Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Cirque Part 11

It's been a strange summer for us in terms of our traditional summer circus gigs. The two Renaissance Fairs that started out our year last year no longer exist so we had two months with little excitement. I've been stilting at the ballpark off & on but even those gigs are fewer this year.
This past Saturday though, we hit up one of my favorite annual gigs we have! A group of the Aerial 4 Me (studio portion of the business) instructors, interns & advanced students head out to the Grand Rapids Pride Event every year.

I adore being a part of this event and supporting the community it represents. I realize that Pride events are not a new thing and in parts of the country it's a highly anticipate event every year. In some places it's no different than any other cultural festival that happens in the summer. But Grand Rapids is nestled in a very conservative portion of Michigan and for us to hold a Pride event right down town by city hall is fantastic! And it's been getting bigger every year! I hope to watch the even grow along with awareness & respect for all people.

This year we had a first time performer, and a student that would have performed last year but was out with an injury. It was great to get to see them doing what they love & actually getting to hear the applause of a live audience.
It really never gets old.
 And while I consider my own journey far from over, I think the part I like about becoming more "seasoned" is getting to share in journey of others as they discover what they love about performing. I always find it so refreshing to work with our students & interns. They bring so much life & energy to the troupe! I can't wait to see what next year brings for Pride, and I hope to have some fun new cirque stories to share with you soon!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Race Day 3: Bob Wasn't Even There!

So I randomly signed up for a 5K this weekend through work. I ended up having nothing to do and it was free so I figured "hey why not?" Why not? I didn't train that's why not! We help sponsor a Brian Diemer run every year which has become known at work as "Beat the Bob" because our CEO comes out and we all try to beat him. Except he wasn't there this year he was on some fancy vacation. Lame! It was cool to see so many people from work though. I ran into one of my work friends that is also a circus friend which was really cool! This was her first 5K and I loved getting to help her finish it out! It actually helped me keep going too because I was starting to get slow & negative. Got my eye on a few more runs this year, I'll keep you crazy kids updated!
Distance: 5K
Time: 33:10
Best Kilometer: 1st 5:21
Worst Kilometer: 5th 7:30
Weather:62 degrees, drizzle 
# This Wk: 1st
Song I Finished To: Novicane
Stand Out Though: Michelle is definitely my best running companion.

Friday, June 12, 2015

When You Open the Cover

What makes a good opening line? Should it make you laugh or make you nervous? Should it give facts about the story that is about to unfold, or should it just dive right in? I've experienced a lot of first lines in my life but only some of them really stick with me. Only some of them make me want to go back and start over as soon as I've finished. These are the first lines that make me feel all the fuzzies and put a smile on my face as soon as I think about them. If I am honest I'm smiling while I write this.
My mind drifted off on this topic the other day and I marveled on how some first lines can evoke such a strong emotion in an individual and others just got lost into the void of "oh yeah I read (or watched) that". I realize this is not an original thought, there are many blogs & lists of best or most influential opening lines out there. This is also a completely subjective concept, each list is different. Some lists are clearly specific to the person writing them and some are trying to capture what has influenced our culture as a whole. But culture is also relative and each writer will have a different opinion of what is influential. In this post I am talking about what opening lines are most influential for me. For me the first lines that stay with me are the ones that represent a moment of growth in my life.

I do not claim these are the best opening lines or even my favorite books. They represent an adventure that happened at a time when I needed the lessons it offered to better understand the world or myself. Some of them come with nostalgia of wiggling around on my mom's lap or the couch next to her while she read to me. While others remind me of a profound lesson or turning point in my life. Some of them are only important to me because they were the beginning of my adoration for an author. Here are my favorites, feel free to comment with some of yours!

Jenn's Favorite Opening Lines:

  • "“The A is for Ape. And B is for Bear.
    The C is for Camel. The H is for Hare
    The M is for Mouse. And the R is for Rat.”
    “I know all the twenty-six letters like that…
    … Through to Z is for Zebra. I know them all well.”
    Said Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell." ~On Beyond Zebra

  • "The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him "WILD THING!" and Max said "I'LL EAT YOU UP!" so he was sent to bed without eating anything." ~Where the Wild Things Are

  • "Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy." ~The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe

  • "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." ~The Hobbit

  • “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” ~Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone

  • “It was a pleasure to burn.” ~Fahrenheit 451

  • "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." ~Pride & Prejudice

  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." ~A Tale of Two Cities

  • "On the 24th of February, 1810, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples." ~The Count of Monte Cristo

  • "Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean." ~Romeo & Juliet

  • "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend." ~The Wheel of Time

  • "Here is a small fact: You are going to die." ~The Book Thief

  • "Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early in the morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity." ~Elantris

  • "It was night again." ~The Name of the Wind

  • "I’m going to die, aren’t I?” Cenn asked." ~The Way of Kings

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Extroversion - It's Not As Easy As You Think

I feel like most of my blogs these days start out this way: recently I was having a conversation with my friend...
It never fails to be true though!
Originally when I started this post I had all kinds of  definitions because that's the kind of person I am. If I can get to the root of what something means I can understand it. Simply put Extroversion & Introversion are really just how a person recharges their battery. I am including the links below if you are also interested.

My friend and I discussed several points around this including generalizations when it comes to vocabulary. Must a shy person be an introvert? Or an out going person an extrovert? No, although most people generalize it that way. We both consider ourselves shy but as I mention she is clearly an introvert while I am an extrovert. Having a diverse combination of introvert and extrovert friends we began commenting on how they relate to each other and things that are hard about each. That was the point we realized we have been bombarded with lists over the last year, maybe more, of "struggles of being an introvert" and "how to relate to your introvert friend". It occurred to us that there has been no evidence of such a list for extroverts. Why you might be asking? I don't really know, but my best guess is that the qualities that come with being an extrovert tend to be prized and sought after in ambitious society so as a culture we see them as not struggling. Wrong. Not to down play the challenges introverts face, because if we are being honest, it really is an extrovert world we live in. But when your battery percentage depends greatly on who is around you life is not always a picnic. We extroverts have our own problems and I shall make my list now!
So world here it is:

The Struggles of Being an Extrovert

Was That Too Much?

As extroverts we tend to be excited about the prospect of meeting new people. It's like a whole new adventure & story that is about to unfold. Someone new! And quite possibly a new friend! IT'S JUST SO EXCITING!!!! At least that's what it's like on the inside for extrovert, which is fine. Until the excitement vomits out at an unsuspecting introvert, woops! All too often the energy we are drawing out of this exciting new social situation is far too overwhelming for the other person involved. You end up making a first impression that could be described as over bearing, pushy, overly chatty, irritating, know it all, aggressive, maybe even a little crazy. The honest truth is, we didn't mean to.

Sometimes I Need To Think About Things By Myself Too

Most extroverts need to bounce their thoughts & ideas off another person to process them appropriately. There are those rare times when even extroverts know that they have to sort out their thoughts for themselves. It is likely that they will bounce their conclusions off another person when they've sorted them but they still need the time to think. What ends up happening is a never ending string of "what's wrong", "are you ok", "you look sad", "can I help you", etc. I know my introvert friends understand this all too well, but I included it here because extroverts experience this in a different way. When you are an extrovert people around you become used to your energy level in public, your socializing, your chattiness. So when it's not there those people are uncomfortable and don't believe you when you tell them you are fine and they panic and insist on returning you to you the state they are most comfortable with. To which one wants to shout "OMG GO AWAY!!!"  There are some life events & problems that just require your own opinions and no one else's, even for an extrovert.

Pressure To Be The Life Of The Party

In a similar fashion, as an extrovert there is a generalized assumption that when you are out and about with people (which is often) that you are going to "bring the party". This idea didn't come from no where, it is often true, but with it comes a constant pressure to always be "On". Performers know what
it feels like to be in the spot light. Now imagine that's every social situation you encounter ever! Most of the time this is fine, in fact I know quite a few extroverts that will say "I'm just gonna hang back this time" and everyone laughs because they know it's super unlikely. Reality check though, no one can be "on" 100% of the time. Those moments might be rare, but please understand and don't make us feel guilty if we want the party rest on someone else's shoulders for the night. We will be back in top form again soon, promise!

What If I Don't Wanna Be In Charge

Leading right into the ever present pressure to be the leader, planner, or decision maker. Yes, extroverts gain energy from being around others but that doesn't mean that we are all naturally born party planners. Extroverts can get overwhelmed by all the details that go into planning events and being around people is not the same as managing them. Extroverts are as diverse as Introverts and some of them HATE planning, they just wanna show up and enjoy the event bringing their life & energy with them. If you ask them to create an itinerary or make a seating chart they may just rip their hair out. Decisions are hard and that need to bounce ideas off others can make being the decision maker even more complicated. You end up with too many opinions and if you're not a skilled planner/leader then you're more confused then when you started. The need to be around people for mood & energy's sake does not mean we should or are comfortable being in charge.

The Dangers Of "Negative Nellie"

As I have mentioned extroverts get energy from being around people and it effects their mood & thought process. What happens when an extrovert is surrounded by negative energy & people? It feels like being trapped in a room with an angry kitten (or puppy if you rather). It's frustrating, and hurts, and possibly kinda scary, and you wanna leave because you know it's better for you but you also wanna grab that kitten and cuddle it anyway because, kitten. It feels like a trap, as if you were being pulled into a vortex of negative thoughts feet first and even though you are grasping for something there is nothing to pull you out. We know the negative energy is toxic but sometimes you can't get away (like at work) and other times it's still less terrifying than being alone.

I Might Be Shy

They are out there folks, the elusive Shy Extrovert. Don't worry I've already done the definition thing but let me tell you what happens. If you are a shy extrovert your friends are all used to they expect you to be lively, talkative, and full of energy because that is what they are used to. But when you're faced unexpectedly with a social situation where you don't know anyone the anxiety starts to build.
You know you should talk to people, it will put you back in your element, but they all seem so scary and your thoughts start to race. It's not long before words become hard to think of and you have absolutely nothing interesting to bring up to start that crucial conversation. And just like with all shy people this is 1,000 times worse and more awkward if I'm attracted to you. It's real I promise because I've lived it.

Yes I Do Enjoy Solitary Activities

I have emphasized how extroverts seek out people, it gives us energy and improves our mood. This doesn't mean that we don't enjoy things that are considered "solitary" activities. I love to read! Sure sometimes I do it in a crowded room, but I still love reading. I also love sewing, which is quite hard to do with others and someone even once said that extroverts don't blog. Being active and social is an integral part of any extrovert's life but they are still able to enjoy individual hobbies & activities. Sometimes we even find ways to make them social. Don't count the extroverts out, they may be your next best book club buddy!

I Don't Actually Like Everyone

As an extrovert your super powers are talking to people and having a packed calendar! You love being around people this is how it goes. That means you like them all right? No. Please don't mistake my ability to talk to someone pleasantly because the situation demands it of me with actually liking them. I am not accusing all extroverts of being "fake" although I'm sure some are. I am merely pointing out that it's an easy generalization that people make often when it comes to extroverts. You like being around people therefore you like all people. Not true, we reserve the right to not mesh well with some people.

When Enough Is Enough!

I just spoke to how even extroverts need breaks, and no one can be "on" 100% of the time but the way you can really pick out an extrovert is how long it takes for them to become so stir crazy they
look like they are out of their mind. Only engaging in an activity for a couple minutes, moping, pacing, constant phone checking, sending repeated text that consist of ridiculously pointless nothings like "hey", talking to themselves because there's no one else to talk to. All are tell tail signs that your extrovert buddy has had enough! Let me try to explain what this terror is like for extroverts. You want to go out, because there's no one around, but you don't want to go out because there's no one to go with. You can't decide if you should move or just lay there and give up. Then you start imagining that everyone has really impressive lives and epic plans. And if it gets really bad yous start imagining that they are all together doing something amazing thinking that they are so clever they found a way to leave you out. Then the internal battle happens because you know this is all irrational but on the other hand it really feels like the apocalypse. It's terrible! What you hope of course is that someone will come save you from you plight but really all you need is a text acknowledging that you're still part of things.

Sometimes I Just Need You There

To all my Introvert friends, we extroverts are a lot to handle sometimes and for that I'm sorry. I can only imagine the kind of pressure you feel when your extrovert friend calls you up and wants to hang out. You might have to leave your safe place and have social interactions you're not comfortable with. I speak for myself only but I imagine there are others like me out there who feel this way! If you are my friend and you are an introvert, I know this. I understand that a lot of the things that I love are very difficult for you but please understand that there is a reason I adore introverts. You might not go to the bar or a festival with me (maybe you would) but quite often to do the list of things I need to do or truly enjoy that activity I've been looking forward to all week I need to be left alone with out being alone. You, my introvert friends, are in someways the most supportive people in my life because all I really need is for you to be there. We don't have to go anywhere, it doesn't have to be a special occasion, we don't have to talk, we don't even have to look at each other. I just need you there, even if you're on the other side of the room, doing what ever it was you would be doing alone. You are with me and that's enough.