Summer. 

I had a blog written last week, but it didn’t save before I got a chance to post it. Bleh. 

There were classes this week, but I wasn’t able to go to them. There are classes this week, and then summer begins the next week. I’ll be teaching two classes on Saturdays, and hopefully getting to attend the adult classes twice a week. 

My body seems to be adjusting to the medicine I’m on, which is just for the repercussions from not having a gallbladder. It doesn’t fix everything, as I still get really tired, but it does help, as I’m not near as weak since I can actually eat food now. 

I’m hopeful that things will be okay. 

My future is uncertain. I hope to find out more st my follow up in August on whether this seems to be something that will last long term or if it’s something that could improve with time. Until then, I’m doing my best to take it easy when I can, yet still doing enough to make me feel like I’m more than just dead weight. 

I’ll try to get to classes in the fall, but can’t really gauge whether that will happen until I’m there. I will for sure be teaching. 

It’s funny; being an adult ballet dancer I often get asked, “how long are you going to keep up this whole ballet thing?” With a tone as though it is nothing more than a childhood dream. And I used to say “as long as I have feet, I’m going to dance.” I didn’t think that the thing threatening to take me out isn’t the fact that I have feet, but rather if I have the energy to make it. I never thought it would be a question because my body barely lets me get out of bed. In my head, my drive and passion was enough to make that certain. But now it’s not. Now the thing trying to snuff my dreams is completely out of my control, and the one thing that could actually do it. Without the energy to do it, you just can’t. There isn’t a way to work around it. I never saw this coming. 

Thankfully, all my big dreams have been accomplished. Thankfully, my doctor encourages me to go to class any chance I get. Thankfully I’m still able to go some times, even if it isn’t near as much as I’d like and even if I essentially have to hang up my pointe shoes. 

That’s okay. 

It’s hard to be on this side dreams, sometimes. But also invigorating. Knowing that I did it. 

Now, I’m sitting on my couch watching Harry Potter instead of in my house cleaning to try and get back into it after a terrible flea infestation. (Pier and beam in the country… the struggle is real.) 

Hope you all are well. Thanks for sticking with me! 

Recital 2017. 

We had our annual recital this weekend. 

My last recital was last year, so I didn’t dance this weekend, but I did teach my first three classes this year, and I had one class the first night and two classes the second night. 

When I first came on as a teacher, I didn’t know if I could do recital. I’ve never choreographed before, how the heck was I gonna do that three times? How was I gonna pick costumes and music and put moves to the music and teach tiny children how to do those moves? 

I enlisted the help of friends and tried to get choreographing done before tax season came on so that way I didn’t feel more pressure when spring came. Plus, I wanted my kids to have as much time to learn it as possible to hopefully be able to have it as clean as possible. Granted, this is so much easier when you only have three dances rather than the numerous ones my fellow teachers have. 

Honestly, i wasn’t sure i would get a recital out of my 3-4 year old class. It was rough from the first day, having to use much of my time just to keep kids from running around the entire time, using any form of teaching powers I could think of. By second semester, it was starting to progress. The kids were beginning to behave and we were able to actually teach them things and get through an entire class. We were able to give them a recital and actually go through the choreography with them. 

I wasn’t sure how they would do on stage. I was sure one would cry the entire time if I could get her out there. There was only one out of seven that I knew for sure would dance, the rest were very hit and miss. 

We had a rehearsal on Thursday. At our allotted time, only two of my seven were there. So we ran it once. Then we got one more and ran it our second time. Then two more got there, changed their kids in the wings, and we were able to run it a third time for the other two. I was super grateful because they were the ones I knew would do well with knowing what to expect to get the best results. One of the missing ones was sick Thursday, but thankfully felt fine on Saturday and was able to dance. She was the flipping cute one that everyone in the audience was laughing at the melting of their hearts. My one I thought would cry didn’t, and all of them at least did some of the dance moves, which at this age was more than I could help for. The one I knew would dance did great and did the entire thing. They were a bit difficult to get off the stage, but it worked and they were so adorable. 

My 4-5 year old class was before there’s on Saturday. They have been such a dream class all year. The perfect size, everyone so focused, tiny little sponges just soaking up everything. I was able to make the dance a little more complex and know they’d be just fine to do it. What’s more, I had to change it two weeks before show because two dropped which threw off my numbers and the original choreography. But the girls did so great at remembering the change and doing well. This class got the same costume we had used my last recital at my old studio before it shut down. They also got my favorite song. The tutu was purple and turns out so many of them have purple as their favorite color. Winning! 

They were all there for rehearsal on Thursday. Day of show, one of them was missing her shoes. Thankfully I knew one of the moms of my tall student from my other class, so we were able to borrow hers and then switch them back before they danced. We were the third dance and when we get on stage, I realize one of the girls was still in the bathroom. The other 6 were on stage, in the dark, while we rushed for the missing one. We got her back, put her on stage in the wrong spot and she gently told me in a whisper, “I stand by Evelyn” which, thank God, because it would have messed up everything had she been in the wrong spot. But she’s so smart and studious. 

I’m so proud of this class. They all were so focused all year and worked really hard. I’ll hopefully have some of them next year and some even this summer, which makes me so happy. I love them so much and they show so much promise and hope. 

One of them gave me a gift at rehearsal. 


She wrote the card herself 😭 it melted my heart. 


I absolutely love candles and was so excited to find this inside. It smells divine! 

When the year began, she was the student that encouraged me the most, just in her deminor. She was so excited to be there and loved me so much and it made my Saturdays something I looked forward to rather than something I dreaded. It made me feel like I could do this, that I wasn’t completely screwing everything up. As the year went on, this whole class made me feel that way. I can’t explain how much this meant to me to have, especially this year with everything that’s happened. It’s more than words can describe. 

My 5-6 year olds were my biggest class, which at times I found hard to manage. I was worried maybe I wasn’t as much as I needed to be. That I could be more, do more for them. This class taught me the most about teaching, and creative ways to adjust to the needs of the class. 

By the time we got to the last week, I was blown away. Even the one who struggled the most had learned so much. More than I could have hoped. They knew the terminology, they would ask about things way above their level. I’d show them and half of them could do it with impressive technique. The other half was still good. 

We started their recital early, and even updated it to give them more complex steps. I kept it relatively simple with the hopes that they would do really well in what they knew rather than trying to make it more difficult and them putzing through it. I was nervous it might seem too simple compared to everyone else’s. 

The night of rehearsals, one of the moms came up to me and told me she was blown away by how much her daughter had learn this well and how she knew the entire dance so well and looked so good doing it. I told her she was one of two of my girls that I knew I could always count on to know what to do, even my subs said the same. I told her how talented her daughter is and she thanked me for being such a great teacher. 

This really touched my heart. It’s as though everything I was afraid of melted away. That I did well. That these girls learned something. 

One of my girls had told me toward the end of the year, “my mommy said I had to do recital and then I don’t have to dance anymore if I don’t want to.” On Friday, she came up to me, extremely excited, and told me, “I want to take ballet again next year!” You could see the change in her. She was understanding and asking great questions and remembering things. It made me so proud. 

One of my other babies came up to me day of recital and gave me these 


With a card that she wrote her name on, thanking me for teaching her this year. My heart was a puddle. It meant so much to me. 

A bunch of the girls colored me pictures, which of course I’ll keep forever. I have pictures kids I babysat drew me that I’ve shown them on their wedding day. 

They went on stage and completely rocked it. It brought me so much joy to see them. I could have watched it forever. 

Seeing them watching me at times while doing this dance and doing it so freaking well, it’s one of those moments that you just cherish. 

Kids are my favorite kind of people. They’re honest. They love without reservation. They’re so trusting and resilient. Getting to be a part of these kids lives, even if just for this one year, it means everything to me. I know I’ll never forget them, I just hope they don’t forget me, or what they’ve learned this year. I hope that spark inside them starts a fire that guides them throughout life. 

I wrote them all cards and gave them to them the last day of class, and took pictures with the whole class. I hope they realize how increasingly proud I am of each of them. 

That class ending was one of the hardest things, because chances are I won’t teach them again. They’re getting older. I want to keep them safe in this year forever, but I know that’s not realistic. I just hope this year is a good memory for them to reflect on as they grow. 

One of my girls moms told me she had something for me and asked where I would be at intermission. I told her I’d be in the rehearsal hall with the girls. 

When I got there, she had a James Avery bag that she handed to me. My jaw dropped and I could feel my eyes getting teary, knowing that anything in that bag had to be quite expensive. I opened it to find 


This beautiful necklace. The necklace is made to hold charms, and they picked out the heart charm for me as well. I was speechless. I put it on immediately and thanked them profusely. Her mom thanked me for teaching her daughter this year. She told me how much she appreciated me. My eyes tear up at the memory. 

After recital, some friends and me went to Macaroni Grill as per usual. I saw her mom and turns out we were seated near them. I went over and said hi and my sweet girls face lit up. Her mom and grandma and dad and aunt were all there, and they told me how much she talks about me and how much she loves me and how much she’s learned. They all thanked me. And I thanked them, because I love this sweet girl so much. 

I don’t think I can explain how much these gifts and words have meant to me. The class itself was proof enough to me that the year was successful, but hearing it from the parents and girls was so reassuring. 

If you appreciate someone, if someone has taught you something, tell them; show them. It means more than you’ll ever realize. I know, for me, it’s something I’ll carry with me for the rest of me life. 

These girls have taught me more than I ever thought I could learn; about teaching, about ballet, about people, about love, about passion. Thinking of them fills me with a warmth I can’t describe. They have ruined me of all future classes because they were all so wonderful this year. I am so grateful. 

And honestly, I couldn’t have done it without my assistants. No way, no how. They were at times life lines, especially with getting so sick. I don’t think they know or realize how much they helped me. They have set a high standard for any future assistants I may have, as they have seemed to read my mind and been there before I even knew what I needed. 

This year has left me remembering what I love most about ballet. About life. About everything. And I’m so beyond grateful for that. 

Now what.

It’s amazing how quickly things can change.

Two months ago, I was preparing for the final run-throughs and theatre week of our spring show, Snow White. Now, I can’t even make it to a ballet class because my body is just too drained. Heck, I can hardly make it through a work day at this point, and it’s the off season.

Granted, two months ago, I was struggling so badly with whatever was attacking my body. I remember the rehearsals where I had to sit out and lay on the floor with minimal movement just to avoid passing out, with no explanation. I remember the freighted look on the cover’s face as she had been so new in to be the cover for the role which had about 6 different ways the dance could be done depending on where you stood, and she had never done my section before. (She pulled it off, like an epic cover.)

But now, I’m diagnosed. Something I’ve waited over a decade for. I know at least part of what it is that’s causing me to feel this way, even if I’m not 100% sure how it began or what caused it to stir up. I can’t just sit back and pretend like it’s not a thing anymore.

This is a thing.
I feel this thing.
This thing is exhausting as heck.
I can’t ignore this thing.

It’s annoying, not being able to do things that a normal person should be able to do. It’s frustrating, having to scale back and limit myself so much. It’s exhausting, having to explain it to people who don’t really believe me just so I can press through the things I can’t cut out of my life. Existing isn’t supposed to be this exhausting.

I have a great group of friends who are here for me, and without them there to listen to my endless complaining, I don’t know where I’d be. One has even offered to come over and help me get my house back in order from the recent flea infestation epidemic. (Note: if you live in a house that on pier and beam, get dang skirting around the bottom of the house so stupid cats can’t come and live under your house with their flea infested selves, causing them to get into your house.) This is huge because I’m currently having to stay in my parents house, which while I appreciate them so much, it’s its own kind of draining, being there.

Still, most of this I have to face alone. I don’t know what I’d do without the help of friends, and occasionally my sister, who graciously went to the grocery store with me Sunday because I honestly didn’t know if I’d make it through a crowded place and manage to get everything I needed without panicking or perhaps passing out.
But aside from the occasional time someone can help, it’s just me.
I still have to work because I have bills I have to pay and no one can help me pay them.
I have to keep my house in order because I live alone and no one is gonna do it for me.
I’m an adult. Living a successful life on my own. And now illness decides I’ve been avoiding it’s subtle nudges the last 14 years. Apparently it decided it was time for an onslaught of struggles. Ones I find it hard to ignore or avoid.

I’ve been exhausted since about 12:30, but really I’ve been tired since my eyes opened this morning. There were about two hours that were manageable, but now I feel like I just ran a marathon and the endorphins have worn off. Except I’ve been sitting at my desk most of the day, doing simple bookkeeping. After this, I have to go to recital rehearsal for my babies, which I’ve never done before and makes me pretty anxious. I don’t entirely know what is expected of me, though I have asked a dear friend what I need to know and she’s helped me out immensely. I’m just afraid I’ll miss something. I probably won’t. Ugh, I want my bed.

This new reality has my heart in a sense of grief.
My doctor encouraged me to still attend dance classes, but no more than I can handle. (ie. no more shows. Which, I mean, I knew that.) But at this point anything past work seems like too much.

I want nothing more than to be able to take class. To not feel like I could fall asleep anytime or anywhere if I just closed my eyes for more than 30 seconds. I want to be normal; have a normal life, pursue the things I love, get out of my house more than just to come to work, hang out with friends. All of this has really just begun for me–the extremity of it, that is–and my mind is already going a million miles an hour. I want to sleep for five days, but even then I know it wouldn’t do anything. It’s not so much that I’m sleepy or tired, it’s that my body is physically drained.

I’m trying not to worry about what the future may or may not hold, but that’s also kind of difficult to do at this point. I’m not sure if I’ll ever improve past this point. Right now, I just don’t want to get worse. I can’t tell if the medications are helping or making it worse, but have a fancy app that helps me keep track of what I have to take and when and how my body reacts. So that’s cool.

I hope this blog is still able to be one where I get to post about ballet, and that I don’t find myself unable to go.

One thing is for certain, I am extremely grateful to the discipline I have learned the last five and a half years that I have been taking classes. It’s helping me to endure and do my best to fight this stuff however I can.

I hope you stick around, still, even in the uncertainty of my future in dance.

The last class I took was a wonderful class, though I find myself doing better after a break since I don’t think to compensate for things that hurt, haha! I got a bunch of great compliments from my teacher and even if the moves caused some pain, they felt good to do. Ethereal, even. I caught myself in the mirror at barre and couldn’t believe that this was me here, doing this thing, and looking this way doing it. Almost as though a dream had been made real. I don’t ever want to lose that. I don’t want to have to give it up.

Hopefully I’ll be able to make summer classes. And if classes are just too late in the fall, my porch is done which gives me room to actually try things, though the boards make stubbing my toes a high probability, haha.

In the midst of all this, I ordered a new skirt from Flic Flac Dance that I’m really excited for. Hopefully it’ll be the inspiration I need to keep myself moving.

 

Diagnosis. 

I went to class on Wednesday. 

For the first time since probably march? Honestly I don’t remember the last time I was able to take a class. 

I remember the last class, though. It was Mrs Alex’s class, which is my favorite adult class. I remember feeling dizzy, and sick, and weak. I remember struggling. And I remember not being able to stay past barre because my body was too done. 

I have Fridays off again since tax season is over, so I stayed for class Wednesday since it was the last class of the year. 

I was exhausted, but I pushed through. 

As per usual, I was the best I’d been in a while. This happens any time I come back after being out, and I think I figured out why. I think it’s because I forget what hurts, so I don’t account for it, so I do everything so great. 

I definitely felt it the next morning. My knee was throbbing, my legs were sore, my ankle was angry. I was exhausted. 

I had my follow up appointment with my rheumatologist yesterday. I told her how I hadn’t been able to go to class since march or so because I was too exhausted. She was really concerned, especially since it has escalated so quickly. 

We talked through some things, got the lab results, and did some examining. She was curious as to whether my legs were actually two different lengths, or if it was something in my back. 

My left leg is 80 cm and my right is 81 cm. Which may not seem like much, but it really is. We’re not sure why my leg is shorter, but it is. So I’ll have to have the lift in my shoe for the rest of forever. Sweet. 😂

She was shocked by the extremity of my hypermobility, and i brought up ehlers danlos syndrome again. I showed her diagnostic sheet that the ehlers danlos website people had put out this week and all the things that were applicable to me. She gave be a verbal affirmation that I do have the hypermobility type of ehlers danlos syndrome. I’m excited because it’s finally something. I’ve been sick for 14 years, been seeing doctors for 9, and I have been trying like hell to try and convince people that it’s not all in my head. I’ve finally found doctors that agree that I am not okay and have been working with me to find answers. 

She said that having your gallbladder out can cause your body to have auto immune type symptoms. She prescribed me a medication to help with that. 

The bloodwork shows that I am a carrier of the mono gene, which has caused me to have chronic fatigue syndrome. I’ve never had mono, but I apparently have been exposed to someone with it, so my body has been fighting off the virus even though I’m not “sick with it.” That explains why I’m so freaking tired all the time. 

She agreed that shows are too much, but encouraged me to keep dancing as many classes as I can get there. She also told me to rest as much as humanly possible, which gives me an excuse to be an introvert #bless. But it sucks because I’m still trying to get my house back in order and scrubbed, and not being able to do much without being completely exhausted is annoying as heck. 

I’m currently writing this while laying on my floor, in pain from throwing out my back as well, trying to plot out what I can actually accomplish today with the energy I have left. 

Summer classes start in june, so I’m very excited at the prospect of getting back into class and getting home earlier. Hopefully it’s okay and I’m able to attend them without being too tired. And hopefully the medication I’ll be taking will help. 

Excuses, excuses.

My stomach finally started feeling better on Sunday, and I was hopeful I would be able to make it to class this week.

Then on Sunday night, my sinuses decided I needed a swift kick in the face.

Already exhausted from the overload of pushing through last week, having simple sinus issues makes sleeping weird. I oddly enough could still breathe through my nose mostly, so that wasn’t horrible, but it caused me to have weird dreams and restless sleep, almost feeling like I didn’t sleep much at all, even though I knew I had.

I still went to work. Still made it through the day. Still hoped it would all be okay and once I got going I’d do better. Which I did, for the most part, but by 5 o’clock, I was wiped out. On Monday, reluctantly, I went home.

But today is Wednesday. And today is another opportunity for a class. A great class. I went to be hopeful that I would be well enough to go. Then I woke up and the medication I took left me feeling even weirder, and the prospect of getting to stay for class seemed less and less.

I did finally get to go to the chiropractor yesterday. Even he was like, “I haven’t seen you in ages!” and I’m wondering if having missed for so long may even play a factor into it. (I haven’t had sinus issues in about six years.) But, unfortunately, I just don’t think staying for class is going to happen again today.

My mind is doing a number with me on this one:

“You always have an excuse. You’re never going to get back into the studio if you succumb to every one of them. When will enough be enough? Stop being lazy.”

But see, that’s just it. I’m not being lazy.

Unfortunately, sometimes you have to take time. Sometimes you have to factor in that pushing through could do more harm that good. And even if it lasts longer than  a month, sometimes that’s what it takes.

I successfully avoided the burnout I experienced last year where I had worked my first tax season and made it through Swan Lake, having to take four days off work following being unable to get out of bed. But that doesn’t mean I’m out of the woods. Even with all my precautions, my body is still protesting. And though I don’t want to, I have to listen. If I ignore this, it could be more harm than good.

Thankfully I’m still able to enjoy things like watching my company and my friends company and companies I don’t know perform at the Regional Dance America National Festival, where they are live streaming their performances each of the nights. (The link is here.) I’m able to remain inspired, even if I can’t participate. I was supposed to go with them this year, but unfortunately, that fell through. It’s a blow knowing they’re taking class from one of my all time favorite ballerinas, Lauren Anderson, but it’s still cool knowing that my babies are there and they’re getting to do it still, even if I can’t join them. I’m so proud of them and all they’re accomplishing.

Also, the dance world via instagram is leading to new friendships and fun connections, like last night when someone commented on my story of watching the live stream, causing us to realize she went to the same studio one of my friends now goes to since they moved. The world is small and incredible.

If you follow me and haven’t yet, please introduce yourself! I’d love to get to know you, especially if I don’t follow you yet. Sometimes new follows get lost in a surge or happen on a day I can’t check my account and I miss them. I don’t want to miss them.

Hope you all are well!