Back to School and Back to the Grind or Otherwise Checkin’ My Fresh and Gettin’ My Swagger Back!!!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a blog post.  My vacation was a little short-lived.  A week ago yesterday (last Monday) was the first day of dance class.  This year, I am going to ballet three times a week and jazz class once a week.  Also, new this year is a character class.  I had to buy a special pair of dance shoes and a character skirt for that class.  Character dancing is defined as “a style of ballet deriving inspiration from national or folk dances, or interpreting and representing a particular profession, mode of living, or personality. The movements used tend to be less stylized than in classical ballet, allowing greater individual expression and diversity.”  That’s exactly how my dance teacher described it – as a cross between folk dancing and ballet.  It takes place one night a week after ballet class.  This past Saturday, auditions for The Nutcracker were held!  I was in the audition for ages 11 – 13 year olds, but then me and three other girls in my age division got a call back to attend the audition for ages 14 and up.  I hope that’s a good sign and maybe we landed parts that are usually reserved for the older girls.  But like my mom always says, “manage your expectations and then you won’t be disappointed.”  So, we’ll see what happens!  Either way, I am happy that I got a call back and I felt like I was able to demonstrate more of my technique and what I am capable of as a dancer than in last year’s audition.  Also, Thursday of last week was the first day of school.  Yes, so soon……….summer’s over and school has started!  I can hardly believe it, but I’m in seventh grade this year.  I am not new to middle school anymore, so I’m glad that’s all behind me.  I have harder classes this year:  Pre-AP English, Pre-AP Eastern Hemispheres Geography, and my least favorite, Algebra I.  I’m still in band.  I’ll have to admit, I kind of neglected playing my clarinet this summer.  Now, I have to get used to playing every day again.  Well, I’ve got to get used to it again because it’s back to school and back to the grind!

There is one part of starting school that I love, love, love – shopping for back to school clothes, of course!  I have always gotten my clothes from big department stores like Dillard’s, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Kohl’s.  And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know that I love shopping from catalogs and less well-known online stores that you won’t find in the mall – like Land’s End, Hanna Andersson, Chasing Fireflies, Garnet Hill Kids, CWD Kids, and Mini Boden.  Well, one of the things that I am begrudgingly coming to terms with is the fact that a lot of these stores with specialty clothing for kids tend to make clothing for girls up to about the age of 12.  And much to my fashion dismay, I’m 12, quickly approaching 13!!!  Just like in the big department stores, the girl’s department stops at sizes 12 to 14 for the most part, sometimes you can find clothes in a size 16.  I’ve been fighting it for a while now, but the tween fashions that I love so much – preppy, girly, and cute – are only located in the girl’s department.  And with a closet full of size 14 and 16 dresses, I have outgrown the girl’s department!!!  I tried the junior’s department at a couple of stores and I was really disappointed.  Where was the preppy attire?  The girly-girl clothes?  All the cute dresses?  The junior’s department was a real drag!  I couldn’t find anything that I really liked.  Nothing that represented my fashion style.  Blue jeans, skinny jeans, ripped jeans, acid washed jeans and graphic t-shirts are just not my style.  And jeggings, forget about it!  I love my leggings, don’t get me wrong.  I live in leggings, but jeggings, they just seem weird to me and we do have a dress code at my school.  Wearing leggings and jeggings with shirts that don’t cover your behind is a no-no and will get you sent home from school.  It would just make me feel uncomfortable anyway.  I like my leggings with dresses – preppy dresses, girly dresses, cute dresses!  And I don’t like my hiney hanging out either!  Junior’s department equal EPIC FAIL!!!  So, what’s a fashionista to do?  Well, after pouting and resisting, and trying unsuccessfully to squeeze into clothes that I am too big to fit into nowadays, and having no luck with junior’s clothes, I decided to do the only thing I could do – as my brother would say I had to “check my fresh,” you know “get my swagger back.”  I had to reassess my fashion sense and change up my style a bit.

So, fashionista girl talked to fashionista mom who had an idea.  Why not shop in the women’s department?  Hmmmm, old people’s clothes, I said?  How am I going to find anything preppy, girly, or cute there?  My mom said it’s also called “Misses,” which still means old, but not too old, just not too young either.  I was not sold.  So, after we found just one dress and one sweater in the junior’s department at J.C. Penney, I decided to give it a try.  And guess what?  We found the rest of my clothes at Kohl’s, in the women’s department!  We were shopping in Kohl’s for two hours, in and out of sections, trying on clothes that were younger looking so I didn’t look like I was going to work in a business suit, instead of to middle school.  Some of the things I liked looked too old for me when I tried them on, so it was hard work finding just the right thing.  But, we found a lot of really cute stuff.  Take a look at my first day of school outfit below.

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by&by Sleeveless Solid Chiffon Halter-Neck Dress with Tribal-Inspired Belt – J.C. Penney

Arizona Long-Sleeve Hooded Cardigan – J.C. Penney

Kimchi Blue Elastic Cross-Strap Flat – Urban Outfitters

Mossimo Supply Company Crossbody Bag – Target (2014)

Guess what everybody?  I got my fashion swagger back!

Change Is Good, Even If It Does Put Me In A Salty Mood!

I’ve been in a bad mood since last week, or as my brother would say, “a salty mood.”  This middle school thing……I don’t even know!  Everything is so different from elementary school – the teachers, the school work, the other kids.  New rules, new ways of doing things, stupid lockers with stupid combination locks on them!  Even lunch is different!  There’s a lot about it that I don’t like.  My mom says that I’m just not used to it yet.  I’ve met a lot of kids that aren’t like me at all.  Some of them aren’t very nice and don’t care about their school work.  Also, I’m in band now and I have to learn to play the clarinet.  The pressure of it all!

I am also at a new dance studio, with a new schedule, new teachers, and it’s a totally different environment.  Things move more slowly because the focus is more on developing the individual dancer.  At my old studio the focus was on what’s good for the studio as a whole and learning choreography real fast so you can go to the next performance or the next competition.  I spend half the time in the studio now compared to what I used to, which I’m glad about.  But, being at a new studio also means that I am relearning how to do some things and that’s frustrating.  I’ve been working on “articulating my feet.”  If I want to be a ballet dancer and go en pointe, I need to strengthen my legs, ankles, and feet.  I also need to develop a lot more flexibility in my feet, especially to avoid injury.  I tried out for the city’s production of The Nutcracker after taking just two classes at my new studio.  I got a part, so I am really excited.  It’s just a small part.  I’ll probably be on stage a total of five minutes.  I will be a page in Cast B, performing in five of the ten shows.  The pages escort the Sugar Plum Fairy on stage.  And in order to be on stage for those five minutes, I’ll be in rehearsals almost every Saturday from now through show time in December.  But, I know that I have to start somewhere!

School and dance are a big change from what I am used to.  And I don’t like change.  There was no way that I could stay in elementary school forever (unfortunately) and I chose to leave my old studio to pursue dance, especially ballet, in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to if I had stayed.  But, man, oh man, all this change all at the same time has put me in a SALTY MOOD!  My mom reminded me that change is good and it cannot be avoided.  But, I reminded her that while I’m going through it, change sucks.  She found this quote by Helen Keller.  Helen Keller was famous.  She was deaf and blind, but she was still an author and fought for women’s rights.

Helen Keller

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
– Helen Keller

I’m going to work on getting over my salty mood.  I’m going to turn away from that closed door and walk through the newly opened one.  Has anyone else ever felt like change sucked?  Leave me a comment and tell me about it.