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This Time Around

This time round on my ballet journey, I have the power of knowledge alongside me. I am aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s funny because, although this time round I have many many more challenges, I am choosing to see those challenges as opportunities to do things the right way for me, and therefor achieve more of my dreams and goals.

Last time, I had hopes and dreams but was continuously failing. I was continuously feeling my body crumble when it didn’t seem like it should.

I was being told my body was perfect for ballet and “should” be able to make all these perfect ballet shapes if I tried hard enough.

I also had a strange fear of movement. I began to get over that fear while I was at the barre — in fact, Iearned to adore the feeling of movement at the barre, and I even started feeling a little more confident with some pirouettes.

But move me away from the barre and I completely froze up.

I remember during my first private class my teacher tried to teach me a very simply pas de bourree with a simple relaxed pirouette on the end.

But it was the strangest thing. It felt like I was learning to walk again. Like everything was foreign to me. Like I didn’t even know my left from my right. Like I didn’t even know my own name anymore.

I used to walk away from centre time feeling so deflated. I didn’t understand why my body felt so weak in the centre and I didn’t feel like it would ever end.

(I do have to add that my in-class teachers were wonderful. They would always say, ‘Just give it a try!’ They could see I was really struggling and didn’t make me feel worse for it. And I am incredibly grateful for that!)

Now, after having experienced such a massive physical breakdown, and doctors finally being forced to pay attention — and that attention leading to the right diagnoses’ and now treatment, has meant that I actually know now why my body was not ‘failing’ but struggling with certain elements and why I felt so awkward doing centre work. Yes, there are actual physiological reasons for it!

So many things make sense to me now.

I remember during my hardest days a few months ago, I would lie there, unable to speak properly, unable to stand up, unable to wash myself, pain searing through my body, and I would try to think of the good things in my life. I found them in my children and my hopes for better times some day. But it was bloody hard to find them. Some days I was too consumed by my suffering to find them and I just wished for the day to end. 

But I never thought I would one day look back at that time and see it as a vital part of my future success.

And that is what it is. (I am not ignorantly suggesting that this is how it is for all chronic illness sufferers. We all have our own journeys.)

There will be many ups and downs ahead. And my daily grind is still a pretty heavy grind.

But now I am armed with knowledge and am moving forward in an achievable way, giving my body all the support and understanding it needs, to get me where I want to go.

And understanding makes ALL the difference. I’m no longer confused. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel more confident that I can achieve my dreams than I have ever felt before — because I have adjusted my dreams and the ways I intend on achieving them.

I may have health issues that are making me see things in this new light, but I think it’s relatable to everyone who may start to feel that pressured feeling about what they’re trying to achieve.

I suggest we all stop comparing ourselves to others and start learning about our own bodies, how we work and don’t work and start working WITH ourselves rather than against ourselves. As that is how I see the greatest growth happening.

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, if you like it… share it! 🙂

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The Day Third Position Fucked Me Up.

Third position. It’s like the nowhere land of feet positions in ballet. Well, for me at least.

I’m sure for those who learn in third position as a transition before moving on to fifth, it makes sense. But when you’ve only really learnt anything in first, second, fourth and fifth, trying to do what you would do in fifth, in third instead is a different story.

I’ve only been doing port de bras and first position stuff for about a week now, due to my back slipping out. Then yesterday I eased into second and did a little there and all was good.

Today is the second day my back has felt better, so I wanted to throw a little bit of third position into the mix, trying to ease my hips back into a crossed over pulling sensation again to avoid shocking my lower back.

Anyway, this attempt at replacing all my fifths with thirds was just hilarious. I had no idea how to only close to third. It just felt so damn wrong. Also felt like a duck with my toes hanging round so far out.

By the end I was like: “What the fuck is third position anyway?” “Is this some kind of special ballet torture?”

Third position totally nailed me.

Anyway, moving on from that confusion, I’m currently testing riding an exercise bike after my ballet to help build muscles a different way and get a decent cardio workout going.

I’m loving this at the moment because my biggest peeve is when I’m down on ballet due to whatever, I can feel my fitness slipping away from me. But with riding the bike, it’s an easy-enough way to maintain some (if not all) of that fitness regardless of what else is happening.

I also have a spectacular view of distant rolling hills to quander over while I ride.

Some pics to make this post less boring:

First, that crazy third position…

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I couldn’t resist a little fifth. My body needed the normal!

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And staying true to my never ending pursuit of the correct coupe in releve…

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Happy weekending…

xxx Bush

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Because It's What I Love To Do

Adult ballet. What a crazy journey. What a wonderful, and soulfully crazy, journey!

It’s funny. When I started ballet, it was to drag my arse out of the big black murky hole of depression. Today, I still do ballet to keep that depression away. But I have also realised, while travelling my ballet journey, that ballet is actually like the piece of my soul’s puzzle that was missing until now.

At the risk of going all Jerry Maguire on you, it completes me.

Ballet completes me.

Those things are the reasons I do ballet now. And they are the reason I have so much drive to progress — because I want to see how much more freedom this divine dance can bring me.

But is this dream a difficult one to understand?

For a long time, not many people in my real life knew what I was doing. It was only my blogging friends who knew about my crazy ballet journey — and they reciprocated it with excited glee because they too were travelling the adult ballet journey. They got me. They got and revelled in the craziness.

Then over time, slowly, more and more people in my real life discovered what I was doing. Mostly via word of mouth or facebook. And I usually either got open enthusiasm or silence. And I appreciate both of those responses. I was good with that.

But I have started to run across a different response to my journey recently. I always knew there would be people out there who thought what I was doing was silly, or stupid, or ridiculous and that not everyone has the capacity or desire to understand WHY I would bother with such out there aspirations. But I hadn’t physically faced these people until recently.

And I didn’t like it when I was.

It was the lingering, prodding questions that they didn’t really want answers for and the vague look on their faces as I tried to share my point of view. And the lack of ability to see it positively.

These questions are going to come up more and more as ballet is becoming a bigger part of my life. This is why I have been thinking about it more.

I would have thought that it was pretty easy to understand someone taking up an activity to keep depression away. But it doesn’t seem to be easy for everyone. Which confused me at first…

And that’s where we come back to our crazy adult ballet journey.

If I had taken up tennis to beat depression, no-one would bat an eyelid. Hell, I could even be travelling to amateur tennis comps all over the world as part of my journey and people would just cheer me on because they think: ‘Tennis, oh yeah, that’s a normal sport and a good fitness hobby to take up, that makes sense’.

But you take up ballet, and OMG, you’re a bit different. And if we go the whole hog and take up ballet, on our own, in the bush — all of a sudden it’s like, HOLD THE PHONE! There must be some connection that’s come loose in your brain!

It’s ballet. That’s what it is. That’s what makes me so damn bizarro! I do ballet (on-my-own-in-the-bush).

During these occurrences lately, I was finding it frustrating to feel like I was taking on other people’s judgement of me. Like I SHOULD take it on. It’s not how I consciously think, but I found myself in the moment just feeling that way. Like I owed these people an explanation as to why I do what I do. Like it was my job to help them understand it.

Ugh. No. Not my job. Not my problem.

So now, I have arrived at the conclusion, that the next time someone like this asks me why I am on my ballet journey I am going to answer: “Because it’s what I want do.”

And if they persist, I will add:

“And because if, in my old age, when I have arrived at that place where I am recliner-bound and have cycled back around to needing to urinate into nappies, and eat a soft-food-only diet, I sit there whiling away the hours between custard breakfast and mashed pee lunch, and it dawns on me that I didn’t do what I wanted to do, that I lived an entire life, without pursuing what I love … I will want to hang myself.  But I’ll be too fucking old and too sore to tie the knot, so I’ll just sit there in my rotting, stenching, life-half-lived misery. And I DO NOT WANT that.”

Okay, okay, so I might not say exactly that. But I will be thinking it. 😉

I know that taking adult ballet classes is different to my version, and I think the extra parts of my version (bush, own, flying for lesson) are what make it seem even more bizarre to people. But I am interested to hear if any of you, my gorgeous friends and readers, run into these sorts of negative attitudes about your dancing? If so, how did you handle it?

To end, some pics from ballet this week…

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