Recital 2023

Although I officially don’t work for our studio where classes are held anymore, I still attend and help with the annual recital in May.

It’s weird to say “I don’t work there anymore” since I work at the performance studio and am often going to the classes studio for one reason or another, and the distinction doesn’t really matter, but I had a great time saying it at rehearsals whenever anyone asked me something about the goings on since I didn’t know the answers because, ya know, I don’t work there. People often forget the two are separate since they’re so connected in many ways, but still, they are separate, and I work at one and not the other.

I attended the rehearsals so I would be able to see all my former student’s pieces in case I missed any on show day. I help Shay sell tickets to the performance and usually miss at least the first two dances which tend to be our most advanced dancers’ pieces. This way, I guarantee to not miss anything no matter the circumstances.

My friend Lillian, with whom I used to dance when I first started back in the day, did the photography for recital pictures. I was so elated to get to see her, and also to know that the kids would have good pictures this year. Last year’s photographer I’m sure is great for outdoors, but in a studio setting it was a struggle. Lillian knocked it out of the park, as I well knew she would, and I was so proud to see her rocking it. She and I were in Swan Lake together last time we did it, which was her last show with us and my second to last spring show. It’s wild to think how much has changed in that time, people I danced with and who are in stories I tell are people these kids don’t even remember or ever knew. So much feels the same, yet so much has changed.

Ain’t that just how it goes?

The theater where we perform is under new management this year, causing weird hiccups and issues like the dressing room incident at Cinderella last month. This time it included being told we couldn’t get into the box office because they “weren’t told we needed it” and “don’t have anyone here with a key to open it.” We were told they could set us up outside, in the south Texas heat, to sell tickets. This is all happening ten minutes to when we’re supposed to open and with a long line already forming. Where they set us up was weird as the table was up against the security line barrier, and we didn’t have enough time to get set up before they started letting people through security. We needed a plug to sell to people paying by credit card, which didn’t happen until almost 15 minutes after we were due to open, so a nice little crowd formed behind us of people waiting to buy tickets with credit cards. As soon as Shay got there with the tickets and cash box I started doing cash sales, but it was clunky and stressful. Then, no sooner we got the extension cord, a venue employee came over and told us he had a key to the box office and opened it for us. We shifted the line that way, with many apologies, and moved everything to the box office.

It ended up causing such a delay, mixed with various accidents people were caught up in and trouble parking due to graduations next door, that we had a line until 15 minutes after show was supposed to start. They delayed the start until our line was gone, but even still we stayed open selling tickets until intermission. I’ve never had that happen before. It made me extra glad I’d gone to rehearsal since I missed most of the dances that first day.

The second day went way better, and I was able to go watch after the second dance. I was really glad, too, because most of my former students were on the second day.

It’s a weird thing, no longer teaching but still being able to be involved in these kids lives. “Weird” in the best way. I’m so grateful to still have these opportunities to work at the performing studio and get to be at recital and see the kids who don’t do performances as well. There’s also many kids I didn’t teach but have gotten to know this past year through performances that I love to see as well.

I’ve almost been at Munro a decade, hitting the nine year mark this next season, meaning I first started teaching there eight years ago this next season. Some of these kids I had that first year when they were three, and taught every year until I had to stop. Time is a jerk, and it feels like it just flies by, but I’m so grateful to still be involved in their lives and getting to see them grow in this art form.

One of the most rewarding things is hearing the kids tell me little things, like saying I’m their favorite teacher they had or how much they loved my classes. Back then, I was just doing my best and hoping it mattered, but to be so many years down the road now and seeing that it did matter, it’s a feeling I can’t describe. Some of the kids have even come up to me, hugged me excitedly, asked to take selfies, and said, “It’s like seeing a celebrity. You’re our Taylor Swift!” to which I absolutely melt into a puddle because Taylor Swift is an absolute icon of a human and so incredibly genuine (many of my friends have met her and said she’s exactly as wonderful as you’d hope she’d be.) which I feel is evident by her actions over the years. What an honor to be considered in teen and preteen opinion with someone of that caliber.

How lucky am I?

It makes me excited for the few I get to continue to work with this summer, and excited for the season coming up, knowing they will be there and seeing them grow even more.

Life has been extremely difficult here lately, and the true honor and privilege of having these kids in my life is not lost on me. There are days when the kindness they show back to me is literally what keeps me going. They think I’m cool or whatever, but really they’re the cool ones, and I don’t know that they’ll ever realize how they encourage me. Seeing them strive and succeed is such a gift.

Jackie, one of my private lesson kids who was a former student, brought me flowers for teacher appreciation week. She’s recently homeschooled and, as she put it, “You’re my teacher, and I appreciate you!” It’s been weeks and the flowers are still alive. I pressed on, just to have forever. I was absolutely moved by this action, completely unexpected, and so grateful. How kind is that?

I’m grateful for the slower pace of summer. I’ll continue to go into the studio to do things that need doing, but with less hours than during show time. A perfect blend for the off season, I think. Every day I walk through those doors, my heart swells with gratitude. I’m grateful to younger me for taking the risk to try out ballet, and extremely grateful to the community around me. They are gifts.

In personal health updates (trigger warning from here on for talk of food, etc,) those that have been around a while will know I’ve struggled with health junk throughout, (check out the “health” category for some of the relevant posts) especially since my gallbladder came out almost a decade ago when, we’ve learned, it was perfectly fine and could have stayed. In that, there’s a list of foods I can’t eat and it’s been difficult to find a dietary balance. I’ve learned I have MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) which caused my issues for which they took the gallbladder in the first place (and had doctors taken me serious about my EDS theories we might have learned that earlier) and having that knowledge has improved my life significantly, but today I have new knowledge.

I can eat walnuts.

Since my gallbaldder was removed, I haven’t been able to eat nuts, pork, avocados, or chickpeas. This week I did a random google search trying to find if there’s any “good fats” I can eat I stumbled upon a blog post that listed out the different kinds of fats food contains and what each does for our bodies. In that, I learned that unsaturated fats can be broken down into two different categories; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. This article gave a few examples of each and I realized all the things I can’t eat fall under monounsaturated fats. I formed a theory that maybe it’s monounsaturated fats my body can’t tolerate now, so I tested that theory by trying walnuts, the only nut on the polyunsaturated list. And, wouldn’t you know it, I had zero reaction.

This is huge for me.

Not only does it open up options for food choices, it opens up options for ways to get vital nutrients I’ve been missing out on for years. And it gives me understanding, which has been a game changer. Now I don’t need to be as afraid of food. I can approach new things with better confidence, knowing what it is that’s causing the reaction and avoid the things that trigger it between MCAS and monounsaturated fats. I’ve looked up the rates of mono- versus polyunsaturated fats in all the things that have triggered me, and found that chickpeas actually have a lesser amount of mono-, though still considerable at 19% (versus 66% poly-) and I’m evaluating trying those one more time to see if it was what gave me the worst reaction years ago or perhaps it was something else I didn’t know to consider since that happened before I knew about MCAS. If I do, it won’t be until probably late summer, as I want to give my body time to adjust to adding in walnuts.

Overall, a great week over here in my neck of the woods. I’m encouraged for the first time in years about my health, which is something I didn’t even dare hope for before.

I hope you all are well.

Until next time!


behind the scenes magic

I intended to write this post last month, but after 3.5 years of avoiding it covid hit me. I did better than I expected with it, for which i’m incredibly grateful and recognize my privilege in that. I think the avoidance for so long helped me personally so it was more mutated by the time I actually got it, but I know for some people that doesn’t matter. what a difficult time to live in and navigate.

In the in between of Nutcracker and auditions for Spring Show, I didn’t see many people, but a few people came by for various things. One raffle prize winner has a granddaughter that dances with us. When she arrived to pick up her prize, we got into conversation about the productions and the discipline that goes into it as well as the magic. I asked if she had ever been in the studio, she said only to drop her granddaughter off. I offered her a tour which she gladly accepted.

From the foyer of our studio, you walk through a costume room with tutus and character dresses and rat heads hanging from the ceiling and carefully stacked. Many times the dancers walk passed it without a second thought, used to the sight of of the stacks of fabric they pass by week after week, some pausing to comment on what animal they were as 7 year olds or the seemingly endless years of villager roles, but most rushing past to the studio without a second thought.

This lady gasped; she was in complete awe of the vastness of it. I pointed out a few costumes from recent ballets, talked about the fire we had in the 1990s and showed some of the costumes that survived that we still use and which ones we got from Louisville Ballet after that have held up so well over the last 30 years of constant use with who knows how many years of use before that.

From there I walked her through the break room and showed her the studio. A room we are so familiar with its easy to forget how impressive it is. A converted warehouse, there’s a weight-bearing support structure in the middle of the front of the floor, one each dancer is all too familiar with avoiding while rehearsing and having to adjust to its absence when we’re on stage.

There’s a wall of thick cubed windows, made in a way you can’t see through them but allow a beautiful amount of natural light to come in, and a back wall of mirrors with curtains pulled back and tucked behind the barres when not in use. The lady was so impressed, speaking to how awe inspiring it was to see the place where we work in the lead up to performances. We talked about the process and how things translate from there to stage, seeing the light in her eyes bringing a smile to my face.

It truly is magic.

It’s easy to forget when it’s something you’re so closely involved in, something you’re so used to dedicating so much of your time to, something you experience so often. If we allow ourselves to take a step back and notice the magic flowing all around us, remember the first time we were involved, remember how we felt the first time we put on a tutu, remember our excitement with goals we achieved—remember the magic—we can bring a little bit of that with us and translate it onto the stage. Sometimes we need to take a step back and realize how incredibly lucky and privileged we are to be involved in something like this at all, and for us specifically at our studio to be under the tutelage of such a legendary teacher.

Of course, there will be downs along with the ups, and there is cause to feel and process the not-so-magical parts of this world. There’s disappointment and difficulty and long, long days. There are things completely out of our control and things that feel personal but aren’t, some I remember all too well (aye swifties) from my own experiences. However, the conclusion I came to is I dance for me. Ballet is what I make it. For some people, that includes a change of some form, a move, an adjustment, a program elsewhere than their home studio, a shake up in their routine. For others, it’s a mentality shift, a step back, a perspective change.

What you bring to ballet is your legacy to it. And if you bring your best, if you work hard, if you do it for you, that’s a beautiful legacy to leave, and you should be proud of yourself on that.

Today as I go back to the studio for rehearsals, sitting at my desk in the office and flitting back and forth from the studio for various tasks, i’ll choose to remember the magic, to hold the memories of the days when my body let me move freely close, and appreciate the privilege it is to have involvement still even with my limitations.


I miss taking class.

I miss taking class so much.

I’m so grateful that little Voice in my head whispered to me the past five years, “don’t take this for granted.” Otherwise, I may be sadder than I currently am. Thankfully, I did my best to listen. I can look back from the beginning six years ago and smile. I can be proud of my progress, of the risks I took, of all the new things I faced and tried and loved.

I had my appointment with my general practitioner last Friday. After the appointment with the neurosurgeon flopped, I made this appointment to try and get in to a Cardiologist to see if the fatigue is related to my heart, and maybe see if I have POTS or possibly see his opinions on EDS. (may have to further explore that later, possibly even try a geneticist.)

My doctor wouldn’t be at the normal office I go to for a while, so I went to the secondary office in a different town. I was nervous. I don’t particularly care for new things, even though it’s the doctor I know and love. But they run things differently there, and I felt rushed and limited, which I usually don’t feel. It’s okay, though, I got to the point and accomplished what I was there to accomplish. I just had so many other questions I wanted to ask. I hadn’t seen her since last year when I got my rheumatologist appointment, so there was much to update her on, only half of it which I remembered and was able to tell her.

She asked if this was affecting dance still, and I told her I can’t take class anymore. I told her how I have to have an assistant to even teach, and how currently most are in Nutcracker rehearsals so I’m by myself, which is rather difficult. She was shocked. I told her about the chronic fatigue, and how my rheumatologist was out of ideas. That I was requesting the cardiologist as a sort of grasping at straws type of thing, thinking maybe it’s related. I told her how my heart can physically hurt, even if I’m not doing anything to warrant it, and how the POTS like symptoms are more pronounced, but I wasn’t sure if that was it or not. I told her how I wondered if the fatigue was related to my heart since all of this has really flared up since diagnosis, but that I really don’t know if this is it or not, I just don’t know what else to do or try.

She had the nurse come in and take my blood pressure laying down, sitting up, and standing. I snuck peeks at her notes and started to feel pretty downtrodden as they appeared normal. She left to print off my discharge paper work and I sat on that little exam table thing feeling vulnerable and stupid. Is this going to be just another dead end? Am I going to put money into this just to come up empty again? Is this all in my head? Surely it’s not, right, because who really wants to be this sick? Who wants to have to lose the things she loves most due to illness? Who chooses to use money they don’t have to see endless specialists, often having to miss work for it and therefore lose more money? Who willingly subjects themselves to ridicule over not being able to explain that yes you really are sick and yes I know I look normal but I promise you I don’t feel normal and no it’s not just me being lazy. But then I thought of my chiropractor. I thought of how he believes me 100% and is fighting for me to get answers as much as he can, and he doesn’t make a dime off of me, yet is as invested as if I were a billionaire.

As I sat there, I realized how down I really was about all of this. I mean, it’s not easy to be sick with no reason, but it was as if I was truly feeling it this time. No sooner I realized my own vulnerability, I heard a voice just outside the door that induced a panic attack like I haven’t had in I don’t know how long.

Once upon a time, I was sexually harassed by a family friend. It went on for years and not many believed me. He was too nice, he went to our church, he didn’t really mean it like that, Emilee. I could tell you horror stories of all the things he “didn’t mean” and let me tell you, that’s a load of crap. He’s a perverted man who shouldn’t be allowed around teen girls, and I’ve done my best to steer clear of him. Yet, here I was, sitting on that exam room table, the only things keeping me safe were those four walls that were suffocating me just moments earlier. Now, I didn’t want to leave.

The nurse came in with the papers and I’m a crying mess. I apologize as she goes over the follow up and other things I need to know. I half listen as I think to myself, “do I suck it up and face him? Or do I say something? Is there even anything she can do? Will she believe me? Am I just being dramatic? Will this be an imposition on her?” I remembered the story I heard from a respected celebrity I admire about her own story, and remembered her saying that we don’t need to back ourselves into a corner and convince ourselves to be silent. That these things aren’t our fault and aren’t something we have to just accept. So I said something, and the nurse left, distracted him, and snuck me out. She literally snuck me out of the building, y’all. A++, would trust this lady with my life.

At this point, I’m shaking and fumbling for my keys and trying to remain calm but it ain’t working. I didn’t know what to do or who to call because no one now really knows this side of my life. They don’t know him. They weren’t there when it happened. I reluctantly called my sister. She at least was there for part of it. If anyone gets it, it’ll be her.

I calmed down. I felt stupid. I shoved it all down and tried to forget it happened.

But it did. And I’m not the person I was before it. You can’t be.

But what’s important is knowing you’re not alone. And when it’s safe, sharing your story so others know that are not alone. It’s a scary thing to go through, and sadly too many of us find ourselves faced with it. I debated for a while whether I’d throw that piece into the blog post, but it happened. And maybe on a different day I could have handled it better, maybe I would have been stronger. But I’m not. And no matter how much I rest and how much I cut back and how hard I try, I’m not the same person. I can’t do the things I used to do. I’m weaker; physically, emotionally, mentally. This whatever it is tears at every part of me, slowly, leaving me frayed.

I got sick that day, caught a cold or something. Usually these things last 3 days tops, but it’s been a week and I’m struggling. I taught my class today and was so dizzy and disoriented afterwards I was a little afraid to drive home. I probably should have waited longer than I did, but I really just wanted to be in bed.

Sometimes I forget how bad it is, and maybe it’s just this extreme because I’m “normal people sick” on top of everything else. I don’t know. But it’s been quite the week and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling.

Good news is, I don’t have to wait until 2018 to get in to see the Cardiologist. I actually see him on the 14th. I’m nervous as heck, and I’m sure the first appointment will be a lot of formalities, blood work orders, and tests to be run with money I don’t really have and lack of insurance. But thankfully they aren’t denying me since I’m not insured. That’s a constant fear in the back of my head. I am part of a medi-share type thing, so I’m not completely screwed, but even so it’s very limited. I have it to avoid the tax penalty and in case something extreme happens I’m not screwed, which I can’t confidently rule out something extreme happening.

Ballet class was healing for me. It helped me forget the bad things. For that hour, the rest of the world didn’t exist. People’s opinions were left at the door, and fear was slammed in the face. I was free to dream, free to be myself, free to do these things and not worry about what people thought or said or how they perverted it. I was safe. I miss that.

I’m praying I get answers. I’m doing my best to pay off everything I can while also seeking answers. If I do nothing I’m no better off.

I’m sorry this post isn’t more ballet related. I’m sorry it’s not happier. I’m sorry my posts get more and more like this. I don’t want this to become a health blog, but I can’t deny that all this crap is taking over and suffocating out the ballet in me. Thankfully, I’m still involved. Thankfully I still get to the studio. And I’ll appreciate every day I get to step foot into that studio, as if it were my last day. Because, realistically, one of these days it may very well be.

Oh, here’s some new stuff! (and pictures!)

We had an event for the Nutcracker on Saturday where some of us dressed up in costume and did a story time, inviting people to come to the shows. Barnes and Noble gave a portion of the profits to the company if the customers mentioned us at check out. Cool, huh?
Going as Rat Queen terrified half the children and intrigued the other.
There was this one little girls, couldn’t be older than two, who was completely taken with the Rat Queen. She was my absolute favorite thing, I wish there were a way to get a copy of the pictures from her mom! Haha. I don’t know how the Disney Characters do it, since they aren’t allowed to take any pictures.
I also saw one of my favorite little dancers from my old studio, Noelia, whime I hadn’t seen since our last recital at Instep. I took off my head and her mom remembered me and Noelia did after a bit. It made me so happy. She is dancing at Ballet Academy, which I’m glad to hear that she’s still dancing. She absolutely beautiful and incredibly talented, not to mention such a sweet girl.
There were two different times for the Nutcracker story time. Jessica was gracious to let me have the first slot so I could be done in time for a photo shoot (that got rained out, unfortunately) so I gave her the suit for the second part. It was such a fun time.

We had a local promotional event at the Lighting of Lamar Park here locally, and I got to be the Rat Queen for it, as well. (Which is fab since it’s cold outside and the Rat Queen costume is nice and warm) My dear, sweet Ayla was there as the mouse, so we walked around a bit together. It was quite the hit, seeing the “big mouse and little mouse.” I even made one girl scream when she commented on Ayla’s costume and I turned around to see her and she wasn’t expecting it. It was pretty hilarious.
Surprisingly, less were afraid of me than weren’t. I took tons of pictures with kids and sometimes other characters as well. We passed out candy canes and having the giant head sure did make it easier to give face to the local news station reporters.
I saw another one of my babies from Instep, the other one I had yet to see that I missed to terribly. Isabella was there with her Mom and Brother, and I introduced myself before taking off my head to talk to them. Her Mom was thrilled to see me, and remembered me right away. Isabella took a second, I’m sure also taking in the fact that there was a human in this rat suit, haha. Her Mom told me she hadn’t been dancing since Instep closed and I told her about Munro and the classes there. I told her about the class I assist and to check it out and that Mia was the teacher and the times and all. She was so pumped. I really hope to see Isabella at the studio!

I also got to see my friends Ryan and Lauren, who had a table set up with their two books they’ve put out recently. One is a book of photography and the other is a children’s book; both incredible.
They have been really dear to my heart and also such good, cherished friends to me over the years. I love seeing them and seeing how God is using them to make a difference in the world.

I got to hold on to the costume from Sunday until the event on Tuesday. I realized Sunday night that the Black Swan tutu is part of the Rat Queen costume and that it was in my closet. I text my sister and asked if she could get some pictures of me in it on Monday, and she graciously obliged. 

So that was fun.
The costume was a little big, since I’m not wearing the giant rat suit underneath, but we made it work. I really like how they came out, and I’m glad to have these for if one day I can’t dance anymore. Plus, I think it was good for me to see that I don’t look like the image in my head while in a real tutu. (this is just me being real, here. My story, I can say it if I want.)
Obviously, there’s a few “bloopers” or whatever. My dad’s German Shepherd was chasing my cat who decided to saunter over to us. They also decided that right behind us is the perfect place to do this chase. Hah
My Achilles has been hurting, especially since this last cold front came through. I asked Ms. Heidi what I should do about it, and she showed me some different things to do to help it. Sometimes stretching it can make it worse. I was glad she said that, because that’s what I was feeling, but didn’t have any proof of it and didn’t know what else to do. Hopefully it’ll start feeling better. It is fine when I don’t dance, even in the interim. Between steps and combinations. 
My ankles were really weak before dancing. I used to hurt it just by stepping on it wrong, but I could never figure out what was “wrong” exactly. I hadn’t felt it in a while, but when landing a grand jete at rehearsal, I found it again, and my ankle–and Achilles–started hurting. It pops quite often as well. 
I woke up this morning to a text from my cousin. It was pictures of her double jointed fingers, asking if I can do the same. I told her I can, and sometimes in different ways, and told her how I can’t point straight because my fingers curve and how my knees and elbows hyper extend. She told me that she was diagnosed with hypermobility. That it’s genetic, and can actually cause gastrointestinal issues. 
It’s been quite a day of learning and discovering. 
I’ve learned much over the last few weeks, having more time to myself. I wish I could have written more before I hardly have any time at all. 
New things, and I’m sure they’ll be good–just different. I feel good about them, a bit nervous. 
I’m sure it’ll be good. 
It already has been. 


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.)


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.


If you’re just here for all the ballet goodness, you may not care too much about this post.
Obviously, it involves ballet, but it also involves parts of the very real struggle I face everyday. I keep going, in spite of it, because I know if I stop I’ll never get past the point of where I am–I’ll never improve–so I keep going and take things as they come.

Yesterday was our V’s class. I look forward to this class because I really get to work on pointe stuff. My knee hasn’t been hurting as badly as usual, so that’s a plus. I even did my tap class without a brace on and it did just fine! I think strengthening those muscles is helping tremendously.

I noticed I was a bit spacey, but figured it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I’m just having an off day. I can do my best still and I’ll be fine.
We got started on barre. I focused on breathing more than usual (thanks Mrs. Alex!) which made a difference. But then I started feeling pretty crummy. This always seems to happen on Wednesdays, which is incredibly frustrating. I kept pushing through class, trying to figure out what is different that would make Wednesdays more difficult. Is it the fact I have tap before? Is it because it’s a later class? Is it the crunches at the beginning? Is it because it’s my longest class?
I kept going, trying to just shake it off. I noticed my vision would sort of get foggy, if that makes sense?, but not super extreme. Just enough to notice.
Then when we got to a sharp combination with a few turns, I noticed someone on my left side felt weird. I could feel it in my stomach, but not just that. It was in my chest.
My heart felt weird.
Like it was struggling. It wasn’t beating hard or anything. It felt like it was straining.
That’s when I remembered that I had blood work done that morning, and apparently I’m anemic, so even though I’ve done blood work more times than I can count, this was the first time to have it while living such an active lifestyle.
I noticed my knee not hurting so badly, even in fondus. I noticed I was fighting to keep my hips square, and when I didn’t give in to sinking into my standing leg, my knee was fine. It seems as though the unevenness in my hips, legs, back, etc has gotten worse. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s very clear when you look at me. I see my chiropractor on Monday, so I think I’m going to make a list of things to ask him. Will this always be how it is? Is there anything that can be done? Better ways to combat it?
I left class after barre, so about 45 minutes early. I didn’t want to at all, but I knew I had to. I told Mrs. Alex I was going to leave and that I had blood work done today and didn’t expect it to affect me like this. She said it could have made me anemic and I told her I apparently already am, and I’ve had blood work before, but this was new. She seemed concerned and told me I was doing the right thing, so that was nice.
It just sucks.
Will my body ever not have issues?

Please, if you have a healthy, normal body, appreciate it. Don’t jack it up or take it for granted. Don’t be lazy with it. There are people out there who would give anything to just simply have a body that does what its supposed to do.
I’m grateful I’m still able to find ways to dance through all my issues right now. Its why I refuse to make excuses. Its why I keep pushing through. My body may not be perfect, but I’m so grateful its not worse than what it is.

Maybe one day things won’t be like this. Maybe this is the best I’ll ever know it to be. There’s always something you can find to complain about, why not find the positive instead?

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 🙂

Hi, I’m human.

This week has been a rough one, to say the least.
I managed to make it through classes the last three days, only having to sit out the last two or so combinations in yesterday’s class, which was the longest of the week.

I saw my chiropractor yesterday, and asked him further about my knee. He said my right leg is longer and it is because it just is. That the reason it hurts is because I roll in that foot when I plie to compensate for the elevated hip on that side. Doing so is causing the knee pain, and also causing me to not work the correct muscles. This makes my right leg weaker, and is the reason why my releves and turns and everything else are harder on that side. (though my balance is better.) Now I just need to focus on doing specific work outs for that leg to gain strength, and in the mean time I have a brace that is actually helping this time around.
(I also taught him what the term plie is. He was pretty proud of himself. I’ll quiz him next appointment.)

That being said, I’m not able to go to class today. Last week was rough on me physically, and not just because of my knee. I’ve had issues with my stomach/internal organs for a few years now, and doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint why. So far, doctors don’t seem to be too concerned. Whatever.
Recently, it’s gotten to be something I can’t ignore. Last week I tried, but this week has left me shaking in ways I have never experienced, forgetful to the point I didn’t even know it was something I could be forgetting, and oddly dizzy, which isn’t good for a dancer. I would get home just in time to get physically sick (thankfully, and amazingly) and the details of it no one really wants to hear. (Except my pre-med friend. She gets all the juicy details.)
I’ve been looking into what I can do about all of this, since the doctors locally seem to be lost on what else to try. A friend suggested a doctor in Central Texas. I looked into it, but would need a referral. I tried to think through what was the best course of action; should I just try my doctor here again? Should I ask for the referral? Am I gonna get quizzed or yelled at for trying to go elsewhere? Is there even anything else she could do, if the last few times I googled to come up with what to do and told her and that’s how we figured that out?
I was speaking to one of the dance mom’s (Ya know, my biggest fan, Mrs. Rowland 🙂 ) and she suggested a clinic here locally. It would be considered out of town for most people, but since we both live in the boondocks, it’s not all that bad. Just as far as driving to the other one I go to, just the other way.
I was a big girl and called to see about an appointment, and they’re able to get me in on Tuesday, which surprised me since I’m a new patient. I’m incredibly grateful, though, since I don’t know how long I’ll last based on these last few days. I considered going to the ER last night, but I don’t trust it, so I’m going to try and tough it out and take it easy. (Don’t worry, Mrs. Rowland, if it gets too bad I’ll go.) (And I’ll let you know I’m there.)
I spoke with Mrs. Alex about it last night, letting her know what was going on. I have been having to tell my teachers about it each day so they don’t freak out if I suddenly leave or have to do something halfway or have that glazed look on my face. I was kind of expecting yesterday’s teacher to just kind of listen to me, then tell me a simple, “Okay, well just take it easy” type of thing, but she didn’t. She was genuinely concerned for me. It made me feel really cared about. Like, I know people care about me, but dang all this support from everyone is a new concept. I really like it.
I told Mrs. Alex, and let her know I had the appointment on Tuesday and all that. I asked her what her opinion was on Festival. (The studio goes every year. I’m older, but it doesn’t really matter which, for me, is really great because I didn’t have these opportunities when I was younger and to know I didn’t miss out completely is really cool. It’s in the Spring, and they take different pieces, and there’s incredible master classes–all really enticing.) I booked two weddings last week (woo!) which could cover the fees and stuff, but I found myself hesitant. She told me a little more detail about it, and after I told her about my fear I’d get placed in too high of a level and die (hah,) I told her. “Honestly, I really want to go, especially for the Master Classes, but I don’t know how I’ll be health-wise then. This could be simple, but what if it’s not? I don’t know if Festival would be too much with already having Nutcracker and Swan Lake. I want to do well with those.” It was a valid point. She agreed that it might be best to sit out this year, even if I didn’t want to have to. So I think that is my decision at this point. (sad face.)

In other happy news…
Last week, when I was in the office on Friday waiting for the class I was helping with to start (since I’m crazy early for everything all the time) one of the teachers I hadn’t met (until that day) was talking with Ms. Munro and Nancy about covering days she would be gone. They asked if I was interested in subbing, and how they thought I would be great at it. (“You were born to teach!” thanks Ms. M) There was another girl they were looking at possibly having cover, so I told them if she fell through, I could do it.
The other girl looked pretty promising. I forgot about it.
I walked into class yesterday, and Nancy asked me if I could do it. The other girl fell through.
I’d have to leave work a little early (darn.) and it would be two classes–a 3/4 ballet and a 9-12 ballet. I told her I could and asked her different things about it since I’ve only ever seen one 5/6 class here and it was last week’s.
During class, Ms. Munro came over while I was at the barre (hahahahaha, yeah, while Mrs. Alex was showing a combination. Not gonna lie, I felt really important) and asked if I could do Mia’s class this Friday. She needed to cover the Tap class at the same time, and the easiest solution was to move Mia to the Tap and have me do the Ballet class I help her with.
So. Here we go! I teach my first class tomorrow! You’re looking at the newest staff member at Munro Ballet Studios! (Officially tomorrow when I fill out the W-4. Woo!)

That’s a pretty exciting step in a direction I love. I know it’ll be even better once I’ve done these classes and realized it wasn’t a disaster and get my feet wet in it and kinda have a handle on it. To be the teacher in the class–the one in charge, not just the helper or moral support for the teacher–is a pretty intense concept.
Look mom, I’m a real adult!

(And now I can finally answer “Yes” when I tell people that I do ballet and they automatically ask “Oh, you teach?” since in their mind a near-twenty-seven-year-old couldn’t logically be a student.)