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Ballet-Physio Update

A few supine leg stretches. Feels great to be moving again.

Hope everyone is treating themselves fairly, cause you know, unfair treatment of yourself will likely lead you to a place you don’t want to visit.

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When the Repressed Rise

‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’

I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.

I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’

I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well.

‘Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’

So, here’s my attempt at an explanation.

There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…

If you take a genie and you put it in a bottle and leave it there for 2 weeks, then let it out, it’s going to be relieved to be out of the bottle, it’s going to be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. It may even thank you for letting it out.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let it out, it’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have its freedom, but it’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing it into the bottle in the first place and leaving it there for so long.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, it’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving it in there so long. It’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to it.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, it’s gonna come out mad as hell. It just lost 10 years of its life. A decade of feeling like no one gives a shit about it. A decade of feeling like it isn’t important and of not being heard.

At this 10 year mark, before the genie decks you, it’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made it feel.

It will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it.

Then it will never talk to you again. And it will only ever remember you as the arsehole who locked it in a bottle for ten years.

——–

Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left it in the bottle for thousands of years.

Thousands, of years.

The genie is not going to be mad as hell, it’s going to be explosive.

It’s going to be outraged.

It isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because it’s out of the bottle. It’s going to want justice. It’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable.

I can see, then, why some people might think it’d be easier not to let the genie out of the bottle now, after those thousands of years.

If you’ve left it in there for so long, and you know how outraged they may be if you let them out, then you know they may be so disruptive once let out.

Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it, right?

Well, for some, sure.

But when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then it’s no longer just a story about a genie.

Now we are talking about humanity. And we should see it as a humanity — because we ARE talking about humans.

You cannot repress people for just being who they were born as — for just not being born, a man, or a heterosexual, or white. You can’t repress people for that, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement at some point.

At some point they’re going to rise. Come out of their metaphorical bottles.

And you can’t expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.

So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is ironic and nonsensical.

I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed rise, become seen, heard and accepted.

I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is taken.

With understanding and compassion to others, no matter how different they look from us, then we can change.

If we all do this, maybe anything is possible?

Zoe xxx

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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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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 Artists, Ballet Lovers, Academics, Friends, and Just Everyone The Whole 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.

It seems 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 posted on Instagram with a massive side order of what needs to be improved. And I gotta say, most people don’t have much, if anything, positive to say about themselves.

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 … but keep loving self.

Much love,

Zoe

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Falling Into Coppelia

I’m going to be seeing The Australian Ballet’s Coppelia in December! 

This is me spinning positive out of a negative.

Yesterday I was getting ready to head into town with the family.

I was standing at our dining table, packing my bag, when I felt my body start falling toward the table. I new I had to get myself safely to the floor, because that’s where my body was headed anyway, and luckily I did.

My daughters saw it happening and made sure I didn’t crack my head into the floor and placed a pillow under my head while they waited for my hubby to come back into the house. They know not to move me on their own unless it’s absolutely necessary, as it’s a bit of a risk that I might fall again.

So I lay on the floor for about 10 minutes and then hubby arrived and helped me to the lounge.

I had hoped that it was going to be a one off for that day and the rest of the day would show improvement but unfortunately it did not.

We went into town, and I had to basically stay reclined in the car for the entire 7 hrs. Every time I tried to stand up or walk I would lose balance and start to fall again.

… so back to the car.

I find these sorts of days beyond frustrating. It always feels like a set back and you never know if this is a new thing that is here to stay or is just temporary. That kind of uncertainty is more emotionally draining than I can describe.

When I got home, having not done ballet all day, my neck was killing me, so I did some port de bras, with my hubby standing by in case I dropped.

Afterwards, I thought about my frustration at my unreliable body and how that plays out with my ballet progress, and how I always feel like I’m losing ballet when I have these set backs or days when standing is just such hard work, and makes ballet even harder work.

And whilst reflecting, I decided to find another way to indulge in ballet, that doesn’t matter so much whether I can stand up or not.

So I looked at all the shows coming up in Australia and bought some cheap seats for Coppelia.

It immediately relieved the disconnected-from-ballet feeling I was having and gave me something to look forward to. Actually, gave me a damn special day to look forward to.  

So, hubby and I will fly down to Sydney and back for the day, and see the daytime show, and it will be lovely.

I’m aware that it will be summer, which means warmer weather, which may mean a degrading of my health. But hubby and I talked about it and decided it would be fine — if we need to hire a wheelchair, we will. It will still be a very special day. I will still love it. 

It will still be a ballet day.

I’m so excited.