End of summer 2019.

As quickly as summer classes began, they have ended.

I ended up with such a great group of classes this summer, I’m sad that it’s already over!

The last class this past Saturday had some brand new kids. They did really well, and honestly I’m hopeful they’ll come back in the fall. It also has some of my kids from the last year that struggled, but seeing them thrive in a different class environment was very exciting. Give kids a chance, they’re growing and learning and maturing more every day. If you keep pouring into them, they may just surprise you. (I mean, obviously some just need to wait and come back later but you get the sentiment.)

My assistants this summer were such rockstars. Even if they had other plans, they made sure they were in class to help, which really was huge for me. May was pretty intense and honestly I over did things, so June was a lot of catch up and careful planning to hope I didn’t make things worse than they were. These girls were so vital to me. I hope I have them again in the fall!

I accidentally ate chick peas the other day, which put me out for about 5 days. Thankfully it was four of the five days where I’m not at the office, but teaching was rather difficult that weekend. (The girls helped LOADS) I wasn’t sure what caused it at first, uncertain if it was the chick peas or if I didn’t sleep enough or did too much the day before or if I was getting “normal people sick” or something else. When it finally lifted Monday evening, I traced it back to the chick peas I accidentally ate Wednesday night. Literally three peas before i realized what they were. So obnoxious.

I’m coming up on the start of a lot of traveling. Mostly short trips, but some will be testing my boundaries. I’m cautiously excited, and trying to define my lines in hopes of not crossing them any chance I get, and if I happen to then I’ll know what I need to do to recuperate faster. It’ll be a learning experience, but hopefully I’m not gonna screw myself over with it all.

I don’t have any classes to teach until mid August when the studio opens for the fall. The older dancers/adults have continuing classes, which I used to attend. Sometimes it’s still weird remembering everything I used to be able to do without even giving it a second thought and now would seem like climbing Everest. Life is weird.

I did have a friend of mine suggest trying a different way of eating that she had seen to be beneficial for patients she used to treat that had ME/CFS when she used to work at that practice, and so far it’s been mind blowing. I haven’t seen a difference in the fatigue yet, but I’ve been able to eat without pain which literally left me speechless. Is this what you guys experience every day? Because holy moly it seems fake. Like, there’s no way this is reality. So much of my stomach pain was a continuous dull roar that having nothing hurt at all…I literally can’t explain it. I’m hopeful that this can be a continuous thing and that I can get more familiar with it and learn how to incorporate it into my daily life with better ease. (Especially since, ya know, cooking takes energy, which is exhausting.) so far, so good though.

(For those wondering, it’s the FODMAP thing.)

I hope y’all are doing well. I hope you’re dancing this summer however and wherever you can and that it leaves you feeling so fulfilled and alive.

Love you all ❤️


Summer classes have begun

Some days you wake up feeling rough, but excited about teaching summer classes.

Some days you lay in bed crying your eyes out because “I f*cking hate being sick.”

Some days those days are the same day.

Today started the summer classes at the studio. I have officially dialed it down to only teaching saturdays, which makes my heart super sad but is also something I know I need to do. Still, I’m grateful. Saturdays were quite enjoyable this last year and tend to be a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere at the studio.

My classes were only registered with 6 in each class, but I ended up with a few more than that who registered this morning, so that was exciting. My 6-8 year old class only has 2 kids I’ve had before–everyone else is new, which is super exciting. My 3-5 had all kids I had taught before except one, who was my friends daughter. She was the youngest of the ones there but, holy moly, she’s a natural. A few of the kids on my roll that didn’t show were ones I don’t know, hopefully they show up next week!

In my 6-8, I got to teach my first boys! I was so excited. They’re brothers and they seemed to have a blast with it. Since only two of the kids had danced before, I kept it pretty simple. We only have four weeks (so, four classes) with them but I’m hopeful we can still learn and do a lot in this short amount of time. It’s easier, too, in such a smaller class to get to teach them what they need to know, compared to having 16 in the fall classes this past year.

In my 3-5 year old class, it was a mix of all my classes. I don’t think any of my previous students had been in class together, so it was like having a representative from each class I taught, which was fun. They all did really well and focused well and we got to do a lot with them. The one new student, my friends daughter, kept up really well with the rest of the kids and has already stolen my heart. So there’s that.

I’m excited to be excited about teaching this summer. I wasn’t sure how it would feel to only have one day. I’m still getting used to the things I have to do for the betterment of my health or whatever, and I must admit it’s frustrating.

I’m still used to having a mindset of being able to be all in on this. I’m still kicking myself for being sick. I’m still angry at all the things I’m missing out on because of something completely out of my control and working on not blaming myself. I’m also working on finding where my limits are and sticking to them. There isn’t much known about ME/CFS and there isn’t much research being done on it since funding is limited since doctors struggle to believe it (which is half the issue, but I’ll put my soapbox away) so it’s not a definite “I’ll never get better” but it’s not likely I will. It’s been hard to tell so far if I’m getting worse or just learning more, but I do think there’s a decline now that I’ve been able to strip away responsibilities and try and define some of the lines.

Guys. It sucks.

It’s like having to sit out from being injured, but the injury never heals. So you keep hoping you’ll somehow get better and be able to go back, but you honestly don’t know if you will. There’s the pain of having to compromise so much on something you love so deeply, but being too stubborn to completely give it up.

I don’t know if I should still be teaching at all, but I figure one very strategic day a week should be manageable as long as I keep up on everything else as well and don’t overdo it. May threw me off with having to work more at the office (where I am super part time doing really simple work) and the length of it really took its toll. I’m hoping I can come back from it and that I didn’t make myself worse pushing through the whole month, or maybe it’s this ridiculous Texas heat making me feel worse, I don’t know. But it’s hard. I’ve made so many wonderful memories and met so many incredible people through this art form. I’ve learned so much about myself. And I’m so afraid if I have to give it up completely that I’ll be forgotten. That the busyness of what it takes to be involved will push me from the minds of these people I love and regard as family simply because I’m not there, so it’s not easy to keep up with. And not that some wouldn’t try, but being that I am indeed sick, and I live in the country, away from people, it makes it harder. And then I blame myself since keeping up with my ballet Instagram is more difficult while trying to sort through all these emotions, so I’m missing out on my friends achievements and accomplishments. So maybe I’m just bringing it all on myself. Maybe this is all on me.

I’m really struggling lately with all this. They say being sick with a chronic illness is like continuously having to start the grieving process over again. I’ve tried to fill the hole of ballet with other interests, and I’m grateful for what that has brought me, but I just don’t want this part of my life to end, ya know?

Stay tuned for further summer stories. This seems like a really good group and I’m super grateful for them already.

Love you guys.

Recital 2019

Classes wrapped up for the year the week before last, and recital was this past weekend. I was hoping to get this blog post written sooner then I am, but less than a week isn’t too bad, honestly.

This was the first year I was actually pretty nervous going into it. I had hoped to get the classes a little further along than I did over the course of the year, but that just wasn’t the case for most of them. I didn’t get to rehearse many of the little details that go into recital, like walking on the stage to our spots and the bow at the end and walking off, I had to change things up on them a few weeks before recital (keep in mind they’re all ages 3-8) with a one kid not showing up to rehearsal but coming to show day (after missing the last week of classes and having spotty attendance before that), one not showing up at all, and one getting sick the day of the show. Of course all of these are in the front line, so I ended up with a back line of 11 and a front line of 8. This was the class that I already had to combine last minute since the classes that were supposed to be separated into separate dances on separate days weren’t, so they were already rather thrown off. My young ones were full of talkers (though they’re stinking cute) and I wasn’t sure how they would all do on stage. My class of littles that were my rockstars had one that panicked on stage and two that kept arguing during rehearsal, and none of my Friday show kids got to practice with the black light.

Nervous is saying the least.

Friday just felt like a tense day overall. It seemed that all the little things that could go wrong did, and staying on top of everything and positive about it all was quite a challenge. Thankfully I had assistants that are TOTAL rock stars and the volunteers we had that day were so on top of it. There’s no way it would have gone as well as it did without them.

We have what we call “runner sheets”, which are papers that have all the dancers names and where they enter, any music cues, lighting cues, costume specifics, etc that are used by the teachers, volunteers, green room quick changes, Lights, sound, curtain–literally everyone. I was working the dancer check in when I noticed my first class that evening, the second dance, was missing. This was my biggest class with the talkers, and I was just super grateful I had my notebook that has where everyone stands with me. When sign in calmed down, I asked Ms. Munro about it. They were aware it was missing and she said my assistants were up there with them and asked if I could check in on them. (This was a good 15 minutes before we start bringing the kids down, so we had plenty of time.)

I go up there, and two of my assistants have them all in a row, in their order, waiting up against the wall. I had forgotten I had sent them the recital order in case a few forgot to switch lines they could know who is supposed to go to the back line and run on stage in costume and fix them really quickly. I literally let out a sigh of relief when I walked upstairs to see it was all in order. These girls are seriously the best.

A few of my kids got a little scared and started crying. As I bent down to hug them and help calm them down, I remembered bending down isn’t such a good idea. When we got them calm (You’re wearing momma’s magic mascara! We don’t want to cry and make it all go away!) (it worked, y’all) I stood up and within about three second had to hold on to the nearest person so I wouldn’t fall over. Thankfully it was a friend and fellow teacher walking by and I was able to grab her shoulder and steady myself for about 30 seconds until it passed.

Hair pieces were lost and borrowed from other classes with similar looking ones, bathroom breaks were done in time to not hold up the show, lines weren’t switched on the one dance but that’s okay because everyone danced the best they’ve done all year and I was so proud. I even laughed because backstage we have them “put a bubble in your mouth!” to help keep them from being tempted to talk. A few of them kept it even on stage, so instead of smiling, they’re dancing around with puffed up cheeks the entire time. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw it; there’s nothing I could do and also I was proud of them for being so determined to follow the rules when it truly mattered.

One of my older girls got scared of the dark while waiting back stage and as I held her there until the lights came up I was a bit nervous I wouldn’t be able to function when I needed upon standing. Thankfully, the lights came up a little early so I was able to gather myself in time.

Overall, Friday went over really well. It was the best the kids had done, my Monday class didn’t panic like had happened at rehearsal, and everyone danced great and had a good reaction from the audience.

Saturday felt calmer for me from the start. Maybe it was the peace that comes with familiarity of having successfully completed the day before, maybe it was that these classes had my kids all from one day, I don’t know but I wasn’t complaining.

I had all three of my Saturday dances within the first five numbers. I was a bit nervous about this, but once again my assistants for these classes are rock stars. (One even was just a fill in and she offered to help which ended up making a huge difference for me.)

My brain did space out at a couple points where the kids ended up on stage in an inverted order to what they were supposed to. One of them even tried to tell me, but I didn’t understand what she meant until she literally walked on stage. *Face Palm* Thankfully, these kids are all so on top of it that no one would know if you didn’t know. They danced so well and I was so very proud of them. My favorite is seeing them comes off stage after with giant smiles on their faces, clearly proud of themselves and living their best lives. They worked so hard and faced their nerves to really knock it out of the park.

Saturday feels more like a blur since they were all literally back to back. I do vividly remember my 4-5 Saturday class doing it so well that it messed me up (but they had it right.) I was so incredibly proud of them that I was bursting. Everyone remembered where they were supposed to go and did everything correctly even when my brain spaced. My 3-4 year olds on Saturday were on top of everything so much my jaw literally dropped. They nailed the entire thing and seemed to be having the time of their lives.

During check in on Saturday, a grandparent of a dancer came up and asked if I was Emilee and that she had a question. I met her on the other side of the table so we were out of the way and she told me, “I saw your dances last night and was really impressed with your choreography. You can tell that your kids know what they’re doing and know the steps and that you truly care about them!” At this point, I’m thinking, are you sure it’s me and not the other Emily? Then she pulls out her program and says “I marked your dances because I wanted to make sure I found you. I want my granddaughter in your class next year.” This blew my mind. She was seeing the dances I was so nervous about and beating myself up over. (Not because of the dancers, but because of myself. ps.) I am so bad about comparing myself to other people or to other versions of myself whenever I have to realize that reality may not be comparable to that. The circumstances I’m faced with can be completely different from what I had before or what others may have. Everything is constantly changing and evolving and we have to be open to that. This woman’s comments made me feel like I’m doing something right.

I also had many of my former students ask me what I’ll be teaching so they can get their kids in my class, and others asking about private lessons with me. It was reaffirming in ways I am beyond grateful for. My relationship with dance has changed so much since it began. So much of it feels and is a loss, but I am increasingly grateful for and amazed by what I still do have. I still have these kids. I can still teach. And from what I’m seeing, these kids still love ballet.

I’m also very proud of my “kids” I used to dance with that are all growing up and blowing my mind. The advanced dances were so beautiful and honestly if I looked at any one dancer I would cry. I had to watch them as a whole to keep from losing it. They are all just growing and doing so well and it makes me so proud to see them sticking with this and working so hard at something they love. They are the proof of the passage of time and I know they’ll be graduating and going off soon, but until then I’m going to savor every moment with them.

I wanted to have this posted on Sunday, and in reality having it posted Wednesday isn’t that bad, but recital took more out of me than I expected. I’m grateful I didn’t pass out, but often I wouldn’t realize how weak my body was until those moments or until I got home and the weight of it all came crashing down on me. Sunday and Monday I was effectively worthless, I’m still not sure how I got through Monday’s work day. I’m doing my best to take care of myself these coming days, while also trying not to fall behind on things I can’t avoid. My body has been having new pains and things happening which is a bit alarming, but it’s hard to say if it’s just a flair up or a new normal.

Summer classes start up for me June 8th, and from here on I’ll only be teaching Saturday’s. It’s too difficult to try and do more than one thing in a day consistently now that I’m working part time, and I really need to try and make this my main focus, but I am so grateful to still have my hand in teaching and hopeful that it will be fulfilling and something that endures.

In September, Allie and I will make our way over to London, so if you’re in the area and haven’t reached out yet, please do! We’ll post more details as plans get more concrete, but I’m very excited to be able to do this, even if I’m not sure how my body will react, haha!


Please enjoy some behind the scenes pictures from this weekend 🙂




Last week of classes 2019

When we start class, especially at the beginning of the year, we go around and say our name, age, and favorite whatever I decide for that week. This typically becomes “color” or “princess” for my little ones since they have ready answers for those. (Plus It’s easier to remember when I’m unprepared, as per usual.)

This week I’ve asked what their favorite thing about ballet is.

Their answers vary from “making pizza” referring to a stretching exercise we do, to actual ballet terms they remember (specifically passé and plié), to one naming a specific assistant of mine 😂

When It gets to my turn, I tell them my favorite is teaching all of them–and it truly is.

There’s this quote that’s constantly in the back of my mind since I’ve had to stop dancing, “those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” Since first hearing this quote, I’ve resented it, but at this point in my life I am so grateful to be able to teach.

It’s slowing down, it’s becoming more and more minimal, but it’s still possible. And for that I am immensely grateful.

This year I’ve experienced my first true problematic parents. There’s really nothing else we could do to help the situation, so I’m trying not to beat myself up about it and instead try and learn from it. Still, every time I get to that class I find myself tensing up, knowing that the parents will be watching through the window (which at this point most don’t.) I feel pressure. It’s not my favorite. It’s the first time I’ve had a few months where I wasn’t looking forward to teaching, actually looking forward to the years end. Obviously, I’m not looking forward to everything ending, but the bits that make me feel like this.

I wrote out cards to each of my kids, like I do every year, and planned to get lollipops for them. A simple way to end the year. When I was their ages, teachers meant a lot to me. I still keep in touch with my second grade teacher, as well as many from high school. Their opinion of me was something I held in high regard, and how they made me feel is a sort of guide point I use in hopes to teach these kids the way I was privileged to be treated and hopefully they can feel the way I did. I want them to like coming to ballet, to feel safe in my class, to know someone cares about them. I want this to be a positive experience for them, whether they stick with it or not.

This week, as I handed out candy and cards to each of my kids, making sure I bring extra lollipops for siblings, a couple of the moms thanked me and the kids came running up hugging me and telling me they love me (which, honestly, melt.) one of the moms of one of my 4 year olds was asking me about recital details between classes and a lady next to her asked me if I would be teaching in the summer and next fall. I told her I would only be teaching saturdays (this was during the week) since I have ME and have to slow it down a bit and asked how old her dancer was. She said one daughter already dances but she has a 4 year old she wants to put in. I told her I have a 4-5 year old class that if she can make I’d love to have her. She responded, “these kids all love you so much, I want my daughter to have you as a teacher. What’s your name?”

She was the second person that day who didn’t know me, encountered me around other dancers, and asked who I was so their child could be in my class.

And honestly, I feel pretty crappy quite a bit. Especially as I’m still learning to accept the changes being sick has brought on. I’m having to give up more than I ever wanted and missing out on stuff I had hoped to be a part of. So to have these two simple reminders at the end of such a long year full of so many challenges and changes really meant a lot to me. It felt like I’m still doing something right. That even though a few classes didn’t rise to where I had hoped they would by the end, that it wasn’t a waste to try anyway. That the time we spent together was still valuable, even if most of it was spent correcting the things I had already corrected 7 times in the last 10 minutes. (And all the moms and mom figures say “amen.”)


Many things have happened lately, yet I find it hard to write about them.

I’m apparently still trying to sort out how to feel with all these changes and how it relates to my relationship with ballet–I assume that will be a balance I will struggle to find for a while as it is continuously morphing.

Still, some notable things are happening or have happened, realizations are being made, and a struggle is being had.

First, and most exciting, my friend Allie and I are planning a trip to London in September! I’m ridiculously excited to get to spend a couple weeks in England with a friend who likes all the same things I do, and also who is considerate of all my health junk. I’ve been to London before, but never for this long. I’ve been there since I’ve been sick with all the stomach stuff, but not yet since the fatigue stuff has come on. I’m still trying to learn my limits, as those are also ever changing, but having made some changes to my lifestyle to hopefully help it not digress any further I’m hopeful that I can still keep living a mostly “normal” lifestyle, even if it isn’t my normal before getting sick. I don’t want to let my illness be my excuse, but also I have to respect my body when it tells me I’ve done too much, even if “too much” seems like hardly anything.

We’re hoping to meet up with ballet friends we have across the pond while there, and also do London ballet things. The downside is, I know I won’t be able to make it through a class. Last year I took barre at Kansas City Ballet, which was an incredible experience I am so grateful for, but I’d be a fool to believe that I could do something like that now, and knowing I can’t take a class in London really sucks. But, I have to listen to my body, and I can still do other ballet things, but it is a reality of how much my life has changed since getting sick. It’s a process.

Still, Allie is hopefully going to take a class, and we hope to get a load of pictures while we’re there. It’s going to be such a great time.

Another sort of reality check was seeing my company’s spring show this weekend. It is the first show I haven’t been in to some degree since I began dancing here, which was a milestone I never wanted to hit. They did Dracula, which I had never seen, but man do I wish I could have been a bride. Their costumes are gorgeous and it was full of my favorite kind of movement, though I know bits of it would have been a struggle for me, even well. At the same time, it was so fulfilling to watch the kids dance. One of them was 11 when I first started there, we were in the same level and danced the same roles in my first spring show, Wizard of Oz. This ballet was choreographed by one of our teachers in house. There was a moment during Dracula when I found myself get tense and focused, you know that feeling right before your cue. I was trying to figure out why I felt such intense emotion of anger and determination until I realized it was music we used in Wizard of Oz as Winkie Guards. I laughed so hard when I realized.

Seeing how much the “kids” have grown as dancers was an absolute joy, as well as seeing some of the kids I’ve taught old enough to be in the shows. I swear, I teared up like they were my own. Then seeing my friends (my age) dance in their roles absolutely blew my mind. I swear, I could watch them forever and I’m so proud of all their hard work in these roles.

I debated going to the show. Not because I didn’t want to see it, but Saturday did me in so much I was feeling pretty rough. I had taught three classes and a private before a yoga private to help my back, then got sick from the time I got home til I left for the show. When i woke up the next morning, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Overall, I’m so glad I went. I don’t think I expected to feel as loved as I did seeing everyone; the dancers, the moms, the crew. Some I hadn’t seen since Nutcracker. It really did my heart good. I sat back, just observing warm up, and thought how grateful I was to still be connected to such an incredible place, even if I can’t dance like my heart craves.

I’m still here. I’m still connected. I’m still wanted.

Our artistic director gave me a hug and told me how well I would have done as a Bride and would have loved the role. It really made me feel good to hear that, like i still belong even if my body doesn’t let me participate. I appreciated it, and honestly it moved me.

We’re coming up on recital next month. The classes feel long as I have gotten into the swing of my new job and my energy is so limited. These kids have sure given me some moments i hope to remember. Like the day we got our costumes, tried them on, and did the dance for the parents in class. One of my dancers, Isobel who’s 4, literally laid down the entire dance. Right there in her spot. It was such a relatable mood. What a hoot.

Another one of my students, in my 6-8 year old class this weekend came up to me, hugged me tight, and told me I was her favoritest teacher she’s ever had.

Then there’s all the spontaneous hugs in general. And all the drawings–I’ve gotten so many colored pictures this year. From Riley and Isobel and Scarlett and Gabriella. Seeing that look on their face right before they just can’t hold back and wrap their arms around me and hug me tight–that’s why I do this. What it makes them feel, the light in their eyes. If I can have some small part in that, everything is worth it, and I hope to do it to whatever degree I can as long as I can.

I’m currently writing out notes to all my kids. I do it every year and try to hand them out the last two weeks of class. I know not all of them will keep dancing, but I hope their experience while they do is a good one.

I hope I counted right. There’s a bunch of kids in these 8 classes, haha!

Recital is mid-May, I hope to have another update around them. And if you live in England and would like to meet up please reach out!

My sweet Haeleigh took pictures for me from their second show I wasn’t able to make. These girls make me so happy

Children are magic.

I know I often say how grateful I am for the kids I teach, but weeks like this one really drive home how grateful I truly am.

Last Thursday, a really good friend of mine I’ve known since I was 10 died. She was about a week shy of her 29th birthday, and left behind a husband and two kids, 4 and 2, and of course her family and friends.

She hadn’t been feeling well for about a year, but tests came back inconclusive so she ignored it. It got too bad to ignore last year and she went to the Er, where her stats dropped as they were running tests. They sent her to a hospital at the next big city 2.5 hours away where they finally found out she had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, but she died before they could even start to treat it.

If you know me, you know I’ve known a lot of people to die. I almost see it as a sort of cost for loving so many people, but it doesn’t make each loss suck any less. The depth of how much I feel it and how much time it takes to grieve varies person to person, and I’ve been trying to teach myself how to actually feel all the emotions with it–let me tell ya, it’s been a time. This friend was the 8th person I’ve known to die since I started yoga in December and really took this intent of not ignoring emotion, but this one did me in so much that I actually allowed myself to avoid emotion. I gave myself a deadline, until the funeral, which was Tuesday.

We were on spring break when I found out last Thursday, so my Monday class was the first one I had. I was supposed to finish cutting music, choreographing my last dance, and getting the music onto CD to use in class, but my life essentially just stopped after she died. I didn’t bother with any of it.

I felt bad. I felt like I was going back on my word with these kids. I’m sure the Saturday kids will be a little sad I don’t have the right music (theirs is the one I need to cut) but I’m sure they’ll be alright in the end.

I did end up having a bit of time on my hands today, so I did get the last dance choreographed before I had to teach tonight, which felt like a mini victory. I was hoping to cut the song today, too, but it seems all the exhaustion I suppose adrenaline was putting off subsided and hit me all at once before class. But, of course, I must keep going.

But my kids, oh, my kids.

On Monday, they were all so sweet and so excited to be back in class. It truly warmed my heart to be around them (and everyone was there!) which was a balm I didn’t know my heart needed. I’ve made friends with a good amount of the dance moms this year that have been watching out for me and checking in, which means more to me than I could ever begin to explain. One of them even sent me a card in the mail with a bunch of herbal tea that is proven to help heal broken hearts (😭) and her daughter wrote me a note with a picture. I picked it up from the post office after I left the funeral and promptly sat in my car and cried.

It was, indeed, healing. (And the tea, also)

I had that sweet student in class today, and she came up to me and hugged me so tight and said, “I’m sorry your friend died.” And let me tell you I about lost it again right there.

Children have a magic all their own. They’ll share it with you if you let them.

One of my dear teacher friends wrote me a card as well, which really meant a lot. Especially given the gravity that, unfortunately, this has been such a reoccurring thing lately. It meant a lot to know that I wasn’t the only one who saw that, though.

I’m still learning to allow myself to grieve. To let myself feel and process and give space for the natural order of things. To understand that death is a part of life, and that not all my friends are dying even if it seems like they are. I’m currently trying to not let myself give into the fear of the fact that I still have so much and so many to lose, but instead to enjoy who and what I have now while I have it. To appreciate the value of breath in my lungs.

See, my friend died from one of my biggest fears. “Doctors don’t know” what’s wrong with me, which is what happened to her. We had actually just talked about it. My unspoken fear is that I have something extreme, like cancer, that’s underlying and will just take me out like that. And my fear happened to her.

Chances are it’s a conglomeration if genetics and also being a highly sensitive empath that’s had 30 years of avoided emotion Im just now learning not to suppress, but how am I to know if doctors won’t help me here? Anyway, that’s another blog post for another day.

For today, I’m grateful to be alive, grateful for the wonderful people dance has brought into my life, grateful Im still able to teach, and grateful for the students I have that share a bit of their magic with me every week.

Kids say the darndest things

Last week I began my new job at our local courthouse. It’s part time and I’m doing really simple paperwork type stuff, which is perfect for me since I can’t do too much at once, need to pace myself, and haven’t worked full time in almost a year due to all this health junk.

This was a very exciting opportunity as it is very low key and in a very chill environment. My co workers are hilarious and kind, and my desk is decorated with Harry Potter stuff. It’s the perfect place, really.

I’ve been having to figure out how to make Wednesday’s first class work as it starts at 5:30, and I get off work at 5. I still work in town, but trying to get from downtown to the studio during rush hour traffic is a good time.

Still, my kids are freaking adorable and hilarious. On Friday, one of my absolute favorite kids, McKenna, came in with a giant smile on her face. She brought me a sheet of stickers from her very own collection and was so excited to give it to me. Her mom said, “she said in the car, “Mommy, Ms. Emilee looks like a princess.”

Cue. Heart. Melt.

When we got into class, McKenna told me that she put on her ballet shoes all by herself. (She’s 4.) The student next to her then said, “My daddy put on my shoes all by himself!” And I couldn’t help but laugh because she sounded so proud of him for doing this.

There’s never a dull moment with these kids, and I am soaking up every moment.

My Monday morning kids always have hilarious and clever things to say, as well. It’s definitely a great way to start my week and my assistant and I always look forward to it. One of the kids in this class, Dayna, has never said her name without giggling. I look forward to it every time. It’s the little things, y’all.

There’s still one recital dance I haven’t choreographed yet. It’s my Wednesday/Friday 3-4 year old class. So many of the Wednesday kids struggle to focus (they’re just so excited) so I’ve really had to put my foot down hard so they don’t fall behind, especially since it’s combined with Friday, which is a smaller class and way more focused. I want to have a feel of what they can handle before I make up the dance, and think I finally got that yesterday, so hopefully I can make up the dance while the studio is closed for spring break.

Tiny little kid hugs are the best things.

Three years

It’s been three years since I started this blog.

I never expected to have the memories and experiences I have since beginning dancing, and especially since beginning this blog.

I’ve danced in shows on a real stage with real costumes and lights and audience numbers in the hundreds. I’ve met friends through Instagram–some even in person (shout out Allie, Joanna, Hannah, and Jana!)– who continue to be some of my favorite people. I’ve gotten the opportunity to teach ballet to young kids, I’ve gotten to do so many fun ballet photo shoots, I’ve set goals for myself and achieved them.

I’ve also been given diagnosises I didn’t expect and seen these things I worked for taken from me seemingly overnight (even though it was a slow fade.)

Even as I type this, in laying in bed sick, unsure if it’s from overdoing it with the chronic illnesses or if I’m “normal people sick” which is making me even more emotional and pathetic, honestly. Emotions are good, but I’m hitting that pitiful point where it’s better to just sleep than deal with myself.

I don’t write as much, partially because my camera on my phone has been broken since September and I don’t have any updated pictures, partially because I have less to say, partially because having energy to write blogs is harder to muster these days, and partially because remember what I used to have that I no longer do is harder than I expected it to be.

There’s so many layers to a diagnosis, and I’m still unfolding them. As soon as I think I’ve figured out how to handle it and come to terms with my new reality, something hits like a load of bricks and I find myself muddling through all the feelings again.

I don’t want to let this go entirely.

I love the friends I’ve made through ballet.

I love the opportunities it’s given me.

I love the connections this common thread forms.

I love teaching the little ones.

I love getting to be involved with shows, even if it’s minimal.

I love being surrounded by something so timeless.

So how do I handle it all when I’m so limited now?

I’m still learning, and I thank you for sticking around as I find out, even when most of the days are filled with silence.



I have some of the greatest and kindest students this year with parents that are invested not in them becoming great at their craft and walking over whoever they have to to get there, but rather that they become people who make the world a better place.

Some of the moms will take an extra moment to say hello to me, tell me stories. Usually it comes from a place of letting me know something about their student to keep an eye on or be aware of which I appreciate as a teacher. But then it has seemed to sort of evolve into these relationships I couldn’t have expected or hoped to have. There are a few mom’s from years past that I still keep up with, but honestly I can only think of two off the top of my head. This year has given me a gift I never expected in the form of friendships with students mom’s that have filled a void in my life I kept ignoring was even there.

One of these mom’s found out about my health stuff (through a conversation about Harry Potter, because of course) and so gently and kindly offered some knowledge she has in homeopathic remedies to me. Most people I encounter with things like this don’t come at it from a place like she did. It’s not coming from a place of trying to get me to sign up for some multi level marketing or any gain to themselves, it’s coming from a place of something that she has researched and learned about and tried and seen success over years. She’s coming to me with honesty, not promises. I have so much respect for her.

This winter, this mom asked me if I had thought of trying yoga. I told her I had considered it and heard great things about it. That I have a friend who has told me of the ways it can benefit someone with herniated disks like mine, but she’s in Michigan so that’s quite a commute for lessons. I just don’t really know where to start with it all. I don’t want to blindly go to a class and hurt myself worse than I already am. She told me she knew a few instructors and asked if I wanted her to reach out to them and see what they suggest. I was insanely grateful for this but never really expected what came next.

She got back with me, told me the first person she had in mind is completely booked up but she spoke to another person who had experience in helping people with herniated disks and had some openings and if I was willing to try it out she would gift me with six private lessons. 

I would like to say I cried, but there’s a point where something moves me so much that I can’t even be moved to tears; like I’m moved beyond tears. This was one of those moments. All this health stuff has really hurt me financially in ways I don’t really want to expel here, but safe to say I’m not in a place currently to afford to prioritize yoga private lessons. Especially not knowing if it’ll really help or not.

I went to my first lesson and let her know that I was committed to this. We wanted to give it a try first before really plunging in to make sure it was something I would do rather than just feeling pressure to continue something that wouldn’t help or that I didn’t find enjoyment in because I felt bad since it was a gift. I found that very considerate of her, as well.

But guys. It has been helpful. In more ways than just physically.

I have been on this little road this past year and a half that I’m not all too comfortable to fully write about here yet, and this felt like a great next step on this path. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It’s a lot–more than I expected–and it’s uprooting things I forgot were there or that I had hoped to forget but am now in a place that I can deal with them.

I’ve been rather silent lately, and will probably continue to be for a bit as I try and process through some things. I’ll have a full explanation eventually, I’m sure, but that time isn’t here yet. Life is scary and painful and takes a lot of processing I’m just now realizing I’m allowed to do and it’s taking quite a bit of time.

Thanks for sticking with me. For still being so supportive and kind, even in my silence. Y’all truly are some of the greatest friends I could have ever asked for.

The Nutcracker 2018 second weekend.

Another Nutcracker season has come and gone.

The second week of shows wasn’t without it’s quirks, but the quirks are the things that make it more memorable.

Our second weekend is done with a live orchestra, causing some tempo changes and unexpected differences in tone. This year all the dancers as a whole seemed to be aware and really listening to the music rather than going with the motions their used to in the timing we have at the studio. I was pretty impressed.

Another one of the party parents was out this Sunday, so we had to pull one of the company girls to fill in at the literal last minute. I was glad when I saw who it was because I knew she could handle the sudden new thing being handed to her. She and I switched husbands so that she could have me to sort of watch for timing and stuff since the party parent that was gone was near the front. I actually messed up a few times, not knowing if I was in front or behind on things, but we got it figured out with minimal notice of imperfections.

The party girls were super fun, and we carried on the tradition of the year before of making up dances to do during the intro music. (I’m sure that music has a more technical term, but my brain is failing me at the moment.) they absolutely loved it, and honestly it helped me feel centered. I do well with specifics and tradition and consistency, so this made it feel like we were doing something good and productive while we waited instead of getting inside our own heads and getting anxious.

We had quite a few dancers that were new to our company this year, and having them was an absolute joy. They are all so very talented and kind and have fitted right in with the rest of the crowd. I was very glad to see such seemingly seamless transitions for them, and love getting to see them backstage and getting to watch them dance. Change is never easy, but I’m so happy to have them with us.

A couple of little moments I love and want to remember:

  • The way the dancers run off the stage, out of breath, just to gather themselves and go right back out the other wing
  • The little cherub skipping with her dad backstage after her part, saying how much fun she had.
  • Hearing the audience react to the scene you’re in
  • The little conversations that happen in the scene, whether it’s to inform them of a movement or change, or just saying things to stay in character.
  • The nutcracker hand off and how Drosselmeyer gives me a secret thumbs up after every time.
  • Seeing my students as cherubs and angels and taking pictures with them. (And the hugs they give me when they see me.)
  • Watching my friends side stage as they dance
  • Seeing the older dancers take the time to talk to the younger dancers, and seeing the younger dancers eyes light up with dreams of who they want to be.
  • Dressing room hilarity
  • Getting to hang out with my fellow party parents.

So many other things I’m sure, and I may update this list as I remember them. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this company. It’s something I never even dreamed would be possible when I set out on my first ballet classes. It was beyond anything I ever could even dream, and here I am living it. I’m under the tutelage of a legend who has absolutely incredible stories to tell, among some of the best people I know. I try not to take even a moment of this dream life for granted.

I saw one of my students from last year in target after the show. It made me happy. I just had to throw that out there.

My phone is still rather broken so I’m only able to take photos with the selfie camera, so i only really got selfies with my tiny babies and a few friends. (Which, ya know, not gonna post in such a public place.)

I’ll hopefully have all the recital dances choreographed over the break (while I’m dog sitting for a family that has far more open space than I do) and well start cracking down on it when we get back.

I have one private lesson student right now, and working with her is making me so excited to see the progress in these kids. I love seeing them excited about ballet and seeing their dedication and determination to better themselves in it. What a wonderful habit to have.