Que pena!

I dislike attention. I dislike being on display. I dislike presenting in front of people.  But this year I pushed myself and participated in Carnaval in San Francisco so I could get past some of my shyness. P.S. Can I say “I” and “dislike” more?  Yes, I can!

But the thing is, I adore Carnaval.  I’ve loved it since I was a kid.  No, I never went to Brazil until I was an adult, but I was always fascinated by the spectacle and the energy.  And because of that, upon invitation of a very sweet Baiana friend of mine that I met in my 20s, I went to and was enchanted immediately by the event in Salvador, and have therefore danced in Carnaval in Bahia a handful of times (anyone can do it). So I it’s a “No, duh!” for me to be part of it in my home base.

For the past few months I’ve been rehearsing every Sunday. For skilled performers, the choreography isn’t complicated, but for a newbie performer like me, I needed practice.  LOTS of practice. And up to today, I could have still used more practice, but I committed to it, and that’s all there is to it.

So, earlier today as I drove to our capoeira studio, I commented on how the streets could pose a challenge because they were uneven due to construction (Tucanare, do you recall?).

Now I’m sitting here with an ice pack on my ankle that took a nice roll into the asphalt.

To the following questions I answer yes: Could something worse have happened? Am I frustrated and pissed?  Do I want to try it again?

It’s put a fire in me to give it another go; if not Carnaval, to performing, to practicing, to anything that pushes me out in front of people.  Not because I need accolades, per se, just to prove it to myself that I can do it.

All I can say is, I went out running and dancing with all of my energy, and in that, there can be no regrets.


Code of conduct

I’ve been loving my new job, but so exhausted lately that I’ve been falling behind on my blog posts. But I hate being flaky.  I don’t want to slack off, so it’s important to me that I keep this up regularly.  Not being a flake is part of my personal “code of conduct”, but also is being honest, so I am going to say right here that I am pulling this code of ethics from my capoeira group.

Not that I would lie about where I got it. I pretty much can’t lie about anything.  When I was five, I once stole a roll of lifesavers from Gemco (look that one up kiddies–it was basically what Target is now), and I freaked out so much that after I did it I was convinced I was going to hell. To avoid eternal damnation, I confessed to the priest at our church, but in the end I only had to say about five “Hail Marys” and three “Our Fathers” and all was forgiven.

Well, somewhere along the line I learned to have some morals. And respect is a huge part of it.  It’s probably why my capoeira group appealed to me so much (insert “oh jeez, she’s talking about that again”, but it’s true!).  They’ve got a code of ethics, which makes me respect the group all the more. I find myself turning back to this often and finding that it fits very well into my life, so I will just post it here:

Respect: Maintain respect for ourselves, each other, our ever-evolving capoeira community, the training space we share, and the art that we practice together.

Freedom: Create a safe space to express ourselves as the unique individuals we are.

Equality: Acknowledge everyone’s contribution as valuable. Never underestimate anyone – especially yourself.

Integrity: Be fair, impartial, and true to our word. Don’t cheat ourselves or others. Admit when we are wrong and strive to make it right.

Leadership: Serve as positive role models, both inside the studio while training and outside of the studio as community representatives of ABADÁ. Offer help when we can give it and ask for help when we need it. Hold ourselves and each other accountable for our actions.

Community: Share experiences – both hard and easy, fun and frustrating, painful and pleasurable. Foster a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and wonder. Extend our skills, knowledge, friendship and time. Act for the betterment of the whole.

Education: Seek to understand and honor the rich traditions of capoeira. Choose to expand our knowledge and to take advantage of opportunities presented to us.

Strength: Commit to challenges. Push physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual limitations, building stronger bodies, minds, and souls. Approach fear and challenges as opportunities for growth, remembering that failure is a benchmark for future success, and achieved goals are marks of success to celebrate and benchmarks to exceed.

I look at these often as they apply to my life inside and outside of capoeira, and they don’t fail me in either space.  Even when I may “fail” in the sense of not meeting a goal, I never feel like I fail if I give it my best and do it according to my beliefs.