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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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Your Beautiful Glorious Self

You may think you need to be better.

But you don’t.

You may think you need to be more like someone else. 

But you don’t.

You might feel inadequate in so many areas of your being that you feel you will never be enough for anyone.

But you aren’t. And you are.

You may feel like you’ll never measure up.

But you already do.

You might look around you and only see others doing it better.

But that’s not the truth.

You may feel like you’re falling short. Losing face. 

But you’re not.

You may feel like everyone around you, everywhere you look, are on incredible trajectories towards imminent success while you’re still trying to figure out whether you’re an over or under person when it comes to your toilet paper.

But they’re probably not. And it’s okay if you’re either or both! 😉

Those who have seen my health issues know that things have been really tough for me. 

I could easily think of myself as having a harder time than others. I could easily choose to feel that others have been dealt fantastic hands while I’ve not even been  dealt one full hand. But firstly, thinking that way serves me no purpose. It doesn’t help me at all. And secondly, it’s all relative: there are others who are facing much harder challenges than I am.

You see, I have learnt that comparison is poison. It only creates anger, contempt, jealousy and a whole lot of other negative emotions. And it’s completely unnecessary. So we can opt out.

We can opt out.

I want to hug the world right now. I want to tell you all, whatever your battles, whatever your goals, to please stop believing that other people have it miraculously easier than others.

I want to especially tell the world that your self-worth does not lie in where you measure up against the people around you. 

Your self-worth is measured purely on the value you give yourself. 

The only person who gets to decide what you’re worth is you.

Do you hear me?

YOU GET TO CHOOSE!

You! No one else. Just you.

And the true beauty of it all is that no assessment is needed.

You’re worth the fucking world, because you were born. You deserve love, because you were born. You deserve respect, because you were born.

Don’t start assessing yourself. That’s being an arsehole to yourself. Don’t do that. 

Seriously, no assessment needed. You’re awesome. Just as you are. You’re doing what you do, aiming for goals, attempting this thing called life, in your way, how you see fit. 

You can do life, the way it feels right for you. 

Because living life by someone else’s rule book sucks a bag, and is completely unnecessary.

If you start doubting your ability to just be you, remember…

Your beauty lies in your flaws. 

Your true self can only shine in your vulnerability.

You are accessible through your mistakes.

Absolutely. Every. Single. Person. On. The. Fucking. Planet. Fucks. Up. All. The. Fucking. Time.

Most people are just scrambling hard to hide their mistakes.

But they’re making them. Oh, boy, are they making them!

It’s impossible to not make mistakes, to not have flaws, to not be imperfect.

So, world, take a breath. 

Give yourself permission to be you. 

No comparisons needed.

No comparisons wanted. 

Just be your beautiful, glorious, unique self. 

xxx

P.S: photo of me, being me…

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Please, Please, Love Yourself

Dear Artists, Ballet Lovers, Academics, Friends, and Just Everyone The Whole World Over:

I see so many adult ballet students talking critically about themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, self-critique and the desire to improve ourselves is not only important in ballet, but also in life.

I get it. We all want to be better.

But I’m talking about the ratio of self-love:self criticism. There’s way more self criticism happening than self love.

It seems like a virus that’s spreading across our whole society. I see it so much in teens and pre-teens now, too.

As an example, there seems to be so many pictures posted on Instagram with a massive side order of what needs to be improved. And I gotta say, most people don’t have much, if anything, positive to say about themselves.

So guys, I just wanted to say, I reckon you’re all amazing. You’re getting up, having a go, attempting to get something of what you love into your life.

I’m so proud of every adult ballet student because it’s hard as fuck to even enter a studio the first time, let alone trudge along searching for a hint of progress.

And the same to those who’s heartlight is something other than ballet — I admire you for leaping.

But I don’t want any of you to burnout emotionally or physically because you kept ripping yourself apart with criticism without adding a healthy balancing dose of self-appreciation.

Please, take it from someone who at one point was facing the loss of multiple bodily functions, you DO want to appreciate your body for all that it is doing right now. You DO want to give your body credit for being great. You DO want to acknowledge all the beauty that makes you who you are. And you DO want to hug yourself and shower yourself in love.

You might not realise that you want to do all those things, but if you could talk to your future self, your aged self or your possibly unwell self, that version of you would tell you to take advantage of the now you have and love all that makes you you.

So, yes, strive to progress, have high standards for yourself. That is awesome. But please try to keep it balanced with your own appreciation of yourself.

Keep dreaming, dancing, daring … but keep loving self.

Much love,

Zoe

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I Am Master

I am master of myself. Only myself.

I am master of my flaws, beauty, wrinkles, memories, dreams, hopes, fears and disappointments.

I am master of my broken pieces.

I am master of my healing.

I have knowledge, experience, standing and qualifications.

But I am master only of myself.

Dance fiercely…

Zoe xxx

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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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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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Say Yes to Dinner

Dear gorgeous people,

I wanted to tell you a story about myself that has rarely been told.

Not sure if it has ever been mentioned on here before or not, but I used to write screenplays as a hobby. 

One year I decided to enter a screenplay competition in one of the top competitions in the U.S — the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. I really just wanted to go through the process of entering a competition, and those who got to the second round of the comp also got feedback on their writing, which I thought would be great as I was teaching myself from books and videos.

A few weeks after I sent my screenplay off, I received a letter saying that it had made it through to the second round. That was the top 10% of 4000 screenplays and it was my first screenplay, so I was pretty stoked. Even though, to be honest, that screenplay was in extreme infancy, very rough and really looked a lot like a first screenplay — so I’m not sure why it ever got through!

Anywayyyyyy…

Getting into the second round meant I could get a discount off a pass to the Austin Film Festival and screenwriting conference where loads of insanely talented and interesting screenwriters and others like producers and directors would gather to share info on the craft. I would also get the special opportunity of meeting some amazing writers in meetings only set for second rounders. 

I had heard from some wonderful people, how great this experience is, so I was feeling tempted to go.

At the same time as this was all happening, I had a producer asking me to option my screenplay to him in Australia. I knew how helpful this conference would be to helping make the best decisions for my screenplays, so I decided to go to Austin and see what happens.

I didn’t expect to sell a screenplay, I didn’t expect to meet and become friends with amazing people, I just thought I’d go and see. 

[SPOILER ALERT: There’s no special ending here, I DIDN’T sell a screenplay.]

Anyway, I bought my tickets to everything. I got on a plane. I flew to LA and then Austin Texas. 

I was led through the Austin streets and conference by a wonderful guy and I met many other wonderful folks during my stay.

It was amazing. I listened to wonderful creatives talk about their work in entertaining and moving ways. 

I watched as Randall Wallace was brought to tears as he relived how it felt to write the last scene in Braveheart. 

I felt connected to a tribe. It was beautiful, intense, and gone in a second.

The whole experience was an amazing one, and one I wish I could repeat — even though I don’t write screenplays now!

I learned a lot about writing, yes, but my biggest lessons were actually not about writing, and it is those lessons that I wanted to tell you about today.

Twice during the conference, I was given an opportunity that I didn’t take up. It was total chaos from morning til night and I wasn’t sleeping much at all thanks to a radical case of jet lag. I was meeting loads of people, listening to talks, trying to process all this information and I didn’t know anyone very well. Like I met some people who I knew online, but I wasn’t at super comfortable with you level yet, so I just wasn’t as relaxed as I normally am socially.

So I had these two incredibly talented and successful people ask me to come and hang with them at seperate times but through the chaos, information overload and a touch of nerves, I just didn’t get myself to a yes place. One was a request for dinner and the other breakfast, and no, it was totally NOT the same person!

But it never happened.

I didn’t say yes to dinner (or breakfast). 

I’m not a huge believer of holding onto regrets, so I don’t regret much, but I would have loved to be able to look back and know what happened at that dinner and breakfast. 

After that experience, “Say yes to dinner” became an ingrained philosophy in my family as a fabulous metaphor for taking opportunities when they present themselves.

I want to say yes to as many dinners as I possibly can …

and I want you all to say yes to dinner too.