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The Girl With The Tree Tattoo
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

I wouldn’t call myself a prude. I’m also not a gym rat or fitness influencer, so maybe I’m just not in the know. But it’s never occurred to me to take my shirt off and exercise in just my sports bra. Even when I’m at home and no one’s around, even when I’m dripping with sweat, it never crosses my mind.

So when I see others posting online photos or videos of themselves exercising at the gym, at home or outside in their expensive leggings and just a sports bra, I can’t help but wonder, why?

Shirts vs. Skins

There’s an obvious answer…


Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Seven months into the pandemic, I realized I was still grieving over aspects of pre-pandemic life I didn’t fully realize were lost. I was grieving over the loss of my second home at my old dance studio that didn’t survive the shutdowns. I was grieving over the loss of my perception that my fellow ballroom dancers held themselves to higher standards as human beings. Turns out they could be racist jerks just like everyone else. I was grieving over the personal loss of my connection with my creative flow.

Today, on the anniversary of the day I was ordered to…


Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Influence Me

I was scrolling social media the other day when I saw a mention of a new HBO documentary, Fake Famous, which follows three wanna-bes as they participate in an experiment designed to turn them into famous influencers on Instagram, or at least make them appear to be famous. Give a point to the power of social media because I paused whatever I was watching on Netflix to check it out (and yes, I was watching Netflix and scrolling social media at the same time).

The opening scene featured people taking selfies in front of a pink wall, which belonged to…


Can I really write an article about my sleeping dogs?

Photo by Yasmina H on Unsplash

Somewhere along my writing journey, I developed this rule that says if I’m going to publish a new blog post or article, it has to be profound. It has to carry a powerful message or a fresh perspective on an old idea. If I can’t come up with something that will influence minds and change lives, then it isn’t worth sharing.

Even now, as I write this article — intended to be about releasing this rule — I feel the pressure to deliver a significant message to my readers. I can’t write an article about just writing for the moment…


Originally written for my dancers at The Girl with the Tree Tattoo blog, I’m sharing this article here because dancers aren’t the only ones who may be wondering if their journey has come to an end because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Emily Wade on Unsplash

As we reach the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., I know many dancers have one question on their mind: Is my dance journey over?

Some have been extremely lucky and privileged to be able to continue dancing and even compete through this pandemic. They experienced a couple months’ break in their dance schedule, which used…


Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

At the airport

I had barely left my apartment in over 10 months and now I was on my way to the airport to fly across the country. I took a couple preventative puffs from my inhaler before donning my face mask and exiting the car. Walking into the check-in area, I had the odd feeling that there weren’t that many people and also there were SO many people. This is what happens when old memories of what an actual crowded airport looks like collide with my more recent reality of spending my days with no one but my two dogs.

I couldn’t…


Photo credit: Kelly Paige

If you’ve been dancing ballroom for a while, and especially if you’re a competitor, then you have a decent-sized library of routines and drills that you can use in your solo practice. Your content is plentiful; you have to decide what your focus will be based on your next event or longer-term goals.

But what if you’re just getting started in ballroom dance?

You’re on your first or second lesson package at your studio, and you’re still breaking in your first pair of real dance shoes, and not in a million years can you imagine yourself wearing a costume covered…


Photo credit: Kelly Paige

It feels wrong to dance right now.
When there are people out there
Who think it’s ok or funny or cool
To storm our nation’s Capital,
To break windows and doors
While people on the other side wonder
If this would be the day they died.

It feels wrong to dance
On the graves of literally thousands of people
Who die daily from a virus that could have been,
Should have been,
Controlled months ago.

It feels wrong to dance
When respect for ourselves,
Our neighbors,
Our country
Has been reduced to a sad, tattered rag
Flapping in the wind.


2020 added its own dose of “special” to working remotely

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

It was midday on Friday, March 13, 2020 when my office coworkers and I received the email from the higher-ups that effective immediately, everyone was to work from home until further notice. There was chatter among the cubicles as people discussed how exactly immediate was “immediately.” Was this an evacuation scenario or more like “last call”?

Most people were packed up and out the door within the hour. I stayed a little longer to print out some reports I needed to edit that afternoon. My dogs were pleasantly surprised to have me home earlier than usual that Friday. I think…


Fred Astaire West Coast Dancesport Championships January 2020 — Photo credit: Gary Flashner

The ballroom dance world, like any other sport, has its dark side. There are the stories of studios or teachers pressuring or manipulating students into buying more lessons than they need or signing up for events they’re not ready for. You don’t need to spend much time in the competitive corner of the world before you start hearing stories of certain dancers being favored over others because of who they dance with, who their coaches are, or how much money they spend at competitions.

Then there is the gossip, petty remarks and judge-y comments about people’s partnerships, costumes, dancing abilities…

The Girl With The Tree Tattoo

Tattooed ballroom dancer and writer keeping it real about dance, mindset, Life, and the occasional documentary. Home base at thegirlwiththetreetattoo.com.

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