Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Wanna Dance!

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to welcome Sonia as a guest blogger:

Sonia is an economist from Barcelona. She discovered flamenco and decided to make it her profession at the age of 24, completely changing her life. She's convinced you can do anything you want if you fight for it and never lose your passion!

When I sat down to write this, an avalanche of questions and doubts came to me... Who am I to be writing? What do I have to say?

Well: I’m 31, with a degree in Economics; at 24, I fell in love with dancing; at 26, I quit a great job to become a professional flamenco dancer. And after seven years of struggle, I AM HAPPY and want to share with you my journey.

Leaving work was perhaps the easiest part. At 24, I was dancing at the same level as a 6-year-old and my body prevented me from moving as fast as my mind was going. Needless to say, though I didn’t lack desire or dedication, I felt powerless. Accepting my physical limitations and learning to handle destructive feelings of impotence and frustration, are perhaps two of the battles won I'm most proud of because they provided me with the tools to face other challenges. In my case, these challenges included the death of my mother two years ago and, of course, leaving a career my family and friends were proud of to be an artist. (I won’t tell you what my father said when I announced: “Papa, yo quiero bailar” -- “Dad, I wanna dance!”)

After quitting, I had more to overcome. I was good and people believed I had danced for several years but I kept hiding the truth because I saw my age as a handicap and something to be ashamed of. We’ve been sold the idea that the age when you started doing something defines how well you do it and how authorized you are to teach it to others. The younger, the better. I was not even allowed to participate in many contests for “new talent” because I’m too old, despite my limited years of training.

But isn’t it just as valid to have started something in later in life and achieve success?

I realized that my age was something to be proud of. When you start a new life at a later age, it means you’re sailing alone. But as your arms move your boat forward, those arms get stronger, providing better support for the weight of the challenges, disappointments, failures, as well as opportunities and success that will come to you.

I hope my story will encourage you. If you are someone who’s a little unhappy and needs a final push to start changing it, know that you can! In these troubled times when everything is changing, maybe we should take advantage of this global confusion and embrace change. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who understand and support you.

The next step for me is going to New York. I don’t know what will come of it, but neither did I that first day I put on flamenco shoes thinking that it was just a leisure activity for after work... and it changed my life!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

From Hate to Happiness

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on my personal blog:

An observation: It's been so long since I did work I actually enjoy doing that I forgot 1) how wonderful it feels, and 2) that it's possible to work for long periods of time without needing distractions.

Starting Tuesday afternoon, I worked almost non-stop on a new project until Wednesday at midnight. In that time, I took three breaks: a 3-hour nap, a walk in the gorgeous, sunny, 75-degree weather in Paris, and a picnic dinner along the Seine with friends. And while I was tired by the end and welcomed sleep once I got to bed, for most of that time, I was so energized and excited that I kept working because I didn't want to do anything else. I was, dare I say it, HAPPY. Imagine that!

I used to love working. Even if I didn't love the job or the people or office politics or maybe just wasn't feeling it that day, working made me happy. I was a workaholic because it was a chance to constantly challenge myself, learn something new, and do the things I enjoyed, even if only for a few hours a week. In the last year, I started not only hating work but hating myself. I knew something was wrong long before I got the nerve to fix it but even then, I didn't fully appreciate how much I had changed until now.

my new, balanced schedule - took me two hours to create & it was FUN! I even danced!
I remember now why I've never believed that everyone is miserable at work, because they don't have to be! It is perfectly possible to live your life not hating work! That doesn't mean you love it all the time or maybe even most of the time (ebb and flow and all that jazz) but you certainly shouldn't hate it.

So if you do hate it, hopefully you'll take the risk, get out of there, and get back on track. Or at least find a way to add more of what you love to a situation you hate as a tentative step. Even with how stressful things have been for me these last few months -- and these last two weeks in particular -- I feel so much lighter and calmer and happier than I did all of last year. I feel like a totally different person.

Here's hoping you aren't in a miserable situation (fingers crossed), but that you find the courage to take yourself out if you are.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Paradigm Shift NYC Presents: It Was Rape

Our friends at Paradigm Shift have a great event coming up and we want to make sure you get tickets before it sells out! Check out the details below:

PARADIGM SHIFT NYC PRESENTS: IT WAS RAPE, A Screening and Discussion with JENNIFER BAUMGARDNER, Filmmaker & Activist and a panel of women featured in the film. 
Rape is wrong, illegal, reprehensibleand yet still tragically common. In this film, eight women tell their diverse personal stories of sexual assault, from a Midwestern teenager trying alcohol for the first time to a Native American woman gradually coming to terms with her abusive childhood. Gripping and emotional, this film is an opportunity to empathize with peoplenot just absorb faceless statistics and to puncture the silence and denial that allow sexual assault to thrive. Ultimately, these stories shed light on how this epidemic affects us all. View the trailer here: 
Location: The Feminist District, The Tank- 151 W. 46th St. (b/t 6th & 7th Ave) 8th Floor, NYC 10036

Monday, April 15, 2013

Confessions on Tax Day

Yes, the deadline for filing tax returns is finally here. It was my original plan to complete the process before April, but due to my out-of-state move, an increase in my work load, and other complications, I did not get to finish it until last week. To be completely honest, I dread tax season, and I am glad it is coming to an end today. I always get more anxious than I probably need to be, especially right before I find out how much I have to pay (or not pay) in taxes. Last year I had to pay a sizeable amount to the federal government; this year was much better.

This year also marks a change on how I handle taxes; I decided to pre-pay taxes quarterly this year, due to my status as a contractor and being responsible to deduct the amount myself. It should make next year’s tax return filing a more stress-free experience, or at least I hope so. For me, splitting the tax amount in four installments is better than paying it all in one lump sum later on. I have already marked my calendar for the remaining three deadlines this year, so I will be ready to mail my voucher and check to the U.S. Treasury each quarter.

So while I breathe a sigh of relief as the tax season comes to end, I wonder about millions of my fellow Americans on this day of financial reckoning. Have any of you waited until the last minute, or did you file your returns soon after receiving your W2s or 1099s? Do you have big plans for your tax refund checks?

See you next year, Tax Day. I will be better prepared to face you the next time around!

Disclaimer: Blog entries express the opinions of the respective Bloggers/Contributors/Authors/Commenters solely, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Women's Mosaic. As host and manager of CHICKS ROCK!, TWM acts solely as a provider of access to the internet and not as publisher of the content contained in bloggers' posts and cannot confirm the accuracy or reliability of individual entries. Each participant is solely responsible for the information, analysis and/or recommendations contained in her blog posts.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.