First Day of Acting!!!

Hey everyone 🙂 Today was a super exciting day! My two friends, Callista and Cassandra (who are identical twins) and I went to our very first acting lesson! That’s right, ACTING. And what a rewarding experience it was!!!

Let me just clarify- I am not looking to pursue a career in acting. That is definitely not my intention in attending these sessions. Although, who knows? Perhaps hidden underneath all that inhibition is a true actress in the making… haha. No, the three of us decided to pick up acting simply because we wanted to build more confidence around people. I also want to improve the performing aspect of ballroom dance- that is, being able to embody the character of each dance and connect with the audience.

So today attended our first one hour session with Leah (our acting coach). Leah is really great in the sense that she is patient, understanding, and easy to get along with. With acting, the key thing is to GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD. RELEASE YOUR INHIBITIONS. TURN OFF THE SELF-JUDGEMENT BUTTON, AND JUST NOT BE AFRAID OF MAKING A COMPLETE FOOL OF YOURSELF. We did some warm-up exercises that required lots of improv and weirdness. There is this one game we played that I call “sound+action”. Basically the four of us formed a circle and each person would turn to the person next to her and perform a random combination of sound and action. The second person would then mimic the first person’s sound and action, then make up her own. This exercise was really nerve-racking at first, since you are totally going against your instincts. We were doing crazy things like waving our arms around and screaming gibberish- things we typically refrain from doing around other people!! But this was acting class, and when you are acting, you just gotta release all pressure and self-judgement and crap like that.

I could go on and on about today, but I have to go to sleep. I’m waking up at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning for a GRIT class at my local gym. But in short, taking up acting as a hobby is one of the best decisions I have made. I truly believe these classes will help with me with performance-anxiety, ballroom dance, and just confidence as a person. Really looking forward to where my acting journey will lead me, and I will keep you guys posted!!

UPDATE: BALLROOM

Hi everyone! It’s 12:26 a.m. as I am writing this, but I just feel the need to write about ballroom dance. Don’t you ever feel so overcome with emotion inside that you just need to channel all that energy somewhere? I feel exactly like that right now… Anyway.

BALLROOM! So… it looks like I will be competing at the Embassy Ball after all! Most likely… still not 100% certain. In my last post I already delineated the financial burden of competing at this competition, so you may be wondering what caused the change of heart. Well, I watched my very first ballroom dance competition last Saturday and Sunday- International Grand Ball- which was located very conveniently in San Francisco. IGB was SUCH a fun experience. Definitely nothing like a rhythmic gymnastics competition… The overall atmosphere was just so different, much more formal and elegant. In my opinion, the atmosphere of IGB was very relaxed, warm, and friendly. I loved supporting my friends and teachers who competed that weekend. Contrary to what I used to believe, ballroom dance competitions involve lots of cheering and rooting for your favorite couple. My two friends and I made a poster for my favorite ballroom couple, Bumchin and Masha. It was pretty hilarious because we were the only ones there holding up a poster 🙂 Back to the point: going to IGB and watching other kids my age perform made me long to go to Embassy, not as a spectator, but as a competitor. It really motivated me to work harder than I do already, so that I can get on the competition floor as soon as possible. Of course, I don’t want to go to my first competition unprepared. But my coaches have confidence that I will be ready in time for Embassy, which is in one month. Today I learned the last of the four dances I will be competing- jive. Now it’s just polishing and getting the technique down and bringing my routines up to competition level. I have faith that with lots of hard work and practice, I can do it. For the past week I’ve been training at least four hours each day… Of course, I don’t have many expectations for my first ballroom competition. Would it be cool to win? Of course. But really, right now I’m competing for the experience of it.

Okay, it’s now 12:45 a.m. Gotta get some shut-eye for tomorrow’s long day of dancing, college-apps, studying, etc. Oh yeah, I’m taking my first acting class with my two friends (same friends who made the poster) on Wednesday! Will keep you posted on how that goes 🙂

Good night my lovely readers!

UPDATE: PUBLIC SPEAKING, BALLROOM, COLLEGE APPS

Hi everyone! Lots of new things are happening in my life that I want to share with you guys.

First off- my six week public speaking class is FINALLY OVER! Public speaking is, as you guys may or may not know, my greatest fear. Actually, now I can proudly say that public speaking WAS my greatest fear- past tense. By challenging myself to fight my fear head on, I realized that public speaking is not really that scary after all. Of course, I only came to this realization by continually forcing myself to stand up in front of the class. Scary as it was in the beginning, it got easier the more I did it. Two days ago I gave my final persuasive speech, and it went great! The takeaway: push yourself outside your comfort zone and do things that daunt you. The amount of personal growth you attain by challenging yourself is tremendous. While it will be scary in the beginning, I guarantee you it will get easier 🙂

The second major thing happening right now in the life of Belicia Tang is BALLROOM DANCE. I am back after reinjury! About two weeks ago, my sports medicine doctor cleared me to dance again, but take it slow and watch my knees. So now I have been back in dance for a week. I’m training for my first competition in LA in a month and a half. OMG. The only issue with the competition is the insane amount of money my parents have to pay for it. I am doing Pro-Am, which means I compete with my teacher. Pro-Am is notorious for being ridiculously expensive. My teachers charges a flat fee of $2,000, just for him to dance with me. Then there’s entree fee, $300. Not to mention the cost of a dress, which can get into the thousands; professional hair and makeup; travel expenses; private lessons. Frankly, I don’t know if spending that much money on a single competition is worth it. Competing is definitely a valuable experience, as it gives you experience, motivation, and, by putting myself in the public eye, affords a better chance for finding a partner. The flip side, of course, is the money. With that much money I could have like 20 private lessons! At this stage in my ballroom journey, I think nailing the technique is most important. But honestly, we will see. If I am definitely ready for the competition in a few weeks, then I will strongly consider going. As for right now, just PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Today I was at the dance studio from 4:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Of course, I wasn’t dancing the entire time… I talked to a lot of nice people in between practice. As you can see, though, I’m not totally sticking to the doc’s advice of easing into dance… Bad Belicia! But being the intense person I am, I find that I lack the self control to restrain myself from going full out in the things I enjoy doing. Tomorrow I will be at the studio again most of the afternoon, which I’m totally excited about!

Thirdly- the dreaded college application. UC essays, Common App essays, plus supplementary essays. SO MUCH ESSAY WRITING! Thankfully, though, I find writing to be a cathartic process, so the college app process is a little less painful for me than for those who hate writing (i.e. my brother Austin). My advice, along with that of many others: DON’T PROCRASTINATE! Don’t start your essays in mid-August when school starts. Try to get most of it done in the summer, while you have time on your hands. TIME IS MONEY. SPEND IT WISELY.

Okay, it’s 11:45 p.m. right now, I’m gonna go to bed.

Good night, my lovely readers!

-Belicia

Liking an Unavailable Person: Tips on How to Deal…

Hey guys 🙂 The topic of today’s post is a little more light-hearted than usual. I’ll be telling you guys what I do when I find myself attracted to someone completely unavailable (which, believe it or not, happens A LOT for some reason, lol). Disclaimer: I won’t pretend I’m a relationship expert, but as a hormonal teenage girl, I have had my fair share of crushes. So without further ado, here are some ways I take my mind off of unavailable people:

1) Bury myself in schoolwork

I know, this sounds so nerdy, but for me, it really helps. By devoting your undivided attention to something other than this person, you start to forget this person until he/she appears less and less in your daytime reveries. Just doing calculus problems, taking outline notes from textbooks, or losing myself in an intriguing book can get me in that “flow” state of mind, in which I think of nothing else but the task at hand.

2) DANCE (or any other form of physical exercise, for that matter)

Dancing for me is another form of catharsis. Similar to burying myself in schoolwork, it allows me to take my mind off the person for a little while. Sometimes I do a little improv to depressing songs that reflect how I feel. All in all, physical exercise is a better mode of coping in the sense that exercising releases endorphin’s into your system, which makes you feel positive.

3) Pour out my feelings in my diary

In my opinion, writing is the best kind of therapy for any kind of crap life throws at you. Writing is SO incredibly cathartic. Your diary is an all-accepting, non-judgmental friend who is willing to listen patiently to your vents 24-7 without talking back. I love this quote from Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” When you feel shitty, sit down at your desk and bleed your heart out onto paper. This process is not necessarily fun, but when you finish, you will feel like a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders. Guys. I’m telling you, writing is a beautiful thing that anybody can do. Writing saved me when I was in a dark place… I’m actually going to give a persuasive speech on Monday in public speaking class on why people should keep diaries.

4) List reasons why you SHOULDN’T spend precious energy pining over someone you will be with only in fantasies (i.e. I’m too busy right now, high school relationships don’t last, our schedules don’t work well together, etc.)

5) Listen to music about heartbreak 😉

Yes. Sometimes this works for me…

6) Break all ties with the person. That means deleting his/her number, disconnecting from said person on social media (facebook, instagram, snapchat, twitter), and pinching yourself every time you think/say said person’s name.

Yes, this sounds harsh. But I only take this measure when all else fails. If I am friends with this person on social media, I completely break all connections from him. I’m not suggesting that it is good to burn bridges in life, because it isn’t. But if a person is making you live in warm and fuzzy misery and is ACTUALLY impacting your life negatively, I say you have to do what has to be done.

In case you haven’t guessed already, what prompted me to do a post on this topic is the fact that I am currently in the processes of “weaning” myself from a certain guy who most likely doesn’t like me back. It’s tough, but I’m getting over it 🙂 I have bigger fish to fry, and so should you guys.

Love,

Belicia XOXOXOXO

How to Read Actively/Edx promo :)

Ever spent hours reading a difficult piece of writing, yet could not comprehend what the author is trying to say? It happens to all of us, and it is SUPER annoying.

The question is, why does this happen, and how does one fix it?

Now, I won’t pretend to be an expert on reading, but as I was taking an online course called Global Sociology taught by a sociology professor at Wellesley College (i.e. my dream school), I came across a video that discussed ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE reading.

According to Professor Radhakrishnan, passing reading is reading without engaging with the text. When we practice this type of reading, it’s difficult for us to fully comprehend what the author is saying, or form opinions of our own.

Active reading, on the other hand, describes the type of reading in which you are fully engaged with the text, summarizing the author’s main point and making note of your own thoughts, feelings and opinions. Here are Professor Radhakrishnan’s four tips to reading actively:

1) Preview the piece

2) Make notes of key quotes

3) Write notes in the margin

4) Make an outline

*Click the following link to read more about these four steps:

Critical_Reading_Tips_Soc_108X

I hope you guys found this helpful and informative! I’d also like to take a minute to promote edx.org, the website where I am taking this sociology class. Edx.org is absolutely amazing because it offers a myriad of online courses, ranging from nutrition and human anatomy to Chinese and leadership training. And get this: IT’S COMPLETELY FREE! These courses are taught by professors from colleges worldwide. Courses are self-paced and open 24/7 for you all to indulge in. Cheap, accessible, and a fun way to expand your knowledge base. I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to have found this website. Please check it out, you WILL NOT regret it!

edx.org

Teenage Struggles: Body Image

anorexia

While all athletes in any sports discipline must, to a degree, be conscious of their weights to ensure optimal performance, I believe that athletes in performance-based sports (i.e. gymnastics, figure skating, dance, etc.) face greater pressure to maintain the “ideal” body shape, as these are not just sports- they are art forms, which place much emphasis on aesthetic appeal.

Having been in involved in artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and ballroom dance throughout the course of my life, I’ve experienced firsthand the distorted and destructive thinking many athletes in these disciplines have regarding their bodies, leading them to live dangerously unhealthy lifestyles.

rhythmic gymnasts

To give you guys a better sense of the paranoia with body image that is so prevalent in performance sports, I will go back to summer of 2011, when I trained with the ZhuHai rhythmic gymnastics team in China.

Each morning before training, all the girls would line up behind an electronic scale to weigh themselves. At the end of the day, after six hours of training, the same ritual would be repeated. The point of this was to ensure that the girls were staying stick-thin and losing enough weight per practice. One time, while we were taking a break mid-practice, the girls started a game to see who had the least number of love-handle “folds” when they bent over to the side. The winner, aka the girl with the least number of fat folds, would be rewarded with pride and envious stares from fellow teammates. While such a game was only for fun, the premise behind it is sick. Sometimes, if the coach saw that a gymnast was gaining weight, she would force the gymnast on a VERY restrictive diet comprised of something along the lines of water, boiled eggs, and veggies. How a person could subsist on such a diet, let alone train intensely for six hours each day, is beyond me.

training in china

Two years later in summer of 2013, I went back to visit the ZhuHai team. Many of the former girls had been recruited to join more prestigious teams, and only a few familiar faces remained. At this point, you may not be surprised to hear that the remaining girls were the curvier ones, definitely not stick-thin. The “beautiful” girls were gone, doing bigger things with their careers. That is not to say that in rhythmic gymnastics, or in any other performance-based sport in general, only athletes with ideal bodies reach the top. There have been cases in which curvier, short-legged gymnasts have become champions. But such cases are rare. The sad truth is that gymnasts born with the best bodies stand a greater chance of making it to the top.

For the longest time I was a victim of this horrible obsession with body image. During my time as a gymnast, I hated my body. I constantly yearned to be skinnier, to have the “perfect” thin, slender, long-legged figure so characteristic of rhythmic gymnasts.

2012 was the year I became dangerously thin. This was my peak year in rhythmic gymnastics, and so I felt more pressure to look “better” for competitions. You see, the judging system in performance-based sports such as rhythmic are subjective. It is not uncommon for you to see a skinny, long-legged gymnast score higher than a second gymnast who clearly performed better, but is on the chubbier side. I know, messed up right? The minute you step on the carpet, you are presenting yourself to the judges. If you have the perfect body, judges will have a better first impression on you than if you possess a less-than-optimal figure.

My family and I vacationed on a cruise in Europe summer of 2012. I was utterly terrified of gaining weight from the cruise, because HELLO?! it’s a cruise!! I was so determined in my quest to NOT gain a pound during that cruise, that every day of that vacation I went to the gym at opening time, 6 a.m., worked out for a couple hours, then for the rest of the day, barely indulged in the wonderful food Europe had to offer. Every free minute on that vacation, you knew where to find me- THE GYM. I lost three pounds on that cruise trip.

skinny bel

In retrospect, I am shocked that once upon a time, I was so obsessed with something as superficial as body image that I nearly became anorexic.

So where am I now? Although I’ve been out of ballroom for only two weeks, I’ve already noticed a change in the way I view myself. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a girl with muscular thighs and calves, a curvy butt, and pretty average-length legs. But instead of grimacing, I smile now. I am grateful for the way Heavenly Father made me. Heck, I’m grateful for having four healthy limbs. I am beautiful, and every single girl in this world, fat, thin, short, tall, black, white, WHATEVER. should know that she is beautiful.

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”

― Steve Maraboli