Tiny Dancer

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series entitled “Twenty Before Forty,” where we follow one woman as she checks off her way to happiness and premature middle age. This is number 17 of the series, not published in numeric order.


(Los Angeles) One woman’s effort to be more social resulted in pain and loneliness, according to official sources. This was as a result of trying social dance and tap dance.

The woman has had a history of dancing, beginning with ballet at a young age. In junior high and high school, officials traced ties to a competitive dance drill team, and to dancing and choreographing various dances through her school’s dance production. She was also a varsity cheerleader and competed with her squad.

“She had always enjoyed dancing,” recalled a childhood friend, “for as long as I can remember. She made it look easy.”

In the past year, the woman confided in friends that she wanted to stimulate her mind and reconnect with her body through new styles of dance. From what officials can piece together, at a local community college the woman enrolled in Beginning Tap, and then in Advanced Tap and Social Dance the following semester.

The woman had always wanted to learn how to tap. Sources close to her noted that she used to “tap” in grocery aisles and other tiled floor surfaces as a child.

“It is unclear,” officials noted, in response to media questions as to why social dance. “We are still going through the evidence, but there may have also been another person involved with suggesting Social Dance.”

“It also appears she was a huge fan of old Hollywood musicals.”

According to official sources, it was during the second semester that the woman sustained overuse injuries to her right big toe and left shoulder. Early investigation notes point to social dance as the cause for both injuries, as she constantly danced on the balls of her feet while maintaining her frame.

“Yeah,” the childhood friend confirmed, “like in Dirty Dancing.”

Due to her physical injuries, the woman also experienced social isolation. As she was unable to dance with a partner, she danced by herself in the corner of the dance studio.

“You really need to be with a partner to understand how the dances work,” the instructor reported as part of the official report. “I told her what exercises she should be doing for her shoulder, but week after week she danced by herself in the corner.”

“It was awkward, seeing her try to turn herself.”

Studies have found that 82 percent of dancers suffer from one to seven injuries in any given year. However while dancers in one study returned to dancing after an average of 18 days, the woman has remained injured for many months. Officials offered, then quickly withdrew, suggestions that this was due to her age.

“She was more than 20 years older than some of my students,” the instructor reported. “Then again, I’m much older than her and I’m fine except for my hernia.”

From what officials can tell, she must have experienced a great deal of pain as well as physical isolation.

“Although this was not included in our official report,” an anonymous source shared, “we have imagined ourselves in her shoes. Because she is a very small person, her arms would have been raised quite high for some time.”

“When you try social dance, find someone your own height. I will say this softly and slowly – they will want to hold you closer. ”

(image source)

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Check Marks the Box

One woman has developed a “Twenty Before Forty” list – a list of things she wants to accomplish before her fortieth birthday. We recently sat down with her to learn more. Below is the transcript of our upcoming podcast episode*. For more, please see Woman to Fit 40 Years of Living Into Months and subsequent Editor’s Note.

[TRANSCRIPT]


PODCAST
: We have with us today, Woman, who is the subject of many hilarious posts on a popular blog called Tastes Like Onion. Thank you so much for joining us today.

WOMAN: Thank you for having me.

PODCAST: So, first off – I love your blog. It’s refreshing to read something with such humor, warmth, self-deprecation and honesty.

WOMAN: Wow, thank you so much.

PODCAST: How did the blog come about?

WOMAN: Yeah, so it was about six years ago when two things happened close together. One, I watched the movie, Julie and Julia. It tells parallel stories of Julia Child in France as she begins her cooking career, and Julie Powell who starts a blog to chronicle cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook. I identified with Powell, who wanted to be a writer. Two, I went to see an event honoring Jimmy Fallon. It was a hilarious show. And I was inspired by both to create and be funny – two things I continue to strive for…

PODCAST: And the particular format. It seems like with a personal blog, a first person narrative would be more natural.

WOMAN: Ah yes, except for someone shy like me. I definitely wanted to write about me and my adventures, big and small… (laughs) Mostly small. But it never felt comfortable writing, “I did this” and “I did that.” So what better way to share “non-news” than to make it seem headline-worthy. The newspaper format is the foundation, but it’s also let me be creative with other styles, such as writing an advice column, creating travel and photo spreads, etc.

PODCAST: And now you’ve come up with something for your upcoming birthday. Tell us about this list.

WOMAN: Well, I love lists. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of checking something off… But more importantly, I recently lost someone close to me, and I wanted to honor her memory by living my life with meaning and purpose. A list seemed like a good way to figure out what those things are.

PODCAST: And why 20?

WOMAN: Because 20 is the new 40! (laughs) No, quite frankly – I ran out of time.

PODCAST: So now that we have everyone curious about this list. What’s on this list of 20?

WOMAN: Well, it’s broken down into six categories. These are Health, California, Bravery, Home, Good Citizen, and Culture. The things range from setting up a living trust and will to visiting the top 10 national parks in California, getting rid of all the boxes in my room, and learning all 88 cities in Los Angeles County.

PODCAST: Wow, quite a diverse list! Was there a full 40 list wits things that didn’t make the cut?

WOMAN: Yep – mostly physical things, as I’ve been injured the past few months. I just don’t recover as quickly as I used to! Things like trying surfing, rock climbing and kayaking. Reading an entire book in Italian. Applying for a prestigious fellowship, auditioning for something, and learning how to do basic car maintenance.

PODCAST: Are these things that could appear on a “Before Fifty” List?

WOMAN: (laughs) Haha, quite possibly. But it’s also likely that I’ll be into different things by then!

PODCAST: Well, it was a delight to chat with you and I wish you the best of luck on your list. We hope that we’ll be able to follow along on Tastes Like Onion?

WOMAN: Definitely… One thing that stayed on my “Twenty Before Forty” list is to blog more, so you should be hearing more from me.

PODCAST: We hope so. For our listeners who are curious about the full list, please check our transcript version online which includes a snapshot of the list. Thank you so much again, Woman – it was a real pleasure.

WOMAN: Thank you.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite efforts to the contrary, this podcast episode will not be aired because there is no podcast.

(image source)

Scientists Discover Source of Woman’s Down Demeanor


(Los Angeles, CA) After rigorous study, scientists discover the source of one woman’s recent down demeanor.

“Zits,” report the scientists. “Huge ones.”

The woman, known for her bright and bubbly personality, has for the past week exhibited signs of withdrawal and subduedness. According to their published report, she exhibited behavior including looking down while walking, avoiding eye contact, and smiling except in her eyes.

Before conclusively concluding the source, prior considerations included lack of makeup, sleep deficiency, and father’s poor health.

The woman began wearing less makeup upon realizing that it was annoying.

“It was annoying,” claimed the woman, in background information cited in the study. “And when I got a bunch of zits in a row, I thought that no makeup might help.”

While scientists hypothesized that lack of makeup could give cause for the woman to feel embarrassed and therefore socially withdraw, they ultimately dismissed this as cause when they discovered that the woman did not seemed bothered by her bare face, and therefore it had little bearing on her interaction with others.

The woman has also been sleep deprived during the study period.

The first confirmed incidence was last Monday, when after being delayed by inclement weather during travel, she went straight from the airport to the hospital to visit her father.  The remainder of the week was also busy with visits. She averaged 6 hours, 4 minutes, 45 seconds of sleep during a busy work week, but typically needs minimum 7 hours to feel somewhat rested.

Other behaviors supporting insufficent sleep included minimal chatter, large and frequent yawning, and heavy eyelids. The study eventually ruled it out as cause when they found that the woman consumed larger amounts of caffeine to compensate for lack of sleep.

Her father’s poor health was also potential cause for the woman’s down demeanor. Her father had been feeling unwell for some time but upon recent test results, was admitted to the hospital for intensive treatment. This caused her father’s immune system to be lowered and other complications to occur.

“It was hard to see my father in a hospital bed,” noted the woman in the report. “He looked so little and vulnerable. I wish there was something I could do [to help].”

Despite mounting evidence pointing towards father’s poor health, scientists ultimately concluded that zits are the most likely cause for the woman’s down demeanor.

Acne can erode confidence and perpetuate a self-consciousness that leads to downward gazing and eye contact avoidance, according to the study findings. Her diminished smile can also be supported by the locational relationship of zits to mouth, and proximity drawing unwanted attention.

The study, funded by the Association of Clear Nice Epidermis Follicles and Rejecting External impErfections (ACNEFREE), has since been cited as scientific proof that clear skin makes this one woman more confident. While study scientists contend its groundbreaking findings has extraordinary implications for helping future generations’ emotional health in an age of increasing social isolation and despair, other scientists question its value to a larger population due to the study’s small sample size.

“[But] I totally get why taking care of yourself is so important,” the woman stated in the study epilogue. “There is a lot going on underneath the surface, and it will eventually make it present.”

“And… that it too shall pass.”

(image source)

Word Perfect


(Los Angeles) One woman rediscovers that perfectionism is an unwise goal in writing. The realization came after a nearly two-year hiatus from writing.

“I thought writing would just ‘happen,'” the woman shared. “Like, once I decided I was going to write again, everything would be perfectly phrased, witty, and brilliant.”

But the goal of perfection can have several drawbacks, according to official sources.

One, perfectionism can prevent someone from ever even trying. By only seeking perfection, one can easily turn down opportunities where perfection cannot be guaranteed.

This occurred when the woman encountered an opportunity to submit a short story for publication consideration.

“Up until that time, I had only been blogging,” said the woman. “I did not feel confident that anything I wrote could be publish-worthy.”

But the woman was inspired by a random idea and in several hours, completed a short story for submission. Several months later, her story was in print in an anthology and sold on Amazon.

If the woman remained in her comfort zone and never tried to write in a different voice or form, she would never have been able to share her odd story with the world. And, it gave her the confidence to continue writing.

Perfectionism can also cause someone to feel great disappointment in an outcome. When expectations run unreasonably high, one can only feel complete success or utter failure – nothing in between.

“My first paid writing job was an article for an online magazine,” recounted the woman. “It was a notable publication by my estimation and I loved my topic, so I was thrilled when it was accepted!”

But the woman’s excitement soon waned as online comments and criticism starting coming in. Official sources reported that the woman took the criticism in stride.

“No,” recalled the woman, “it was horrible. [The comments] were not even that bad, but I learned I do not have a thick skin.”

“I took those comments to mean I did a poor job,” the woman continued, “as if it is possible to receive no negative comments. But I realize now that was the wrong way to think about it.”

“Those critics just did not have good taste.”

By judging experiences through perfectionism, it can prevent someone from realizing the truth: it is all about the journey.

When asked why the woman enjoyed writing, she laughed.

“Do I enjoy it?,” wondered the woman aloud.

But upon further reflection, she compared it to her once-strong love for running.

“There is a musicality – a rhythm to running and writing that I try to recreate. Finding the word that feels right, leading up to a funny ending… It can be tough to imagine that it will happen. And sometimes it does not.”

“But when I find it, it makes me happy.”

Happiness is not a destination but a journey, reported sources and dorm room posters everywhere. And for one woman, happiness means writing without the burden of perfection.

“So I end a story with a less funny ending. Or I get some criticism,” said the woman. “Writing means I get to say what I want.”

“And then re-edit it. And then one last time.”

(image source)

Woman Pleased that Heartbreak Has Plus Sides

(Los Angeles) One woman is pleased to discover that with recent heartbreak, certain benefits have emerged.

One, the woman now has greater time to enjoy her favorite hobbies, authorities note. In recent weeks, she has been able to consume large amounts of junk food until she feels drowsy, nap all day from the food or new carpe diem attitude, and resume wearing black as a concerted effort to hide her increasing body size.

“Black is perfect because it also represents my grief at the loss of any future happiness,” she said. “Haha, just kidding.”

The woman has also been helping the environment. According to official reports, she has saved on gas by not leaving the house, and water by not showering, sometimes whole weekends at a time. She has however, likely increased electricity demand through binge-watching episodes of “The Office” and “Jeopardy!”

“But home is where the heart is,” she said, “right?”

“I have been staying close to my heart.”

These events have all increased the woman’s recognition and capacity for gratitude, authorities report. Her health remains strong by dodging a bullet, and her appreciation for mystery has grown over why it does not feel like it was him and not her. Finally, her awareness of God’s everpresent love for her has sharpened.

“Kittens on Pinterest,” the woman explained. “This is how I know that I am loved.”

“It could also be a sign that I need to get a cat or two.”

(image source)