A post.

I’ve toyed around with the idea of even posting this post.
Part of me feels like it’s pointless since what I really feel and want to say isn’t something I should put onto such a public platform, even though it’s something I’m very passionate about. Sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut, sit back, and pray everything sorts itself out. Sometimes speaking only makes things worse.

Part of me want’s to say, “screw it” and say it anyway. But that probably isn’t the wisest thing in the world.

Part of me wants to stay silent. Since speaking about things like this rarely gets accurate intentions across and it can just make you look like crap or people feel bad for you or whatever. Sometimes staying silent and fading into the background is so much easier.
Sadly this seems to be a luxury I can’t afford.
I love people, I really do.
But sometimes I just don’t have enough for myself, let alone other people.
This is one of those times.

Although sometimes helping other people can bring you out of a funk like this–or at least ease a bit of it–things have gotten extreme enough to where that’s not the case so much.
(Except very rarely and for very specific people, anyway.)
(Lookin’ at you, Valerie. Thanks for being awesome. Always down to help y’all in class.)

Thankfully, I’ve somehow found myself with a few incredibly selfless people in my life that I get to call friends.They’re the real MVP’s.

So I’m writing this post, because even though yesterday seemed to go to hell in a handbasket, there were a few things I wanted to note. Because what the heck this never happens.

I did my first solid double. Not en pointe, but whatever. I was trying, but not really, and it just happened. I wasn’t thinking, that’s for sure, and that’s probably why I was able to do it. And as soon as I realized what had happened, I could hear sweet Ileana behind me, “*Gasp!* Yay Emilee!” Which meant more to me than I could ever express. Sometimes I feel so very alone in classes, and that made me realize that I have these friends among me pulling for me, cheering for me to succeed. Celebrating when I do.
The next turn, however, was ridiculous to where I even stopped and pointed at my foot and said, “What are you doing?!” before I realized that I was indeed still in the classroom and in the middle of a combination. Oh well.

The next thing was how I seem to suck at jete’s, even though I’m built to be a jumper (thanks, stupid uneven hips) but managed to somehow do one that kinda actually got off the ground. Enough to where someone else noticed it and commented. I’ve come to terms with the fact that people don’t typically watch me. I don’t think about it, I don’t really concern myself with it. But it’s nice when you aren’t sure if you did something correctly or want to know if you improved to know that you have someone to bounce stuff off. And when it mattered yesterday, people were.

Things are still weird. Life is still hard. There’s still plenty that doesn’t make sense and many, many things I wish I could fix or change or even just say. But amongst all the crap, there’s still a bright spot here and there. And it’s nice to remember them.

Prove it.

It’s funny hearing people tell me how they read my blog and the varying degree of addiction it causes them. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it, let alone understand why people actually enjoy reading such nonsense. Nonetheless, I still write this nonsense. So I guess there’s that.

(Hi, y’all, glad to have ya!)

Before class started yesterday, I leaned over to two of my friends and said, “let’s treat this like an audition and see what happens.” If you remember my previous post, Ms. Munro made a comment that we all do so well at auditions and then slack off in class. So I’ve been running an experiment of what would happen if I took her advice.

The results have been astronomical (Imagine that!) and yesterday seemed to be the best thus far. Not only was I getting corrections, I was getting compliments. And not just ones I’ve heard before, but new ones on things I’ve been really working on. Mrs Alex said my arms were light and that I presented correctly and did the arm transitions well. I even got one by name. We were doing a combination at the barre where we did slow develope’s and ended with a tendu in fondu. (I think. Somethings like that.) it was a nice, slow, even tempo combo and felt really good to do. Everything seemed to click so I really did my best to do everything I’ve remembered being taught as well as implementing the corrections as she said them–heel forward, turn out from the hip, shoulder down, really present, straight knees, and on and on.

She happened to look at me at a develope to the back and my thigh happened to be lifted the proper was as I did the movement and she said my name when she complimented me. Then after even said my name again and that me and another girl were the ones she saw had it correct. Like. What? It felt so good, I can’t even find words for it.

I feel like I have to work really hard to prove myself. To show that I am capable and able to do what they ask of me. That I am listening to and want their direction. That I take this seriously and want to improve. That this is more than just some recreational thing. That this is something much deeper.

I was talking to one of my dance mom friends about some stuff going on and made the comment, “it’s just a dance, I shouldn’t be so upset about it.” And her reply really hit me.

“It’s not though. You spend as much time there as you do your job. And you are emotionally invested. For you it isn’t just dance.”

That brought so much peace to me. I’m so used to being told that I have to be strong. To suck it up and just get over it. To just take it. So used to it that when I find myself with these real emotions through something like this that it translates into “I must have done something wrong.” That I’m not enough. That I have to be better. That I can’t let them see me cry. And yes, I shouldn’t let it get to me enough that I get emotional in front of everyone. Dramatics are uncalled for. But I have to give myself room to be human. And it’s okay to do such.

Yesterday’s class made me feel like I am doing all I can to prove myself. That they see it. That however this cookie crumbles, I have done all I can. And that is something I can be proud of and that no one can take away from me.


(Hi. Hello. It’s me.)

Limit yourself. 

I deal with perpetual depression and anxiety. 

Now that that is out of the way. 

I woke up this morning pretty panicky. For no good reason, but I couldn’t shake it. All I wanted to do was dance, but deep down I was nervous that dance might make it worse. (Probably me jumping to worst case scenario there. Typical.) I tried to go into the class day with an open mind and giving myself room for faults. 

Ballet went fairly well. I was able to hold a few balances I usually suck at and do the fouetté prep at the barre I used to really do terribly. We got to center and I still struggled a bit with balancing but was able to see little bits of improvement here and there. Overall, it wasn’t bad. I appreciated that she gave us combinations that were easy on the brain but still challenging our bodies. I think that helped make it better. 

Jazz-but-really-lyrical class went fine. Not all the girls were there so we still haven’t changed it up to the final way we’re gonna have it yet, but the new girls that have added on are doing well. They retain the choreography, which is super great. Ms Heidi said she might pull me and either Savanna or Valerie to be another duo, or separate singles–she’s still playing with ideas–and one of them sort of play off Ileana. 

As we were standing there while she was figuring out a part for another group, my mind began to wander as it does. I was watching Ileana and wondering what I would do if I was having to sort of mirror her. 

And it hit me. 

This terrible wave of whatever you want to call it that I hadn’t felt in a good long while. 

I thought of being in the audience, watching this piece, it being she and me, and thinking, “that one girl is so good and absolutely gorgeous. Shame they paired her with the bigger girl, she’s not as good I kinda feel bad.” 

It’s a dialog I’m sure I’ve heard said of someone on a stage once somewhere. And it’s probably part of the subconscious that stuck in my head growing up and lead me to make decisions I made that lead me to stop eating until I was really thin because I was terrified I would be that person. The “bigger girl” that was seen as a terrible thing. As lesser. As not enough. 

And I realized that I would be that should Ileana and I be paired.

And I realized that there are bits in Julie’s recital piece that I am that. 

And I realized that at some point my perspective had changed from that negative way of thinking to one of what-can-I-achieve-if-I-work-hard. 

But still I found myself standing there tonight with a different kind of panic. What would I do? I can’t lose any more weight than I have. I’m doing my best to improve with the hand life dealt me. How can I not be “that girl” ?

I told myself I couldn’t think that way. Tried to push it out of my mind. 

Mere minutes later, the newest new girl and I were learning a bit we had just been shown. I didn’t really know what I was doing but was trying to decode the struggle, so to speak, and she looked at me and said, “man you’re really good. Like, you’re so talented. I know I’m new and all, but I hope I can be as good as you.” 

In my head I said, “are you blind? Like. I can’t do anything she’s asking us to do. I’m trying not to panic because I know I can’t do a firebird or a leap in second. I’ve never tried them. I’m gonna look a hot mess, and if I can’t do it how am I gonna teach you to do it? I’m terrible. I’m new to this class and much of it is way over my head. Have you seen me? I’m not exactly the dancer type.” But instead I replied with, “thank you!” 

She didn’t have to say that. She could have kept it to herself. Sure, it’s safe to say the entire class is better than me in skill, but whose to say I’m not good in my own right? She didn’t see me as the “bigger girl in the class full of skinny, good girls.” She saw me as “talented.” 

*mind blows* 

I may still struggle. 

I may feel like I don’t really do anything right. 

I may feel like I’m just a 5 year old playing a giant game of pretend and all the adults just think “aww how cute” cause it’s cute when a 5 year old makes a fool of themself.  

I may feel like I keep missing out on roles and parts and accomplishments because I must just not be good enough. 

I may feel like I don’t have enough time to get to “enough.” 

But to her, I was enough. I was the “goals.” I was talented. I was the one to be like. 
Who am I to limit myself with my own judgements?

Daily Auditions

During warmup at rehearsal on Saturday, Ms. Munro made a comment.

She said that during auditions, we really present and give our all and look our best, yet when we have class and rehearsals, we do less than that. She said we should do our audition-best all the time. Pushing our limits and working hard every class is how we will improve.
These words were mostly met with grumbled excuses of how 10am is so early for a Saturday and glazed eyes spacing out on who knows what. 
But I took that.
I thought of the girls that seem to get every role.
Of course, they’re talented, but so are these ones that get overlooked. What’s the difference?
I watched during rehearsal, and saw how those were the girls smiling through rehearsal–treating it like a performance. I know this isn’t always easy, especially in the learning process. But it is possible to give a little more to try and make it as much of a show as you can. 
To treat it like an audition.
So I decided I will do just that.
From now on, ever class, every rehearsal is an audition.
I’m gonna try and keep my brain clear, so I don’t freak out. I’m going to tell myself I can do these things. I’m going to work even harder outside of the class room. I’m going to do everything I can to show them I want this; to better myself.
Yesterday’s class is the one day I can get away with slacking off, but I didn’t. I determined to implement this immediately.There were moments I faltered, but I tried to use every opportunity to add in extra and really give my all. Of course, there are limitations–especially for me. But I worked around the limitations, pushing them as far as I could, to get the most out of class possible.
I found myself sweating complete buckets, but also doing things I typically can’t do and trying things that would scare me. I made it through combinations I usually struggle with and even saw improvements on some of my steps, once even getting a “Good!” from the teacher who doesn’t really compliment. 
I was even able to do an en dedan turn on my bad side, though that shoe felt better for some reason, making risk a little less scary. Curious to explore to find out why.
A humorous part of class was when we did a combination across the floor. I was doing pretty alright until it got to chaines. I tried on the first side, and honestly tried on the second side, until–ya know–I forgot my left leg is shorter and had my hips squared which meant the floor wasn’t where I expected it to be and it felt like when you miss a step walking down stairs. Pretty hilarious, especially since I didn’t get hurt. Hehe
I had a friend text me after class saying that I looked really good in class yesterday. Coming from her, I know she means it, which means so much to me, and fuels my fire even more.
(Hannah’s feet on Saturday)

Beginnings

It is clear that learning a part as complex as the Swan corps is way more difficult as a cover than as an actual swan. I sometimes find myself wondering if the girls know how lucky they truly are to have their place set and sure, not having to worry about what the other groups are doing.
I was Abarrane for part of the rehearsal Saturday since she had ACT testing in the morning. It wasn’t too difficult, since she was the opposite of Adrienne, except for the bits I couldn’t remember. Oops.
But that’s okay. We got it fixed and worked out and all is well.
When Abarrane got there, I tried to watch for the people I know will be out coming up, and it got complicated. They are each something different. Then I come to the realization that even being this proactive won’t guarantee I’ll get the spot if someone drops. It could be a matter of height. These other covers are dedicated to learning it as well.

Instead of being overcome by bitterness, fear, and jealousy, I approached the girls with an idea: Let’s for some kind of group as the covers to make sure we enjoy this instead of just sitting on the sidelines sad. “Let’s be so cool the other girls wished they were us.” Haha.
Catherine and Maddie came up with a clever name–The Ugly Ducklings.
In the story, the ugly duckling tries so hard to be like the swans he sees, but just can’t be. (Until he grows up and realizes he was a wan all along, just needed a little growth.)
We want to make shirts. It’s gonna be great.
The girls are excited about it, as am I. We even have a fun little hand sign thing.
It still stings a bit to not be a swan. Seeing and hearing the other girls get so excited for costume fittings and photo day and all, knowing I just have to watch from the sidelines again. But it is what it is. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Instead, I had Ms. Heidi look at my shoes, and asked her what she thought. I’ve been told I don’t pull out of my shoe, but I don’t know what else to do to be better about that. She was able to explain what I need to think about, and give me some things to try at home to help me get better. It’ll take time, but if I start now it’ll be very beneficial.

In her Jazz/Lyrical class, we had a new girl, Valerie. She paired her with me since my partner wasn’t there to work on recital. I taught her our bit and we did it side by side instead of mirrored. I had no idea that the only dance training she had was dance class in high school. She took the adult ballet and said it was really fast, but she wanted to dance so she’s gonna stick with it. She really liked the Lyrical class, which was good. She picked things up really well and was able to just go with it, even though she didn’t know what half the stuff was. I was really impressed. She told me how she wished she would have started dancing younger, but was excited to start now. She’s from Austin, and down here for school. She seems like a great person, and it was fun to actually have someone in the class understand my cultural references from when I was a kid. (Lookin’ at you, Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century.)
Valerie is going to do recital, so Heidi was trying to think of how to work with the new numbers. She might have Valerie take my spot, and teach me a new thing entirely, thinking it may be easier to learn since I won’t be here a lot from work coming up. Which is exciting, but also a bit nerve wracking.

It was refreshing having Valerie in class. It reminded me of what I felt when I first started–that bit that can get lost in all the striving and stress. I still have a ways to go, and loads to learn, but I’ve come so far from that first anxiety-ridden day. And it’s not all about hitting one certain goal, it’s about the process. It’s about every day, working hard–not just one show or role. It’s about being better today than I was yesterday. If I can do that, I am successful.

(Repeat to myself when I’m starting to feel the sting again.)

Progress and regress.

In our V’s class yesterday, we did barre a little differently.
Typically, we do combinations that are quick or complex. Instead, Mrs. Alex had us do simple combinations with a lot of repetition. She had us focus on proper technique, rather than just trying to get through the combination and move on. I really enjoyed this approach, and I think we all benefited from it. It was great to take the time to really think about what we were doing and how we are to properly execute each movement.

I don’t remember exactly what the entire combination was, but there was one where we ended in a low arabesque on releve. I tend to struggle with this kind of thing–once I’m on releve on one leg, my turn out goes out the window. But as I held this arabesque on my shorter, weaker leg, Mrs. Alex came by and said, “Good, Emilee! Great turn out on that standing leg, nice straight knees, good!”

I think I made a face, because I couldn’t really believe she was actually saying these things to me. I looked down to see what it looked like, then tried to see it in the mirror. It felt right, but I didn’t expect it to look that right. I wasn’t really thinking specifically about achieving these things, as I usually do. I was shocked, and very pleased.

I got frustrated as we moved to the center and en dedan turns were there. I wanted to try them, but it just didn’t work. I didn’t know if I psyched myself out, or what. When we were going through, working on recital, there were a few moments when I was away from the others, so I tried them. Sure enough, I couldn’t get up. So I held the barre and tried the preparation. Okay, I could do that. So I tried the preparation away from the barre. I can do that. I tried the turn, nope.
I’m not sure if it’s because these shoes are already dead, or if it’s something else, but the struggle is real. I put it on the back burner, knowing at least I can do the preparation and work on it from there, and that I’m getting around in my pirouettes now. Most of the time at least. They could still use work, but that’s what class is for.
We did a few chaines, too, which weren’t as good as I was hoping, but somewhat better than before.
I’ll take it.

Cast lists should be out soon. I wish I could see it for myself without anyone telling me and no one watching me. This won’t happen. So whatever. It’s possible they could even come out today when I don’t have class, so we’ll see.

Stay tuned!

Classes

Whatever my stomach is doing, it’s sure having a good time.
I was only able to make it through the first part of class yesterday. I wanted to quit before the first part was over, but wouldn’t let myself. I knew if I could just make it through, I could sit out the second part, and I would be okay. I probably could have pushed it and done the second part, but I didn’t want to do anything halfway. I’d rather watch and really gain something than do a mediocre attempt at something I really need to work full out on.
Mrs. Alex understood, and told me if I wanted I could go home even. I told her I’d like to watch and get whatever in I could that way. I mean, I wanted to go home, but that doesn’t help me at all. And I was there already.
We ended up working on recital the last bit of class, so I was really glad I stayed. Especially with how many classes I’ll miss with tax season coming up. I’m really nervous about how all of that will work out, but I’m trying not to dwell on it too much. I’ve told most of my teachers, and they say I’m the least of their worries. So that’s nice at least. They’re confident I’ll be able to pick it up and be just fine. I have friends in the class that have said they’d help me learn what I missed as well, so that’s wonderful.

It was a bit hard focusing during that last bit of class. I was at the back and the farthest from Mrs. Alex, and everyone was excited about the music and talking or getting really distracted. I was trying to learn the part she was showing us, while having to do it opposite of what I’m seeing, all through the noise and distraction and people getting in the way of me seeing her. I didn’t lose my mind, but near about. I love this class, but sometimes it gets difficult with how distracting some of the older ones can be. Like, cool, we get it. You’re good. You don’t have to have all that we do, but be considerate that this is our class, not yours.

Recital should be fun. There’s so many people. Which makes it complicated. But that’s not really their choice, and I think it’ll be nice how it’s going so far.

Talks of Swan Lake are rampant through the studio. I’m trying to make a point to really use my upper body to show get me in their head before auditions. It seems to be at least doing something, because Mrs. Alex complimented me at one point by name. I got other corrections as well, which was nice. I wasn’t expecting the one when she said my name, and hardly realized it as it was. It was a good confirmation that I was doing what I needed to be doing so I can store that away in my database that what that felt like looks like what they want. I’m nervous. I just want to get it over with, but at the same time, I don’t want to do it. I will, but thinking of it has me all sorts of jittery. I just really hope I can keep a clear head all throughout. That I don’t get anxious or panicky when I see new things.

Here’s to hoping.

New semester

Classes have started back up for the new semester.
Our first class, the V’s class, was taught by Ms. Munro since our normal teacher wasn’t there.
I really liked this. I love a good Ms. M class.
She didn’t go easy on us, which was good. She corrected my arm placement, which I’ve now been trying to be conscious about. It also made me feel good to know I’m seen. That something subtle and slight is noticed and fixed. Now it’s my job to make sure she doesn’t have to correct it again.

We did pointe, which had a few elements that I normally would get nervous over or avoid. I was unable to do some of them, but not without trying first. Partially was because my shoes are nearing death, so I didn’t want to risk the rolled ankle before auditions. I didn’t walk away from it afraid of these steps, though, so that is a big step for me.
Also, when it came to doing pirouettes, I was actually able to get around. Ms. M wanted doubles, but I was very satisfied in my solid single for now. It can do with improvement, and I definitely need to spot my head more, and get a better plie, but it’s a vast improvement from what I am typically capable of. I will take it, and work harder to make it better.

I seemed to mess up many things that shouldn’t have been difficult, but I just brushed it off. No sense getting worked up over something I know that I can do. It’s whatever.

Ms. Heidi’s class felt really good. We started working with some ideas she’s playing with for recital, and I was excited to see what she’s got going. I was nervous, but I think it has a lot of potential. I wish it could just be the girls that were in class on Monday–the ones who are always there. The piece would look so clean that way. But I know that’s out of our control.
It felt good to let go and try new things. That’s my favorite; when I can let go and just dance. Not think about specifics or how technical it is or if I’m enough. Just dancing because I like to do it. And not being judged on how bad or good I am. I don’t have anyone to impress or anything to prove.

Yesterday’s VI’s class went fairly well, too. My stomach is doing it’s typical hating me ritual, which really puts a damper on things. I tried to push through anyway, and thankfully didn’t have to sit anything more out than I usually would because of my knees. And even so, I’m able to watch those things and mark them and try to sort them out in my head so if I ever do have to do them, I can at least have some grasp of it to be able to attempt.

We started working on recital, which is super exciting. It’s a bit of a stretch for me, as I typically screw up a lot in the beginning of things. But once I have it down, I nail it. So I did my best, wrote down what we learned, and plan to go over it until I have it on the right count and my lines look good.

(I am so excited to be in this piece.)

Instead of working in the small studio, I watched the Advanced Jazz class. It was really cool to get to see them work on something that isn’t so technical. The girls in that class have a lot of talent, some I never really noticed before. But gosh, is it evident now. It made me want to just take a million pictures and capture what I see.
It was cool as well to watch Julie as she came up with all of this. Seeing her mind process and these sections of the dance come to life. Watching a master at work.
I sat there, watching and thinking, “I wish I could do that.” And it was then that I realized, “This is exactly what I do with words.” Whether its words people ever see or not, it’s the same process. My grammar may not always be perfect and sometimes I really like run-on sentences, but the concept is the same.

Words are my dance.

This past week

Mrs. Alex wasn’t in class on Wednesday, so we had a sub. I ended up sneaking out towards the end, embarrassed by the fact I couldn’t do what she was asking. She was teaching more on the advanced side and I could do it—or at least try it—on flat, but on pointe it was impossible. It is a bit frustrating to have the class taught to a level farther than what we are capable of (and more so when most of the class is the lower level) but I understand with subs its hit and miss. (And not all the time.) She didn’t know me. She didn’t know I’m an adult and incapable of “just try” ing like the younger girls in my level. They rocked it and learned and tried, but I can’t do that. My body doesn’t always let me. Or it’s an addition onto something I have yet to master, even if the other girls have. Which I just have to accept, and know when to pick my battles. It was okay, I know where I stand and know what I need to do and have a plan on how to achieve it.
I had to miss Saturday’s rehearsal due to a wedding I was booked to shoot. It was laid out oddly, so I was actually able to swing by the downtown studio for a bit of the Rat Queen rehearsal. I was really grateful to get to see it one more time. It also worked out as Ms. Munro needed a couple pictures for the Beeville shows and I had my camera on me and was able to get them.
Sunday’s rehearsal went relatively smooth. We figured out a solution to the missing Petit Fleur issue (we being not us, just to clarify. Mrs. Alex and Ms. M are rockstars. Especially with how chaotic this year’s casting has become) and were able to help Ileana learn the extra role and Hannah and/or Nina did well switching spots (so well I couldn’t tell who actually switched.) Now we should be able to clean it up.
They didn’t have the air on, and there’s this fun thing my body likes to do where if I get too hot, I get sick. (My sister is opposite. If she gets too cold, she gets sick) I tend to have to be able to feel air blowing, but I try not to think about it because sometimes if I don’t think about it I can trick my body into not reacting. But it went a little too long Sunday, and I felt it hit while we were at the barre. I tried to ignore it, but by the time we started running rehearsals, my face felt really hot and Mariela said I looked red. This is a good sign, because if I’m pale it means fever, so I knew it was probably just the being-too-hot thing. I had to step outside for a bit to feel the air flow, and still felt pretty crummy. I knew chances were once we started dancing I’d forget about it, so I tried to hold out. Elizabeth showed me where in the studio you could feel the air blowing most so I stood there during corrections. Everyone was a bit hot, and Elizabeth found one of the Spanish fans to fan herself with after running Sugar Plum. She came over and stood next to me so I could get some of the air too, which I really appreciated. She is so good to me.
(Sometimes I sit back and am blown away by the quality of people I have in my life now. I got so used to having people who leave me or just want to use me that to have kind people who stick around, it’s still kind of shocking at times. I’m super grateful.)
We had another flower roll her ankle. I haven’t heard yet what the final verdict is, but hopefully it’s something she has time to come back from and can still dance in the show.  I got home that night and was putting stuff away in my house when I misjudged and hit my toe on a suitcase. Ten years ago, I hit this same toe on a suitcase wheel in Paris and broke it. I hobbled around Paris and London when we continued on there. It was super cute. It’s the toe next to the pinkie toe, which always blows my mind. Why this one? Why not the toe farthest on the end? How did that one escape injury again?(Maybe because it’s hunched over from when it too was broken when I was 13 and hiked on it not realizing. *shrug*)
I’m not going to lie; I sat on my bed and cried. I was terrified it was broken. That I, too, had become the next victim of the falling flowers and would have to be replaced by God-knows-who since we’re officially out of spares. It didn’t swell, and the bruise is only on top, so I convinced myself to calm down and got an ice pack for it. In the morning, you could see it was bruised, but only a little bit. I can bend it, but I could bend my pinkie toe as well when it was broken. I could point my foot, so I decided I’d go to class and at least try barre and see what happened. I told my teacher, Ms. Catherine, and she said, “You just can’t catch a break, can you?” I wanted to thank her.  So often these things will happen and my head tells me that I’m just being dramatic and should push through things and suck it up, when really I should take my time with them, even if it seems to be all the freaking time.
I could releve, but only if my weight stayed completely over the big toe. I could plie, but gingerly where I kept pressure off of it. I could point my toe, but only if it was slow enough to be careful so I ended up doing half the stuff rather flexed on that foot, and nixed the releve on the other. It was frustrating.
I skipped the second half of class, afraid of jumping on it, and skipped Jazz V. It made me sad, but I’d rather be safe—especially with Nutcracker at risk.
With perfect timing, I received my shirt I ordered from Marissa Milele which says, “Never Give Up!” When I emailed her to order it she told me to send her a picture, so I had one of my friends get a picture of it and send it to her.

She’s so great. So kind and encouraging. And I love this shirt. I think it’s a mantra I can really get behind.

I’m still going to class tonight, mainly because I told Adrienne I would help her work on fouette’s after ballet. Plus, I can watch and learn that way. Get it in my brain and all. 
Hopefully my toe will be okay by the weekend on next week. It really doesn’t look that bad. 
All else fails, if I can hike on a broke toe, I can dance on one right?
(Kidding.)
(Maybe.)

(also, just re-read this and it reads really funny. Like it’s just notes of what all I really wanted to say. I’ve been in a funk, I guess, and keep embarrassing myself. So anyone who encounters me right now, my apologies. I’m a mess and not saying the right things and blah)

4 years ago

Yesterday was my first class after my “week off of life.”
I know a week doesn’t seem like much, but it can really do you some good if you utilize it well.

When I first started dancing, I hated when something would happen that would cause me to have to take extensive time off from dance. In fact, it was actually 4 years ago tonight that I got in the car wreck that could have left me in far worse condition than it did. I had just begun dancing again a few weeks before. I was heading home from church, (which was on Thursday nights) waiting to turn into my alley when I was hit from the passenger side and my car was slammed two lanes over. 
I still don’t know where the car came from. It was all very confusing for me as it was literally the exact moment I took my foot off the brake and was intending to turn after two cars passed. I assume those two cars passed, because they were cars and no one else was hit except for me and the truck that jumped my hood and came back off my car. Somehow I got the blame for this whole ordeal, and it was all pretty traumatic, but I typically play it off. After all, I’m okay. It shut down the entire street and my friends I was just with turned around to come make sure I was okay. My left leg hurt and I could feel a mass, but of course I was in skinny jeans so I couldn’t see. I turned down an ambulance ride, knowing it’d be ridiculously expensive, and sat on the curb. Some lady I don’t know came from I don’t know where to check on me. She stayed with me until my friends got there which I appreciate more than words could ever say. I was terrified, and she brought me peace. (Thanks, lady I don’t know.) I literally walked back to my house, as this all happened so close to home. My friends that came back around to make sure I was okay had a new friend with her who was conveniently knowledgeable in medical things. She looked at my leg and suggested an x-ray. Shana told me to get some things and that I would stay the night with her. I told her I would be fine, but did what she said anyway. She took me to the ER in Portland, since it’s a smaller town (The town she lived in, across the bridge) and we would more than likely get in and out a lot quicker. I got signed in exactly at midnight, and my hospital bracelet says 11/11/11. (I still have it.)
They did xrays and said I was okay and gave me some anti inflammatory medication and the usual. I went back to Shana’s, skipped work the next day, and stayed there until my mom came for me the next day. (I didn’t realize how much I needed the love and care and concern Shana gave me until I was in it. For that I am eternally grateful.)
My leg bruised up pretty badly, and I have some marks from where the seatbelt was. Miraculously, the airbags didn’t break my nose. My face was actually completely fine. (If you want the full details of everything God told me and showed me and how He spared me, just ask.) (It’s pretty cool.)
I don’t know if it’s because I was wearing pants with elastic at the knee, or what, but I ended up developing nerve damage in that spot that I felt after the wreck. It’s on the inside of my left knee, and is typically fine. Unless it’s touched. Then my knee will hurt for a solid day. (Not too bad, considering everything that could have happened. Like, ya know, slamming my head into the left window like I should have, or the airbags jacking up my face, or messing up my ankle on the brake.) (When my Dad saw my car at the towing lot, he was speechless. Literally. He was chewing me out a bit as he walked up to the car, and then was at a loss for words when he saw it. He said that the only part of my car that wasn’t completely bashed in was the driver’s seat. But I’m okay. I walked away.
My camera on my phone at the time really sucked, so you can’t really see all the detailing. This was the day after when my mom had picked me up

The hospital bracelet (again, stupid camera)

This was a few days later, after I was back home. I stayed at my parents house until Saturday night I believe. So this was Sunday-ish. (I was back at work Monday.)
The numb spot is actually more-so that bit of normal skin among all the bruising up top.

My lovely boss’ wife made me cookies. I love her. (Cora, you’re a gem)


(I don’t have the pictures of my car accessible yet. Apparently my phone only backed up pictures I took then, and not ones I also saved. Shana got the pictures of the car, thank God.)
Time is a funny thing. It’s crazy to think that was four years ago. How much has happened in four years; the places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve lost, the changes that have occurred, the things I’ve learned. It seems like a blink, but filled with one thousand years.

Needless to say, I had to take off two weeks of dancing after the wreck. I was so upset. I had just begun again and couldn’t afford to take off two weeks. I had already paid for a November I wouldn’t get to be there for. But life happens. You have to take the highs with the lows.
Since then, I’ve rolled my ankle, screwed up my knee and needed PT, had my gallbladder removed, strained my foot, gotten really terrible sunburns, (yes, plural) and probably more things I can’t remember. It seemed I was out for a week every few months there for a while, and though it was frustrating, but I started noticing a trend; I’d come back better.
Now I’m sure there’s some science behind this, but whatever the explanation I’m really grateful for it. Going back to class yesterday, I was a bit nervous. I was hoping that it would be a good class, but I wasn’t sure if a week was enough to really help me. Would I just come back stiff and regretting having taken the time off? Would it really help me at all? Are my feet gonna be so angry I’ll want to throw my pointe shoes out the window?

 I decided to go into class hopeful and see what happened. After all, I had two successful Nutcracker rehearsals before. That should count for something, right?
I loved seeing my Rowland’s and My Cortez’s.  They were two families I actually felt myself missing while I was at home. I swear there’s magic in them.
Ms. Catherine was sick, so Ms. Munro taught our class. There weren’t all that many students there, either, so I found myself excited. There’s just something about a good ol’ Ms. M class that can do you good.
My hips did feel sore, but thankfully Ms. Munro gave us combinations to help with that. We did balances in second, and back coupe, and other things I normally struggle with that I actually surprised myself with being able to hold. Ms. Munro saw two of them and complimented me. The first time, it was even a tone of surprise, like she was impressed. It felt really good. She worked us pretty well and I was a bit nervous I’d be too shaky to really do anything en pointe.
To my surprise, I was able to do everything except for the turn I know I can’t do yet. Thankfully, it was in a combination that I couldn’t do anyway because of my knees, so I just worked on stuff myself at the barre. I found myself holding balances longer, actually getting onto my box most of the time, doing releves I typically have issues with; I even did a really nice pirouette on my bad leg! My good leg wasn’t doing pirouettes for beans, but that’s okay. I marked them instead and got good clean preparations instead. I also felt myself able to roll through my shoe really well. This gives me a bit of confidence mentally. I watched Catherine and Adrienne on the turns I can’t do, trying to get a good understanding with them. I don’t want to try them before I’m ready so I don’t frustrate myself over nothing. Watching helps. I don’t know if it’s the lack of strength I’m still trying to gain up, or if it’s my short toes, or my jacked up knees, or what. They aren’t happening yet, but I hope to have them happen soon. And the fact I got that good clean pirouette on the one side made me feel really good.

I left feeling great, and really encouraged. That was really nice and hadn’t really happened in a while. I also think the people who were in class helped that as well. I didn’t feel judged or inadequate. I felt safe. I hope this is a growing trend that will continue to be this way and continue to get better. 

Success.