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Welcome Aboard!

--"Izzy, how did you start dancing?"

--"What got you into martial arts?"

--"What kind of dancer/martial artist/writer are you?

--"How do you deal with brain damage, bodily injury and 

     C-PTSD, yet still dance, write, train, live the way you do?"

--"How do you still find joy and beauty amidst pain and loss?"

--"Wow, you should write your memoirs!" 

    This Is My Story

NSFW, 18+

  • Writer's pictureBella Dancer

NAKED IN THE ARENA - Vulnerability, Creativity & Bravery

Nearly Naked

I am NOT editing this post, dammit. For years I have been trying to blog.


I have been failing to blog.

There is no try...only Yoda.

As a writer, I consider this failing a sacrilege, but that still hasn't managed to catapult me beyond whatever my problem is.

My bloggy silence is not for lack of topics that interest me. Ohhhh no, I am blessed with a consistent litany of, "That would make a cool post!" or "I could totally write about that!" Sometimes I even do. In order to present a piece that is polished and professional(esque--I am an irreverent, sewer-mouthed tomboy, after all), I save it to be edited once it's had time to settle in my brain.

Kiss of death.

IF I am ever inspired enough to pull it up and put the finishing touches on it, I almost never post it. Why?


My potential blog posts die in their crib from a whole lot of MEH. Once it was puked onto the page, I lose interest in the topic. The fire of immediacy dwindles and I'm onto something else. Attention Deficit Oooh Shiny strikes again. Or weird technology glitches happen and I chock it up to, "Huh, guess I wasn't supposed to post that. Okay, on with my day!" Occasionally I will make it through a revision, but when it comes time to push Publish, I just...


It doesn't sound nearly as cool as I had thought it would. It's not as relevant as I had originally thought. Most of the time, I would much rather spend my editing passion on my novels, so I do. That leaves untold slews of little pieces and snippets and rants and thought-provoking hmmmmms clogging up my hard drive.

Honestly? I think we need to call it what it is.


All my old self-conscious why-would-anybody-ever-wanna-hear-what-you-have-say crap that I've been dealing with since second grade during that stupid Good-Better-Best assignment that got me sent out into the hallway--the single time in my life that it ever happened. I'm sure we'll get to that story. It deserves a post unto itself because it was one of the pivotal moments of my life.

And yes. I've already written the rough draft ages ago. It's right here in my handy-dandy computer. Unpublished. Unshared. Unread. Buk-buk-buk-meh.

As such, I ordered a book today at the recommendation of one of my favorite Rah-Rah-Rawr blogs, Rebelle Society from their post on 20 books they wish the world would read. The one that caught my eye was Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. You, too, can get it Here.

One of the most riveting phrases that prompted me to buy it described the book as "...a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen," because it brought to the forefront how much I have stopped doing just that. I haven't posted a new dance on YouTube since I went to Madison, WI in 2014. In fact, I have posted very few since 2010. Granted, very few have been captured on video since then--a strange phenomenon I haven't ever been able to explain except through mystical wooga-wooga mirroring my ever-increasing desire to hermit. In the past seven years, I have been less and less willing to put myself out there on that stage.

Any stage.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my new book and found a quote that has been poking me in the forehead for months. It is part of Theodore Roosevelt's speech "Citizenship in a Republic," and was also quoted in this video for Lindsey Stirling's The Arena that I've had on obsessive replay since I first spied it.

Oooooh... *spooky music*

Nope. It's merely my devious, doting faerie godmother, Synchronicity.

I've been binging on Lindsey Stirling for a month as I sink teeth and claws into this new dance adventure, at last succumbing to the inevitable and complete transformation of my belly dance into what it has always been: BellaDance (badum-tss), this combination of my ADOS love affair with dances from around the world, my equally variegated obsession with martial arts, and my inability to hold a simple conversation because my brain always thinks in terms of building tension to deliver impact to The Story. I call it the Dance of Elemental Alchemy.

There will be a whole lot more of those topics in here as well. In fact, they are rather the point of this blog.

For which I have actually created a full-length post.


And I AM gonna push Publish--more than just today--even though it feels like I'm walking out naked in the arena with a flawed blade.

There's something else I've already written, although it's not a snippet or even a post. It's one of the scenes from the first book of my gladiatrix series. I've been writing this ferocious female fighter since I was seventeen, when I desperately needed her. I've always needed her, which is why she's been a crucial part of my life for so long. She teaches me bravery. She teaches me triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. She teaches me to get creative when I feel desperate, to get up when I've been battered into the ground, to strike when I see the opening, and to open when I feel vulnerable and afraid.

This last is one of the most important points of her story arc. There are so many she-ro stories about girls learning to stand up and take no shit, women finding their voices after being caught in a stranglehold, females doing badass things RAWRRRR! But this only comprises the first steps to healing and reclamation in a female who needs to bust out from under the thumb.

I am always on the hunt for tales that bring the story of women like this to the next stage where all that strength and fire and steel may to be used in the manner they were meant--as protection. Not as a constant state of armored bristle and bitchitude to keep everyone at bay and fuck-the-man! But as a safeguard that provides the opportunity to soften, open, connect, glow, give. It allows the cultivation of that most elusive and precious of treasures...


I've been writing this story for over half my life, and I've been living it much longer. It, too, I look forward to sharing someday, but that one absolutely requires deep revision.

This one? FUCK IT. (See? Toldja. F-Bombs awaaaayyyy...)

I'm just gonna get nice and nekkid all over my blog. I'm gonna push Publish.

Right now.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

~Theodore Roosevelt

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"

Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

EDIT 6/23/21: Well, after a few false starts, I guess this finally worked. I'm going to post the links to the stories I mentioned here, because I did actually write about--and publish--some of them. Others are drafted and waiting in the wings, and that whole kiss of death thing if I try to edit them? No problemo. Thank you, Brené. Thank you, Theodore. Thank you, Lindsey. Thank you, Ishavanni. (That's my gladiatrix, who we're going to meet in the very near future.)

UP NEXT: ME & MY MIDDLE FINGER FOAMIES- My Attempt To Do The Scary Thing

OR: I finally did start posting dance vids again. In fact, I created an entirely new YouTube Channel for them.

OR: This Lindsey Stirling Arena video was so important to me that I wrote about it again - BRAVE ENOUGH: To Fight in the Arena & Shatter Shackles - My Journey with Lindsey Stirling 2.

OR: I've written so many darn posts now that I've had to divvy them up into topics and create a TABLE OF CONTENTS


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