Perfectly Imperfect

This is, and always will be, my favorite performance. It was seven years ago. My moves weren’t as crisp, and I didn’t know half the tricks that I know now. I even drop the hoop during my show. It’s not about perfection. It’s about the message, and the way I felt when I danced with intention to this song. To me, it’s perfectly imperfect.

This is the performance that I dedicated to Brad: my same-age cousin who died by suicide after we graduated from high school. The song is “Breathe Me” by Sia. According to the artist, it’s “about being overwhelmed by your inner dialogue and potentially doing yourself harm, and then asking for help.” The first time I heard this song, I knew I would dance to it and dedicate my dance to Brad.

I, too, suffered from suicidal tendencies once – but I’m still here to tell my story. And I am. Movement meditation through hoop dance helped to transform my life and heal my mind.

Flow is the transcendent state of being where we lose sense of time and space, becoming one with the moment. Musicians talk about it, as do writers, athletes, musicians and artists. Flow is the experience where we become truly present in the NOW.

When I found flow through hoop dance, I began to understand that healing was possible for me and that I wasn’t damaged. It helped me realize that my spirit wasn’t broken. Hooping healed my heart, changed my life, and ultimately led me to a place of joy.

I now believe, with every fiber of my being, that we have the power to change our ways of thinking and our ways of being, for the greater good. This is the reason I’m writing my book.

It’s time to look in the mirror and love the person looking back.
It’s time to confront the stories we tell ourselves that do not serve us.
It’s time for us to flow into the joyful lives we were meant to lead.
2019… It’s time.

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About the Author: Abby Joan Lee Abby is the founder of both Hoola-Fit and Hoola Monsters – Florida’s first full service hoop dance company, which specializes in handmade fitness hoops, hoop dance classes and performances. A play professional and hoop dance educator since 2007, Abby has taught hoop dance to thousands of people of all ages, in an effort to motivate, inspire and spread joy through fun fitness. She’s currently working on her first book.

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Hiding Doesn’t Heal

I literally used to keep my writing under lock and key.

When I was in my deepest, darkest throws of depression, I wrote. This powerful outlet is one of the things that actually saved me from taking my own life.

In those days, one of my biggest fears was for someone to find and read my journal. I couldn’t bear the thought of my big secret being exposed. I knew that my thoughts weren’t healthy and that something was most definitely wrong, but I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want to be told that I was damaged or broken in some way. I didn’t want to hurt my family even more after Brad’s death. They’d be worried sick if they knew I had suicidal tendencies too. A ‘depression’ or a ‘bi-polar’ diagnosis scared the hell out of me because then, it would be official. I thought, by hiding, I could trick myself into thinking that I was ok and that I could just deal with the pain on my own.

I hid for more than a decade. Only my journals knew… that is, until the fateful day when I made a teary-eyed, drunken confession to my sister. I told her that “I think the same way he did.” My sister and my mother dragged me into a psychiatrist’s office against my will shortly thereafter. I was so angry with them because of it. I was furious, in fact, because my worst fear happened: my secret was out, and I received the dreaded, ‘clinical depression’ diagnosis. But guess what? I didn’t die. And as mad as I may have been in that moment, what I didn’t realize at the time of my diagnosis was this: That was Day 1 of my healing journey. 

Now, here I am: paying a professional editor, a total stranger, to read the very same words that I so desperately wanted to hide. Last week, I dropped some cash to have a pro review my agent query packet. I’m determined to complete this book in excellence by Oct 1, secure an agent, land a publishing deal and have it out in the world by the time I turn 40 (a year from now).

I find it so ironic that, today, the desperation I once hid has completely transformed into a burning desire to be seen. I suffered in silence for a decade due to fear. I’m now speaking out because I know that there are kids hiding right now, in this very moment. I’m investing in my story because I need these kids to know that if I can heal, they can too. Teenage suicide is on the rise, and my mission is clear: I want to be a voice for the kids who can’t speak for themselves.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. If you believe in what I’m up to, I invite you to click the ‘share’ button below. The more people I can reach, the more kids I may be able to help.

P.S. – I’m currently reading “How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me” by Susan Rose Blauner. I highly recommend it.

Seeing With New Eyes

As living creatures, we are constantly growing and evolving.  When we are open to change, we have the ability to see things from different vantage points.  To experience this, we must first surrender control.  Then, it’s possible to find freedom in the unknown and be accepting of what is.

New possibilities are constantly available to us, and most of the time, we don’t know the details of how it will all play out.  It’s ok to not know.  Surrendering to life’s unexpected moments, challenges and opportunities is a major aspect of growth and transformation.  Coming to these realizations has enabled my book to take on new meaning; it feels like a living creature now.

My perspective has shifted during the writing process, and I finally feel as though I’m creating the book that it was always meant to be.  It looks nothing like I thought it would, when I first starting writing.

I’m sharing dark days from a place of love.

Feelings of fear, judgement, anger, resentment and guilt exist, in writing, from a different place and time.  Scribbled in hand-written journals, I reflect on the days when life was painful, and I was confused.  In those moments, when I poured my heart out on paper, I didn’t see the world as I do today.

I look through eyes of love, without self-deprecating thoughts, resentment or blame.  I am grateful for the words that I wrote years ago.  I appreciate the path of self-discovery that began with pen and paper, and I believe that light is born from darkness.

The thoughts and feelings that I had when I was depressed are long gone.  I’m not as attached to my history and my old thought patterns anymore.  When I reflect on my journals, it often feels as though I’m reading someone else’s words. I can visualize my present self sitting next to the little girl version of me, drying her tears and helping her to see that the sun will shine again.

I now get to communicate without attachment to beliefs and ideas that do not serve me or the world at large.  It feels amazing.

I think, perspective shifts in physical form too.  I just returned from a family visit to Inverness, my home town.  As a high schooler, I couldn’t wait to leave.  I didn’t see beauty in my surroundings because I didn’t see beauty in myself.

Yesterday morning, I meditated with my sister underneath an old cypress tree with Spanish moss canopies hanging overhead.  We sat cross-legged facing the lake, eyes closed, and in silence… breathing fresh air and going inward.  When the meditation ended, I had tears in my eyes as I took in the beautiful place that I will always call home.  There were butterflies dancing nearby and fuzzy little caterpillars crawling on our blanket.

Beauty and love surround us always.  Where we choose to focus is what makes all the difference.