Journal entry. 8-5-2014, 6:30pm

Before I write more about the Instep coping, I wanted to write about other things that have happened.
Yesterday, as I left work, I almost got into a head on collision.
I was turning left. A car was coming and one of the guys was next to me pulling ahead of the car going right. I decided there was enough time to cross over the lane of the car and get into my lane, so I hit the gas. As I did, my tires spun in the gravel, inadvertently giving me just the right amount of time to miss the white truck I hadn’t seen, but not get hit by the car in the other lane.
I don’t know–logically–why things like that happen to me, but they do. It reminds me to be grateful for the days I have, even when faced with difficult things.
The studio closed. This is a difficult thing for us to handle. Worse would be having been involved in a 3+ car head-on collision on the way to say goodbye to something so dear to my heart.
This isn’t to say you should down play that sometimes handling things is a struggle–denial will get you nowhere–instead we can embrace it, and be grateful for the opportunity to get to love something so deeply. That these fleeting days we do have could be filled with something so lovely.
None of us will last forever. We may very well live and die without our names being known past our inner circle. But if you live it right, that is enough. I’ve had enough friends die to make me wonder how I’ll be remembered, and I always hoped to be remembered; to reach people and leave a positive mark, to not be just another forgotten name in the cemetery. I wanted to inspire strangers and have them be grateful I lived. I felt I could  never live enough, and feared dying with empty days that left me forgotten in a year.
That has changed now.
I’m not worried about more than those my arms can wrap around. Those whom I know and love. If I can matter to just one of those who matter so greatly to me, then I have nothing to fear. I do believe what we are all facing in losing the studio is a form of grief, but if we never knew hardship, we would never truly appreciate what we have. We would be living in shallow waters, instead of going all in.
If my friends had never died, I wouldn’t fully appreciate the ones I have in my life now.
My life can be full because I have known emptiness.
I take my camera, I document, I hug and tell the ones I love that I love them. I do my best to make the most of every moment because it could very well be our last memory to hold to.
And for that, I have no regrets.
I can look back and know I made the most of every opportunity. I can smile and take the inevitable steps forward to the days to come with confidence.
And when my last day comes, I know I can breathe my last breath in peace.
No regrets.

Jilissa told me some incredibly kind things on facebook. On the link to the pictures, she said, “Thank you for giving my studio eternal life with your photos! I will treasure them!”
And on the link to my blog post, “Emilee, you created a rainbow over this dark and sad time for so many of us. Thank you for your words…”
That’s where I cried. To know the person who inspires me most read my words and was encouraged by them…
I don’t know, I just feel like my life is complete. There’s nothing more I could ask for. I’m moved beyond explanation.
I hope to see everyone again.I hope this isn’t the final goodbye. More than anything, I hope they find the peace I know, and that I can see them forever where our toes will never grow weary of dancing.
That is my greatest hope; my prayer.

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Curtain Call.

Last night was our farewell to Instep Dance Studios.
Many of us swung by the studio to hug and sign a banner and take pictures and cry and Jilissa gave us different pictures and things from around the place… it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
I got to keep one of the pictures we looked at in the hallway every day. Jilissa even signed it with some of the sweetest words ever spoken. (even typing this makes me tear up.)

Then, my sweet Sydnie got the sign that inspired a blog post from my first day of dance at Instep that inadvertently inspired this blog.

I can’t even begin to explain what this place means to me. It was the home I craved. It was the place of safety through all the tragedy I experienced in the last almost 3 years. I helped me heal from that and previous tragedies. It taught me confidence and kindness and numerous things to make me a better person. (I mean, just read through the blog.) It taught me how to dream again, and to make goals and not give up until I achieve them. I learned that anything is possible and everyone is deserving of love and a chance. I’ve learned that family isn’t only blood, but a unit of people connected by a greater cause, encouraging each other and being there through the difficult things life throws at us, as well as celebrating successes. I’ve made life long friends and been inspired by so many.
There literally aren’t enough words to express everything my heart holds toward such a wonderful place.

Instep Dance Studios has made me a better person, something I will carry with me the rest of my life.
To the outside, it’s just a studio, it’s just dance, it’s no big deal.
But to those of us that were lucky enough to call this place home, we know better than that.We get to carry with us something that most people never get to experience in their lives.