Harvey update. 

My dad and I got back to the house on Saturday to try and get generators hooked up before the freezers defrosted. We thought we knew what to expect, but I really don’t think there’s any way to prepare you for anything like this. 

We couldn’t get in through the back door of my parents house because the ceiling had fallen in and blocked the door. Dad went in through the front door, cleared the back door, and came out to get me and the dogs. I asked how I looked and he said, “Bad.” 

He wasn’t kidding. The roof caps had flown off and there was a hole in my sisters old room upstairs. 


This let in rain throughout her entire room, which then also went into my old room. The ceilings had fallen out in both rooms as well as bathrooms. Closets are oddly okay. 


These pictures uploaded backwards. Anyway. 

It also did the same in our game room, which had all the stuff my sister was trying to move into her new house. The bottom part of the right window popped out, but didn’t break. 


These are all the upstairs rooms, so of course when the floors soaked here, it soaked the rooms below 


There were more places downstairs but I didn’t get pictures of it all. The biggest piece fell in my kitchen, directly below my bathroom. Which means all the stuff stored in there is probably ruined. 

My sisters house had some missing shingles and water and mud seeped in under the doors and windows. That’s where my family is staying.

My house, a 416-square-foot tiny house my dad built me, only lost a piece of tin. 


There was a tiny amount of water in my house. Hardly enough to dampen a towel. Out of the houses, I fared the best. 

We also lost three storage buildings and our barn. 


And flipped a conex. 

My car, which was parked next to the barn, is just fine thankfully, and the storage units were ones we needed to go through anyway so it just expedites that process. My dads shop will end up being a loss, but the stuff inside is okay. 

Over all, we really didn’t do too bad. We have friends who lost absolutely everything. Homes 4 miles from us in town (Bayside) absolutely flattened. 80% of Bayside is gone. My tiny town. 

The stories coming out of the storm blow your mind. My neighbor held his door closed the entire 4 hours the eye wall pounded us. If he hadn’t, he probably would have lost it as he did all the other buildings on his property. 

My best friend in rockport had a tornado go through her yard which lifted her house off the foundation and set it back down. The stuff inside is salvageable, but the house will have to be torn down. 

I’ve heard of trees through houses, I’ve seen trailers and mobile homes completely flattened, only identifiable by the grill. I’ve seen places where a building once was, but you couldn’t tell anything had been there before except for the cement blocks it sat on, and if you looked across the road to the open field, you saw the remnants of the building scattered. 

Cows in the road. Power poles snapped and dangling on the other side of the road. Metal poles at 90 degree angles from the base. 

Concrete buildings crumbles like blocks a kid walked through. And the trees. Oh, the trees. Rockport is known for its beautiful oak trees. They’re all completely stripped. 

Trying to find your way around town by landmarks is impossible, because the familiar buildings and lights and signs aren’t there. 

Businesses owned by friends completely flattened. An entire town unrecognizable. 

The schools have walls destroyed, the school district closed indefinitely. 


In Aransas Pass, the town where I work, the water tower even collapsed. The ceiling of the high school ripped off. 

Historical buildings in every town ruined beyond repair. 

And this was just the beginning. After it had its way with our communities, it continued up the coast to cover Houston and the surrounding areas in enough water to cover the entire United States in almost an inch of water. Enough flooding in Houston proper alone to fill two Delawares. 

Over 11 million people affected. 48% of the state of Texas. I don’t know if you’ve seen Texas, but it’s huge. 


Corpus Christi made out rather well. Most of the city has power restored and is back to business as usual. It’s rather odd to go from my house where destruction is and go to the studio where everything is business as usual. 

Thankfully, both of our studio buildings did just fine. The main studio didn’t even lose power. The brand new floor that delivered last Tuesday to replace the floor damaged from a flood downtown in June survived. No flooding there at all. 

I’m grateful, especially since I don’t know when I’ll get back to work. I still have the studio and can still teach. 

I had my class yesterday, and my kids were so well behaved it really was therapeutic for me. 

I was able to see many of my dear friends I’ve made since dancing, each of them genuinely expressing their heartache to know what we’re facing. One of my closest friends held me in the tightest, most comforting hug. It stays with me even still.

These are the things that make a difference. The genuine care and concern from people who love me. Knowing they would do anything in their power to help me. 

My family in Kansas loaded up a truck and trailer and headed down yesterday. Some of my dads Vietnam buddies are heading down Sunday with even more supplies. People sending cash. You forget you have bills and no income to pay them until you get an email reminding you, and at the same time a friend sends you cash and you don’t have to worry about it. And you didn’t even ask. They reached out, and even though you haven’t spoken in a while there was no stopping them. 

Seeing my childhood home in shambles didn’t make me cry. Realizing I lost two boxes of pictures didn’t make me cry. I’m pretty good with not crying. What did it for me, and what still does if I slow down long enough to think about it, is the kindness from these people and people like them. Everyone banding together to take care of each other absolutely selflessly. I can’t even begin to express my extreme gratitude. 

Right now I’m in the car on the way to Dallas with my friend so we can fly out to Florida to make our Harry Potter event we’ve been counting down to. I’m grateful to still be able to go. Honestly, part of me has forgotten that this is actually happening. So many sad things have happened and be seen. Things I won’t even put here because they’re heart breaking. Add on top of that I had a follow up appointment yesterday and was told to try hypnosis. My doctor doesn’t know what else to tell me. She’s absolutely baffled. As if I needed anything else to worry about. I’m already pushing myself to breaking because we don’t really have a choice, especially as all this first unfolded. This is a marathon, not a sprint, for most of the state, so to think about leaving for four days id be lying if I said it was an easy decision. My family wants me to go. They want me to get away for a bit. That means a lot to me. 

It also helps knowing I’m not leaving my dad alone. Until yesterday it was just the two of us. My uncles are there to help him, mom got home yesterday evening, and friends and various churches have offered to come out and help which has made a huge difference. I can’t even begin to thank them enough. 

I haven’t been able to journal about it much. Part of it being time, part of it being the fact that sitting is so painful, especially with how much physics labor I’m having to do that I probably shouldn’t be doing. 

It’s surreal. You see the pictures, you see the news, you see it happen to everyone else. Then you turn the channel, someone else happens and makes you forget about it. But then it’s you. And it doesn’t go away. You can’t turn your head and ignore it because the destruction is literally everywhere. You can’t cry and just want to be home because home as you know it doesn’t exist. Everything is different now. This is the first day of the rest of our lives. And even still, we have so much to be grateful for. We could have lost absolutely everything like some. We almost stayed. So many ways we were protected. 

I know people ask how could a God who’s so loving do something like this. But I think people miss the reality of who God is. We live in a fallen world. Humans chose sin and this is part of what came with it. My God is the God who told us to leave even though we always stay. He’s the one who made sure the buildings that are most important are standing, even if one is severely damaged. He’s the one who kept the dang cats safe. He’s the one putting it on people’s hearts to help where they can. God didn’t send this storm. He’s the one sending the restoration from the storm. 

God doesn’t forget or neglect His people. And it’s evident. Oh, is it evident. 

I hope you all are well and hopefully I’ll be able to get back to regular dance posts soon. 

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for and thought of us. It gives us an inner strength knowing we aren’t alone. 

Hello Hurricane 

I’m currently in a loaded down truck with two dogs and my Dad heading out of town. Hurricane Harvey is going to make a direct hit on our little town, just north of the city where my studio is. We originally were going to ride it out but things got worse and we had time to leave so we did. 

At this point we aren’t sure what we’ll come home to, but we did all we could to secure everything. My mom, sister, and 2-week-old nephew left with my sisters in laws this morning and Dad and I headed out a little before 10am. The winds were picking up and the rain was starting to blow in. 

I intended to have a blog post written yesterday, but the storm started getting ugly. I prepared my house the best I could by taking down my ballet painting and putting her on top of my bed and getting as much off the floor as possible. 

Before we knew we were going to get hit with an insane storm, ballet classes started this week. I teach on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so I was able to teach my class Wednesday before things got really bad and we closed the studio yesterday. 

It was really weird knowing that I wouldn’t be staying for class. Even more odd was seeing my friends and dance moms and them asking what classes I’m taking and telling them, “I can’t dance anymore.” 

Everything escalated so quickly that I haven’t seen any of them for them to really have any inclination that this would be a thing. Last they knew, I was dancing the corps roles of our spring show while taking class twice a week, not including rehearsals. So to go from that to “I can’t dance” is pretty drastic. 

I explained that I’m still able to teach, but I have to have an assistant. They were glad to know that I’ll still be around and and not totally out of it yet. 

My class is full of 18 five year olds who seem to love life and are very chatty. They’re stinking cute and hopefully we’ll be able to get a good sense of order pretty quickly. Once I learn their names it will be much easier. 

It made me so happy to be back in the studio. I’m not sure what we will be coming back to when this storm is over. They’re expecting 120 mph winds and storm surges of up to 15 or so feet, with up to 35 inches of rain falling. Our downtown studio is prone to flooding and I’m not sure how the studio in town does, but we’ll cross that bridge when it gets here. 

Please be praying for us as this storm is going to be rather catastrophic. To be blunt, they’re telling residents in our town that stayed to write the name of their next of kin on their forearms with sharpie and tape it. Please also be praying for my brother in law who is a police officer in this town and is working the storm through Monday. 

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.