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When the Repressed Rise

‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’

I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.

I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’

I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well.

‘Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’

So, here’s my attempt at an explanation.

There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…

If you take a genie and you put it in a bottle and leave it there for 2 weeks, then let it out, it’s going to be relieved to be out of the bottle, it’s going to be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. It may even thank you for letting it out.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let it out, it’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have its freedom, but it’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing it into the bottle in the first place and leaving it there for so long.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, it’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving it in there so long. It’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to it.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, it’s gonna come out mad as hell. It just lost 10 years of its life. A decade of feeling like no one gives a shit about it. A decade of feeling like it isn’t important and of not being heard.

At this 10 year mark, before the genie decks you, it’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made it feel.

It will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it.

Then it will never talk to you again. And it will only ever remember you as the arsehole who locked it in a bottle for ten years.

——–

Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left it in the bottle for thousands of years.

Thousands, of years.

The genie is not going to be mad as hell, it’s going to be explosive.

It’s going to be outraged.

It isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because it’s out of the bottle. It’s going to want justice. It’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable.

I can see, then, why some people might think it’d be easier not to let the genie out of the bottle now, after those thousands of years.

If you’ve left it in there for so long, and you know how outraged they may be if you let them out, then you know they may be so disruptive once let out.

Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it, right?

Well, for some, sure.

But when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then it’s no longer just a story about a genie.

Now we are talking about humanity. And we should see it as a humanity — because we ARE talking about humans.

You cannot repress people for just being who they were born as — for just not being born, a man, or a heterosexual, or white. You can’t repress people for that, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement at some point.

At some point they’re going to rise. Come out of their metaphorical bottles.

And you can’t expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.

So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is ironic and nonsensical.

I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed rise, become seen, heard and accepted.

I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is taken.

With understanding and compassion to others, no matter how different they look from us, then we can change.

If we all do this, maybe anything is possible?

Zoe xxx

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Don’t House Sit Someone Else’s Life

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in Sydney. In the city. Glebe to be precise. We were all pretty independent kids, catching buses and trains from a pretty early age. Walking through city streets to get to corner shops, parks or friends houses. By the time we were leaving the city, I was a city person through and through.

I knew the sights, smells and sounds of the city like the back of my hand. I still do!We moved out of the city and since then I have lived in a few different places but have never been far from the hustle and bustle and always made time to come and get my city fix. When we had children, I wanted them to experience the city too. So we spent many weekends coming into the city soaking up its culture, sounds, sights, knowledge, people and vibrance. 

I know people who were raised in the city, who just loved getting away from it. But that wasn’t the case for me.

For me, those first 12 years imprinted city life onto my soul. My love for the city was hardwired. It was done. 

And there has never been an undoing.

The only reason I never moved back to the city was that living there permanently wasn’t good for my health — my asthma and allergies. 

Sooo life goes on. Things change. Decisions are made. People move. We move.

Our hearts are pulled toward the polar opposite of our previous city life. 

We have the epiphany. We want a country life!

We make a plan. A fabulous plan to make our tree change. 

We find a property. Consider employment. Think about the children. Plan, plan, plan.

And it all seems so perfect. The kids will get a country life, they’ll have treehouses and tree swings and animals to frolick with and they’ll run wild through the meadows in floral handsewn dresses and pick flowers and be merrier than we ever could have imagined.

We will have animals that are so full of personality that it makes it simply agonising to say goodbye. We will build our new earthhouse with spectacular views and live a peaceful, stress free, hippie-farming sort of life.

That’s how the story was supposed to be written.

But the story didn’t go exactly as planned. Our story is of us being blind sided by our tree change.

It has taken me a little longer to adjust to country living than I had hoped. 11-ish years, actually. 11-ish years to realise that I was never going to become a farm girl. I still try to learn the country ropes but I still see things through VERY city-girl eyes.

I suppose that’s part of why, during those desperate times a few years ago, I chose ballet as my relief. I was seeking something to find happiness in, as everything was so bleak at that time, but looking around me then, I couldn’t find anything that felt like home. It all still felt so foreign to me then, like I was house sitting someone else’s life.

Things have definitely changed since then and now, ballet is slipping its way back into my life.

The house sitting thing from above really got me. I realised how scary that is, the possibility that I was just house sitting in someone else’s life’s? Holy crap, how terrifying is that?!

Well it’s terrifying for me. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and look back only to realise that I didn’t own my life, that I just house sat someone else’s.

With this in mind I moved forward, and continue to move forward, always reminding myself that I own my life and asking “What do I want to do with it?”

So that’s my message today….

Don’t house sit someone else’s life. 

Your life. Your canvas. Paint it however you like.

P.S: The first animals we got on our property were six chickens. We adored those girls. Until we found out they were guys. 

We had six roosters. 

They weren’t peaceful or stress free. And we weren’t sad to see them go.

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Have a Go

Most people struggle to start following a passion/dream/unlikely goal.

For some it’s a hobbling start and once they get going they pick up their stride and the rest flows smoothly.

But for others (and from what I have gathered, for many), it is less of a struggle and more of a petrified feeling inside them. One that usually stems from breaking out of the norm.

Society perpetually tells us that we shouldn’t be starting to follow passions or dreams or unlikely goals passed a certain age. It also tells us that security is more important than passion.

But when we find ourselves being pulled towards a passion, it is usually pretty strong, and usually feels more important than security or whatever social norm is banging on at us.

So we can end up pretty confused. We want deeply to following this sense of duty to our soul, yet we don’t want to seem ‘abnormal’ or silly to people. We don’t want the judgement or ridicule that usually comes with following a different path either.

So here’s my advice. Just give it a go. Have a try. Dip your foot in the waters of passion and see how you feel.

If you feel good, but still worry about external judgement, then keep going. 

Because all those people who judge you? They are insignificant compared to what you will gain or lose if you follow or abandon your passions.

If someone is judging you then they aren’t worth your time. Seriously. Nuff said. They. Aren’t. Worth. Your. Precious. Passion. Following. Time.

So let them go.

Let it all go. All the judgement. All the criticism. 

Let it all go — and just have a go. And keep having a go.

It’s the ONLY way for you to not have regrets.

Peace + love xxx

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Falling Into Coppelia

I’m going to be seeing The Australian Ballet’s Coppelia in December! 

This is me spinning positive out of a negative.

Yesterday I was getting ready to head into town with the family.

I was standing at our dining table, packing my bag, when I felt my body start falling toward the table. I new I had to get myself safely to the floor, because that’s where my body was headed anyway, and luckily I did.

My daughters saw it happening and made sure I didn’t crack my head into the floor and placed a pillow under my head while they waited for my hubby to come back into the house. They know not to move me on their own unless it’s absolutely necessary, as it’s a bit of a risk that I might fall again.

So I lay on the floor for about 10 minutes and then hubby arrived and helped me to the lounge.

I had hoped that it was going to be a one off for that day and the rest of the day would show improvement but unfortunately it did not.

We went into town, and I had to basically stay reclined in the car for the entire 7 hrs. Every time I tried to stand up or walk I would lose balance and start to fall again.

… so back to the car.

I find these sorts of days beyond frustrating. It always feels like a set back and you never know if this is a new thing that is here to stay or is just temporary. That kind of uncertainty is more emotionally draining than I can describe.

When I got home, having not done ballet all day, my neck was killing me, so I did some port de bras, with my hubby standing by in case I dropped.

Afterwards, I thought about my frustration at my unreliable body and how that plays out with my ballet progress, and how I always feel like I’m losing ballet when I have these set backs or days when standing is just such hard work, and makes ballet even harder work.

And whilst reflecting, I decided to find another way to indulge in ballet, that doesn’t matter so much whether I can stand up or not.

So I looked at all the shows coming up in Australia and bought some cheap seats for Coppelia.

It immediately relieved the disconnected-from-ballet feeling I was having and gave me something to look forward to. Actually, gave me a damn special day to look forward to.  

So, hubby and I will fly down to Sydney and back for the day, and see the daytime show, and it will be lovely.

I’m aware that it will be summer, which means warmer weather, which may mean a degrading of my health. But hubby and I talked about it and decided it would be fine — if we need to hire a wheelchair, we will. It will still be a very special day. I will still love it. 

It will still be a ballet day.

I’m so excited. 

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This Time Around

This time round on my ballet journey, I have the power of knowledge alongside me. I am aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s funny because, although this time round I have many many more challenges, I am choosing to see those challenges as opportunities to do things the right way for me, and therefor achieve more of my dreams and goals.

Last time, I had hopes and dreams but was continuously failing. I was continuously feeling my body crumble when it didn’t seem like it should.

I was being told my body was perfect for ballet and “should” be able to make all these perfect ballet shapes if I tried hard enough.

I also had a strange fear of movement. I began to get over that fear while I was at the barre — in fact, Iearned to adore the feeling of movement at the barre, and I even started feeling a little more confident with some pirouettes.

But move me away from the barre and I completely froze up.

I remember during my first private class my teacher tried to teach me a very simply pas de bourree with a simple relaxed pirouette on the end.

But it was the strangest thing. It felt like I was learning to walk again. Like everything was foreign to me. Like I didn’t even know my left from my right. Like I didn’t even know my own name anymore.

I used to walk away from centre time feeling so deflated. I didn’t understand why my body felt so weak in the centre and I didn’t feel like it would ever end.

(I do have to add that my in-class teachers were wonderful. They would always say, ‘Just give it a try!’ They could see I was really struggling and didn’t make me feel worse for it. And I am incredibly grateful for that!)

Now, after having experienced such a massive physical breakdown, and doctors finally being forced to pay attention — and that attention leading to the right diagnoses’ and now treatment, has meant that I actually know now why my body was not ‘failing’ but struggling with certain elements and why I felt so awkward doing centre work. Yes, there are actual physiological reasons for it!

So many things make sense to me now.

I remember during my hardest days a few months ago, I would lie there, unable to speak properly, unable to stand up, unable to wash myself, pain searing through my body, and I would try to think of the good things in my life. I found them in my children and my hopes for better times some day. But it was bloody hard to find them. Some days I was too consumed by my suffering to find them and I just wished for the day to end. 

But I never thought I would one day look back at that time and see it as a vital part of my future success.

And that is what it is. (I am not ignorantly suggesting that this is how it is for all chronic illness sufferers. We all have our own journeys.)

There will be many ups and downs ahead. And my daily grind is still a pretty heavy grind.

But now I am armed with knowledge and am moving forward in an achievable way, giving my body all the support and understanding it needs, to get me where I want to go.

And understanding makes ALL the difference. I’m no longer confused. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel more confident that I can achieve my dreams than I have ever felt before — because I have adjusted my dreams and the ways I intend on achieving them.

I may have health issues that are making me see things in this new light, but I think it’s relatable to everyone who may start to feel that pressured feeling about what they’re trying to achieve.

I suggest we all stop comparing ourselves to others and start learning about our own bodies, how we work and don’t work and start working WITH ourselves rather than against ourselves. As that is how I see the greatest growth happening.

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, if you like it… share it! 🙂

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Teacher Criticism 

A quick shout out to anyone who might be feeling a little disheartened by criticism their teachers give them.

Your teachers shouldn’t make cheap or nasty comments on your personality. They shouldn’t be mean to you or say degrading things to you.

HOWEVER they cannot help you improve without telling you what you need to improve on. 

Try not to get too upset when you receive criticism. 

Try not to allow yourself to believe that receiving criticism means you suck and should quit ballet and take up table tennis. 

Try not to centralise the criticism and make your whole self-worth based around it. That’s not what your teacher wants you to do with it.

I have been told that my hands were doing weird claw-like things, that I’m not pointing enough, that I’m not trying hard enough, that I’m not pulling up enough and that my frappes need an entire private class to correct and that I am sickling — to which I was all like, What? No way man, I don’t sickle! Alas, I was indeed sickling.

The frappe one always makes me laugh because, honestly, my frappes do always look more like floppes! Haha.

I have been in studios where I receive a lot of corrections and in studios where I receive no corrections and I would, without a doubt, prefer to receive a lot of corrections.

If a teacher is correcting you, they want you to improve.

Don’t get all egotistical and think that you are the most important person in that room to the teacher. If you think you’re more important than anyone else in the room then you will most definitely feel disappointed when the teacher doesn’t treat you as you think is appropriate (doesn’t give you extra attention or compliment you). 

Try to think of teacher criticisms as notes for improvement and try to be grateful that you’re receiving them at all. 

Don’t take it personally. 

Don’t use it as a way to beat yourself up. 

Use it positively. Use it productively. Use it as it is intended — to get better.

Love yourself. Be proud of yourself. Have FUN!

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, you deserve to be in the room.

Today, after having FUN during ballet. 🙂
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Your Dreams. Your Life.

A lot of people have, hidden somewhere in their homes, a treasure box in which they collect mementos from their favourite experiences. From things that happened. From things that they did.

All over the world, there must be millions of stashes of these physical representatives of great moments that people have experienced and not wanted to ever forget.

What I have been wondering about recently, though, is how many equally important boxes there are in the world, that are full of dreams people stashed away for later, for when they had more time, better health or less responsibilities.

How many people left their dreams in a box under their bed?

I did it.  I remember the day I left my dreams in a box.

Took me more than 30 years, and a deep pit of desperation, to open the box up again.

And boy am I glad I did.

I’m not glad my daughter was sick. I would never wish that on anyone.

But I am glad that I allowed myself to acknowledge the desperation I was feeling in my heart and soul. Because it did open me up to NEEDING to reach into my box of dreams, because I needed something outside of my 24/7 to give me hope.

And that’s what our boxes of dreams are. They are hope. They are love, passion, creation, colour, happiness and joy. And by opening our boxes again, we are letting those things back into our lives.

They are us, exploding into a million pieces of our best selves and then bringing all those pieces back together again in a new, more sparkly, more alive, more fantastic person than we ever thought possible. 

Even if we don’t end up being masters of any of our dreams. Even if we suck at them all. The point is that they were things we wanted to try — and try is all we need to do.

If we keep our dreams in boxes, tucked under our beds or at the back of our closets, we are not only denying ourselves but we are denying the world.

We usually have reasons for not dragging our dreams out into the light: ‘we don’t deserve to shine’, ‘we can’t do it’, ‘we’re a loser’, we’re scared of what people will think of us, we feel too old, or not talented enough.

Most of those reasons manifest in either denial that your dreams exist at all, or fear of the dream itself.

Denial will lead to anger, resentment, depression and more…. Fear will lead to anger, resentment, depression and more….

So, denial will not serve you well in the long run.

But it’s not easy. It’s really not. Coming out of the dream closet can be fucking terrifying. People may well think you’re crazy. And they may feel they have the right to tell you that. They may look at you like you’re alien or speaking a different language — one they don’t want to even try to understand. And that’s because you are speaking a language a lot of people don’t understand.

Most people don’t track down their dreams and take a journey with them. So a lot of people won’t understand you. At first. But after a while, everything becomes normalized. And so too will your dream following.

In any case, of course, you can’t do it for anyone else anyway. 

This is your dream: Your deal. Your box. Your life.
The only right thing to do for yourself is to drag that box of dreams out of the closet, take a deep breath, open the lid, and see what’s been sitting there waiting for you to return to it.

It’s never going to feel like it’s the right time to find your dreams, but the truth us that it’s always the right time.

Happy dream finding…

zoe xxx

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