I actually made it to a class yesterday.
First time in, like, a month.
There were days I felt well enough to go before, but I was a bit nervous not knowing who the teacher is. Not that any of them could necessarily not be good teachers, but I realize that I am currently in a very fragile state and having something familiar in a place that I associate with safety is dire. It could easily sap me of any bit of optimism I have, or it could remind me that I’m going to be okay.
Summer classes start earlier since we don’t have to worry about a school schedule, so I knew if I left straight from work, I’d only be there about 15 minutes early. (Y’all may scoff at the “only,” but being that I live pretty far out it typically puts me about 30 minutes early. Which is too early in this sense. Fifteen minutes was going to be perfect.) I left the office at 5:04, class starts at 6.
I had driven the same route yesterday for my chiropractor appointment with no problem, but not even 15 minutes into the 45 minute drive, the traffic was already insane. I’m not sure if it’s due to the city’s potential and imminent growth coming early or if it’s something with summer or what, but I was tense and concerned that I wouldn’t get there on time. (The drive is a 35 minute drive that takes 47 during 5 o’clock traffic.) I looked at the clock when I was supposed to be 10 minutes away and noticed I wasn’t even half way there. I was stressed. My hair was still down, I’m not sure where in the depths of the car my shoes are, and I haven’t seen anyone in at least a month. I need those 15 minutes to center myself.
I walked in the door right as class was starting. Full of younger ones whom I love so dearly, I wanted to just hug them all and ask how their summer is going, but I had to get my hair up and they were already walking into the studio. One of the mom’s hugged me as I was half-ready, walking into the studio anyway, and said, “I love seeing you when you get to come to class.” And I knew she meant that genuinely from the depths of her heart. It made my stress melt away and air to fill my lungs again.
Thankfully I walked in to see one of my favorite teachers. She’s also one I don’t have often, but the classes of hers I have taken are ones that always left me feeling great. She challenges enough to push us past what we think we’re capable enough, while also not making it so hard we give up. I was excited.
I said hi to some of the dancers I was able to, and hugged the closest few before we got started. Barre was the challenge I expected and hoped for, and left me feeling so good. I was aware of my limitations, but also still able to do most of what I could before. I did do something to my left hip, but that used to be the norm so I wasn’t all too concerned. (And it doesn’t hurt me today.) The class is an hour and a half long, and barre was about 45 minutes. When we finished, I pulled my hand away and noticed it shaking. More than just a subtle movement, but full-on shaking. I did some quick calculating of how I felt versus the time we had left and knowing center would probably have some challenges and decided I–unfortunately–probably shouldn’t push myself. I went and told my teacher, as I didn’t want her to think I was just leaving because it was her. Turns out I hadn’t seen her or gotten to talk to her since I had gotten diagnosed (I used to see her every Wednesday between when my class ended and hers began and also at rehearsals) so I filled her in, but she has seen and known of many of my struggles, especially during Snow White rehearsals.
I didn’t think I could drive home the whole way without the threat of spacing out, so I waited in the foyer. Thankfully, two of the mom’s were still there, including the one who had hugged me before. We talked about the upcoming year and classes, my trip to Florida next month, and they gave me tips on things to make sure I see and do. As I was about to leave, another mom came in and my diagnosis came up. Turns out one of the mom’s there also has CFS and was telling me about things she tried that worked for her and ways it affects her. It was so great to have another someone there who understood it and even mentioned, “everyone is different. What works for me may not work for you, but it might be worth a shot.” It was simple and she didn’t have to say anything, but her doing so made me feel so much better.
Reality is my reality is changing. Substantially. By the looks of it, I may not be able to stay for classes, even on “good days.” I’m exhausted today and having to push through the work day anyway, which thankfully is full of things I understand, but unfortunately something I’m having to take more slowly to factor in my brain’s lag time and how heavy my chest feels. I do have Friday’s off right now, which is everything. Navigating the Fall will be something to adjust to, as well. I just have to leave myself room to be human and understand that my life isn’t what it was. I also have to give myself the time it will take to accept that in all of it’s layers.
My next doctor’s appointment is at the end of August. I’m hopeful that maybe we can figure out further depths to this thing, or even just note that it’s declining rather rapidly, and see where to go from here.
Thankfully, I write, which means most things are pretty heavily documented.
I hope to still be as active here as I can, though regrettably it will be quite a bit less from normal being that I can’t do as much. I’ll have my baby classes to keep me in the loop of the dance world, still, which means more than I have words for.
Thank you, friends, for staying along for this ride. You guys mean everything to me.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.