Go One More.

 I missed dance class on Monday, and frankly, with the week I’ve had, I thought about skipping today.
I was afraid going into it that the mental drain and toll the last couple of days has had on me would hinder my dancing more than help.
Sometimes, pushing through and going anyway helps break through some of the mental strain. Other times, it takes a toll on my confidence and my dancing lacks greatly.
I don’t like those days.
I haven’t had one in a while, but I was certain today would break that record.

I considered it.
All of it.
What am I doing in dance anyway?
What is it going to do for me?
Where am I going to go with it?
What’s the point of pursuing these dreams of mine? I’d have tons more time if I didn’t fight for this.
Why fight?
My health makes it difficult, too.
Why fight…
It’s hard. People don’t think it’s a necessity. They think it’s a waste of time.
A fleeting dream.
Grow up, Emilee.

I went anyway.
Started feeling a little light headed part way through it.
But I shut off my brain and kept going.

The last third of the class, Jilissa starts talking really serious to us.
That she wanted us to consider the Holiday Showcase.
If we didn’t want to do it, that’s okay, but she expected each of us to do it.
She said she used the word “expected” because it has the connotation of if we didn’t she’d be disappointed.
And she said this in a lighthearted way, not being mean or anything.

Last year, I wasn’t in the Holiday Showcase. I wasn’t asked, I didn’t even really hear about it.
Granted, I was only a few weeks into classes around this time, and got into a car accident last November that put me out for a couple weeks.
But this year, I got invited to be a part.

It’s gonna take practicing, for sure. But we’ll work on the dance in class.
With this kind of thing, if I know the steps and can work on them at home, I’ll do well.
Well… well enough to get on that stage.
It puts the pressure on.
But, this is what I love…

I left that dance class with a spring in my step.
Dancing is part of me…
Sure, I’m not that great yet, but that’s what time and dedication is for.
I’ll get there.
It takes me to a different place, it helps me escape everything, if only for an hour.
And when I leave, all the burdens that seemed to be the size of boulders walking in feel like nothing more than the size of a bean.

I got this.
Everything’s gonna be okay.

Defining lines.

Jilissa is putting together the steps for the winter showcase.
In doing so, she’s taking every chance to sharpen us and point out things we need to improve.

Today she spoke on the details. The “make it or break it”s. The things that are the difference between leaving the audience amazed or leaving them cringing.
She told us that as we watch ourselves in the mirror, we shouldn’t be watching the things we do well. Instead, we should be watching and examining our flaws.
If all you’re doing is seeing what you do right, you’ll never fix what is wrong. You’ll never notice it. Knowing is half the battle.
She had us redo the combination. She said, “I don’t care if your leg doesn’t get as high or your jumps aren’t as big. I want to see you focus on what you need to improve. That improvement will make up for everything else.”

It stuck out to me.
Like our lives.
If all we do is focus on and take pride in the things we do right, we won’t have much chance of improving.
What we tend to do is ignore our flaws, our mistakes, the things we aren’t too proud of. We sweep it under the rug and try to carry on this flawless dance. But that’s not how it works.
You can have perfect technique, but if your arms aren’t right, the audience will know.
You can live your whole life with “perfect technique” but when it comes to the “show” if one thing is flawed, eventually it’ll be found out.
Instead, face your flaws head on. Address them. Work on them. If you work on them, then you’ll improve. Sure, it’ll take time, but it’s worth it.
It’s what sets you apart, what defines your level. what can take you from Beginner to Intermediate or Intermediate to Advanced.
Take the time now to look at your flaws head on. you may cringe, but make the effort and you will see that your dance will be a beautiful one.

Believe in yourself.

Today was one of those days.
I was feeling confident going into it, I guess
But I was also at a point where I knew…

I need to man up and press myself harder than before.
I need to start looking in the mirror and seeing what I need to improve.
Can sometimes be a harsh reality, but it’s needed.
I need to get better.

I told Jilissa I want to be on pointe. Therefore, she’s gonna push me harder.
Today, I signed up for the recital.
No going back now.
So, I know I gotta man up and do better.
No excuses.

So, with a day such as this, there isn’t much praise.
Yes, I have my little victories;
Nailing the pirouette on both sides, remembering the combinations, being able to pay attention to the details of my arms.

So, class is over, and Jilissa’s at the end of the hall talking to a girl who was new to class today.
I hear my name.
“Emilee started taking once a week a year ago. Then started taking two just recently.”
I look up at her. She said, “Can you tell a difference?”
Me: “An enormous difference”
They continued on with their conversation.

Just a little thing, a moment. And in that moment, it’s like Jilissa’s telling me she sees my work and that I’m improving…
Now, I could beat myself up at the fact that I couldn’t do two classes a week sooner. That it held me back. That I coulda been better faster. That this was a criticism of the fact that it took me so long to get to where I am when all I needed to do was get in 2 classes a week.
But I know why I couldn’t get in earlier. I know how it killed me inside. I know how it kills me to not be able to do better from where I am now.

I just have to believe in myself. To know that I’m doing my best every day, and every class. That I take what I need and focus. To get my wits about me. To make the most of every moment I get to dedicate to it.
I have goals and dreams. As long as I work hard and believe I can do it, then nothing will stop me.

Little Victories.

I had someone tell me today,
“someone sure is proud of themselves”

There was a seemingly complicated sequence Jilissa asked us to do.
I was expecting to end up on my face. Instead, I actually was able to do it, and keep up.
Now, it wasn’t the most graceful thing, but my brain processed it.
I did a happy dance.

But see, that’s what I need to do.
Celebrate the little victories.
You can’t over look them. If you do, then you could end up discouraged before you give yourself enough time to reach the bigger dreams.

Because, see, the dreams aren’t just the bigger things.
The dreams are made of all the steps it takes to get to the big picture.
It’s the journey as much as it is the destination.