Gratefulness Challenge Day 7

Wow! Already one week in to the Gratefulness Challenge! How time flies when you’re having fun blogging (never thought I’d say THAT). I just wanted to mention that I am not listing these items in any particular order. I am writing about things I am grateful for which specifically relate to the 24 hours before the post, so depending what I have been up to that day the things I am focused on vary. This week has been a lot of working from home and trying to check things off lists. Next week looks like it is going to involve more going out and doing the projects I have been preparing for. I don’t know about you, but I’m interested to see how that changes what I write about.

1. Changing Seasons: Ok so this one really isn’t that exciting. I’m not a big fan of winter. It’s fun for about a week or so and then there’s just a lot of slush and ice and cold. I’m not a big fan of cold either. Sure there are some things I love about winter, like staying cozy at home while drinking tea, going skating and making snow angles, but those aren’t part of my daily life.

Basically I’m grateful that the seasons change so that at some point it will get warmer and I can wear shorts again while basking in the warm sun. But I’m also grateful that it isn’t just summer all the time, because as nice as that might seem I also enjoy falling leaves and budding flowers. As I said on day 1, I am quite fond of change. Basically I’m pretty stoked when there isn’t snow on the ground and I’m not wearing a parka. Now watch me find a phenomenal job next week somewhere up North and end up living in the Yukon for a year.

2. A healthy, functioning body: I would generally characterize myself as a fairly confident person. I surround myself with people that believe in me and I try and focus on the good I see instead of the bad. Every once and a while though I get down on myself a little for something and it can be tough to get out of that funk.

Yesterday was one of those days. For no specific reason, I just wasn’t feeling quite as awesome as usual about my body. As a dance artist (heck, as a human being!) struggling with your body from time to time is part of the job. The challenge for me though always comes down to my body in relation to the art. If I was a regular girl working a non-physical, non-asthetically driven job, I’d be overjoyed with my body’s appearance and capabilities.

So when I do have those moments of frustration over how I look I try and focus on the function instead of the form. My body is healthy, strong and resilient. As of this moment I have not been injured for over nine months (that’s a long time for a dancer), and I am capable of accomplishing physical feats that are impossible for many others. Sure I am not in the peak of my physical form, but I am pretty close to it! Also asides from catching the flu once or twice a year (generally when I haven’t been taking good care of myself), I am super healthy. I have 20/20 eye sight, great hearing, strong teeth and bones, and am on no medications.

The best part about focusing on the functional aspects of my body is that if for any reason something isn’t quite as I would like it is significantly easier to be objective and to come up with solutions either to improve or accommodate those aspects of my being. Sure if I could I would tweak a few minors things a about my appearance, but I’ve never heard any complaints. And you know what is more attractive than a “perfect” body? Confidence! So I am grateful for a body that though not “perfect” (whatever that means) it is healthy, strong, and scores above and beyond on the functional scale.

3. Respectful Men: I am grateful for respect in general and all people that practice it, but yesterday I was especially focused on those of the male gender that were respectful. I went out for a few hours dancing with some friends at a local bar and a few things happened that brought it to mind.

First, while having a drink with my friends we started talking about relationships. Specifically about abusive relationships and what we would qualify as unhealthy and not worth working on. I asserted myself, as I have many times before, that the point where I give up on a relationship is when one of three things happen: 1. If you tell me you aren’t interested and don’t have any desire to fix things 2. If you lie to me and 3. If you disrespect me. This then started a conversation about the definition of “respect.” What exactly does it mean to be respectful of someone? We all had our own views on the topic and could pin-point people we knew that we deemed respectful, but no conclusion was ever drawn.

And then, we made our way to the dance floor. Now my one girlfriend and I are a bit of dance maniacs. Whenever we go out together I know we are in for a good time simply because both of us are carefree, yet strong women. With her by my side I feel really at ease to just let loose and enjoy myself, which I did last night. Now I am aware that when I really get into it my dancing can attract some attention. Mainly because most people are just standing there bouncing and I’m jumping around the room having FUN! My thoughts on social dancing are another long story for a different day…

The club we were at last night was for some strange and unexpected reason much more male than female dominated, but a lot of them were clearly there for one thing only: to find someone to take home. And this is where I figured out what I mean by a “respectful man.” I had a few guys come up to me and compliment me on my dancing and it was a genuine compliment, they looked me in the eye and left after without asking anything else of me. I had other guys compliment me on my dancing while staring at my chest. And sure I get that I am at a club and sex is what a lot of people are there for, but I don’t think I was doing much of the dancing with my breasts…. The compliments were the same but they felt completely different. And that is what I mean by respectful men, the ones that see beyond your body and see you as a living, breathing human being with opinions, ideas and dreams. The ones that don’t give compliments as a means of getting something from you, but because they genuinely mean it and want to share that thought with you as a gift. And most of all the ones that want to do everything in their power to help you grow and would shudder at the idea of doing anything that would smoulder that amazing individual you are. And I’m not just talking about the person I choose as my partner some day, I am talking about all the men in my life.

Not every woman is exposed to men like this and not every young boy growing up is shown how to become one of these revolutionary individuals. The hardest part is that if you were never shown how to be or be surrounded by people of this nature it is hard to find them by yourself. It is almost like respectful men are invisible until someone points them out to you.

I count myself fortunate that growing up I had so many great male role models showing me that all people should be treated equal. These men were and are gentle souls who always see the best in people. This morning as I began to write this post I started to think about all the men who have been a part of my life and I began to see a pattern: the ones that really left their mark were the ones that saw the world through empathetic eyes. I still have many men like this in my life, both family and friends, and they are some of the most phenomenal people I know. They show strength through being gentle and kind and that is a true gift. They are some of my biggest supporters in everything I do and I am grateful to be surrounded by their love in every moment of every waking day.

THE BEST thing I have ever read about how to treat women is this article by Ferrett called Can I Buy You A Coffee? In which he discusses why a complement is not a compliment if you are saying it with an expectation and why a defensive women has a right to be so, but a man doesn’t have the right to be upset about her reaction. Basically he’s a respectful man pulling the veil off of the “being nice” tactic of picking up women. EVERY person, man or woman, should read this article!!! Of anything I have ever suggested you read this is #1!!!! His follow up article about how to actually pick up women is also worth reading over.

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