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Uncomfortable Truths. Part 2.

(This is a slightly rehashed post of an older post. Just had some extra thoughts I wanted to add.)

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 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 affect my whole body. 

They are always this severe or worse about 10minutes into any physical exertion. Imagine the shaky legs you feel after an intense workout, except your muscles are actually spasming. All over your body, and rather than being a feeling but not something visible, your limbs are visibly tremoring/shaking/wobbling around. So people in your real life can see and they’re staring and wondering what’s wrong with you.

But in just a photo (that you can use on social media – that you can use to portray yourself a certain way), you can, to satisfy that extremely self conscious part of yourself, make it look like that isn’t a true part of your life — another uncomfortable truth.
That’s my first uncomfortable truth.

I was mindful about posting this. 

But fuck it. I don’t want to be seen as perfect because I’m not perfect. 

I’m far from perfect, and so is life.

Just because Mother Nature can cause intense damage, doesn’t mean you would deny that she is also overwhelmingly beautiful! 
As are we. Flawed and fabulous. πŸ˜‰ 

I may struggle and fall and fail, but I will keep trying. And it is in the trying that lay my success.  I hope I have the courage 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 and #loveyourtruth

If anyone else feels like they want to share one of their uncomfortable truths, that would be awesome. I’d love to hear it, so please tag me in your post. You will not be shamed by me. 

I will support you and love you regardless, because your struggle is part of what makes you who you are, the whole you, and the whole you deserves love. Not just the social media presented you.

This post, and any future Ines like it, 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 two followers, than self-abuse with thousands.

Love (and a soft place to land) to all.
Z. Inez xxx
P.S, I leave you with one of my recent mandalas…

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I Wish Support For You

Someone asked me today, ‘Do you have support?’ 

I’m lucky that I could say yes. An absolute, unequivocal YES!

My family and friends who support me are angels. 

It’s not easy to support a chronically ill person. I get that. It’s hard to see someone you love hurt, weak etc. And it can be physically and emotionally hard to help or even just watch someone you love be chronically ill.

My support family make my life bareable. That sometimes we can laugh about some pretty serious issues, and at other times come together and find a solution to a problem we never thought we’d solve, as if pulling a solution out of a magicians hat, is remarkable to me.

My support team are my soft place to land. They are my reminders that there are good times ahead. 

They are my ‘I can’ when every part of me is screaming ‘I can’t’.
Thank you, support team. I love you now. I will love you forever. And even though sometimes it’s hard to see, I am appreciative of every second that you make me feel worthwhile of care and love.

My wish for everyone with a chronic illness is that you either have your support family already, or you find one, because you deserve one — and you can add me to it if you wish!

Here’s to our support saviours. Our earth angels!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

(Tag someone who is a support angel for you.)

Photo: me with some of my support angels.

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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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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

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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.