Much has happened since my last post.
I traveled to England and had the opportunity to meet and spend time with many dear friends I’ve gotten to know through this blog and corresponding instagram page.
I’ve taught many classes (though many have also had to be subbed unexpectedly to attend funerals)
Nutcracker has come and gone.
And also, I’ve had the beginnings of a conversation with our artistic director about realities I’ve been trying to pretend aren’t realities.
I don’t ignore the fact I’m sick, but I’ve been trying to act like the extremities of it don’t exist. If I don’t have a solid diagnosis, a solid reason for this, then surely it’s not actually happening, right? Surely it’ll go away at some point, won’t it?
The answer to that is, “No.”
I’ve been sick since high school, which is now more than half my life. I don’t know what it feels like to be well or “normal” and it’s infuriating, but for much of my experience with it, I’ve been able to handle life miraging as a functioning human being. Once I got it into my head that I can do things if I set my mind to do so I didn’t want to limit myself, so I began ballet at 23, was given permission to begin pointe at 25, and managed to end up part of a pre-professional company even dancing in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. These were things I never even dared to dream, and I did them.
I tried to soak up every moment of it all, from the swish of tulle to the pressure of pointe shoes to the pull of your hair in a bun for hours, tried to memorize the emotions that came with just getting to experience these things simply because that’s how my life was going–it’s where I ended up. I tried to relish the fact I got paid to teach tiny humans this incredibly exciting thing that is ballet and watch them learn to love it as much as I did. I watched their progress and marveled at their triumphs, I teared up hugging them at the end of the year and hoped I’d see them either in classes the next year or at rehearsals the next season. It helped the goodbyes not hurt so much.
I’ve tried to deny most of my life that I’m a “feeler” but turns out its a very deep and innate part of who I am. I’m learning to love it, but it can make goodbyes complicated to process.
This year as the weeks rolled on, I realized it will be my last year teaching–the last main tether holding me to the ballet world. One of the first rehearsals for party scene of The Nutcracker I let our artistic director know that my body officially can’t hold up anymore. She replied with, “I was afraid you’d say that.”
They don’t want to see me go, either, which I appreciate so much, but they also are aware that there are things out of our control. They have been so kind and considerate of the fact that I have limitations, and have done everything possible to accommodate me with them. Ultimately, it’s up to me to decide when it’s too much to push through anymore, and this year has proven I am at my limit.
I’ve developed a pain in my right shoulder that caused me to have to teach 2.5 out of 4 classes with an ice pack on it for two weeks. Along with the herniated disks in my lower back that are hitting a nerve, arthritis in my knee and neck, and the chronic fatigue I believe I have reached my limit. It simultaneously breaks my heart to know I have to leave this thing I love and also makes it swell to see how much has happened and how many people fill it due to ballet.
As of how it stands currently, I’ll still be on call to sub classes, and still do Nutcracker if they’ll have me, but even so I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to manage that. Still, I’m going to hold on to it as long as I can.
I’m getting ready to choreograph my last ballet recitals for the spring recital. I probably won’t write a blog post about it, so as it stands this will serve as the stagnant post to greet people who wonder where I’ve been or want some sort of closure to my story. (that’s a bold statement but I’m leaving it.)
I’m going to keep the blog up and keep my instagram page live for posterity and for whoever can benefit from the posts that have come out of these past 8 years. Hopefully some of you can find comfort or solace or encouragement in their words even if they’re not new.
I appreciate you guys for your support and love and kindness to me. Your friendships have been a lifeline to me and I value them more than words could ever express. While this all is incredibly difficult to let go of, I’m grateful beyond words that it was ever possible at all.
Enjoy every moment you’re given, soak it up while you have it, hold the people you love close, take the dang picture, and remember how valuable you truly are.