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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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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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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. 😉 

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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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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Validation of Existence — The Importance of Saying "Hi"

When I got the message from Kristen, over at Beginner Ballerina Project, that someone had nominated me to be profiled on her website, I was surprised and flattered.

The thought that someone had gone out of their way to mention me to Kristen, was surreal. I wondered who had nominated me and wanted to thank them because it was a really nice compliment, that they thought I was worth a mention.

Life caught up with me and I didn’t get the chance to mention it on my blog, but I was thinking about it often. And as I thought about it, I pondered the idea that we, as people, so often only really want validation and value of our existence. We want to be heard, or seen. We want someone to say “Hi, I saw what you did there, that was neat”, or just to know that our existence has affected someone in a positive way. Or sometimes as little a thing as knowing that someone has acknowledged you’re in the room, can make you feel better. 

Clearly, through all the social media outlets, you can easily people attempting to satisfy this desire, this need, every day. But on a smaller scale, just catching someone’s eye, and saying hello, even if you don’t know them, might lift their spirits and make them feel like someone saw them today. Someone noticed they exist. And that might be a more important moment in their day, than you could ever think possible.

Certainly people who are dealing with depression, tend to feel disconnected from community and making that connection can help a lot. But I think people on a wider scale are seeking that connection. I think people who’s brain chemicals are all perfectly in balance still want verification of their existence.

So, maybe try to say hi more often. Try not to be scared that you might accidentally open a conversation with the wrong person, like say, a murderer or something. Trust that most people are okay, and would just love to hear you say hi.

I’m going out today and I vow to say hi to some people I don’t know. I might even get really whacky and ask them how they’re going!

Today’s post is dedicated to the person who nominated me. I want to validate you. Whoever you are, thank you! Your nomination of me made me feel special and valued. To be honest, it probably moved me more than the three year old who looked at my profile picture and told her mother “Look, mummy! A princess!” So there, that’s kind of huge. 🙂