Feast of Sharing

Now that I’ve officially embarked on eating my weight in junk food–which is totally logical since we don’t have class for a few weeks–I figured I’d take a second to give y’all an update.

Today we had a promotional event called Feast of Sharing. It’s an annual event here locally put on by H.E.B., a grocery store chain pretty big in Texas, every Christmas Eve to provide a holiday dinner to anyone in the community. They make it a huge event with arts and crafts, kids zone, and performances by locals. It’s not just in our area; HEB hosts this event all over the state. Members of the company go and do a few parts of Nutcracker. I’ve never gone before, but went this year. It was a lot of fun! We actually had a good amount of dancers able to make it, so the whole thing worked out pretty slick!

(once again, they aren’t rotating…)
Jennifer and I did the flowers part of finale, and we had the perfect amount of each bit that was represented, and it used the perfect amount of finale music. 
While we were waiting, I asked Annika to show me a few things I didn’t know but am fairly certain will come up in auditions. I obviously don’t have it perfectly, but I have the idea of it, so I can work on it more so that I don’t freeze up if and when it comes up. I want to practice as much as I can so that way I can do the best audition I’ve done, instead of just kind of putsing through it. I want to actually leave an audition and feel good about it. 
There was a day I was in the small studio with Andie on a Tuesday working on doubles. She watched and explained what I needed to work on to help me have proper alignment to get my turns more solid so I can move on to multiples more than just accidentally. There was one turn I did that was supposed to be a double, but it was so bombed I laughed before I even finished bombing it. 
But, then I realized that what was laughable to me now would have been a huge accomplishment to me not too long ago. And that’s what I need to remember; progress is happening. If I keep working hard, progress will keep happening. I can’t let myself get discouraged. I need to remind myself that it takes time, and that I need to keep working hard to see anything happen. 
Mom asked me how long I’m going to keep dancing. Innocent enough question, I guess. And honestly, if she’s not in the ballet world, I really can’t expect her to understand what kind of question that is. That this isn’t just some whim, but a lifestyle. This is part of who I am. It’s in the core of who I am. 
I love ballet. I love dance. I love movement. I love expression. I love doing something to make someone feel something. And seeing the faces of the people today as we danced reminded me of why I really love this; of what inside me begged me to dance. To face my fears and the doubts of those around me. 
So, that’s all. Just some thoughts.

The final bow of Nutcracker 2015

Sunday marked our final show of The Nutcracker for our 2015 season.

Cue tears.

For some reason, after Saturday’s show, I felt so good about going into Sunday. I didn’t know why, but my confidence was soaring. I guess maybe I finally felt confident in what I was doing–possibly because I had done it before already?–or maybe it was because it was the last show. I don’t know.

At warm up, the day started off well when I saw my favorite teacher, Ms. Lori. She moved to Austin and teaches up there, but came down to see us on Saturday and Sunday. She is so freaking wonderful; the type of person you can hope to be. She really teaches in a way where you learn something every class, and meets you where you are but doesn’t leave you there. You’re better after being with her.

Warm-up also started off really well, particularly due to the freaking awesome Rat Queen/Maid presents a la Andie.

We all wore them during warm-up, and Jessica and I proceeded to zoom around like we were superman.
It was so much fun, and really helped me to keep up my moral, and not give up from feeling sick.
(Why is that so common on show days?)
Julie did our warm-up, which included a really good stretch. Mariela and the fellow Insteppers and I know it as the Joffrey Stretch, but they call it something else. As we did it, (bring the leg up to passe, grab the heel and extend out, bring it out to second and get a good stretch) a few girls at the barre next to me all freaked out at the same time over how high my leg was. It was really funny. Their eyes got really big and they said things like, “Dang, Emilee!” I didn’t really realize how high it was until they commented. It felt so good, and really shocked me, because it was really high.
Later, we did grand battements in center, and again my leg decided that was the day to go super high. I was able to maintain control and turn out while doing this as well. It felt really good.
Turns sucked, but I laughed about it. Jetes were really fun since we were wearing capes; it made us look like we were flying.
I got ready for the show and came downstairs with my camera, as usual. Jessica and I had our capes on to get pictures in costume (see above.) Ms. Munro saw us and asked me, “Are you wearing that on stage?”
I looked at her, because she didn’t say it like, “You’re not wearing that on stage, are you?” But rather like someone had a really good suggestion and we just hadn’t told her yet or something. I looked at her and asked, “I mean, can I?” She commented on how cute it was and said she thought it would be great and, “Let’s ask Alex!” Mrs. Alex came over and Ms. Munro asked her, to which she said, “I think it’s cute, and it goes with the costume. I don’t see why not!” 
I GOT TO WEAR THE CAPE.
Now I felt really empowered. Like a security blanket of sorts. No matter what happened on stage, I was wearing a cape and therefore immune to disaster. 
Jessica helped me pin it so it wouldn’t fall off in partnering, just in case, but we had to pin it over the Rat head. This made things a bit tight, but it worked. The partnering bit went alright, I probably could have been a bit more solid, but Sean is a rockstar and makes me look so good. 
My shoe came off in the jetes again, but my ribbons were tied well (thanks Elizabeth) so the shoe just came off the heel and stayed on enough to get through. 

(Lillian got these gems of the incident.)
(Thanks Lillian 🙂 )
I didn’t forget anything, and was even able to grab the cannon ball, which I heard Ms. Munro praise from the wings. This made me feel really good and like I actually succeeded in the role, rather than just merely getting by. 
When we finished, Ms. Munro commented on how good the cape looked on stage. I said, “it made me feel like I could fly in my jetes!” To which she responded, “You did fly!” 
My eyes went something like this O.O
My mind is blown. I never expected her to say that. ahh!!
After the scene ended, we stayed in costume to get pictures with my sweet mouse, Addison, and my rat family

Colin had to go to the bathroom, so he missed the family portrait.
It’s funny how you can tell which rat is which, even with heads on.
Addison was the mouse we picked up and carried. She is an absolute sweetheart!
It was really difficult coming off stage and not being able to take the head off and breathe. Remember, the cape was safety pinned over the head, so I had to keep myself from panicking at the fact I couldn’t get air. Greyson saved me, though, after a few minutes. All was well.
(definitely worth it.)
The rest of the show went smoothly, except it seemed to be the day everyone slipped. A Chinese, our Sugar Plum, even Clara, mostly in the the same spot on the stage. They recovered extremely well, though, and no one remembered it even happened. Signs of a true professional.
Flowers went well, also. I was able to get nail the corrections I had been given, and Isabel and I got the timing right on the finale, so I felt really successful overall.

(I can’t remember how to get this to rotate, but my sister took it from the audience 😀 )
I don’t know exactly what it was about this season, but now that it’s over, my heart feels so extremely full from having lived it.
I wouldn’t have expected this in the beginning, seeing how there seemed to be more drama than usual and everyone kept getting sick and hurt. But it turned out to be one of my absolute favorite memories.
It’s probably due largely to the people.
I have realized, now more than ever, that I have such wonderful, incredible people in my life.
Those that encourage me, celebrate with me, listen to me vent. Those that are kind and loving and fun. They make this experience something I cherish. Without them, it would just be us going through the motions.
Dance friends really are the best friends, and basking in this after show glow is my favorite thing right now. My fellow dancers are what make this what it is. From the youngest cherub to the oldest company member, I couldn’t be more grateful. 
It’s also heart warming to have friends who support you and come to watch. 
I wish I could express what it means, but words fail me.
My heart is so full.
Now, friendship isn’t about gifts, but I did receive some from cherished friends that really hit my heart. Every single one of them means more to me than I could ever say. They really didn’t have to do that, yet they took the time out to think of me and choose to do something for me to make me feel special. And it did. It really did.
What a wonderful season of memories, growth, and hard work.
Until next year!

Nutcracker Orchestra Night One

Yesterday was our Orchestra rehearsal and first performance.

It takes some getting used to, having the live orchestra. Some parts end up super slower than you’re used to, and some end up super fast.

There’s something magical about having the orchestra; these two expressive art forms coming together to make a production. It gives you goose bumps.

Rehearsal was sort of rough for me, personally.
The night before was wonderful, but then ended the complete opposite. I was very conflicted–coming off this wonderful high of good friends and memories, then snow balling into this complex mess. I tried to just let it roll off, but it struck a cord and more emotions than I realized I had suppressed all surfaced, leaving me to figure out how to come out of it all and try and sort it.
I tried my best to keep going, but was only semi-successful.
Thankfully, I have wonderful friends that will just let me be and treat me normally until I am normal again, as I saw at the beginning of rehearsal. When I felt the panic rise up in the middle of rehearsal and I couldn’t find the presence of mind to get through the combination, no one asked questions or looked at me too funny. When I couldn’t keep it down anymore and found myself actually feeling all the things I was trying to avoid, I had people there who love me and would just support me, even if I was being super vague. They were so kind and caring and genuine. These are top notch people.

We rehearsed the Sunday show with the orchestra, which meant I did Rat Queen. As soon as I put on the head and was “alone”–safe behind this mask where no one knew what my face was doing–I broke and sobs were unavoidable. I managed to pull it together to dance, but almost missed my cue with my brain all spacey. I felt terrible, because I made it complicated to partner, but Sean pulled through, supported me, and actually made it look to where no one noticed I almost fell. He’s the greatest partner I could have ever asked for.
My shoe fell off again in the jete’s, but that’s okay.

There was a moment when we were on stage for Flowers that I could see out into the audience. There was a little girl I couldn’t recognize watching the Dew Drop Fairy and trying to imitate her movements. Twirling and pointing her foot and swaying, my heart melted. This is why we dance. To make the people feel something that begs them to dance, too.

I wasn’t able to eat enough to avoid getting sick, but thankfully I’m not snow so I was able to run off in enough time while they were rehearsing to get my costume off before I got sick. Victory.

I hung out with Melanie and her sister in the time in between. It was really fun. Low key, calm–my favorite kind. We got back fairly early for show warm up, which was good.

Mrs. Jane stopped me as I walked through the green room.
She gave me a little red box, which I knew upon seeing it what was in it and it took everything in me not to ugly cry.

She made me an ornament to look like the Rat Queen, complete with Rat head. 
I had posted a request, half jockingly, for a Rat Queen ornament, expecting to pay for it but not really because I didn’t know if she would have time to even think about making one. When everyone who ordered their ornaments got one and I hadn’t, I figured she wasn’t able to do it. It’s impossible to find Rat Queen nutcracker things, because most shows don’t have a Queen, just the King. Plus I got a Chinese one last year, so I wanted to keep the tradition. It meant so much to me that she took the time out to think of me and make me this.

Now, I know I’m not the only one she did this for, but she didn’t have to do it for me. It was so very timely and meant the world. I managed to keep the tears from falling while in front of her–with much jumping and distracted humming and laughing–but wasn’t so lucky when I opened it in the dressing room and actually saw it. I love and respect Mrs. Jane so very much, I don’t even have words for it. To have her think of me means more than words can say.

That really helped me shake the funk. 
The show went really well. Annika is an insanely talented dancer and person and completely shined out there. To say I’m proud is an understatement. 

(there are more pictures, but my phone is currently being really complex. I want to throw it out the window.
I also technically met Margot Fonteyn’s niece last night. She actually asked me to be in a picture with her, though it was more of a right-place-right-time sort of thing. Someone from her family married into someone from Margot Fonteyn’s family, and she told us a few stories about how surreal that was. She also danced in San Francisco, which is pretty cool, and now she’s a News Anchor. Life is a funny thing. 
My heart was so warm after the show, being with my friends all doing something we love so much. I don’t know what was different about last night to make me feel this way, but it was really strong this time. 
Ironically, I found myself feeling later that I’m just subpar. That I just seem to barely miss the mark to be where I want to be, and always a year behind. I try not to think about it, or let it get to me, but it’s there. And I know I’ll keep growing as long as I’m able to dance, but it just kinda stings a bit. 
This is how it’s been most of my life. I was great at theatre as a kid, but didn’t have the connections to be put into anything when I got into public school like the other kids. Instead, I was the “responsible one” so I wouldn’t get cast in the plays so I could assist the director. Which is cool, but sucks. Sometimes it happens in dance since I’m the one that’s good with kids. Like. Okay, cool. And I love them. But still. But honestly, I don’t know if my dancing is enough to move past that anyway. I’m not really anyone that stands out. I hardly blend in. And I’m grateful to be dancing, and sometimes it is a huge fight with all the opposition I have and my new job makes me terrified that I won’t be able to dance as much, but I still try. I do what I can. I just wish I could do more. I wish I didn’t have to sit out so much because of things I can’t control. I wish I could properly learn these moves expected of me so I could do them, even though it seems the other girls can bs their way through and figure it out on their own. I don’t know that I’ll get to be a swan. And that makes me really sad. But I have to accept the reality; that more than likely I’ll just miss the mark. 
In the midst of feeling this, my friend told me of a really nice thing her boyfriend commented on while watching the show. It made me feel like I’m not foolish to keep pursuing this thing that I love, even though it “doesn’t do anything for me” and “won’t get me anywhere.” I can’t make a career out of it, It’ll never be the thing that pays the bills. 
The reality of life is kind of upsetting right now, even though I have  a good life. I feel selfish and stupid saying that, but my heart feels like its wings are clipped, and that leaves me feeling empty. I don’t want to just be suffocated by life demands. I want to feel alive. I want to really live. 
I’m insanely grateful for the wonderful people I have in my laugh. The ones that make me laugh until I sound like a dying goose; the ones that listen to me when I’m really upset about things I can’t control; the ones that comfort me without even realizing how healing it is to me; the ones who love and support me–subpar and all.
This is my family. 
These are the ones that have my heart.
This is what it means to be loved.

Nutcracker 2015, first weekend

We made it through our first weekend of performances.

I did Rat Queen and Petit Fleur on Saturday night and just Petit Fleur on Sunday.
My body decided this would be a super fun time to not like food, so that got really cute really quickly. I somehow managed, though, and made it through.

It was a really fun weekend. I did Rat Queen the best I’ve ever done it, though I could still improve more. Jessica is so good at it, it’s kind of difficult to match it. But I didn’t miss anything or fall out of the lift or anything like that, so that was good. I have one more chance to do it, and I’m excited. (two if you count the rehearsal I probably have.)

We had school shows on Friday, which is where I did my messing up. It wasn’t that bad, or all that noticeable, so I just kinda roll with it. The kids are great. One of them told me I looked like a clown, which I got a good laugh out of. (In my petit fleur costume, even.) Some of them just came right up and hugged you, which made me a puddle on the floor. It’s really cool to see their faces light up.

One of the nights, when we came out to begin finale, you could hear a child somewhere near the front gasp and say, “Look! The flowers!” It definitely made the smile on my face real and made me feel good. Sometimes it can feel pretty monotonous, being a petit fleur. It’s nice to be reminded that every role matters from someone who is out in the audience.

The Clara’s for this weekend completely rocked the role. I was so proud to watch them and found myself with chills, even after seeing it for the umpteenth time. They worked so hard and completely embodied the role, you couldn’t help but feel something.

This year, I haven’t really been in the dressing rooms much, which can be kinda lame, or kinda great. It’s definitely great. I love getting to see the hard work come to life, and also get to take pictures of and support my friends in their various roles.
There’s something about show season that is extra special over the regular dancing season. Classes are great and learning and growing is important, but getting to put on a production with your friends who share the same love as you is something hard to describe. This really is my family; the one I chose for myself. They are there to support me and help me when I need it. They laugh with me and cry with me. They love me, and I obviously love them. Even the difficult members, haha.

We have this one life, and this is part of it. It’s not just about accomplishing something, but about all the steps it takes to get there. A story with just a beginning and an end doesn’t make for very interesting reading. What makes it great is the middle–the journey. This is that middle part, the dash between the dates of when we’re born and when we die. We get to choose how to fill it an how we handle the things that come at us. We are creating now the stories we will tell when we’re old and grey, or even just in a few years when we look back on these ballet years. These people are the names we will say to those listening. the ones we’ll write about in memoirs. Obviously, not all of them, but the ones that truly matter to us. You never know who someone is going to become. They could be the next Margot Fonteyn or The Beatles for all you know. Or you could be. Who’s to say that won’t be so? We are living history.

I’m going to be really sad when this show is over, but I’ll look forward to the Spring show. I want to take every opportunity to be with and around my dance friends that I can–they make me feel alive. I think the hardest part of this new job is knowing how much of that I’m going to have to sacrifice, and the reality that my body just isn’t cooperating like I need it to be. I’m trying not to worry about the future now. I’m not there yet. Who knows what will happen between today and the days ahead?

Here are some pictures from this last weekend’s shows and rehearsals.

Lauren, Clara on Saturday night

“foot five” from when I learned how to really tie my shoes.

Abarrane killing it

Eloise, elegant as always

View from the stage

I don’t know why this always twists, but oh well. My feet on the left, Abarrane’s on the right.
I was given these polaroids and decided to take them entirely of Nutcracker things. They came out really well, I’d say.
This one is of me and Mariela. I love it

Dressing room, featuring Sheridan.

Sleeping Shrub

Abarrane and I

Watching rehearsals. In aw.

Shrub and Lauren!

This was from Katerina’s birthday party between school shows and rehearsal. So. Much. Fun.

Dressing room, featuring Adrienne.

Allison as snow backstage

Abarrane

Mariela

Allison, Lauren, and Annika

Lauren and I

Abarrane and Lauren

My sweet Lillian came and got some great pictures backstage. It’s so nice to actually be in the pictures for a change!

Ms. Heidi

(Thanks for this one, Shrub)

Maddie

Gabby

Alyssa as Clara from Sunday night

Elizabeth as Snow Queen

Cheyaaaaanne!

Eloise, Elizabeth, me and Abarrane

Adrienne and me

For real though

Emerson had to drop out because of torn ligaments, but was able to be our Nutcracker at the end of the show! We were all so glad to have her!

Mariela and me

Alyssa and me after her Clara night
Alyssa as Clara

Mariela in Spanish

the angels (melt)

Snow

A girl scout troop from Portland got to meet some of us backstage after Sunday’s show. They were absolutely adorable, and asked questions about the show and Ms. Munro showed them the stage and how the curtains fly in and out and the lights and everything that goes into making the show. Some asked how old you have to be to dance en pointe and how it even happens and what the shoes do to help. I asked if they wanted to feel the shoes, and explained what they were made out of. They were in awe. As they were leaving, one of the adults asked me if it was easier to get en pointe when you’re older or younger. I told her both had their pros and cons. That your feet are stronger when your older, which makes some things easier, but when you’re younger, you’re fearless. Risk is easier. And you have to be able to take risks. I told them I was twenty-five when I started and they were pretty shocked to hear I was twenty-seven and only danced 4 years. I told them about Annika, and how she has only done ballet for 4 years and she’s Clara. It’s never too late. You have to want it and be willing to work hard. 
One of the girls takes classes at Munro, and she was thrilled to get to be on the stage and see everything. We turned around to see her dancing and spinning and just losing herself on the stage, having the time of her life.

This is what it’s about.

Theatre Week, Night One

The favorite part of any Corpus Christi Ballet dancer is undoubtedly theatre week.
It’s when we take our rehearsals from our downtown studio to the Selena Auditorium and do everything on stage.
This is when it really gets real. The lights, the costumes, the stage, the audience, the wings and curtains and back drops and everything.

Last night was our first night of our first theatre week.
We rehearsed for the Saturday show, so I was Rat Queen. We only did partnered things in costume, so that landed me in the Rat Queen onsie and head. Hah.
I didn’t mess up any of the order, but it definitely is a bigger space to do it on, and way more difficult when you can’t see a darn thing.
I got critiqued for looking blank right before the lift (I had never done it in costume before and was like AH! but made it work. So. Warrented.) and for not grabbing the canon ball, since it had flown to the front of the stage and I had the perfect opportunity to get it.
That thing somehow manages to blend in with the stage, because even looking at the ground, I didn’t see it. This was also at the time that my left shoe had slipped off my heel, yet managed to stay on my foot, so I was going through the bit trying to work out if there was a way I could get it back on and also thinking of what was coming up that I would need it all the way on for. Turns out, no one even noticed and I made it work.
The partnering is a bit shaky, which makes me sad. Because I love to do it, and would probably look a million times better if we weren’t in these giant costumes with these huge heads, but that’s okay. Sean is great and makes sure I don’t hit the floor, so that’s nice. I think I’ll go over it with him once before we do it again to make sure we get the feel. We have first school show, so hopefully we have time to even do this. Regardless, we’ll make it work. I just want to do my best and prove I wasn’t a mistake being cast as Rat Queen. Mrs. Alex smiled at me, so that’s good. She knows I’ve never learned partnering before rehearsal.

There were many feel-good moments during rehearsal. I absolutely love being surrounded by so many people that I love so deeply. Especially in this time in my life where I’m surrounded by so much new. I didn’t realize how much I really thrive off of having something familiar near me until this week. My new job is absolutely wonderful, but there’s so much to learn and I suck at asking questions. I’d rather observe to learn, or just go with it, but there are things that I have to ask on and I feel kinda stupid and embarrassed. I gotta suck it up, and I will, but it still sort of shakes me.
Though, if that’s my biggest issue, then I’m doing pretty darn well. I’m trying not to freak out about tax season madness, since right now things are so low key. I’ll take it when it comes and do my best to make it through. I just want them to be glad they hired me, not feel any sort of regret or anger.
(Part of this is also probably from being so used to getting yelled at so much. Now that I’m not, it’s kind of a huge adjustment. A good one, but still takes time.)

I also learned how to properly tie my pointe shoes yesterday. (Thanks, Elizabeth) I never really understood the concept of why people would wrap one ribbon first, then the second, but she explained it and now I feel like a whole new world has been shown to me. I’m extremely grateful to have people in my life that are willing to help me fill the gaps where people assume I know what I’m doing.

Tonight is night two! WOO!

Be good people.

Just something I have noticed.

Being a petit fleur isn’t particularly an “impressive” role.
It’s not Clara or Sugar Plum, it’s not Dew Drop or Snow Queen.
These are obvious.
But it’s also not Russian or Arabian, or even Chinese. 
Which is kinda funny, because most of the time when people dance Chinese, they’re a smidge bitter, considering you’re only on stage for like a minute and a half maybe.
But what people neglect to see in that is that it’s still a character role, and therefore still one that kids see as a favorite. It’s funny and light-hearted and quite entertaining. That’s what’s remembered.
And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It’s not that people are trying to be rude, but it’s just how it is. Bigger roles have bigger privileges. 
We did a meet and greet after Beeville last night. I sort of hung back a bit, which was opposite of last time, but more true to what is actually normal for me, if that makes sense. People were going up to the Sugar Plum and the Nutcracker, Arabian and Chinese, even some of the higher-ups flowers, but rarely to us. 
It was fun to get to step back and see the people meeting my friends; the way the kid’s wide eyes lit up at the sight of them and the smiles on their faces when they got them to sign their program. 
When we were “backstage,” (in the gym near the theatre, which had room for all of us) I saw one of our family friends with her daughter who was an angel. When they are at our house, Chloe never really speaks to me, but she was completely thrilled to see me backstage. We took pictures and I asked if she was excited and everything else. While we were there, different dancers would come up to me for a hug or a high five. This has become sort of normal to me, but it wasn’t until Jennifer made a comment that I really realized it. 
They don’t care if I’m some big-named role, although if I am they definitely celebrate it with me. All they care about is me. They celebrate my successes, whatever they are. They enjoy whatever my role is with me, as I do with them. Each and every role, no matter how big or small, is important to the production. It may not be flashy or impressive, but it matters. 
And that’s what truly is important. Not only that you can dance, and dance well. Not just that you rise up in the ranks of the roles, but that you are a good person. 
Like our Sugar Plum from last night. Not only is she freaking talented and captivating, she’s also such a kind person. She’s honest and passionate, she’s kind and considerate, she’s the type of person you can watch and want to be like when you grow up–not just as a dancer, but as a human being. 
And that is what truly matters.

Oh, here’s some new stuff! (and pictures!)

We had an event for the Nutcracker on Saturday where some of us dressed up in costume and did a story time, inviting people to come to the shows. Barnes and Noble gave a portion of the profits to the company if the customers mentioned us at check out. Cool, huh?
Going as Rat Queen terrified half the children and intrigued the other.
There was this one little girls, couldn’t be older than two, who was completely taken with the Rat Queen. She was my absolute favorite thing, I wish there were a way to get a copy of the pictures from her mom! Haha. I don’t know how the Disney Characters do it, since they aren’t allowed to take any pictures.
I also saw one of my favorite little dancers from my old studio, Noelia, whime I hadn’t seen since our last recital at Instep. I took off my head and her mom remembered me and Noelia did after a bit. It made me so happy. She is dancing at Ballet Academy, which I’m glad to hear that she’s still dancing. She absolutely beautiful and incredibly talented, not to mention such a sweet girl.
There were two different times for the Nutcracker story time. Jessica was gracious to let me have the first slot so I could be done in time for a photo shoot (that got rained out, unfortunately) so I gave her the suit for the second part. It was such a fun time.

We had a local promotional event at the Lighting of Lamar Park here locally, and I got to be the Rat Queen for it, as well. (Which is fab since it’s cold outside and the Rat Queen costume is nice and warm) My dear, sweet Ayla was there as the mouse, so we walked around a bit together. It was quite the hit, seeing the “big mouse and little mouse.” I even made one girl scream when she commented on Ayla’s costume and I turned around to see her and she wasn’t expecting it. It was pretty hilarious.
Surprisingly, less were afraid of me than weren’t. I took tons of pictures with kids and sometimes other characters as well. We passed out candy canes and having the giant head sure did make it easier to give face to the local news station reporters.
I saw another one of my babies from Instep, the other one I had yet to see that I missed to terribly. Isabella was there with her Mom and Brother, and I introduced myself before taking off my head to talk to them. Her Mom was thrilled to see me, and remembered me right away. Isabella took a second, I’m sure also taking in the fact that there was a human in this rat suit, haha. Her Mom told me she hadn’t been dancing since Instep closed and I told her about Munro and the classes there. I told her about the class I assist and to check it out and that Mia was the teacher and the times and all. She was so pumped. I really hope to see Isabella at the studio!

I also got to see my friends Ryan and Lauren, who had a table set up with their two books they’ve put out recently. One is a book of photography and the other is a children’s book; both incredible.
(http://www.amazon.com/dp/1943842116/ref=cm_sw_su_dp)
They have been really dear to my heart and also such good, cherished friends to me over the years. I love seeing them and seeing how God is using them to make a difference in the world.

I got to hold on to the costume from Sunday until the event on Tuesday. I realized Sunday night that the Black Swan tutu is part of the Rat Queen costume and that it was in my closet. I text my sister and asked if she could get some pictures of me in it on Monday, and she graciously obliged. 

                                                   
So that was fun.
The costume was a little big, since I’m not wearing the giant rat suit underneath, but we made it work. I really like how they came out, and I’m glad to have these for if one day I can’t dance anymore. Plus, I think it was good for me to see that I don’t look like the image in my head while in a real tutu. (this is just me being real, here. My story, I can say it if I want.)
Obviously, there’s a few “bloopers” or whatever. My dad’s German Shepherd was chasing my cat who decided to saunter over to us. They also decided that right behind us is the perfect place to do this chase. Hah
My Achilles has been hurting, especially since this last cold front came through. I asked Ms. Heidi what I should do about it, and she showed me some different things to do to help it. Sometimes stretching it can make it worse. I was glad she said that, because that’s what I was feeling, but didn’t have any proof of it and didn’t know what else to do. Hopefully it’ll start feeling better. It is fine when I don’t dance, even in the interim. Between steps and combinations. 
My ankles were really weak before dancing. I used to hurt it just by stepping on it wrong, but I could never figure out what was “wrong” exactly. I hadn’t felt it in a while, but when landing a grand jete at rehearsal, I found it again, and my ankle–and Achilles–started hurting. It pops quite often as well. 
I woke up this morning to a text from my cousin. It was pictures of her double jointed fingers, asking if I can do the same. I told her I can, and sometimes in different ways, and told her how I can’t point straight because my fingers curve and how my knees and elbows hyper extend. She told me that she was diagnosed with hypermobility. That it’s genetic, and can actually cause gastrointestinal issues. 
Bingo.
It’s been quite a day of learning and discovering. 
I’ve learned much over the last few weeks, having more time to myself. I wish I could have written more before I hardly have any time at all. 
New things, and I’m sure they’ll be good–just different. I feel good about them, a bit nervous. 
I’m sure it’ll be good. 
It already has been.