In the studio.

My friend is in town for the holiday and we met up on Wednesday to work on some choreography we’ve been toying with for a bit.

It felt so good to just be there, with really good music, and good company that understands how sacred that can be. My heart had yearned for this. It seemed to soar.

We were in the studio for about three hours, much of that I wasn’t dancing. Even though my heart was on cloud nine and I longed so much to just move to the music, reality is my body still sucks, and I need to be careful.

We got a good bit of choreography down solid, which is really exciting. It’s a song I’ve had from one of my absolutely favorite artists. She sent it her demo when I was going through a really rough time and it’s just really special to me. I waited for her new album to come out so I could openly use the song, but it didn’t make the cut.

Out of respect, I don’t want to post anything from it. It’s not my song and I don’t want it to get copied or stolen off the interwebz.

But the song still moves me, and I want to put movement to it. I recruited this friend because I love her style and think she could really grasp what it is the song makes us feel and give it an image through dance.

It felt so good to move. To express. To do the little bit I could let myself do and just go for it. Equally, it was so great to see how much my friend has grown in the time I’ve known her, and to hear stories of all she’s learning and really see the development in her character and art. She is living.

I’m still struggling from the exertion, but it was worth it. I’m taking class on Wednesday since it’s my friends first class, so hopefully that doesn’t end up being too much.

It’s crazy to see how fast my life turned to this from what it used to be.

I’ve got my kids recital costumes picked out and I’m working on picking music and trying to choreograph their stuff. That should be fun.

I’m currently wearing a heart monitor for the next two days to see if it picks up anything weird. I’m glad it’s only two days but also wish it were longer. I don’t know if anything will show up on my two most laid back days of this entire month, but oh well.

I’ll keep y’all updated.

The importance of beginnings.

In an effort to try and keep myself centered with all my usual methods having to be halted, I have begun meditating. Not extensively, just 3 minutes a day to sort of refocus my mind and keep myself out of the “dark place” as much as I can.

I’ve found it beneficial to the anxiety I’ve been feeling in increasing measure since being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and also while trying to find a doctor that can tell me what else is wrong with me. It helps me to remind myself of the good things in life. That I may not have control of anything whatsoever, but that I’m alive and that is something. It helps remind me that I’m not alone in this fight, but that other wonderful people fight similar battles as me, and if they can fight so can I.

The other day, the person who leads the little sessions made a comment about the importance of beginnings. The irony of the timing was not lost on me, and I loved what he had to say. He mentioned that in meditation, the further people get along in it, the more difficulties they can find in focusing their minds. The way they remedy that is by remembering what it was like to be a beginner. To go back to when they didn’t know what to expect, when everything was new.

It’s like that in ballet. Sometimes you get past the “beginner’s rut” and start to get the hang of it all and you find yourself getting discouraged. You feel like you hit these plateaus and can’t get any farther. You start to doubt and struggle in a new way, thinking you’re not advancing fast enough or that the others around you are so much better than you. That you’ll never be that.

But you have to remind yourself of what it was to be a beginner. Of course when everything is new you’ll see improvement more often. It’s logical. Similar to babies seeming to grow so fast since there are so many milestones to be reached in the first few years. It can give the appearance that they don’t grow as much as they get older, but really it just isn’t as visible. Part of the growth comes in the enduring, sticking it out and not giving in or making rash decisions just to feel like something is happening.

Take a second. Remind yourself of what it was like to begin. When everything was new and exciting and also terrifying. Don’t forget how far you’ve come, and set goals for things still ahead, even if it’s something as seemingly simple as committing to a certain amount of classes a week or holding a releve passe for x amount of seconds.

This is what you dreamed of. You’re living it. It’s reality. Don’t let yourself forget how magical it al really is. ❤️

Reality.

I miss taking class.

I miss taking class so much.

I’m so grateful that little Voice in my head whispered to me the past five years, “don’t take this for granted.” Otherwise, I may be sadder than I currently am. Thankfully, I did my best to listen. I can look back from the beginning six years ago and smile. I can be proud of my progress, of the risks I took, of all the new things I faced and tried and loved.

I had my appointment with my general practitioner last Friday. After the appointment with the neurosurgeon flopped, I made this appointment to try and get in to a Cardiologist to see if the fatigue is related to my heart, and maybe see if I have POTS or possibly see his opinions on EDS. (may have to further explore that later, possibly even try a geneticist.)

My doctor wouldn’t be at the normal office I go to for a while, so I went to the secondary office in a different town. I was nervous. I don’t particularly care for new things, even though it’s the doctor I know and love. But they run things differently there, and I felt rushed and limited, which I usually don’t feel. It’s okay, though, I got to the point and accomplished what I was there to accomplish. I just had so many other questions I wanted to ask. I hadn’t seen her since last year when I got my rheumatologist appointment, so there was much to update her on, only half of it which I remembered and was able to tell her.

She asked if this was affecting dance still, and I told her I can’t take class anymore. I told her how I have to have an assistant to even teach, and how currently most are in Nutcracker rehearsals so I’m by myself, which is rather difficult. She was shocked. I told her about the chronic fatigue, and how my rheumatologist was out of ideas. That I was requesting the cardiologist as a sort of grasping at straws type of thing, thinking maybe it’s related. I told her how my heart can physically hurt, even if I’m not doing anything to warrant it, and how the POTS like symptoms are more pronounced, but I wasn’t sure if that was it or not. I told her how I wondered if the fatigue was related to my heart since all of this has really flared up since diagnosis, but that I really don’t know if this is it or not, I just don’t know what else to do or try.

She had the nurse come in and take my blood pressure laying down, sitting up, and standing. I snuck peeks at her notes and started to feel pretty downtrodden as they appeared normal. She left to print off my discharge paper work and I sat on that little exam table thing feeling vulnerable and stupid. Is this going to be just another dead end? Am I going to put money into this just to come up empty again? Is this all in my head? Surely it’s not, right, because who really wants to be this sick? Who wants to have to lose the things she loves most due to illness? Who chooses to use money they don’t have to see endless specialists, often having to miss work for it and therefore lose more money? Who willingly subjects themselves to ridicule over not being able to explain that yes you really are sick and yes I know I look normal but I promise you I don’t feel normal and no it’s not just me being lazy. But then I thought of my chiropractor. I thought of how he believes me 100% and is fighting for me to get answers as much as he can, and he doesn’t make a dime off of me, yet is as invested as if I were a billionaire.

As I sat there, I realized how down I really was about all of this. I mean, it’s not easy to be sick with no reason, but it was as if I was truly feeling it this time. No sooner I realized my own vulnerability, I heard a voice just outside the door that induced a panic attack like I haven’t had in I don’t know how long.

Once upon a time, I was sexually harassed by a family friend. It went on for years and not many believed me. He was too nice, he went to our church, he didn’t really mean it like that, Emilee. I could tell you horror stories of all the things he “didn’t mean” and let me tell you, that’s a load of crap. He’s a perverted man who shouldn’t be allowed around teen girls, and I’ve done my best to steer clear of him. Yet, here I was, sitting on that exam room table, the only things keeping me safe were those four walls that were suffocating me just moments earlier. Now, I didn’t want to leave.

The nurse came in with the papers and I’m a crying mess. I apologize as she goes over the follow up and other things I need to know. I half listen as I think to myself, “do I suck it up and face him? Or do I say something? Is there even anything she can do? Will she believe me? Am I just being dramatic? Will this be an imposition on her?” I remembered the story I heard from a respected celebrity I admire about her own story, and remembered her saying that we don’t need to back ourselves into a corner and convince ourselves to be silent. That these things aren’t our fault and aren’t something we have to just accept. So I said something, and the nurse left, distracted him, and snuck me out. She literally snuck me out of the building, y’all. A++, would trust this lady with my life.

At this point, I’m shaking and fumbling for my keys and trying to remain calm but it ain’t working. I didn’t know what to do or who to call because no one now really knows this side of my life. They don’t know him. They weren’t there when it happened. I reluctantly called my sister. She at least was there for part of it. If anyone gets it, it’ll be her.

I calmed down. I felt stupid. I shoved it all down and tried to forget it happened.

But it did. And I’m not the person I was before it. You can’t be.

But what’s important is knowing you’re not alone. And when it’s safe, sharing your story so others know that are not alone. It’s a scary thing to go through, and sadly too many of us find ourselves faced with it. I debated for a while whether I’d throw that piece into the blog post, but it happened. And maybe on a different day I could have handled it better, maybe I would have been stronger. But I’m not. And no matter how much I rest and how much I cut back and how hard I try, I’m not the same person. I can’t do the things I used to do. I’m weaker; physically, emotionally, mentally. This whatever it is tears at every part of me, slowly, leaving me frayed.

I got sick that day, caught a cold or something. Usually these things last 3 days tops, but it’s been a week and I’m struggling. I taught my class today and was so dizzy and disoriented afterwards I was a little afraid to drive home. I probably should have waited longer than I did, but I really just wanted to be in bed.

Sometimes I forget how bad it is, and maybe it’s just this extreme because I’m “normal people sick” on top of everything else. I don’t know. But it’s been quite the week and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling.

Good news is, I don’t have to wait until 2018 to get in to see the Cardiologist. I actually see him on the 14th. I’m nervous as heck, and I’m sure the first appointment will be a lot of formalities, blood work orders, and tests to be run with money I don’t really have and lack of insurance. But thankfully they aren’t denying me since I’m not insured. That’s a constant fear in the back of my head. I am part of a medi-share type thing, so I’m not completely screwed, but even so it’s very limited. I have it to avoid the tax penalty and in case something extreme happens I’m not screwed, which I can’t confidently rule out something extreme happening.

Ballet class was healing for me. It helped me forget the bad things. For that hour, the rest of the world didn’t exist. People’s opinions were left at the door, and fear was slammed in the face. I was free to dream, free to be myself, free to do these things and not worry about what people thought or said or how they perverted it. I was safe. I miss that.

I’m praying I get answers. I’m doing my best to pay off everything I can while also seeking answers. If I do nothing I’m no better off.

I’m sorry this post isn’t more ballet related. I’m sorry it’s not happier. I’m sorry my posts get more and more like this. I don’t want this to become a health blog, but I can’t deny that all this crap is taking over and suffocating out the ballet in me. Thankfully, I’m still involved. Thankfully I still get to the studio. And I’ll appreciate every day I get to step foot into that studio, as if it were my last day. Because, realistically, one of these days it may very well be.