Twenty-fun…amirite?? Okay, now that the stereotypical/cliche is out of the way let’s get down to the good stuff!
I am in New York City. I am living in an adorable studio apartment in a very cute part of town. I legally just bought my first bottle of wine (and didn’t get carded!). That can only mean 1 thing: I have officially turned 21!!
My 21st birthday was far from cliche, but so beyond perfect. I was surrounded by beautiful people, delicious drinks and I was in the city that never sleeps! What more could I ask for? There was so much love shown to me throughout the day and I can’t begin to thank everyone enough. I woke up in a strange city, went to class in a strange and crowded studio but ended the day sitting out on the patio, drinking my first cocktail, laughing and eating and enjoying the beauty that is everywhere in New York!
Being 21 is weird though. Last night I went to a wine bar with some friends. Tonight I decided to venture out and about, passed a wine & spirits store, so stopped and bought a bottle of wine. Now I am sitting here, writing this, and enjoying a simple glass of my favorite wine without feeling guilty that I’m doing something wrong/illegal. I never drank much previously, but every time I did there was a part of me that knew it was wrong, unhealthy and a little dangerous. Now I have to transition into realizing that it is legal. It is okay to a degree and I can enjoy it!
Now, about New York! It is amazing!! The hustle and bustle doesn’t compare to anything else I’ve ever experienced. There are so many people, there is so much movement, and there’s so much to see and do! I know that by the end I won’t have even made a dent on visiting/experiencing all of the beautiful parks, buildings and adventures that can be had here..which just means that I have to come back sooner rather than later! I love all of the sights, sunsets, skylines, people watching and classes. Everything is challenging in a brand new way and opening up my eyes to a whole new lifestyle. It is hard to be away from my job, my apartment and some of my friends, but I do have awesome friends here as well and am beyond blessed that I get to see and experience so much!
I cannot believe that there’s only 1 week left! But then two weeks from now I will be onto a whole new adventure out on the other coast, in San Diego (assuming my registration is ever fully completed…ugh!!)! Auditioning for a job for 3 weeks…and although I am beyond scared I am also very excited and can’t wait for the next step in my life no matter where it takes me! Yay life! Yay adventures! Let’s do this 🙂
When your plans are finally coming together so you can just exhale…breathe…and relax a little bit! But only a little bit because the crazy is just around the corner!
This week I was given 3 days off of work. In. A. Row!! Say what?? That literally hasn’t happened over the past 6 months unless I specifically ask for it off. Therefore I went home! I saw my family, some of my nearest and dearest friends and had a great time 🙂
I also had the chance to sit down with my mom and officially make plans for my summer travels! All of my flights are booked.My knee has been given the ‘okay’ to continue dancing and I am on a path to recovery. My housing is in the process of being set in stone…and my application for the San Diego Summer Intensive is being filled….oh wait! There’s a deadline in small print at the bottom. What does it say? ‘Application must be submitted no later than May 31st.’ It is June 8th. Umm. Now what? Freak out a little bit inside: check. Send an email to those in charge praying that there can be an exception:check. Wonder if this is going to end how most things have been ending of recent, in disaster and sadness: check. But lucky for me things turned up! I received an email today stating that I could still attend said intensive on my previously awarded 1/2 scholarship. This intensive is what could and hopefully willlead to my job next fall taking me further along this crazy career path in the dance world!
Therefore I have officially submitted my final day at Lunds and Byerlys (July 1st! a mere 3 weeks away*). A few days following I will head out to New York City for two and half weeks to train, adventure with my mom and some friends, turn 21 (!!!!) and get back into shape! I will come home for a week and then head out to San Diego. This intensive is 3 full weeks with teachers such as Paloma Herrera (!!) and Jonathan Stafford (!!). I have yet to figure out where I will be staying, but to say that I’m excited is an understatement! Of course there are nerves mixed in there as well but I really am looking forward to an adventurous summer. I haven’t spent a summer away, for dance, since 2011 and it is one that is much needed! It will be hard emotionally and physically but I really do look forward to all that I will learn and the possibilities that could come. If I don’t receive the job at the end of the 3 weeks it will not be a waste. I will have experienced so much this summer and I will have seen so many new things! I’ve never been to NYC or the West Coast so I really do just have a huge smile on my face while I think about it all 🙂 🙂 🙂
*Lunds and Byerlys has been such a great job for me. I have met amazing people among my coworkers and the shoppers inside the store. I have created many friendships and will miss everyone there! Although I am not quite ready to say goodbye, I am ready to see what’s in store for me next!
Friends. Fam. I am back! Back where? In the studio!
It has been exactly 5 weeks since I published “Ugh. Ballet.” Therefore it has also been 5 weeks since I have stepped foot into a studio space, seen myself in a leotard, and attempted to lift my leg past the height of the couple inches it leaves the ground while walking…As some of you may remember this was because the studio stopped being my happy place. It stopped being a comforting environment that pushed me to want to go beyond my limits and try new things. It stopped encouraging me and loving me. It ultimately just dragged me down deeper day by day and my body, mind and soul couldn’t handle it anymore. Today though? Completely different story!
All my body could handle was a ‘simple’ 45min barre. I didn’t turn. I didn’t jump. I didn’t do anything aside from straight forward technique. I was taught by one of my favorite people, and the most encouraging individual in my life. I was surrounded with friends who lifted up my spirits and struggled through the physical pain along with me. It was a nurturing environment. I laughed. I smiled (When was the last time that happened…) I definitely broke a sweat. And I will for sure be sore tomorrow. But not the sore that dampers ones spirits, the good kind of sore that will keep me searching for more. Wanting to go back. Wanting to push past the hurdles I was working towards over a month ago. Eagerly waiting for the next time my body can move, be free and work this hard once again!
Taking a break can be very hard, but also very good. I am coming back feeling refreshed. Rejuvenated. And eager. I am ready to work hard to get back into shape. I am ready to stand in 5th position with no pain (who knew it could be so hard?!) I have clearly lost flexibility, strength and stamina, but the technique still remains. The technique that I am ready to improve and build off of to go further with my career. Tonight is motivating me to do so many things! New York is only 35 days away, and my body is clearly nowhere near ready! But now I feel like I can and I will get there! I will be ready and I will be excited to continue to learn and grow 🙂
Here I am…11:28pm sitting in an empty row on an airplane (yup! my mom and I both got entire rows to ourselves!) currently flying through turbulence on the way back from Florida. It was a trip to remember, that’s for sure and I am so grateful for the time to be with family and get away from stress, drama and of course work!
My family was in great need for a vacation. My sister just graduated college (woo-hoo Trisha!!!), my parents are celebrating their 25th anniversary and I…well…don’t have a whole lot to celebrate right now, but nonetheless this was necessary! My sister and I had bought my parents tickets to Disney World last Christmas (2014) and we finally got around to using those, as well as 2 more for my sister and I!
We made it to all 4 parks. Found time to relax. Made it on every ride we wanted to (at least once.) And closed the parks down each and every night, ending in quicker lines, firework shows and a little bit of shopping here and there. My favorite park, Magic Kingdom, was where we started and ended the trip. Beautiful views all around!
One big change this trip, from our previous 3, was a new park/room entrance, fastpass+ system and a link to credit cards all on a convenient ‘Magic Band’ that we wore around our wrists the entire week. It made everything run smoother, quicker and there was a smaller chance of losing a small room key/fastpass card. They’re able to be personalized too aside from just the color of the band, I even saw one group of people who drew Disney designs on them their selves!
We flew into Orlando last Saturday night, coming in right at sunset.
We then got on board ‘Disney’s Magical Express’ since we were staying on site at a Disney Resort which then transported us to Saratoga Springs. The resort was absolutely beautiful, although it didn’t have much theme to it, it was a nice home away from home for a week.
Sunday was spent at the Magic Kingdom, filled with lots of people, Disney’s Electrical Parade, our first sunburns of the trip, a little bickering, and a lot of fun:
On Monday, we traveled to the Animal Kingdom where we ventured through the Safari, attended my favorite show, “Festival of the Lion King,” rode Mount Everest and became THAT family. You know the one…the family that matches so they don’t lose their little kids. Yup, we were them! Although, we clearly don’t have little kids it was really a treat to join in on the fun that so many families have (lol). My sister designed unique t-shirts for all of us, but then unfortunately due to copyright they couldn’t be printed, so we became the family of the “Original Mouseketeers!”
Tuesday was our first day at Epcot. Epcot is a favorite park with the World Showcase, Test Track and of course the fireworks show “Illuminations.” Another perk of staying onsite is something called ‘Disney Extra Magic Hours’ where only people who are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort get to enjoy the park for two extra hours. We took advantage of this time to ride Test Track again as well as get in some shopping and I made my dad take dance pictures of me too :p
Wednesday brought us back to Magic Kingdom for a whirlwind 15 hour day in the park. Again, we had Extra Magic Hours, but this time it was open for us until 1am! We packed a lot into the day, including finally getting our buttons (Disney provides buttons for those celebrating milestone events. Trisha’s said ‘celebrating Drake U Grad’, my parents both got a ‘Happy 25th Anniversary’ and I decided to celebrate my 21st!), traveling to Disney’s Polynesian resort for lunch by boat, and back to the park on the monorail, we watched the ‘Festival of Fantasy’ parade where Princess Tianna wished my parents ‘Happy Anniversary’ from her float (see, I told you the buttons would be a good touch fam ;p), and my dad was in a play during the ‘Enchanted Tales with Belle’ attraction. We rounded out the evening enjoying dinner in Beast’s castle where we got to celebrate all of our events (again, thanks to the buttons, our waiter knew we were celebrating!) And yes, the grey stuff is delicious just as the song suggests!
On Thursday we slept in and relaxed for the first time the entire vacation! My dad and I stayed back at the resort to lay out by the pool, while my sister and mom traveled to Epcot. We met up later to once again enjoy the beautiful park.
Friday was our final day, starting off at Hollywood Studios and rounding out the trip with our favorite, Magic Kingdom. It was a trip to remember and I am so blessed to be able to enjoy the time and adventures with my family. It was fun to experience it all as an adult, and I know that I look forward to taking my kids someday in the future! It is a magical place filled with love, laughter and a really really really good time!
Now we are all home, have had a night sleeping in our own beds and have a weeks worth of memories behind us. I love my family so very much and feel so fortunate to be able to share such exciting adventures with them time and time again. Can’t wait for the next one! ‘See Ya Real Soon’ -Mickey Mouse ❤
Bullies. I finally understand. I finally have realized how they get their power and how they get through to a human with only words. If you continue to hear certain things from anybody around you eventually you will probably start to understand them as true. If someone continues to say hurtful and negative things to you you will probably begin to overthink everything and realize that maybe what they’re saying is the truth. Maybe you are these things. And eventually they start to define you without even necessarily realizing it.
For me, I have spent the past 8+ weeks telling and retelling the story of how I was told that I am disrespectful and have an attitude problem among other negative personality traits, and now it has become really hard to not spend too much time thinking about these things. To not start to believe these things about myself. Some nights it’s 2:30 in the morning and I sit here questioning whether or not it’s all true. I think back to other instances where I’ve been accused of being rude, harsh, selfish, unfriendly, inconsiderate, untrustworthy and mean. Does this make me a disrespectful human? Or were these words simply uttered by someone who chose to be not-so-nice to me? Or by someone who was around me during a hard time in my life?
Bullies. I finally understand. They have become harsh humans too. And is this for the same reason? Someone was negative towards them and now that negativity has manifested inside of them for so long to create this not-so-nice human? It’s crazy to think about all of the people who have been mean to you, have called you names, and have accused you of things that aren’t always true. Why do they do this? We don’t know everyone’s backstory and we don’t know what anger and hate has built up inside of them or for how long. We may know absolutely nothing about them. So what can we do in these situations? When people get on your case for one thing or another: We can return the hate with kindness. We can ignore the situation. Or we can be mean in return. Those are about the only possibilities. And I think how you react to this is what truly defines you as a person.
The ballet world is hard. Frustrating. Difficult. And I have known this from day 1 of trying to navigate my way through it. But the hardest part is when the positive, happy parts are pulled away from you. The ballet world can also be freeing. Emotional. And full of love and spark and happiness. Currently I am not feeling the good aspects and have unfortunately not felt them for quite some time. I have thought about what is best for my body as well as my soul and have come to a decision. Although this probably seems minimal to most, for me, someone who has always been dancing and taking full advantage of classes when not injured, this is quite big: I will be taking a break…not a long break, but long enough.
As many people know my 2015-2016 season did not end on a good note. There were tears. There was anger. There were many unpleasant experiences. This led me to head out to a few auditions around the Twin Cities area and out on the East Coast. My travels were fun. All of the classes were learning experiences.But I still have no plans. I received a few ‘no’s, a few ‘maybe’s and I have turned down 1 offer all together. Right now I am holding out for the maybe’s to follow through and I will possibly attend a 3 week summer intensive on 1/2 scholarship on the West Coast (If I do so I would be evaluated for an apprenticeship for next season). This being said I still have no plan for next season. I have nothing motivating me to stay in shape and search for my passion. Nothing set in stone. I have nothing pushing me at all.
The past month has been filled with classes…and then breaks…and then more classes…and then another break. Usually when I take a break from ballet I feel it inside. I miss it. I struggle with other parts of my life because I don’t have the release of dance to get me through. But these have felt different. When I return to classes I feel in pain (physically and emotionally), defeated and just not how I wish to feel when I finish a class. I know that this is not right so I will be stepping away for a few weeks. If I feel drawn to go to class I will go, but my current plan is to just say no. Rest my mind, body and soul and hopefully return feeling refreshed, driven and ready for whatever comes my way.
This morning I awoke to the sun shining bright into my room, the breeze blowing my curtains and birds chirping outside my open window. I woke up knowing that it could be a good day! Last night was a tough night for me, filled with tears, self doubt and self criticism, but I woke up with plans to go to church and fill that void inside of me.
As I sat in the sanctuary this morning and looked around me during the first song, at 11am contemporary worship, I realized how many people were sitting in the pews. There were probably 120 adults and 45 or so kids who would soon be off to Sunday School following the children’s message. Yet, I was 1 of about 8 people in that church who were college age. Eight people. That was it. Everyone else looked to be between the ages of 30 and 75. Why is that? Why weren’t there more college age students in service this morning? Is it because so many people were hungover? Or do people my age just not seek out their faith at this point in their lives? One can not complain that 11am is too early to be out of bed. One can not complain that there aren’t enough churches in the area to find one that best suits your preferences. I’m just stumped. I know that I do not attend church as regularly as I should or as regularly as I would like, (I have only been 8 times so far this year, so no, I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal above others my age, it just got me thinking). Life gets in the way sometimes. I understand that. But I also know that whenever I do attend, I leave feeling at peace. I feel a little bit more whole again. Things seem to make a little bit more sense in my life, and somehow the sermon always speaks to me on a personal level.
I am so thankful to have my faith and a loving God to lean on when times get tough. “The Holy Spirit is alive and well in everyone around us. Whether we are seeking out the Lord or not, He is present and guiding us.” -Pastor Katherine Nycklemoe (St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Bloomington). Life is tough. Life is confusing. Life is scary. God is loving. God is kind. God is always there. When life makes absolutely no sense I know that I always have my faith to turn to. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans” -Proverbs 16:3.
I am grateful to have found a little home at St. Stephen Lutheran Church. It only took me 2 weeks trying other churches to happen upon this one. It is a safe place. It is a comfort zone. Everyone has been so kind and inviting that I feel so full when I am there. I just hope that anyone else out there who is actively seeking out their faith, like I am, has the opportunities to find somewhere that makes them feel the same way. Life is kicking my butt right now, for reasons that I am unaware of, but I know that the Lord has a plan and if I put my full trust in Him, He will guide me to what is meant to be. I may not understand why I am on this path right now, but sometime later on in life it will all make sense. I will look back on this time and be thankful for the hard times, the good times and everything in between.
Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
Altogether lovely, altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me