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Moving Forward

What a weird year its been so far. 

I’m now recognised by our local paramedics, I’ve had a few trips to ED, I’ve almost died, and learnt that there is far more going on in my body that needs tending to than I previously thought.

I remember several months ago I was planning on a fairly simple trial of ballet for physical therapy. I was planning on trying it for several months and seeing how I go.

And I did try it, and I did see the improvements in my health that I wanted to.

Then four days into the new year I had a new health event that I’d never had before, and nearly died. And I found out that this could repeat any time. There are things to do to try and prevent another event, but none of them are definite answers.

I have since had a few more of the same types of events. One resulted in another emergency ride to the hospital. The others were able to be managed at home.

But every time I have one of these events, it results in pretty severe dehydration and severe weakness. Basically it creates a massive POTS flare up and I am back to almost passing out even when I just lift my head off the pillow.

So I have been feeling incredibly stuck. Like REALLY REALLY stuck. 

My mental saving grace has been two things: 1) Knowing that I wasn’t always this sick, so there’s hope that I can not have to continue to be this sick, and 2) Knowing that summer makes my health so much worse and we have been having a terribly hot summer. So I feel hope that once the heat backs off I will at least be able to not pass out as much, (or almost pass out as much), which will give me the chance to do more exercise, which is a cornerstone to my health improvement.

This experience over the past few months has been so hard. I have had to work really hard on my mental game. And for a while I felt pretty lost and not sure where it all left me in terms of what I’m working towards.

Last week, my exercise physiologist was brutally honest about where my goals should be right now. 

We talked about hero stories that people in my situation can create in their heads. Like, basically, setting unrealistic goals for themselves, which set them up for failure.

He was worried that I was going to do the same, like imagine myself dancing across a studio within the next few months, and that that was going to be my expectation from him and from my exercise therapy. He wants to help me achieve whatever I’d like to achieve, but in a realistic way.

I could see he really wanted me to not think unrealistically and end up feeling devastated, so I stopped him during the appointment and said…

Tom, my biggest goal right now is not having to be scared that when my husband goes to work my children might have to call an ambulance for me on their own, because that’s where we’re at right now, and it’s terrifying for them. 

Don’t worry, Tom, no hero goals here.

So, this is where I’m at. 

It feels like rock bottom. 

I know of course, things could be worse, I’m not ignorant. But this is close enough to rock bottom for me.

So what am I doing?

Not really even sure why I wanted to right this blog post. I think it was a combination of needing to set the record straight on where I’m at, as well as where I’m heading — what my path is moving forward, as well as a cathartic purge of shit that’s been circling my mind for too long now.

So my current capabilities are low. I’m mostly lounge bound. With several therapies I do every day to try and assist the different parts of my body and mind’s functionality. These therapies are, for example: exercise therapy, small activities (like walking a few metres and back), meditation and mindfulness. Everything is set to my capabilities, so we’re talking very small amounts of exercise etc. Because, as I said, I’m mostly lounge bound.

My goal is firstly to stabilise my hydration and work on my exercise therapy. 

First goals are:

1) Less emergency situations.

2) More stable hydration.

3) More upright stamina.

4) Progression in exercise tolerance (which include floor ballet.)

I will be starting where I’m at and working with my medical team to start getting some improvements.

We are relying on the end of summer being part of my medicine. And actually, we have had our first few cooler evenings recently, and I my nausea has started to ease a little bit. Yay!

During the summer, my cognitive function became so bad, I could barely put words together, let alone write a blog post. So just the ability to write this post is testament to me regaining some of my functionality with the easing of summer. Yay again!

I am not sure whether anyone is even slightly interested in hearing about this odd journey I’m on? I suspect it is difficult to relate to for many, and straight up boring for most.

I remember when I first started ballet, I started a blog at the same time, to write all the stuff in my noggin out, to help me process what I was doing.

And I think this is what I want to use this blog for now. As my processing tool, my sounding board — as well as knowing that perhaps my story might help someone else out there, struggling, not feel so alone.

I expect that much of this post made no sense at all, but I’m just stoked that I managed to get through the writing of it!

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Your Beautiful Glorious Self

You may think you need to be better.

But you don’t.

You may think you need to be more like someone else. 

But you don’t.

You might feel inadequate in so many areas of your being that you feel you will never be enough for anyone.

But you aren’t. And you are.

You may feel like you’ll never measure up.

But you already do.

You might look around you and only see others doing it better.

But that’s not the truth.

You may feel like you’re falling short. Losing face. 

But you’re not.

You may feel like everyone around you, everywhere you look, are on incredible trajectories towards imminent success while you’re still trying to figure out whether you’re an over or under person when it comes to your toilet paper.

But they’re probably not. And it’s okay if you’re either or both! 😉

Those who have seen my health issues know that things have been really tough for me. 

I could easily think of myself as having a harder time than others. I could easily choose to feel that others have been dealt fantastic hands while I’ve not even been  dealt one full hand. But firstly, thinking that way serves me no purpose. It doesn’t help me at all. And secondly, it’s all relative: there are others who are facing much harder challenges than I am.

You see, I have learnt that comparison is poison. It only creates anger, contempt, jealousy and a whole lot of other negative emotions. And it’s completely unnecessary. So we can opt out.

We can opt out.

I want to hug the world right now. I want to tell you all, whatever your battles, whatever your goals, to please stop believing that other people have it miraculously easier than others.

I want to especially tell the world that your self-worth does not lie in where you measure up against the people around you. 

Your self-worth is measured purely on the value you give yourself. 

The only person who gets to decide what you’re worth is you.

Do you hear me?

YOU GET TO CHOOSE!

You! No one else. Just you.

And the true beauty of it all is that no assessment is needed.

You’re worth the fucking world, because you were born. You deserve love, because you were born. You deserve respect, because you were born.

Don’t start assessing yourself. That’s being an arsehole to yourself. Don’t do that. 

Seriously, no assessment needed. You’re awesome. Just as you are. You’re doing what you do, aiming for goals, attempting this thing called life, in your way, how you see fit. 

You can do life, the way it feels right for you. 

Because living life by someone else’s rule book sucks a bag, and is completely unnecessary.

If you start doubting your ability to just be you, remember…

Your beauty lies in your flaws. 

Your true self can only shine in your vulnerability.

You are accessible through your mistakes.

Absolutely. Every. Single. Person. On. The. Fucking. Planet. Fucks. Up. All. The. Fucking. Time.

Most people are just scrambling hard to hide their mistakes.

But they’re making them. Oh, boy, are they making them!

It’s impossible to not make mistakes, to not have flaws, to not be imperfect.

So, world, take a breath. 

Give yourself permission to be you. 

No comparisons needed.

No comparisons wanted. 

Just be your beautiful, glorious, unique self. 

xxx

P.S: photo of me, being me…

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Affordable Ballet Gear!

I’ve been on the hunt for ballet stuff to upgrade my gear due to filthiness and going up in size, and I’ve been searching high and low for everything from tights to leotards and flats.

It’s a little extra tricky to find bargains online from Australia as most of the big discount suppliers are the U.S.

But I HAVE found a couple of bargains and thought I’d share them here with you because there are so many of us getting either ourselves or our littlies ready for another year of dancing.

So my two favourite bargains have been:

1) Leotards at Capezio Australia that have been reduced. I found one for $5 and one for $10 and I bought them both!

2) And AMAZON! OMG go check it out dancers and dance mums, if you haven’t already! There are women’s tights for around $15AUD including shipping! I’m sure you could get even cheaper prices if you hunted around longer.

Here is the link to the adult tights I think are a bargain: Ballet tights

And here is Capezio Australia’s site address if you wanna go check out their sale items: Capezio Australia

I’ve never hunted for sale items before. It’s a real hoot!

Oh, and I am in no way affiliated with those organisations. Just passing on the info.

Happy hunting!

Zoe

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Positive Changes

Hello my dearest friends, followers and fans,

I haven’t written anything in such a long time. It’s been an interesting year for me to say the least.

My ballet journey has shifted to become a combination of ballet and physio for my physical rehabilitation after my health disorders POTS and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome flared severely 18 months ago.

I became bedbound and have been crawling my way back to functionality ever since — and ballet has played a major role in that recovery.

I’m not recovered yet and we don’t know if I’ll ever be as functional as I was before. We have to remember that it was only this year that I was finally diagnosed with the disorders. So we’ve only truly just begun to understand the cause and effect of my body’s impairments.

I’m actually classified as disabled right now. But I’m hoping, through dedication, the right team, hard work and passion, that I will end up being not only as functional as before, but MORE functional than before.

And all of this means there are changes. My goals and hopes are shifting and what I want to do, write about and talk about is also shifting.

I love everything about ballet. But my interest in the therapeutic benefits of ballet is growing quickly. It’s interesting to remember that I started ballet as therapy for depression, and it worked. Then when I came back to it after my break, I did so as therapy for my body, and it is working again.

Over the past year I have spoken to many doctors and physiotherapists about ballet as a physical therapy and there has been an overwhelming view that it can be a great therapy when done right — and certainly that it is a great therapy for me and my body’s particular issues.

So physical rehab ballet is becoming the core that my whole life revolves around.

And this has lead me to a shift in the focus of my online platforms. 

For a long time my online presence was Bush Ballerina, because when I started ballet, my focus was on trying to learn ballet from the bush with little to no instruction.

But with all the intense changes in my health and subsequently my focus, my path is no longer resonating with ‘Bush Ballerina’. 

I’m more than ballet in the bush now.

So I’ve decided to make some shifts to my online presence so that what I’m doing and what I’m writing about is all synched up. 🙂

The centre of my focus will still be ballet, in both a fun way and in a therapeutic way as well as some of my just me stuff. I also just want to share my personal journey as I recover from an onslaught of two disorders, to a stronger, more functional and healthy person (via ballet). Because I think a lot of people can resonate with having to fight to get yourself to a better place.

But it will all mainly be focused on ballet. Because I believe that is what is at my core recovery. And because ballet is beautiful to me.

I realise few people will even be interested in the reasons I’m making these changes, but I felt the desire to explain for those who are interested.

And to explain the change from ‘Bush Ballerina’.

I’m not sure what the name shift will be yet. I feel like using my middle name, so Zoe Inez. It might just be something plain like ‘Zoe Inez – Adult Ballerina’ or something a little more specific like ‘Zoe Inez – Ballet Therapy’. I’ll work that out soon and let you know. 

I’m open to suggestions! Haha.

I can’t wait to get going with the new focus. I have so much enthusiasm for where I’m coming from now and I feel like this is going to allow me to be more authentic about my journey, will which allow for a lot more interesting, fun and beautiful content.

I hope you all continue to twirl along this journey with me because I cherish you all so much.

Love and light,

Zoe

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Have a Go

Most people struggle to start following a passion/dream/unlikely goal.

For some it’s a hobbling start and once they get going they pick up their stride and the rest flows smoothly.

But for others (and from what I have gathered, for many), it is less of a struggle and more of a petrified feeling inside them. One that usually stems from breaking out of the norm.

Society perpetually tells us that we shouldn’t be starting to follow passions or dreams or unlikely goals passed a certain age. It also tells us that security is more important than passion.

But when we find ourselves being pulled towards a passion, it is usually pretty strong, and usually feels more important than security or whatever social norm is banging on at us.

So we can end up pretty confused. We want deeply to following this sense of duty to our soul, yet we don’t want to seem ‘abnormal’ or silly to people. We don’t want the judgement or ridicule that usually comes with following a different path either.

So here’s my advice. Just give it a go. Have a try. Dip your foot in the waters of passion and see how you feel.

If you feel good, but still worry about external judgement, then keep going. 

Because all those people who judge you? They are insignificant compared to what you will gain or lose if you follow or abandon your passions.

If someone is judging you then they aren’t worth your time. Seriously. Nuff said. They. Aren’t. Worth. Your. Precious. Passion. Following. Time.

So let them go.

Let it all go. All the judgement. All the criticism. 

Let it all go — and just have a go. And keep having a go.

It’s the ONLY way for you to not have regrets.

Peace + love xxx

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Uncomfortable Truths

Pictures speak a thousand words but sometimes they hide a thousand more.

All the social media platforms we all use are so great in connecting us with other people travelling a similar journey or following someone who inspires you or being able to inspire others yourself.

But with these social media platforms can come  the temptation to create a facade of your life because all the snap shots you post from small moments in your days combine to create a big picture that looks like you’ve got it all together.

Social comparison is not a new thing. But it’s a growing epidemic because there are so many more ways we can socially compare ourselves to others now.

And I think sometimes we can use it to hide the uncomfortable truths about ourselves that either we are afraid to share, or we think others are afraid to see.

Unfortunately, there is so much shaming from society about so many parts of our lives, that it can become impossible to feel okay about ourselves.

So I’d like to start sharing my uncomfortable truths more. And here is my first…

One of my chronic health conditions (POTS) causes muscle tremors. They’re always there but vary in severity. Sometimes I wake up like this and can barely hold a cup of tea, and sometimes they are milder. They are throughout my body. 

They are always this severe or worse about 10minutes into a ballet class or other physical exertion. Imagine the shaky legs you feel after an intense workout, except your muscles are actually spasming. All over your body.

It comes from my malfunctioning autonomic nervous system. Often I can also feel these tremors on the inside as well. Like all my organs are shaking.

That’s my first uncomfortable truth. 

I was mindful about posting this. I know I may lose a whole lot of followers who think they’re following this great pair of ballet legs that turn out to be the bottom half of a very fallable woman who’s just chasing dreams in spite of her everyday (and quite unattractive) struggles.

But fuck it. I don’t want to be seen as perfect because I’m not perfect. I don’t want to be seen as just a pair of legs because I’m so much more fabulous than that. 

I may be flawed. But life is flawed. 

Just because Mother Nature can cause intense damage, doesn’t mean you would deny that she is also overwhelmingly beautiful! Such is us humans. Flawed and fabulous.

I may struggle and fall and fail, but I will keep trying. And it is in the trying that lays my success.  

I’m going to keep posting more of these uncomfortable truths. Because I want them to become comfortable truths. 

Because it is okay that I am who I am and my body does what it does. This should not be something I feel ashamed of.

I’m going to hashtag these posts #uncomfortabletruth 

If anyone else feels like they want to share one of their uncomfortable truths, I’d love to hear it, so please tag me in your post. I will support you and love you regardless. You will not be shamed by me. I will respond by hash tagging your post #iloveyourtruth. Not because I love your struggle, but because your struggle is part of you, the whole you, and the whole you deserves love. Not just the social media presented you.

These posts are not to generate pity, they are to generate solidarity among each other, that we will not be defined by social comparison any longer. And that we are strong, amazing individuals, who are living our journeys and respect the challenges that each of us face.

And if I lose followers from all this then so be it. I’d rather promote self-love and acceptance with fewer people than self-abuse with thousands.

Love to all xxx

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Please, Please, Love Yourself

Dear Ballet Lovers, Dancers, Friends, and Just Everyone The Whole Damn World Over:

I see so many adult ballet students talking critically about themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, self-critique and the desire to improve ourselves is not only important in ballet, but also in life.

I get it. We all want to be better.

But I’m talking about the ratio of self-love:self criticism. There’s way more self criticism happening than self love.

And this is like a virus that’s spreading across our whole society. I see it so much in teens and pre-teens now, too.

As an example, there seems to be so many pictures on Instagram posted and then dished along with the pic is a long list of what needs to be improved and not much (if anything) they like about themselves in that image.

So guys, I just wanted to say, I reckon you’re all amazing. You’re getting up, having a go, attempting to get something of what you love into your life.

I’m so proud of every adult ballet student because it’s hard as fuck to even enter a studio the first time, let alone trudge along searching for a hint of progress.

And the same to those who’s heartlight is something other than ballet — I admire you for leaping.

But I don’t want any of you to burnout emotionally or physically because you kept ripping yourself apart with criticism without adding a healthy balancing dose of self-appreciation.

Please, take it from someone who at one point was facing the loss of multiple bodily functions, you DO want to appreciate your body for all that it is doing right now. You DO want to give your body credit for being great. You DO want to acknowledge all the beauty that makes you who you are. And you DO want to hug yourself and shower yourself in love.

You might not realise that you want to do all those things, but if you could talk to your future self, your aged self or your possibly unwell self, that version of you would tell you to take advantage of the now you have and love all that makes you you.

So, yes, strive to progress, have high standards for yourself. That is awesome. But please try to keep it balanced with your own appreciation of yourself.

Keep dreaming, dancing, daring…

Much love,

Zoe