#WELCOMETOMYWORLD – 1/18/2023
So I’m trying this whole blog thing… Be gentle on this
blog virgin. LOL
Who am I? My name is Andy. I am a 40 year old gay man. Just
over 3 years sober with a great life.
What I do to pay the bills? I own a medical billing company.
What I love to do? Ballroom dancing and ballroom dancing
competitions across the country.
Why am I doing this blog? I want to share my personal
journeys, joys, disappointments, and life of dance.
I have another competition in a few weeks and I’m in
training mode. Gotta change this Dad Bod into a Dancer Bod! I’ve been tracking
everything for a while now and calorie counting sucks!!!
I want to start sharing how I’m doing on my goals and
training so I hope you stick around to hear about it. I promise I’ll get better
at this whole thing with pics and videos, etc. 🙂
Nice to meet ya!
#HOWITALLSTARTED – 1/19/2023
So how did I get into this whole dancing thing?
Well… I had spent so many years of my life saying stuff like, “When I get into better shape”, “When my job eases up a bit”, “When I have some more money” I’ll start taking dance lessons. All of those were just excuses. Excuses holding me back from something that I never dreamed I would love so much.
In late 2019, I made a huge life adjustment and got sober. I started working a 12 step program and my life was improving, but I needed something to keep me busy. For Christmas that year, my sister in law gifted me a Groupon of maybe 6 private lessons at a local studio.
I started taking lessons in the beginning of 2020, and I did my first pro/am competition with my professional partner and coach Alisa Seleznova in early 2021 and have been competing in about one every month. Trust me when I say that ballroom dance is a sport, and for the first time in my life, I truly consider myself an athlete.
Now, I train almost every day. Lessons 3-4 times per week. Practice on my own at home. And monitor my diet and fitness program. Yes, I would love a 6 pack for vanity’s sake, but it means so much more when I get to apply my body’s improvements to do something I love.
#ROLLINGWITHTHEPUNCHES – 1/24/2023
Some days things just don’t want to work the way you want
them to… I’m in the process of learning
a new Paso Doble routine for an upcoming competition, and nothing wants to work
right. I keep forgetting the sequence of
steps, my frame keeps dropping, etc. My
poor coach and partner Alisa is basically having to pull me through parts of
the routine and I’m not a light guy. LOL.
The trick is to just keep moving. When you fail, try again
and keep trying until you get it.
Eventually it will all come together even if it doesn’t feel like it
now. The worst is even when I think I have it, the competition starts and I get
step out on the floor and it all goes to shit. At one of my first competitions,
I completely messed up a routine and when it was over, I mouthed “Fuck!”. My coach Ivan pulled me aside and said that I
just need to act like nothing went wrong and walk off the floor composed and
That is a great lesson not only for dancing but for life. Things
are going to go to shit sometimes. Its ok and it will pass. Just keep pushing forward. Readjust and realign and just keep
moving. In life and on the competition
floor, the music is not going to stop because you mess up and maybe no one noticed
your mistake. Just don’t give up and miss an opportunity to be great. No one
becomes an expert in anything without a ton of failures along the way.
#CONSISTENCYISKEY – 2/1/2023
As I write about the importance of consistency, I realize that I haven’t done a post in over a week. LOL. My goal of two a week didn’t happen with all the stuff going on in my life over the last week. All good things, but I have been very busy getting the projects of “Goals and Get To’s” and now “Comp Ready” off the ground.
I may have fallen behind with my blog posts, but I haven’t missed a day of tracking calories in, calories out, and my work outs. There are plenty of days I don’t feel like it, but if I want to hit my goals, I need to know where I have been and if I’m on track to where I want to go.
I promise to get better at CONSISTENT blog posts!
#QUALITYOVERQUANTITY – 2/3/2023
I always say people come into my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I’m a very social person and can sometimes be a little too open or friendly. In my younger years, I thought everyone was my best friend and would get offended and hurt when I didn’t think people reciprocated my enthusiasm of a relationship. Years of getting what I had viewed as hurt at the time has taught me that there are all types of relationships. There are the people you cross on the street, casual acquaintances, professional relationships, romantic relationships, and lifelong friendships.
I can say now that I am truly blessed to have some really great relationships in every category.
I do my best to be kind, polite, and smile at strangers; be friendly with the people I see occasionally; and professional in my work life. I have a handful of really good friends that I consider my people. They know who they are. LOL. I have an amazing husband who loves and supports me through all my good and bad times, a core group of best friends for over 20 years, and wonderful people that I have included in my circle like my dance partner/coach Alisa and others at dance studios/events that I truly enjoy learning from, collaborating with, cheering on, and having a blast with.
The point is that I really try to surround myself with quality people I can count on when the chips are down. If you can count on one hand people who you can truly depend on and that can depend on you no matter what, you are very lucky and hold onto those people with all your might! We become like the people we associate with on a personal level and they are a reflection of us and our personality.
#JUSTBREATHE – 2/7/2023
These two pictures were taken just 24 hours apart. In the first one, I’m in the midst of an anxiety and depression spike. Definitely not my usual self. I’ve been suffering from common mental health issues for quite a few years and I usually have a good handle on them. I had spent a long fun weekend out of town so the pendulum of emotions had swung nice and high on the “I’m feeling awesome” end of things. Monday, when the weekend was over and I had to get back to normal life, the pendulum took a big swing to the “I feel light shit” side. It happens and sometimes you just gotta take the bad with the good.
I took a big breath, did some yoga, meditated, prayed, and did the next right indicated action. When I started to take things on one at a time, things started to calm down and fell into place. Yes, I had to rework my schedule of activities of things I wanted to do in favor of some not so fun things like a ton of work, but it all worked out. I’m pretty much caught up on all of the things I was stressing on and I feel so much better.
At least I was able to refocus and not let the thought of negativity take over. The rest of this week is going to be a blast with a bunch of workouts, dancing, and spending time with some really good friends!
#MOODSPLAYLISTS – 2/9/2023
Thank god for my Spotify app!!!
I can always tell what kind of mood I’m in (or want to be in) based off of what I’m listening to. When working out, doing my day job, or cleaning my house, my music has to be going. If I’m in a bad mood, I crank the most fun music on my playlists to get me in better spirits. On more than one occasion, my husband has walked into a room and quietly stood back laughing at me dancing around in my underwear like an idiot. LOL.
Since starting my dance journey, I wasn’t even aware at first at the type of music I listen to most. All of a sudden, I noticed how the beats of different songs match up to my Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, etc.
Time flies when you have a good song to work out or dance to. I’m currently obsessed with this new independent artist named Zee Machine. Upbeat and fun songs to match my upbeat and fun spirit. I highly recommend his music!
#COMPPREP – 2/17/2023
I swear, the 24 hours before a competition are more stressful than the competition itself. Traveling is always a pain and being at a hotel can be nerve racking enough even when you’re not trying to mentally and physically prepare to show your stuff.
Here is a list of the things I found that help me:
Pack at least 12 hours before leaving. That way, I’m not scrambling last minute to not forget everything.
Get snacks and water to bring to the hotel room. Save money where you can.
When I get to the hotel, I unpack right away so that I know that I have everything I need and where it is all at.
Meditate at least 4-8 hours before the competition starts. I like to get a work out in, maybe do some yoga, and then sit with a competition round playlist and mentally go through all of the routines.
Visualize absolutely everything! How are you going to stand waiting to go out? How are you going to look like walking onto the floor, etc.? Remember that first impressions with the judges goes a long way. If you are looking unsure or nervous even before you start dancing, it sets the wrong tone.
Do any stretching or body prep and then practice with your partner to make sure you have it all down and that you are warmed up.
Then when it is time to line up, relax and breathe. Be grounded and in the moment. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Most importantly – HAVE FUN! Enjoy the experience. We are privileged just be there and doing something that we love. Let your joy shine through!
#TODAYISTHEDAY – 2/23/2023
How many times have we told ourselves “I’ll start that next week” or “It’s already almost Friday and I’ll start my diet/working out next week”… These are excuses for procrastination. Procrastination is not laziness. We procrastinate because of anxiety or stress. We “reward” ourselves by putting off something that possibly could stress us out or give us anxiety. The downside to that reward is that it comes with guilt about not doing it and even more stress and anxiety about something that we know we could have done already.
Knowing yourself enough to give yourself a break when tired, run down, or do not have time is not procrastination. It is self care and is vitally important.
But, don’t fool your self by thinking self care is an excuse to not start something that you do have time and energy for and would benefit your life, happiness, and well being.
Treat every day as a new day. Don’t “reward” yourself by not taking every opportunity to take life by the horns and get moving doing something you have always wanted to do or try. Truly reward yourself with some joy and the satisfaction you took the first step to a new and happier you!
#LIVINGINGRATITUDE – 3/3/2023
Looking back at the last few days/week, I am awestruck on how much I have to feel grateful for. Just under a week ago, I got to compete at a local competition (Desert Sol Dancesport), and since it was in the Phoenix valley, my husband, friends, and family got to come watch me do my thing that I talk about incessantly. LOL.
It was a fun day filled with great dancing and competition, but also just the joy of dancing and being with the dance community.
I think that is what I find is the best part. I have had my fair share of struggles feeling different from what I considered “normal” people. As a gay man, I have absolutely never felt judged or ostracized by this community. Everyone is always beyond kind and loving. We cheer on each other (including the people you are competing with) because we all get why we are there – TO HAVE FUN!!!
There is plenty of anger, fear, and outright hate out in the world these days, but this community and events like this are not the place for those feelings at all.
So today, when things are going funky in my life or in the world, I can look back at experiences like last weekend and smile.
#OUTSIDEGUIDANCE – 3/11/2023
Why is it that when someone asks me for my advice, I can usually give out pretty solid answers or direction. Even if that answer is “I don’t know. Let’s ask this person who knows more about that subject.” But, when it comes to something I’m struggling with, I will try to figure out things for myself over and over and over again.
In the end, there is a good chance that through trial and error, I will figure it out. And often I do need to figure things out in my own good time. The thing is that many times, I’ve spent so much time and frustration with trial and error that I end up kicking myself for not just asking someone who knows more about a subject than I do and could have gotten the same or better results sooner.
We all have our own unique talents, but we need to share our talents with others and be brave enough to ask others to share their talents with us. It is only when we share our gifts that they truly become valuable to the world and not to some selfish end. Be proud of your uniqueness, but definitely don’t hide/hoard it.
I’m proud to say sometimes that I just don’t know the answer or how to do something. I can only imagine if I tried to learn dancing or working out on my own, I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at today with those passions without the guidance from great coaches and trainers.
Thanks so much to my amazing dance partner Alisa, coaches, trainers, and awesome people who have shared their light with me and I strive everyday to share my light with the world.
#STICKINGWITHIT – 3/18/2023
So, I started a new meal plan this week… I had plateaued with my weight loss over the last few weeks and I was probably not eating enough/the right foods/at the wrong times.
I got the meal plan on Monday and proceeded to go to the store to get all the ingredients and then meal prep my ass off. My fridge was full of all these individual containers with exact meals for the next 3 days. I was pumped to say the least and excited for the process and to get those 6 pack abs! LOL.
Day 1: All excited to eat enough protein, rice, and veggies. This plan calls for eating 5-6 meals a day in comparison to my 2 and a half I had been consuming.
Day 2: Still feeling good and thinking, “Yes! I’m kicking this meal plan’s ass!”
Day 3: OK, this is not as fun as I thought it would be. Still gonna do it though.
Day 4: That negative part of my brain starts saying “Is this really worth it?”
Day 5: My thought is “This sucks!” LOL
All that I know from massive experience in failure is this… It isn’t how you start, but how you finish! It is easy to be excited for something new, but for me the tough times are days 4,5,6 all the way up to day 30. This is the time old Andy would quit, give up, and tell myself it isn’t worth it. BUT, I’m gonna stick with it, because I am worth it! And nothing good in my life ever came from giving up when it got a little tough.
Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how I feel and how it’s going in a few weeks. 🙂
This last weekend, I had the opportunity to perform at a really unique event at Dance Street in Pasadena, CA named Meet the Judges. It isn’t really a competition, but I did a couple competition standard round in front of 4 judges.
Normally at competitions, you don’t get to talk to the judges about your performances. They have their little area and they do not mingle with the dancers. It makes their presence a lot more intimidating during the competition experience.
At this event though, you get to actually sit down with them for one on one critiques on what they liked and what they didn’t like and their reasoning behind it. It really humanizes the judging experience. They are not some assigned number on a scoresheet, but experienced professionals that really care about the dancers and want them to do their best. It is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it!
We got such great feedback and to my coaches’ credit, all the things that the judges wanted me to work on were the same things my coaches are currently pushing me to improve upon. Every single judge said, as always, how talented my partner Alisa is and what an awesome teacher she is. I am definitely very blessed to have her and Ivan training me and working with me on this journey of dance.
#MOVINGGOALPOSTS – 4/10/2023
So this last weekend, Alisa and I competed at Beach Bash in San Diego, and had a blast! I placed well for my championship and first scholarship finals, and won my men’s division scholarship. Definitely a big win for me as many competitions do not have men’s division finals or enough male amateurs to make it worth it. I competed against four other couples with all male amateurs. It felt awesome to get confirmation that my hard work is paying off!
With that said, it isn’t the time to rest on my laurels. Just because I reach a goal, doesn’t mean I get to take a break or give up working so hard.
All this win means is that I need to move my goalpost forward.
Granted, I am taking a few days to be happy and rest my body, but in a few days, I will be back at it with Alisa. The first lesson after a competition can be hard. Especially, when you win. Just because the judges didn’t notice mistakes or if my mistakes were lesser than a competitors, doesn’t mean they weren’t there or that there isn’t something to improve upon. I’m sure my coaches will have a list of basics to continue working on or something new for me to learn in order to move forward.
#SOMEGOODADVICE – 4/23/23
I got some really good advice from a few very dear friends in the last 24 hours… “Be true to myself.” Also “What do I truly want out of what I’m spending my time, energy, and mental bandwith on?
I have been feeling off and stretching myself a little too thin lately. In trying to be successful with plans and ideas, I find myself trying to fit into molds that I think will attract success. I couldn’t be more wrong. I am kicking myself to a certain degree because deep down inside, I know this has never worked in the past and it never will in the future.
If life has taught me anything, if my heart and soul aren’t into something 100%, it will not work for me. I have to stay true to myself, my heart, and my passions.
So what do I do next? Take a breather and come back to center. Follow my heart and invest in quality, not quantity. We only have so many hours in the day and this life is short. I’m going to go back to making this journey about me, my successes, failures, everything in between, and being the genuine/loving/successful person I am meant to be.
Wish me luck and sending much love and light to everyone out there. 🙂