Lovely Things

Just a post of some things that have happened this week that I want to remember.

  • Sitting on the floor trying to untangle my yarn to continue to crochet. One of the younger dancers strikes an interest. I show her the stitch and she picks it up immediately
  • Another younger dancer tells me she’s good at untying knots and asks if I would like her help. Turns out she was extremely good at untying knots and got me over the hurdle I was at for a while. The two worked on different sections to master most of the knot.
  • Ayla balling up the other end of the yarn to help avoid knots and get more of the giant knot undone.
  • One of the mom’s saying to me, “You’re a person who always does what they say they’re going to do.” I wish I could remember what we were talking about, but this made me feel like I was the type of person worth being. This is a good feeling
  • Joss being absolutely silly and reminding me of myself at her age.
  • Mrs. Julie saying I am more than welcome to do the VI’s ballet recital piece if I would like to. (The costume is epic. I am so excited.) (Also, I’ll be doing it on flat so I’m more comfortable. She is all for it.)
  • Seeing Ms. Nancy for the first time in 3 weeks
  • Hugging her. (she cried.)
  • Reese remember who Cheyanne and I are, that we played cars, and asking to play with us again.
  • Reese and Cheyanne walking on my back. (There is a polaroid. I’ll post if I can.)
  • Reese jumping up and down when she says our names. (Oh my gosh melt.)
  • Reese cuddling up as I read her a book, leaving before it was finished, but finishing it anyway as I had a good sized group of advanced dancers around me listening.
  • A butterfly named Arthur.
  • Ileana telling me with wide eyes, “You did so good on Monday!! I was so proud like, “aww, go Emilee!” This means a lot since Monday’s lyrical class is new to me, and also the type of class I deep down want to be able to do. 
  • Catherine’s genuine smile and laugh when something is funny or she’s really excited.
  • Mariela being the genuine joy and support that she is. To say I value having her in my life is a vast understatement. 
  • Jazz hands.
  • Walking into the office and having to walk through Mia’s class. I wait until they finish the phrase and try to be invisible, as per usual, when I hear, “*gasp* it’s Ms. Emilee!” and turn to see Ayla with a giant smile on her face. I snuck a wave and snuck into the office, my heart officially a puddle.
  • Everything about the entire Rowland family.
  • Seeing Judy channel all the SYTYCD dancers in Tap class, then take a correction from the teacher and completely nail it.
  • Mariela telling me, “When you lifted it, oh my gosh, it was beautiful.” (After being corrected. Oops I was doing tendus instead of degages.)
  • Elizabeth and Abby always being there with advice and encouragement be it about pointe shoes, sore muscles, or problems in my personal life. Especially when it includes videos of cats or corgis.
  • My baby dancers (okay, they’re not babies at all. But they’re my babies, you understand) hugging me and high fiving and just generally loving the fact that I’m there.
  • Having such understanding and supportive teachers to learn from and help me to grow. 
  • Having such caring friends in class, looking out for me and helping me when I need it.
  • Getting to use the smaller studio on my own after ballet
  • Knowing, at the end of the day, even though the struggles seem insurmountable, I’m in a great place that wants nothing more than to see me succeed.
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"I can stay."

I think my shoes are dead, but I don’t have time to sew new ones. I might figure out time somehow. I guess I kind of have to, huh?
Yesterday was our V’s class, which I really like, but it was a bit of a struggle. My pirouettes are still lacking and our teacher was getting onto us for them. She said we should be able to do doubles at this level. I struggle to even do doubles on flat, let along en pointe. I know most of my issue is my knee and back problems, and I’m working to try and improve, but it takes more time than I wish it would. Still, I’m seeing slight improvement, so that’s something I guess. I really need to get into my new shoes so I’m not afraid of rolling my ankle. Yesterday it was more that I landed hard and felt the weak spot my ankles have had for as long as I can remember. I haven’t felt it in a few years, so it was a bit of a shock. (It’s okay though.)
My knee held out and I was able to do everything else. My main issue is the unevenness of my legs and the lacking strength in the left. Siiiiiiiiiiigh.
Class ended and I put on my shoes to leave when one of my “babies” wanted me to watch her do something in the Jazz class. I did, then Heidi asked if I was going to stay. I told her not yet and as soon as I said it I thought, “But you know, I’m probably okay enough to stay.” So I watched what they were working on as they marked it. There were only five girls and it needed a sixth, so I asked Heidi, “Do you need another person? I can stay.”
I’ve been wanting to stay for this class. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, but I do love how it makes me feel. I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not in someone’s shadow. I’m not the obvious beginner. I’m just me, and that’s enough.
I am challenged, though, which I appreciate. Just enough of a challenge. Plus, it’s all new to me, but it’s a new I’ve been wanting to experience for a while. The dance we did yesterday was the kind that makes you feel something. It wasn’t overly complex, though there were elements I struggled with. What I like about how Heidi handles this class is that if you can’t do something, you do what you can. She doesn’t pressure you into pushing for more if you know you can’t. It’s more about getting out of your comfort zone.

I think I’m gonna try and start staying, now that my stomach is doing alright. I hope to get more figured out with my back and knee so I can do even more. One thing is for sure–I was really grateful to get to take that class and just let myself feel and show it through movement.

I have many other thoughts from yesterday, but I’m going to keep them for myself.

My friend Amelia took this while I was putting on my shoes yesterday. It may seem simple, but it really means a lot to me. So many times I’m the one taking pictures of other people and no one really does that for me. Not that they have to, not at all, but it kinda weighs on the heart when you look through these great pictures and these candids and you’re in none of them. But it’s not really something you can just ask someone else to do and hand over your camera. There’s something special that is caught in an unexpected moment. Amelia did that for me, and I treasure it.

Personal.

I’ve been having a pretty rough time in some things in my personal life, which hasn’t had too much of an effect on dance, thankfully, but yesterday took the cake.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be in the studio I am.
I had a panic attack during the day, and then the entire drive to the studio. (Hi, being real with y’all.) It was so bad that I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit in the foyer with the kids without questions. I couldn’t act happy to get through like I usually do. I couldn’t fake this. I was too broken. Instead, I went and sat in the office. I walked in and Ms. Munro and Mrs. Alex were there. I told them I just wanted to hide out until class and they looked concerned. They asked what happened and I couldn’t speak because the tears wouldn’t go away from my throat and I had to just sit there for a second. I managed to get it out and cried a little and told Mrs. Alex if I just randomly broke down in her class this was why.

I considered not going to dance at all, but I knew I wanted to be there. This is the day I really needed to go. I wanted to pound my feet into the floor rhythmically, and tap was the perfect solution to that. I was able to be composed enough to play it off (well enough at least) in tap and having the moves to focus on was a great distraction. We worked on this one thing that’s a Moxie Ford with an extra beat. I didn’t it once, and then couldn’t seem to get it again. If I thought about it, I couldn’t do it. It was frustrating. I realized I was on the brink of another panic attack, I guess perpetually, so I had to calm myself down without anyone knowing. Thankfully, it’s tap class, so stomping into the ground is encouraged. Throughout the class I started sort of grasping the concept of the extra step, but I still can’t seem to connect it. I’ll get it eventually. I really want to get better at tap. I like it. I wish I had more time outside of class to work on stuff to improve.

Mrs. Alex’s class went well. Barre felt really good, even if it didn’t at the time. Does that make sense? She pushed us out of our comfort zone, which was great. She showed me how to make my arms more fluid, which I really appreciate because I’ve wondered what’s the correct way to do it versus which will make my arms look lazy and flat. I’m really gonna be working on implementing that.
My toes hurt in pointe, but part of it was that I had worked them so much the day before and they were still a bit raw. Another part was that I put that hole in my toe pad, so they were almost irrelevant. (Except for the space they take up in the shoe that I need.) I have new toe pads waiting for me in the mail, so I should be okay by next class. (If I have time to sew my shoes.)
I struggled across the floor. We did things in center that were new and semi-difficult, and I was able to attempt them, so that was nice. I didn’t do it full out since I’m not 100% sure how okay my knee is right now, but I grasped the concept and I tried. Across the floor I started to feel overwhelmed again. Mrs. Alex was kind and didn’t call me out on it or anything. I really appreciated Adrienne. Everyone else was either struggling just as much, or working on it themselves or whatever. There was one part that was simple, yet I couldn’t grasp it. I didn’t even mark it because I didn’t understand it so I watched to try and figure it out. I was considering not even trying it. Adrienne figured out how to do it, then took the time to come back and explain it to me. She gave me the boost I needed to feel confident enough to try it. She has no idea how much I appreciate that. (And because I’m a sensitive mess right now, I’m crying just remembering her kindness.) (so that’s cute.)
The last thing we did across the floor, I just couldn’t get. It was simple enough, but a bit too fast for me. It involved pique turns, which I had worked on the day before, but knew I wasn’t fast enough for what it required. I tried it to the right, but to the left I didn’t. I took off my shoes. I almost panicked after the time I did try, because I’m all on edge and all, so I went into the corner and just tried to breathe. A few of the girls asked if I was okay, and I just nodded. I couldn’t hid it. But I know I’ll be okay eventually.

Mrs. Rowland told me that I looked really beautiful in class today. Which shocked me with how rough I was feeling. But I appreciate her words. And her constant support. I love that whole family.

I can’t express how much I appreciate the kindness of my peers. They don’t have to be nice to me. They can leave me to figure things out for myself if they wanted. A lot of dancers would. A lot of dance teachers wouldn’t let you sit and cry in the office about things no one has control over. Mine are patient with me, and understanding. They don’t look down on me because I’m overwhelmed, they support me.

I wish I had taken a picture on my phone of the polaroid from last night. It’s golden.

I’m skipping dance tonight. One of the dance mom’s asked me to take her daughter to So You Think You Can Dance in San Antonio since she had surgery recently and can’t. I’m really excited. I didn’t think I’d get to go again, but it worked out. I’ll get home late and more than likely be dead tired, but it’ll be worth it. Plus to get to hang out with Judy will be really fun.

So if you’re the praying type, please be praying for me. I trust God completely and I know whatever is ahead for me is well worth what I’m going through now. I just need to be able to get through it.

Monday.

Yesterday, I was able to do an entire class without my knee brace.
I still didn’t do grand plies, and some of the stuff in center was a little too much to risk, but my knee still doesn’t hurt.

I noticed myself getting stronger, and being more able to do certain things, but also where I’m still lacking in strength. Specifically on my left/shorter leg. I really want to work towards strengthening this, knowing that I can only go so far until I’m able to build that up. I don’t know when I’ll have time to do this, since I’m at the studio 5 days a week as it is, and my weekends are consumed with catching up on stuff in my personal life/pictures/sleep/laundry/nutcracker rehearsals. I’m considering dropping my VI classes so I can work by myself at home. But I don’t want to do that unless I would actually use the time for that. (It’s still a new thought, so I have time to figure it out.)

It’s nice to feel the progress, but I know I still have a very long way to go. Even so much as to catch up.
My muscles have felt really tight lately, even though I’ve been stretching (No more than what I’m used to?) and rolling out at night to try and help it. I don’t know that I’ve been drinking as much water, so I’m going to try and be better about that.

For those keeping up on the health side of things, I saw my doctor yesterday for the follow up on my blood work. She came in and explained the details of each test and what it all means, opening with, “I wish I had your blood.” Wait. What?
Everything came back absolutely perfect. Which was really weird. H. Pylori was negative. I’m not even anemic, which is contradictory to what I was told by my last doctor.
So if I’m not anemic, then why was I so light headed last week that I had to leave class, twice?
Apparently, I’ve had a perpetual bladder infection for the last 8+ years.
Sounds simple, right?
She told me of how intense bladder infections can be, and how she’ll see people come into the hospital literally insane because of bladder infections. They run in my family, so they’re not new to me, but how I know them is to be a simple thing caused by negligence or whatever. So she has me on antibiotics, and yesterday was the first day I haven’t felt sick in I don’t know how long. It was almost alarming to me.
I did feel kinda funny at night, but I don’t think that was from anything. Today has been almost as good, but I’m also playing with my IBS medication.
She said the bladder being so close to the intestines that it having an infection could have caused all the other things I was feeling, including the light headedness I was experiencing.
(And apparently I don’t eat enough. So I need to work on that.)
(But also, it’ll be easier now if food continues to not hurt me.)

(woohoo)

Meanwhile, my chiropractor wasn’t there yesterday, so I had this older lady I’ve never seen before. But she knows my Dad. And likes to tell stories. (she’s really sweet? But like. I don’t know her.)
So I didn’t get to ask about my back/leg/unevenness/stuff. Hopefully he’ll be there when I go back in two weeks. He’s supposed to be. *crosses fingers*

Ms. Catherine was back yesterday teaching our class. She was out last week, so I subbed her two younger classes and Ms. Heidi taught the V’s class. When I saw her yesterday, she thanked me for covering her classes, which I don’t believe another teacher has done. It’s just like, expected I guess. A teacher is gone, the sub comes in. But she thanked me, and genuinely appreciated it.
Some people don’t prefer her class, but I have come to realize it is probably my favorite. Moreso because she doesn’t give us anything that’s over our heads, so I typically feel good in that class, but also challenged in areas. It’s the balance I need as the level V that I am. I really appreciate it.
(It also lets me test if I can make it without a brace and for how long.)
She has my respect.

That one time we danced in the dark.

Class started out pretty normal.
I had tap, but my tap shoe somehow managed to melt off to where the tap separated from the shoe.
But I didn’t lose the screw?

(It just got worse from here)

So I did tap in ballet shoes, which is a funny concept.
It was hard, but it was fine. Just really had to focus on the feel rather than the sound.
(arms were a joke.)

I think Julie likes having me in there because she knows I can help her when she needs it.
Yesterday, it was helping her write out what three different combos were for the girls who came in late or just struggled so they could practice at home.
(my hand writing is terrible, so this was hard, but they could read it. Bless.)
Class was fun, though. I’m kinda getting the hang of it.
I really enjoy it. My brain works in patterns and rhythms, so it’s a great combination.

My knee has been doing pretty alright. We did the whole class Tuesday en pointe, so the part I was there for was mainly barre. But I did better than I thought I would. I was able to think about my knee and realize where I still need work and what is getting better.

Yesterday barre went pretty well. My knee hurt a few times, but I’m figuring it out. (It’s hard, because letting my hips be uneven makes my back hurt. sigh. The struggle.) We put on our pointe shoes, and most of the things we did weren’t all that invasive. The parts that were, I just skipped and did on demi instead, and did en pointe what I could. The hard part was that it was so fast, so I struggle regardless. I would have been challenge on flat let alone with pointe shoes on.

Although, we had this combination that involved a lot of balancing, and though I’m still not perfect with it with pointe shoes on, I was able to do more than usual. It was a struggle, but it felt good. I was proud.

We had about 30 minutes left in class, marking a combination, when the power went out.
I stood still, heard some of the girls freaking out, and then felt a hand on my arm. One of my friends is really afraid of the dark, so I just stayed with her and reassured her; talking to her to get her mind off of it. About a minute later, the lights came back on.
We continued, and the first group did the combination.
I was part of the second group. We started doing the combination, and–conveniently–right when we get to the part when I realized I couldn’t remember what came next, the power went out again. I couldn’t find my friend, but the lights came back on again, so we started over and just continued on with class.

We learned this variation that mainly had to do with character and direction. We were about to start it when the power went out for a third time! I looked for my friend, but couldn’t find her again, and another one grabbed me and I held her. The power came back on again and I saw that my friend had been in front of me. She said she was okay, and we continued on and did the variation. At this point, we were starting to wonder what we should do about it. We had about seven minutes left in class, so we learned this other combination for across the floor. (Saute, back saute, tombe, pas de bourree, jete, grand jete) I really liked it and how it felt, and asked about the arms cause I kept switching them. I walked back to the corner where we were gonna start. My friend was tucking her ribbons, and I put my hand lightly on her back, and no sooner I did the power went off again. She laughed and grabbed my arm. It was like I knew it was about to switch off again.

This time it stayed off. We had five minutes left and we kinda waited to see what we were going to do. By this time, we had little lantern lights in our studio and the other one and could see at least something. Most of the girls flocked to the light, so I did the combination by myself because I loved it and how it made me feel.
Mrs. Alex had us do saute, jete, jete across the floor one by one twice on both sides. You could hear the girls giggling and from what you could see, they were giving it their all. Something about thinking you aren’t seen and you’re having a blast makes them really come alive.
A few of them had really just shown so much energy as a whole. Adrienne was one of them. She was really giving it her all and you could see it. She was beautiful to watch. And she and Allison had really pretty jete’s, even in the dark.

At the end of class, everyone got out their phones and took pictures of us in the studio in the dark. It ended up being really fun.

Between one of the off-and-on moments, Mrs. Alex told us about a time during a performance when the power went out and she was in the middle of a complex turn sequence. She kept going and when she finished the power came back on. Can you imagine? Talk about nerve wracking.

(This was us leaving the studio, seeing that businesses to our left were out as well, while businesses to the right were fine.)

The studio

I love this so much.

"Why do I even do this?"

Yesterday was rough.
It seemed like I found myself saying “I can’t” not because I didn’t want to try, but because my body physically wouldn’t allow me to do the things. The sentence ended with “yet” most of the time, but still it started to feel very harrowing.
These were things I needed to be working on, things I need to improve on, and I couldn’t do them because it would shoot pain into my knee, or it’s not strong enough yet.

I felt like a failure.
It was very overwhelming.
Worst of all, I felt exposed. My teacher knew and I couldn’t just blend in and pretend I could do all these things.
I felt defeated.

But that’s not what I really want to write about today.

Work has been rough, to say I’m over it is an understatement, but I’m trying to keep a positive attitude towards it since I’m there and I need it right now. I remind myself it isn’t forever and that for now I have to make the most of it. That “this too shall pass” and all that other good stuff.
I was thinking about ballet, and how I’m in the studio five days a week now. I thought of how dancing makes me feel and the place I’ve ended up in and how wonderful it is.
I thought about the seemingly-spontaneous decision I made almost 4 years ago to pursue this childhood dream of mine of dancing en pointe. I thought of my first class and how terrified I was to even look into classes, let alone take them. I thought of those first months and panicking in the corner at not being able to do seemingly simple things.

I thought about my first performance.
How overwhelmed I was at some of the steps, and how I would spend hours at home going over it until I had it. How I would search the internet for tips and tricks and explanations. How my parents didn’t want to come and it made me really sad.

I thought about my first recital. How I sat out recital my first year there, and was excited about it my second year there. I thought of the corrections my teacher gave me there that are second nature now. I thought of the photo day and all the people I’m friends with now. I thought of how my parents complained about seeing me dance that time too, especially about the parking and not having good seats cause they left too late like it was my fault.

I thought of my second holiday showcase. How I got to help with the babies and it was madness. I thought of how I decided then to dance for myself and no one else and if my parents or anyone else didn’t want to come I wouldn’t make them because it just makes me feel guilty for not being understanding of them not wanting to come or whatever. I thought of how I had to rush home after work to change to get to the studio in time. How I was always perpetually early to beat traffic so they started having me assist the baby ballet/tap classes.

I thought of Bailando and getting to take pictures and really committing to this.

I thought of my first pair of convertible tights.

I thought of asking my dance teacher if getting en pointe by the next year was feasible and her being uncertain.

I thought of the next year and how I was given the permission form two weeks before my 25th birthday (which was my bucket list goal–before 25.)

I thought of little arms around my neck as I took a group picture with my class I helped teach.

I thought of how my family didn’t come to my last dance recital at my old studio.

I thought of my studio shutting down.

I thought of how harrowing it was to find a new studio. How scary it was. How no one spoke to me when I was there so I would bring a book and pretend to be invisible as to not draw attention to myself. I thought of how out of my depth I felt and that they must be judging me in class. That they probably thought I should be better than I am and that I was a joke. How I felt I have to work harder to prove myself since I “don’t look like a dancer.” I thought of how I felt when I saw dancers who were good and not stick thin, that I could do it, too.

I thought of watching Nutcracker by myself because no one would go with me and my friends kinda sucked then but tried to make me feel like I was the sucky one (anyway) and how certain dancers would stand out to me.

I thought of my first Nutcracker auditions, and how the one friend I knew encouraged me. How I had to audition with the younger kids cause I knew my pointe was next-to-nothing and there’s no way I could keep up with the older group, even though I seemed to have the director fooled.

I thought of the disappointment in casting, but how I was going to make the most of it. How I wasn’t going to let other people make me feel like I was lesser for my casting. How I wouldn’t let my family’s comments on how I’m “only in the show for a minute and a half” bother me and not pressure them into coming to see me, even though it’d be my first performance en pointe.

I thought of how I rolled my ankle at auditions and how I thought of giving up all together since I couldn’t find good shoes. That it must be me. How I won a pointe shoe fitting contest through Capezio that changed everything.

I thought of my first Nutcracker season, and being sad it was over.

I thought of Oz and auditioning with 5s and wanting to quit again and how the entire show turned around for me. How I became friends with all these girls and how the dancers that stood out to me when I watched Nutcracker alone were now my friends and some of my biggest encouragers.

I thought of my first recital en pointe. How my parents came, got free parking, and afterwards told me, “you looked like a real ballerina up there!”

I thought of where I am now. How I’m at the studio 5 days a week without rehearsals. How Nutcracker casting is pending and I have no idea how I’ll be able to pull it off. I thought of the mom in the studio yesterday that told me, “If your parents ever don’t want you, I do.” I thought of the support that I get and how people believe in me. How people like me. And how weird and wonderful it all is.

And in all of this, I thought of what my life would be like if I had never taken that first step. If I had never faced the fear of the unknown and taken that first class. If I had given up all those times before. If I wouldn’t have pushed through.
I would leave work, and go home, and be by myself and probably miserable. I wouldn’t have near as many friends. I’d feel out of place since most the friends in my life are in different stages. How I would have nothing to take away the sting of how terrible work makes me feel. Nothing to strive for. Nothing to achieve. Nothing to feel accomplished with. Nothing to dedicate myself to. It would be like walking around sick with no medication to help.

Dance is my medication for the pain life gives me.
Dance is the sanity in my crazy world.
Dance is the clarity in a place that doesn’t make sense.
Dance is the comfort in my life of tragedy.
Dance is my friend when I’m alone.

What would my life be without dance?
Shallow. Limited. Insecure. Lonely. Sad.

Ballet has taught me, and helped me grow as a person. It has lead me to meeting wonderful people and having experiences I carry in my heart always. Ballet gives expression to the depths of me no one knows.

People in my life, those reading this, those who don’t even know about it–they don’t know the full me. The tragedy, the pain, the difficult things I’ve gone through. They see me in the after. They see me in my element, in the happiest state of being. Some of them know of hardships I have faced, and instead of treating me like a freak or some celebrity or something stupid, they walk beside me.

Ballet has given me things I could never replace or even known to have hoped for.

So on days like yesterday when everything feels overwhelming, and I find that thought in the back of my mind coming to surface of, “Why do I even do this? I’m never going to get past this. Who am I kidding?” I remember all the beautiful things the last (almost) four years has given me.

And I smile.
And say, “Try it one more time.”

It’ll all work out. It may not look the way I want it to, but it’ll solve itself. I’ll figure something out and I’ll keep fighting.

Hi it’s been a week.

I have managed to make it through this week of classes.
We were off on Monday for Labor Day, which was good considering something bit my feet (again) and they swelled up and I couldn’t walk on them until Tuesday.
(Such a wreck.)
I had my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. I also showed her my bites and she was pretty shocked by them. She said if it happens again–especially before Nutcracker Auditions on Saturday–to just walk in and they’d be able to give me antibiotics and a steroid shot to help.
I like this lady already.

Tuesdays class went really well, I felt. My feet held up and my knee wasn’t too bad and my stomach was typical.

Wednesday I had been asked to sub two classes. A 4/5 ballet and a 9-12 ballet.
The 4/5 ballet felt like madness, but mainly because there were so many girls. They were pretty rambunctious and my music decided it didn’t want to work. I made it work though, and got through, and the kids seemed happy.
The 9-12 ballet was my favorite by a long shot.
I walk in and half the class was girls who were monkey’s in Oz. I opened the door, they saw me, and their faces lit up and they ran over to me to hug me. Talk about making me feel like I’m Taylor Swift. My teacher’s daughter was in that class as well. She’s a quiet type, but so incredibly sweet and kind, and seeing her face get excited when I walked completely made my day. I love this little nugget!
I worked them pretty hard, and they kept up really well. I saw them implementing corrections and really trying hard. They’re such a serious bunch, which is great. I made my typical sound effects and stuff, which made them laugh so that was great. (hehe)
One of the girls I didn’t know, Mona, really shows potential. To say I was impressed is an understatement.
At the end of class, I had them working on pirouettes. Just simple, from fourth, across the floor. I did it with them and by the end of it, man, I was landing beautiful turns. And my knee didn’t hurt. And life felt great.
They were rock stars and did so great in class. I love them.
Mrs. Alex told me she asked Elizabeth what she thought of class. “She makes funny faces and funny sounds, but I like her!” Score!
Next I helped assist Mia’s class for one of the other girls who couldn’t make it. She ended up only having 6 girls and it was a 3/4 class, but I was glad to do it because I had never seen a 3/4 class. They do it very differently from how we did it at Instep, but it works really well for them. I want to try and implement more of those styles when I teach that level, so I’m trying to remember the format she used. The girls stayed quiet and followed along, and it was just great. (Probably helped that there were only 6 kids.)

By the end of that, I’m dead. That morning had not been kind to me and the repercussions were still evident.
But I still had my own class to get through. And my last one before auditions, at that.
I warned Mrs. Alex about it beforehand, just in case. And I was kinda scared at this point. I felt faint and nauseated and weak. Just standing up left me dizzy and my vision fading. How did I expect to make it through ballet class?
Still, I did the 200 crunches she had us do. (Most I’ve ever done. And I was so sick. How. I don’t know. I’m just. What.)
We did the barre work, and I felt my brain starting to space. Thankfully, I had Emerson in front of me for the left side. It was a good little buffer having her in front of me so if my brain lagged, but body did it anyway.
A few of the things got me twisted up, which Mrs. Alex saw once when she complimented me right as I messed up. It was pretty funny though, and I think it actually happened twice. She was watching me, though. Which was great. And it all felt great. I remember standing there thinking, “why can’t I just be well? Why does this have to be a struggle? It doesn’t have to be.”
We put on our pointe shoes, and I joined with the premise that I needed to work on turns before Saturday.
By this point, I felt like I could fall over at any moment. And not even because my muscles were worked or whatever. It wasn’t a matter of laziness, but of my body just giving out on me.
Still, the first combination we did across the floor brought improvement. I learned and grew and was able to do more than usual. The second combination included turns, and my right side (which has my good knee) is actually looking better. Enough to feel okay going into Saturday. My left side is still weak, but at least I know what is holding it back. I can take the steps to improve on it. (And hopefully we won’t do that side at auditions. Fingers crossed.)
After that, I sat out. I told Mrs. Alex, and she made the comment that I was doing really well. I said, “imagine how good I’d be if I wasn’t sick.” without even realizing I was saying it. But I mean, really.

Mrs. Rowland made a comment about how she doesn’t know how I do it–how I push through. The way I see it is that I don’t have a choice. If I don’t push through, I’ll never get any farther than I am right now. What it comes down to is this is going to be a process to try and find a solution. It’s been a long term problem and it won’t be resolved over night. I don’t have any more time to waste so I can either sit it out when I don’t feel well and never do anything because I never feel well, or I can fight through it and just know on the worse days I may have to hold back a little.
I’m hoping I can start to feel better and soon. I’m hoping this won’t be forever, even though it’s all I ever remember feeling anymore. I’m hoping that maybe there’s hope. But until then, I’ll push through until I can’t anymore. I’ll do my best and leave no excuses.

I still forget that most people don’t know I’m sick, and those that do are pretty new to the knowledge. It’s nice to know that I’m doing my best and that my best is more than enough. Ballet has been rejuvenating for me in my life, showing me that I’m not all the things people have told me I am–weak, lazy, making excuses, dramatic, faking it, etc. That this really is something I should take care with and give myself the room for humanity that I need.

I have found myself in a beautiful place among such supportive people. Sure, no one is perfect, but this has been the greatest bit of humanity I have ever experienced. And for that I am grateful beyond words.

And now, enjoy an old picture of Cheyanne from before I knew her.
I creeped this shot after class one day because there was just something about her that just stood out and I couldn’t not document it. Now she’s one of my dearest friends 🙂

Bump in the road.

Yesterday was the 5s class that has the separate pointe class with it. (So essentially, its the longer 5s class. Fancy words and diction is failing me. meh.)
I was slightly hesitant about the class, being that my knee was still being dumb, but hopeful that I could still make it through and it would be good.

Turns out I couldn’t plie at all on my right side.
Usually I can push through. Usually I can suck it up and just manage and make it work. Usually its not that big of a deal.
Yesterday was not a usually.
I tried anyway, but when it came to using the right leg, I felt my face grimace and tears well up in my eyes. The pain was shooting through my knee, under the knee cap, undeniable.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t panic. But Mrs. Alex could see all over my face that I wanted to. She told me, “You look so serious!” Or commented on how we looked focused and needed to have lighter expressions. Usually I can. Yesterday I couldn’t.
I didn’t cry because I wouldn’t let myself. I didn’t panic because I willed myself not to. I stopped and breathed deeply and every other trick I could think of. I shut off my brain and hoped I could still keep up with the combo because, ya know, my brain was off.
Mrs. Alex caught on. They know my knee has been messing up, and they’re really understanding. She said, “Don’t do anything more than you can.” To which I managed, “I can’t even plie.” And you could see on her face that she knew my pain.
Turns out the second half of class was nearly impossible. Eloise and I talked of our perpetual ailments and how we managed and what doctors we saw and who she recommended. It’s nice having someone who really gets it.

The class continued on, and I found I couldn’t do much of anything in center. Parts of it, yes, but anything that required bending the right knee past an inch was out of the question.
And beyond frustrating.
I stood in the back.
I watched.
I marked.
I laughed with Eloise when neither of us could do anything.
We watched.
We marked.
I tried getting the motion of the movement as if I were able to do it.
Anything that could get more ballet into my brain.

After class I talked to Mrs. Alex about it. We discussed options of what I can do and told her I might either be late to class the next day or not able to come at all depending on the chiropractor.
Ms. Munro asked if I was interested in helping with the baby classes that are packed.
I got in my car.
I cried.
Big huge tears, crying out to God because I need dance. It’s not just something I enjoy, it’s a necessity in my life. If I got to choose fixing my knee or fixing my internal issues, I’d choose knee. Because dancing helps the internal stuff and I can dance through that more easily even if it can be debilitating at times.
It sucks. It all sucks. And it’s not fair. But it is what it is.

I’ve been consulting Dr. Google today, trying to gain a better understanding of why my knee would be hurting. My assumption is that it’s because the right leg is the longer leg. So I researched a bit and found out there’s a muscle that runs through and connects all the important parts for the hip/leg. (lots of medical mumbo jumbo I don’t quite grasp enough to detail or summarize.) I read that everyone tends to have their legs a little uneven, and that it’s typically your dominate leg that is. (mine isn’t. so. that’s cool.) They say your muscles can get really tight and cause your hip to shove up into your ribs and make your legs uneven.
Oh.
Did my Chiropractor tell me this? I don’t know. It was an overwhelming day, and a lot was said. It’s possible he did, but it all seems new to me now.
The muscle that I read about is coincidentally the muscle that is the main storage for our response to stimulus. In other words, it holds our stress.
Oh.
On article called it the “trauma muscle.”
Yeah that sounds about right.
I found another article that detailed a stretching/strengthening/massaging regimen to help loosen the muscle and get the hips even again. I bookmarked it.

I’m afraid my chiropractor will talk to me like I’m stupid. Or tell me I haven’t done something right or enough or whatever. I’ve kept up with the stuff the Physical Therapist showed me best I can, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. My back is better, it’s my knee that’s not now. And it’s given me trouble before, but nothing like this.
(and now, of course, my stomach started getting angry as I’m writing this. what the heck.)
I need answers, not criticism. I need understanding, not judgement. I need solutions.
I don’t care what I have to do. Last night I even thought how I would amputate the leg and learn to dance with a prosthetic (over lots of time and work, obviously) if it meant I could dance that way but now how it is now. If they told me I had to stop dancing because of my knees, then cut off my knees and give me a leg that can’t feel pain. I’ll make it work.

I’m frustrated. I’m upset. I’m scared and nervous and anxious.
I just want to dance.