Pretty Blue Rose

life musings, fashion, and inspiration


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Wednesday Wisdom: Life Lessons from the Sims Game

Anyone remember the Sims game?

It is a strategic, life simulation video game series where the player (you or I) creates virtual people called “Sims” and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires.

Now a-days there are all of these additions, but I used to play the original back in the day-spending countless hours hustling to make a few bucks, keeping myself happy and clean, while keeping my friends and family happy. It was a struggle to do all of that, very frustrating at times, but it was fun and highly addictive….that is until I learned there was a cheat that allowed me to exponentially increase my money at a moments notice. When I entered in a certain code, my money would increase by thousands of dollars! Jackpot! Right?!?!

When I first found out about the cheat I was ecstatic– I felt like I won the lottery in real life! I could hardly sleep for the first few days after I found the cheat code. I could build any house I wanted with all of the furniture I wanted and I didn’t have to work for measly dollars. Life was great….or so I thought. After the newness of my money wore off, and I had all sorts of new and expensive furniture in my houses (yes plural), I stopped playing the game altogether. It no longer excited me, so I moved on. Cold turkey.

So years later I am able to look back on my sudden change of heart with a game that I really really loved to learn a very valuable lesson.

I never understood either, how rich celebrities could be so self centered and miserable. To be frank I would get quite annoyed. I would look at a bored Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, and just shake my head. But now I get it. They are bored. They have the Sims “money cheat” and they don’t know what to do. The excitement of the money wears off and you have to find other ways to entertain yourself.

Now I am not one of those people who thinks money is bad, I think it is preferable to have money than not. No apologies for that sentiment. (how can you help others if you have nothing to give?) But I do realize that as a society we tend to put too much emphasis on money, the influence and privilege it provides, and how we can get more of all three.

So when I am tempted to complain thinking if I just had more money things would be better/different— I try to think about what I am really asking for: peace of mind and financial freedom to make decisions not based on how much work leave I have.

While money does make things more convenient, it doesn’t erase the hardships of life. Although the hustle of working everyday, can be frustrating, it is a necessary function to keep us from becoming bored.

In a virtual world, I had what I thought I wanted: unlimited funds, access to the best houses, cars and lifestyle but I quickly became bored. Interesting, eh?

-A.G.


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Some Wisdom: Nothing Even Matters

 

I was recently involved in a situation where I was very very upset with a few folks. I was repeatedly being disrespected…in the subtle, passive aggressive way that only nasty folks know how to do…

The evening of the “most recent encounter” I went into my studio to dance (and sing) my stress away…

And since I was feeling “creative” I started looking for other dances to inspire me.

I stumbled upon this dance by one of my favorite choreographers, Galen Hooks.

her movement really is amazing. (I’m still learning it…it looks simple but it isn’t)

Well, from there I found this You Tube cover of Lauryn Hill’s Nothing Even Matters and it is Sick! (Galen’s dance reminded me of how much I love Lauryn’s song…)

So in love with their voices, I began listening to it again this morning–and then it hit me–It doesn’t matter! (duh I know, but still…). We all know about ignoring petty, angry, insecure people, but when they strike it’s hard not to retaliate.

Although, on the surface the song Nothing Even Matters is about love– but hearing them sing the phrase nothing even matters over and over made me see how small this battle is and reminded me why I shouldn’t engage.

I started thinking about how eagles soar above adversity while chickens just peck and flap on the ground. Arguing with chickens is silly. Eagles and chickens don’t fly in the same air space–so for me to engage would be like residing in the chicken coop. No Thanks!

I have a destiny to fulfill, I have people to inspire, I have dances to create, a family to raise and to love…so no this disrespect doesn’t matter.

Ms. Hill says it best:

Now the skies could fall
Not even if my boss should call

[Nothing even matters]

These buildings could drift out to sea
Some natural catastrophe

It still doesn’t matter,

 

A.G.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Frustration can help you move to the next level

There are many things that can frustrate us.

Frustration can manifest if you move too fast. You want everything done yesterday–having made arbitrary timelines for life goals and they are not being met. (House, marriage, and kids in 3 years anyone? Or how about I expected my business to take off and make me a millionaire like yesterday-wink wink)

Or frustration can manifest if you move too slow. When you look around you see others doing what you know you should have stepped out on faith to do, you are angry (really that’s just frustration).

And I’d say both of those types of frustration are good only to let you know that you are moving too fast or too slow. So once you identify the source of your frustration you can adjust.

But there is another type of frustration that I have recently encountered that I think will forever change my life for the better…

and it’s the frustration that inevitably comes along with learning new things.

I now realize that as adults we may be more easily frustrated than when we were toddlers. (and if you’ve raised a toddler that may be hard to believe, but follow me for a few moments…)

As adults, we’ve become proficient at many things. We’ve mastered walking, talking, writing, cooking (some of us anyways…), so when we start to do something that we are unfamiliar with, most of us freak out. As a 30-something, why should I go back to feeling like a toddler trying to walk? I already know how to walk!!! So rather than feel silly or clueless, as we age we tend to do only what we know, like, and what we are good at (see a problem here?).

Although I wrote about stepping outside of my comfort zone a while back, I really experienced it this past week.

With dance, my training and comfort zone is in ballet, lyrical, and classical jazz. They come relatively easy. I stopped dancing regularly when hip-hop became mainstream so I never learned it. Any time I’d try to learn hip hop on my own I’d become super frustrated and stop. (Dancers have this joke about watching ballerinas trying to do hip hop it’s always funny and you can always tell they are “ballerinas”. I felt like I started to look like that).

A while back I discovered a down to earth yet amazing choreographer named Candace Brown on You Tube. She is ridiculous. She moves like silk and I am in awe of her talent.

So in this case, I saw this choreography to a song by one of my favorite artists Dwele called Two2Tango. It’s ridiculous. I watched it into the wee hours of the morning totally mesmerized.

So the next morning I decided to learn the dance. I had to tell myself I’d try to learn an 8 count per day because it’s a hard dance to learn on your own, in real time, and looking at their reflection in the mirror. (for someone out of the dance loop, this dance is darn near impossible!)

Well I couldn’t get the first 4 counts…4 COUNTS!! I was more than frustrated. As soon as I thought I got it, I realized I was doing it wrong. (thanks to the mirror)

I walked away for a bit, came back and still wasn’t getting it. We ran errands later that day and every few steps (in BJ’s) I was practicing, still with no luck. Talk about frustrated!!!! I am a dancer and I needed two days to get the first 8 count! Although I heard all the voices saying how I was a has been because I was struggling so hard to get the first 8 count, I didn’t quit. I hated how I felt, but I wouldn’t stop trying. (oh and on day two I was so sore it was hard to take deep breaths!)

But at the end of day two, I started to get it! And that felt good! But how often do we quit because we are “embarrassed” thinking we should be learning it quicker or be more proficient by some arbitrary date. Just keep going!

So I will be learning this new dance. Although I am totally scared, my plan is to post the video once I learn it all.

Another thing I’ve learned is that letting a talent die is one of the worst things you can do. Maya Angelou said is best when she said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Although I left dance, she hadn’t left me. And although I turned my back on her, she’s willing to take me back. Now our becoming re-acquainted is no walk in the park. It’s not like picking up where you left off with an old friend. Dance is a high maintenance friend that demands daily interaction, so me getting to know her again is not always going to be fun, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So for the bigger lesson is don’t let adulthood and the proficiencies you’ve acquired thus far push you to only pursue what you are great at. Sometime you should feel frustrated like a toddler learning to walk. It’s painful, perhaps embarrassing, but totally necessary to move to the next level.

I am now begging my hubby to put in full length mirrors in our basement for my studio. I cannot wait! Hopefully in no time, I’ll be dancing and teaching others.

Until next time,

A. G.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Road Cars vs Race Cars

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The other day I heard the best analogy while listening to the radio.

The speaker was explaining some of the differences between how race cars and road cars are built and related them to how we should operate in our everyday lives. He explained that road cars are built with a long life in mind. We expect road cars to perform reliably for hundreds of thousands of miles because they are built to last.

This is not the case with race cars, however. A race engine is built with one thing in mind: power. Race engine components are built to be light and strong, but in most cases, they don’t last much longer than one race.

We, in turn, are not built to run at a race car’s top capacity all the time. Although multitasking and constant working are things our society pushes and even rewards,  it’s not good for anyone long term. Can you handle what’s thrown at you? Can you juggle different responsibilities without letting them see you sweat? Can you manage unrealistic expectations and unreasonable staff while looking flawless? Of Course I can! But at what cost? Like a race car, you may be able to manage juggling everything for a few trips around the track, but you will burn out. Promise. If you live your life for the long term, similar to a road car, you will last much longer. Let’s try to see the long game, slow down!

Chillin in my road car…

 

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A.G.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Be like a salmon

I am increasingly becoming alarmed at who the media tells me I should like, who is beautiful, and role model worthy. (my heart always breaks for the underrated musicians who have something important to say, but never appeal to the masses.) My inner circle knows I feel this way, but today I just need to get it out.  On Monday, after the Superbowl, my sister and I had a long conversation about the demise of the music industry and how if you disagree with masses on the talent of a superstar you are called  a “hater.” (Most. Overused. Word. Ever.). We also discussed our frustration that we feel we are force-fed a love of certain “superstars” and celebrities sometimes without merit.
But I encourage you to see being called a “hater” as a badge of honor that you are able to think for yourself rather than do what the media tells you to do.
Although my big issue is with the music industry and what images are being sold to children, heck everyone, it’s also relevant in all other areas of life.  Think for yourself. Be critical and ask questions of those in authority or  those running media corporations (deciding what TV programs to produce.) Don’t just take what you are fed,  be it from the pulpit or from a news anchor.  Sometimes you need to go against the grain and make decisions for yourself. Or think through what you are told or sold before you run with it. You may feel like you are swimming upstream, but hang in there. There are plenty of examples in life where people went against the grain, and it started a movement. Don’t just take what you are given. Just because it looks and feels good, doesn’t mean it is.
If it means you are the only one who thinks that way…so be it. And side note, you may want to get a new group of friends because you may find that once you do, others feel as you do!
be encouraged,
A. Genise


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Wednesday Wisdom: Running alone, running together

I heard this old African proverb that really spoke to me:

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I believe this is an analogy that is frequently used to show how working together accomplishes more. In our “quick quick do it yesterday” society the tendency is to do things ourselves so we can be off to the next thing. Sad thing is we tire out that way and end up not finishing our race. Look around, make sure you have people to support you on your journey and make sure you have people that you are supporting. You will all get there…together.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Stop Auditioning

I’ve been getting a lot of advice lately. Let’s just say there are some interesting things going on in my life and lots of folks have lots to say (reminder to self: stop telling lots of folks).

One piece of advice really stuck with me. One individual said, “Although unfair, everyday is an audition”.

I found two definitions of auditioning:
1-An interview at which a singer, actor, dancer, or musician demonstrates their suitability and skill. or a 2-A trial performance, as by an actor, dancer, or musician, to demonstrate suitability or skill.

So what I take away is that for a trial period it is OK to be asked and necessary to demonstrate your skills. The thing I’d like to highlight is that it’s for a limited time (hence the words interview and trial).

But I’m learning some people expect folks to have to prove themselves everyday and that’s tiring! Right? Living everyday as on a trial performance is not healthy. But unfortunately, I had to agree with that sentiment. In some circles (families, jobs, etc.) there’s always this “thing” hanging over you about your reputation. Everything you do, say, and work you perform is always “shaping” your “reputation”. To me this means you are always auditioning, always proving.

When I mentioned my new found revelation to my hubby (he is always my sounding board and gives the best advice) he said I don’t need to buy in to that status quo (and unhealthy) thinking.

He said, let’s oversimplify to make a point: If you are the best cook, dancer, employee, blogger, or athlete ever and someone passes along their perspective, 50% will believe it and 50% won’t. The same is true in reverse, if someone passes along that you a horrible parent, dancer, singer, cook, there is a 50% chance that others will believe it and the other half won’t. (Now I know the relationship to the messenger highly influences the likelihood the person will believe the information passed along, but again this was simplified to make a point). So in the scheme of things, there will be a group of people who believe that you are great and others who won’t, no matter what you do. Point Blank Period. (said like Tamar Braxton).

I think of the heated conversations men (and some women) have about athletes illustrates this perfectly. You can take one athlete, say LeBron James, and one person who loves him lists stats and all sorts of things to convince others of his perspective, but the others who know those same stats and watch the games will disagree and call Mr. James garbage. They will say he only can do what he does because of those around him (coaches and teammates) and they say he’s no good. Same person, same performance, different perspectives.

So, if you are a person who cares about what folks think or even worse, thinks you can change how people perceive you, you are going through life auditioning–be it for a job you already have or a role you already perform (a parent for example).
You are always trying to prove that you are worth your title.

I’m learning to focus on doing good work regardless of what others think I can or cannot do. I won’t keep auditioning for a job or a role I already have.

I am important, intelligent, and worthy because I am a human being. Period.

No. Convincing. Needed.

And now that I think about it, one of the main reasons I didn’t pursue a professional dance career was that I hated auditioning. The constant comparisons, rejection, and stress was something I wanted no part of. Why start auditioning now?