This is Dedicated to “Mrs. L”…

I received this back in October during my self imposed exile

Mrs. L's Drawing with the real life zebra leg warmers she knows I love so much.

Mrs. L’s Drawing with the real life zebra leg warmers she knows I love so much.

Ballet 016

Ballet 008

In case it’s hard to see in the picture, her letter reads…

Rachael is a beautiful ballet dancer.  She loves to dance. And she also needs to get back to writing her ballet blog because lots of people, including her awesome bff “Mrs.L,” really like reading about her journey regardless of whether or not she’s currently enrolled in classes.  Seriously though, she inspires people, me included.  I hope she realizes that.

This is a work of art from my dearest friend, Mrs. L.  She sent it to me  for encouragement.  That is something she gave to me on so many levels and more than even I may realize.  I also think it’s awesome that she gave her the zebra legwarmers that I love so much!

When I received it, I was really stunned that anyone would do something like this for me.  I was a bit overwhelmed and it brought tears to my eyes reading it and seeing all the detail she put into it.  It made me face something she knew I loved but was hiding from.  It took me awhile to even show this to my husband because it hit such a deep place inside of my heart. I needed some time to just process it. It’s not easy for me to expose my deepest feelings and hurts to anyone but she has a keen eye on what’s going on with me like I had a giant bulls eye on my forehead.

I told her many times I was going to post about her drawing and I kept putting it off and off.  Over the past months, it just didn’t seem like the right time.  I think mostly I wasn’t ready to share it and I needed it to myself for awhile.  I would think about blogging and then think about the drawing.  I would think about ballet and feel the twist of not knowing when I will be able to dance and even if I should pursue it at all and then I’d think about the drawing.  It was always there as a reminder that I can do this and to keep pushing forward, even though the bleak feelings I had wanted to tell me otherwise.  It was like a ray of light in the darkest of places.  For many reasons, this drawing and the meaning behind it, are why I did return to blogging and to taking up ballet again and not just giving up completely.

So, on the eve of going back to classes.  This is to say thank you for all of your support, Mrs. L.  You’re the best friend I could ever have and I couldn’t have done it without you.

Okay, I need a tissue now….

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

Weight Loss Results Week #15

couch

I did it!!!  I made it to 181!  This was a hard-fought weight loss week too.  I had a bizarre spike up to 185 – and I was eating well and exercising.  I did very little cheating.  So I was a bit perplexed – maybe water weight?

I have continued to keep working out and I am seeing results from that too.  My ankle is stronger.  My flexibility is really coming along.  I am on my way to having my right and left splits!  My husband says my legs look more toned and that my clothes are getting looser and looser.  Over the past two months I have lost 7.25 inches off of my body.  That was awesome to see.  I was a bit blown away that there is 7.25 inches less of me.

OK, so my next goal is to lose 6 more lbs in the next 4 weeks.  That would put me at exactly 20 lbs lost since I started the blog.  I can do that.  I am so motivated my ballet classes are starting in less than 4 weeks and the finish line is coming up on the horizon.  I know I wanted to be at 40 lbs down but that ended up being a little too aggressive for my abilities.  Losing 20 lbs would be stinking awesome!!!!

Don’t forget to venture over to my Facebook page to keep up with my workouts and other ballet randomness I throw over there through the week.  Haha!

 37 lbs to go!  

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Weight Loss Results Week #14

This week I have remained at 182.  So no weight loss nor weight gain.  I expected this result although I was really pushing to get to 181.  I fully expect I will next week.  I have gotten into a good routine and rhythm of my eating.  I am slowly winning the battle of the late night eating habit having found some good alternatives to help me quell those urges. I am getting more motivated to workout more.  I am working hard towards working out 5 days a week plus doing stretches and my foot strengthening exercises everyday. My left ankle has made some great improvements and I am able to go on relevé with little discomfort.  The mystery broken left pinky toe is healing and I have finally been able to wear closed toe shoes in the past few days.  Yay for sneakers again!

Why the surge of new motivation and energy?  I got a fire lit under me when I decided the actual date of when I would be starting ballet classes.  So each movement, each leg lift, each stretch I know is bringing me closer to that day.  I can’t wait!  Gotta go workout now…

Trust process

Dream process

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Mom’s Pickled Tid-Bits

So my dearest mother sent me another great tid-bit and I had to share it!  I know many of us are always looking for ways to help curb cravings and such and this was a brilliant one!

Another Mom bit:  When you feel the urge to eat something sweet, eat something sour instead.  A pickle for choice.  It really helped me when I had to be so drastic when I was first diagnosed with diabetes and was on the verge of diabetic coma because my sugar was so high.  The stupid doctor never had tested me for that or for the severe hypothyroid condition.  Glad I finally fired him and found Dr. Mitchell.

Not long to wait for that first class now.  Good for you!!!

Love you,
Mom

This trick worked because it seemed like mom changed overnight!  I get awful sweet cravings and especially at night…going to put this one to the test!

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.

Measuring Up

Guess who is armed with a measuring tape? And I’m not afraid to use it!  Ok, maybe a little bit…

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Knowing my weight loss isn’t enough now.  I want to know the inches lost so I can have a better understanding of  why my shirts are fitting better now.   In other words, how else can I drive myself batty on a weekly basis?  Haha!

Ok so here goes the inital measurements:

  • Waist: 40″
  • Belly: 48″
  • Hips: 47″
  • Thighs: L  25 1/2″  R  24 1/4″
  • Calves: L  15 1/4″   R  15 1/2″
  • Arms:   L  13 1/2″    R 13 1/4″

Yowza!

Well, this weekend pretty much was a loss and it’s stretching into the week too.

I spent most of it in bed because I have some inexplicable back pain in my lower back.  Drop something on the floor?  Well, it’s gonna stay there I can tell you that. Feet are cold and want to pull on some socks?  Feet are gonna stay cold.  I have taken meds, icy/hot, heating pad, hot showers…nothing gives me much relief except laying in bed on my side with a pillow between my knees.  I do not like doing nothing.  I feel so useless because I can barely do anything.  I have about 9,349 things to do and this is not one of them.  I am really worried it’s going to derail my weight loss momentum I have going too.

For some “back” story (pun is intended haha!), about a year ago I was leaving my house to get my son from school.  I was recovering from a badly sprained left ankle and you have to step down when walking out the front door.  I somehow managed to do a magnificent flop on my front stoop.  I sprained the other ankle, bloodied up hands and an elbow, and I strained my back.  Keep in mind I weighed nearly 200 lbs.  I am surprised someone didn’t yell “Timber!”  It happened so fast I didn’t know anything had happened until I was on the ground.  Ever since, I have been dealing with the strained back and I somehow have aggravated it to the tenth degree.

I do not know why this has decided to latch itself on to me at this point.  I worked out Monday-Thursday.  I always take great care to protect my back during exercises.  Recently, I felt like the exercise has been helping it to feel better.  Never was there a point I felt like I did something and pulled it.  Friday, I hung out with a friend, it was bugging me more than usual but nothing to write a blog post about.  Now comes Saturday morning.  I wake up and I feel like I have been torn in two.  I have my son and his friend over so I gotta deal with it.  As the day progresses, so does the pain to the point I can hardly walk.  Then after the kids were changing out of their swimsuits my son decided it would be funny to throw it in my face.  Why he did this I don’t know.  He is the sweetest and kindest kid and I guess he thought it would be funny.  Well it was not.  As a reaction I jerked to the left to avoid the cold wet swimsuit in the face and I think I heard my lower back actually scream…or was that me?  Since that moment I have been nearly bed ridden.

Thanks to my wonderfully developed coping skills (soooo not true) I was not sticking to my healthier eating choices and eating whatever the husband will get for me.  Standing up and cooking is not going to be happening.  I did do better this morning but I will need to eat much better thanks to the sodas, burgers, Chinese takeout, and pizza that was flying around this weekend.  Food is an emotional crutch for me and why I have gotten so fluffy.  “Feeling bad?  Let’s eat this! Having a bad day? This cake will make it all go away!  Everyone deserves a treat every two hours!  Don’t forget the cheese puffs!”

The fact I am seeing how my thoughts and emotions fuel poor eating choices is a good thing but I have to find a way to retrain those thoughts.  I am very weak when it comes to those thoughts.  After I “treat myself” I end up feeling worse than what made me feel bad in the first place.  I have been so worried I gained weight I weighed myself this morning and thankfully I didn’t.  It wasn’t worth it to me to negate all the hard work because my back hurt and I felt sorry for myself.  That’s the dark negative thoughts that want to keep me fat and the skinny girl in me is trying so hard to fight her way out.  I guess she fought so hard she pulled a muscle.

Gonna take it easy and smell like icy/hot for the rest of the week I guess…