Re-Awakening The Why

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There once was a time where I would make time every week to do a passion that has sat by the wayside for so long and that was my writing.  As of late, so many factors have stepped in the way that kept me from pursuing this on the regular:  1) my dance fitness classes which include memorizing choreography, mentoring other instructors and keeping my classes fresh with fun routines and playlists; and 2) the day job which has exploded in so many ways that new responsibilities, new goals and immediate deadlines have consumed major pockets of my time which has left me drained and emotionless to the point where the work will get done when it gets done.

Today, I had something happen that I never have thought would happen in the many months of the hamster wheel that I have been spinning on.   I actually had TIME!  Time to really sit down and focus and evaluate life.  Between the annoyance of all the small things like trying to sleep in a house where there is so much activity going on and not having a moment’s peace of quiet and silence to finding motivation and inspiration to get my shit done, I’ve not had that one thing that I need in order to rejuvenate and that is TIME (and sleep for that matter).

After my lovely, semi-catnap I had while contending with my roommate cooking me out of the house, I decided to get in my car (groggy, tired, annoyed and all) and take a drive to clear my head.  I did the mundane usual things like take clothing to the cleaners, shopping for necessities and shining the car up for the week.  It was somewhere in the midst of all these errands I decided that I needed to just take in my surroundings and re-awaken my spirit.  Re-visit my why I decided to move from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California.

I imagined myself at that moment through the eyes of a newly arrived person in this city and explored my surroundings.  My first stop was in Beverly Hills.  I literally parked my car and walked up and down Rodeo Drive looking at all the mega expensive shops, luxury cars and just did some good old-fashioned people watching.  I found this part of the day so interesting as I saw people walking wearing some of the latest trends that you might find in a Cosmopolitan magazine or people carrying bags from a name brand boutique while talking on their cell phone to probably someone on the other end about meeting up for drinks or discussing their purchase.  I found myself feeling a little jealous, not because I wanted their materialistic items, I was jealous of the fact that these people walked and moved like they had all the TIME in the world.  Something that I lacked in my own life.

I did snap a few pictures as the normal tourist would and examined each one that I took.  I admired the beauty of the landscaping and the not-so-hectic, but busy environment that I was around.  At that moment, I was blessed that I got TIME to enjoy the city I live in.  For 18 years, I’ve worked and focused on getting from Point A to Point B without even enjoying the TIME that I do have for being in the moment.  There are several pockets and places I love to go where I can get inspired again:  the beach, a drive down the coast with my favorite tunes playing from Spotify, my local coffee house, etc.  My spirit felt moved to reach out and grab my laptop this evening to blog and post for the first time in a LONG period in dormancy.  You never know what will become unless you re-start somewhere, right?

I guess my point of this post is to re-awaken my why.  Re-awaken the aspects of my life that brought me to this place.  Re-awaken my thought process and start writing and blogging again, but most of all, make the TIME that I need in order to continue pouring from my cup.

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The Dear Jerod Letter

 

 

Over the past few weeks, I have been so hard on myself and disappointed on so many levels.  There were even times where people have literally said to me:

“You can’t do this because….”

or

“We can’t let you do this because….”

When I tell you that I was annoyed with how people have treated me, it made me sick to my stomach.  I remembered back to a time where I tried to mold myself to fit into someone’s idea of what I should be and realized that I wasn’t happy.  I would have these heart to heart talks with my mom about what I was feeling.  She told me, “Jerod, you are great just the way you are and if they don’t know what you have to offer, then I don’t know if I want them to be a part of your life.”

I started doing something a little unconventional for dealing with situations that bothered me and that was to write myself a letter.  Any time that I needed an affirmation of who I am as a person, any time that I needed “a pick myself up and dust myself reminder” that I am good enough, I would write my affirmations out and refer back to it.

Dear Jerod,

You are MORE than enough.  You are amazing.  You are inspiring.  You don’t need to FIT IN and belong to be great.  You don’t need anyone who is going to put you in a box to fit THEIR needs.  You are more than a legal assistant, you are more than a writer, you are more than a dance instructor, you are not what some people will put through.  Keep this in mind when you keep living your life and live it on your own terms.  More than ever, be easy on yourself, be kind to yourself and to others, love yourself always and most of all, never ever make yourself small when you are meant to be big.

Sincerely,

ME

P. S. – You are ALLOWED to say “fuck you” to those who don’t take you seriously.  I give you permission.

What would your letter say?

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WOW THE CROWD – LA FIT EXPO (SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2017)

Hey Wonderful Folks!  2017 is all about changes and stepping outside comfort zones.  I’ve done something a little bit terrifying on my end and was encouraged to enter into a Dance Fitness Instructor Challenge.

After submitting a 2 minute video, I made it to the Top 5 in this challenge.  I would LOVE it with all my heart (Can you tell I’m begging here?) if you could come and support me at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the LA FIT EXPO.  Tickets are available on this link when you click HERE.  If you use the discount code JEROD2017 for the Saturday Day Pass, you can get 50% off of the price.  I’ll be at The Training Zone stage.

Come join Jerod Williams at the Los Angeles Convention Center at the FitExpo for the WOW The Crowd Contest.
Come join Jerod Williams at the Los Angeles Convention Center at the FitExpo for the WOW The Crowd Contest.

So excited I get to present and get the opportunity to WOW THE CROWD.  What a blessing!  Thank you to everyone who voted for me to help me get this far and to a set of special friends as well as those who continue to believe and support me.

See you – January 7th.

The Fit Expo Training Zone is being held at the Los Angeles Convention this Saturday, January 7, 2017
The Fit Expo Training Zone is being held at the Los Angeles Convention this Saturday, January 7, 2017

The 20/25 Experience (Part 2)

Here’s where I last left off in my LASIK Eye Surgery Quest:

If you want to read Part 1 before you go into this segment, click HERE.

“The doctor proceeds to talk to me throughout the surgery the entire procedure step-by-step so that my fears are assuaged. “Now, listen to the sound of my voice and everything will be alright,” says the doctor. As my first set of numbing drops go into my right eye, shortly thereafter, there are sounds of metal clicking together which I am assuming is the laser mechanism. “Look straight at the dot, please……””

Jerod 6
No more glasses. Game changer!

As I looked straight at the red dot with my right eye secured open by this circular clamp, I hear what resembles a mini saw or a power drill hear my ear. The doctor begins to outline the entire procedure for me of what he is doing step-by-step so that he can ease my fears as well as to let me know what is going on. Yes, folks, I was completely lucid throughout the entire procedure minus the valium I took before the surgery.

“I’m making a small incision of your cornea, you may go blind for about a few seconds, but I don’t want you to panic.” As he tells me this, my heart races and my hands tense up. I hear the mini saw go slightly across my cornea, but due to the numbing drops that were applied to my eyes, I don’t feel it. As he finishes, he lifts the flap of my cornea and sure enough, there is an absolute blur and there is not even a slight amount of vision to make out which made my heart ease up to my throat at this point. Then comes a slight feeling of some activity going on with my eye (meaning the laser he is shooting in my eye to correct my vision). The sound of popping and a slight smell of something burning overcomes me while I’m lying helpless on the chair. As he finishes, he closes the flap and then I have a small amount of vision come back and he immediately covers my right eye and proceeds to do the same thing to my left eye. At this point, there seriously was no turning back. After he finishes, he moves the mechanism away and I sit up and I put on a pair of UV ray sunglasses and he sends me on my way. Total procedure time: 13.2 minutes.

As my good friend holds onto my arm and I walk out into the light, the sun is extremely bright. Think, Gizmo from the Gremlins, as I’m yelling bright light and need to get to safety.

Jerod 7
“Bright Light, Bright Light!”

As I’m on my way back home, there’s the resistance of keeping my eyes open so I just kept them shut for the time being. The discomfort kicks in as I’m trying to get comfortable on the car ride home. I finally get home and as a person who doesn’t take prescription drugs that much, that valium “sho” didn’t seem like it was working so I was laying down on the bed wanting to touch my eyes, but I knew I couldn’t. I proceeded to put socks on my hands like a cat with mittens on so that even if I think about touching my eyes, I knew I couldn’t. I took my dark shades off and put on my protective goggles that makes me look like I’m about to go snorkeling. I still fidget, get frustrated and curse up a storm.   After sitting still for a moment, said valium finally decided to work and I end up drifting off the sleep.

The next morning (six hours later), I wake up from my valium-induced slumber – still a little raw from the surgery. It’s dark thanks to the blackout curtains. I reach to find my lamp switch to turn on the light and when I do, my eyes struggle to focus and then my eyes slowly open to clarity. I sat up and studied my surroundings. I started noticing things right away: the “Luncheon of the Boating Party” Renoir print that I bought a while back to the wall clock (6:04AM) and the small hole I made on the wall from a nail that I pulled out from hammering. All these things were clear to me. I could see! The best feeling in the world. I wanted to really cry, but I really couldn’t as my eyes were so sensitive. A sigh of relief and disbelief washed over my face as I couldn’t believe something as simple as LASIK changing me.

I made my way to the bathroom, turned on the light and looked in the mirror.

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Trying to adjust to the disconnect.

I realized I have never really looked at myself without my glasses and found myself having a moment. I began to study my face and see every indelible imprint around my eyes and ears. Here, I was looking at what 40+ years looks like in front of me. The view was interesting. I felt indifferent and not able to connect to what I saw, again, having another moment. So many emotions washed over me in that instant as I was trying to embrace this new person. It took about 15 minutes to process that this was really me. I realized that I have a new set of eyes and whole new outlook on life. This procedure was a blessing in disguise for me. I didn’t get the procedure done because of vanity. I did it because I wanted to know what it was like to be free.

So far it’s been 4 and a half months, four post op visits and 20/25 vision. I am healing nicely says the eye doc. At times when driving, there are halos that appear, but it hasn’t deterred from my driving. The doctor warned me it wouldn’t go away for a while. The first few weeks were frustrating to deal with in regards to my night vision, but now am handling it like a pro. I’ve been giving my face the much needed time to heal from the abuse that my glasses caused. The slight depression from not having my glasses has dissipated more and more to the point where I no longer have to touch my face to see if my glasses are there. This whole new world is so sharp and I’m savoring every clear moment.

 

Zumba with Jerod at the Orange County FITCON

Proud to announce that I am going to be presenting a 30 minute Zumba demo this Sunday, May 15, 2016 at the Orange County FITCON at 11:00AM. I’ll be getting the party started at the Hangar on the MAIN STAGE. Come shake some Sunday Funday booty with me. Get your tickets and for more information about the FITCON, go to www.fitcon.us

‪#‎LetItMoveYou‬ ‪#‎JamWithJerod‬ @FitConvention (Instagram)

OC Fit Con

The 20/25 Experience (Part 1)

(**NOTE:  This is a chronicle of my experience getting the LASIK Eye Surgery in hopes of giving anyone who is on the fence about considering this procedure some insight.  Although, some of my experience was a little comedic based on this blog, there were definitely some serious moments that happened.  I had the procedure done four months ago and I decided to break this enlightening experience up into a three-part miniseries as opposed to telling it in one supernaturally boring blog.  Here is Part 1 of The 20/25 Experience.)

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Back in January, I made a decision that ultimately changed everything on how I “viewed” life. I was sick and tired of wearing glasses. It got to the point where I fell asleep with my glasses on my face and they were making an impression on the bridge of my nose and an indentation on the back of my ears. My glasses were essential, they were my crutch, they were my security blanket, they were a part of me because those who know me, equate me with wearing them. I honestly was blind as TWO bats without them. When a couple of friends told me about the ever-evolving procedure of LASIK Eye Surgery, I put it out of my mind and said to myself, (1) with my bad vision and slight stigmatism, I’m never going to be a candidate for this procedure and (2) how in all GET-UP and “A Raisin in The Sun” am I going to pay for this risky surgery for my eyes. In some alternate universe, the stars and the vision gods aligned for me at my consultation and surprise, I found out I was a candidate. As an added bonus, not only was the surgery affordable, but also the place where I work would cover my LASIK through a flexible spending plan. There was a twinge of happiness and then came the “Holy shit, what am I doing?” realization. With much poking and prodding from a dear friend who told me, “Knee Grow, will you take yo’ ass to that doctor and get it done?”, I put my big boy pants on, got the approval for my flexible spending and scheduled my appointment.

When D-Day came, I had an emotional talk with my old specs and I said to them, “You and I have been having this crazy love/hate relationship for more than 33 years. I think it’s time that we break up. It’s not you, it’s me! It’s going to be hard not having you in my life for a while. I don’t know how to quit you, but I have to.” Well, maybe I didn’t say that last sentence, but the conversation went a little something like that. 33 years is a long time viewing life through a set of lenses that kept getting thicker and thicker with each eye exam I had over the years. My coke bottles were my signature – they were at the bridge of my nose when I wanted to let someone know that “You done f’ed up!” and I thought how I was going to replicate that look again?

Jerod 4

Guess I had better start working on my side eye.

Jerod 3

As my crazy friend came to pick me up, we literally had to laugh it out and discuss other things to get my mind off of the surgery. I get to the doctor’s office and indeed there is an assembly line of people waiting to be either seen for surgery, going for follow-ups or consultations. I fill the lengthy amount of paperwork out and sign my life away saying that the doctor is not responsible for any possibility of going blind or maybe even death. Of course, I gasped at that thought and gave the glasses on the bridge of my nose look one last time, but the staff at the eye clinic assured me that everything was going to be alright.

As I wait ever-so-patiently perusing through my social media, I get antsy, nervous and part of me wanted to scream and say, “Forget this — I’m out of here! I don’t want to do this! I was just kidding.” But, since when did I ever back down from any life-altering decisions. Because the doctor was running behind, I get a brief reprieve and my appointment gets pushed back. At this point, I literally leave the clinic to go grab a snack. After sharing a few laughs over a dry turkey sandwich and some stories with my crazy friend (who had the surgery herself and turned out just fine) over some of the crazy names of all the places in Koreatown, we make our way back to the clinic.

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I get ready to set my fears aside, wear my surgical cap that makes me look like I’m going to fry chicken in the high school lunch assembly line and get ready for surgery.

Jerod 1

When the doctor calls my name, I slowly take off the crutch that has imprinted my face for many years and set them down by my hat and walk in the room. The anxiety level intensified as I inched my way to lay on the table. As I leaned back, the doctor proceeded to strap my head to the table so that there will be minimal movement. I am panicking on the inside and once the clamp that holds my left eye open gets inserted, at that moment, there was no turning back. The doctor proceeds to talk to me throughout the surgery the entire procedure step-by-step so that my fears are assuaged. “Now, listen to the sound of my voice and everything will be alright,” says the doctor. As my first set of numbing drops go into my right eye, shortly thereafter, there are sounds of metal clicking together which I assumed was the laser mechanism. “Look straight at the dot, please……”

To be continued.

Passion Reignited

Hopefully, as I write these thoughts down tonight in a dimly lit atmosphere of the uppity neighborhood of Brentwood (Los Angeles) at a place called the Coral Tree Café while sipping on Moroccan Mint Tea, I may just inspire someone to re-ignite their passion with this blog. For months, there has been a disconnect between myself and my writing due to really not having time to write, specifically writing for myself. I haven’t been able to share most of my thoughts with the world because when I do write, it’s always a deadline or work-related. Sharing my thoughts was one of the reasons why I created this blog in the first place so I can have a creative outlet and I’ve let it become dormant to where I just post my dance class schedule. New job responsibilities, new place to live, family, dance classes, the struggle of learning new choreography trying to keep my classes fresh and overall just severe exhaustion.

Today, after I finished my dance class demo in Burbank, I felt a burst of inspiration and decided I need to get to a coffee shop ASAP. When I moved from my familiar surroundings last summer (Hollywood to West L.A.), I felt displaced and lost my walking distance up-the-street creative coffee shop outlet. It was a struggle finding places that were so close in West L.A. that felt like “home”. I heard of this one spot from several of the students I teach in Brentwood and how they raved about the place. So I thought, let me give it a shot.

As I finally find parking a block away from this fine establishment, I enter to the place to find it filled with people on laptops, people writing on what appears to be movie scripts, three girls with textbooks out taking notes, a guy dressed in a dirty t-shirt with sweats taking a conference call via Skype discussing what sounds like a movie deal and a set of lovers in the corner who are sitting close brushing against one another sharing a large salad and two glasses of wine. The atmosphere is so busy with lots of non-verbal and verbal activity that you couldn’t help but just be curious. After ordering my tea, I slowly pan the room to find a spot where I can go and just be one with my thoughts. I find one near the side door of the exit to the café where it occasionally opens up due to the wait staff going and coming with orders and the slight breeze of this brisk evening brushing on my shoulder and arm. In examining further my surroundings, the sounds of Erykah Badu play in the background (“Bag Lady”) and then a little bit of Mazzy Star pops on which takes me back to college and reminisce. As I am sitting here in my slightly chilled corner writing, the words begin to flow, they take some sort of shape and I realize that I am slowly falling in love with the place. It feels organic, just like my tea (which, by the way is a little cool now that I have been formulating my thoughts). I realize I’m home and able to crank out this first blog that I haven’t had the chance to write in many moons. I finally found a place where I can get my life.

For the past couple of years, dance fitness has taken over my life ever since I became a U-Jam Instructor. It has left little time for myself to do one of the things that I love to do and that was write. I don’t ever regret putting my writing on hold because otherwise I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing and inspirational people who have molded and shaped my life. I wouldn’t be slightly healthier. I wouldn’t be under 220 pounds. I am looking at life through a whole new set of eyes. (LITERALLY – a that’s another blog that I am writing on that I will post here very soon.) It’s funny how the changing of surroundings can re-ignite a passion and a fire that I had when I first came to Los Angeles pursuing my dream as a writer. I can truly say over the years I had some success in this arena and reveled in the fact that I’ve published a book, briefly wrote for a network, wrote for a magazine and just wrote for myself.

I declare now that there are no more excuses. Making (ME) time has become now a priority. Devoting at least two times a week for writing for myself is something that I need to breathe back into my soul. There’s more to life than just (Jerod Williams, the dance instructor). I’m embracing him more and more lately. And I’m actually falling in love with him again.

To be continued……

Thank you for reading!

Passion Reignited #1 Passion (2)

Taking Stock

“It’s easy to go about life exhibiting the strength needed on the outside to keep it together while slowly crying out for help on the inside. Staying positive when challenges present itself that tests our faith and understanding. In the midst of the emotional storm, take the time to evaluate the ones who really VALUE you and those who are there when you need them. Whether it’s the return of a phone call or a text or just a simple “How are you?”, “I miss you.” or even just a simple conversation just to hear their voice. What is it, 2 to 3 minutes of your day? Make that time. You never know if you’re going to hear or see them one last time.” – Jerod Williams