I made it to a class on Wednesday
And cried most of the way home.
I don’t say this for pity. Honestly, I’d prefer not to say anything. To just keep to myself and fake that everything is okay while I’m around people. I’m good at that. I’ve done it for years, now. It’s easier than trying to explain to people why someone so happy would be unhappy, or whatever terms you want to insert there. I still write here because I feel I owe it to the people who have been following along for years. Those friends I’ve made through social media. The ones who have reached out to me out of their own experiences and helped me get answers. I write for the ones still struggling to find their own, to show them that they’re not alone and that everything they’re going through is allowed and okay.
Sometimes I forget I’m sick. The reminders are subtle and with a low-impact day I can get through somewhat unphased. I start feeling good, and subsequently take on more than I can handle and end up worn out by simple things.
Being sick is still an adjustment. Having a diagnosis is new to me, and I’m still having to adjust my life to what this means.
I overdid it on Tuesday, causing me to really feel it on Wednesday. But I was determined to make it to a class, especially since my favorite teacher was teaching and summer classes are always the best classes. There were five of us, which was perfect, honestly.
It had been a while since I’d been in a class, and I was given really good corrections. Things I’ve been struggling with for a while and need to think about. The hard part was filtering through all the things my brain was telling me. It became quite the chore, trying to decide between what was a correct thought and what was self criticism. More infuriating still, knowing that I had been able to do this and more even just last year. Knowing that I’m not able to progress, but instead falling behind, and knowing that this is to be my new normal. It was the struggle of how much to fight and when to accept defeat.
My entire dance story has been riddled with struggle. I could hardly go a month without getting injured in some way or having something happen to me causing me to miss or sit out. But even among all the criticism, and being asked “how long are you going to do this dance thing?” I always knew that I could fight. I could fight and work hard and progress. In my life, even, if there’s something I don’t like I know I have the power to change it. This is something I’ve learned over the years, but now I know that avoiding or procrastinating or just sitting back and complaining won’t do anything to alleviate the problem. Dance helped teach me that. You want change? Work for it. Go in the direction of where you want to be and you’ll get there.
I’ve tasted the sweet victory of working hard and knowing that in time the work will pay off. I’ve seen the pay off. I’ve felt that indescribable feeling that comes with it. And now I’m faced with the one change I never saw coming; an illness that takes away the ability to do the one thing I’ve learned causes change. I’ve lost the ability to push through, the energy to fight for what I’m working for. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that the one thing that’s gotten me to where I am the last 28.5 years is the thing I can no longer do or count on.
Being in the studio felt like home. It felt right, where I’m supposed to be. Why is it, then, that the place that felt so comforting in my current world of chaos found its own way of being chaotic if only between my ears?
I felt defeated, when really even being there is a triumph these days. Making it through the entire class is something I should be celebrating.
I’m still trying to figure everything out. Trying to adjust and accept and learn my new reality. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but being sick is a lonely place to be, and I have the advantage of being an introvert.
Proper summer classes begin this next week. Adult ballet is, thankfully, earlier, and even then still late for me to get through my entire day now–an enfuriation on its own.
I’m hopeful that all hope isn’t loss. That maybe there’s something ahead that I can’t see that will help all of this. But I also know that this isn’t typically my life. And even though I can’t fight like I used to, I have to figure out a new way to fight. That my story isn’t over. That dance will be possible in some way. Right now it all might seem overwhelming, but that maybe it won’t always be that way.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.