Photo day 

Here’s some pictures from photo day yesterday


  
  

  
  

  
  
  
  
  
  
One of the dear moms asked if the covers could take pictures just to have. Mrs Alex was gracious enough to offer her time and we were able to. It was fun to flip around and goof off with these girls. I love them. They make it fun.
I have lots of thoughts and feelings, but I don’t think it necessary to share them here. So I shall leave you with these pictures and keep truckin’.

 

Content.

Last night, I was thinking.

About tomorrow.
About what may or may not happen.
I thought about how I didn’t want to think about this.
How it makes me so anxious I end up sick.
How it’s completely out of my hands.

I prayed.
Talked to God like old friends.
My prayers are rarely, “Dear Lord, XYZ, In Jesus’ Name, Amen” Or whatever formula it typical. Instead, it’s a conversation. Being honest, telling Him how I feel about things and learning what I should be thinking and feeling and doing about it.

“God, I know it’s out of my hands. I know there’s nothing more I can do than I’ve already done. Let them see what needs to be done. Let them remember me. Let my hard work speak for itself. And whatever happens, help me to have a good attitude. I don’t want to be bitter or upset or have a crappy attitude. Help me to see the good in all this. Help me learn everything I can.”
Etc, etc.

I tend to handle things better if I think through the realities before they happen.
“Reality is, they may not change anything. Reality is, if they change something, they could pick someone else. How will I handle this? If either of these things happen, you will still be okay.”
I talk myself through these things so when push comes to shove, I don’t fall apart. I give myself pep talks and council and whatever other words you can find. Because it’s true; no matter what happens, I’ll be okay.

Then God and I had a talk about the hope I feel.
I’m terrified of it, honestly. Terrified that I’ll end up crushed again, and it’ll all be because I set myself up for it. I don’t want to have to go through any of that again.
But is hope so bad a thing? Without it, what do we have?

I thought through scriptures I knew that had the word “hope” in them.
Most also contained the word “trust” or some synonym of the word.
I realized that whatever happened, God is in control, and I can trust Him. Whether it’s in my favor or against, this is an experience to help me learn and grow. If nothing else, I’m reminded of how important it is to lean on Him in these kinds of things, and that He truly can be trusted.

I may be upset or confused or whatever, but I still have peace. Even when anxiety tries to take over, the inner peace is still there.

I caught myself singing an old hymn from my childhood church. I can’t remember the last time I thought of it, but it came back clear as a bell.

“Unto Thee, oh Lord, do I lift up my soul
Unto Thee, oh Lord, do I lift up my soul
Oh, my God, I trust in Thee
Let me not be ashamed,
Let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

I literally sang it until I fell asleep, which I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that, either. (Until I sat bolt upright and remembered I never took a polaroid that day. It’s okay, it was just past 11pm, so I got it in time 😉 )
(For those of you who don’t know, I take a polaroid every day.)

Today I decided to look up the hymn and found it had more verses.
I also found that it is based off Psalm 25.

So I looked up Psalm 25.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.
I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

There’s that word again–hope.

Hope is safe.
It’s not something to be afraid of.
It’s not a guaranteed fall.
It’s seeing the good in the world. Acknowledging that there is a potential for something wonderful to happen. The world isn’t perfect, so there’s no way to guarantee that the something wonderful is sure. But the hope itself, it’s safe.

I won’t be put to shame.
Whatever happens, God is still good. He’s still working things out for me. He’s still teaching me and helping me be a better person.
He still has me.
And if there’s anything I could be or should be doing better, He’ll let me know.

I looked up the word “treacherous,” curious of what the intention behind the word was.

1.
characterized by faithlessness or readiness to betray trust; traitorous.
2.
deceptive, untrustworthy, or unreliable.
3.
unstable or insecure, as footing.

4.
dangerous; hazardous:
I have no reason to feel shameful if things don’t fall in my favor.
I should hold my head high and know that I am doing my best.
I’m not owed anything particular in this world. There isn’t some sure way that if you follow these steps everything will be perfect. Bad and unfair happen to good, hard-working people. It’s a part of life. It sucks, but it’s something we will get through.
But I know when I lay my head down at night that I have given my all.
And that is something I can be proud of.
If you continue on in the chapter, you find,
Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
My hope shouldn’t be in the outcome of this thing, it should be in God.
If my hope is in Him, I’ll never be put to shame.

Prove it.

It’s funny hearing people tell me how they read my blog and the varying degree of addiction it causes them. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it, let alone understand why people actually enjoy reading such nonsense. Nonetheless, I still write this nonsense. So I guess there’s that.

(Hi, y’all, glad to have ya!)

Before class started yesterday, I leaned over to two of my friends and said, “let’s treat this like an audition and see what happens.” If you remember my previous post, Ms. Munro made a comment that we all do so well at auditions and then slack off in class. So I’ve been running an experiment of what would happen if I took her advice.

The results have been astronomical (Imagine that!) and yesterday seemed to be the best thus far. Not only was I getting corrections, I was getting compliments. And not just ones I’ve heard before, but new ones on things I’ve been really working on. Mrs Alex said my arms were light and that I presented correctly and did the arm transitions well. I even got one by name. We were doing a combination at the barre where we did slow develope’s and ended with a tendu in fondu. (I think. Somethings like that.) it was a nice, slow, even tempo combo and felt really good to do. Everything seemed to click so I really did my best to do everything I’ve remembered being taught as well as implementing the corrections as she said them–heel forward, turn out from the hip, shoulder down, really present, straight knees, and on and on.

She happened to look at me at a develope to the back and my thigh happened to be lifted the proper was as I did the movement and she said my name when she complimented me. Then after even said my name again and that me and another girl were the ones she saw had it correct. Like. What? It felt so good, I can’t even find words for it.

I feel like I have to work really hard to prove myself. To show that I am capable and able to do what they ask of me. That I am listening to and want their direction. That I take this seriously and want to improve. That this is more than just some recreational thing. That this is something much deeper.

I was talking to one of my dance mom friends about some stuff going on and made the comment, “it’s just a dance, I shouldn’t be so upset about it.” And her reply really hit me.

“It’s not though. You spend as much time there as you do your job. And you are emotionally invested. For you it isn’t just dance.”

That brought so much peace to me. I’m so used to being told that I have to be strong. To suck it up and just get over it. To just take it. So used to it that when I find myself with these real emotions through something like this that it translates into “I must have done something wrong.” That I’m not enough. That I have to be better. That I can’t let them see me cry. And yes, I shouldn’t let it get to me enough that I get emotional in front of everyone. Dramatics are uncalled for. But I have to give myself room to be human. And it’s okay to do such.

Yesterday’s class made me feel like I am doing all I can to prove myself. That they see it. That however this cookie crumbles, I have done all I can. And that is something I can be proud of and that no one can take away from me.


(Hi. Hello. It’s me.)

Limit yourself. 

I deal with perpetual depression and anxiety. 

Now that that is out of the way. 

I woke up this morning pretty panicky. For no good reason, but I couldn’t shake it. All I wanted to do was dance, but deep down I was nervous that dance might make it worse. (Probably me jumping to worst case scenario there. Typical.) I tried to go into the class day with an open mind and giving myself room for faults. 

Ballet went fairly well. I was able to hold a few balances I usually suck at and do the fouetté prep at the barre I used to really do terribly. We got to center and I still struggled a bit with balancing but was able to see little bits of improvement here and there. Overall, it wasn’t bad. I appreciated that she gave us combinations that were easy on the brain but still challenging our bodies. I think that helped make it better. 

Jazz-but-really-lyrical class went fine. Not all the girls were there so we still haven’t changed it up to the final way we’re gonna have it yet, but the new girls that have added on are doing well. They retain the choreography, which is super great. Ms Heidi said she might pull me and either Savanna or Valerie to be another duo, or separate singles–she’s still playing with ideas–and one of them sort of play off Ileana. 

As we were standing there while she was figuring out a part for another group, my mind began to wander as it does. I was watching Ileana and wondering what I would do if I was having to sort of mirror her. 

And it hit me. 

This terrible wave of whatever you want to call it that I hadn’t felt in a good long while. 

I thought of being in the audience, watching this piece, it being she and me, and thinking, “that one girl is so good and absolutely gorgeous. Shame they paired her with the bigger girl, she’s not as good I kinda feel bad.” 

It’s a dialog I’m sure I’ve heard said of someone on a stage once somewhere. And it’s probably part of the subconscious that stuck in my head growing up and lead me to make decisions I made that lead me to stop eating until I was really thin because I was terrified I would be that person. The “bigger girl” that was seen as a terrible thing. As lesser. As not enough. 

And I realized that I would be that should Ileana and I be paired.

And I realized that there are bits in Julie’s recital piece that I am that. 

And I realized that at some point my perspective had changed from that negative way of thinking to one of what-can-I-achieve-if-I-work-hard. 

But still I found myself standing there tonight with a different kind of panic. What would I do? I can’t lose any more weight than I have. I’m doing my best to improve with the hand life dealt me. How can I not be “that girl” ?

I told myself I couldn’t think that way. Tried to push it out of my mind. 

Mere minutes later, the newest new girl and I were learning a bit we had just been shown. I didn’t really know what I was doing but was trying to decode the struggle, so to speak, and she looked at me and said, “man you’re really good. Like, you’re so talented. I know I’m new and all, but I hope I can be as good as you.” 

In my head I said, “are you blind? Like. I can’t do anything she’s asking us to do. I’m trying not to panic because I know I can’t do a firebird or a leap in second. I’ve never tried them. I’m gonna look a hot mess, and if I can’t do it how am I gonna teach you to do it? I’m terrible. I’m new to this class and much of it is way over my head. Have you seen me? I’m not exactly the dancer type.” But instead I replied with, “thank you!” 

She didn’t have to say that. She could have kept it to herself. Sure, it’s safe to say the entire class is better than me in skill, but whose to say I’m not good in my own right? She didn’t see me as the “bigger girl in the class full of skinny, good girls.” She saw me as “talented.” 

*mind blows* 

I may still struggle. 

I may feel like I don’t really do anything right. 

I may feel like I’m just a 5 year old playing a giant game of pretend and all the adults just think “aww how cute” cause it’s cute when a 5 year old makes a fool of themself.  

I may feel like I keep missing out on roles and parts and accomplishments because I must just not be good enough. 

I may feel like I don’t have enough time to get to “enough.” 

But to her, I was enough. I was the “goals.” I was talented. I was the one to be like. 
Who am I to limit myself with my own judgements?

Court Lady and Hunts Woman fittings

Today was my turn for costume fittings. 

I still have no clue what our roles actually do, but I think it is safe to say I like them a whole lot more after costume fittings today. 

We did Court Ladies first, which have these hoop skirts and dresses in three pieces made to look like the time of the story. 

I first tried on one that was pink and blue. It was really pretty, but just a bit too short in the torso for me. (I have a pathetically long torso and my waist is really high. The struggle. It’s so real.) We tried a second one that is various blues. Oh my gosh I love it so much. Abarrane said I looked like Felicity from the American Girl Dolls, which–lets be real–who doesn’t want to be her? I feel so regal in it. It’s like seeing all those period movies and wishing you could be in them and now I get to via ballet. The arms are a little tight, and the torso is actually a little short, but I told Mrs Jane I have a blue leotard if I need to wear it and she said there’s a bit of space where she can make it longer. I’m so excited. 

  
The second fitting was for the Hunts Woman. Once again, no clue what we’re actually doing. But we get to wear big feathered hats and it’s pretty much the greatest. 

Mrs Jane handed me specific dresses both times. I’m not sure if it’s just what’s best to my measurements or if she was trying to get me the best ones because really I got the best ones in my opinion. (Although some of the other ones are great too. Mine are just my favorite.) 

It fit perfectly and I don’t think needs anything done to it. I knew it looked like something but I couldn’t put my finger on what. My sister said Buttercup from The Princess Bride. Bam. Heck yes. 

   
 
Overall I’m really excited. 

It was nice to be the one in the fitting that just fit the costumes. If you recall from last year, it was quite a struggle to get the costumes to work for me. (Did I write about that? I thought I did but just tried to find the post and failed. Maybe it was too personal for me and I kept it to myself. Oh well.) I felt so very defeated. But this year that wasn’t the case. And it felt even better to know they don’t have to do as many alterations to mine either. 

We have pictures next weekend and I believe our first rehearsals for these the next weekend. I don’t expect them to be too complicated since we only have one rehearsal for them before we rehearse all of swan lake together. 

A little bird told me that there are over 70 villagers all together. How they’ll all fit on stage, I have no idea. Good thing the kids are small? Haha 

Here’s a few more pictures from today. Mostly compliments of Lillian 🙂 

   
    
    
    
    
    
   

Swan rehearsal and fitting

This morning I woke up feeling anxious. 

I couldn’t shake it. One of the girls even mentioned before barre that I didn’t seem myself.  I found myself fighting off panic attacks at the barre and it only escalated into rehearsal. 

I bit my lip until it cracked and dug my nails into my side until someone distracted me with a question. Thankfully. Because I’m sure I would have broken skin without even thinking. 

That’s something people don’t know or realize about me, I guess. The darkness of my past. It typically stays there, but sometimes it can creep back into the present and the fight is exhausting. 

Today was one of those days. 

Only one girl wasn’t there, and another one wasn’t feeling well so she sat out. Ms Munro had girls who hadn’t run it go in so I was marking it from the sidelines. It wasn’t all that bad, like no worse than usual at least. Part of me was grateful to not have to be “on” but the other part of me knows that I don’t have the luxury of getting to be off. Not right now. 

I really appreciated one of the moms coming up and encouraging me. I had really gotten inside my head at that point. Why am I here? Why do I even try? What is the point of it all if I work my hardest and nothing comes of it? Who am I kidding? If I’m not good enough now what makes me think I will be later? Whose to say I’ll even have a later? I was so beyond frustrated and I hated myself for it. The battle was real, and the “dark place” was rampant. But she came up and encouraged me without even realizing what she was doing. Well, part of it I’m sure she did. But really, I was so grateful.

I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be upset or frustrated or bitter or anything. I just want to dance. 

After that point, I stood there and asked myself some questions. 

Why am I upset? Because I didn’t get to be a swan. 

Yeah but you’re still in Swan Lake. Yeah, but I wanted to be good enough to be this role. 

Okay but you can’t change anything now. So what are you going to do about it? Well. I’m gonna work hard and do my best. 

Cause really. Why am I here? What drives me to show up every day, even if I’m not a swan? I do it because I love dance, I love the art form. I love getting to be here and try new things and learn and grow. And aren’t I getting to do that still? 

I get out of this what I put into it. And sure it sucks that some of the other girls don’t even bother to show up or put in effort. But Mrs Alex is right–I’d rather be a good person than a stellar dancer. At least dance is something you can work to improve upon. 

So it can really suck being a cover. It’s hard and exhausting and really emotional. But it’s what I am. It’s what I signed up for. And I made a commitment. I don’t want to go back on that just because the cards didn’t fall in my favor. That would be immature. Now my goal is to be the one they can count on. To do everything I can to know the parts so I can be relied upon should anything happen. I want to put a good taste in their mouth, make their jobs easier. 

Even if I don’t get to dance swan, I can still tell them a lot of my character by my actions. 

They had swan fittings after. We didn’t have to be there but I was to wait for my friend who is a swan. It was cool getting to see them all together. The costumes are gorgeous. I really am proud of how good it’s looking and how well they’re really coming together. I got to actually watch it today. It’s really neat. 

   
    
    
   
A few of my friends 😊

Here’s a few before class. 

   
   

Thoughts and feels lately

I’ve been rather contemplative lately, in a funk of sorts. This tends to be when I get reflective and such, which has only been heightened by the excitement of a domain name, instagram account, facebook page, and everything else that has come about with the blog actually being a .com.

Looking back, I realized this time last year, most people still didn’t know me.
It was largely Wizard of Oz that actually introduced me to everyone in the studio. I knew a few after Nutcracker, but mainly just the girls in Chinese with me. Which was about, ya know, 7 people. Oz added on the Crows, other Winkie Guards, a teacher, (who was our director) Munchkins, their siblings, the dance mom’s, and eventually the other dancers. (I think Crows opened up majority of that.)

It’s funny to see the difference.
How now, everyone knows me. They know my name. They know I’m not in High School, a good deal of them have figured out my story, or at least bits of it.

Honestly, sometimes I can’t tell which I prefer.
Getting less-than-stellar roles is definitely easier when you don’t know anyone. It’s not as personal. The sting is only within yourself and doesn’t typically have other people attached. It’s less to fake until you can work through your emotions. It’s less tears, really.
There’s less confusion about how you rank on level since so many other opinions are now interjected. You don’t have as many people you feel responsible fore; You don’t have to be “on” as much when no one knows you.

On the other hand, there’s less encouragement. Less people who care about your accomplishments and help you when you’re struggling. There’s less support. You don’t have people to bounce thoughts off of, or to ask to watch you do this or that move and see if it’s correct. You don’t have someone there to pull you back to reality when you get caught inside your own head, no one to shoot down the lies you tell yourself. No one to build you up when you get knocked down. There’s no one there to ask for advice. No one to share ballet puns with. No one to read your blog and get excited with you over new beginnings or small victories.

On Sunday, I went with one of my best-non-dance friends to Austin to meet our favorite author. This was my first time to attend such an event, and I was really excited, especially since I felt like I could relate to him in so many ways.
There was a question and answer segment, during which he nonchalantly divulged the wisdom that guides who he is as a writer and a person. During this, he made a comment about how, when writing the final book of this trilogy, he tried to seclude himself to get what he needed out. He went to his parents cabin with hopes and visions of walking around nature, taking it all in, and being able to get the story out. What he found was the exact opposite. Being alone was of no help, and instead he found what he needed when he surrounded himself with the people he cares most about. The ones who encourage him and are honest with him.

It may be difficult, there may be times I want to just be alone, and that’s okay. Especially being largely introverted. But what it boils down to is that I’d be nothing without the people in my life, without this dance family I have found myself among. They push me and encourage me and help me accomplish the things I’ve set out to do. They celebrate my successes and grieve my disappointments right along side me.

Though I’m sure I’ll find myself in days when being alone is what I need, I can’t let myself cut off from the very people who have helped me get as far as I am.

 

I love the people in my life. And I cherish these days that I get to have them close to me. Every year brings new changes–heck, everything could change tomorrow–so while I have them, I want to hold them close and make the most of it.