The Twilight Zone Post

This post is a little oddball-y…

I had a terrible dream last night. Of course, I don’t remember all the details, since I’m too lazy to make it a habit to write down the details of my dreams on the regular, but I remember that it’s ballet related and it sucked.

I was in class, and it was tough. Tougher than usual. At some point my foot started feeling really sore, not from the top instep part near the ankle, but the bottom. The part where you balance on demi pointe – I guess the ball of the foot. The soreness was becoming pain and I was really feeling like I couldn’t finish out the rest of class.

This is the part where “real life” and “dream life” converge – I remember thinking ‘If I can’t handle this class, there’s no way I’m going to be able to handle taking Winter session (2 hr class daily) plus going to New Studio on the evenings. Not to mention, rehearsals on top of it if I choose to sign up for the next performance in the Spring.’

These thoughts made me overwhelmingly sad, and desperate.

The scene changed. Don’t remember the details of how I got there, but then I was talking to somebody, some kind of trainer or perhaps ballet teacher? I asked him what I could do – should I work to strengthen my body more through cross-training so I can be strong enough for ballet, should I make any other changes to what I’m doing? Eat more protein so that my body can build muscle easier? WHAT DO I DO?

And what did he say? “There is nothing you can do. Each body has it’s own limit, and given your history (my sedentary childhood and teenage years, I’m guessing?) and age, that’s it.” I don’t remember exactly what was said next, but I do remember feeling horribly upset.

I remember thinking that it wasn’t that he said I couldn’t do ballet, but just that there are limits to what I can do. Both that my potential is set at a certain level, and that it will take me more time to get there, since I can’t overtrain my body too much. So while I get to continue doing ballet, I can’t get all obsessive and attend 4 hours + of class in one day (especially if I plan on doing that daily).

Bear with me here: I know many (most?) people would just say to blow it off, that it’s just a dream, and who cares as it has no bearing on real life. But – and I’m really opening myself up to criticism  here perhaps (in this neck of the woods internet) – in the past I have had realistic-ish dreams like this one that have, well … somewhat come true. Not perfectly true, not all the details, just similar situations that were a little too close for comfort. Like, dreaming I was in a car accident and then it happened (although not the same kind of accident,  but it was the day after the dream), or dreaming about an awkward social situation that puts me in the spot and then surprise! class presentation is announced. Or dreaming about someone I haven’t seen in years and then I run into them at school later that day. I have plenty of other examples too, that I won’t get into because those are stories for another day and another blog.

My point is, I’m terrified of this one coming true. Or is it some kind of wake up call from my subconcious? Am I – or have I been – pushing myself too hard given the circumstances? Is there really such thing as a limit that is set in stone and no matter what I can’t overcome it? By writing about it here, did I somehow cancel it out and keep it from coming true (you know, like how they say that if you make a wish you shouldn’t tell because then it won’t come true. Ha, apparently I have the mindset of an eight year old right now)?

So many questions!

But I really hope this turns out to be nothing.

12 thoughts on “The Twilight Zone Post

  1. Trippmadam

    I thought there was a such a limit, but I a not sure any more if it is set in stone. I was 42 , when I went back to flamenco class. Since then I have learned and done things I never even imagined. I have a feeling that it takes more time at my age, but the progress is there and it is visible. Even my teacher says so LOL.

    1. kit Post author

      Now that I come to think about it, I remember back when I started I was like ‘there’s no way I’ll ever be able to do that!’ and now not only can I do stuff like that, but even more. So I do agree that the limit we thought we had when first starting out is not set in stone.
      I’ll just continue working hard, but not necessarily trying to keep up with the kids (unless I’m really feeling up to it that day).

  2. meetatbarre

    I definitely think we all have limits (everyone), but I don’t think that it means that anyone necessarily actually knows what they are! Does that make sense? And that sometimes what can seem like a limit is just a temporary setback, or that something isn’t working and needs to be changed to fit our parameters, or that it can be compensated in another way, etc.

    1. kit Post author

      Definitely makes sense! I used to think that I wouldn’t ever be able to balance on releve stably on two feet, and the I came to find out that the fact that I didn’t even know how to engage my lats was a huge deal. So while I may not have the natural facility to balance, it was not an actual limit.

  3. meetatbarre

    Oh, I already commented, but I wanted to give a personal example. So I’ve always been very flexible in general, but I’ve always thought I just don’t have a flexible back (for a flexible person and for the kinds of things I do). And so I just accepted it, and didn’t really train backbending because I thought it was pointless because I just had reached my limit of what I could do. Well of course it didn’t get better because I just mostly ignored it.

    As you may recall, recently I’ve started seeing a flexibility coach / contortion teacher, and she told me that I have the potential for a lot more back flexibility. And over time she showed me how to train it properly (I apparently had been taught a few wrong things that were holding me back) and lately I’ve been making huge gains.

    So, will I become the most backbendiest person ever? Probably not compared to people who find backbending naturally easy. But was my perception of what my limits were correct? Absolutely not.

    1. kit Post author

      Thank you so much for bringing up flexibility specifically, that’s an even better example for me than the one I gave about balance. It remided me that I used to be incredibly inflexible as a child, couldn’t reach and touch even my knees, and now know I’m only several about 3 inches from being able to reach my forehead to them. Something about this somehow confirms that I really have no idea what my body’s limits are. It’s the how to get there part that worries me, because I don’t want to push too much too fast.
      A contortion trainer sounds interesting. I’d love to see what that kind of training is like. Off to youtube!

  4. Basia

    You’ll never know your limits if you don’t try….you might even like the limit that you get to!

    Psychoanalysis (lol): Deep down you have a tremendous fear of something ballet related. Just write everything no matter how trivial, because it’s the trivial ones that usually are the troublesome fears that we usually ignore.
    Then with your list, imagine each fear coming true as real as possible and accept that that might be a reality, and then do same for the opposite of the fear(s)… Both can come true, but it’s not necessary to worry about it now😊
    And technically speaking you’ll be clearer about your role in ballet and how far you can push yourself, 1, 4, 8 classes a day…whatever takes your fancy, you just won’t be second guessing your choices
    Hope this helps a little.

    1. kit Post author

      Oh my gosh, to actually imagine the fears coming true sounds terrifying! I unfortunately have to admit that I am not there yet in my ability to face fears. However, I will start the baby steps way by imagining how things could have gone wrong in my recent ballet-past (and since it’s in the past it’s got to be less scary). I already have an idea that one of my fears is that I will hurt myself doing something, which will then confirm that I had no business doing it in the first place. Or that if I’d gotten hurt and couldn’t take part in the performance at the last minute, it would then confirm that I should have not even tried to be involved at all. I really don’t like my ballet fears, because they all seem to point that I feel like I shouldn’t be doing ballet… like I feel guilty about it or something.

      1. Basia

        It’s awesome that you can see through the fear to the underlying guilt because it means that you can deal with it as it is. The guilt is something I’ve dealt with too. Mine was totally unrelated to ballet in the end…it was about doing something worthwhile with my time, and somehow the world would judge that I’m wasting time and money with ballet, because it’s somewhat different to wasting time and money on the gym, or cycling…. And I somehow should be using my time to become more successful, more something….?
        Ballet is a job for many. Unlike going to the gym or any other exercise. And it’s not exercise either….
        I resolved this by realising that the world doesn’t care. And those who do care, I don’t care about, so they have no power anyway.
        And most are impressed as long as I don’t mention how many physical or mental hours I devote to it ha ha!

      2. kit Post author

        I feel like there’s some similarities to how I feel there, like no one thinks twice about someone spending some part of each day running or at the gym (or even the “hobby” of watching tv for hours each day), and I should be redirecting my efforts to something more “productive”. On good days I’m able to tell myself that I don’t care about other’s opinion (and have it be completely true), but on a bad day I feel like there’s something wrong with me because I’m spending so much time and effort on this. People from school that have a rough idea of how often I take class sometimes ask me if I’m planing on working in ballet (they don’t know much about ballet, as clearly this is not possible at my level), which further adds to my feelings of guilt.
        Ha ha, I agree about people being impressed as long as they don’t know hour much time went into it!

  5. Basia

    There’s gotta be a way to get rid of the guilt otherwise it takes away from the joy of experiencing ballet for ballet’s sake.
    Just realised that ultimately I need to accept my ballet “hobby” as a legitimate activity for adults myself before anyone else does and stop berating myself for doing it.

    1. kit Post author

      Agreed. I have thought that I need to stop judging myself for taking ballet so seriously before I can stop feeling like everyone else is..


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