Archive | July, 2011

Progress vs Regress.

24 Jul

I feel so angry, and so frustrated. My physical therapist says I’ve definitely been making progress — my hamstring is getting strong and I’m almost at 90° with my extension (which is just around where I was before with that leg anyway) — and I have been feeling progress here and there. Then I feel it go away, and I have trouble making time for my exercises and stretches, and I get mad at myself for not being able to find the time. My brain becomes this black hole of suckiness and discouragement.

I’ve been going to physical therapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two weeks ago I was able to go to my Wednesday beginner ballet class just to take barre and see how it went, and then this past Friday  I took a full ballet basics class which went pretty well, too. But I also had to miss my PT appointment last Thursdays, and have been busy most of this weekend, so I can feel myself slacking. I’m already panicking that just a few days of slacking may set me back weeks.

Today was the second Don Q workshop at my dance studio (1.5 hour class with barre & learning a variation), and I was thrilled that I could participate this time instead of photographing it as I had done a few weeks ago. I may have cursed myself before class even started, though, because I got so nervous about… well, everything. I’m aware now of what my limitations are with my angry hamstring, but I couldn’t shake this mental fog with the combination and couldn’t find my confidence for dancing in general. I’m having such a hard time reconciling “dance to my limitations” with “back off and play it safe” because the latter usually results in me being afraid to put any effort into my dancing, even just my épaulement. It didn’t help that I was starting to get back into the swing of things when I discovered something that triggered a little unexpected pain in my hamstring. I got so upset with myself, even though I know it’s not my fault and that it’s just part of learning to cope with and work around a rehabilitating muscle. It hurt even when I was just standing still, so I opted to sit out the rest of the class.

It’s hard to tell myself it’s getting better when it’s such a slow process and my progress seems to fluctuate. Even when my hamstring is feeling fine, the knee on my other leg will start to bother me (I’ve dislocated it twice and still have a bit of a muscle imbalance) or my back and hips will ache. My whole body is thrown out of whack to compensate for one measly injury, and sometimes it gets hard for me to believe I’ll be able to dance at my previous level again. I was just getting comfortable in elementary classes, and now I can barely make it through the most basic level class without feeling disappointment.

I kind of hate that this blog has become a place for me to come and whine about something that, in the overall scheme of things, isn’t too dire. I’m lucky I didn’t break an ankle or even dislocate my knee again, or something that could have taken me out of ballet completely for a much longer period of time, but I know that if I’m not careful while my hamstring heals that I could make things worse. I’m just way too impatient.

A Well Choreographed Routine.

14 Jul

I’ve figured out why going without dance these last few weeks was so difficult… it’s because it wasn’t the only part of my routine that suddenly changed. I went from 4-6 classes a week to none, added two physical therapy appointments to each week, and watched my work schedule hit epic levels of turmoil. I never realised how much I had become a creature of habit until I had to change my entire life around. Luckily, it’s only temporary. But I’m trying to learn from this and hoping to become more flexible (not just physically).

The awesome news is that I was able to go to class last night. I was advised to start back by just trying out barre and avoiding anything that involved extending my left leg over 90 degrees. I played it safe, and came out feeling pretty good. And when I got home after, my leg didn’t lock up like it used to! It felt amazing to go back, even just for one class, and tonight my physical therapist said I can keep easing myself back in as long as I’m aware of what not to do with my hamstring. I’m definitely improving, though, little by little!

Of course, I still can’t help contemplating my weekly routine. I was so thrilled going into the summer because my work schedule had changed to allow me to take even more dance classes per week, now my dance schedule and my work schedule are all messed up. But what can you do? I am just happy to be working and now happy to be dancing again, even if it’s not as often as I am used to. I’m starting to feel less out-of-sorts, though still a little stir-crazy sometimes. I just keep telling myself the end result will be worth it, and that I will be back to my normal life in no time.

Intermission

8 Jul

It’s Friday night. Most of my Friday nights lately have been spent at the dance studio for a double-header (lyrical & ballet basics), but tonight I’m just hanging out at home. I did some baking, some stretching and my physical therapy exercises, and now I’m hanging out on the couch. As of tonight, I haven’t been to class in two weeks, and now I’m not sure when I’ll get the okay to go back.

Last week I was pretty optimistic that I would be able to go back sometime next week. Nothing really gave me cause to believe that would be the case, as I hadn’t even met my physical therapist when I made that declaration. I guess I was just feeling hopeful, and maybe a little impatient. Now I’m worried I might even be out for the rest of the summer, but I’m really hoping that’s not the case. It’s frustrating because I absolutely want to make sure my hamstring is healed and I’m cleared for a healthy return, but it’s just driving me crazy not to be dancing.

Is that reasonable? It’s possible I’m an addict. A ballet addict. I can’t be the only one.

I’ve been telling myself most dance schools take a summer break, and there are certainly many dancers who go this long between classes — so who am I to complain? It’s just strange to me to go from 4-6 classes a week on average… to none.

I’m trying really hard not to get all wallow-y, but I’m in this strange position where I’m trying to figure out what to do with my time in between. Ballet had become my source of socialization during the week, something to do after work, and now I’m going a little stir-crazy just hanging out at home. My first instinct would be to turn to another form of exercise, like yoga or pilates, but I’m not sure those would be wise options just yet. For now, I’m resigned to my PT exercises and some light additional exercise to keep me in shape (especially since I have a dress to fit into next month for a friend’s wedding, ha!)

I think what I’m most afraid of is that I won’t go back. Not because I’ll be told I can’t, but because I’ll move on. Before I came back to ballet, I’d been kind of flighty with my hobbies, never really sticking to one thing for too long. I’d get distracted and lose interest. When I decided to take up ballet again, I wasn’t sure it would last, but it did… and it went from a once-a-week hobby to a lifestyle. What if I change? What if I’m away so long that I’m too afraid to start back again?

It sounds ridiculous to say, because I believe 100% that ballet is in my blood now, but these are the things I think about when I’m sitting at home missing class.

Tomorrow I’m going to wake up and only think positive thoughts. Y’all are free to slap me if I don’t.

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