Work for what you want.

Yesterday I seemed to be struck with a new dose of determination.
I don’t know where it came from,
I’m not sure what brought it on,
But I would be okay if this became a new normal.

My legs felt like jelly in a way I can’t remember feeling in a long time. I wish I could do this every day so I could get better that much quicker. But, I am grateful for what I do have. I know all too well that all of this can be on hold in the blink of an eye.
I did everything I could to not stop in the middle of a rep. I wanted to push myself and actually do the whole thing.
No room for quitting.
And wouldn’t you know it, I did. I was able to push through and do all of each of the things I set out for.
By the time we got to pointe, my legs were wobbly beyond reason. But I refused to let it stop me.
If I use the excuse I have now, when will I get better? Will I ever? How much longer will improvement take?

So I pushed through. I did the releves, I did the bourees, I did every single one of them. And if I did have to stop for this reason or that, I didn’t quit. I stopped long enough to put my shoe back on after it slipped and got right back to it. Even if it hurt.

I watched my technique in the mirror. I tried to make improvements as I went, tried to make sure I was doing the best I knew how and retrain myself in areas I faltered.
I know these moves. Now I need to clean them up.

Now, there were things that I’m behind on and just can’t do. So, I didn’t risk it. I was a little disappointed in myself at first, I wanted to try it at least… But, then, I realized that I was the only one of us new pointers still in my pointe shoes. Everyone else had taken theirs off or just didn’t put them on for whatever reason.
I just did what I was able to do. Everyone else was doing pique turns with a pique move I can’t remember the name to (where you pick up both legs–one at a time–as you turn) and I know I’m still trying to get my pique turns down. So, I just did pique turns. I worked on those. I could have gone to the barre and done the whole combination, but I didn’t want to cheat of of the piques I’ve wanted to work on for so long.

It took me a little longer than everyone else, but I didn’t want to stop halfway, ya know? I wanted to get better. Jilissa pointed out different things to work on as I went, which I was so grateful for. I really want to get these down. I want to get better. I want to be able to do this. And I know each thing I learn will in turn help the new things I have yet to master.

As I got across to the left side, McKenna said to me, “Remember when you were too afraid to go across the floor at all?” I was thinking she meant starting pointe, but she meant in the beginning.
I remember those breakdowns. I remember those stark moments of paralyzing fear. I remember her kindness in pulling me out of the corner to help me out and meeting me where I was in my knowledge.
I remember.

And now look at where I am.
Going across the floor confidently on pointe shoes, even if I knew I couldn’t do the move fully. Even if I knew I was behind.
Being behind is irrelevant, as long as you keep going.
You have to have the confidence in yourself to know that as long as you keep trying you’re gonna get there.
If I would have given up back then, I never would have made it here.
If I never would have began, I’d still be living in regret.

Instead, I’m moving in the direction of my dreams, getting a little closer each time I tie those ribbons.

My friend Sarah said something in the hallway before class. She told us how she was turning over a new leaf, that she was going to make a point to practice every day. Because she wanted to get better. She said she was a picture of a beautiful dancer with her leg up by her face that said something to the effect of, “Don’t wish you could be her, work to be like her.”
This should be the mantra for all of us.

Work for what you want
Don’t give up, you’ll get there.


Another injury

That’s right, another injury.
Apparently during the holiday showcase, I stepped funny (I’m assuming do to the blisters) and sprained my foot.
I didn’t see a doctor about it until this past Monday, hoping it would just pass and be fine.
I talked to a doctor at my parents church who said it seemed I shifted a bone out of place.
Yeah, imagine me, in the back row of church, in a dress, with her pulling on my foot to make sure it was back in place.
So I settled on that for a while, druggin’ up on ibuprofen to keep the swelling down.
Two weeks later and it was still hurting, so I decided to see if I needed xrays to make sure nothing more was wrong with it.
Nope. Just a freakin’ grade 2-grade 3 foot sprain. Have to take it easy for a few more weeks.
So, no pointe.
Hopefully just two more weeks. The doctor said to wait until it feels better (which it is already improving) and warned to not start back too soon or I could risk permanent damage.
Quite the chatty fellow. He proceeded to tell me–through laughter–how silly it is to not wait out an injury, because it would just cause  more time I’d have to be away later and possibly end my career.
He also made an interesting comment on how it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, in high school, experienced, professional–whatever. The risk is still the same all throughout.
“One you start football, no matter the level, you’re a football player. Once you start ballet, no matter if you’re just doing it recreationally or not, you’re a ballerina.”

I’m a ballerina.
I’m a ballerina.

This struck me.
I guess I always hesitated to label myself as such, seeing that I’ve only just completed my second year of (real) ballet and have so much in front of me to go. Maybe it’s because when you’re my age and say you’re a ballerina, people expect you to be hard core or–at least–tiny. But I still have much to learn and so much to improve on. I’m barely on pointe and even when I am, it seems a struggle to get to do anything without someone having to sit out.
I really don’t want to lose any of the muscle I’ve built up.
I want to be able to improve on it and work hard.
But for now, I have to wait.

No matter, I’ll do what I can do.
I’ll work on flexibility and abs. That doesn’t require my foot.
And what do you know,

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, at 25 years old, I have finally reached a goal of being able to do a split.
I went down into the right side split and was able to lift my hands and stay there. Almost have it on my left side, too, and center is getting better and better.
It was just a surprising little reminder that progress is happening.

Defeat is only defeat when you give up on trying.

I refuse to be defeated.