Although I officially don’t work for our studio where classes are held anymore, I still attend and help with the annual recital in May.
It’s weird to say “I don’t work there anymore” since I work at the performance studio and am often going to the classes studio for one reason or another, and the distinction doesn’t really matter, but I had a great time saying it at rehearsals whenever anyone asked me something about the goings on since I didn’t know the answers because, ya know, I don’t work there. People often forget the two are separate since they’re so connected in many ways, but still, they are separate, and I work at one and not the other.
I attended the rehearsals so I would be able to see all my former student’s pieces in case I missed any on show day. I help Shay sell tickets to the performance and usually miss at least the first two dances which tend to be our most advanced dancers’ pieces. This way, I guarantee to not miss anything no matter the circumstances.
My friend Lillian, with whom I used to dance when I first started back in the day, did the photography for recital pictures. I was so elated to get to see her, and also to know that the kids would have good pictures this year. Last year’s photographer I’m sure is great for outdoors, but in a studio setting it was a struggle. Lillian knocked it out of the park, as I well knew she would, and I was so proud to see her rocking it. She and I were in Swan Lake together last time we did it, which was her last show with us and my second to last spring show. It’s wild to think how much has changed in that time, people I danced with and who are in stories I tell are people these kids don’t even remember or ever knew. So much feels the same, yet so much has changed.
Ain’t that just how it goes?
The theater where we perform is under new management this year, causing weird hiccups and issues like the dressing room incident at Cinderella last month. This time it included being told we couldn’t get into the box office because they “weren’t told we needed it” and “don’t have anyone here with a key to open it.” We were told they could set us up outside, in the south Texas heat, to sell tickets. This is all happening ten minutes to when we’re supposed to open and with a long line already forming. Where they set us up was weird as the table was up against the security line barrier, and we didn’t have enough time to get set up before they started letting people through security. We needed a plug to sell to people paying by credit card, which didn’t happen until almost 15 minutes after we were due to open, so a nice little crowd formed behind us of people waiting to buy tickets with credit cards. As soon as Shay got there with the tickets and cash box I started doing cash sales, but it was clunky and stressful. Then, no sooner we got the extension cord, a venue employee came over and told us he had a key to the box office and opened it for us. We shifted the line that way, with many apologies, and moved everything to the box office.
It ended up causing such a delay, mixed with various accidents people were caught up in and trouble parking due to graduations next door, that we had a line until 15 minutes after show was supposed to start. They delayed the start until our line was gone, but even still we stayed open selling tickets until intermission. I’ve never had that happen before. It made me extra glad I’d gone to rehearsal since I missed most of the dances that first day.
The second day went way better, and I was able to go watch after the second dance. I was really glad, too, because most of my former students were on the second day.
It’s a weird thing, no longer teaching but still being able to be involved in these kids lives. “Weird” in the best way. I’m so grateful to still have these opportunities to work at the performing studio and get to be at recital and see the kids who don’t do performances as well. There’s also many kids I didn’t teach but have gotten to know this past year through performances that I love to see as well.
I’ve almost been at Munro a decade, hitting the nine year mark this next season, meaning I first started teaching there eight years ago this next season. Some of these kids I had that first year when they were three, and taught every year until I had to stop. Time is a jerk, and it feels like it just flies by, but I’m so grateful to still be involved in their lives and getting to see them grow in this art form.
One of the most rewarding things is hearing the kids tell me little things, like saying I’m their favorite teacher they had or how much they loved my classes. Back then, I was just doing my best and hoping it mattered, but to be so many years down the road now and seeing that it did matter, it’s a feeling I can’t describe. Some of the kids have even come up to me, hugged me excitedly, asked to take selfies, and said, “It’s like seeing a celebrity. You’re our Taylor Swift!” to which I absolutely melt into a puddle because Taylor Swift is an absolute icon of a human and so incredibly genuine (many of my friends have met her and said she’s exactly as wonderful as you’d hope she’d be.) which I feel is evident by her actions over the years. What an honor to be considered in teen and preteen opinion with someone of that caliber.
How lucky am I?
It makes me excited for the few I get to continue to work with this summer, and excited for the season coming up, knowing they will be there and seeing them grow even more.
Life has been extremely difficult here lately, and the true honor and privilege of having these kids in my life is not lost on me. There are days when the kindness they show back to me is literally what keeps me going. They think I’m cool or whatever, but really they’re the cool ones, and I don’t know that they’ll ever realize how they encourage me. Seeing them strive and succeed is such a gift.
Jackie, one of my private lesson kids who was a former student, brought me flowers for teacher appreciation week. She’s recently homeschooled and, as she put it, “You’re my teacher, and I appreciate you!” It’s been weeks and the flowers are still alive. I pressed on, just to have forever. I was absolutely moved by this action, completely unexpected, and so grateful. How kind is that?
I’m grateful for the slower pace of summer. I’ll continue to go into the studio to do things that need doing, but with less hours than during show time. A perfect blend for the off season, I think. Every day I walk through those doors, my heart swells with gratitude. I’m grateful to younger me for taking the risk to try out ballet, and extremely grateful to the community around me. They are gifts.
In personal health updates (trigger warning from here on for talk of food, etc,) those that have been around a while will know I’ve struggled with health junk throughout, (check out the “health” category for some of the relevant posts) especially since my gallbladder came out almost a decade ago when, we’ve learned, it was perfectly fine and could have stayed. In that, there’s a list of foods I can’t eat and it’s been difficult to find a dietary balance. I’ve learned I have MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) which caused my issues for which they took the gallbladder in the first place (and had doctors taken me serious about my EDS theories we might have learned that earlier) and having that knowledge has improved my life significantly, but today I have new knowledge.
I can eat walnuts.
Since my gallbaldder was removed, I haven’t been able to eat nuts, pork, avocados, or chickpeas. This week I did a random google search trying to find if there’s any “good fats” I can eat I stumbled upon a blog post that listed out the different kinds of fats food contains and what each does for our bodies. In that, I learned that unsaturated fats can be broken down into two different categories; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. This article gave a few examples of each and I realized all the things I can’t eat fall under monounsaturated fats. I formed a theory that maybe it’s monounsaturated fats my body can’t tolerate now, so I tested that theory by trying walnuts, the only nut on the polyunsaturated list. And, wouldn’t you know it, I had zero reaction.
This is huge for me.
Not only does it open up options for food choices, it opens up options for ways to get vital nutrients I’ve been missing out on for years. And it gives me understanding, which has been a game changer. Now I don’t need to be as afraid of food. I can approach new things with better confidence, knowing what it is that’s causing the reaction and avoid the things that trigger it between MCAS and monounsaturated fats. I’ve looked up the rates of mono- versus polyunsaturated fats in all the things that have triggered me, and found that chickpeas actually have a lesser amount of mono-, though still considerable at 19% (versus 66% poly-) and I’m evaluating trying those one more time to see if it was what gave me the worst reaction years ago or perhaps it was something else I didn’t know to consider since that happened before I knew about MCAS. If I do, it won’t be until probably late summer, as I want to give my body time to adjust to adding in walnuts.
Overall, a great week over here in my neck of the woods. I’m encouraged for the first time in years about my health, which is something I didn’t even dare hope for before.
I hope you all are well.
Until next time!