Ballet Class Was…

FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!

My muscles feel like..

download (6)

But my spirit feels like…

GrandJete8

I will write more on the class soon…for now…need to get into a hot shower and soothe this tired, achy, and happy body. ūüôā

Dusting Myself Off

Hello?

Helloooo?  Anybody home???

HELLO!!!

(echo) ….. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†………… (echo) ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† (echo) ……………………….. ¬† ¬† ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† …………………….. ¬†(echo) ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

Why, hello! ¬†It is so good to see you again! ¬† How have you been? ¬†I saw! ¬†I have been keeping up with you on your blog. ¬†That’s great!

Yes, my little narration is directed to you, my readers.  It IS good to see you again and I have missed you. I know this place is dusty due to my reduced activity, but I have brought my broom and windex and I am gonna give it a good scrubbing!

What does this mean? ¬†That I have been missing blogging and writing about my ballet obsession. ¬†I have kept up with my other ballet bloggers and loved seeing Nutcracker season and how everyone is doing with their classes. ¬†I swooned at Bush Ballerina’s class with Tibor! ¬†Rejoiced with Traveling Dancer’s auditions. Had fun watching the fun All Round Girl was having. I was inspired by Legal Ballerina’s courage. ¬†Envy at all the dancing LoveBallet89 is doing, plus many more of you! ¬†What I am saying is I did not forget or ignore. I was just quietly lurking in the wings.

Now, you might also be wondering, what went on? ¬†What’s happening now?

Well, I am going to grab this bull by the horns and call a duck a duck….

When I realized ballet classes were not in any kind of foreseeable future I basically did this…..

I feel deflated...

I feel deflated…

and this…

Timber!!!

Timber!!!

That pretty much sums it up. ¬†Honestly, my heart was broken. ¬†I tried very hard to keep a strong front but inside it felt like glass shattering. ¬† ¬†It was no one’s fault but circumstance. ¬†At first we thought things would be financially more feasible sooner but that was not the reality to allow the room for ballet classes financially. ¬†So, taking ballet classes were put off for much longer. As a result, I fell off the weight loss bandwagon pretty quick since my last weight loss update was back in August, I really got to the point I didn’t care anymore. ¬†So, I have gained most of the weight I lost in this time period. ¬†Not really proud of that fact, but it’s a reality and something I have learned from, that I don’t need to tie my weight loss to an extraneous goal, more on this later in the post.

So, to make things more financially fluid with the family, I needed to get back to work. ¬†I have been a nanny over the past year but I needed to start pulling in more so I got on the job hunt. ¬†I wanted to get back into doing something professional, which is my background, but I was determined this time around I would do work I would really enjoy and that it would make a difference in someones life. ¬†I also wanted work that would allow me to get my son from school and to keep his schedule as routine as possible. This became an odyssey…¬†It went from I needed like 10 PhD’s or 35 years experience (not really but it felt like it) to just nothing. Facing this realization, I was happy to go work at the grocery store or the Dollar General as a clerk…then my back happened.

Back in late September or early October, my back had been doing some weird stuff . At this point I had not been exercising for weeks and I had done nothing strenuous to warrant what happened. I have always had back problems and I do have scoliosis. ¬†So, back pain on a daily basis is common to me. Then one day I literally felt like I was going into labor…like I am not kidding the pain in my back was exactly like when I was in labor with my son years ago. ¬† Contractions were happening like a wave, all concentrated in my lower back, just like when I had been in labor prior to having my epidural. It started off with just pressure and not able to get comfortable to a crescendo of agony over and over again. I was envisioning myself on that show, “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant”. ¬†I mean the pain was THAT bad. ¬†I knew I was not pregnant. Coincidentally, I had taken a pregnancy test just a few weeks prior. ¬†I was in so much pain I was crying uncontrollably not knowing what was going on from fear and pain. ¬†I was not insured so the thought of needing to go to the hospital was daunting, especially when in light of our financial situation at the time, but we were on the verge of going. ¬†So, we called Ms. L thinking I could be passing a kidney stone, being that she churns one of those out regularly she is an expert. ¬†We determined it was not a kidney stone. ¬†Then the waves of agony started to lessen and I started to calm down. We now think I had a severe muscle spasm in my left lower back. ¬†I was laid up for about two weeks where I could barely walk and spent most of my time in the recliner in the only comfortable position relieving the pressure off my back. ¬†My left lower back has not been the same since. During all of this, I have been worried if this is going to hamper my ability to dance. ¬†Standing on my left leg or standing for long periods of time is challenging. ¬†In ballet, what is the left leg primarily? Yep… ¬†I have switched to wearing sneakers almost exclusively because that made a big difference in the pain level in my back. ¬†I don’t take medication, because I ¬†just don’t like taking meds. ¬†Being that I have pain daily, I do not want to take daily pain meds. ¬†So I learned to live with it, how to ease it, and work around it. ¬†I also know it wouldn’t take much to throw me back to the fangs of agony that I experienced months ago so I am very protective of my back. ¬†I also know that losing weight and strengthening my back and core would do wonders for my back as well.

Which brings me back to the job search….

Pretty much...

Pretty much…only I was in a skirt and heels

I now had to add to the criteria…non-back aggravating. Which meant no work that required physical lifting, standing for long periods, etc. Just going to WalMart or Target on long shopping trips are physically challenging. ¬†I can’t imagine a 6 or 8 hour work shift on my feet. ¬†So I had to look for work that was at a desk, but me being me, I can’t stand being relegated exclusively to a chair (I’d go stir crazy) and would need a job that did have some moving around and such. Finally, in early December some positions opened in the legal field which I qualified for and would really like to do. ¬†I had two choices and Job 1 fit better in the parameters than Job 2, but Job 2 seemed a bit more interesting, but something kept nagging at me about it and I decided to go with Job 1. Really, when “they” say to listen to your inner voice…”they” are right! ¬†I love doing Job 1, it’s perfect for me. ¬†I enjoy going to the courthouse everyday, doing what I do, the people I interact with, my boss, and co-workers. ¬†It’s been great and I really know I made the right decision. ¬†I am happy, my family is happy, and we are back on the right track.

So where does that leave me now? ¬†Thinking about taking ballet classes again that’s where! THAT desire never went away and it has been tucked away into my thoughts everyday. Realistically, it looks like I could start classes soon, like in a month or two. ¬†I know the cost and the studio, and we just need to make sure some other things are straightened out first before I make the financial commitment. ¬†So now I really am on my way to classes finally.

Do I wish I had kept up with my weight loss? Yes. ¬†I know my weight really poses a challenge for me in ballet classes and the care of my back. I can only do what I can do and at this point that is to climb back on that band wagon and start to focus back on losing weight. I have learned that I can’t have weight loss only connected to taking classes but it has to go deeper than that. I need to get more serious about my health. ¬†I think my back is just worn out from carrying the weight around my middle for so many years.

So that’s that folks. Which brings me to today and it has been really great to write a post. Almost like stretching a sore muscle. It was painful but felt great. ¬†Don’t forget you can check my Facebook¬†and Pinterest pages. I post fun stuff there all of the time as I am addicted!

Despite the disappointment over the year and the challenges I faced, it’s been a good growing experience. I learned a lot, cried some, screamed on occasion, loved deeply, and became inspired by my fellow bloggers. ¬†Through it all I am still moving forward, while things didn’t happen as I wanted I know they happened the way they were supposed to and here I am again close to getting back to classes and I can not wait.

glass fragments #1 with WM

Battements

What is and What Was

Well, today was to be my triumphant return to the ballet studio. ¬†It was supposed to look a little something like this…

Imma ballerina

I imagined what was to be the reality was sliding my legs into my tights, pulling on my leo, and neatly pinning my hair into a bun.

What is the reality of today is having breakfast at Waffle House with my husband (always a win) and honestly trying not to think too much about ballet classes that I was supposed to start today.

I couldn’t let this day go by without a word. ¬†I had to acknowledge it. ¬†Can I take a sentence and stomp my feet and acknowledge the hurt of not starting ballet classes and having a moment to mourn? ¬†Yes, I am 38 years old and feel like whining like a kid that I can’t take ballet classes. ¬†OK needed a little perspective there…because now I am laughing at myself.

In all of this, I have realized how important ballet has become to me because it’s not just prancing around a studio pretending I had the flexibility of my 13-year-old self… It’s reaching into that place deep inside, that can only be put to action through the sweat of my brow and the strength in my muscles pushing through a tendu. ¬†It was part of my life I packed away thinking I could never let that out as it could only be a young girls dream. ¬†You can’t pack love away…it may get buried but it never leaves. ¬†Those of us who have been touched by the depths of ballet know what I am talking about. ¬†It can’t be explained only experienced. ¬†Now that I have had to pack it away for a little bit longer somehow it won’t go back into the box the same way it came out. ¬†The thing is, I don’t want to pack it away…I want it to stay out and to dance.

ballet swan

 

OK, I can’t spend time wallowing….I do have spectacular news! ¬†My husband has found something bigger and better than before and will be starting back to work in a few weeks! ¬†Yay! ¬†I am SO proud of him. ¬†It really is a blessing and we are SO thankful. ¬†I now need to find something for some “cushion” and things will be smooth sailing. ¬†So ballet classes are on my horizon….just need to get that horizon within reach.

daydream

Heavy Hearted

I have been avoiding posting for a few days and making decisions like this one is not easy but necessary. ¬†I even contemplated not writing about this at all but it is a part of my life and in my blogging I include what is part of my ballet life whether it being weight loss, sore muscles, or new leg warmers. ¬†It even includes the tough things that sometimes we don’t like to talk about but must acknowledge and keep moving onward. ¬†I think writing this out will be cathartic for me and to help me better manage the new changes in our lives in the near future.

Friday, my husband was unexpectedly laid off from his employment.  For the past few days we have closed ranks and kissed the wounds and are looking to find ways to keep moving on.  Since things are uncertain at this point, I will have to delay my ballet classes until a point in the future when things are more certain for our family.  My heart breaks at the thought of that but it does not mean I will never get back into the studio but it will not be happening on August 19th.

I will continue to lose weight and workout, that is something I won’t stop doing because the dance classes will happen, hopefully just a few months from now. ¬†So I’ll be in even better shape than I am now and that will be a good thing. ¬†Yes, the blog is continuing on! ¬†I am still as ballet obsessed as ever and I always have lots to say, probably too much!

Things happen for a reason and I have to trust in my faith and that a year from now all of this will be but a memory.  Being a grown up and making grown up decisions sometimes stinks but it must be done. Time to pull up my socks and put on my hat of positivity to help my family move on from this situation the best we can.

happening 6

happening                   happening 2

 

    happening 5   happening 4

happening 7

Quitters and Winners

Just gotta say it felt great to do my ballet workout yesterday.  I felt more myself and centered.  My ankle even felt better afterwards.  I could even point it!

Though I have had my struggles in life to keep the momentum going for something I have started…this phrase struck a chord in me and settled itself somewhere deep.

Winners never quit and quitters never win.

I’m not going for the gold in the ballet-olympics but I will never lose this weight if I quit, because then the fat wins. ¬†By quitting, I am only giving up on myself. ¬†When I think about what that means, how sad is that? ¬†Then I realized that I got this way because I did give up on myself. Time to fight for team BTFP!

I gotta do the work to get the results, especially when it’s the hardest. ¬†Sometimes that is the most rewarding.

Review of Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled

First off, I was so excited to start my new “dancery” workout¬†video¬†I had to start wearing some dance gear! ¬†I broke out some of my ballet items I had bought a few years ago when I took some classes.

Mac Toothies 011

How about them leg warmers and ballet shoes for ya?  I loved every second that I wore them!

Ok, so back to the subject matter at hand…

I thought Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled was AWESOME. ¬†It felt like it was a ballet dancer’s workout video. My Jillian Michaels video’s do not shine a light to this one. ¬†It truly gave me a fantastic workout and it kept ballet and dance elements throughout the whole workout. The movements were not your typical workout moves,which was very refreshing. ¬†By the end of it, I was very glad I decided to start ¬†getting some conditioning because I learned that I am severely out of shape. At several points, I had to modify the exercises by stopping or just doing some¬†demi-plies or tendu’s to give myself a breather. I got a very thorough workout without any high impact movements. I need to be able to¬†strengthen¬†my ankles and feet for ballet class and this workout will certainly be helping.

Ok, so I admit it, I was sweating by the end of the upper body workout..shhh…. ¬†So, I really did get what I was asking for in this workout!

Here is a breakdown of the whole thing…

The workout is a total of 55 minutes long.  You can do the whole workout from beginning to end or you can choose which segments you want to do that day.  I like that a lot.  At this point, I need to break it up until I have gotten in better shape and can do it all from start to finish at once. Below is the order of the workout:

  1. Warm-Up (Great!)
  2. Upper Body (Seriously, this will make you sweat)
  3. Barre ( Very good, almost felt like a ballet class)
  4. Core (Not your average crunches)
  5. Cool-down (Just ok)

Since I need to break these up due to my fitness level, I will do Barre/Core on one day and Upper Body/Core on another day. ¬†Of course, I’ll do the warm up each day as well.

The only cons I have for this workout is the music is a little cheesy rumba-zumba like. ¬†It truly would be better with some classical music but that is just my preference. ¬†I didn’t really like the cool down either. ¬†It was too fast paced. ¬†I did some of their stretches and I ended up doing my own slow stretches for about 20 minutes to work in time on increasing my flexibility. ¬†They do some stretching at certain points during the barre section of the workout, which I liked. ¬†Trust me, you will need them at those points!

In conclusion, if you are looking for a good workout to compliment your dance class or want just a ballet-esque workout Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled is a good one to do!

Here’s is How I am Going to Achieve the Golden Goal

OK, so some of you may be thinking…that’s a lot to a goal, and I agree with you! ¬†What I like is that it is something for now, soon, a bit later, and long distance. ¬†I am sure that I will add some incremental goals as I go along but this will lay the tracks to keep me moving along. ¬†I will be able to feel some sense of accomplishment as I move along which will help me in my motivation. ¬†Plus I won’t just be sitting around waiting to start class, I am doing something for taking class.

OK, here are my stats: (GULP!)

  • Age: 37
  • Height: 5’2″
  • Weight: 195
  • Time until first ballet class – 4 months/ 20 weeks
  • Goal weight for starting classes – 155
  • Final goal weight – 130

If you remember the previous post I’ve Got a Golden Goal I listed in order the goals I want to achieve by returning to ballet. ¬†The “Now” goals are

  1. Lose 40 lbs over the next 4 months
  2. Improve flexibility, foot point/strengthen ankles, and improved posture for taking ballet classes

How exactly am I going to do this?  Well, here is my solution:

1. Weight Loss –¬†Lose 40 lbs over the next 4 months

So, I have got my work cut out for me and you can understand why I need to lose weight in preparation for starting ballet classes. ¬†My weight at my height = health disaster. ¬†Amazingly, I have not had anything serious develop but why give it more time to do so? ¬†I need to get moving. ¬†When I took ballet classes two years ago my weight was a hindrance and I had to be very careful to prevent injury especially when jumping, which is my favorite. ¬†Let’s not talk about the difficulty of fifth position with those thighs either…My weight is not healthy and I need to get healthy regardless.

I have a little over 4 months to go and according to the calendar that is 20 weeks. ¬†Losing 2 lbs a week is achievable and considered good medically, it’s not too fast, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

I am not going to go on a fad diet. ¬†I have looked into so many of them and going to pull out the things I have tried that worked and eliminate the things that don’t. ¬†What this boils down to is just common sense for me. ¬†Eat good food and don’t eat too many calories, especially empty calories. I am a champion at over eating so portion size is key for me.

  • ¬†I am going to make healthier food choices – less fried for more grilled
  • Watch my sugar/carbohydrate intake – I am reducing the amount of sweets, candy, and sugary drinks in my diet
  • Going to eat what I want to eat and not beat myself up about it – just do it in moderation
  • Watch my portion sizes and eat my food slower
  • Drink plenty of fluids

2. Body Preparation –¬†Improve flexibility, stamina, foot point/strengthen ankles, and posture for taking ballet classes

I read in a blog one day (when I find it again I will credit the blog) that to not wait for the day you will become a ballerina, but to think of yourself as one now. ¬†WOW! ¬†What a great way of thinking! “You are a ballerina.” ¬†In determining how I am going to do all of this, this thought has been the cornerstone to it all. ¬†This will become my mantra. ¬†It has been floating in my thoughts and keeping me in check.

  • Flexibility – Spend 30 minutes a day doing stretches and loosening up the body.
  • Stamina – I need to start smart on this because I am so out of shape and I don’t want to injure myself. ¬†So I am going to take my dog out for daily walks and increase the difficulty as progress is made. ¬†Eventually I will start doing some workout videos to get a deeper workout to give me a better cardio workout for stamina.
  • Foot Point – As part of my stretching routine, work on pointing and flexing my feet. ¬†I remember as a child we would always try to point our feet to the floor. ¬†I used to be able to do that. ¬†With practice we’ll see what I achieve.
  • Ankle¬†Strengthening¬†– As part of my stretching routine, add in ankle exercises. ¬†Any tips on this is appreciated! ¬†I have developed weak ankles over the years and a year ago I badly sprained one of them. So I really need to get them stronger.
  • Posture – Hold myself higher, sit properly (Ha! ¬†Just caught myself slouching again). ¬†This is where my mantra has been so useful. ¬†I check myself in the grocery, in my truck, at the computer.¬†“You are a ballerina.”¬†Instantly I stretch taller, my ab muscles activate, and my tail goes down. ¬†I feel three inches taller and thinner already. ¬†My back actually feels better and the low ache I get in my lower back is relieved. ¬†Just having good posture works my muscles too.

As a note, I officially started this on April 10th and that is the date I am counting from until August 31st.  I weigh myself every Wednesday.  Wish me luck!

I’ve Got a Golden Goal

So, ¬†I have a goal of starting ballet classes on August 19th when the new season starts. ¬†Every time I think about it my heart skips a little beat. ¬†This gives me four months to get my body prepared for taking classes. ¬†My intention with taking the classes is to continue to lose weight and get my body back into shape but also to do something that I love and that my heart has missed for so many years. ¬†It’s a win-win situation for me. ¬†Despite all of the other attempts in the past 7-8 years of losing weight, nothing has spoken to me at my core like my desire to start back into dance classes.

From my brief experience of taking some ballet classes a few years ago, I know I need to work on my flexibility, pointing my feet and strengthening my ankles, and better posture.   So those are things I can definitely be working on now and get my body prepared for classes.  It will also keep my motivation up over the next four months and feel like I have been moving towards my goal.

I first want to take 1-2 classes a week to get my muscles working again.  In addition to adult beginner classes, the studio I will be joining also offers open intermediate ballet classes during the day and I hope to have worked myself up to that level soon.  I do have an extensive dance background when I danced up until I was 13.  I had been en pointe since the age of 9 and had regularly taken advanced and master level classes.  So I truly believe with hard work I could be up to 3-4 classes per week within 6 months of starting ballet classes in August.  If I need to branch to some other studios in my area to gain the extra classes I am willing to do so.

I also hope to perform again.  My studio does a year-end recital and I hope to be a part of it!  I miss the lights, nervous excitement, peeking from behind the curtain at the audience and feeling in awe those people came to see us dance!  The thought of that definitely gets me motivated for getting healthy and back into shape!

My other deep goal, I so desire, is to get back en pointe.  It has been such a motivating force to see other adult beginners getting en pointe that after several years of getting stronger I know I can do that too.  I feel like a young girl again dreaming about her first pair of pointe shoes!

So to break down what I am calling my “Golden Goal” is as follows:

  1. Lose 40 lbs over the next 4 months
  2. Improve flexibility, stamina, foot point/strengthen ankles, and posture for taking ballet classes
  3. Start ballet classes on August 19th
  4. After 6 months be conditioned enough to take 3-4 classes per week, one or two of those being intermediate.
  5. Start performing
  6. When ready, start dancing en pointe.

I do want to preface that no one must lose weight or prepare their body for taking ballet classes.  That is something I want and need to do nor do I want to try and be as svelte as a prima ballerina.  I want what is healthy for my body.  I do know that the dance world can be perceived negatively when it comes to body image and I am not going to perpetuate that image.  I remember when I was dancing 25 -30 hours a week I was in amazing shape and I had to eat well to have the ability to dance that much.  So not all dancers are starving themselves to be skinny.  It is highly demanding physical exercise that develops long and lean muscles, which gives you beautiful long body lines.

How exactly am I going to achieve this “Golden Goal”? ¬†I have thought long and hard about this and I have a solution that is reasonable and workable. ¬†I will put that into my next post!

Below are some studio pictures taken of me at the age of 11.  The time has gone by in the blink of an eye!

ballet 001 ballet 004