Let’s try it. 

Yesterday started off not much better than the day before. My brain was fuzzy and I felt out of my depth. I know it’s the 6 class and many people say I’m more than capable, but yesterday I was feeling my 5.

There were bits I was terrified over but still tried. So that was something at least. I don’t know that I would say I was successful, but I was definitely more successful than having never tried at all.

There was a point when I panicked. And it was stupid. But I was embarrassed and just didn’t have it in me to fully wrap my brain around what was happening, what was being asked of me, and I knew I looked like a fool doing it. Thankfully, Julie is good at recognizing when to push and when to pull back and she pushed until she needed to pull back so I didn’t completely fall apart. (Although I did fall apart more than I would have liked. And felt a prime idiot more than I prefer.) (yay for comfort zones being demolished?) (or something)

After ballet was over, I went into the small studio to break in my new shoes. I waited until then to do it instead of breaking them in in class because I wanted to make sure it was done properly. These are experimental shoes, and I want to give them every bit of a real chance as I can.

They’re the same shoe, just with a harder shank. The hardest Capezio makes, actually. I had the hardest shank before, but now they’ve started making an even harder shank, so Amanda from Capezio in Austin told me about it and I figured I’d give it a shot. They came in, I sewed them that day, and waited for d-day. (So to speak)

I was nervous, so say the least. After the Gaynors bombed because of sizing, I was afraid these wouldn’t be any better and I’d just have to make my old shoes work best I knew how. Which they aren’t terrible. But it seemed something was missing.

I put them on, did a few things to help the arch so they wouldn’t snap, then I rolled up.

I’d say my biggest fear was that they’d be too hard. That I wouldn’t be able to get over my box and it would be so defeating. That I would find myself with the opposite problem of what I had before, and would have to find a way to make it work.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, they seemed to mold to my arch, getting me over my box but not too far. Just enough to do what I need but give me room to work harder. If that makes sense? Anyway.

I went into the office and asked Ms. Munro what she thought. Sometimes people think they need hard shanks but are really just fooling themselves. I didn’t want to be that person. So she had me do typical bit of standing in first, then pushing through the instep, then straightening while trying to stay far over the box. Afterwards she said, “those look great!” And we talked about how people who have naturally higher arches need a harder shank. Which I’ve been told I have, but never really realized it I guess.

So the shoes are a go. Approved by Ms M, and feel great. I went back in the studio and worked a bit more. I did a few of the things to help me lift out of my shoe and then I decided to try a pirouette to see what would happen.

Wouldn’t you know it, it improved substantially.

I was able to hold the position a bit longer, it felt more stable, I was able to fully get around and roll through like a champ. I was on cloud nine.

So I tried an en dedan. And I got around with my leg not even to the front where it needed to be. So I fixed it and it was quite a decent turn. Still better on one side versus the other but that’s typical. I went back to regular pirouettes and the first one I tried was so solid if I would have gotten a bit more force it could have been a double. What. The. Heck. So then I tried a double and completely bombed it because I was thinking too hard so I just laughed at myself.

I worked on chaines and piques and was successful with both, though they need work. I felt like what I see other girls look like. That this must be what it feels like for them in class.

More importantly, I felt hope.

Which is something that has seemed to be in short supply recently. It gave me a bright point among all the stormy clouds that have been keeping me company. Sure things still suck, but at least I have something to help me through.

I’m grateful, for sure, and emailed Amanda from the studio letting her know she’s my hero and asking to order the next pair of magic shoes. I wish I could order more at once, but these bad boys run about $120 each. Sucks to go through them so quickly.

Oh well. It’s worth it to me.


  

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.

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)

"I know I don’t really know you, but…"

Yesterday was a weird day for me personally.
(Who am I kidding, its been a weird past few weeks.)
And part of me just wants to avoid everything, to be alone, to press the pause button and stay away from any human contact until the funk decides to pass.
This is, obviously, illogical and would also void me of learning some pretty valuable life lessons.
Sure, there is a time to take a break and put things on pause, but if you do that any time things get hard you miss out on opportunities to grow and become a better person, as well as little bits of light that lie just around the corner. You’d never have known they were there if you paused everything–if you avoided everything for a bit to catch your breath, you would have missed this breath of fresh air.

There’s a dance mom I’ve spoken to a few times; she lives out in our neck of the woods, has had similar health issues as me, knows who I’m talking about when I tell her about my doctor, etc. Her daughter is sort of new to our studio and they are friends with my beloved Rowland’s, so I automatically like them. Her daughter is a doll and they are really great people.
Yesterday was Julie’s VI’s ballet. It was a relatively smaller class than usual, but one of my favorites of hers to date. I stood at the barre by the mirror, which I’ve never done before. Matthew said I would hate it because of the tape, (I hate the tape) so I kept that in mind and tried to avoid it. But I actually found it beneficial when doing ronde de jambes. I was able to place it to where it was directly center so I knew when my foot was directly in front of and behind me. It helped me get the feel for it, and I could also hear the sound of it (so I’m not looking down) and know when I was where I needed to be and what wasn’t far enough or too far.
I was standing next to Jessica at the barre (my fellow Rat Queen) with Sean (Rat King) on the other side.
For some reason, this class felt good. It wasn’t overwhelming or leaving me anxious. It was a challenge, and I was determined to try. And not even in a huge, monumental way. I just told myself, “try your best, don’t quit early” and did it. My knee was largely cooperating which I think helped substantially, but I also think it was the combinations we were doing that were relatively easy on my knee as well.
Ironically, I was actually prone to messing up the combination, which is usually what I’m good at. But I tried everything she asked us to try. For some reason, my muscles were really sore when I woke up yesterday, which typically doesn’t happen, so I was already struggling in that department. I was also feeling pretty sick. (I had gotten sick a lot that night before and a bit that morning, but had it under control. It may have lead to me not eating enough for such exertion, but I did my best.)
(Helps that Julie is my age and gets it.)
She gave corrections to Jessica and to Sean. She may have told me something once, but I couldn’t really hear what she said and it was at the end of something.
I held balances longer than usual and really tried to get my attitude devant highter while maintaining turn out. (which was actually easier. So, hey, they aren’t lyin’!) That made me feel good about the class, too. That I was able to hold things in second, and get that attitude higher, and actually think to straighten my standing leg.
By the end of class, I was feeling pretty weak. I didn’t want to show it too much because I don’t want to be labeled as weak or incapable. I want to just push as much as I need to and then back off. I knew I was only there an hour, so I did all I could for that hour (having to do some releve on flat instead) and took a moment to breathe before I left to go home.
While I was breathing, there were a few dance mom’s in the foyer. The one turned to me and said, “I was watching you, in class.”
To which I responded, “oh, God.”
And she said, “You looked so good.”
I don’t know if I gave her a stank face or confused face or really what my face did or my reaction at all.
She continued, “I don’t know the terms for things, but you had your arm out like this, and it was perfectly timed to your leg extending out, and your head and everything. I don’t know what it’s called, but I do know what looks good and what draws me in during a performance, and you did that. You drew me in and you were beautiful.”
And meanwhile I’m sitting on my bench, in a state of shock that she was talking about me.
And I told her how one of my goals I wrote down for the year was to get my arms down. To look like Lauren, essentially. I want to figure out what it is that makes the difference she seems to have. I told her how at my old studio, my teacher always got onto me for my arms, and so I’ve been really working hard on them.
She told me again how impressed she was by me, and I sat there in that state of shock, and then thankfully remembered to thank her because in my head I was thinking, “But I wasn’t even actually trying this time…”
(I mean. I was in shock.)
I mentioned how I always wondered if I was doing it right. No one ever got onto me so I assumed it wasn’t wrong. Mrs. Jacie told me if I was wrong they’d definitely let me know. But I haven’t been complimented in class either to know it’s right. Which is probably a good thing. Because in VI’s, that level is what’s expected. So more often than not, you’ll just hear if you’re wrong. And this is good.

It’s not a compliment I often hear. And it’s not one really lounging around in my head.
To me, I’m just sub-par still. I have a ways to go. I’m improving, but still needing improvement. I’m not quite there with my fellow VI’s or even some V’s. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me and I shouldn’t get my hopes up because these classes are full of really great dancers so competition is fierce. How I’m an adult dancer, so I miss some of the things that are really taught as you rise up through the ranks and I’m left to figure it out on my own.
I am really in a good place to have resources to help me feel these gaps and people willing to help me, as well as dance friends and especially dance friends my age or older. I’m also in a great place where they are letting me take this advanced class to get the exposure.
To know that, in that advanced class, the one that’s really probably a little too much for me, someone I barely know noticed that I had the thing I want most in my heart to have when I dance… I can’t even explain.

I told her I was gonna blog about it.
Obviously, I was serious.

But really, it meant more than words could ever say.
Kindness is free, y’all.
I had a friend tell me once a few years ago that if you had a nice thought about someone, you should tell them. Doesn’t matter if you feel awkward about it, what would it hurt?
So now I make a point to give compliments, even if they’re awkward. Sometimes I lead with “This is an awkward compliment, but…” and they usually leave with a smile on their face.
Point being, you never know when its going to be exactly what the person needs to hear in that moment. The light to their darkness. The confirmation they have been hoping for.

Say it.

Also, I met my mystery comment-er yesterday!
I had received a comment on a blog this summer from someone who had found my blog and was taking the adult classes at the studio. I have no idea how she found it and had no clue who she was, but yesterday she introduced herself. Turns out, we both have a mutual love for the same London-based bag company and she noticed mine and complimented me on it. She hasn’t been able to take classes in the year since the adult classes start later, but I’m so glad she took in the summer and I really hope she does so again whenever they get earlier.
I’ve never had that happen before, and it was really cool.

"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.

Work for what you want.

Yesterday I seemed to be struck with a new dose of determination.
I don’t know where it came from,
I’m not sure what brought it on,
But I would be okay if this became a new normal.

My legs felt like jelly in a way I can’t remember feeling in a long time. I wish I could do this every day so I could get better that much quicker. But, I am grateful for what I do have. I know all too well that all of this can be on hold in the blink of an eye.
I did everything I could to not stop in the middle of a rep. I wanted to push myself and actually do the whole thing.
No room for quitting.
And wouldn’t you know it, I did. I was able to push through and do all of each of the things I set out for.
By the time we got to pointe, my legs were wobbly beyond reason. But I refused to let it stop me.
If I use the excuse I have now, when will I get better? Will I ever? How much longer will improvement take?

So I pushed through. I did the releves, I did the bourees, I did every single one of them. And if I did have to stop for this reason or that, I didn’t quit. I stopped long enough to put my shoe back on after it slipped and got right back to it. Even if it hurt.

I watched my technique in the mirror. I tried to make improvements as I went, tried to make sure I was doing the best I knew how and retrain myself in areas I faltered.
I know these moves. Now I need to clean them up.

Now, there were things that I’m behind on and just can’t do. So, I didn’t risk it. I was a little disappointed in myself at first, I wanted to try it at least… But, then, I realized that I was the only one of us new pointers still in my pointe shoes. Everyone else had taken theirs off or just didn’t put them on for whatever reason.
I just did what I was able to do. Everyone else was doing pique turns with a pique move I can’t remember the name to (where you pick up both legs–one at a time–as you turn) and I know I’m still trying to get my pique turns down. So, I just did pique turns. I worked on those. I could have gone to the barre and done the whole combination, but I didn’t want to cheat of of the piques I’ve wanted to work on for so long.

It took me a little longer than everyone else, but I didn’t want to stop halfway, ya know? I wanted to get better. Jilissa pointed out different things to work on as I went, which I was so grateful for. I really want to get these down. I want to get better. I want to be able to do this. And I know each thing I learn will in turn help the new things I have yet to master.

As I got across to the left side, McKenna said to me, “Remember when you were too afraid to go across the floor at all?” I was thinking she meant starting pointe, but she meant in the beginning.
I remember those breakdowns. I remember those stark moments of paralyzing fear. I remember her kindness in pulling me out of the corner to help me out and meeting me where I was in my knowledge.
I remember.

And now look at where I am.
Going across the floor confidently on pointe shoes, even if I knew I couldn’t do the move fully. Even if I knew I was behind.
Being behind is irrelevant, as long as you keep going.
You have to have the confidence in yourself to know that as long as you keep trying you’re gonna get there.
If I would have given up back then, I never would have made it here.
If I never would have began, I’d still be living in regret.

Instead, I’m moving in the direction of my dreams, getting a little closer each time I tie those ribbons.

My friend Sarah said something in the hallway before class. She told us how she was turning over a new leaf, that she was going to make a point to practice every day. Because she wanted to get better. She said she was a picture of a beautiful dancer with her leg up by her face that said something to the effect of, “Don’t wish you could be her, work to be like her.”
This should be the mantra for all of us.

Work for what you want
Don’t give up, you’ll get there.