How dancing saved my life...more than once

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm a bunhead ;)) Most people know that. Ballet is my love. I love it more than anything in the world!

I wish I had more pictures saved on my computer. They would all be from several years ago though.

NOTE: Soooo...I guess I should have started this thing by saying that it was God who saved me THROUGH dance. He gets all the credit of course. Using my love of ballet was just His tool :))

I actually started ballet late, at least compared to those who started at age 4.  I was almost 12 when I started. And from the moment I did, I was hooked. I discovered that I was good. And I THRIVED off of being in the studio...and even when I wasn't in the studio, I would make up dances in my room. It was always a rarity that I would turn on music, and NOT visualize a dance in my mind {that still happens multiple times a day, every single day}.

Growing up, I really loved learning and I liked my teachers, but I ab-so-lute-ly hated being at school. I suffered from massive amounts of anxiety that I didn't understand. On top of that, kids were mean. Of course, I had friends that I got along with very well. But for the most part, I was completely miserable all through school. I couldn't wait to leave just so I could go to dance class. I was very involved in a lot of other things too. I did a lot of musicals, choir, and show choir, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. But none of them compared to ballet. It was where my heart was constantly, and I'm pretty sure people got completely sick of me talking about it all the time.
Dancing made my heart beat faster--not just from being out of breath, which I often was, ha!--but out of pure JOY!
Some people hated our time at the barre.  But me...from the first plie at the barre at the very beginning of class, I could breathe again. I was at home.
Nutcracker season came around every year, and people would roll their eyes saying, "Oh boy. That time of year again." Me? I was giddy over it! I could never be tired of Nutcracker!
Some people hated dancing adage {slow}...I for one loved being able to really feel the music, and use my whole body. Some people hated dancing allegro {fast}...but I just loved flying across the floor, even if the combination of steps was really really difficult. I loved everything.

Of course, it came with its challenges, especially when I started training more often, and more rigorously. It was exhausting, and very hard on my body at times. I dealt with strained muscles, aching joints, blisters on top of blisters on my feet. I had multiple meltdowns resulting from being too tired and too busy. Still, dancing got me through everything. The farther I got into high school, I became extremely unhappy and even more anxious both at school and at home...and I just didn't understand. But when my world seemed to stop, getting back into my ballet shoes made it go round again. It saved me. Without it, I would've really been in trouble.

And that was just the first time.

At 16 years old, I had surgery done on my spine for scoliosis. I know that my curve was bad, and that the operation WAS necessary, and I'm never gonna know what could have happened if I hadn't gotten idea where I'd be now. But I know where I would NOT be. I would not be taking class {for the past 5 years} and continuing training at a wonderful studio with the best teacher in the whole world! I would never have met my close friends, Lisa & Lori, and all of my other friends from that class. And I definitely would not be teaching as much as I do now. 
Now, teaching dance, and continuing to dance are the only things that keep me going. On Monday nights, I can't get to my ballet class fast enough. I still breathe better after the first plie, and feel complete and total joy, even in spite of being aching, tired, and out of shape.
AND! Every afternoon, I am more than happy to walk into the studio and have groups of children come to me for my instruction. Especially these past few days, when I've been feeling like staying in bed is all I want to do, I get up to go to my students...and I enjoy every minute of it.

That's how dance is saving me still. And again, without it, I would really be in trouble.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I have not written in several days, but I haven't felt like I've had much to say.  And these past several days have been...interesting...

I'm good at hiding...
I like appearing happy...
And actually, when I "appear" happy, I actually am...genuinely happy. I love being with people. I love teaching dance. I love cuddling with Herschel & Libby{the world's sweetest puppy dogs}. I love DOING things. If I'm enjoying myself...if I'm laughing...if I'm's real. Every time.

And I like that about myself...I like my extroversion. Being surrounded with people helps me heal.  Which is necessary sometimes.

When I started this blog, I said from day one that I believe in being transparent, and sharing your stories. But there are times that I'm not sure I want to. Today I'm not sure I want to...but I'm gonna...

I'm dealing with some extreme fear right now...
In fact, I'm sitting here with a gnawing feeling in my stomach even as I write about this, thinking, should I say this? Should I just not even post this? Why am I so afraid to say that I'm afraid?

Sometimes all I can do is pray...for other people. For my best friend who spends her time alone in darkness...for my beloved college choir director battling terminal cancer...for those people in my life who are struggling with various things...
If you ask me to pray, or if I say I will pray, I do.

But I'm really not good at praying for myself. 
I've been trying, because sometimes, it REALLY IS all I can do.
I know better than to give in to the recent "down phase" I've gotten into. It only really finds me at night or any other time I'm alone {which is why I try not to be as much as possible}. The negativity hits, my confidence drops VERY low, and I forget what "good" feels like for a time.  Now, it used to be that I would be much more inclined to allow this to swallow me whole and take me under. And that's what I've been afraid of, because that's the easy choice. It's the choice to pull the covers up over my head and just give up...because fighting is hard. But oh, I have learned how to fight. So I do. Even when it feels insurmountable.  Like this fear. Insurmountable. I fight it, but it's heavy. 

I'm scared of diving into a new job and not being any good at it.
I'm scared of a lot of things coming up in my future.

And I'm scared of NOT being able to fight off the fear.
My brain is a vicious cycle.

But right this moment...I do choose to fight and not give in. Because I remember that "the hands that made the stars are holding my heart." And even though that doesn't always comfort, I never doubt that it's true. So I say, "Lord, please don't let me go under again. I don't want to." And I know He hears. I know He holds my heart in His hands. 


Fresh's time...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I like to think of myself as a goal oriented person.  I definitely enjoy setting goals...but mood disorder makes it difficult to actually accomplish them. On my "down days" I have a very difficult time finding the motivation and energy to keep up with whatever goals I have set. 
I've learned to not get discouraged with myself when I don't accomplish what I hope I can. If I expect too much of myself, it's easy for me to come crashing down when I don't meet my own expectations.

But I think I finally figured out the problem...

I always forget that there are goals I can set for RIGHT NOW that can help me get to where I want to be, whether it be in the near or distant future.

Those goals start now...

{1} Develop better sleeping and waking habits.
As well as figure out what that looks like.  This is going to be very much a "trial and error" goal.  Not only has it always been difficult for me to get to sleep at a decent hour, but waking up every morning is so, so hard. I have to set my alarm for at least an hour before I actually have to get up, and then I hit snooze, like, ten times. I don't wanna do that anymore. I want to figure out what is a good amount of sleep for me, and make it work. Plus, I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said: "Early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise."

{2} Stick to my new eating plan that I absolutely LOVE!
I've always had the worst relationship with food. I just started getting into the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, and it is AMAZING! Even though I'm not a mom, this eating plan is for everyone and anyone! When I do manage to stick to the plan, I feel I want to be able to stick to it full time. I think between that and having better sleeping habits, I'll feel well and motivated enough to get to the rest of these...

{3} Write SOMETHING every single day.
Because I love writing so much, and I need to be less afraid of not being perfect at it. "The expert in anything was once a beginner." {not sure who said that one though}

{4} Stretch daily to help get those extensions for ballet.
I have plenty of ballet related goals. Stretching every day will help me reach ALL of them.

{5} Keep my life organized.
And thank you Pinterest for your assistance in that department.

I have an entire list of books I want to read...and a 2015 reading challenge I want to get through. It's already mid-April and I haven't even finished one book! 
Kind of a side goal to add on here: Find a spot to read that I really like. I can't read in my room. I can't focus there...too many distractions.

{7} Dive deeper into God's Word on a regular basis.
Because I can't do anything else apart from God.

New Series!...and our Chicago Trip!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 I have a couple of ideas for a blog series that I plan on writing over the next few weeks. 

The first one is going to be about iconic women, both in history and in our day and age. 
There are so many to talk about, and we can gain so much from them. It actually took me awhile to just pick a few to choose from. I ended up picking my favorites :))
I'll be including Audrey Hepburn (but of course!), Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Jackie Kennedy to name a few. I'm sure there will be others.  These classy, beautiful ladies still have a lot for us in this day and age. I'm excited to spend more time learning about them and writing about them.

The other idea I had seemed kind of silly at the time, but I decided to go for it.
It is based on my view that...


I'll be writing posts about all of the Disney Princesses, one by one, and what life lessons they teach us. And even as adults, there are a lot of things we can dig into and discover. Many things about Disney Princesses can still inspire us, if we are willing to keep an open mind.
I'll be starting with the earliest princess, Snow White, and going all the way through the line up until I get to Frozen. This one is gonna be fun!

So keep an eye out for these series.
They won't be every post I write...just a couple times a week.

Moving on...
Over this past weekend...
John-David and I had ourselves a little adventure in the Windy City of Chicago. It was a bit chilly, but a beautiful sunny day! We went to see the Bean, Navy Pier, and I got to see where the Joffery Ballet is! And of course I did a dance post...just because I can't take a trip without doing that :))

It was a great day...and it was nice to spend that time together.

I hope everyone is enjoying their week! Any prayer requests? Feel free to share them!

Ten Things I Believe...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It's SPRING my friends!!! Oh it IS Spring!!

Of course, I guess the official first day of spring was March 21st...but the weather wasn't exactly in agreement with that.  It is now!  It's beautiful outside!  And just in time for EASTER this weekend!

Okay, so I absolutely LOVE Easter!  I'm pretty sure it's my favorite holiday.  Not only is it in the spring, and I adore all of the pastel colors associated with it {I mean, come're talking to a total girl's girl here!}...but it's such an important day. It's the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, who died and came back to life so that WE could have life. REAL LIFE!

And it's an opportunity to reflect and remember that the only reason I am here...the only reason I am who I by His grace.  Through His sacrifice and salvation I can have abundant life! And I think that's pretty amazing!

Having said that, since I'm still fairly new to the "blogosphere" and helping my viewers get to know me, I thought I'd write about things that I believe. And what better time to do that than during HOLY WEEK!!!

NOTE: These are not just my "religious" or "spiritual" beliefs...although they are included here too. This is my heart, and the things that are most prominent inside of it.

Ten Things I Believe...

{1}  "I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus Christ His only begotten son." ~ from The Believer's Creed

{2}  I believe that mental health issues are as REAL as any physical illness, and cannot be "wished away" or "talked out of."  You can read all about my stance on this by clicking HERE!!

{3}  I believe in being a holding onto standards set by generations before mine, or even centuries before mine! I aspire to be the perfect mix of Jane Austen, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, and a Disney Princess! Ha! No, but really, it's true! And it's obtainable! I'm constantly inspired by all of those lovely ladies {including princesses} every day!

{4}  Speaking of Disney Princesses...I believe that you NEVER get too old for Disney! ;))

{5}  I believe in transparency!  No matter how "messy" it is, do not be ashamed of your story! It could inspire or encourage someone else.

{6}  I believe in loving people the way God loves...without conditions.  No matter who you are.

{7}  I believe in what Eleanor Roosevelt said: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Another wonderful role model from our history.

{8}  I believe that the most important thing is, first what God thinks of me, and secondly, what I think of myself.  And that "philosophy" has really saved me.  It is the most freeing feeling to not be so consumed with what everyone else thinks!

{9}  I believe in drinking coffee...every. single. day.  

{10}  AND FINALLY...I believe in HOPE! And I believe that no person or circumstance is EVER beyond HOPE! 

And now I leave you with this quote {which pretty much sums is ALL up for me} from one of my biggest inspirations, the lovely Audrey Hepburn...

"I believe in PINK.
I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe happiest girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe tomorrow is another day.
And I believe in MIRACLES."