KASEY PORTER! 12 Feb 2015
Check out Annette one year ago!
Well, friends, I did it. I survived turning 40. Somehow I woke up this morning without my face shriveling into a wrinkled prune, my (nonexistent) boobs drooping to my knees, or needing bifocals and dentures. It's really turned out to be a day just like any other day. It's a day where I get to open my eyes and be grateful for the opportunities that lie ahead, be humbled by the strength my body provides me, and awed by what this world has to offer. I think birthdays are just a perfect reminder of what we should be doing that each and every day.
Check out BLDG 25 for a recap of the Free People #FPLETSMOVE event!
So, I just passed the halfway point in my challenge to my 40th birthday. I'm 22 days in. Since January 1st, I have taken 25 classes, taught 25 classes, and trained to teach three more. My body is a bit fatigued, but overall I feel great.
Even though I am incredibly sad to have to retire from teaching I wanted to write a little Lithe Love Letter to let you, and the Philadelphia Lithers know how much my time as an instructor meant to me.
I’m still suffering from a badly herniated disc in my lower back (L4) that flared up last May. I’ve been improving over the past few months, and feel great some days, but I don’t feel comfortable committing to teaching all of you only to wake up on the day of class unable to move.
Being an instructor was an amazing and absolutely unforgettable time in my life and has helped me grow in so many ways. I never thought I was “good” enough, “cool” enough, or confident enough to teach. I’m naturally a shy person, but being an instructor gave me the confidence to get up in front of a large group of impressive, fit, professional women and make them all “get low,” “see their eyelashes,” and “break it down - one time each!” Teaching not only gave me confidence on the podium at Lithe, but also helped give me the confidence to speak clearly and commandingly to others in my law profession. (I still remember the day Lauren asked me to audition – I called my best friend right after and couldn’t stop jumping up and down with excitement).
While I can’t take classes at the moment because of my back, I’m working hard everyday to hopefully be back on the mat soon! This is the first time in my life I’ve had an injury that has forced me to take more than a couple weeks off from any activity. While it’s been a terribly painful experience, it has made me come to terms with the fact that I can’t always do everything “100%” and that I’m not a failure if I need to take a little break or modify. My type A personality has always had me pushing myself beyond my limit, which, I’m learning from this injury, is not always the best choice. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay if I have to take a week or two off and I won’t get horribly out of shape, gain weight, or lose my ability to Lithe. I’m still in physical therapy but working hard with my doctors to get better as fast as I can!
I absolutely LOVED every second of teaching and would continue to teach for years if I had the chance. It was amazing to work with so many wonderful other instructors and support staff who all continue to inspire me. I’m going to miss being a part of such a wonderful team.
Thank you so much Lauren. For giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to be a Lithe instructor, for creating Lithe Method that has given me so much confidence and joy, and always proving that working out can be silly, fun, and incredibly tough! I can’t wait to be back!
Retired Lithe Instructor Cat Kiernan wearing Lithe via Dom
A little over two weeks ago, Lithe Instructor Rachael Bridgens wrapped up her 2014 "Lithe by the numbers" personal challenge. Rachael, we love that you took a picture of every Lithe Burn! Burn baby, burn!
Lithed: 12 classes
Taught: 27 classes
Total burn: 17,791
I love the flair and edge that this week's subject of 25 Things! brings to Lithe. She is a powerhouse of strength and explosive energy who exudes confidence in the studio. I love her classes because she's firm and relentless, but supportive while pushing us to get lower, finish every rep and work through the transitions. When I take Kalika's classes, I can feel how invested she is that Lithers leave her class getting the best possible workout. So when I read number 25 on her list, I wasn't suprised at all. Read on to find out more about the Lithe vixen she is.
1. I was born and raised in Neptune Beach, Florida.
2. I have a BA in Dance Studies from the University of South Florida (in Tampa).
3. My boyfriend and I moved to Philadelphia in 2005 and it was the best decision we ever made.
4. I have been a member of the Peek-A-Boo Revue Neo-burlesque show since 2006.
5. We won Best Troupe at Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in 2008 and 2012.
6. My boyfriend, Chris, and I have been together for 13 years. We're considering marriage.
7. I have a 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Kya who doesn't act a day over 2. It is impossible to be in a bad mood around her.
8. I am the oldest of three. I'm seven years older than my brother Andrew and ten years older than my brother Matthew. They're my half brothers, but really they're my brothers. We are different in many ways, but share the same overly sarcastic sense of humor.
9. The Exorcist and Garden State are tied for my favorite movie. The Breakfast Club is a close second.
10. My troupe was on America's Got Talent in 2010. We made it to Vegas.
11. I dislike most reality TV shows.
12. I have never seen a Harry Potter movie.
13. The first job I had in Philly was in "The Freezer" at Nightmare on Broad Street, a haunted attraction at the Spectrum.
14. I worked with a wheelchair dance company in Tampa.
15. One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing Michael Jackson in concert while sitting on my dad's shoulders.
16. Most people call me Kaley and my stage name is Ginger Leigh.
17. Three things I can't live without: coffee, sushi, and peanut butter.
18. I am gluten-free 93% of the time.
19. I perform with The Roddenberries, a Star Trek cabaret band.
20. I quickly became a city girl, but am most at ease near the ocean.
21. My first experience with Lithe was at my instructor audition. I instantly fell in love.
22. I used to say I would never be a cheerleader. Now I can't get enough Lithe CCS.
23. I have been dancing since the age of 3; ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, and many other forms have been sprinkled in over the years. I love and hate to choreograph.
24. Entertaining and teaching both make my heart sing, but in different ways.
25. I teach burlesque classes. Helping women feel comfortable and sexy in their own skin is far more rewarding than teaching them dance steps.
Dear Lithe Community,
As some of you have realized, I have had to take a personal leave from Lithe and haven't been in the studio recently. I wanted to share what's been going on with me and also hope that it might inspire you to start your New Year with a fresh perspective like it has done for me.
Earlier this fall, I started to have trouble with my vision. It started gradually, but by November it was quickly deteriorating to the point where I could no longer read, drive, differentiate colors, or see my husband's and daughter's faces clearly. I went to an ophthalmologist about six weeks ago and was sent for an emergency MRI. They found a tumor on my brain that was pressing on my optic nerve, causing the changes in my vision. Making things a bit more complicated, I am also 14 weeks pregnant. The hormones from my pregnancy were stimulating the tumor, which the doctors believe led to my sudden loss in vision. The tumor was thankfully benign, but it was large and growing more quickly because of my pregnancy, so the doctors wanted to move fast.
About three weeks ago, I underwent a craniotomy to have the tumor removed. It was a long procedure that lasted over 10 hours, but fortunately my neurosurgeon was very happy with the removal and everything went well. And, even though I have not had any official testing yet, my vision appears to have fully returned or, at the very least significantly improved, and I can see more clearly than I have seen for a long time. The doctors believed that I was at a serious risk of being permanently blind and had told me that it would be "something of a miracle" to wake up from surgery with my vision fully recovered, so I feel extremely fortunate. I have also had three ultrasounds since my surgery, and my baby is doing well and growing right on track. For these things, in particular, I will forever be grateful.
Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling better and my recovery has gone about as well as it could be. Less than 48 hours after my surgery, I was able to move around, take short walks, and even managed to make it up and down a flight of stairs on my own. My doctors and physical therapists at the hospital were impressed with my strength and stamina after such a major surgery and had told me that it would be a game-changer in my recovery. I am thankful that I am in good shape, and know that it has made such a difference in helping me to overcome so many of the challenges my body has faced since my surgery. In the past, I've worked out with intentions of "fitting into that smaller dress from a few years ago" or "getting bikini-ready for summer", but this experience has helped me to realize how important it is to be active and fit, for no other reason, than to simply be healthy.
When the doctors found my tumor, I was told that I could no longer exercise because they didn't want me straining in any way. While I knew that I would miss it, I was not prepared for the void I would feel by not being active. I miss moving my body, taking walks with and carrying my daughter, and, of course, lithing, more than I could have imagined. For me, it has truly been the hardest part of my recovery; trying to just relax and forcing myself to do less and rest more. Once I return to a more active lifestyle again, I know that I will not take it for granted, and that I have found a much greater appreciation for it.
As anyone can imagine, receiving the news of my initial diagnosis was a life-changing shock for my family and me. And while I definitely can't say that I'm thankful for it, I am grateful for the new perspective it has given me. In the beginning, I kept thinking this can't be for real...this can't be happening. I'm not sure if it's even fully sunk in at this point. It definitely was a jolt that shook me to my very core. How quickly life can change in a matter of seconds. For me personally, it has always been easy to over-think minor details, to let my to-do lists run too long, and to get caught up in "keeping up," to the point where these things take over and cause me a great deal of stress and worry. But in the face of a situation like the one I've just been through, I realize that so much of this doesn't matter and that life is just too short. Now I can appreciate that, at the end of the day, there are very few things that truly matter aside from health, family, and friends. My New Year's resolution is to keep this new perspective in mind each and every day, and to be there for others during their time of need, just as I’ve been lucky enough to have so many people here for me.
I am looking forward to regaining my strength and getting back into the studios and seeing all of you over the next month or two. Wishing you all a very healthy and Happy New Year!
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