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Patience

Drawing from the lounge – I’m only allowed to draw five minutes at a time and only a few times a day. Makes completing a mandala a very slow practise. Very frustrating but doctors orders.

If patience is a lesson I’m supposed to be learning via these health issues, I’ve been studying it intensely for 3 or more years now and I think I’m well enough versed to be given a university degree with honours! Haha.

At least I can draw at all though, right? Trying see the positives. Hope y’all are having a great day/evening- wherever you’re at.

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Love, Relationships and Catheters…

The blog post in which I hand out unsolicited relationship advice. Because, jeez, who doesn’t want that? But serio, I think this advice of mine rocks and I’ve loved my seventeen years of marriage so far, so maybe I know a little something? I dunno, here’s just what I think…

There’s a whole galaxy of articles and books over-brimming on this one.

And I think that’s neat.

Well done to anyone who wants improvement in their life and seeks advice on how to achieve that improvement. But please make sure you get it from the right source for you.

A lot of the advice I read about includes doing extra things with, or for, your partner outside of your daily life to ‘keep the spark alive.’

For Example:

Go food shopping together

Gaze into each others eyes for several minutes

Vagina weight lifting (to enhance the female sexual experience)

(I’ll be honest with you. My vag and I almost had heart attacks when we read about the weight lifting she and I will never. ever. be doing.)

But truly I have actually no problems at all with what anyone else does to improve their relationship.

Something I am uncomfortable with, however, is the idea that people might think that they HAVE TO do all these extra things in order to keep their relationship on trend.

I think it’s awful that there might be couples out there who think they have to be fitting in a certain number of date nights per month or else they’re destined for divorce.

I hate the idea of couples placing so much pressure on their relationship. Or feeling that they have to reach perfect couple level (like the status of their relationship is some kind of gaming app) or like they need to compete with perfect-looking couples in FaceBook land.

And here’s why I hate that…

1) Because it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect couple.

And…

2) Because I believe that true love lies in the little things.

I believe the little things are where the magic lives.

Love is in the moments when we fuck up but try again. It’s in forgiveness and acceptance of our flaws and acknowledgement of all the good we are trying to bring.

We’re all messing it up. Picking up the pieces. Trying to re-write the chapters of our relationships in which we fell short.

The important part of all that is the keep trying part.

Because — life happens.

At some point life is gonna come along and knock so hard on your door it’s gonna blow it right off its hinges. And it’s gonna bring with it a whole lot of happenings that you and your perfect other half never saw coming.

And that stuff you never saw coming is going to create ups and downs, arguments, hurt feelings, hurdles and an often difficult navigation to finding a middle ground. As well as all the wonderful stuff in between, of course!

That is the long-term relationship. They’re full of wonder and beauty and can be the best ride of your life. But they’re bumpy. Really bloody bumpy.

We all want our relationship to survive the bumps.

And I can’t help but feel the trick to surviving the bumps is yes, again… those little things.

Those little things, that in the beginning seem to hold no meaning at all, end up being the glue that holds the relationship together.

If you ever doubted that the little things matter, just think about that last part of your relationship.

When you’re 95 years old…

The guy who doesn’t mind scooching your catheter bag out of the way so you can sit closer while you both slurp down your liquid steak and vege dinner — THAT is your guy.

When you’re too old to both A) see, and B) give a fuck about, the full blown beard you’re now sporting and your man doesn’t care because he just loves the fact that you woke up again this morning — THAT is your man.

The little things.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps all the bumps in our long-term relationships are just preparation for the end of our time together on earth — the part just this side of ‘until death’, when it’s all about adult nappies and reminding each other to put our teeth in? (In the same way that toddler tantrums prepare parents for the teenhood that is coming.)

But for real, as far as I’m concerned, you just need to know yourself. Be true to that. Know what you want and need. Ask for that. And allow your partner to do the same.

If you do that, then you are naturally creating an environment of trust and honesty. One where each others desires and needs can be known and met, if possible.

For some people (or many), being true to yourself may include doing the extra things to ‘keep your spark alive.’ If that’s you and your partner, then go ahead, jump in and have fun with it.

I’m not saying couples shouldn’t aim for passion. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t try to satisfy their desires and needs in relationships.

I’m saying that you should do exactly that, but do it by knowing yourself.

Don’t live your relationship by someone else’s standard.

When you’re diving into the Grand Canyon of relationship advice, follow the advice that fits you.

That’s my advice on relationship advice. Take what you will.

Love on, friends. Love on.

xxx

P.S, photo courtesy of my husband and myself. 😊

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A Date Gone Wrong

Decided to share a little something different today. I love thinking back over outrageously funny moments in my life — or even just outrageous moment. 

(This is a post I pulled from an old blog of mine, because I can’t currently draw, or do much of anything actually, due to overdoing it d creating a pain flare.) So if you’ve read it before, you should read it again for the giggles! Ha πŸ™‚ 

I once went on a date with a guy called Bob, who decided to surprise me at the end of the night by telling me that he would be rowing me home in a rowboat, rather than driving in a car.

Backstory: he was my boyfriend and was a sweet boy who I think was trying desperately to be romantic. 

We lived next door to each other, and also lived in beachfront houses, not too far across the wide open ocean, once you got out of this bay. So theoretically the whole rowing home thing could have worked. Bob could have literally rowed us up onto the shore in front of our houses. Apparently people had done this successfully before but I wasn’t really a boat person, and was mildly terrified of being attacked by a shark, so I had my reservations.

After coming to terms with the fact that this wasn’t a joke and that the only way home was across the ocean in a rowboat. I convinced myself that there was some kind of speckled patterned romance in this scenario. I got my spontaneous on. And I rolled with it.

It was about 11pm by the time we got going.

At first it was indeed almost romantic, with the quiet night surrounding us, the sound of soft water lapping at the sides of the boat and our conversation ebbing and flowing with ease.

Most of that ease was, of course, due to the fact that we were only moving through the still waters of the bay between the two headlands. We weren’t yet in the open ocean, you know, with waves and stuff.

I remember it taking a lot longer than Bob had anticipated, to row to the end of the bay. I remember watching the houses as we passed them, some with lights still on, some with lights off. Bob and I creating stories about what was happening in each house.

And then, I remember, as I became colder and colder and the rocking of the rowboat became rougher as we neared the end of the bay, looking at the houses with more of a longing for the warmth and soft beds I was imagining.

Did I mention that I’m not much of a boat person?

Anyway…

As nature would have it, the wind really picked up that night. By the time we reached the end of the bay and were trying to push our way out into the ocean, we were not even at a stand still, we were actually floating backwards, back into the bay.

It took Bob a fair while longer than I, to realise that his heroic efforts to row harder into the incoming ocean swell were beyond futile. 

At one point, I remember being so cold, with the waves now washing into the boat, and disorientated by the pitch blackness, that I wasn’t even that concerned about sharks anymore. It seemed it would be easy enough for a small shark to just float right in on the back of one of the waves, but it didn’t really bother me now.

I figured we were going down anyway. What did it matter if it were by drowning or bleeding to death from shark bite?

In hindsight, that was probably the disorientation talking.

By the time Bob finally admitted defeat, I was soaked through, exhausted, freezing cold, had absolutely no idea where we were and wasn’t sure whether I had a migraine or an aneurism coming on, but was starting to favour the aneurism as I felt I just needed this night to end and if it had to be by death then, at this point, so be it.

We managed to get the boat to some rocks in front of a waterfront property.

Where we BOTH had to drag the boat up over the rocks and carry it to a safe place for the night.

I felt like I was in some kind of bizarre b grade noir/horror movie. The two of us, soaking wet, hoisting the rowboat above our heads and carrying it to safety. I was just waiting for some monster to jump out of the bushes. Which was making the shark attack and/or aneurism look more and more appealing.

Not to mention the moderate case of what-the-fuck’s I had going on in my head as we hauled the bloody boat to a safer place.

A safer place? For the fucking BOAT? 

Oh yeah, sure, we’ll get that bleed in my brain sorted out in a minute but first let’s make sure the fucking boat – which, let’s face it, should have been a car – has a safe place for the night. 

Apparently we were hoping the boat wouldn’t get damaged overnight. Well, I can say with certainty that not all of us were hoping for the same thing.

The night ended with us calling Bob’s mother to come and get us. Me getting a migraine rather than an aneurism (thankfully) but it being one of those glamorous migraine with vomiting — so the 45 minute drive home was a hoot.

That night was one of the worst ends to a date I’ve ever had. But I do remember watching, with fondness, the ambition of Bob as he tried so desperately to make something unique and special happen. 

His desire to create a wonderful memory for us both, whilst a tremendous failure, was also incredibly endearing. There’s a certain kind of romance in this type of epic failure that makes my memory of that date a happy memory. 

That quality of optimism despite all the odds being stacked against us, that is very romantic.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t relive it even if my life depended on it, but it was romantic all the same.

Thanks, Bob. Thanks for trying. And for a date gone so terribly wrong that in the world of my memory, twenty-ish years later, I actually see the romance in it. Sorry I couldn’t see it on the night πŸ˜‰

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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! πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

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