punch-Me sign.

There are 3 levels, starting at 1.

 

 

                  Procedure                

So you do a period of time (ie: 30 seconds) of regular-paced and regular-powered activity
then when the buzzer bings once, you either power up or go fast (ie: 15 seconds).  Repeat
Double bing means switch stations.

 

                  Atmosphere                

Loud pumped-up music, very small area (great for focus), personal trainer attention with quick corrections/ encouragements/verbal pushes.
I think I have auditory processing disorder so it was a bit of a challenge to keep all the instructions, directions, movements clear with the music and timer. I think I did okay3, and will obviously improve with more exposure.

 

                  So… ?               

I was totes prepared to join Miss Kells in her Kick the Flip out of Cancer in October. This would’ve entailed getting to the HIT daily.  I work out weekday mornings at 630.  So unfortunately, their hours didn’t work for me. From experience I know I will not go regularly at another time.

There are no drop-ins4. There are monthly pay options.  The fee decreases depending on if it’s month-to-month, for 12 or 24 months.

The trainers are fabulous – full of pep and sugar. But don’t let their smiles fool you.  They’ll push you, bootcamp style.

If you are interested, check them out: 30 Minute Hit!

Foots
1 Nals dislikes medicine balls. Maybe if it came with a spoonful of sugar…
2 Yes, this is indeed the technical term, as per Nals.
3 And by “okay”, I mean I didn’t quit and got a workout, even if I did most of the moves wrong.
4 Except Sunday was one of the fundraising days so it was drop in and a couple dudes came to participate.

Wake Up Before You Go Go

October is Women’s Health month here on N&K. Today, nals will be discussing self esteem.

When I was heavier, I felt bombarded with images of thin, smooth-skinned, tall ladies as ‘beautiful’. If it was North American media, then tanned vixens. And if Bollywood media, then fair-skinned maidens. No one looked like me: pear-shaped, bespectacled, with frizzy unkempt waves & darker skinned… unless it was an actor who played an evil Bollywood mom. Or, was the star of a self-named comedy show (see posts on Tips 1-4, 5-8, 9-10). And I wasn’t any of those adjectives either!

And these thin women were portrayed as The Ultimate Show Ponies, dripping with confidence, promise, fulfilling lifestyles, happiness and sex appeal. Today, I say “Bravo!” to advertising and entertainment sectors for the deep ingrainment. They worked hard to get that image across.  At the time, it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t know anyone else that looked like that, either. Move over Manson² and Heaven’s Gate, Media is the Ultimate brainwasher.

Keep in mind, my teen years were spent poring over glossy magazines with shiny images, talking on the phone with friends, and watching TV. We didn’t have internet or cell phones. My escape was TV and staying up late reading books¹. So growing up with rigid ideas of what the perfect 2-D body looks like makes a regular 3-D girl feel less-than.

In all honesty I thought once I lost weight³, I would be happier. Things would magically fall into place. Of course this is real-life, not a fairy tale.

Happiness is something you attain. It is not bestowed upon you.

 

 

I had to really think about what would make me happy. I love reading, photography, the theatre

and writing. I love all kinds of dance. I am happy when beautiful things surround me: people, clothes, art, wine, food. And I am happy after I have challenged myself.

I try to do things to push my personal boundaries like co-writing this blog. (Yes, I love writing but it’s not easy to put yourself out there.) I’ve taken loads of pictures, in public. Then put up these up for you all to see.

 

 

And last week, I started a burlesque class with Kells. Yes, burlesque. I love how bawdy, welcoming, tongue-in-cheek, flirty, raucous it is. And we had no idea about its fabulously clandestine history

This is an intro class, with a lovely range of ladies across sizes, ages, shapes and abilities. About one third took the class to push themselves, have fun and become more comfortable in their own skin.  Some of the same reasons as N&K!

I would say I’m a happier person, having pushed personal boundaries and embracing all aspects of myself. Am I positive and happy 100% of the time? Of course not. Real life has ups and downs. But if you want to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle…
you gotta wake the F up. Self-evaluate and make a plan of change.
Don’t just chug along with life. Grab it by the horns and point it in the right direction!

Footnotes
1 Thanks Judy Blume, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Isaac Asimov for keeping me up too late
2 Charles, not Marilyn
3 According to a female family member, all I needed to do in my teen years, was lose weight, get rid of unsightly zits and get toss the glasses. (She was unsure of this last thing, as presumably, there were attractive librarians with glasses.) This aunt was a solid support to me. She never lied. But, she encouraged my strengths and didn’t let me forget them. And I adored her. (She was the next best thing to sliced bread!) So when she gave me this unsolicited bit of advice, which came out of the blue, I was heartbroken.

Kickin’ Cancer

So if you follow us on IG you probably saw that we have been saying we are going to focus on Women’s Health for the month of October.  Part of this will be me documenting my journey on Kicking the Beep out of Cancer with 30 Min Hit. Please follow this link to my page:https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=4292199&langPref=en-CA

I have never done this before, so I am a little  nervous. First of all, I’m not one to ask people for money. So please don’t feel you need to donate to me (but I won’t say no if you want to donate). However, I am asking you all to join in the conversation around women’s health AND to support me while I kick the stink out of cancer this month.

Secondly, the only option for t-shirts were pink. Ugh. I’m not a fan of the pink, or pink, or pink. But I will bring it to the gym every day and get it signed. Oh I should mention, that for every work out we do this month, we get a signature on the pink shirt. Maybe I should set a goal of signatures? Any suggestions? (please leave a comment).

October 1st, here we go. Starting the month off at the gym in a pink shirt, getting signatures and starting the conversation around Women’s Health.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most common types of cancer (not including skin cancer). Also, cancer is the #1 cause of death in Canada. We also know that the earlier the detection the better the outcome. We also know that there is no known cure, and we need to find it! No one should have to lose their life to cancer. No one.

I’m assuming here, but I’m pretty sure that we have all been impacted by Cancer. I have lost 2 important people in my life to Cancer and I have also have a survivor in my life. This month I want to honor my friend Amber, who even while she fought her hardest and even in her sickest moments, chose to be happy and live for every moment. I also want to honor my bests Dad, Rick. He was the cool dad that made those ridiculous jokes and always made us laugh. I will never forget these two.

I also want to use this month to fight for never receiving that call again. The call where your soul sister calls and tells you she has cancer. That call literally took my breath away. It made time stop and has burnt a hole in my memory. I vowed to be with her every step of the way. I was there after her surgery and helped take care of her kids. I am so thankful she is still with me, as I can’t picture my life without her. and I am so happy to say her kids still have her. She is also the one that lost her dad last year. Cancer sucks.

Let me share this one last thing. A couple of months before Amber passed away, I went to see her in the hospital. She was so thin and on oxygen. It was hard to see her so frail. But she smiled the whole time. She laughed and joked and wanted to know the latest news with everyone we knew in our lives. I asked her what can I do to help her. She told me she was happy. She said that after she got the news she had a choice, to fear the future and be sad about her extremely aggressive cancer or she would wake up every morning and say “today I choose to be happy”. That really hit me. My gosh, it’s hard to be wake up happy without knowing you are dying from cancer. And let me tell you, Ams lived her word. She was happy. She was happy to see her friends, happy to have another day with her family. She was happy. I try hard to live by this. And when I hear our song, Sugar by Maroon 5, I get a reminder to be happy. It’s a choice.

So here I am, choosing to do my part for fighting for cancer and choosing to be happy. Please join me. Help me. Encourage me. Follow my fundraising and if you can please donate: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=4292199&langPref=en-CA I hope to post some pictures there soon!

Catch Me If You Can

N&K’s Roundup of Runs in Vancouver, BC

 

Believe it or not, at 12 years old, I signed up for Track & Field.  And I chickened out… then at 40, did I really start running.  

Kells was a track-lete in her teens and took a break when during schooling and subsequent back issues.  And she re-started around the time I did.


So this year, Kells & I did 3 runs.


  

Not all runs are created alike. Which is why I wanted to do a review so that newbie runners have the info to choose wisely.  There’s not only a financial cost, but also the time and energy.

 

Prep & training

We were both mentally prepared and motivated.  

Kells just needed to re-condition.  Her final time was about 30 minutes for 5km outside.  

I needed to start from the bottom middle up. I did some research and decided to do a modified Couch to 5km.  My end time was about 40 minutes for 5km on the treadmill. Running outside was way harder.  I couldn’t run a straight 5km, without walking breaks.


Always check in with a licensed healthcare professional such as a physician, nurse-practitioner or personal trainer prior to starting a new health regime.  This helps you to be physically safe and manage your expectations³.


 

St. Patty’s Run (March)

more info

had such a fabulous energy.  It is the first run of the year in Vancouver. Lots of music, people, hoopla.  It was fabulous and I was pumped but nervous AF!  

Location: Stanley Park 

Raceway: We ran along the seawall so pathway was flat, with minimal incline and wide enough to pass the slower-paced folks.

Length: 5 km walk or run.  Different start times for different levels.

N’s time 38 mins ⇔ K’s time 28 mins

 

Daffodil Dash (April)

More info

Both Kells and I have had loved ones suffer from with cancer.  So this is a topic that is near-and-dear to us.

Location: various across B.C. We chose Tri-cities, which was at Rocky Point 

Raceway: windy, partial paved sidewalk/trail and a lot of forest-y trails with twigs and such things to get underfoot.

Other info: wayyy smaller gathering that started 45 minutes late, not cordoned off so other runners and birders¹ blocked the precious real estate.  

Length: 5 km (which was more like 5.5 km) or 1 km walk or Dash for kidlets

N’s time ≈ 45 mins ⇔ K’s time ≈ 30 mins

 

Shoppers Run for women (May)

More info

Womens health is also an important topic for us. So this was a no-brainer.  

Location: Wesbrook Village in UBC, N’s alma mater

Raceway: trails in Pacific Spirit Park Partial paved and mostly groomed trails with some twiggy undertows.  Minimal incline, paths are narrow at some points.

Length: 5 km walk or run (or 10 km run or 1 km walk), different trails and staggered start times

N’s time: <38 mins ⇔K’s time: <28 mins

Conclusion

After the first run, this gal was hooked.  The freaking energy and positivity was addicting and motivating AF.  We will defo run this next year.  

If I had started with Daff Dash, I wouldn’t have gotten hooked. No siree bob. Energy was way different, which was partially due to the drizzle and smaller crowd. Didn’t seem as organized.  Next year both K&I agreed to do the Vancouver one.  (2018 was the last year for Tri-Cities location anyways.)

We ended with a BANG! Shoppers was defo a larger crowd with music and lots of energy.  Our one critique is that the Walkers should have started last, after all of the runners.  Some of the Walkers sauntered in their possies, shooting the shit.  They were like a human bunting, 3 and 4 across the the path. They bristled at how the runners rudely pushed past them2.  Imagine runners wanting to run in a race! Preposterous!

Our last run was supposed to be the Vancouver Pride Run in July  But I wanted to support my family member in her wife’s Celebration of Life, which was the same weekend.  So K&I didn’t go. 

I was super pleased to see all shapes and sizes, and skill levels.  So if you’re remotely interested, go for it! It is sooo worth it.

Footers:

1  Birders= a gaggle of birdwatchers that was clogging up the trail like an oxidized comedo.

2 The bunts were told to keep 1 or 2 across, and keep path open for runners. Hmmm these Walkers didn’t have a bunt to stand on.

3 I see him a few times a year for the chronic health condition so I just tacked this question on to my visit.  I had also checked in with Koach.  

In da Club

I’m all for trying something new…

A sweet co-worker of mine has been raving about her newest workout and asking me to try it out. First of all let me say I have been to the gym with her in the past and she is a machine. A maniac really. Let me just say…when we went to the gym the first time together she told me that she doesn’t talk to people at the gym and doesn’t like to be interrupted. Yah, I know…maniac!

Soooo this new workout of hers…row class. Yup, that’s right, row class. Doesn’t sound to impressive. Doesn’t sound like anything really. But she swore to me that I would like it and that it would be fun. The plus side, good music. And since I will try something new, I gave it a whirl.

So what is row class? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of people get together and row it out. But here’s what I never understood about rowing before:

It’s more of a leg workout than an arm workout.

I was surprised by this.

So, after the first class I realized that I was pretty much doing it wrong because it wasn’t that challenging. I was super focused on not injuring my back that I didn’t focus on what I needed to do; push off with my legs.

So I had a short lesson on what to do after the class (oh yah, this also happened before the class, but I still didn’t get it).

Since they had a special offer if you bought 5 more classes, I signed up for those to. Might as well give it a good go.

Class 2 I was starting to understand the push off with the legs thing, but class 3 I was getting it a lot better.

Here’s what I didn’t expect:

ABS

Wait…I wanna be clear, I did not get abs…but I certainly felt them! This is an added bonus. My core is probably one of my weaker spots, definitely a soft spot! And with my back issues, I know I need to strengthen my core…so in that aspect this is a great opportunity for it.

So Club Row. Well, I figured the “club” part is because it’s in a dark room with loud music. It’s kinda cool actually. I didn’t get it when my friend was telling me but the dark room allows you to focus on your stride or row (or whatever it is rowers call it). And it allows you to “see” others in the room, without actually seeing them. What this does is allows for the room to move together, which keeps you doing the right thing. If you are off you will know it, cuz you will be the only one rowing out of sync with the rest of the room.

Now the music is all picked to have a certain beat that you can row to. There’s a lot of rap. Which if that isn’t your thing you may feel that it’s not going to be fun. But it works. Personally, I don’t often listen to rap, so it’s a nice change then all the other “gym” or “workout” music.

I’ve been to a few classes now, and have had 2 of the instructors. They were both really awesome. Upbeat, encouraging and loud enough to hear over the music. They are also super happy to help you figure it out and show you what you can do to improve.

Do I suggest you try it: Yup! Why not? You may really like it. Plus they offer a 5 class pass which is a good way to test the waters.

They offer gloves as a thing to rent for $2. Rent them (unless you have your own bike riding gloves). They will save you some blisters.

Oh and bring water. It gets hot in the dark room and you really work up a good sweat.

The 3rd class I did. (started at 5600)

Last class I attended

Finally, getting to Club Row is an interesting task because it’s in the basement! I was not expecting that, nor did I really notice the signs (besides the big one on the sideway at the front door). So if you go, remember to head down the stairs. Once you start heading down you will see it right away. But you gotta go down!**

Let us know if you are gunna try a class. We wanna know what you think! Hey you might even see the maniac there! Haha. Or me!

**UPDATE: ( or foot note) they are closed for 2 weeks as they are moving locations. Something about being too loud for their current neighbours. So I have no idea if you will go up or down or not in their new location. If you go to check it out please see their website.

Muscle Development Quarterly

from glamour gals
to funny gals
In March, our lil friend and personal trainer Koach got both N & K into a muscle development regime.  This is a good way to transform your workout from mundane back to great. In honour of Koach’s birthday today, we are writing this post to update y’all on our progress! Continue reading