Perspective

I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine that started with informing her of the success of the harder shanks in the pointe shoes.

And honestly, now I have a seemingly new-found perspective, as well as a figurative weight off my shoulders.

Which is silly, because I kinda knew all this before.
It just put it all back into focus for me and really made me realize something.
Mainly, that she was right.

She was right about me needing a harder shank, even when I’m told by others that having a harder shank is a cop-out for people with weak feet.
She was right about my alignment being a little funky and was able to guide me in how to correct it.
She was right about how to use teaching styles that are effective. (The proof is in the pudding.)
So many other things that all have the same connecting factor;
She was right.

So if her track record is one of being right, then I know that she’s right in what our conversation held today.
Which is more than I’m going to divulge here, but what I really take away is this:

I am my own person. I am the product of the hard work and effort I put into to my technique. I can choose to either learn from people offering to help make me a better dancer, or I can throw it all out the window. I can choose to ask questions and learn, or I can putz through in fear. I am not the studio or company I dance for. I am not any lesser or any better because of roles I do or do not get.

And no matter what things look like now, nothing is guaranteed to stay the same.
I don’t know what my life holds for me next year. I don’t know what decisions people around me are going to make that are going to affect me. I can’t count on that. I have to make decisions for myself and what is best for me. I need to keep an open mind and realize that if something isn’t working out, I have the power to change it. One way or another.

So yeah, Swan Lake sucks right now. It’s hard and it leaves me crying every weekend because there is just so much that doesn’t make sense. But there’s parts I can change and parts I can’t. And the parts I can are up to me. I can make the most of what I’ve been given and get through the best I am able. Or I can complain about the things I can’t change, sit around and pout or be bitter or not work hard because it’s “not fair.” Okay, it may not be fair. But that’s something I can’t change. I fear I’ve done all I can do, and that isn’t something I fear for myself, but for the whole.
But I am more than Swan Lake. Even if it puts an unfair amount of strain on me. Even if it leaves me completely frustrated and embarrassed. Even if it leaves me with commitments difficult to keep because of how the “cards fell.” Whatever. Gotta just deal with it and keep trucking, and evaluate things and make decisions from there.
For me.

In the mean time, I can utilize every second given to me in that studio to become a better dancer. I can be so good they can’t ignore me–not necessarily in the sense of being compared to others, but compared to myself. Think about it; if someone is a mediocre dancer in class, and all of a sudden they start caring and trying and working hard, the teacher can’t help but notice.

I want to be that.

What they do with it is up to them.

And from that, I decide what to do with my life; with my art; with my career; with my story.

And that is completely up to me.

I shouldn’t set my goals with such a narrow depth of field. I shouldn’t set them in things that are out of my control. I should set my goals and dreams in things that I can handle and things that I can logically work for. If not, I’ll just continuously get let down time and time again, and for what? It’s not that I wasn’t capable or this or that or the other. Who knows why? I sure don’t. But the point is, it’s out of my hands.
Now my goals are going to be with me in mind. They’re going to be something tangible. They’re going to be logical.

  • I want to be able to consistently do doubles. In flat shoes, and eventually in pointe shoes.
  • I want my jetes to actually, ya know, get off the ground.
  • I want to master chaines.
  • I want to learn the different names for all the placements–arms, hips,  everything.
  • I want my arabesque to be above 90 degrees when I’m not trying.
  • I want to figure out how to beat my jumps, even though jumping is bad for my knees…
  • I want to learn these new, complex moves.
  • I want to continuously improve, blowing my old records out of the water.
  • I want to leave class knowing I was the best version of myself.

I know this isn’t something I can make a career out of. I’m twenty-seven. This will be nothing more than just for the hell of it. And I should try my best. But I have to realize that there are limitations simply because I’m not in high school, or my back is jacked up, or politics, or whatever.

But I shouldn’t let that keep me from doing what I love for as long as I want to and am able to do it.

My wish is that things would improve to where injustices aren’t a thing anymore. But judging by track record, that doesn’t seem to be logical.

And I can’t let that hold me back.

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.

Content.

Last night, I was thinking.

About tomorrow.
About what may or may not happen.
I thought about how I didn’t want to think about this.
How it makes me so anxious I end up sick.
How it’s completely out of my hands.

I prayed.
Talked to God like old friends.
My prayers are rarely, “Dear Lord, XYZ, In Jesus’ Name, Amen” Or whatever formula it typical. Instead, it’s a conversation. Being honest, telling Him how I feel about things and learning what I should be thinking and feeling and doing about it.

“God, I know it’s out of my hands. I know there’s nothing more I can do than I’ve already done. Let them see what needs to be done. Let them remember me. Let my hard work speak for itself. And whatever happens, help me to have a good attitude. I don’t want to be bitter or upset or have a crappy attitude. Help me to see the good in all this. Help me learn everything I can.”
Etc, etc.

I tend to handle things better if I think through the realities before they happen.
“Reality is, they may not change anything. Reality is, if they change something, they could pick someone else. How will I handle this? If either of these things happen, you will still be okay.”
I talk myself through these things so when push comes to shove, I don’t fall apart. I give myself pep talks and council and whatever other words you can find. Because it’s true; no matter what happens, I’ll be okay.

Then God and I had a talk about the hope I feel.
I’m terrified of it, honestly. Terrified that I’ll end up crushed again, and it’ll all be because I set myself up for it. I don’t want to have to go through any of that again.
But is hope so bad a thing? Without it, what do we have?

I thought through scriptures I knew that had the word “hope” in them.
Most also contained the word “trust” or some synonym of the word.
I realized that whatever happened, God is in control, and I can trust Him. Whether it’s in my favor or against, this is an experience to help me learn and grow. If nothing else, I’m reminded of how important it is to lean on Him in these kinds of things, and that He truly can be trusted.

I may be upset or confused or whatever, but I still have peace. Even when anxiety tries to take over, the inner peace is still there.

I caught myself singing an old hymn from my childhood church. I can’t remember the last time I thought of it, but it came back clear as a bell.

“Unto Thee, oh Lord, do I lift up my soul
Unto Thee, oh Lord, do I lift up my soul
Oh, my God, I trust in Thee
Let me not be ashamed,
Let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

I literally sang it until I fell asleep, which I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that, either. (Until I sat bolt upright and remembered I never took a polaroid that day. It’s okay, it was just past 11pm, so I got it in time 😉 )
(For those of you who don’t know, I take a polaroid every day.)

Today I decided to look up the hymn and found it had more verses.
I also found that it is based off Psalm 25.

So I looked up Psalm 25.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.
I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

There’s that word again–hope.

Hope is safe.
It’s not something to be afraid of.
It’s not a guaranteed fall.
It’s seeing the good in the world. Acknowledging that there is a potential for something wonderful to happen. The world isn’t perfect, so there’s no way to guarantee that the something wonderful is sure. But the hope itself, it’s safe.

I won’t be put to shame.
Whatever happens, God is still good. He’s still working things out for me. He’s still teaching me and helping me be a better person.
He still has me.
And if there’s anything I could be or should be doing better, He’ll let me know.

I looked up the word “treacherous,” curious of what the intention behind the word was.

1.
characterized by faithlessness or readiness to betray trust; traitorous.
2.
deceptive, untrustworthy, or unreliable.
3.
unstable or insecure, as footing.

4.
dangerous; hazardous:
I have no reason to feel shameful if things don’t fall in my favor.
I should hold my head high and know that I am doing my best.
I’m not owed anything particular in this world. There isn’t some sure way that if you follow these steps everything will be perfect. Bad and unfair happen to good, hard-working people. It’s a part of life. It sucks, but it’s something we will get through.
But I know when I lay my head down at night that I have given my all.
And that is something I can be proud of.
If you continue on in the chapter, you find,
Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
My hope shouldn’t be in the outcome of this thing, it should be in God.
If my hope is in Him, I’ll never be put to shame.

Thoughts and feels lately

I’ve been rather contemplative lately, in a funk of sorts. This tends to be when I get reflective and such, which has only been heightened by the excitement of a domain name, instagram account, facebook page, and everything else that has come about with the blog actually being a .com.

Looking back, I realized this time last year, most people still didn’t know me.
It was largely Wizard of Oz that actually introduced me to everyone in the studio. I knew a few after Nutcracker, but mainly just the girls in Chinese with me. Which was about, ya know, 7 people. Oz added on the Crows, other Winkie Guards, a teacher, (who was our director) Munchkins, their siblings, the dance mom’s, and eventually the other dancers. (I think Crows opened up majority of that.)

It’s funny to see the difference.
How now, everyone knows me. They know my name. They know I’m not in High School, a good deal of them have figured out my story, or at least bits of it.

Honestly, sometimes I can’t tell which I prefer.
Getting less-than-stellar roles is definitely easier when you don’t know anyone. It’s not as personal. The sting is only within yourself and doesn’t typically have other people attached. It’s less to fake until you can work through your emotions. It’s less tears, really.
There’s less confusion about how you rank on level since so many other opinions are now interjected. You don’t have as many people you feel responsible fore; You don’t have to be “on” as much when no one knows you.

On the other hand, there’s less encouragement. Less people who care about your accomplishments and help you when you’re struggling. There’s less support. You don’t have people to bounce thoughts off of, or to ask to watch you do this or that move and see if it’s correct. You don’t have someone there to pull you back to reality when you get caught inside your own head, no one to shoot down the lies you tell yourself. No one to build you up when you get knocked down. There’s no one there to ask for advice. No one to share ballet puns with. No one to read your blog and get excited with you over new beginnings or small victories.

On Sunday, I went with one of my best-non-dance friends to Austin to meet our favorite author. This was my first time to attend such an event, and I was really excited, especially since I felt like I could relate to him in so many ways.
There was a question and answer segment, during which he nonchalantly divulged the wisdom that guides who he is as a writer and a person. During this, he made a comment about how, when writing the final book of this trilogy, he tried to seclude himself to get what he needed out. He went to his parents cabin with hopes and visions of walking around nature, taking it all in, and being able to get the story out. What he found was the exact opposite. Being alone was of no help, and instead he found what he needed when he surrounded himself with the people he cares most about. The ones who encourage him and are honest with him.

It may be difficult, there may be times I want to just be alone, and that’s okay. Especially being largely introverted. But what it boils down to is that I’d be nothing without the people in my life, without this dance family I have found myself among. They push me and encourage me and help me accomplish the things I’ve set out to do. They celebrate my successes and grieve my disappointments right along side me.

Though I’m sure I’ll find myself in days when being alone is what I need, I can’t let myself cut off from the very people who have helped me get as far as I am.

 

I love the people in my life. And I cherish these days that I get to have them close to me. Every year brings new changes–heck, everything could change tomorrow–so while I have them, I want to hold them close and make the most of it.

Also

Ms. Munro spoke to me yesterday.
Asked me if I was okay. Asked how my knees were, mentioned how I never do jumps.
I explained why I didn’t do them in class, but how I still marked and learned and can do them if needed. How in such a fast paced environment I tend to forget the details I need to think about and hurt my knees. I explained how the right leg is longer, how my back is curved, and how I have the calcified whiplash. I told her in choreography, I’m fine, because I can think about it. I can work specifically on something and know how to avoid injury.

She told me I should be very proud of how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. She asked how long I’ve been en pointe, and said that these other girls have just been on longer.
She asked me to pointe my foot, so I did, and she said I had really good arches, and I need to lift out of my shoe more. That I need to build the strength so I don’t sink.

I wish someone had told me this sooner.
I had heard whims of this, but never definite. It wasn’t anything concrete. I do stuff with the theraband, but I wish I had known to dedicate to this. That this is what they were looking for.

I can’t change the past, but I can move forward to the future.
I am still the cover, which means I still have a shot, even if it’s not the way I had hoped.
Even if it sucks.
Even if I feel like complete crap and a failure and like I must suck to get the roles I got, since I’m not even with my level.

I can’t change the past.
So I’m going to work like hell on what I now know to do. I’m going to press forward with fierce determination, and hope someone doesn’t show up enough and they actually follow through with replacing them. I’m going to show them I can do it. Because nothing would be worse than feeling all these things, getting to do the part, and finding that I can’t do it.

Tuesday’s after ballet will be dedicated to building strength.
I can’t let myself be afraid of my knee hurting, instead I must train it to go in the right direction.
I’m going to speak to teachers about how to better focus on gaining this strength, what to do with my shoes to help them last longer, and if I should start doing jumps in class or if it would do more damage than good. (I also don’t grande plie for this reason. My knees haven’t hurt since, even with choreography.) (I also don’t have to wear the brace any more.)

So if they can see the improvement in all my other efforts, I’m going to keep up with that til they see these.

Positives:

  • Ms. M complimented my musicality, asking if I played an instrument. I have not
  • She said I have come a very long way for the short amount of time I have been dancing
  • She said that I did really well in the Winkie Guard role last year and carried the other dancers, specifically with my ability to count and acting skills
  • She said I have really arched feet (I’m taking it as a compliment)

Theatre Week, Night One

The favorite part of any Corpus Christi Ballet dancer is undoubtedly theatre week.
It’s when we take our rehearsals from our downtown studio to the Selena Auditorium and do everything on stage.
This is when it really gets real. The lights, the costumes, the stage, the audience, the wings and curtains and back drops and everything.

Last night was our first night of our first theatre week.
We rehearsed for the Saturday show, so I was Rat Queen. We only did partnered things in costume, so that landed me in the Rat Queen onsie and head. Hah.
I didn’t mess up any of the order, but it definitely is a bigger space to do it on, and way more difficult when you can’t see a darn thing.
I got critiqued for looking blank right before the lift (I had never done it in costume before and was like AH! but made it work. So. Warrented.) and for not grabbing the canon ball, since it had flown to the front of the stage and I had the perfect opportunity to get it.
That thing somehow manages to blend in with the stage, because even looking at the ground, I didn’t see it. This was also at the time that my left shoe had slipped off my heel, yet managed to stay on my foot, so I was going through the bit trying to work out if there was a way I could get it back on and also thinking of what was coming up that I would need it all the way on for. Turns out, no one even noticed and I made it work.
The partnering is a bit shaky, which makes me sad. Because I love to do it, and would probably look a million times better if we weren’t in these giant costumes with these huge heads, but that’s okay. Sean is great and makes sure I don’t hit the floor, so that’s nice. I think I’ll go over it with him once before we do it again to make sure we get the feel. We have first school show, so hopefully we have time to even do this. Regardless, we’ll make it work. I just want to do my best and prove I wasn’t a mistake being cast as Rat Queen. Mrs. Alex smiled at me, so that’s good. She knows I’ve never learned partnering before rehearsal.

There were many feel-good moments during rehearsal. I absolutely love being surrounded by so many people that I love so deeply. Especially in this time in my life where I’m surrounded by so much new. I didn’t realize how much I really thrive off of having something familiar near me until this week. My new job is absolutely wonderful, but there’s so much to learn and I suck at asking questions. I’d rather observe to learn, or just go with it, but there are things that I have to ask on and I feel kinda stupid and embarrassed. I gotta suck it up, and I will, but it still sort of shakes me.
Though, if that’s my biggest issue, then I’m doing pretty darn well. I’m trying not to freak out about tax season madness, since right now things are so low key. I’ll take it when it comes and do my best to make it through. I just want them to be glad they hired me, not feel any sort of regret or anger.
(Part of this is also probably from being so used to getting yelled at so much. Now that I’m not, it’s kind of a huge adjustment. A good one, but still takes time.)

I also learned how to properly tie my pointe shoes yesterday. (Thanks, Elizabeth) I never really understood the concept of why people would wrap one ribbon first, then the second, but she explained it and now I feel like a whole new world has been shown to me. I’m extremely grateful to have people in my life that are willing to help me fill the gaps where people assume I know what I’m doing.

Tonight is night two! WOO!

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.
(http://www.amazon.com/dp/1943842116/ref=cm_sw_su_dp)
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. 
Bingo.
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. 

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.

Epiphany about previous post.

While sorting through pictures and talking to one of my dance friends, Annika, I think I have come to at least a partial conclusion as to why I seem to have this mindset about my dancing ability.

When I danced as a kid, my parents always came.
They’d sit through the recital, they’d bring flowers, they’d take pictures.
I felt like I was a wonderful dancers, until my friends would tell me where I messed up or I watched the recital video for myself and saw they were right.

Now I’m an adult, and I do recitals, and this year I’ve found myself in a studio that also does two major productions.
And at first, when I was at my old studio, I did recital, and holiday showcase in the winter, and I would hope my parents would come. It was important to me. I wanted them to be there and tell me how great I was and how proud they were of me. And they came. And they complained about how rough parking was and how it made them get there late and get bad seats. And my sister gave me flowers which I really appreciated but felt bad about. And then mom made a comment after recital, “How long does this dance thing last?” And I realized she didn’t meant this season, but how long was I going to dance. And I told her until my feet fall off.
So the next year, I didn’t press them to come. I made it an option and let them decide if they wanted to come. There was one of the holiday showcases where mom told me she wasn’t going to come. And that dad probably wouldn’t want to. So I asked him, and he scoffed at me for thinking he wouldn’t want to come and that if I was dancing, he would be there. So mom went with him. And then for recital, Dad couldn’t come because he was working on a little house he’s building in the backyard for me, so I understood why he couldn’t be there. And mom had to work. And my sister wasn’t there. I don’t think they came, at least. If they did, I don’t remember. And it was my last recital with that studio, and a dance I was really proud of.
I had to figure out in myself why I dance. I had to dance for me. To learn that this isn’t about anyone else and their approval, but because I love it.
And, boy do I love it.

This year was a little easier since two of the shows were productions. My sister was excited to see The Nutcracker–my first dance ever en pointe–and The Wizard of Oz proved to be interesting. I told Dad if he had to pick one to go to out of Oz and recital to pick recital because I’m really proud of this dance. Not that I wasn’t proud of Oz, but recital is en pointe, and that’s more of a challenge for me.
Mom and my sister came to Oz, they all went to Nutcracker, and Mom and Dad are coming to recital and maybe my sister.

I understand that they may not really care about ballet. Definitely not as much as I do. I understand that recital’s can be really drawn out, especially if you only know one person in one 3 minute dance. (Mom made a comment once about “maybe if you were in more than one” which really bummed me out when a girl dropped from the advanced class and instead of putting me in they just reblocked it. I just wasn’t good enough.)
I understand that I am an adult. That this is something that is solely on me–they don’t have to drive me anywhere, they don’t pay for anything with it, they have nothing invested.

But I guess something in me subconsciously stuck with that mindset.
I’m not good enough to be in the extra dance.
Maybe next year.
Studio closes, there is no next year to prove to myself that I am.
New studio.
I can’t do anything in the V’s en pointe. I’m not good enough.
Maybe if I were better then my parents would want to come see me.

And I didn’t realize all of this until I was talking to Annika. And I told her my parents were coming. And my brain thought about how her mom goes to see every single one of her shows, even if it’s the same dances. Because she loves to watch her dance. And I thought of Ms. Jane and how she never gets tired of watching Elizabeth dance. But I’m not good enough for my Mom to want to watch me dance. And last night she said if I would have danced the V’s, which performed last night, as well as the IV’s, which is tonight, she would have only came to one, even though they’re different dances. And my mind connected that to I’m just not good enough.

And it clicked.

Now, I don’t blame my parents for this. I truly understand. Especially during such busy times of year.
And I’ve had friends come out and support me, and I know I’m well loved.
And I guess I never realized how settled this was in my heart.

What will I do with this information?
I don’t know.

I guess it’s kind of like when a musician or an actress is starting out, and not everyone takes them seriously. And then when they stick with it and bust out on the scene and all of a sudden they’re a big name, that’s when everyone wants to claim that they know them.
When I am “good enough” for them, will I feel less indifferent to their attendance?
What matters most to me are the people who are here for me, now, during the process.
Those are the people who are the true gems.
The ones who believe in me before my breakthrough.

I’m hopeful to get to take more classes and improve. I’m hopeful to get to take those private lessons with Ms. Lori or maybe Mrs. Abby. I’m hopeful.

My Mom always listens to my stories after rehearsals or class. That’s something.

Your happiness is yours.

“Are you still on that high?”
My teacher asked me when she saw me today.
I simply said, “Mostly!” to avoid bringing up the thing that had wavered the high slightly.
I knew she knew. I don’t know if she knew I knew.
Regardless, everyone within earshot had no business knowing, so I played it off.

For some reason, I’m a naturally fearful person. I don’t think that I live in fear, per say, but I do tend to think worst-case-scenario and when something happens in which I’m wrongly accused, it tends to shake me up and make me nervous.

Usually I get really anxious or have panic attacks, but this time is different.
This time I’m able to understand where the issue is, where I play into it, and that it truly isn’t my fault. If the others involved don’t see that, this doesn’t mean it’s because of anything I’ve done wrong.
“I am responsible for my actions, not people’s reactions.”

I’ve learned to face what you’re afraid of. To play Taylor Swift and Uptown Funk as much as you need to calm yourself down and distract yourself.
I learned that there’s no reason to be afraid of it if you’ve done nothing wrong, but even so it doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen to you. It also doesn’t mean that when bad things happen to you they’re automatically your fault.
There’s only so much you can do.
Do what you can, and let it ride out.

But don’t let it steal the good things from you.
These experiences, these great memories, these beautiful things are yours, even if it makes someone else mad. It doesn’t negate that you are deserving of good things.
Don’t shield your light just because someone gets mad that it’s in their eyes.
(ooo, that’s good… where did that come from? I dunno. But I’m takin’ it.)

Moral of the story, I have such incredible people in my life, and I have found myself amongst a wonderful dance family. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been happier or felt more loved.
Typically when something good happens to me, somehow by the next day I look back on it and feel a deep remorse. I don’t know why.
But this time, I think back to Saturday, and all I have is joy inside.
I see this certificate, the drawing from my munchkins, the pictures…I read the comments and texts from friends, and my heart explodes all over again.

I feel confident that if I were to die tomorrow, I will not have left any moment uncaptured. I’ve made the most of these days, and I hope to have more to fill like these have been.
These are my “good ol’ days” and they are good indeed.

Today was our last Monday class.
I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year already…
We took some pictures 🙂

I love these girls so much!
Rebecca got cut out of the one… 😦 But they’re still great!