Dracula

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

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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.

❤️

Namaste

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.

Nutcracker 2018 Week One.

We’re officially half way through Nutcracker and boy are there loads of memories that have already been made.

I’ve had to miss or be late to a good amount of the theater rehearsals since I still teach my classes, but it worked out since I was going to miss Sunday’s performance, the girl who I taught to do the “Nutcracker hand off” could practice it.

We had our two school shows on Friday, which are always among my favorite. They seem to come and go in a blink, but getting to go out and see the students, some of them kids that I teach, is my favorite thing. They also bring a certain liveliness to the show with their reactions and applause that is a magic all its own.

There was an accident with one of the costumes almost as soon as the last school show ended, resulting in the need for our dew drop costume to be cleaned before the next performance. My friend Emily and I offered to take charge and we washed the tutu in her bathtub and got it dried before the next night. It was oddly fun to do, although I don’t know that i would think that if there were more than one to do. Still, there’s something about having this legendary costume that has been worn by so many dancers in such a vulnerable state that felt historic. Maybe I’m just weird 🤷🏼‍♀️

During Saturday’s show, it seemed party scene had everything that could happen to happen. Okay, maybe not everything but a good deal of things. A few of the dancers broke down and were crying (though they pulled it together to dance like queens,) one of the party boys got caught up in the prop scarf and almost got choked center stage by a maid trying to take the prop off who couldn’t see him and his struggle, a part dad lost his bow tie which resulted in the best and most subtle retrieval I’ve ever taken part in (picking it up, handing it to my party husband as we danced, him sticking it in his pocket as he spun me, then letting the party dad know, hey, we have your tie, and getting it to him.) Drosselmeyer (I cant spell and am too tired to try so) almost backed into a party boy that was slightly off his mark for the nutcracker hand off and in pretty sure it looked like I pinched his butt when I was coyly handing him the nutcracker like “magic.” Then we didn’t have our goblets when we needed them at the end of the scene so we had to pretend we had them until a butler brought them, resulting in the two sides being off for that sequence.

BUT YA KNOW WHAT, we made it, dang it! The audience didn’t even realize half of this was happening, except maybe the choking kid, and even that we played off. It was entertaining to say the least.

One of my favorite parts is going backstage between Acts and seeing my students that are cherubs and angels. I take selfies with each of them and some of them give me the absolute biggest hugs. It makes my heart all sorts of soft and squishy. They’re the sweetest.

I was standing for too long and definitely over did it this weekend, and by the end of It I was laying on the ground backstage because my back was hurting too bad to even sit.

I’m not sure if this weekend will cause me to crash pretty in epic ways. I’m sure between that and this week I’m facing with back to back things and that’s with many compromises, I’ll feel some sort of repercussions from it all, but I’m doing my best to do my best to avoid as much of that as I can.

One of my sweet students moms found out about all my health stuff and offered to help me find herbs that can help me with everything. It takes time to really start feeling the effects, but I’d argue that I’m already seeing a difference, even if it’s slight. Maybe that’s because I have an excuse to drink tea all the time, which I absolutely love, who knows. Whatever it is, I’m not sad about it.

She also gifted me with private yoga sessions to see if we can get some strength back in my lower back to help my herniated disks not get even worse so quickly. I’m absolutely floored by her kindness and generosity to me, and hopeful that maybe I can get even the smallest bits of relief.

Life has been pretty intense. I’m exhausted and quite often fighting loads of discouragement, but I’m grateful for the beautiful gifts dance continues to give me.

Oh, hai.

Me: whats your name?

Student: Vivienne

Me: how old are you?

Student: three.

Me: and whats your favorite thing about thanksgiving?

Student: Christmas!

There you have it, folks. The answer to the great American debate.

Just kidding.

Hi, it’s been a minute. I’ve had every intention of writing posts before this, but excuses excuses, who really cares why I haven’t. Point is I’m writing one now! Yay! It’s a thanksgiving miracle!

As if there was any doubt, my kids are stinking adorable. I taught on my birthday, proving there isn’t much cuter than tiny 3 and 4 year olds hugging your leg and saying, “happy birfday, miss Emilee!” Maybe only rivaled by the kid who dressed up in a dinosaur costume for Halloween. I wish I could post pictures because, y’all, it’s the cutest thing ever. (This is the same child quoted at the opening of this post.”

I’ve gotten to sub a couple classes older than the classes I usually teach. It was really fun getting to work with 8-10 year olds and watch as it starts to click in their brain. To give them complex tasks and watch them rise to it. It inspired me with my 6-8 year olds and im starting to see real progress with them.

Please know that I have managed to pick all my recital songs from Harry Potter movie scores. It’s super fun having the parents as excited as I am about it. The potter generation is the best–I’m convinced.

Nutcracker is just around the corner. I am a party parent again, which is so much fun. I got the two party girls I wanted, and even a party boy this year, who is the son of a friend of mine. He’s so stinking cute and seriously the sweetest. I have my same party husband, so that’s a hoot as always. I’m super grateful to be in this family I’m in.

All my babies are doing really well with their roles. It’s super mind blowing to know the girls whose level I started in are seniors this year. They were definitely eleven to thirteen when I danced with them. What the heck, time?! I’m super proud of them all, though, and excited to see where life takes them.

My back has been progressively getting worse, albeit subtly. Sitting hurts about 90% of the time now, including when we sit in a circle at the beginning of my baby classes. I’m super grateful for my assistants who step up and demonstrate things I’m not able to any more. It helps my stubborn self do what I actually need to do Instead of pretending I’m okay and doing things my body can no longer do.

Sometimes I think that maybe I’m okay enough to take barre, but then doing the barre with the older kids classes I was subbing reminds me that I am indeed still sick and definitely can’t try and do the things I used to be able to. But for those moments before my body reminded me of the fact I’m not who I used to be, so essentially during plies, I felt so alive. I was reminded of why I love ballet so much, of how it rushes through you and engages every fiber of my being, filling it with electricity, connecting me to thousands of dancers before me. And just as quickly, we get to frappes, and my heart starts racing, my muscles tense up, and I feel energy draining as quickly as I felt energized. I’m reminded of my limitations. Even so, those 6 minutes of bliss were worth it. I know I can’t do this consistently–it’s too much for my body to endure right now–but I am grateful for the moments, the glimpses, I still get.

I’ll hopefully have more updates during nutcracker. I love to have these moments documented to go back on. My laptop crashed and my phone is pretty messed up, making updates more difficult than just my health makes it, but I’ll hopefully have my replacement laptop by the time nutcracker is in full swing and I’ll find some way to get pictures of I have to keep taking my assistants phones to get them 😂 (thanks girls)

I hope you all are well. Thanks for sticking with me even in these stretches of silence. ❤️

Kids are magic.

I’ve been teaching extra classes the last few weeks to cover for a teacher who has been out.

It’s been so much fun, as I’ve gotten to have a class one age group high than I usually teach. The 8-10 year olds are stinking hilarious, and they find my obsession with Harry Potter to be fascinating.

To learn their names, and sort of warm them up to me, I have them say their name, age, and favorite thing about themselves. It’s such a great age to learn so much more about myself through them. Kids this age typically don’t know to be afraid yet. Some are self conscious already, but are usually more trusting to adults they trust or respect. I love hearing how one got four ribbons in her horse jumping competitions, how another loves to read, how ones favorite thing is her family and ballet, how another is allergic to gluten. The things they decide are the things they want you to know about them are truly fascinating.

I’ve had to brainstorm ways to make my classes more challenging, and where I want to take each of the classes. These kids are more advanced than most of the classes I’ve had in years past, which is pretty exciting. It’ll make their recital pieces fun, too. Thankfully, it’s my classes as a whole. Each level seems to be a little higher, even on different days with different kids. I started out making them a bit more complex, but it seems they’re hungry for more.

I’ve started looking at costumes and trying to narrow down songs, but haven’t set anything in stone yet. I do want to try and make them all to the Harry Potter score to some degree. There’s really a lot of options there, given the fact there’s 8 movies, and two more in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. I probably won’t set anything solid until I’m sure of how many dances I have. Sometimes we combine days, but it hasn’t been consistent for my classes the past few years. I am excited for this group of kids.

I’ve had a few rough days here lately. Long days and my body doing scary things, which cause my brain to tell me all sorts of terrible endings. But seeing these kids warms my heart. Little things, like them randomly running up and hugging my leg in the middle of class, the hilarious facial expressions they make in this one part of class, seeing them excited for class, kids crying because they don’t want to leave. (L.O.L.) one dancer who’s sister I teach drew me a picture. She kept adding more to it to prolong having to leave. Then hugged me so many times I lost count.

I hung it on my fridge. It’s a reminder of good things still in the world, even when it seems dark.

Every day is a gift. I hope to never waste a moment.

Lots of the same.

My classes have been mostly filled with the most wonderful kids this year. I am ridiculously grateful for this as it could really have been a rough year. I have quite a few that I’ve taught before, which always makes me so happy, and some of them take classes on days I teach so I still get to hug their necks. It warms my heart seeing them excited to see me. I don’t think they realize I’m just as excited to see them.

Things seem to have shifted of late. I could try to pinpoint why, but I’m not really sure. I’m trying to just take everything in stride and see where it takes me, but all of this has left me sort of pulling back from here and my instagram, which I never thought would happen. Maybe it’s a good thing, I’m sure time will tell.

It no doubt ties in to health stuff. As I lay here on my bed typing this blog post, which is a culmination of many different ideas for posts over the last few weeks, I feel absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed at the thought of the upcoming week. This isn’t even with digging into the emotional toll this all actually has on me, but rather is just the surface, visible emotion.

I’m learning a lot about myself, which is a good thing, I just find it difficult to not feel guilty at not keeping up with all the ballet goodness as much as I used to. The opinions in my head get really hard on myself about how I worked so hard to build this up and now I’m not even fighting for it anymore. But how can I fight anymore than I do if even just the mundane, normal, day-to-day is more than I can realistically handle right now? I don’t know. I hope to figure it out. I love what I have found through dance and I appreciate you all more than I can say. I just feel a bit lost, I suppose.

I turned 30 last weekend, which began with me teaching 3 classes that Saturday. Many of the teachers take the day off if they teach on their birthday, or end up going out of town or something. I love teaching on my birthday. What better way is there to begin a new year than surrounded by kids who still think birthday’s are magical? I bring them cupcakes and their eyes light up with hopes for me and the new year. Not to mention adorable 3 year olds hugging my leg and saying “happy burfday” in their adorable speech impediment way of speaking. I don’t know how to handle birthdays. They make me feel awkward. So the past few years, and especially since I’ve started dancing, I try to take class or teach it every year. That way, I’m doing something I love, and also it fills the time and gets rid of awkward questions about my plans for the day.

It’s coming up on 7 years since I started dancing. This next week, actually. But do I really get to count the last year if I took a total of 4 classes the entire year, and wasn’t able to get all the way through any of them? Typing that sentence just broke me. Realizing that this thing I found and love so deeply and have fought for these past seven years is something I can hardly participate in anymore, knowing that nothing is certain in my future with this thing I cherish. It’s a lot to take in. (add in the guilt from the mind opinions, and it’s quite a doozy.)

Thank y’all for sticking with me through all of this. For loving me as a person and not just a dancer.

Nutcracker auditions were last weekend. I, obviously, couldn’t audition, but was asked back as a party parent, so I’ll at least be on stage again. I know standing on stage for Act 1 is going to hurt my back, and I’m not even sure if my shoe lift will fit in my character shoes.

Have I told y’all it’s only half of what I need? No?
Well it’s true. The lift in my shoe is 12mm, but apparently I need 24mm to be close to having my hips even when I walk. The problem with this is 24mm is FREAKING THICK so shoes don’t stay on with that much. My chiropractor is brainstorming ways handle this, but it’s possible I may have to special order shoes that have a left one with lift underneath. Hopefully I can find some that don’t look geriatric. In other health news, I managed to break my cane? I’m winning the granny life right now.

In other news, I have started finding time to write more, since sitting still is sometime I suck at but have to do now. Writing is (obviously) something I’m passionate about, and if you’re interested in the instagram account, it’s right here.

Hopefully I’ll have fun Nutcracker updates as December gets closer.

Love you guys