Post-season

I’m beginning to go crazy, not having dance classes. My body is angry about it and my muscles are protesting.
But I’m using the time to see some friends and get things done. So that’s nice.
(And still remaining active. It helps that I’m cat/dog sitting most of the time so I actually have floor space to work on stuff. Score!)

I had asked Ms. Lori before about the possibility of private lessons this summer. She was all for it, so I waited until after recital and her graduation to mention it again. Turn out, it’s looking like her schedule may not allow for it (which I actually felt might happen) so she’s gonna keep me updated.
My next choice was to ask my friend Abby (the Wicked Witch, Abby) if she would be up for it. I don’t even know if she offers them or would be willing, but I do know she is one of if not the most qualified teacher in our area (after Ms. Lori, I’d think) and the fact she’s my friend would help. Plus, she’s very understanding of the adult ballerina challenges, and we have gotten to know each other through this. She said she would be thrilled to work with me, so private lessons this summer are looking to be happening!

I really want to do these so I don’t drown in the V’s next year. I’m taking the intermediate classes this summer, which include levels II-IV, so I’ll be on the upper end of it. But I think it’ll be good for me to have the basics and really work on them; and more than likely learn things I was just never taught, but assumed to know. (Plus, Abby may be teaching some of them, so that’s extra exciting!)
I know Abby is a no-nonsense teacher. She will push you toward greatness, but will also take into consideration all the stupid issues my body is throwing at me. She knows the balance and won’t let me make excuses.
I trust her.

I’m hopeful and excited that this could be really good for me. I may have to get some Grishko’s until my Capezio’s come in (projected date of August?) since they take longer to make and I didn’t get the order in when I really wanted/needed to. No worries. The dance store here should be able to accommodate. (I hope, at least.)

I’m nervous for summer, but only because it’s new. I’m sure I will love it and miss it when it’s over.
One thing I know for sure is that I just want to be back in classes.

Since I’m missing it so much, enjoy some more pictures from Recital.

I know I’ve posted some of these already, but oh well.

Recital

I really want to write this post, but I’m finding myself a little cloudy in the mind. I first noticed it last night, and woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck, so I’m going to attempt to write this out but if it’s a little off, forgive me.

Last night was the second day of our annual recital. My first one at this new studio. I only danced on the Saturday, but I helped with the Friday show. Ms. Munro put me in charge of the Rehearsal Hall, where all the younger dancers were gathered. (I got a walkie talkie! And a clipboard!) She thought I had done recitals with them before. I told her I hadn’t, but if she told me what she wanted I could do it. It ended up being fairly simple, at least my part. The other volunteers (mostly from one of the local high schools) did a lot of the brunt work. (organizing little kids is a lot like herding cats.) Their effectiveness made my job easy.
Friday was the bigger day, although Saturday had a dance of 5-ish year olds with 30 kids.
30.
To keep in order down three flights of stairs and quiet backstage.
And they were only one of 5 groups in the room.
These girls deserve awards.

I missed seeing my favorite dance on Saturday, but had gotten to see it Friday and at rehearsal on Thursday.
I almost rolled my ankle before the show, but managed to not. My shanks are starting to die. Apparently there’s a way to duct tape them to help them last longer, but I need to look into this still.

We danced and it went really well. I was actually the one that was off on the lines out of everybody. Oops. Cloudy brain hit me hard. But Mom said no one could really tell, and she couldn’t tell at all, so that’s good at least.
The dance felt really good. I was sad that I couldn’t be with my girls in the dressing room before hand, but I was really proud of all of them. They did so great. Not just in our dance, either.
One of my favorite things of the whole recital was being side stage, watching some of my babies (and of course taking pictures.) some of them would see me, and we’d lock eyes, and you’d see their faces just beam. It makes you feel good to know you make someone else feel good.

I would say the recital was a success.
The lady who works for the building where we dance and guards the stage entrance door, Pat, was there working the recital shows. We saw her a few times during Oz, but I was glad to have her every day of recital. She is a naturally kind person, I love her. Last night she had a program, and she marked certain dances she wanted to sneak backstage to watch. How sweet, right? She was so encouraging and blown away. She told me afterwards, “That was so beautiful! Like a real ballet!” I got a picture with her, and gave her the extra flower crown we had from our dance. She is such a gem.

Elizabeth also got to sneak backstage and watch us, which was really great. She helps with quick changes and didn’t think she’d be able to see us, but she got to. It really means a lot to me. I know I’m not the only one she loves in the dance, but to have her be so supportive and encouraging and just so lovely is something I cherish. I mean, people are usually nice to me, but nothing like this. And she doesn’t have to be, ya know? She’s just naturally lovely.

I’m really grateful to have my Instep crew at this studio. Andie, Annika, Hanna and some of the younger girls have really rounded out this experience. I love seeing them all thrive and succeed and display these beautiful works of art through movement. I couldn’t be more proud of them, and I’m completely honored to call them my friends.

I miss my girls already. Not all of them are taking summer classes. One is moving away and this was her last performance with us. It definitely won’t be the same without her next year, but I am excited for her new opportunities.

My mom somehow misplaced their recital tickets before the show yesterday. I text Andie to see if she thought Ms. Nancy would be able to help me out or if my parents would have to buy new ones. She said Ms. Nancy would definitely help me out, so I found her when I got to the theatre and told her what was going down. She went with me to the ticket lady, and even gave me one for my sister for free. She also asked me if I was doing summer classes. I told her I was taking the evening ones since I work during the day. She told me that they wanted to compensate me for all my help this weekend, and so to go ahead and register online, but when it came to payment I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I wanted to cry, it was too good to be true. Summer classes are kind of steep and I really wasn’t sure how I would pay for it. But I wanted to be there so I figured I’d worry about it when the time came. Now I don’t have to worry about it at all. It’s especially nice since I’ve been getting kind of beat up on the work-front. This makes a big difference. Even though things at work aren’t in my favor, it’s nice to know other things are that kind of make up the difference. I’m extremely grateful.

My parents came to the show (sister stayed home) and really enjoyed the VIP Parking I had ended up with (Thanks, Mrs. Alex!) for the night. Parking is one of the number one concerns for these shows, so I was hopeful having the stress-free VIP option would help. It really did.
They stayed for the entire show, and even waited to meet me afterwards. When they did, they told me how much they really enjoyed it, and it was genuine. They told me they were so proud of me, and that I did really well. Mom even said, “You looked like a real ballerina up there!”
So even though I didn’t get the opportunity to prove myself in two classes at my old studio, I still proved myself. It felt really good.
I followed my dream for me, and now they see why. They see that I love it.

My friends from Instep, McKenna and Cambrielle, (and mom!) came to see the show, as well! I had no idea, and actually saw them downstairs when I had one shoe off, but I took off down the stairs to see them anyway. It really meant the world to have them there. They were two people that were absolutely pivotal in my story when I first began this road. McKenna would see the panic on my face and meet me in the corner to do the combination with me when I panicked. We also used to teach baby classes together the last year. It’s so great whenever the people you love support what you love. I can’t express how much it means.

This was a wonderful way to cap off the end of the season. I’m sad it’s over, but I’m so grateful it happened.
It’s amazing to see how far we have come in just a year.
I can’t wait to see where we go from here. Especially Annika. That girl has a bright future ahead.
If I get emotional seeing my dance babies grow and succeed, I’m screwed for when I have my own kids. I’m gonna be a mess.!

It was really cool to have some of the other dancer’s moms (and little sisters) come up to me after the show and tell me how great I did. And to know it wasn’t just them being nice, but that they meant it. That they see improvement in me from the beginning of the year. And to have some of my babies who didn’t dance Saturday come out just to see us and support us, it’s really good for the soul.

This is what I’m alive for. This makes all the trouble and stress of life worth pushing through. Loving people and being loved by people.

My heart is full.

My cousin, Lauren, and I

Cambielle, me, and McKenna

Mom and Dad

Mrs. Pat 🙂

Shrub

Hanna B 🙂

Cousin and I againnnn 😀

Elizabeth and I 😀
Sweet Jasmine

Emerson! 

Feetsies

Catherine, my tiny dancer

watching the V’s 
Or maybe advanced? I don’t remember which class they are

Lauren

Shruuuub

Lucy!

Alyssa with some of the 30 of the babies

I taught that one in the back at Instep. She doesn’t remember… haha

Epiphany about previous post.

While sorting through pictures and talking to one of my dance friends, Annika, I think I have come to at least a partial conclusion as to why I seem to have this mindset about my dancing ability.

When I danced as a kid, my parents always came.
They’d sit through the recital, they’d bring flowers, they’d take pictures.
I felt like I was a wonderful dancers, until my friends would tell me where I messed up or I watched the recital video for myself and saw they were right.

Now I’m an adult, and I do recitals, and this year I’ve found myself in a studio that also does two major productions.
And at first, when I was at my old studio, I did recital, and holiday showcase in the winter, and I would hope my parents would come. It was important to me. I wanted them to be there and tell me how great I was and how proud they were of me. And they came. And they complained about how rough parking was and how it made them get there late and get bad seats. And my sister gave me flowers which I really appreciated but felt bad about. And then mom made a comment after recital, “How long does this dance thing last?” And I realized she didn’t meant this season, but how long was I going to dance. And I told her until my feet fall off.
So the next year, I didn’t press them to come. I made it an option and let them decide if they wanted to come. There was one of the holiday showcases where mom told me she wasn’t going to come. And that dad probably wouldn’t want to. So I asked him, and he scoffed at me for thinking he wouldn’t want to come and that if I was dancing, he would be there. So mom went with him. And then for recital, Dad couldn’t come because he was working on a little house he’s building in the backyard for me, so I understood why he couldn’t be there. And mom had to work. And my sister wasn’t there. I don’t think they came, at least. If they did, I don’t remember. And it was my last recital with that studio, and a dance I was really proud of.
I had to figure out in myself why I dance. I had to dance for me. To learn that this isn’t about anyone else and their approval, but because I love it.
And, boy do I love it.

This year was a little easier since two of the shows were productions. My sister was excited to see The Nutcracker–my first dance ever en pointe–and The Wizard of Oz proved to be interesting. I told Dad if he had to pick one to go to out of Oz and recital to pick recital because I’m really proud of this dance. Not that I wasn’t proud of Oz, but recital is en pointe, and that’s more of a challenge for me.
Mom and my sister came to Oz, they all went to Nutcracker, and Mom and Dad are coming to recital and maybe my sister.

I understand that they may not really care about ballet. Definitely not as much as I do. I understand that recital’s can be really drawn out, especially if you only know one person in one 3 minute dance. (Mom made a comment once about “maybe if you were in more than one” which really bummed me out when a girl dropped from the advanced class and instead of putting me in they just reblocked it. I just wasn’t good enough.)
I understand that I am an adult. That this is something that is solely on me–they don’t have to drive me anywhere, they don’t pay for anything with it, they have nothing invested.

But I guess something in me subconsciously stuck with that mindset.
I’m not good enough to be in the extra dance.
Maybe next year.
Studio closes, there is no next year to prove to myself that I am.
New studio.
I can’t do anything in the V’s en pointe. I’m not good enough.
Maybe if I were better then my parents would want to come see me.

And I didn’t realize all of this until I was talking to Annika. And I told her my parents were coming. And my brain thought about how her mom goes to see every single one of her shows, even if it’s the same dances. Because she loves to watch her dance. And I thought of Ms. Jane and how she never gets tired of watching Elizabeth dance. But I’m not good enough for my Mom to want to watch me dance. And last night she said if I would have danced the V’s, which performed last night, as well as the IV’s, which is tonight, she would have only came to one, even though they’re different dances. And my mind connected that to I’m just not good enough.

And it clicked.

Now, I don’t blame my parents for this. I truly understand. Especially during such busy times of year.
And I’ve had friends come out and support me, and I know I’m well loved.
And I guess I never realized how settled this was in my heart.

What will I do with this information?
I don’t know.

I guess it’s kind of like when a musician or an actress is starting out, and not everyone takes them seriously. And then when they stick with it and bust out on the scene and all of a sudden they’re a big name, that’s when everyone wants to claim that they know them.
When I am “good enough” for them, will I feel less indifferent to their attendance?
What matters most to me are the people who are here for me, now, during the process.
Those are the people who are the true gems.
The ones who believe in me before my breakthrough.

I’m hopeful to get to take more classes and improve. I’m hopeful to get to take those private lessons with Ms. Lori or maybe Mrs. Abby. I’m hopeful.

My Mom always listens to my stories after rehearsals or class. That’s something.

Personal.

“Emilee’s a good dancer I dont know why she doesn’t think so cause she is”

My friend sent me this quote from her sister last night.
Why is it that my first response–after how adorable her sister is–was “Who said I though that?” But then I realized that I probably didn’t even realize I said it. It may not have been so many words, but more so my actions and body language. I responded with, “Am I really? Cause I don’t really feel like much of one.” Which was how I really felt, when I am completely honest with myself.

To which she tells me
“I mean I don’t tell ya just to make ya feel good.”

And that’s the thing. This friend won’t tell me something just to make me feel good.
She’s honest. Even if it isn’t pleasant.
And that’s one of my favorite things about her.

So if she sees it, and her sister sees it, why do I have such a hard time seeing it?

I struggle. Especially en pointe. I was too afraid to do the 5s class en pointe because I knew I was behind. There were some things that were just over my head and I didn’t want to risk it. My extensions aren’t as high as I would like and I’m riddled with health issues that keep increasing in number and severity as time goes on. I’m inexperienced and falling behind those in my 4s class. (seriously? How are these girls doing doubles en pointe? I can’t even do two on flat! and I struggle with one en pointe! What gives!) I’m not super talented like my other friend who literally makes people cry with her expression as well as her incredible technique.

I’m awkward and overweight and scared of everything.

Yet these people say that I’m good.

And when I hear that, my initial response is, “Yeah, well they just think that because I know how to fake it really well. It’s not that I’m actually good. I’m just good at making my face seem like everything is okay.”

I really want to improve.
I want to learn more.
I want to practice.
I want to take privates and get more confident.
I feel like if I were more confident and more stable in my footing then maybe I would believe them.
If my thighs were a little more trim and my arms were tone again then maybe I’d actually look the part.

But why am I this shallow?
When I’m the first to shut it down in someone else if I hear the same thing? Because I can see something they don’t see in themselves. Why don’t I believe it when someone does the same for me?

I’ll let you know as I figure it out…

Today is the first recital day. I dance tomorrow, but I’m helping with the kids today.
I’m excited and sad that this year is officially over.
I’m a little nervous for what next year will actually hold, and uncertain of these summer classes.

But being around everyone yesterday, dancing this beautiful piece, I know that dance isn’t something I want to give up.
That concrete stage actually felt the best on my feet than anything, and I don’t know how that makes sense.

I’m just praying my shoes don’t die tomorrow. Because my new ones won’t be in until August.

I have a lot left to learn; about ballet and about myself and about this world I live in.
I really want to believe them when they tell me these things.
Ironically, this friend’s sister is the one I saw dancing that first made me believe that I could do this.
I saw her and thought, “If she can do that, maybe I can too.”

Please be patient with me. I’ve got a lot of demons I’m fighting.
I’m learning.

Post-show blues

I’m finding myself having a hard time dealing with the fact that Oz is over.
Maybe it’s a bit more extreme since the studio is also finished with classes until the summer session begins (which isn’t until June.) and I don’t yet have the means to really practice at home.

I knew I’d miss the show, but I didn’t really expect to miss dancing this much.
Usually when I have some sort of a break between classes, I’m sad, but I take it. Usually I’ll come back and be better; like my body needed the time off to come back stronger.
But this one seems to be a bit more grueling than is typical.

Maybe the fact that Oz was so wonderful makes it more difficult as well.
I know this wasn’t the case for everyone, but for me the entire experience was wonderful. I finally found myself in a place where I felt like I mattered and wasn’t wasting my time. Where I was doing something I actually enjoy for myself and not because everyone tells me it’s something I have to do.
I was committing myself to be part of something bigger than me, and given the liberty to do so.

Now I’m facing change and new.
Summer classes will be different than anything I’m used to. Classes I can take will only be twice a week. It will be a mixed group of people and whether I will be on the advanced or beginning part of that spectrum is up in the air. It will only be for a month, when I will be gone for two weeks, and not sure what classes (if any) happen after that. Next year I will go into a different level with different teachers and different people bringing different experiences. Whether I still take the 4’s class is also up in the air and will probably depend on a few different factors.
I know all these things will work themselves out and I will be fine, but the before always makes me nervous when new things are ahead. I’m not freaking out, though, so please save your opinions for yourself.
I do realize this could be a year of wonderful up ahead. I realize it could be painful. I realize it could be fulfilling or disappointing or both. There are so many factors and we will take them as they come.

One thing I have learned having to go to the chiropractor is what trust truly means.
When your back is jacked up and you have to rely on these people you don’t know to take care of you, letting yourself not freak out at the fact you’re half naked on the masseuses table with someone whose real name you don’t know is touching your bare back, or someone else is asking you to lift your shirt so they can place the treatment spots on your lower back, or you’re lying flat on your back and you absolutely cannot let yourself tense up as the chiropractor pops your neck in ways that resemble murders you’ve seen in movies–you have to trust.
And when you trust, it isn’t always broken.
Sometimes it’s wonderful, and you have better range of motion, and your neck feels like a weight has been lifted, and your back begins to improve.
Sometimes good things actually happen to you and you have someone believe you when you tell them that something feels like it’s off and it turns out it was neurological and this could lead to answers for other things you’ve been searching for for years.
Maybe not.
But you know that since these people haven’t abused your trust thus far that they can be trusted in the future.

So it goes with ballet.
Trust that you’ll be exactly where you need to be, just like you have been all alone.
Leave yourself open to meet more wonderful people like you have in the last year.
Keep your mind open to new opportunities that could arise.
Choose to see the best even if disappointment lies ahead because–honestly–how can you top an experience like the one you’re leaving?

Life will work out exactly as it’s supposed to.
Don’t worry.

How you got there.

I was re-reading through some of the blog posts of when Oz first began rehearsing today. I really wanted to see the difference from when it began to when it ended. Now that it’s just a memory, there are certain set things I’ll subconsciously choose to remember over others, and this show has had no shortage of happy memories.
But what made them so happy? What made them strike so deeply to stay with me the way they did? I have memories of it, but I really wanted to read my thoughts on it and not just rely on what I remember. Future events have a way of skewing how we remember beginnings because now we have the advantage. We have the full picture. Nothing is uncertain. The story is written.

(This is one of the reasons I love blogging and journaling so much. Memories are wonderful, but there’s something about the full story–the beginning, the process, the finish–that helps you get more out of it; more out of life.)

I remembered that there were hard days. I remember going home in tears a couple times. I remembered struggling and hoping I would improve. But I had forgotten how far I’ve really come the past few months.

Now I know what people think of me. Now I know that I’m loved and accepted here. Now I know that I am capable of doing these roles that were a bit of a reach for me–not just do them, but do them well.
Now that it’s done, I know it’s possible.
But what about then?
The days when the future was uncertain. When I had to go forward in blind confidence, hoping that it would be enough. When I didn’t know if I was cast for this role out of an obligation to my level, or because they thought I was capable.

Everything that happened to me the last few days of Oz are wonderful, but what makes them sweeter is remembering the beginning. The fears I overcame. The victories that resulted. The kindness I was shown. The work ethic that I learned. I can look back and see the path these friendships took as they were being formed, which can be forgotten now that the friendship is set. Does that make sense?

Celebrate where you are, but never forget how you got there.

Your happiness is yours.

“Are you still on that high?”
My teacher asked me when she saw me today.
I simply said, “Mostly!” to avoid bringing up the thing that had wavered the high slightly.
I knew she knew. I don’t know if she knew I knew.
Regardless, everyone within earshot had no business knowing, so I played it off.

For some reason, I’m a naturally fearful person. I don’t think that I live in fear, per say, but I do tend to think worst-case-scenario and when something happens in which I’m wrongly accused, it tends to shake me up and make me nervous.

Usually I get really anxious or have panic attacks, but this time is different.
This time I’m able to understand where the issue is, where I play into it, and that it truly isn’t my fault. If the others involved don’t see that, this doesn’t mean it’s because of anything I’ve done wrong.
“I am responsible for my actions, not people’s reactions.”

I’ve learned to face what you’re afraid of. To play Taylor Swift and Uptown Funk as much as you need to calm yourself down and distract yourself.
I learned that there’s no reason to be afraid of it if you’ve done nothing wrong, but even so it doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen to you. It also doesn’t mean that when bad things happen to you they’re automatically your fault.
There’s only so much you can do.
Do what you can, and let it ride out.

But don’t let it steal the good things from you.
These experiences, these great memories, these beautiful things are yours, even if it makes someone else mad. It doesn’t negate that you are deserving of good things.
Don’t shield your light just because someone gets mad that it’s in their eyes.
(ooo, that’s good… where did that come from? I dunno. But I’m takin’ it.)

Moral of the story, I have such incredible people in my life, and I have found myself amongst a wonderful dance family. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been happier or felt more loved.
Typically when something good happens to me, somehow by the next day I look back on it and feel a deep remorse. I don’t know why.
But this time, I think back to Saturday, and all I have is joy inside.
I see this certificate, the drawing from my munchkins, the pictures…I read the comments and texts from friends, and my heart explodes all over again.

I feel confident that if I were to die tomorrow, I will not have left any moment uncaptured. I’ve made the most of these days, and I hope to have more to fill like these have been.
These are my “good ol’ days” and they are good indeed.

Today was our last Monday class.
I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year already…
We took some pictures 🙂

I love these girls so much!
Rebecca got cut out of the one… 😦 But they’re still great!

Memories

Just a few things I want to remember.

  • Seeing Ms. Munro watching and smiling from the wings as we danced Crows.
  • Elizabeth joking about getting caught on stage at the start of Act 2 and hiding behind Abby’s throne and popping out when we turned Abby around or being Abby’s arms from behind, etc.
  • Actually almost getting caught on stage at second act.
  • Jessica laughing at me when they started the wrong music (our music) and I instantly snapped into place in Winkie mode.
  • The uncontrolable laughter before the curtain rose because of Act 2’s pre-shenanigans.
  • Seeing Abby’s intense face while she was in character
  • As well as hearing the kids gasping from the front row.
  • Mariela coming to see us.
  • The Crows’ genuine love and support for me
  • And how they cheered and made a fuss every time I entered the room.
  • My munchkins never wanting to leave my side.
  • Butter. (the dog. Our toto)
  • Andie in a bonnet
  • Everyone calling me Mom. I love that so much. I love these girls.
  • Mrs. Jane beaming as she watched Elizabeth side-stage. “I want to be Elizabeth when I grow up.” “Me too.”
  • Seeing Elizabeth watch the other dancers side stage in her beautiful costume THAT SHE MADE WHAT THE HECK
  • Sweeeet Caroliiiiine BUH DUH DUUUUH
  • and the rest of the songs that caught on in the dressing rooms
  • having the dressing rooms next to each other and being able to spend time with everyone
  • Anytime someone said, “It’s too hot” a choir of “hot damn” being the reply.
  • The epic death of the Wicked Witch that was impromptu.
  • All of us coughing from the fog machine
  • Getting to give flowers to Abby at the end of the Beeville show (and to Elizabeth at the end of the other shows.)
  • The other Winkie’s specifically letting me give them to these two because they knew we were friends. Such kind girls.
  • Conversations with Lillian.
  • Dairy Queen.
  • Abby’s facebook messages

Yesterday was a fairy tale.

Wizard of Oz–Beeville

Occasionally, our company will take our show on the road for an extra performance in a town called Beeville; about an hour away. It doesn’t happen every year, but this year we were given the opportunity.

I found out quickly that this is met with many complaints; some logical, some unnecessary.
See, the stage is smaller. Like. Baby sized, but the seating is pretty decent. The backstage is tiny and complicated, but operable. The lights are limited. We had to adjust a bunch of things to make it work, but we definitely made it work.

And honestly, what a cool opportunity.
I had heard that the audiences here were always wonderful, and this one didn’t disappoint.
There were times when the wicked witch would come out, and you could hear gasps from the front row. It was amazing to be there and realize that you were becoming part of someone’s memory. That this isn’t just about you, but about portraying something to these people; making them feel something.
We are telling a story, inspiring dreams.
You just can’t feel that from a big auditorium.

One of the backstage helpers commented on how beautifully different this made the show. That you feel the connection with them.
They also don’t get the opportunity to have a real ballet to come all that often. There’s something about taking the show on the road that makes you feel alive and remember why you love doing what you do.

So. Beeville show. How do you even begin to explain Beeville show?
(and now I’m quoting Mean Girls in my head. anyway. :D)
I’m going to attempt my best.

It began with arriving and getting to spend time with dear friends as we watched other friends run their scenes on the stage. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with these people so dear to me.
I took a look around me and realized how amazing it is to have be here, now, with these people.

When I went back into the gym, Some of my favorite munchkins came up to me with this

It’s a drawing that Judy did of four of my munchkin babies. (Dude. Seriously. this girl has mad drawing skills.) And she had them all sign it for me 🙂 It meant so much more to me than I could ever express. I cherish these girls so much.
We did our first run through out of order, trying to work with the ones that needed the most time first. We did the Winkie Guards and the finale and got it all set. I took the typical inventory of Crows to make sure I wouldn’t have to dance it, when I realized one was missing. I asked Mrs. Alex, and she said she hadn’t seen her either. I asked the rest of the Crows and they said she had text one of the dancers saying she was either going to be late or not make the rehearsal.
We were about to do the show from beginning to end to get it all worked out before the performance at 7, so I went to ask Mrs. Julie what I should do. 
I didn’t even get to finish my sentence when she said, “You’re a crow. Any other questions?”
I can’t properly describe how elated I felt inside, but also how difficult it was to keep myself composed until I was back into the gym. 
I get to be a crow? Really? And no one is sick or hurt or anything? I get to do this, I really get to do this? 
I tried to not get my hopes up in case everything changed. It’s possible she could show up and then everything will change. But one thing is certain.
I at least get one more time.
On a stage.
With these girls.
In this dance I love so much. 
I walked back to the gym with the other girl that went with me to ask and when we got back to the locker rooms we were using as dressing rooms, all the older girls in there were asking what happened. When we told them what Mrs. Julie said, they burst out in applause and cheers. They were so happy for me! Some of these girls I only knew in passing, and they were so happy for me. I can’t even express what I felt. How was this happening to me? How was such a good thing happening to me? 
So I went back in the auditorium with my camera to watch before we went on. I didn’t want to be late since it had been a while since I danced Crows. I wanted to be ready. Adrienne helped me go over which direction this part was since I had done both and wanted to make sure I got it right. 
We ran it, and it was the first time I did the entire thing correctly! I think I got it right a couple times at the beginning when we were still running at the studio, but never this side of the role. I always switched something. I got off stage elated, then went back into the chairs where my friends were and where I had left my camera with them. 
Abby managed to get some great pictures of us, even with the rough lighting. Here’s a favorite
I think there was a better one. But it’s hard to see on the little clip. Anyway. It’s what I call “the fish.” hahaha.
I got to talking with Abaranne (sp?) and by this time, the knowledge of me dancing Crows had gotten out. I talked to her about how I’m so used to being overlooked and how everywhere else if you were a good understudy you always stayed as an understudy. I was never the cool kid or the popular kid or the kid everyone thought of first for things, unless they needed something. I was always just the nice kid. She told me how here, they see your dedication and remember it. That hard workers don’t go unnoticed. She and many, many others had told me how they loved watching me do Crows. That I brought so much to the part and did it really well. I told Alyssa how it was such an honor to just be considered among them, let alone have multiple people–and not all of them do I know well–telling me that I look good dancing this part and that I keep up with the rest of the girls who have been dancing years more than me. To hear from these very girls that they liked having me in the dance and seeing how proud they were of me. I would walk into the room to ask a question or something, and they would erupt into, “Hey Croooow! Woohoo! Look at that Crow! Get it girl!” and a million other things. I felt like a queen. Like I mattered. Like I had value. I can’t get over this!
When we were doing Winkie Guards, I caught wind that the girl I was filling in for showed up. I tried not to worry about it, but I really wanted to dance this role. I actually didn’t hear of anyone who didn’t want me to. So after we finished, there was 30 minutes until a meet and greet with some VIP’s and I wanted to know which costume to put on. I asked Mrs Munro first because Julie looked a bit worn and she said, “I think whoever blocked it on this stage is who should dance it. Tell Julie I said that!” So Andie and I went to ask since this person affected 3 different roles. The other two were shared, but it was impossible for the girl who shared them to do both since they were in the same scene. They taught the character role to Andie so if worse came to worse we would have it worked out.
(Oh my gosh I’m so sore. Okay, anyway.)
Mrs. Julie first said the girl would dance the original roles, then Ms. Munro piped up and mentioned how complicated that would be since she wasn’t there to rework it on such a small stage. Julie told us to tell the girl that she would do Miliner, and Melanie would do Emerald and I would do Crow, but Andie spoke up and said it would probably be better coming from her, so she told us to get her and Melanie and bring them back to the stage. So we all were on the stage and Mrs. Julie told us and I tried to just keep my mouth shut and be respectful because I’m sure this would be painful for the girl now not getting to dance. I didn’t feel bad to be taking the role that was hers, because it’s not my fault. I’m just doing what I was cast to do and that’s to fill in when needed. She wasn’t there. I felt bad for her, but I didn’t feel guilty. 
I waited a little as she walked out ahead of us, as I’m sure she was upset and everyone knew I would love to jump into Crows given the chance. so I walked back to the dressing room and was so grateful that I left my nude colored tights in my dance bag since I had considered leaving them since chances were slim I would need them. And I was so glad my character shoe purchase was warranted. 
AND I WAS SO EXCITED TO BE A CROW.
I ran into Mrs. Jane, the costumer, and told her, “Mrs. Jane! I get to be a Crow! The costume has a purpose!” and she hugged me so tight and was so excited for me. Genuinely excited. I felt so good.
I went to get my costume and shoes and tights and everything on for the meet and greet when my friend Lillian came in and told me the girl had left so it was going to be how we had rehearsed it. (This means Andie would need my shoes.) I got dressed and went to ask the girls if I was missing anything and they all began hoopin’ and hollerin’ and making a fuss over me and it made me feel so good. Even the non-Crows. I felt so good. They were all so proud of and excited for me. 
It’s really nice to do something and succeed for yourself, but to have such a support system like this is unlike anything I’ve ever known. It really means more when you have people who love you to share it with.
We went out to the meet and greet and I’m in my Crows costume and so excited. Cloud 9. So excited that my introvertedness didn’t even phase me. When time was up, we went back into the gym and dressing rooms. I got to tell my Winkie Guards that I was getting to dance Crows and they were so excited for me as well. Especially the Mom’s. They knew what this really meant to me. 
We took some fun pictures before the show started with a bunch of different ones I love. 

Okay, so some of these were after this next part. But whatever, I got excited okay?
Mrs. Julie, Mrs. Alex, and Ms. Munro gathered all the cast together in the gym. (Well, all the cast in the gym.) Mrs. Julie said that there were a few dancers that went above and beyond in different areas that they wanted to recognize. 
First up, Alexis and Whitney
These munchkins worked so hard and really stood out. They lead their lines and danced with such passion, it was inspiring. I was so proud of my babies.
Next up was Hannah Hooper

Hannah is a complete rockstar. Not only is it a joy to watch her dance, but she is completely dedicated. She was at every rehearsal and filled in when a Quadling was missing and even got to dance the Quadlings at Beeville. I was so proud of her and so happy that she was able to dance it on stage at least once. She’s the youngest of the Quadlings, being two entire levels below most of them, but she really held her own. You wouldn’t know that she wasn’t right up there with the others. And you never see her without a smile. What a joy 🙂 I was so proud.
Next, they said my name.
Since I had my camera, I took this. Everyone laughed 🙂

This was my view. 🙂 
The entire gym literally erupted in applause and cheers when she said my name. They weren’t even smiling because I was taking a picture, just because they were so happy for me. I got the “Impact Award” and it says, “Given to a dancer who is influential in creating a positive work environment and being an inspiration to others.” It took everything in me not to cry. I have never felt so loved in my entire life. I’ve always wanted to feel that way, and hoped that maybe one day I would, but I never expected this and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better group. These people support me and love me and value me. They see me and like what they see. They don’t just see what I can do for them or how they can use me, but rather they see potential in me. They help me cultivate it and maximize it. I have no words to express how truly grateful I am to this beautiful group of people. I love them with every fiber of my being and they each hold such a special place in my heart. I’m nothing without them.

Next they called out sweet Monkey, Olivia

We were the two that weren’t allowed to answer questions during corrections. She got the most improved award and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She really dedicated herself to this role and did her best every rehearsal.

 Next they called out two of the munchkin boys. this one for the smile award for being such a joy, and the other for being such a huge help in keeping the boys in line. He was sick and couldn’t be there, which was sad. But I was so glad to see all these kids get recognized for working so hard.

Some of the Mom’s and some of my friends got great pictures while I was up there, but my phone hasn’t backed up yet so I can’t access them. I’ll include them on a master picture post whenever they do.
What an honor. How blessed am I to be in such a wonderful place with such beautiful people who love and support me. And getting to do what I love so much, and getting to be myself as I pursue this crazy dream of mine. And meeting such marvelous people along the way to do life with. gaaaaaah, I’m so happy!!
Well while I was on cloud nine and taking the silly pictures with the girls, I turn to my left and see a sight that actually brought me to tears.

Mariela came! 
I couldn’t help it, I cried. I’ve missed her so much and it was so good to see her alive and well. And what a surprise! I was really wishing she was there, especially with all the wonderful things happening. It didn’t feel right without her. Then she was there and I was just so happy to see her and she brought roses for all the poppies and emeralds and me. My heart was so full. The munchkins were fanning my face to keep me from crying, it was cute. My heart was so happy. I can’t express how good it was to see her. 
I got to tell Elizabeth that Mari was there and about the award. She was so excited to know Mari was there and doing well and was so proud of me for everything I had accomplished. It really meant a lot. 

These two really have a special place in my heart. One I can’t find the words to describe. They have accepted me and been so very supportive of me in a way most can’t be. They didn’t see me as my level, but as an adult who was passionate about the same thing they are. They have celebrated every victory and been encouraging every step of the way. Having them in these memories is one of my favorite things, on and off the stage. I’m seriously brought to tears by their kindness simply in being who they are. 
It was so cool to have Elizabeth so genuinely excited when I told her that I got to dance Crows, and how excited she was after watching me. And to have her so thrilled for and proud of me when I told her about the awards. 
It was beyond okay hold on crying and I can’t find words  anything I could have ever hoped to have Abby so supportive every step of the way in this dance. From the first rehearsal, and even before, she made me love being a Winkie Guard and even more getting to dance along side her. She made me feel so valued in ways I could never thank her enough. She encouraged me and lifted me up and told me wonderful things she would hear being said about me which hands down has to be one of the greatest feelings in the world. Even just tonight she messaged me before going to bed and asking me about the awards and how she wished they could have been there for it and how I was so deserving and all these things that mean so much more to me than I could ever express. Who am I, ya know? I’m just this simple person who no one seems to notice and these people see me. She said that she and Elizabeth were beaming the whole way home that I got to be a Crow. Like, seriously, how nice is that! Even after the show, they were still so supportive. They care so much about me and I can’t express how much that means.
I started to feel pretty light headed toward the end of the show, but I just tried to breathe deeply and keep my head level. My monkey was overheating half way through so I tried to help her keep calm. She didn’t want to quit, though. Not even the bows which she could have sat out of if she wasn’t feeling up to it. I was so proud of her for sticking it out. Not to mention how well she did! That’s my girl right there.
The whole way home with Lillian we just talked and sometimes just made sounds when I couldn’t find words about how exciting this day was. How wonderful is it that we even have this opportunity? We get to be a part of a ballet company even as adult beginners and with such wonderful people we literally couldn’t ask for better. I was extremely happy that she was able to be a part of the show, especially since we didn’t think it would be possible after she broke her foot. We didn’t think it would heal in time. But she was there and it wouldn’t have been the same without her. It was the icing on the top to get to spend the drive back gushing with her over this wonderful thing called ballet. I couldn’t have asked for better. Lillian is a gem, and when my phone decides to download the pictures, there will be the fabulous one of us as well 🙂
Mrs. Julie is a rockstar and a true treasure. She is a genius in putting this show together and how she handled everyone and everything. A true inspiration. I’m honored to have been able to be a part of this show and under her direction, let alone to now call her my friend. She is a quality person; a diamond. 
I’m still on cloud nine and it’s almost 2am.
I should sleep.
The real world begins again when the sun rises.
Until then, I’ll revel in my one last dreamy night of perfection, squeezing out every ounce I can get of this perfect day.