Dance Teacher meeting. 

It’s amazing how quickly things can progress. 

I mean, I know they could happen instantaneously and that really I’m pretty fortunate in how much I still have, but it’s all blowing my mind. I mean, this time last year I had come off a summer of dancing twice a week and was gearing up for a fall dance schedule I used to only dream of. I’d be at the studio 5 days a week, and when rehearsals started up, I’d go to the other studio one of those days as well, and then adding in another separate day, making it 6 days a week at a studio. 

But as I walked up to my dance teachers house for our annual teacher meeting before classes start, a pain started shooting in my left knee as I walked up to her porch. As I walked out later, the pain was still there. My knee popped, (like usual) and that didn’t help. I got home and walked next door to my sister house, and within two steps I thought of turning back around and driving the 400 feet it would take me to get there because I wasn’t sure if I could make it. But I did it anyway. 

I’m twenty-eight, not eighty-two. What. The. Hell. 

I’m going for an MRI for my back tomorrow, hoping it can give me some answers as to why sitting hurts now and what we can do about it. I’m assuming the knee issues has to do with whatever is happening with my back. We’ll see, I guess. My friend Andie and I leave for Florida in two weeks, and I need my body to freaking hold it together because I’m not missing that and I don’t want her to be wheeling me around the entire dang time. 

The staff meeting went really well. It’s nice to get all of us in one place and set out visions and goals for the coming year, as well as start with expectations of what we should be striving for as teachers. Having the teachers who have been there since some of the newer teachers were students is really cool. I feel like they’re just vaults of wisdom from all the years of experience. I can’t get enough. Plus everyone is so kind, I’m truly grateful. 

I was able to tell my dance teachers about my back. I hadn’t seen them since it’s acted up so I hadn’t been able to update them. They’re so great and supportive. They’re going to make sure I have an assistant in every class so they can do the demonstrating for me, which will help substantially. It would crush my heart to have to lose ballet, so my goal is to not have that happen, and having them be so supportive of keeping me on even when my body is turning against me means more than I have words for. 

They gave us these sweet, personalized, reusable bags 

Filled with lots of goodies!


Including 


Faculty shirts! How cool is that?? I’m super pumped about it. The picture is of Ms. Munro, which I absolutely LOVE. She so incredible. Her stories blow my mind and leave me in awe. We truly are lucky to have her. 

Classes start next week and I’m so excited to meet my kiddos. I even have my boss’ granddaughter in my Saturday class! It’s gonna be so much fun! 

Comparison. 

We’ve all heard people say not to compare yourself to someone else. 

For me, it’s become one of the most annoyingly stereotypical comments, especially having recovered from an eating disorder and also now being in ballet. 

I’ve heard it over and over and over and over again. It’s successfully been drilled into my head. 

So why do I still do it? 

Sure, not in the same way I used to. I successfully don’t degrade myself over the fact that someone else is the size I wish I could be. I also don’t beat myself up when people are better than or more of a natural at something I’m passionate about. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still size up my small friends and wish I could look like them, trying to figure out what I could do to logically get to my version of that. Or that I don’t subconsciously count it as a mark against me when someone else is succeeding and my life is seemingly relatively stagnant. 

If this is something I know so well, why do I still do it? 

I guess part of it is human nature. We judge people because we are human, but there is a difference between taking in your surroundings to make judgements of how you need to act, etc, and being a judge mental jerk. (For lack of saying words I may not want children to read.) in the same sense, we compare. Personally, judging and comparing are two traits that help me in my day-to-day tasks. It’s largely how I know how to act and react and what’s appropriate. Sure, sometimes I miss the mark, but “reading the room” of sorts is a key part to me functioning in society. 

Knowing such, I know I’m also prone to be way too hard on myself. To over thinking and telling myself that I don’t have what it takes or I’m not enough. None of that is healthy, so when I notice myself going down that path, I try to stop myself and remind myself who I am and what I have to offer. 

(Sometimes this is way harder than it seems or should be.)

  • It’s not a competition on if I’m “sick enough.” I don’t have to prove it to anyone, and frankly, getting a diagnosis isn’t something I can talk my way into. It’s  something proven by tests and blood work. I can’t control it more than the medical advice I’m given, realistically. I am me, this is my body and reality, this is my lot. Im not anyone else. I can only do what I can do about it. 
  • Not having a significant other does not make me less of a person. Honestly, I think this one bothers other people more than me, and the fact that they’re bothered bothers me. (Though it’d be nice to be on someone’s insurance and have a second income. Yes, I realize how shallow I sound.)
  • Amount of readers or followers or likes or anything else social media brings does not dictate my worth. I shouldn’t feel like I have to say or do certain things to reach out to people who don’t really care about me. The ones who care will be there. The new people I meet will come anyway. I can only do what I can and no more than that. Being fake to try and feel more successful isn’t worth it. 
  • My friends love me for who I am. I don’t have to prove anything to them. I shouldn’t be afraid that they may not like me if they get to know me better. Should that happen, it’s not worth the stress of trying to keep up anyway. You’ll surprise yourself by how many people actually do accept you just the way you are when you’re true to yourself. 
  • Doing what I need to take care of myself is a good thing. I shouldn’t be afraid of or feel guilty about doing that. 
  • Giving myself the time and space to figure out new complications is healthy. I shouldn’t feel bad about it or beat myself up for the need of it. 

I could go on and on, and honestly I don’t know if anyone really cares about this post. I don’t even know if you’ve read it this far, but that’s okay. This post is more for me than it is for anyone else, and if someone else gets something out of it, then that’s a plus. 

So often in life, definitely in ballet, we find ourselves comparing our lives and stories and paths to other people’s. And what’s the point? You’re the only person in the entire world to have the exact experiences you do. Other people may be able to relate to some of them, but they’ll never be exact. Therefore, comparing is stupid. It’s illogical. It’s part of human nature, but allowing ourselves to be overcome by it more than is natural isn’t wise. We have to figure out ways to fight it. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we are worth it, just as we are. We have to fight to better ourselves for no one else but ourselves. We have to fight to keep living, even on the days we don’t want to the most. 

It’s not fair to let darkness steal any more of the light than it takes before we notice it’s there. Darkness happens, but we deserve light. Let yourself feel it on your face and embrace its potential. 

“Comparison is the theif of all joy.”

Fact. 

Fight for what brings you joy, for you. 

If they, so I.

As I visited my sister, brother-in-law, and their new born son in the hospital yesterday, I was in tears.

I had just left the chiropractor, which I go to every other week at this point, having been in the worst back pain I’ve had since it really began three years ago. I told him this. He expressed concern. He’s sending me for a steroid shot to help until I can get an MRI done to hopefully see what is causing me to get worse instead of better.

While I’m grateful for the action being taken, I’m overwhelmed.

 

I don’t have “real insurance.” I can’t afford it. I am part of a co-op that helps with the big things, but most of the little things are left to me. I guess if you think about it, the difference might all come out in the wash for the rates I’d pay for actual insurance versus what I pay for the help I get. But I also don’t have a deductible to meet, so I don’t have to pay $6,000-$8,000 before expensive insurance even kicks in, and I don’t have to worry about being in network. I at least have enough connections to get me referrals to places I need to go. For that, I am grateful.

As I sat on the pull out bed my brother-in-law has been sleeping on and told my sister about my appointment, my brother-in-law asked me, “What did he say about you dancing?”

I laughed.

I laughed, and it broke my heart when I realized that was my reaction.

After the split second, I told him, “I can’t dance anymore. Not full classes. Teaching is okay, but I can’t make it through classes. And he’s okay with that.”

I’ve made an appointment for next Thursday to get the shot of steroids. My chiropractor was concerned when I told him that I’ve been getting worse, not better, and immediately suggested the referral to see what’s going on. I’m going to speak to my rhuematologist to see about an orthopedic specialist like she had originally suggested, but this way I’ll already have the MRI done and can bring them with me.

I put it off initially, thinking maybe it was just because I hadn’t been dancing. That I went from dancing so much to practically nothing so fast that maybe it caused the pain I was feeling. After all, it was around the same time. But then, going to dance didn’t help. The pain didn’t go away. So now I’m going to bite the bullet. Maybe it’ll be an expensive way of telling myself that I’m fine, but maybe it’s not. And if it’s not, if there really is something wrong, I should find out sooner rather than later. Especially since the pain is now starting to impinge on my every day life, making it harder to just ignore.

I cried when I left the chiropractor, knowing that this would be expensive, that things are getting worse. I cried when I called about the steroids to hopefully help, hearing the amount she quoted me as a self-pay patient. I’m sure I’ll cry when I get the call for the MRI referral.

I try my best to stay positive. Not because I’m this person that craps rainbows and sunshine, but really because of the opposite. I know if I let it all get to me, I’ll end up in a dark place I don’t need to be. I know it’s easier to take a moment to make myself pick out positives than it is to come back from being in a dark place. I know what I’m prone to, and I try to avoid it. But I also know the importance of embracing reality–I am sick. I am not getting better right now. Avoiding it will only make things worse later. My credit cards aren’t maxed out yet, I have some side income coming to me in the fall, I do have a co-op that should be able to help with the big MRI expense.

I try not to replay the fear I felt making that call to get the steroids. A fear that is difficult to explain unless you’ve experienced it. The unknown of how the call will turn out and if you’ll get shut down before you can even make the appointment. How I tried to convince myself I can do without it to save some money. I’m prone to reliving difficult situations, but letting myself do that won’t help the situation. I have to focus on getting through the next 8 days until I can even get the shot. Of telling myself that I can cancel up to Wednesday if I need to. That I see the chiropractor again on Tuesday. That things improving isn’t yet out of the question, and if they don’t I do have an appointment that will help me.

The whole time, I just hear this little voice in my head saying, “It’ll get worse before it gets better.” And if this is the “getting worse” then I just have to look for the “gets better” bit and hold to that with an iron grip.

Until then, I think of friends I have made through being sick. Friends that can’t walk, friends that pay thousands for each dose of medication they have to take just to stay alive, people who’s bodies are rejecting treatment. I think of the things I’m losing as paling in comparison. If they can do this, if they can endure, if they can find a way to wake up in the morning, then so can I.

If I can do it, so can you.