made it to Chatanooga Tennessee 🙂
Well, it is about three weeks (give or take, I am not sure exactly when I was infested) since I had lice, and I am finally free of them all. I wish I could tell you that with extreme determination and a snazzy lice comb, I got them all myself. But if I told you that, I would be lying!
Hannah’s expectations: one day or two of a little bit of combing, and then I am instantly cured.
Hannah’s reality: It took two lice shampoo treatments, four different lice combs, at least three hours per day combing (my mom would help me comb for about an hour before complaining that her back hurt and she was tired,) and two “natural” olive oil remedies later, I determined that we needed professional help. I called a lice salon in Jackonsville and made an appointment, not sure of what to expect. After getting lost a bit (my mother and I are nothing if not directionally challenged, even with the help of Mapquest) we finally arrived. We drove two hours for this, and I guess I thought it was going to be like a regular hair salon with a bunch of people there and we could all commiserate about our horrible lice experiences. Actually, since it was a Sunday and I guess people have lives, it was just me, my mother, and Michelle, our lice professional. We went into a small room and she used the AirAlle machine on my head, which felt much like a blowdryer and apparently kills all the lice and their eggs. After the obligatory comments on the thickness of my hair and how much hair I have (two separate concepts, my hair is both thick and overly abundant,) we began the endless combing process. She set up a very bright light and began ruthlessly combing through my hair in tiny sections, clipping up a section when she was done with it. She picked out all of the nits, one by one. We chatted about our lives as she continued this process…for 2 hours and 20 minutes! Apparently a normal head of hair takes about 1 and a half hours to 2 hours. I am not normal. Well, I got that memo a long time ago (hehe.) Anyway, I felt very relieved that at least I finally had someone else doing the “nit-picking” for me (har-de-har-har) and the experience was not entirely unpleasant. After the combing, she put cool gel in my hair and a little spray, which smelled amazing. We then rinsed off my hair in the sink and put a freshly-washed towel over my head to dry the hair. Her kind disposition and attention to details such as the cleanliness of the towel and making sure she didn’t hurt my head when combing, reminded me of a mother. She did mention her son, and we agreed I probably got the lice from interacting with children. Anyhow, we may have begun our appointment at 2 pm, but it was not till about 430 pm or so that I was officially declared lice-free. While I wish there was a free solution (haha,) paying to go to a salon was definitely worth the cash in the end. And I would definitely recommend this place, if anyone is in the North Florida area. They also have locations in Savannah, Georgia and Orlando, Florida. They are called Fresh Heads Lice Removal if you are interested (although I hope you are not interested because I would not wish the head lice experience on my worst enemy! That is all for now. May the lice not be with you.
I went on a summer trip with University of Florida students to explore the dance scene in New York City. One of my favorite parts of the trip was meeting interesting people and hearing their life stories. We met a woman, Siobhan Burke, who auditioned for Riverdance and got in! We also met a woman who did not start dancing ballet until she was 20 years old, but she really loved it and she had a successful career! Now she works at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in the dance section. I also really loved seeing the New York City Ballet because it was my first time seeing the ballet. The Stephen Petronio Dance Company was cool too. I had a great time taking a Ballet class at Steps on Broadway. Their teachers are so attentive to detail! I took a Jazz class also. They were very encouraging and made little improvements on even the greatest dancers in small details like their arm movements or the way they shifted their shoulders slightly in a movement. I really liked the Julliard Senior Production as well. They were clearly very skilled dancers, but they also added elements of theater to the performance. I also enjoyed taking Modern and Yoga classes at Dance New Amsterdam. And I loved performing at the “Our Children’s Foundation” in Harlem. The kids there were so inspiring. They reminded me that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter what! People will tell you you cannot be happy and you must settle, but that is not true! More on this later.
I hope this empowers other women the way it empowered me. We are not alone.
There is a strange sort of unspoken theory that once a woman has been raped, sex is no longer a viable option for her. Sex has been replaced by trauma, fear, pain, and anxiety. I’m not saying this is never the case. Every survivor’s story and experience is different, but too often the assumption is that if you have been raped, you are sexually broken and forever unfixable. That sort of discourse is not healthy or empowering or even sympathetic. What I want to say is what I wish I had been told: rape is not a form of sex, it is a form of assault. Sex feels good. Assault is traumatizing. It is possible for sex to exist after rape because they are different experiences, just like it’s possible for you to still enjoy going out to eat even if you got food poisoning once. You might never go…
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I also enjoy Mermaid pose. It is a very deep stretch in my leg. We do an interesting variation on crunches…one crunch with the legs up, then bring the legs down, then lower them slowly…then back to crunch. Crunch is always on the exhale, not the inhale. You get a better crunch that way. Interesting 🙂
We get to pick the music for the class using Spotify, which is interesting. The other day we were trying to hold Triangle pose to the angry beats of “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. The part where she says “All I wanna do is..(insert gun sounds here) and (more gun sounds) and (sound of shot being fired) and take your money!” our yoga teacher, Stark, announces, “I really hate this song!” and everyone laughed. I don’t mind the song, but it is kind of the wrong song for yoga, in my opinion. It makes me feel angry and aggressive, which is kind of the opposite of how yoga is supposed to make you feel. Maybe I will edit the playlist before next week and put some good music in there.
Today I went to one of Extreme Dance Company at UF’s classes, which are always fun. We did some across-the-floor exercises (switch leaps, good times) and we learned a combination to the song “Pop, Drop, and Roll” which one of Dancin Gators’ former E-board members, Kimberly Barton, had choreographed a fan dance too a while ago. It was interesting to see the differences in choreography between the two girls. I always wanted to participate in both Dancin Gators and Extreme Dance Company while at UF, but I always found myself too overwhelmed with schoolwork to do both. But who knows what the future may hold? I will upload the video of our Extreme dance later today when it is up on Facebook. 🙂
For now, though, here is a video of a combination we worked on a few classes ago. It’s kind of a rough draft, but it was an enjoyable dance for me!
Disclaimer: This is not my choreography. These dancers were choreographed by members of Extreme Dance Company at UF.
Dancin Gators, Spring 2013
I recently began taking a group fitness class at University of Florida called “Power Yoga.” I have been doing yoga on and off since middle school, and I just love it. It is similar to dance in some ways, which I love, but also different in some interesting ways. One of my favorite poses, which we work on in Power Yoga, is “Plow,” where we place our legs above our head so our toes touch the floor. Before taking this class, I would always put my head to the right during plow pose, but my teacher suggested I should not do this because I could injure my neck. So now I keep my head straight, which feels fine to me. According to my teacher, this is a good neck stretch. I also feel an interesting sensation in my stomach during this pose too, and I always feel deeply relaxed coming out of this pose. We usually transition from this pose to shoulder stand, and then into staff pose. We fold over and touch our toes in staff pose before and after the plow/shoulder stand experience, and I always find that I can bend a lot easier after the plow/shoulder stand. I can release my head and neck into the stretch more and really “put my forehead towards my toes.” I am slowly working my way from being able to do shoulder stand while supporting my lower back, to now I can do shoulder stand with my arms on the floor (i.e., not supporting my lower back.) Ideally, I would like to get to the point where my arms are off the floor entirely and I have my entire body resting on my shoulder blades. I think it is actually easier for me to transition from bridge pose to shoulder stand pose for some reason. When I first got the shoulder stand without using my hands, I felt like I was flying. I really like shoulder stand for my stomach as well, because I have had stomach issues all my life, and I always feel better in that respect after shoulder stand. It was terrifying yet exciting.
I also am beginning to try crow pose. I would like to lengthen the amount of time I can spend in crow pose as well as in the crow pose variation, “side crow.”
One simple pose I enjoy is tree pose, because in this class we try all sorts of interesting variations on tree pose. My favorite new variation is where, in tree pose, you put your one hand on the bent knee and twist your torso to the side. You get a nice side stretch and your core is forced to activate because you need a lot of balance to stay afloat in this position.
I have always loved bridge pose. It feels great. One of the interesting variations that I am working on in bridge pose is lifting one hand or the other while still maintaining the bridge pose. I would like to increase the amount of time that I can hold this position with one hand, and also with one foot lifted as well.
Well, that is all for now, as I have class in a bit. More to come!