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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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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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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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Teacher Criticism 

A quick shout out to anyone who might be feeling a little disheartened by criticism their teachers give them.

Your teachers shouldn’t make cheap or nasty comments on your personality. They shouldn’t be mean to you or say degrading things to you.

HOWEVER they cannot help you improve without telling you what you need to improve on. 

Try not to get too upset when you receive criticism. 

Try not to allow yourself to believe that receiving criticism means you suck and should quit ballet and take up table tennis. 

Try not to centralise the criticism and make your whole self-worth based around it. That’s not what your teacher wants you to do with it.

I have been told that my hands were doing weird claw-like things, that I’m not pointing enough, that I’m not trying hard enough, that I’m not pulling up enough and that my frappes need an entire private class to correct and that I am sickling — to which I was all like, What? No way man, I don’t sickle! Alas, I was indeed sickling.

The frappe one always makes me laugh because, honestly, my frappes do always look more like floppes! Haha.

I have been in studios where I receive a lot of corrections and in studios where I receive no corrections and I would, without a doubt, prefer to receive a lot of corrections.

If a teacher is correcting you, they want you to improve.

Don’t get all egotistical and think that you are the most important person in that room to the teacher. If you think you’re more important than anyone else in the room then you will most definitely feel disappointed when the teacher doesn’t treat you as you think is appropriate (doesn’t give you extra attention or compliment you). 

Try to think of teacher criticisms as notes for improvement and try to be grateful that you’re receiving them at all. 

Don’t take it personally. 

Don’t use it as a way to beat yourself up. 

Use it positively. Use it productively. Use it as it is intended — to get better.

Love yourself. Be proud of yourself. Have FUN!

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, you deserve to be in the room.

Today, after having FUN during ballet. 🙂
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Kicking Goals

Some of my focused goals at the moment are to increase my strength, flexibility and cardio. These areas are major weaknesses for me at this point, which makes getting through a dance workout frustrating.

I live very rurally. I live on a large property that doesn’t have much flat ground. Despite being large, almost all of it is mountain. Rocky, bushy, steep mountain. The road that runs along the front of our property is narrow and winding. It’s a terribly dangerous road to run or walk along.

So combining all these factors, the geography and my goals, I have come up with a solution.

I am walking up our mountain every day. Only rather than walk, I am doing leg kicks. Yes, I am leg kicking my way up the mountain. With slow and controlled leg kicks. Well, as controlled as I can get them. I tried it today and it felt great. Hard, but great.

I thought about whether to call them battements in this post, but as I feel that a lot of technique goes into battements, I think these are classified more like slow kicks. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be battementing to the top of the mountain?

Here is what I think I am getting out of this exercise/movement:
1) building core strength and balance from lifting and holding my leg up and balancing on the other leg.
2) building muscle in legs from lifting and lowering slowly.
3) gaining flexibility from stretching out the back of my standing leg. The mountain is so steep you can’t not get a stretch in the back of your leg.
4) massive cardio workout.

I may try to count how many kicks I’m doing, tomorrow morning, just for kicks! 😉

This is the path that I am kicking my way up on our mountain…

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And this is the view from near the top…

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I’m not kicking it to the top yet. But someday…