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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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Don’t House Sit Someone Else’s Life

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in Sydney. In the city. Glebe to be precise. We were all pretty independent kids, catching buses and trains from a pretty early age. Walking through city streets to get to corner shops, parks or friends houses. By the time we were leaving the city, I was a city person through and through.

I knew the sights, smells and sounds of the city like the back of my hand. I still do!We moved out of the city and since then I have lived in a few different places but have never been far from the hustle and bustle and always made time to come and get my city fix. When we had children, I wanted them to experience the city too. So we spent many weekends coming into the city soaking up its culture, sounds, sights, knowledge, people and vibrance. 

I know people who were raised in the city, who just loved getting away from it. But that wasn’t the case for me.

For me, those first 12 years imprinted city life onto my soul. My love for the city was hardwired. It was done. 

And there has never been an undoing.

The only reason I never moved back to the city was that living there permanently wasn’t good for my health — my asthma and allergies. 

Sooo life goes on. Things change. Decisions are made. People move. We move.

Our hearts are pulled toward the polar opposite of our previous city life. 

We have the epiphany. We want a country life!

We make a plan. A fabulous plan to make our tree change. 

We find a property. Consider employment. Think about the children. Plan, plan, plan.

And it all seems so perfect. The kids will get a country life, they’ll have treehouses and tree swings and animals to frolick with and they’ll run wild through the meadows in floral handsewn dresses and pick flowers and be merrier than we ever could have imagined.

We will have animals that are so full of personality that it makes it simply agonising to say goodbye. We will build our new earthhouse with spectacular views and live a peaceful, stress free, hippie-farming sort of life.

That’s how the story was supposed to be written.

But the story didn’t go exactly as planned. Our story is of us being blind sided by our tree change.

It has taken me a little longer to adjust to country living than I had hoped. 11-ish years, actually. 11-ish years to realise that I was never going to become a farm girl. I still try to learn the country ropes but I still see things through VERY city-girl eyes.

I suppose that’s part of why, during those desperate times a few years ago, I chose ballet as my relief. I was seeking something to find happiness in, as everything was so bleak at that time, but looking around me then, I couldn’t find anything that felt like home. It all still felt so foreign to me then, like I was house sitting someone else’s life.

Things have definitely changed since then and now, ballet is slipping its way back into my life.

The house sitting thing from above really got me. I realised how scary that is, the possibility that I was just house sitting in someone else’s life’s? Holy crap, how terrifying is that?!

Well it’s terrifying for me. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and look back only to realise that I didn’t own my life, that I just house sat someone else’s.

With this in mind I moved forward, and continue to move forward, always reminding myself that I own my life and asking “What do I want to do with it?”

So that’s my message today….

Don’t house sit someone else’s life. 

Your life. Your canvas. Paint it however you like.

P.S: The first animals we got on our property were six chickens. We adored those girls. Until we found out they were guys. 

We had six roosters. 

They weren’t peaceful or stress free. And we weren’t sad to see them go.

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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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Dear Dream Seekers…

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx

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Working Up A Sweat

I have never sweated so much as when I used to do ballet classes, before the break. 

I had actually never really experienced sweat like that before. I remember at my Sydney studio, where the class standards are super high, I would have beads of sweat dripping from my wrist to the floor towards the end of the first plié combination. It was the first time I had ever seen people take sweat towels into a dance studio.

I loved that. 

For me, apart from the burning muscles, the sweat was the most immediate concrete evidence of how hard my body was working.

I really, really, loved that.

Then once I had some recorded private classes to learn from at home, I started, and continued, to work up that fabulous drenching sweat during my home classes too.

I posted many a sweaty post-ballet photo on Instagram. 

As someone who had never been good at ANY athletic activity, I was wearing that sweat loud and proud!

And I’m delighted to say that I have started getting my sweat back. Which is telling me that I’m able to work my body harder and harder. 

This is exciting stuff for me right now.

Today, I wasn’t able to do anything else apart from my ballet and exercise bike/physio, as I’m very wiped out from a few big days, BUT I’m sweating y’all! 

And… I. LOVE. IT. 🙂

In fact, today I managed a warm-up tendu exercise, a full plié combo left and right AND just a little bit of extra foot work.

With the addition of the bike straight afterwards, I was drenched in sweat! 

So, here’s to sweating it out!

Zoe xxx