Ballet Changed my Life

Ballet Changed my Life

...and it's molded me into the woman I am today.


Today marks one year since my grandfather passed. What does this have to do with ballet?

Ballet has been an outlet and powerful source to release my emotions for the past 16 and a half years of my life. Dance becomes before language. It comes before formulating clear thoughts, and when that movement matures, it comes with purpose. It has shaped me not only physically, but emotionally in ways that no other sport could.

When my grandfather passed, the one thing I wanted to do was dance. He taught me to be a free spirit which is captured through the movement of ballet. I could not be more grateful for everything he taught me and chanelling that into a fluid movement through ballet is exactly what helped me.

My parents got divorced when I was 9, making me mature enough to understand the situation, but young enough to not verbally get involved. I looked forward to my one escape, ballet with my hellish instructor every Saturday morning at 9:15.

Not only did ballet provide a type of therapy for my troubles, but it molded me into the person I am today. Without my "hellish" instructor that guided me for 8 years, I would not have the self discipline that I have now. Ballet goes beyond being a physical endurance sport, it's a mental game. Ballet taught me that setting goals and reaching them is one of the most important things in life, and that is why I hold dedication and ambition as some of the most valuable traits.

My work ethic has tremendously matured through my years of dance, and this has expanded into real world scenarios. My instructor noticed that I became more meticulous of my technique and therefore he became more critical of me. Anyone who dances knows its an honor to be scolded over and over by the instructor, because it meant he/she cares. Because of this, I learned the value of ambition. I learned that hard work WILL pay off. Never forget that effort is directionally proportionate to your output. I've learned to translate this into my school efforts, extra curricular activities, and overall life goals.

My instructor paid close attention to my work ethic: when I showed up to class, how I planned on improving, my etiquette during class, etc. Without someone bearing over my shoulder in order to improve, I most likely would not have had the drive to succeed as a 9 year old. He showed me what improving work ethic would do and that is something I will always be thankful for.

Ballet has also taught me grace. In times of despair and need, ballet was a peaceful display of my emotions. Though the process of creating grace with my body was not so "graceful," it became worth it in the end. Lastly, less metaphorically, ballet taught me physical pain. Any dancer is aware of the endless tears, pulls, and soreness that ballet brings. We only get one body, and what we choose to do with it is ultimately our choice. Ballet has quite literally provided those "blood, sweat, and tears" that everyone talks about.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't change the fact that I am a dancer for the world. It's taught me more than most could. Without passion, life is meaningless. I grew a passion for dance, and I'm thankful for that every day. My passion shines through the work of art that is dance.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps."

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try."

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew."

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read."

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!"

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. "

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another."

10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"-

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)."
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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The Geek Girl Revolution Is Changing Geek Culture

Women can love sci-fi and comic books too, the geek culture is not just for boys.


Last week I was asked what my favorite book genres were, and I replied with science fiction and fantasy. The look on this person's face was priceless, it was the same look that I get when I walk into comic book shops and most science fiction areas at the books store.

Hello Im Nik

Yes, I am a geek and proud of it, I love sci-fi and fantasy books, movies and games. Some of my favorite movies/tv shows are 'Harry Potter', 'The Lord Of The Rings', 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', and 'Doctor Who' just to name a few. People have asked me, aren't you a mom? and I say yes what does that have to do with what I like to read and watch?

Just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I have to change what I like to wear, read, watch and play. We as moms and parents, in general, should not have to stop loving what we love just because we become parents. My oldest son loves 'Harry Potter', my middle son who is 4 loves the 'Aliens' movies.

I love books, and I try to read at least one book to my little ones every night and help my oldest son find books that he loves to read, I want my kids to enjoy what they watch and read.

I'm 35 and I still like putting my hair up in space buns and dressing up like I'm going to comic-con, And I have seen people react to men dressing and acting like this, and people don't really say anything if they go into a comic book store or go to a convention, because they are a true comic and sci-fi fan.

But if a girl who doesn't typically look like a "Geek" walks into a comic book shop she gets looks, and is asked if she is getting something for her boyfriend/husband, or is directed to some kind of girly area, I'm sorry if I'm shopping for a comic book I know what I'm looking for, and I don't need to be directed.

Lena Rose

Most people think that computer coding, comic book loving and the gaming industry is dominated by men and that women who say they are geeks, are faking it to get attention and just want to jump on the mainstream bandwagon, and they really know nothing about it.

There are many women that are changing the geek culture, Catherine Lewis is a fashion designer she has her own company that makes cosplay clothes for conventions such as "Comic-Con".


Then you have Kimberly Bryant she is the founder and executive director of "Black Girls Code" which is a high-growth and high-impact non-profit organization, helping girls of color from 7-17 to have access to technology.

Anita Sengupta is a Cold Atoms Laboratory project manager for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she has even landed rovers on Mars. So these are just some of the women who are changing this culture that most think are dominated by men.

Having female and male role models that are in these roles as "Geeks" should be empowering to kids these are people that they can look up to, and know that it is ok to be different and Geeks are cool.

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