Personal.

“Emilee’s a good dancer I dont know why she doesn’t think so cause she is”

My friend sent me this quote from her sister last night.
Why is it that my first response–after how adorable her sister is–was “Who said I though that?” But then I realized that I probably didn’t even realize I said it. It may not have been so many words, but more so my actions and body language. I responded with, “Am I really? Cause I don’t really feel like much of one.” Which was how I really felt, when I am completely honest with myself.

To which she tells me
“I mean I don’t tell ya just to make ya feel good.”

And that’s the thing. This friend won’t tell me something just to make me feel good.
She’s honest. Even if it isn’t pleasant.
And that’s one of my favorite things about her.

So if she sees it, and her sister sees it, why do I have such a hard time seeing it?

I struggle. Especially en pointe. I was too afraid to do the 5s class en pointe because I knew I was behind. There were some things that were just over my head and I didn’t want to risk it. My extensions aren’t as high as I would like and I’m riddled with health issues that keep increasing in number and severity as time goes on. I’m inexperienced and falling behind those in my 4s class. (seriously? How are these girls doing doubles en pointe? I can’t even do two on flat! and I struggle with one en pointe! What gives!) I’m not super talented like my other friend who literally makes people cry with her expression as well as her incredible technique.

I’m awkward and overweight and scared of everything.

Yet these people say that I’m good.

And when I hear that, my initial response is, “Yeah, well they just think that because I know how to fake it really well. It’s not that I’m actually good. I’m just good at making my face seem like everything is okay.”

I really want to improve.
I want to learn more.
I want to practice.
I want to take privates and get more confident.
I feel like if I were more confident and more stable in my footing then maybe I would believe them.
If my thighs were a little more trim and my arms were tone again then maybe I’d actually look the part.

But why am I this shallow?
When I’m the first to shut it down in someone else if I hear the same thing? Because I can see something they don’t see in themselves. Why don’t I believe it when someone does the same for me?

I’ll let you know as I figure it out…

Today is the first recital day. I dance tomorrow, but I’m helping with the kids today.
I’m excited and sad that this year is officially over.
I’m a little nervous for what next year will actually hold, and uncertain of these summer classes.

But being around everyone yesterday, dancing this beautiful piece, I know that dance isn’t something I want to give up.
That concrete stage actually felt the best on my feet than anything, and I don’t know how that makes sense.

I’m just praying my shoes don’t die tomorrow. Because my new ones won’t be in until August.

I have a lot left to learn; about ballet and about myself and about this world I live in.
I really want to believe them when they tell me these things.
Ironically, this friend’s sister is the one I saw dancing that first made me believe that I could do this.
I saw her and thought, “If she can do that, maybe I can too.”

Please be patient with me. I’ve got a lot of demons I’m fighting.
I’m learning.

If you have something nice to say…

Wow! Yes, it’s definitely a different process, in terms of things not always being explained. I would have never known based on your dancing, though, if I hadn’t friended you on Facebook and found out that way.”

Say it.

This was from one of the principal dancers at my studio.
She told me about a YouTube channel for adult dancers that she and a friend have (which is amazing by the way) and asked if I started dancing as an adult.
When I told her I started at 23, 3 1/2 years ago, she said the above quote.

Now you must understand, she is one of the greatest dancers I’ve seen. Insanely talented and obviously dedicated, she has muscles on her muscles. She’s one of those that may be shorter, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by her dancing.
She also teaches the class before mine on Thursdays, and I come early to watch her with the younger girls. I feel like I can learn so much even on the other side of the one-way mirror.
And no one at this studio really knows me. They’re starting to know my name now that I did The Nutcracker, but they hardly even know that I’m not a teenager, let alone twenty-six. How would any of them know my story if they’ve never asked? They wouldn’t.

But she asked a simple question.
And her reaction has done more for my little heart than I could ever thank her for.
Because she’s right.
Starting as an adult is so very different, and you’re not always given the explanation or room to make mistakes as you are when you’re younger. Even though you haven’t been in it as long, you’re expected to know more, even if no one says anything. People my age are professionals by now, and here I am barely in it.
Meanwhile, I have this insanely good dancer taking the time out to care about the adults who start out and the struggles it brings.

Poor thing got a synopsis of my sob-story, and I’m trying not to feel stupid about saying it. It is what it is, and you either have to decide you’ve had enough and give in, or refuse to give up and take the hits as they come. I guess no one at this studio really knows so it’s weird that someone does. Oh well.
Life is life. It’s not going to be perfect.

Today is a funny day anyway. And it’s February, which always is a little more difficult for me. (And no, not because of the 14th.)

But this was really nice of her to say, and I wanted to post it on here so I don’t forget it.