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Please Don’t Believe In Me

I can’t wait until I can write long posts again, but I wanted to repost this blog post because of the emotional and mental transformation that has happened since I wrote this.

I still struggle with confidence, but I find it easier for myself to care less and less about what others think of me. But as I know many people struggle with this, I am sharing it again…

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“Please, please don’t believe in me…

… because seriously, it would be so much easier that way.

The drums of negative self-belief could keep beating.

My heart could stay caged.

The comfort zone of all I have ever seen could remain securely in my surrounds.

I wouldn’t have to step even a toe through that grating, uncomfortable barrier that has been gripping me so tightly.

I could continue to avoid confronting what has kept me here…

…in this place of “I can’t” and “I don’t deserve”.

I can dodge the pain that comes with asking “Why?”

I could continue to feel as though all is right.

I could avoid the fight.

But ya know, I can’t do any of that, when you take my hand and walk me to the land of believing.

When you gently and magically clear the dust and show me what could be.

When you matter-of-factly show me what I could do. How I could feel. What Ideserve.

When you tell me you think I can.

These notions fill my mind with crazy ideas of…

Hope.

Belief.

Pride.

OMG. Wait, what? “Pride?”

That is the strangest damn sensation I’ve ever experienced.

How about..

Confidence?

Strength?

Capability?

I have only started feeling these things since starting my passion, ballet. And more intensely since going to Studio Tibor and getting such amazing ballet /therapy from Julia and Vadym.

My first class at QLD Ballet moved things around in me also — and I’m not talking about pie!

(Because despite being an activity that requires much correction, it is somehow a nurturing expansive experience in which you cannot help but progress in some way.)

And now, as I stare down the barrel of more and more ballet, with more and more confronting of internal beliefs, this crap just gets louder and louder.

I know I have to move through them all. And I will. And it will be a sublime day when I reach the other side.

I want to thank my teachers for being such a huge inspiration.

And I want all you wonderful amazing adult dancers out there to know that I am so intensely inspired by each of you. Whether you relate to my self-belief journey or not, doesn’t matter to me.

I read your stories and hear your journeys and they fill me up with such admiration. You give me a sense of tangible possibility.

“If they can, I can!”

And I can’t wait for one day, when I can say to others: “If I could do it, you can too.”

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Where Stuff’s At …

Wow, I love the memory of being such an active blogger.

Unfortunately my health has continued to decline and writing has become very difficult for me. I’m learning the speak to text strategy but it’s not the same. I seem to think while I’m typing, so trying to think while speaking feels much more like being put on the spot.

Anyway, I’ve also been extremely unwell over the warmer months, with my health just seeming to get worse and worse. So I just haven’t had the energy to write OR speak a post during this difficult time.

I hate to sound soppy and self-pitying, but I’m not sure this post can come across as anything but?

I really got a bit sad that I wasn’t getting any of my thoughts out there or discussing things with the interesting people I know follow this blog. And I wanted to firstly, start my blogging back up again, and secondly, fill you all in with where I’m at.

So … let the soppy begin …

As I said above, my health has deteriorated. But to be clear, it has deteriorated intensely.

I now have paramedics out every few days, sometimes every second day. I do this when I am extremely syncopal (passing out) and need IV fluids to fill my blood volume again, to prevent the syncopes.

I’ve also had a lot of hospital trips when the paramedics couldn’t stabilise me at home.

And there’s been the occasional admission to hospital for migraines and severe pressure headaches that are un manageable with my medications and also go on for several days.

At the same time, we’ve had a billion other things we’ve been trying to tend to.

One of the things we’ve done that has proven pretty fruitful, is to keep researching the conditions I have. We realised that one of the conditions I have, that has to do with mast cells, is linked, or mirrors (if that makes more sense) someone who is allergic to a huge amount of stuff and whose allergic threshold lowers to the point that they begin having allergic reactions to things they have never reacted to before. So this particular allergic threshold spirals further and further down, creating more and more restrictions in foods, household items like soaps etc., medicines or medical equipment (like the tape they use on cannulas etc.) and environmental factors such as pollens, chemicals, grasses, trees, weeds — all of which I am surrounded by.

From the outside, it basically looks like my body is shutting down on itself.

No. Not a very nice thing for the witnesses to watch or me to be experiencing.

But at least we figured out, through a variety of methods, that a better climate, where the environmental allergens are much less impactful on my body, is what I need — quite urgently.

Every doctor that we speak to urges us to move to a high, dry and cold environment — every. single. doctor.

I have to admit, that was a bit of a shock at first, but the more we researched and talked with doctors and the more we looked back on my life and remembered the times I have been very sick while living in an environment full of things I was allergic or sensitive to, and then we moved to a better environment for me and my health improved dramatically — the more everything began to make more sense.

When you’re trying to explain it to people for the first time it’s really difficult, so hopefully I haven’t just confused the crap out of y’all. 😉😂

But now that that’s done, I feel like it might be easier to just get on with blogging or vlogging without quite so much confusion around why my body is as unwell as it is.

I have had so many posts I’ve wanted to write or videos I’ve wanted to record, about things like the silver linings to being so disablingly unwell, our amazing paramedics, watching how families can bond tighter in these situations as well as all my ballet stuff … which, to be honest, isn’t very much but it’s still my favourite passion and I still want to talk about it.

I’m proud of myself for continuing my exercise regime and my ballet-physio every day (most days.) Even though I only do a tiny amount now, I am holding hope in my heart and determination in my mind, that one day I will be able to do so much more.

Boy, do I have plans, for when I get my health back.

Anyway, we have started a fundraiser for us to hopefully be able to afford to buy a caravan and then we’ll just move into the caravan, in the better environment that we know my body responds well to.

So the fundraiser is at the link: Zoe’s Fundraiser

If you feel you’re in a position to donate to our fundraiser then that’s fantastic. If you can’t donate, you can help just by sharing the fundraising page.

Alternatively you can also like our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/helpzoegetherlifeback and share the page or posts you like.

Ok. That’s it for now, guys. If you read to the bottom, thank you. You’re a gem. If you didn’t, I just hope you read enough to understand where I’m at, because I won’t be explaining it over and over again.

Much love to you all. I hope you have a wonderful day/night/moment today.

Love,

Zoe xxx

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Dear Dream Seekers

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx

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Ballet-Physio Update

A few supine leg stretches. Feels great to be moving again.

Hope everyone is treating themselves fairly, cause you know, unfair treatment of yourself will likely lead you to a place you don’t want to visit.

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How-To — Stretching For Adult Ballerinas

OMG! My first how-to post! I’m so excited!

Firstly, remind yourself while you attempt these stretches that you’re only human.

Some people say there is a right and wrong way of doing stretches.

I tend to think it’s all a bit open to interpretation.

Okay, so here are the stretches I want to show you today. Enjoy! 🙂

1) The Floor Has Never Felt So Fucking Far Away

This stretch is to release the hamstrings. You want to gently reach down to the floor.

It helps if you stretch your fingers out really wide and express all your pain with your face.

Visualization has been proven to be a powerful tool. Being able to see yourself reaching further may help your progress. So hallucinogenic fungi might be helpful for this one.

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2) The Crotch Cramp 

In this stretch you want to place your foot on the barre and gently reach for it. If you feel your crotch starting to cramp up, you’re probably on the right track.

It’s important to aim for straight legs and back in this stretch. But most important is that you fully express how badly you want to reach your foot.

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3) The Crotch Cramp — With Port De Bras and Happy Face. 

When you are feeling confident with your execution of The Crotch Cramp stretch, it is probably time to add some delicate ballet arms and ballet face to the pose.

When doing this, you simply want to do the same as the previous stretch, but add some lovely fifth position arms and turn toward the camera/audience/teacher and express your best, delicate, in control, poised ballet smile.

Again, it’s important to hold straight legs and back. But more importantly, your smile should hide the pain you and your crotch are in.

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4) The Barre Hang

This stretch is important for developing your front splits. It’s mainly just important that you look really proud of yourself and that you hold on really tight so that you don’t fall onto the floor and break your vagina.

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5) The Barre Hang — With Port De Bras

This stretch is fairly self explanatory. You are simply adding some lovely port-de-bras to the previous stretch. We do this because adding another level of complexity to our exercises always helps us progress so much more (as you can see in the photo demonstration.)

It’s really important to relax into this stretch.

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I hope you have found this how-to tutorial helpful. If you would like to see any other how-to tutorials from me, let me know in the comments or on one of the social media gatherings.

Zoe xxx

****DISCLAIMER****

This is a joke.

This is not real instruction.

Don’t do these stretches like this.

Don’t stretch without being really warm first, and I don’t mean warm in front of a fire, I mean having warm muscles.

Don’t stretch without instruction from someone.

Don’t pull those faces.

Don’t be stupid.

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Sleeping Beauty — The Pre-Show Class

As we approached and entered the venue, I nervously clutched my clipboard, upon which were the names of all the people involved in making this moment possible.

I felt sure that someone was going to stop me and gently inform me that this was all a big confusing mistake and I am not actually allowed in to watch the dancers in their pre-show class on stage.

I had my reply all worked out and running on repeat round and round in my head, for when they tried to tell me the dream was over.

So it was a pleasant surprise when we entered and asked for Hans, the production manager, and the woman behind the desk simply got up and walked us up some stairs all nonchalantly.

She asked us to wait outside the auditorium while she went to find Hans.

We waited. I ran more thoughts through my head about how ridiculous this whole idea was. And how Hans was sure to laugh at my bizarre request.

So I was even more surprised when a bubbly Hans walked out of the auditorium towards me, shook my hand and said: “Zoe! Ali told me you’d be coming today. So you want to come and watch class? Come on in.” And then continued to guide hubby and I through to the auditorium.

What? Just like that… I’m in? Seems to easy.

SPOILER ALERT: Nothing bad happened. No nets. No traps. No quicksand. Just a lovely afternoon stargazing at amazing dancers.

As we walked, Hans chatted calmly about menial (to him) things like what time the production crew had arrived and what time the dancers had arrived. When we finally got within view of the stage he chuckled and commented about how tiny the stage here was. And that this meant that they had to rearrange parts of the show so that they could fit on the stage.

I was pretty amazed by how difficult it would be for the dancers and choreographers to adjust their whole show in such a short amount of time — and then remember those adjustments the whole night long.

I asked Hans: “So the dancers have to learn all those changes between now and tonight’s show?” And Hans replied, with a smile: “Yeah. But they’re good at it.” The reply came with an air of intense confidence and struck a chord within me. A chord that was to remain poignant throughout the rest of the day and night.

Hubby and I found ourselves a seat in the auditorium. As there were no other spectators, I wanted to find a seat out of the way, where I wouldn’t feel so noticeable. But that just wasn’t going to happen. The lights were shining brightly down on all the seats — there was no safe zone. I just had to sit and enjoy.

Enjoyment didn’t take long.

As soon as I sat down my eyes were glued to the stage. Glancing off only occasionally to observe other crew members and ponder what their role might be.

The barres were set for class, the dancers lay about on the floor stretching every inch of their bodies while their conversational chatter bubbled away.

As the teacher started verbally running through the first combination, I was surprised to see that several of the dancers took their places at the barre to begin, while others continued to stretch a while longer before joining in. This casual approach, joining in when they felt ready/warm enough, wasn’t what I was expecting. Yes, clearly I am a novice to the pro-ballet world!

It wasn’t long before I had that magical moment that I have heard other dance students talk about. The moment when the language of ballet crosses the boundaries of all other languages.

I was listening to this thick Russian dialect being spoken on stage, when I realised I was understanding what was being said. This felt a little weird at first, and I was all like… wait, I don’t know Russian! But then I realised…

When the teacher was telling the dancers what exercises to do, he wasn’t speaking Russian, he was speaking ballet!

Amazing!! That was seriously amazing to experience. Absolutely loved that moment.

So the class got underway. My next surprise was the gorgeous laid back music they were dancing to. It almost sounded bluesy. Didn’t really sound like any classical ballet class music I had heard. And I LOVED it. It was extremely relaxing and mixed well with the continued, albeit quieter, chatter that bounced around the stage. The beginning of this class looked exactly like “warming up” should look in my mind.

[Sometimes I feel like the immediate rigidity that comes over me when I enter the classroom creates tension in both my body and mind, which works against the warming up process that is supposed to be unlocking ourselves to become looser and more pliable.]

The class picked up in intensity and the warmer the dancers got, the less they chatted until by the end of barre work, apart from the occasional comment or joke thrown in from the teacher (yes, he actually joked and laughed), they were pretty much silent as they concentrated on pushing the boundaries of their bodies.

They did an entire class including barre and centre work.

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It was surreal to watch such incredible dancers move their bodies, in real life, right in front of me. As an adult beginner, it was awe inspiring and really special. I felt like I had stepped into a sacred ceremony. So beautiful.

Once centre work was finished it was time for them to work on rehearsals and adjust to this tiny stage they would be dancing on tonight.

It was time for us to leave at this point. So I breathed in this magical scene one last time and hubby and I went off for some dinner.

But it wasn’t long before we were back at Lismore City Hall for the show.

And they didn’t disappoint.

At this point I come back around to that incredible adaptability that this company has to have. These performers had arrived in town that afternoon and within 3 hours they had warmed up, done class, worked on their adjustments to the tiny stage they were on, done make-up and costumes and were ready to perform.

And let’s not fairy-tale it, these guys wouldn’t all be injury free and without health issues, but they just push on. It must be completely grueling, but the show literally must go on.

I kept thinking about this through the evening as I watched them all create magic on the stage. Their level of professionalism is astounding.

And it was magical. They are gorgeous dancers and they filled the auditorium with wonder and awe.

This show is awesome. Beautiful, stunning and whimsical. And as all ballets I have ever seen, it seemed to end too soon.

I would like to thank Moscow Ballet La Classique for allowing me to come along to the pre-show class and for bringing their ballet to our region. You are brilliant. I love you!

I would also like to thank Grand International Concerts, in particular Ali, for helping me gain access to the pre-show class, and NORPA and Lismore City Hall for their contributions in bringing ballet to our region.

When all these organisations come together, you get the blessing of ballet reaching people who ordinarily might never be able to see it.

This is always an amazing thing.

Sometimes it is a life-changing thing.

To see more about these organisations, you can follow the links below…

Moscow Ballet La Classique

Grand International Concerts

NORPA

Lismore City Hall

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Capezio Review — 2

Okay then, dearest readers, it’s time to let you all know what I think of some more Capezio dance gear products I’ve tried recently.

Canvas Juliet Ballet Flats

Immediate impression:

“Ooooh, lovely!” That’s what I thought when I first saw these shoes. I really love their very light creamy colour. They feel soft to the touch on the outside and have the same brushed cotton/polyester inner lining that the leather Juliets have, so they  also feel very smooth.

They also have pre-sewn elastics which are a bonus for me.

How they fit and feel on:

These shoes feel really good on my feet. Like the leather Capezio Juliet flats these shoes also have a comfy slipper or sock feeling to them thanks to the soft lining.

They fit my narrow and long foot and the shape is just generally a very comfy one. The canvas material doesn’t feel harsh at all. They also have the slightly higher heel coverage which, again, didn’t sway me one way or the other. I suppose if your flats normally slide off your heel, these would be a nice change.

They have the diamond gusset which hugs the arch of your foot and that feels immediately nice, even before you get to work.

How they look on (are they stylin’?):

Yes! They are totally stylin’! I LOVE the look of these flats. They kind of just blend in with everything else. Which I love. Then of course you have that flattering arch hug which compliments your feet well.

How they perform:

These flats performed really well for me. My two favourite aspects are the way the diamond gusset feels on my arch and how much I really can feel my feet working in them.

They stay on my foot, don’t twist around on my foot and my feet didn’t feel heated up in them.

I really liked these shoes when working in them.

Do I recommend them?…

Yes. Definitely recommend these flats. Of course, everyone’s different, but they feel great for me.

I think these shoes are just going to get better and better with time and work, too. And I can’t wait for that. Can’t wait to wear them in more.

The Capezio Canvas Juliet Flats…

You can find this product here: Canvas Juliets

Classic Knits 18″ Stirrup Leg Warmers

Immediate impression:

Cute. Warm. Soft. Lovely.

The colour of these lovelies is called plum and it reminds me of a lovely dusty purple colour.

How they fit and feel on:

These legwarmers feel beautiful on. They fit my legs fine. No itchy-scratchy. They do their job without adding massive weight as they are super light. You kind of don’t really feel them on, your ankles and calves just feel warmer. Which is really exactly what you want.

How they look on (are they stylin’?):

I love the look of these legwarmers. They are definitely a simple design, rather than a fancy one and their shape and lovely soft colour make them very pretty. They can hug the calf or fold around the ankle.

I think they’re really pretty and, yes, stylin’ muchly. 🙂

How they perform:

Great! As I said above, I didn’t notice these legwarmers being on my legs while I was working, which is a good thing. They stay up where you tell them to stay and they just kept my ankles and calves nice and warm.

Do I recommend them?…

I’m a big fan of leg warmers. I often find myself wearing them before and after class too as my ankles and calves like to be kept warm. And these leg warmers are definitely on my recommend list.

The Capezio Classic Knits 18″ Leg Warmers…

You can find this product here: Leg Warmers

Classic Knits Wrap Sweater

Immediate impression:

Cuuuuuuute! 🙂

Lovely colour. The same plum as the leg warmers. Nice shape. Very warm and good quality, which is what you would expect from a company like Capezio.

I particularly liked the gorgeous little crocheted detail on the edge of the wrists. Not sure if they’re still selling this wrap in this colour anymore, but I love it.

How it fits and feels on:

This wrap feels nice on. It is warm and would be a great wrap for cool/cold weather. It fits my body well without any bunching up anywhere. The arms are a little short for me, but that is more of an issue with my arms being extra long rather than a product issue.

How it looks on (is it stylin’?):

Oh, I think this wrap is so cute and totally stylin’. Yes. Yes. Yes.

How it performs:

It performs well. Feels comfortable and doesn’t twist around on me while I’m working. It does its job well.

Do I recommend it?…

Yes. Absolutely. This is such a cute wrap. Would be a comfortable, pretty, addition to the dance wardrobe.

The Capezio Classic Knits Wrap Sweater …

You can find this product here: Classic Knits Wrap Sweater

Hope you all enjoyed this review. I am really loving all these products.

Zoë xxx