Category Archives: healing

Not Dead Yet, Again

I’m a bit tardy in reporting that I made it home safely from Connecticut after a lovely weekend with my parents.

Since then, I’ve been muddling through the side-effects of the antibiotic I’m taking, which has caused me to feel like I’ve been run over by a truck or something. 

I’d forgotten how thoroughly this stuff hoses me up by the end of a course. This was not in any way improved by driving for 14 hours straight on Monday 😛

Fortunately, I took my last tablet last night. It’ll take a few days to get back to normal. The challenge with this stuff is that it causes fatigue, pain, tightness, and weakness in the muscles and can cause tendon ruptures, so one must be careful. 

I managed not to rupture anything at Pilobolus’ intensive, though—the side-effects were accumulating last week, but hadn’t peaked (and I forgot to take my dose a couple of times).

I went to class yesterday but skipped out after barre because everything in my body felt like it was about to snap. My grand battement was pathetic. I spent much of the rest of the day asleep (so I woke up at 5:30 this morning … Yay?). 

Not sorry at all to see the back of this prescription, though I’m glad it has sorted my sinuses.

I’ve got so, so many thoughts gleaned from my week in Connecticut. I’m slowly organizing them. I’ll try to report back soon-ish.

Trolled By My Own Foot

This morning, I awoke to a weird[1], intense pulsing pain my slowly-healing toe.  

  1. Though not as weird as the fact that I’ve awakened by 8 AM without an alarm for several days running. #NightOwlProblems

Obviously, this made me a wee bit angry. 

And then, after about an hour, it just stopped.

Seriously, foot, what the hecking heck? 

I  did awake with my foot tucked under the opposite thigh[2], though. There’s a decent chance that I slept with it in there all four hours that I actually slept night. Maybe that just made it angry?

  1. I entertain a hypothesis that dancers, in general, sleep in positions that suggest we’ve been dropped from a great height. My entirely scientific sample of, like, three ballet people has thus far confirmed said hypothesis. Weaknesses of this ongoing study include a subjective operational definition, poorly developed survey instruments, nonrandom sampling, and the complete lack of anything resembling a proper control group.  

A Brief Hello

I’m apparently in a bit of a rut right now, of the irritating kind defined by the feeling of being sufficiently depressed to find socializing exhausting but not so depressed that you can’t see that A) you’re depressed and B) you’re kind of a jerk right now.  

On the other hand, good things are happening regardless, to wit:

  • I can finally jump reliably again! (And I am So. Out. Of. Shape. But I can jump, so that’ll be sorted soon enough.)
  • Ballet Detroit’s master class was superlative! Literally one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and also one of the hardest. Rayevsky gives a heckin brutal barre, but in a good way. Meanwhile, our final exercise across the floor involved (for the boys) sixteen grand pirouettes. On each side. I managed eight on the right; I literally can’t remember what happened on the left =:O I will be working on these with BW.
  • Got my triples back going right. Going left, turns still feel a little weird on my healing foot, so I’m working on getting clean ones and not focusing on counts—so it’s singles and doubles, which I mostly don’t do like a crack-addled wildebeest. Mostly.
  • Did a … We’ll call it a “quarduple.” Not quite a real quad, but a proper triple that ended with I … AM … GOING AROUND …  AGAIN … DAMMIT!!! It wasn’t pretty, but it happened.
  • Did turns at the barre without panicking because there was no time to panic, because the in question was like “8 counts AND TURN! 8 more counts AND TURN! Now repeat (AND TURN!) and reverse (AND TURN!)”   
  • Also landed a double tour out of sheer terror. Apparently, I perform best when I’m basically terrified of disappointing my instructor. Sadly, I didn’t even really clock the fact that THAT HAPPENED at the time because, you know, sheer terror. 
  • Got a scholarship for Pilobolus’ intensive 😀
  • Picked up my first Official Dance Paycheck. YASSSSSSS. 
  • Learned that D can Bluebird Lift me.

So those are all good things that happened. I’m hoping that now that I can jump again and have survived a double tour once, I’ll stop psyching myself out of double tours. 

PS: I can only Bluebird Lift D if he climbs into it, partly because he’s harder to balance than I am because he’s not as good at engaging all the things, but also partly because my arms are short. 

PPS: I realized that even though I know how to lift people bluebird-stylie, trying to be lifted us confusing as hell when you’re trying to remember where your hands go when you’re doing the lifting and translate it to placing your bodyparts appropriately. 
😁

On Learning To Be Serious

Sometimes, in the process of navigating your life, you look up and realize you’ve passed a bunch of waypoints without even really noticing.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: I realized that I needed to update my dance resumé, which pretty much made me laugh out loud, because I’ve come a really long way in less than one year, and I totally failed to notice.

In short: this year, my life has suddenly taken off.

Or … well. It feels sudden, but when I think about it, it really isn’t.

(moar behind the cut; it’s long)

Read the rest of this entry

Wednesday Class: Mostly Functional

I was on the fence about going to class today, as I woke up feeling foggy and congested.

I went anyway, and was glad of it, since two guys who came for a few weeks last year were in class. They’re both very good, and really quite nice. Sadly, they’re only in town for a week this time—they’re both professionals, and they spend most of their time on tour.

Either way, it was nice having them in class. They’re both good examples for me: relatively muscular guys who dance really nicely. I wanted to tell the taller of the two that he’s basically my hero right now, since he, like me, is built for big, powerful jumps, but is actually really quite good at petit allegro. He makes the small, finicky jumps look pretty freaking great.

#goals, amirite?

Fogginess notwithstanding, I found myself surprisingly able throughout barre, adagio, and turns. BW’s class has proven to be the biggest help to getting me through Killer Class: BW gives me physically demanding fondus, makes me use all my turnout, makes me get my legs up as high as I can and then hold them there, etc.

I did get weirdly woozy at one point during grand battement. I’m not sure if I was holding my breath, or if my blood pressure just dropped through the floor for no reason, but it was weird. The last time that sort of thing happened, I was definitely holding my breath during a long cambré back (in BW’s class, of course) and almost fainted. Wooooooo.

I was also not too terrible during petit allegro, although I kept blanking on a part of the third combination that should’ve been obvious.

I actually did royales without substituting entrechats. I may be the only person alive who learned entrechats before royales, and whose body thus stubbornly persists in refusing to acknowledge the existence of the royale.

It was Killer B’s demo that fixed me: I’ve been thinking of a royale as a sort of half-baked double beat (like an entrechat that’s slow to wake up, or something), but if I think of it as a squeeze-change, I don’t then end up doing an entrechat quatre and thus finish on the wrong foot.

Or, well, I don’t finish on the wrong foot unless I start on the wrong foot, which is always a possibility.

Killer B gave us a long, beautiful grand allegro. Predictably, I landed a pas de chat not terribly well (I was trying not to run into a railing at the edge of the studio), my toe started kvetching at me, and I had to stop.

Or, well, I didn’t have to stop. I could have kept going … only I’ve realized that this toe isn’t going to finish healing until I stop pissing it off all over again. Sometimes you give up the grand allegro for a bit, even though it’s the thing you really love, so you can get back to doing grand allegro without having to bail a third of the way through the nicest grand allegro combination you’ve seen in ages (there was a cabriole and everything!!!).

I thought about getting back up there and hitting the repeat on the grand allegro, but I didn’t. I think that was probably the right decision, particularly since grand allegro is really my strong suit as a dancer and I’m not really losing a great deal by sitting it out once in a while.

Anyway, it turned out to be a much better class than I expected, considering the slow start this morning. Now I’m off to dance team, then probably home for the evening. Last night I was hit with a gigantic wave of fatigue at roughly 8 PM, so between that and the fogginess and the vaguely-itchy throat (and the performance this weekend), I’m taking a conservative approach to physical stuff today.

Things No One Ever Told Me, Part 1

But first, Cabrogal over at Neurodrooling turned me on to this really insightful post(1) about how maybe there’s a different lens through which we could possibly view bipolar, which hooked in rather directly to a lot of other stuff D and I have been talking about a lot lately. 

  1. Potential content warning: it deals with with the with the idea that perhaps mental illness isn’t really even the right model. Some readers might feel like this invalidates their struggle, and that is a totally okay way to feel. There was definitely a time not too long ago when I would’ve felt that way. If you’re there right now, you might want to skip this particular link for now.

Okay, moving right along.

I’ve been at this adulting thing for a while. I’m slowly getting, like, less bad at it—much more slowly, I am forced to admit, than I expected, and also more slowly in some ways than seems to be typical. 

I’m pretty pretty sure that’s okay, though. 

We all live in our own timelines and on our own time scales. I come from a family of people who mostly live a really long time and often seem to take a while to figure things out. I’m also pretty sure that dealing with some major trauma (or, more accurately, not dealing with it for a long time) set the clock on the process of reaching a kind of functional maturity back by ten years or so for me. For a long time, I was stuck being 14 and severely traumatized. 

Yesterday I wrote a G+ post about how I’ve learned to deal with D’s dietary preferences. Backstory on this: historically, he has been pretty into Southern “comfort foods”and sweets and not at all into veggies, and since I can’t eat that way and stay healthy and I’m morally opposed to cooking two separate meals all the time, I’ve had to find a middle way. 

The analogy that came to mind was that our life together isn’t a tandem bike ride; it’s just a regular bike ride. Sometimes I get up the hills faster than he does because I like climbing on the bike. That’s okay. He still gets up the hills at his own pace, and I am okay waiting for him at the top(2).

  1. In real life, I used to do a lot of riding ahead, then descending back to my friends, then riding ahead, until I figured out that too much of that makes you look like an annoying show-off.

Sometimes we even take a different route, either because he doesn’t feel like climbing or just for fun. That’s okay, too. At the end of the day, he rides his bike and I ride mine. I can influence the route we ride, but can’t ride his bike for him, and the funny thing is that we both enjoy the ride more when I don’t try to ride his bike for him.  

    Anyway, I’m slowly realizing that same analogy applies to other things, like adulting. 

    Just because I like to climb out of the saddle, that doesn’t mean you have to. (Does help, though, if your hubs are actually in the middle of your wheels o_O’)

    Maybe I’m not getting up the climbs as fast as other people—hell, tons of people my age have responsible, well-established careers—but I’m still on the road, pedaling along. 

    I’m way behind the group I started with because an asshole threw a stick into my spokes early on, and I had to scrape myself off the tarmac, and then I got lost for a while when looking for a shop to help me fix my wheel. 

    That’s okay, too. I’m back on the road now; the one I want to ride. And, honestly, if it hadn’t been for for the asshole who broke my wheel, I don’t know that I would’ve ridden my own road. Having lived through something that really shattered my whole life early on has made me both unable and unwilling to struggle through a life that doesn’t fit(3).

    1. No judgment implied, by the way, towards the folks out there doing exactly that. Sometimes you have to live the wrong life in order to get to the right place—just like road work happens and sometimes you have to take some crazy-ass detour to reach a treasured destination. I admire people who have the strength to do that.

    Anyway, so yeah. I feel like I’m learning things now that, in retrospect, should have been obvious—things maybe other people learned way earlier. 

    One of them is that being a grown-ass married adult doesn’t stop you from developing intense and enduring crushes on people you admire.

    Not that I subscribe to the philosophy which dictates that marriage should make you blind or you’re doing it wrong. Honestly, part of being human is admiring other people—ideally, people who are worthy of admiration, and not giant self-aggrandizing dicks. Sometimes those people will also be hot and kind and insufficiently whatever-it-is-that-prevents-crushes-for-you(4).

    1. For me, it’s a certain flavor of authority: I have never had a crush on a boss or an academic teacher or advisor; that feels too much like crushing on a parent. It’s like, “Squick, and also, no.”

    Sometimes, you will develop an uncomfortable and enduring crush on someone with whom pursuing a relationship would be a Bad Idea For Reasons even if you were single, or if you were poly and sure they were fine with poly relationships.

    Sometimes, regardless of your best efforts, you will go on crushing on said Amazing Person no matter what. It will be weird, but you’ll stick it out, because regardless of the fact that the person in question “makes (your) heart kinda flutter; makes (your) eyes kinda blur,” it it is really good to have them in your life anyway.

    …Even though it’s gonna feel a lot like this sometimes.

    Nobody ever told me that, so I’m passing it along.
    It is also possible that living with such a crush might sometimes be as wildly uncomfortable as, say, crushing on your best friend or lab partner or Lofty McPerfecthair was in high school. 

    Part of you might still desperately want to lay your absurd crush at their feet in hope of (chaste) validation; in hope that they will say, “No, if things were different, we would totally happen, and it would would be awesome because you’re amazing and also really hot.” 

    Part of you might desperately hope they never find out, because it would wreck you at least a little bit if they were like, “LolWut?” and a lot if they were like, “Yeah, um, this feels too weird. I’m outies,” and even more if they told all the cool kids  your peers or colleagues about you and your ridiculous crush(5).

    1. Which, of course, leads to the feeling best identified as,  “If s/he ever finds out, I’ll never be able to set foot in the coffee shop/studio/office/chemistry lab again! I will have to move. TO ANOTHER PLANET.

    So you endure, trying to figure out how to make yourself stop having a crush, because it would totally be super weird for everyone involved if Awesome McDreamyface ever learned The Awful Truth(6).

    1. By the way, this is powerfully amplified by the conditions of dance and circus arts, wherein we interact at close quarters in our fancy underwear and touch each-other a lot. Perversely, these exact conditions, coupled with the inevitable admiration and hero worship involved in doing difficult things with other humans, all but guarantee that dance and cirque are first-rate Crush Incubators.

    Nobody told me that, either.

    Like many socially-challenged people, I’ve learned a great deal about How to Human from fiction.

    In fiction, though, conflicts kind of have to resolve. Nobody(7), to my knowledge, actually writes about the poor, happily-coupled schmuck who goes on having an awkward crush and never speaking of it and not even being a total creeper about it(8).

    1. Maybe I should? This seems like a topic that Anne Tyler might handle well, so maybe I should just send her an anonymous note suggesting it?
    2. Creepers be like: “I punched him in the face because he never should have said that purple isn’t your color! He doesn’t deserve you! You deserve someone better!!!” *suffers in deafening silence* “Also I made you this scarf. I knitted it from from my own hair.” Silently, to self: …Which I have shorn, mourning the great love between us that can never be. Oh, why will you never see how much I love you?! 

    Come to think of it, “Making peace with yourself; learning to go on being friends happily in spite of The Most Awkward Crush,” probably is a valid resolution, so maybe I’ve just missed that book, but if it’s out there I haven’t heard of it. Maybe if I’d read more in the “Written Rom-Coms” or “Touching Stories of Friendship” genres, I’d have encountered this idea earlier.

    Anyway, I’m filing this with Things That Don’t Automatigally Fix Themselves When You Turn 18 (0r 21, or when you graduate from university, or possibly ever). If I come up with a solution, I’ll let you know. If you have any suggestions, please please please for the love of of all that is holy  feel free to leave them in the comments. If you’ve had similar experiences and want to to leave those in the comments, that’s awesome too (even if you, too, are right this very moment in the throes of The Most Awkward Crush and haven’t the faintest idea how to deal).  

    The other one that’s grinding my gears right now is the thing about being afraid that the other kids in your class project group  your colleagues, with whom you’re working on a group project  dance that you’ve choreographed, secretly would rather do something else and wish you would stop bothering them and are only working with you because your English teacher is forcing them to  out of pity.

    I kept feeling weird about inviting dancers to work on my piece, and then feeling weird again when trying to schedule rehearsals—like I was imposing upon them or something. 

    I finally figured out, as a by-product of realizing that I was afraid that no one would come if I threw a party, that I am still convinced in some level that people just kind of tolerate me because they have to, but aren’t willing to tell me. 

    Basically, it seems that I’m still convinced that, once people realize how much I suck, it will be just like middle and high school again. No one will want to hang out with me or participate in my projects, because I don’t really know How To Human. 

    I think, though, that maybe grown people—some grown people, anyway—figure out how to get along with the socially awkward weirdos of the world and how to be more comfortable with their own Inner Weirdos. And I hope that they learn to say no instead of agreeing to work on the project and then fervently hoping they really won’t have to.

    So after the difficult and awkward Nobody Told Me That…,there’s this one. Nobody told me that I’d still feel just as certain of rejection now as I did in middle school. The upside of this one is that I think I know how to approach it, now.

    For me, the best way to deal with something scary is to run right towards it. Sometimes I can’t yet, but I think I’m ready to run straight towards this piece of of this problem. The work I’m trying do as (I guess?) an artist isn’t going to get done any other way. It doesn’t matter how great my ideas are if they stay locked in my head as I sit here doing doing the equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming to trip over me and decide to marry me on the spot(9). 

    1. My inner cynic is picturing Prince Charming saying,”Well, now we’re lying here on the ground together, so I guess we had better get married, because people will talk.”

      Given my past and the fact that I’m both shy and still a little fragile in the self-worth department, I’m not going to say Go Out There And Grab Your Dreams By The Balls! 

      … Because, let’s be honest, that’s not what I’m doing at all. 

      Nope, instead, here’s what I’m trying, and maybe what I recommend if you’ve got big dreams and you’re afraid they’re gonna kick you in the face, hard:

      Get out there use binoculars to spy on your dreams. And then when you start to get a feel for their habits, maybe get a little closer. Then a little closer still.

      And then kind of follow them around, so you maybe just seem like a particularly persistent tumbleweed or some other part of of their normal environment.

      And then integrate yourself into the herd of dreams, and over time get a little closer and a little closer until you’re standing around next to your dream, pretending to graze (because you definitely don’t want it to suspect anything).

      And then eventually lean on your dream and later maybe skritch that one spot right behind its ears, to make friends.

      And then sort of wriggle yourself up on its back a little, like you’re just another dream and just cuddling.

      And then when it doesn’t even worry about that,  just kinda slide up and throw a leg over, and hope that it’ll just just be just be like, “Oh, no problem.”

      And then stay up there and ride.

      Then if you do fall off and get kicked hard in the face, it’s 100% cool to lie there and lick your wounds for a while.

      I guess what I’m saying is that, even where dreams are concerned, you’ll get up the hill when you get up the hill.

      And that’s okay.

      A Map We Can Never Lose, Or, The Dangerous Times Are The Ones When Everything Seems Fine

      Content and language warnings on this one. Sorry, guys.

      I’m in a weird place right now.

      On one hand, I’m doing better than I have at this time of year in a while.

      Fall and winter … okay, and spring … are hard for me. The whole range is loaded with difficult memories, and winter does all kinds of crazy stuff to brain chemistry. Crushing depressions studded with dizzying manias are more or less the norm.

      While late summer is potentially the most dangerous season—that period when any Summer Mania shifts into agitated depression—but the winter is full of a trifecta of suck: crappy health, crappy brain chemistry, and really effing bad memories.

      This year, I’m having less general trouble with the brain chemistry than usual. I’m not going to say that I’m not depressed; I am probably at least a bit depressed in the neurochemical sense. On the other hand, dancing and cirque-ing and having an actual supportive network of friends in meatspace helps, as does getting the house back in order and baking a bunch of delicious stuff all the time. Seriously, you guys, when something I cook makes D happy, the effect is weirdly magical.

      Because of cirque, Winter Ballet Break doesn’t mean an abrupt halt to all the physical activity that helps keep the volume of the peaks and troughs in my brain chemistry a little lower.

      I’m putting the rest of this behind a cut, y’all, partly so you have a choice about it, but also partly because it makes me feel less weird about writing about it.

      Read the rest of this entry

      Just Monday: A Meditation 

      I wrote on Friday about gratitude, and also about the company of fire ants living in my throat. 

      I was in denial. I knew that the fire ants (which had first made themselves known on Tuesday) were probably the opening salvo in the battle with another respiratory infection, but for various reasons, I didn’t want them to be.

      I didn’t want to acknowledge the nature of my fire ants because, frankly, it’s frustrating to be sick. 

      Health-wise, for me, this has been a phenomenally good year. I have gone months at a stretch without getting seriously ill. I have recovered from things more quickly than I expected to. I have actually had a couple minor viral illnesses that didn’t lead to secondary infections.

      When I put it like that, though, it feels like a pretty low bar.

      I’m a bit of an anomaly — or, rather, I’m something that America’s approach to health, which remains firmly rooted in Puritan ideals, doesn’t know how to place. On paper, when I’m not ill, I seem pretty robust. Tons of exercise, good basic diet, excellent vital stats. Allergies and asthma, of course, but I live in the Ohio River Valley. I have even mostly learned to listen to my body, my wonderful and obedient body that will allow me to push it ludicrously, when it asks me to rest.

      According to the American ideal, I should be and stay as healthy as a horse (which, frankly, is an idiom that can’t have been coined by a horse person). But I’m not, and I don’t. 

      I am still someone whose immune system, for reasons nobody understands, just isn’t that great. I catch things that are, for other people, innocent little colds, and they go rogue. I am terribly prone to secondary infections. I get sicker than other people and I take longer to get well. 

      It’s worse when I don’t take care of myself or acknowledge the limitations that circumscribe my choices (I can ride my bike hard in cold weather if I’m willing to pay the price in terms of respiratory problems that inevitably lead to infections; I can adopt a schedule that approaches typical American busy-ness if I’m willing to acknowledge that my immune system will respond by going on strike). 

      But it is what it is even when I’m doing everything I can to take care of myself. This is my reality.

      ~

      This weekend I talked with Denis about some of the ways in which I’ve historically felt conflicted about my body, and how I’m beginning to understand that I need to stop looking at it from a dualistic, one-or-the-other point of view.

      Maybe the same can be said for my health. 

      Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of it as either-or, and start thinking of it as and.

      Like, maybe I should take care of myself as best I can, enjoy the periods in which I stay well for an unusually long time, and gracefully accept that I’m still going to be prone to infections that will, from time to time, knock me flat for longer than they should. Maybe I should try to accept that one does not invalidate the other, and to be kinder to myself about all of this. 

      As a dancer, it’s hard to accept any of these conditions. As a dancer, and as a human being, I find it easy to accept my gifts and hard to accept my handicaps.

      One set of conditions propels me forward; another holds me back. I am inclined to forget that this trade-off is universal — everyone’s tally sheet has entries in both columns. Maybe my peers in the studio don’t have immunity challenges that can keep them from dancing for weeks at a time, but they have other struggles. Maybe those struggles don’t affect their lives as dancers, but they hit somewhere. 

      I feel like there’s a profound lesson in not clinging to phenomena here — both in the sense of not clinging to the phenomena of health or illness and in that of not clinging to the phenomenon of dancerness. I’m not sure how how to put those thoughts into words, though.

      ~

      We live in a culture that treats illness like it treats fatness — which is to say, as a question of moral failure. 

      People who rarely or never get sick tend to announce that status with a kind of prideful tone that suggests that they are somehow morally superior, even if in the same breath they say, “…and i don’t do any of that health-nut BS,” and scarf down a Whopper and half a bag of Cheetos. People like me, on the other hand, and regarded with a degree of suspicion, even (maybe especially) if our lifestyles should produce unequivocal good health. 

      When I find myself forced to explain that I get sick easily and that my immune system just kinda doesn’t do its job very well, I almost always receive a bunch of advice about what I “should” be doing to fix it. I get get tired of explaining that I’ve basically tried everything; that, yes, it’s worse when I don’t take care of myself but it’s never going to be normal; and that much of what people suggest is complete crap founded in pseudoscience (I do try to be polite about that). 

      I get tired of explaining why n=1 makes a great basis for an anecdote but a poor basis for an axiom. I get tired of re-asserting the fact that neither goji berries nor a strict Mediterranean diet will “cure” me.

      I get tired of the implicit and usually-unexamined assumption that anyone who isn’t a shining paragon of good health probably just just isn’t trying hard enough, or isn’t trying the right things. Sometimes that may be true, but often it’s not. 

      My crappy immune system isn’t the result of poor habits or poor morals. It’s the result of poor genes — with the caveat that the same set of genes that saddled me with this burden has also given  me the gifts of talent, strength, flexibility, coordination, off-the-chart spatial processing, a powerful musical sense, and the intelligence to use all of those things to make art.

      This, by the way, keeps me humble. 

      I know that my crappy immune system is not a question of effort or a measure of moral turpitude. By that same stick, I can see that the things that make a good dancer are, likewise, random gifts. Morally speaking, they do not make me a better person. In fact, morally speaking, they have sometimes made me a worse person — a less compassionate person; a more self-aggrandizing person. Thank G-d for crappy immune systems and for ballet, both of which are really good at teaching us humility when nothing else will.  

      I try to make the most I can out of the gifts I’ve been given, but sometimes the things in the “debit” column get in the way. I suspect this is true for most of us.

      Most of us are just muddling by ,trying to do the best we can, fairly often saying to ourselves about about many things, “There, but for the grace of G-d, go I…”

      On which note, I’ll close, because I’m hoping to go back to sleep for an hour or two. 

      I’m still working my way through this particular thicket, though. More later, perhaps.

      Thursday Class: The Accidental Private

      One last responsibility before I can throw myself into the Sea of Sleep (which I hope will receive me more readily than it did last night!) — class notes! 

      It was good good to get back to class tonight; to the thing in my life that’s my Normal. 

      Also good and terrifying to be not just the Onliest Boy (totes normal) but the Onliest Student (first time ever. 

      I’ve done a ton of accidental semi-privates with BB, but have literally never, ever taken a private dance class before (oy, vey — here comes the thing in my head that warps lyrics to effect up Tina’s classic). Fortunately, I am apparently all out of panic at this point (had a good bit harrowing therapy session today), and just sort of calmly accepted the fact that it was All Me, All the Time with the dude who is my local Ballet Crush (in the sense that he’s the dancer I want to be when I “grow up”).

      Anyway, we put in an hour at barre, some of which was super hard — I finished fondu (which was not terribly hard or long) puffing like a steam train and sweating like a race horse. My body is definitely enforcing its right to use its resources for and. Woooow.Normally, the fondu that BW gave me would have been somewhat challenging; tonight, it was flat out hard. Oh — and the frappé that ended with an 8-count long fondu à la seconde. Eight slow counts long, that is.

      Not gonna lie —I was not strong enough tonight to support that without the barre. 

      BW has a lovely way of shaping things — tonight he said, “You know, your passé is lovely, but I think you could get it even higher and a little more open and it would really show off your turnout.” (Because evidently your humble Danseur Ignoble be turnt.)

      I tried it — basically, continuing to fold and lift and rotate the working leg until (avant) the toe rests just above the adductor tubercule or (arriére) just behind the same point, but crossed in a little more —and it worked. I did literally the best-looking passé in the history of my life as a dancer tonight  The best part, though, is that this forces my turnouts to remain kicked on and do their freaking job, which makes the passé balance both more stable and less effortful. 

      Often in long passé balances, I feel like I’m fighting to keep the turnouts of my supporting leg from taking their coffee break. BW’s adjustment solved that problem for me. My supporting leg leg kind leg kind of *has* to stay on the clock at that point, so it does. Go figure.

      Anyway, I also identified the source of my ongoing issue with waltz turns — I sometimes fail  to execute the initiating movement as a sort of tombé simultaneous with a brush of the opposite foot. Instead, they become separate movements, turning a 3-beat step into a 4-beat step and tangling your feets. 

      Come to think of it, the fact that we did a center tendu (to work on body facings, my current white whale) that involved a tombé-brush going both forward and backward probably helped. Priming ftw!

      Anyway, I managed to make it through to the end of class even though my brain kept failing to retain combinations. Doxycycline tends to make make me foggy, so whilst I’m recovering at a nice clip, my brain is still like, “Wait, whaaaaaa? Howza go again? Izzat a turn or a wut?” 

      I also learned that double turns with an ear infection are possible but, um, weird. Like, the first revolution and spot feels fine, but in the second one, the inner-ear disruption catches up, and it starts to geek like your small craft has just hit heavy seas. 

      This is especially true of the combination ends with tombé, pas de bourré to fourth, turn; tombé, pas de bourré to fourth, turn. Oh, and the music had time for quads, at very least, so I was doing slow doubles, which left plenty of time for the invisible ocean to try to capsize me.

      One more bit of awesome news. Today a very dear person who I love so very much reconnected with me, and that made my heart so very happy. PapaBear, if you’re reading this, you know who you are. I’m so glad glad you’re back in my life. This was just just the right ray of light and hope at just the right time (and helped me be brave enough to talk with my therapist about the very dark and scary stuff that is finally time to start working on).

      So thanks to PB and Robert and to the Great I Am for that.

      In spite of everything, for me, today has turned out (ha ._.) to be a good day.

      Not Really Complaining 

      … Or, okay, yes, but really only whinging a bit 😉

      I saw the nurse-practitioner (you guys, autocorrupt suggested MURDER practitioner! W… T … Actual … F?!  o_O’) at my doc’s practice today. 

      She confirmed that I have a sinus infection and also a wee ear infection, which explains why it sometimes feels like the spirit level in my head is borked. 

      I’ve been handling this thing very conservatively — actually resting basically all the time, staying clear of strenuous activities (except for the part when I decided to be helpful and uninstall two of the three window aircons in the house by myself, which I did successfully, but which knocked me onto my backside). On the balance, I think it has paid off. In the past, my sinus infections have often progressed into bronchial infections by the end of a week and change, so the fact that this one had constrained itself to the confines of my head is comforting. 

      I’ll be taking doxycycline for a week and I’ve got a script for plain 12-hour psuedoephedrine for a while, so that should get me sorted and back to the studio. 

      I may attempt Killer B’s barre tomorrow, but I may not. It really depends on my balance and energy level. Today I am definitely listing to port (and not just politically speaking, though I did go and vote), so that’s a huge if. I might also hit up Trap 3 tomorrow night as a semi-spectator, but I don’t want to pull out all the stops right away. I have figured out that easing back into things is part of the deal for me.

      On the upside, my blood pressure was stellar (110/56) and my heart rate was fine (75, which is lower than it often is in doctors’ offices, because I am still mildly stressy about being in them, which can be weird and hard and awkward if you’re an intersex person).

      So things look doable.

      Now I’m going to lie around and watch stupid movies and otherwise bury my head in the sand until the US General Election is over, at which point my friends will tell me whether  it’s safe to come out or I should start burrowing a tunnel to Canada. Except by then I’ll probably be asleep. 

      In other news, I’ve been reading horse blogs, which reminds me how much I miss having horses in my life, which is why I avoid horse-related content. 

      Also, yes, I’m apparently a sucker for bright orange animals (though I’m not particular about the color of a horse; it’s what’s on the inside that matters).

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