I cannot even believe there are two whole half gallons of ice cream in my freezer that haven’t been touched since I brought them home in a state of PMS rage last week.
I mean that is definitely not my greatest life accomplishment but there’s a lot to be said about that if you know anything about my history with ice cream and freezers and the whole pouring a jar of sprinkles on it and eating the entire container with a fork in three and a half breaths thing. (See blog posts #1-18 for reference.)
I cannot even believe where life has taken me outside of the many documents on my computer that were essentially the birthing place for all the blog posts on this website.
Just kidding. In my old age I don’t cry as much as I used to.
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA you’re so funny you believed that. This morning I cried on the way to work thinking about what it will be like when one of my ten year old students turns eighteen and graduates from high school because this Mariah Carey song was playing on the radio that I did a lyrical dance to when I was ten.
There was mascara on my bra before 10am.
I LOVE TURNING 30.
No I seriously do I’m throwing myself no less than 17 parties this week starting last week even though my birthday is not until Tuesday and I’m not stopping celebrations until Sunday.
I love it because I’m not celebrating turning a year older or whatever. I love it because I have so many FUCKING VICTORIES TO CELEBRATE.
First of all, there’s the whole, surviving 29 years on this planet thing, I mean that’s worth celebrating. A car crash almost killed me when I was 18 and I’ve made some decisions over the past decade that were pretty fucking stupid so, being alive to see 30 is not something I take lightly and not something every one of my loved ones has gotten to experience so, let’s celebrate that.
Um, also, the amount of human beings in my life who love me is beyond comprehension and the gratitude for that is cause for a party every single day for the entire next century.
Most importantly though, I’m celebrating because I’ve actually followed through with something I’ve been saying for the past, I don’t know, like 15 years of my life.
Around 11 months ago, I laid on my couch, bitching and moaning about my boss, my life in Hawaii, the lack of quality men here, the cost of cereal, I mean, you name it. (Cereal is seriously so expensive here though.) My friend Zev, who was contemplating leaving the island and eventually did, told me that at some point, I had to get up off the couch, stop watching Marvel shows on Netflix, and begin training.
(I’m seriously a Marvel freak and I need you to accept that and love me for it.)
TRAINING FOR WHAT, YOU ASK?
Whatever the fuck I wanted.
He was just like, AMANDA, you have to take this next year and do what you need to do to make sure you’re in the best shape of your life by the time you’re 30 so you can do whatever you want. So you can seriously do WHATEVER you want.
He was not body shaming me you guys – seriously he wasn’t trying to be beat to a pulp. He was telling me that I could take more responsibility for my unhappiness than I was at the time and that it would require work.
So in April when I went home for my best friend from high school’s wedding I pretty much had to like, get up or give up. That was the turning point for the whole – do I move back to NYC where everything and everyone I love is, or stay here on an island that everyone dreams about living on that I hate and open a brand new dance studio with people who really really appreciate me and want me to be me while doing it?
Writing you from a VERY humid apartment in Hawaii, so obviously second answer won – only after 16,000 tears and angry life coach calls with multiple coaches, yes, multiple, that’s how many people I needed to unload on to figure this out.
In May, I asked for the role of Artistic Director with a brand new nonprofit arts organization here in Kona and I was welcomed into that role with the promise of freedom to finally bring the creativity and experience I’ve attained over the past 27 years of dancing, singing, acting, choreographing, teaching, performing professionally, and creating innovative work to this island and collaborate with the many artists here with similar missions.
In June, I ran a four-week 120 hour musical theatre intensive BY MYSELF exposing new kids to Broadway actors via Skype, classic composers, and most importantly, show business and the workings of theatre.
In July, I let go of this idea of “pretty” and claimed my personality, and the logistics of my job for my own as I chopped off all my hair into a look that might not attract the men who “love long hair” but fits me like a glove. I also bought a brand new fucking four wheel drive pickup truck.
In August, I found my therapist. Thank God for my therapist. Life is drastically different because of my therapist. I also started seeing a physical therapist for a shoulder injury who then helped diagnose plantar fasciitis in my left foot which began a series of weeks where I tap danced in sneakers to attempt to heal it. Very very depressing and life-altering thing that made me re-evaluate many many many many things. We had our grand opening at the new nonprofit performing arts studio and I also began taking my choreography into the community for performance after performance, both promoting our new studio and also showcasing my work at several large events in Kona for the first time, being credited for that at each one.
In September, the studio began its inaugural season with over 100 students enrolled, and I also produced an entire show that raised us funds for this season while showcasing over 26 pieces of my choreography. In September, I almost had a nervous breakdown.
In October, I spent three and a half weeks traveling to the east coast, attending a spectacular wedding, meeting my best friend’s new baby, taking amazing dance classes, and seeing best best best friends and family.
In November, I lived with my friend Aesha and her two year old son Arrow for ten days over Thanksgiving and my life was changed forever by new friendships and inspiration from Arrow’s strength and incredible heart. It was this that got me through the devastating election of Donald Trump, a man who thinks women are no more than eye candy and dolls to be grabbed and played with, not to mention his views on anyone that is different than him. This, and the realization that now, more than ever, it is my job to teach tolerance and diversity through dance and performing arts education, is what keeps me going throughout this disastrous administration.
In December, I traveled again and this time – it was too much. Too intense. Republican family. Brother who thinks “a little thing like racism” doesn’t make Trump a bad president. Trump Pence sign in my Poppop’s yard. The whole thing. We only talk about December in therapy right now. Also, tap dancing mermaids in a Christmas parade here in Kona – very legit.
In the three months in to 2017, I’ve put in so much work, so much personal awareness work, and also SO. MUCH. WORK WORK. Like, we’re talking, 15 pieces of spectacular and creative choreography. Hours picking costumes and music. Proposals for the next season. Like WORK work. Like A LOT of work. But most importantly, work on me. ME WORK. Prioritizing ME.
And I am ready, for 30.
I have made self-care a priority, thanks to the inspiration of my physical therapist who nearly broke my heart into a thousand pieces the day I told him I had added on yet another class to my Tuesday teaching schedule and asked me, “what are you doin’ to yourself?”
- First of all, I got a Passion Planner. If you do not know what this is and you struggle with time management, immediately order one now. I don’t even care if you finish reading this brilliant breathtaking blog post – go now my friend. Everything is different with the Passion Planner.
- I’m working with a personal trainer twice a week who I have made it VERY CLEAR with that there will be no talk of diet, nutrition, or weight loss and that I am in recovery for an eating disorder that personal training had a lot to do with back in 2009-2011. She has taken every word to heart and we have set physical goals – like strengthening my back to prevent further injury and engaging my left glute again after the plantar fasciitis. Not physical goals like inches lost. I love her forever. (Note: I will not lie to you, there is a lot to unpack here – as of COURSE after gaining 70 pounds throughout my recovery I would honestly be thrilled to lose some weight and fit back into my gorgeous clothes and feel lighter on my feet BUT that is part of my journey and sorting through that while also feeling like a badass is part of the “training” Zev was talking about and if you are going through a similar situation, I just wanted to tell you that you do NOT need to feel guilty about it or beat yourself up for these desires – it’s a human response, especially for those of us who have been through the ED and body hatred journey that we have.)
- I grocery shop. There’s a lot to explain here but grocery shopping is huge for me like, it’s pretty fucking epic.
- I pack lunches and dinners for work. Lots to go into here but just know this is about a big accomplishment as you climbing Everest so.
- I shop. For clothes. For myself. To wear on dates. To wear to meetings. To wear to the grocery store that I now go to once a week. Not just to wear on a dance floor. Also comparable to swimming the channel or something.
- I get facials with an amazing esthetician.
- I get a Vitamin C IV from my naturopath once a month for my immune system.
- I spend about $100 a month on high quality supplements and natural anxiety cures that have revolutionized my physical and mental health.
- I also switched from thongs to regular underwear. I like, did NOT know how comfortable that would be and it’s pretty much everything.
I have huge crushes on two different men which is a GAMECHANGER for me because even if these men remain in the friend zone and are not attracted to me (which would be crazy because I’m stupid hot in my old age) IT GIVES ME HOPE THAT THERE ARE QUALITY MEN ON THIS ISLAND WHICH IS A LOT MORE THAN I CAN SAY FOR WHAT I BELIEVED A YEAR AGO.
Speaking of men, I laid down the law with two of my exes in the past few months, got final final final closure from Stallion that included one crazy New York night that just HAD to be that way, and I am free, free, FREE, fucking free of emotional baggage or trust issues.
AT 30, I AM IN THE BEST SHAPE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I DO NOT HAVE A FLAT STOMACH. MY STOMACH IS BUMPY. I LIKE IT THIS WAY. (This is a lie, but, not for long. I am working on REVELING in my bumpy non-flat stomach because it does not exclude me from anything in life other than this really cute bathing suit I found at Macy’s for $88 and they don’t make an XXL and I was like, so sad, but some things, just like organic healthy Nutella-type products, are just not meant to be.)
I HAVE MAD CELLULITE. I COULD DO WITHOUT BUT, OKAY IT’S DEFINITELY THERE.
I CAN’T RUN A MARATHON.
I CAN’T DO A PULLUP.
BUT MY MENTAL STATE, MY EATING DISORDER RECOVERY, MY LEVELS OF HOPE, MY STABILIZED MOODS, MY MUCH BETTER BUT NOT YET TOTALLY STABILIZED ANXIETY, IS IN THE BEST SHAPE
This past weekend I celebrated that by booking a staycation at one of the resorts here, and then competing in my first ever all styles dance battle where I made it to the final four with a bunch of the hottest breakdancers I think exist on this earth and I was THE ONLY WOMAN. TAP DANCING. It was very hot. I will revel in this for at least two more weeks.
Also, let it always be celebrated that my students, my amazing girls and teenagers, were able to watch me dance in this body this weekend and they WILL. NOT. GROW. UP thinking heavier bodies, or bigger bodies, are not capable of dancing full out, kicking face, turning, jumping, performing, and nailing it. For them to see me living my best life on that dance floor with the joy in my movements and the hair in my face is the greatest gift I can give them – not simply because of my abilities, but because of my unapologetic ownership of every inch of me.
Also my creativity is BANGIN’ these days. I’m talkin’, on fire. Probably because I don’t hate myself. Wish my 25-year-old self could experience the on-fire-ness I’m going through right now but she’ll be okay. She’s doing good with all these new changes and she did the best she could back then.
I love how many times I just said “also” as I just continue to list all the things that are great about me.
And THAT’S what I’m raising many, many, many glasses of bourbon to on March 28th. Tomorrow. Well, really, March 24th-April 2nd but like, the 28th at 12:32pm is when I enter the new decade.
Thank you everyone who made it like this for me. Thank you Alanis Morissette. Thank you Lin-Manuel Miranda. Thank you to my naturopath; my therapist; Maripat Abbott; Olivia/Rich/Topher (one entity basically); Stephanie Beeby; Brittany Horn; my hilarious physical therapist who I think is supposed to be my best friend now that I’m not a patient anymore; Aesha; Arrow. Thank you Ilana Maxwell for opening up The Sweet Spot and being everything I needed the first few months of my role of Artistic Director. Thank you to the board of our amazing performing arts studio for building this unbelievable artistic beacon and allowing me to lead it. Anna, Ian, Amelia, my truest ohana, truly attached to my heart in every way, convincing me to stay on this lava rock and essentially hiding my suitcases from me on several occasions. Bronson I love you. Thank you to my students for making me human and making me vulnerable. Thank you for everyone who has touched me in 29 years both in ways that harmed me and in ways that healed me.
Thank you Zev.
And thank you Rachel Marie LaPorte, for handing me When Food Is Love in 2013 and giving me this life. I stand here today on two very strong, cellulite ridden, extremely sexy, slightly tanned legs, feeling the ground beneath my feet and the future before me, wide open for the taking.
I have learned so much. It was at 29 that I learned to forgive. To not let reactions determine my actions. To accept. To resist. That I have to resist – I mean that was a new lesson for me. Calling senators was VERY new to me. It was at 29 that I learned how good I am at what I do – and trusting that daily. And how great I look in those cold-shoulder tops. And how to change my windshield wiper fluid by myself. That perspective is everything, and if he doesn’t show up, I don’t have to chase him down because he’s not chaseworthy.
And how much tap dancing really really really is, the true love of my life. Sometimes things need to be taken from you (broken toe, plantar fasciitis, etc.) to remind you to get your ass to the studio JUST FOR YOU.
And I can’t wait for the next chapter of lessons.
And amazing sex. I think 30 is going to bring really amazing sex.
I’ll be celebrating all week, because I’ve created (read: worked my ass off for) a life that I want to celebrate every day. The third decade is just going to be, SO epic.