Live A Great Story

I started this blog about five years ago, shortly after beginning ballet classes as an adult beginner. 

It’s mind blowing to think of how much life has changed since then, even though it really doesn’t feel like it’s changed much at all. 

I’ve grown. I’ve learned. 

I’ve began accepting this life that is mine, even in all of its messiness and uncertainties. 

I’m not perfect. I never will be. I don’t want to be. I want to take these lessons I’m learning, this life I’m living and all it throws at me, and make something of it. I want to “live my life to show others it’s possible” even if I don’t know how I’ll really do that, or if I ever will. 

Along this road, I’ve met some pretty cool people. One of them is my friend Annabelle, who introduced me to Live A Great Story, an organization that encourages and helps empower you to do just that. To live your story and make it a great one. 

I applied to be an ambassador, and found out today that I was accepted! I’m really excited to get to know the other incredible people that were accepted into the fold, and to find out more of myself and my story and what it means to me, as well as what it could mean to the world. 

I encourage you all to do the same. To look at your life in all it’s seeming simplicity and realize the power you do hold to make a difference. 

Improve yourself. Change your world. Let that change affect those around you for the better, and watch as it in turn changes the world. 


Nutcracker Cast List 2017

People have asked me how it feels coming into nutcracker  season this year. 

Usually I’m gearing up along side the other dancers to tackle auditions, wait for the cast list to come out, and begin rehearsals. Then there’s the costume fittings and photo shoots and everything else that goes along with it. 

How does it feel? It’s weird. Weird, because it feels right but also like a part of me is missing. Weird, because it wasn’t entirely my choice to be in this position. Weird because I don’t know where things will go from here, how I even got to this place, or what to expect. Weird because everything is different. 

The cast list came on on Monday, and I’m on it. 

No, I’m not Rose and Snow, like the rest of the girls in the level I rose up in. I’m not even on the list for a role that technically requires dance shoes. I am on the cast list as a Party Parent. 

And I’m so excited. 

How is it that someone who was dancing in the advanced core roles just this past spring is excited about going from that to a role that is typically filled by adults on the board or dancers parents? 

Because since I started to realize that I’m not okay and something is wrong in my body, I didn’t think I’d get on the stage again. I didn’t think I’d be able to be a part. I thought my nutcracker days were behind me, except maybe being backstage helping with props. (Which would still be super fun.) but there’s something about the rush of the costumes and the lights and the music and the audience. I love being on stage. Being a Party Parent gives me that opportunity again. 

The party dad I’m with is a good friend of mine, as well, guaranteeing that this will be SO much fun. I’m excited to be around the kids that will be in the party scene, and thrilled to get to dance with my babies that are Clara this year. 

Life is weird. It keeps throwing blows at me. It could tear me apart make me feel defeated, or I can roll with the punches and take things as they come. I can choose to be grateful to have such a wonderful place that allows me to dance with them, instead of crying about the fact that I can’t be what I once was. It takes time to get to this place, and sometimes it’s harder to be here than others, but regardless I am so grateful. It’s going to be fun. 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know about one of my favorite family’s in the entire world–the Rowland’s. I danced with Cheyanne when they lived here and her sister Sarah is one of my babies. Their mom, Jacie, adopted me into the fold when I first came to the studio and has grown to become one of my most cherished friends. Due to hurricane Harvey madness, they had to come down to take care of some things with their house down here, meaning they were mere minutes from my house. 

I saw them last night at the studio, and then again this morning and y’all my heart is so happy. I haven’t seen them since they moved a year and a half ago. Getting to hug their necks and hear their stories and meet their pet squirrel as they get to meet my dog, it was so great. I’m so freaking happy. 

They leave tonight and I don’t know when I’ll get to see them again, but the couple hours we had made the world feel right again, even though so much has changed and we live among destruction. 

I’m sad they’re going back home, but I’m so excited for the opportunities they have where they are, and for the time I got to see them. Not to mention for their ongoing friendships! 

Happy birthday. 

This year has proven to be quite the challenge. 

One of my classes is already closed, having 16 girls enrolled. They’re super cute and love being there, but they also love to tell stories as most five year olds do. I have to figure out how to keep it fun, but also keep them focused. I’m trying to hard to learn everyone’s names to make it easier, but hot dang there’s so many names and many of them. 

My birthday was on Friday, falling on the day with my 5/6 year olds that are quickly becoming my favorite. They’re focused and full of life, and since it’s a bit of a smaller class it seems to be easier to keep everything on track. I brought cupcakes for them, and they were absolutely delighted. So stinking cute. At the end of class, they insisted on singing to me, which absolutely melted my heart. I should have filmed it. Such dang sweet kids! 

Saturday’s 6-7-8 year olds is looking really promising, though I worry the younger ones might get bored, not being used to the discipline of it all. I try and balance it all out as much as possible, having the discipline as well as still making it fun. I’m excited to see where it goes. 

My 3-4 year old class had twelve kids in it yesterday. Twelve. Last weeks class went so well, I actually got through everything really quickly, and this week I realized why. There’s a couple students that aren’t the best listeners. They weren’t there last week, making the difference super evident. I have to remind myself that I’m the teacher, and it’s my job to keep control of the class. That to not address their behavior isn’t fair to the other kids in the class who are missing out. Thankfully I had both of my baller assistants, making it at least possible to get through. I don’t know what I’d do without them. 

I was subbing two Friday classes, one of which I didn’t have an assistant for, the other I had gotten with one of the homeschooled assistants before hand to see if she could help me out. Thankfully, she was able to be there for the first one, which was the more difficult of the two. I didn’t have my assistant for my class, which usually wouldn’t be an issue that day, but i think having so many clssses without assistants for various reasons has gone a number on my body. By yesterday, i was in a lot of pain. 

I think I’m doing more than I should be doing, though at this point I don’t really have any more that I can cut out. I’m sure the dang hurricane isn’t helping things, since it’s making me have to do more than I normally would. Yesterday makes the second Saturday in a row that I almost passed out. Thankfully I have been able to sort of recognize the signs and be able to stop long enough to avoid it, and also know that’s when I have to stop. I’ve been trying to use my Sunday’s to do nothing, hoping it helps my body recover some to make it through the next week. I wish I had an extra day, even though I’ve literally had an extra day for the past few months since we haven’t been working Fridays. I can’t really do anything more than take it one day at a time. 

My Friday babies were super cute, and decided our feet looked like a flower. 

I. Love. Kids. 

It’s the little things. 

My apologies for my semi-silence. Life has been pretty intense and all of that has been escalated by Hurricane Harvey. 

Quick update on that to get it out of the way, we have been working every day to try and get our lives back together. Having to sort through our house, barn, and three storage buildings as well as my dads shop and relocating them to other buildings, all while trying to figure out where my parents will live while their house is gutted and rebuilt has been exhausted. Have I mentioned I’m back to work? And most of our clients lost much if not everything? Good times. 

When they took apart the fallen storage building we call “the yellow building” to try and get to the boxes to see what was salvageable, my first ballet costume from when I was six remained tucked in the drawers of the dresser that went straight to the burn pile. When I got home from work and found out, i stood in the pile of remaining things to be sorted and cried. 

If you know me, I’m not a crier. But the overwhelming reality of it all hit me in the moment that I knew my costume wasn’t safely tucked away any more. That I could never pull it out to look at the year that stuck with me and started it all. That I didn’t know if any pictures remained, and if so if they had immense water damage. 

I distracted myself by going through other boxes to pull myself together. I didn’t have time to fall apart. We had about an hour before the mosquitoes got really bad and there was so much to sort. A couple days later I found a box with old books, including my great grandmas diaries and old pictures. Among them were many ruined ones, stuck together, ink running down to make them unrecognizable. Also among them were two pictures stuck together, the top one showing me and my childhood best friend on stage in that first recital costume. It had damage on the edges, but we were in the center of the picture. Close enough. My heart swelled knowing that something remained of the beginning of my ballet story. Of the recitals my grandpa attended, causeing the conversation I found myself coming back to as a dreaming teen and young adult, wanting so badly to become the thing I always dreamed of being. I also found the VHS of the ballet I watched until the film inside was ruined. (The Toy Soldier.) 

It’s weird having my reality so affected, continuously trying to put the pieces back together any given moment that I’m “home”, yet going to the studio and everything and everyone being back to normal. What’s more is the fact my office was largely unaffected, yet if you open the front door and look to the right, you see a house without a roof, contents from all the houses stacked on the curb. 

In a way, having the studio helps me have a sense of normalcy. I appreciate the fact that it is still there and things are predictable–well, as predictable as they can be with a new year and new students. 

On the other hand, it can be difficult to exist in a world where people have already begun to forget and move on while my family is still buried in the reality of the storm. 

Thankfully, I have some great students. They’re cute as can be and so full of life. Being around them helps me more than I think I realize. 

My Friday kids, especially. It’s the perfect class size and they’re so excited to be there. About half of the class are kids I had last year, and having that bit of familiar helps more than anything, I think. It’s funny, because you think that adults are supposed to be the ones to comfort and encourage the children, when really they can comfort and encourage you if you let them. 

I was a bit anxious for Saturday after having a Friday full of subbing classes with no assistants, one of them being quite a handful. (Ironically due to two of my students doing a make up class.) my assistant was there for my first class, but was pulled to teach the tap class at the same time as my second class. I was so incredibly proud of her and the fact she had this opportunity. She has such immense talent and works so very hard. She is kind, and the kids love her and look up to her. 

There’s one tiny baby in the 3-4 year old class who really took to her the first week. I was gone and there was a sub, and this tiny baby cried the entire time. Alexis jumped in and comforted her and encouraged her. When I came for my first week with the kids, I had hear of “the crier” and her mom came up to me and told me how much Alexis meant to her daughter. How she wouldn’t stop talking about her and even made sure that she was included in their nightly prayers. It made my heart swell. I get rather territorial over my babies. I love them as if they were my own, so leaving them makes me uneasy. Knowing that I have such great assistants here when I’m not brings me so much peace, I can’t even explain it. 

This week, Alexis wasn’t going to be in the class, but she brilliantly found the tiny baby before, explained to her what was going on and that she would hug her afterwards. She told her to have fun and do what I said and to tell her all about it when the class was over. And guys, it worked. The sweet girl rocked that class. You would have never guessed she had been “the crier” and she had so much fun, being sure to find Alexis afterwards to tell her all about it. 

Before class her mom found Alexis and I and gave us these 

How stinking cute are these cookies? She thanked us for being so patient and great with her daughter, and the little nugget even thanked us and gave us big hugs. I didn’t feel worthy since Alexis was the main reason this little one had done so well, but was so grateful nonetheless. 

This is what it’s about. This is why we do what we do. Inspiring kids and doing what we can to help them feel comfortable, while teaching them this art we mutually love. Seeing these girls I took class with and danced roles with stepping up and taking such huge responsibility, taking it seriously and being such great examples to the younger ones–I can’t even explain how much this means to me. 

I struggle every day. Between all the chronic illnesses and the pain and the emotional toll right now, not falling apart is a challenge. Having this, having dance, and having such incredible people in my life because of it literally makes the difference. I don’t divulge the details of the struggle here, though if you read these long ol’ posts you do get a glimpse, but please know that those of you that I have gotten to know, that have reached out, that have given your time or sent money or offered up prayers, those of you that work tirelessly to help me by doing what you’re simply committed to do, all of this is life changing. All of this is part of the strength people tell me I must have to keep going. You help give me strength. And I could never thank you for that. 

Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for being such incredible people and being in my life. 

Dance friends are the best friends. 

As we close out on week two of post-Harvey life, friends on the other coast are on edge wondering what the next big storm will do to them, their homes, their friends and family, etc. 

I was just in this lovely state last weekend, having the time of my life at Diagon Alley and Magic Kingdom. 

If I went into the wonderfullness of this trip, you would be reading for quite some time. (Feel free to dm me on Instagram and I’ll tell ya all about it!) I did end up riding the Hogwarts Express with Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, and who’s girlfriend also has CFS! So that was exciting comparing notes. I had seeny rheumatologist on Wednesday, the day before I left for my trip. She’s out of ideas, so I’m at a dead end again. Hearing from him that his girlfriend was having success with a treatment was a glimmer of hope I wasn’t expecting. 

I also ended up being in the exact same place as Allie, one of my friends I’ve met through the Adult Ballet community on Instagram. She’s been one of my favorites from the beginning. She is so passionate, interested in many of the same things I am, (hello Taylor Swift and Dance Academy) and just seemed like someone I would get along with. Sadly, she lives in Cincinnati, which is super far from me in Texas. Not sadly, I saw she, too, would be at Disney World last weekend. Even more not sad, she text me that she would be in Disney Springs as I was literally driving there. I was SO pumped! It’s always been a silly little dream of mine to be able to meet a friend from the ballet Instagram world in real life. I’ve made so many dear friends through this that I forget I haven’t met many of them in person. Getting to actually hug Allie’s neck, see her in real life, and get pictures and Polaroids with her was such a joy, I can’t even express it. And even more so, she’s just as sweet and kind as I gathered from her account. So often people end up not being what you except, which feels like a sort of disappointment. Not with Allie. 

We only have literal moments to spend together, but they were so worth it. Her cousins with her were really nice as well, and I appreciated them making our meeting happen. 

I don’t think she ever doesn’t look stinking adorable. Poor thing, I was a sweaty, disgusting mess. But OH WELL. 

Yesterday I was able to go through my old bathroom at my parents house, which was where my room was boxed and stored when my room was used as a spare bedroom. I wasn’t sure what was in there or where, so I was very anxious to get in it. It was on my list to do, but cfs was making things very difficult. Thankfully, some of my dear dance friends were able to come over yesterday and helped me go through the soggy boxes and put the stuff we could save into dry, sturdy boxes and get them out of the house in case it rains. This included my high school diploma, poetry, paintings, all my cds and even my Walkman and Discman (WOAH.) some of the poetry got wet, but Krista was able to dry it with the fan and miraculously the ink didn’t run. Some of the paintings had mold on them, but her girls were able to clean it all off and save way more of them than I expected. It was a huge weight off to have that done. 

My back has been in immense pain, which seems to just get worse and worse as time goes on. It’s been escalating slowly since mid-June, and I went for an MRI before Hurricane Harvey hit. Today I was finally able to get over to the chiropractor to get the results. In short, I have arthritis in my spine, as well as two bulging disks that are hitting nerves. #coolstorybro he recommended getting them clipped, which would consist of going to San Antonio at least twice, but would be an outpatient procedure. 

My chiropractor looked at me and said “how are you not in terrible pain? Most people would be screaming. This is no small thing and it’s definitely not in your head.” I just said, “I mean, it hurts?”

I can’t drive myself because hi back pain. And I’ve had family say “shotgun not it” about taking me, but had three friends so far offer to take me without me even asking. Like. Things suck and they seem to keep piling on with all these little things that I can just ignore or push through, but I’m still not left high and dry even in all this mess. 

I don’t know what I did to deserve having such incredible people in my life, but I’m not complaining. It’s literally everything. People tell me I’m strong or I’m so brave or whatever, but really it’s not me. It’s the people I have beside me. I’m nothing without them. Literally nothing. 

I taught my 5/6 year olds yesterday and had two assistants. Thank God. I literally couldn’t have done it without them. Like at this point, I can’t sit with my legs out in front of me without terrible pain. 5/6 year olds don’t care. (I mean they’re precious little nuggets but they’re also tiny little nuggets.) my assistants are able to just jump in and get stuff done and the girls love it. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders. 

Friends are everything. Friends are literally family. Friends are so important. I hope you have friends. If you need a friend, I hope you reach out, or if not I hope someone reaches out to you. And if you want to, dm me on Instagram or comment here and I’ll be your friend! Seriously. Do it. I’m an introvert but I love people. 

I hope you all are well. I hope you all are safe. I’m praying for everyone in the line of wildfires, hurricanes, hate, and oppression. I’m praying for you.  ❤️