Rest, don’t quit.

Work has really been picking up, and will likely be steady from here until May. It’s really rough on me and my body hasn’t been responding in ways that make it any easier. I’ll spare you details.

Needless to say, I’ve been a little nervous about my classes. They’re all either at or almost at capacity, which if you have ever tried to get 15 3 year olds to focus on anything, you know it can be exhausting. I also seem to be getting new kids nearly every week, which isn’t a bad thing, but can make it more difficult.

It’s all these little things that you never really notice until you’re forced to. Before, you just figure you’ll find a way to handle it and you make lemonade out of lemons. They’re virtually non-issues, rather just a tiny smudge of heightened “stress” solely for the fact that it wasn’t expected and you have to rearrange a bit. Life goes on.

But then you get sick and even these little non-issues become taxing. You take them as they come and try to stay positive. What other choice do you have?

But then you find the absolute joy in the little things as well. Like when your class that was problematic at the beginning of the year starts to maintain focus and actually make progress. Or when the brand new 3 year old that doesn’t speak the same language as you ends up being the best in the class by far. (My personal theory is that she focuses more than the other kids out of necessity. Since we can’t speak the same language, she learns by observation. It’s incredible to watch.) Or when you have the kids tell you how much they love their recital piece already, and how much they love their costume. Or when their personalities just fill you with more joy than you know what to do with.

At the end of the class for my youngers, we do this song called Slippery Fish. It’s essentially a silly song that tells a silly story that has ballet moves attached to it. We used it at my old studio, so my friend and I brought it over to this studio and the kids love it. One of my 6 year olds, in the middle of class says, “Ms. Emilee! Over Christmas” and I thought about stopping her because it didn’t seem to be a ballet related story, but she talked over me and said, “I was at my grandmas house and I said, “Alexa, play Slippery Fish” and she did!”

My heart melted. I asked if she did all the moves with it, and she said she did. This just made me so happy. You don’t realize how much they soak up until you hear little things like this. They’ll give you little glimpses if you look for them, occasionally, and it’s my favorite thing when they do.

I remember one of my 3 year olds saying something absolutely hilarious, but I can’t remember what it was for the life of me. I do know she’s inclined to say and do hilarious things just our of her personality. It brightens my day. She doesn’t even realize she does it.

These things make me so happy, and remind me why I fight to still get to teach. It’s still odd to think that a year ago I was teaching as many classes while also taking 3 classes and having rehearsals twice a week. (All while working full time) and this year I’m in bed by 8:30, having to take a day to do absolutely nothing because even showering is becoming exhausting. And it’s only January.

I’m trying to take it all day by day, and taking the time to notice these little moments that become balm to my soul.

A good adult ballet friend of mine just posted in a Facebook group about her progress and made the comment, “when you get tired, learn to rest, not quit!” Which really helped me. Such a simple concept, but so often all this makes me feel like I’ve been forced to quit, when truth is we don’t know what’s causing me to be sick. We don’t know what the future holds. I could get worse but I could also get better; we won’t know til we get there. So it’s not quitting, I’m taking the time required to rest.

(Thanks for that, Brittany)


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