Bellydancing…

Leila Raven Posted in General
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Well, last week I had my very first belly dancing class, and tonight, I go to my second class, and I’m so happy about that. I’m hooked, I’m hoping belly dance is going to be my martial arts replacement. With my fibromyalgia, I realistically felt returning to martial arts was not going to be an option for me. Going back to finish and get my black belt, a lost dream. Well, I’m turning in my blue belt for a coin scarf. Belly dancing so far has shown itself to be a challenge for me physically, but a good one, it’s not going to over tax me. Also like martial arts, there is always an opportunity to learn new skills and so it’s engaging in that way.

I actually did order a beautiful coin hip scarf from ebay, a black one with silver coins… I can’t wait till it comes in the mail. It should be here in time for next weeks class. I was told to wear what I normally wear to exercise to the class, so showed up in workout clothes, but was delighted to find that we’re encouraged to wear short shirts and long skirts and the appropriate accessories to show off our bellies and hips as we shimmy, shake and gyrate! I scoured my closet for appropriate costuming and came up with a number of options that make me very happy. The fact that I get to workout, dance, express sensuality and sexuality to rhythm with movement, and get to dress up at the same time makes this a highly appealing form of exercise to me!

I’ve been googling youtube videos of bellydance, particularly tribal and gothic elements, and some have been very inspiring.

So I’m off… need to dress up my belly, and take it to dance class!

going bellydancing

I’m back on face book…

Leila Raven Posted in General
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So find me and add me!

Some photos from this winter.

Leila Raven Posted in General
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More behind the cut, with more nudity/exposure, so do not look if offended by such things as nipples and butt cheeks!

 

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A New Year

Leila Raven Posted in General
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It’s been an interesting year, challenging, and emotional. I started the year in a state of complacent numbness. I was still recovering from my hysterectomy of the previous fall of 2006. My weight loss from my lap-band surgery had plateaued that winter, and I felt stuck in the statistic that the majority of the people who undergo the procedure will lose 60% of their excess weight. I had lost my percentage, and losing more felt insurmountable.

We opened our home up to the kink community, putting lots of our time, effort and money into creating a dungeon space that would be suitable for group use in our basement. Took 1000 square feet and created play stations, lounge and aftercare areas at a big personal expense. I could use the space for occasional pro sessions too, though ultimately, the design of the dungeon was not for one on one use, but catered to having parties. Finally having our own home, not just owning a small condo, I wanted to entertain! and I wanted to entertain in the ways I thought it would be the most fun and meaningful and fulfilling. Instead of putting savings towards renovating the kitchen or bathroom, we splurged on renovating the basement for entertaining.

Every month we’d have a couple of parties, and we had some amazing times. I think my highlights of my year was my birthday party, and the party where we had Elwood in the house piercing. Though each party had it’s own joy. We didn’t make money on the parties, we cycled back the funds into better parties, better equipment, an erotic pinata, a chocolate fountain, where ever my whims took me. It was all about having a really good time.

Then, I started in the summer to get ill, and at the same time, I was hearing rumors from various sources that people in the community that I had trusted, respected, supported, befriended, we’re saying very negative things behind my back, and then other people implied the threat that the parties I was running were not legal and we could be busted. Enough said, with my current growing health crisis and veiled threats that legal action could be taken against us… I had to drop everything and just focus on self care and health care. To be worried about attacks coming from within the kink community towards me, while trying to juggle an undiagnosed painful and exhausting illness, combined with ongoing Dr.’s and lab visits, seeing specialists and having oodles of tests done, trials on expensive medications, etc. The pressure on us financially as well as emotionally, mentally, physically, was such that things like parties needed to be set aside.

I started to focus on maintaining what health I had as best I could, and started to lose weight again as I cleaned up my diet and started swimming to relieve body tension and pain.

Finally late last year, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and even though my symptoms and my struggles haven’t eased, I’ve been working hard at adjusting to my new limitations, a new body. I’ve decided not to use expensive medication, and deal with my pain and my fatigue holistically and with diet, relaxation, exercise etc. I’ve also decided to deal by trying to bring the joy back in my life… parties again. So next month will see the first play party of 2008. We’ve made changes to how we’re doing things to ensure that we’re running to the letter of the law. So that should veiled threats actually become actions from ‘saboteurs’ that we’re better protected.

My resolution, is only that I will not let the actions and insecurities of others create in myself insecurities and ugly actions. I will continue to extend what I feel is a healthy positive outreach to the same people that have tried to make things difficult for me. I will not isolate myself from them, or the people in the community that they connect with that I also connect with. I will not publicly name them, or attempt to tarnish them regardless of their actions towards me or others in the community.

There were a couple of times last year where I felt one of these people had made some public mistakes that had hurt others, or had many members of the community confused and wondering what was going on, where I tried to become publicly involved as a positive mediator. Hoping that those involved would take some personal responsibility and help heal those rifts. Make peace with those hurt, take ownership, etc. But instead of helping I only made the situation worse by my attempts, which were themselves viewed as hurtful and attacking. I realized that I could not ‘fix’ the situation by trying to bring my own values and beliefs to an already complex situation, and decided to withdraw. It’s a lesson I repeatedly need to be reminded of.. not to try to ‘fix’ everything, were there is conflict or hurt, sometimes not only can you not improve the situation by your involvement, you only make it worse.

I subsequently apologized for the hurt I had caused, and did my best to explain that I was trying to come from a positive place, but the damage was done, and I have no power to show the truth behind my words, and so things are as they are. I don’t have the energy or the heart to try further to repair such situations. I can only speak my truth, I cannot affect whether others will choose to believe me or not. I don’t have the energy to confront negative beliefs and all the knotted bits of community strife that are connected to those whole messes.

So in 2007, it seemed despite the fact that I have no enemies, that some others decided to make an enemy of me. I started my New Year directly trying to send some love and positivity to them.

There are some who believe how you start the New Year will influence the whole year ahead, which is why I always start the New Year with a passionate, loving, connected kiss with Wolfe, but I also made sure I spent some of my New Year just sending thoughts of love and peace to those who have sent thoughts of negativity and destruction towards me. Maybe in 2008 that influence will grow and they will realize that I never had any ill will towards anyone to begin with. Or maybe not. Ultimately, I can’t control what others think, feel, and do. Most importantly is I decided to start my new year with compassion, care, forgiveness, and love in my heart. and I will do my best to cultivate that in 2008.

My body feels broken… more broken than it’s ever been. I deal with pain and discomfort and weakness daily. But my heart and my spirit feels more solid and stronger than ever.

Live in Love

XO

Leila