Tag Archives: rants

Some Classes, And Thoughts On Childhood vs Adulthood

This past week I continued my schedule from the week before, three classes at New Studio and then youtube classes for the other days. Mostly I’ve been concerned with not losing the strength that I gained during summer session – cutting back on class hours will do that to me. Luckily, fall session at my regular school will resume next week, so it’ll be a full ballet schedule again.

At home, I’ve been mostly working on a better, more controlled passe releve, hoping that it will traslate to better pirouettes. It appears to have worked! I’ve been doing the combinations in Kathryn Morgan’s youtube videos Easy Ballet Center and Classic Ballet Center, but during the pirouettes I just go up into passe releve instead (the floor at home is pretty terrible for turning). So then, when I was in class at NS and we went across the floor (tombe, pas de bourre, chasse, pirouette en dehors, repeat), I was actually getting all the way around on my pirouettes, even to my harder side (right). I got to be honest, I was surprised to be getting around consistently! This must mean that it’s been working though, so I will continue on with the video practice.

I had committed that I would be doing the Classic Barre this week, but then I found a newer video class called Pointe Barre. After giving it a quick view, I noticed that the combinations seem faster and more involved, so I just had to try it. It was a bit more challenging that the Classic Barre video, but I was able to keep up (except for the frappes on releve, but I just did them twice through in flat). I’ve actually gotten better at customizing the difficulty so that I can get through all the exercises, and even start to memorize them. However, I don’t know if I should be working on the same barre video to focus on technique, or if I should switch up the barre videos so I’m forced to learn to remember combinations faster.

My timing was a little bit better during class, not like how I kept starting too soon in all the combinations last week. So perhaps last week I was just having on off week after all. During sautes I got a little bit ahead of myself, but once I realized it I was able to settle back down to the correct speed. I’ve gotten so much better at remembering to breathe during my jumps instead of holding my breath, and as a result I feel like I can jump for longer and longer.

And then, something else, something I almost feel like I’m not supposed to/allowed to say… I feel like it’s as though i’m saying ‘why does everyone say the sky is blue?; it looks green to me’… but since it’s my blog I’ll say it anyway, even though it is not the experience for the majority of people (and besides, if you want the majority opinion, there’s plenty of other places to get it) – it drives me absolutely nuts when other adults keep going on and on about how easy everything is when you’re little. Or how flexible you are as a child and how it all goes away. Not that you can’t have that opinion; your opinion can be whatever you want. But I can’t stand it if someone whom I barely know (new classmate) starts going on and on to me about how this would be so easy if we were children, and don’t I remember how easy everything was back then, how can I not remember? And it’s like no, I can’t remember because it was NOT easier for me to do physical/kinesthetic things as a child. It just wasn’t my experience. And flexibility? Back then I couldn’t even reach my  knees, much less touch my toes, and my extensions would have been nonexistent – all my flexibility came as an adult (though my hands and locked knees do indicate possible hypermobility, even then). But for whatever reason people always seem to look put out when I express my truth, and it’s not that I’m trying to be deliberately contradictory, but if it just wasn’t my experience for things to go a certain way why should I lie about it? Am I supposed to lie about it, in order for them to have the piece of mind, to keep believing that their truth is the only one? Is this one of the reasons why I can’t even have simple small talk conversations with most people, because I refuse to give them the answer that they expect (if it’s not true to me), so they move on to those who will just echo their sentiments?

But if I may be honest, even though I may sound irritated or angry in my little rant, I’m actually lonely.  It can be very alienating not having anyone to relate to. I mean, sometimes they all start having a group conversation about how great things were when they were little girls and I just feel so lost, so unrelateable, like there’s something wrong with me. I often feel like no one can relate – I know what it feels like to be an adult who can do somewhat awesome things, but I don’t know what it feels to be a child who could. And since it’s presumed to be easier to do things as a child – no one expects a grown up to be able to jump and skip and dance and cartwheel – there’s this feeling of failure that I carry around with me, like I was an inadequate child, like if we were living in caveman times I would have been left by the group to die as the weakest link (I know that sounds so dramatic, but I think about stuff like that…).

Anyway, I’m trying to find something constructive in all of this….Yes, I may have been a disappointment as a child, but at least now I’m not full of excuses? Or at least since I don’t have those memories of the happiest childhood ever, it makes it so my adulthood is really fun in comparison? I feel like if I was more motivated, and social, I could turn this around and have it be somehow inspirational, to not let your past define your future. But I’m not really that motivated (except to practice ballet!) – or social – so it will be up to someone else, if there even is anyone else like me out there. There probably is… they’re just not coming to my local classes, or writing about it on the internet (yet – if you’re different that the “norm”, please share your story; we need it).

(p.s. yes, I know that it’s easier to recover from things like falls as a child, and that bone remodeling rate or cell growth slows down when one is older, and these things may apply to everyone, even me. But I’m not really talking about the physiology of it, so much as the mental/cognitive aspect of it. Even though I had healthy bones as a kid, and if I scraped my knee it would scab quickly, that doesn’t mean that I could do all the things that other children could do. I just couldn’t do it. And the whole thing about kids being fearless? Uh-uh, not this child.)

Preferential Treatment?

Before I start, I’d like to say that I am well aware that this post makes me sound whiny and immature – but one of the wonderful things about having your own blog is that you get to prove that old adage about opinions and everyone having one …

🙂

Also, I am aware that I am not completely blameless in this either, but still, everyone has one…

Anyway.

So, there’s this young lady who, every day, is anywhere from 40 minutes to almost an hour late for (a two-hour) ballet class. Every single day, assuming she doesn’t just blow it off completely. Now, this class is at a horrible early morning time, the kind of hour where if you leave home 15 minutes earlier you’ll then hit even more traffic because then there’s all the school buses blocking traffic with their little flashing stop signs, and you get to your destination at the same exact freaking time! Trust me, I’ve done it; I set my alarm earlier, dragged myself awake, left home ealier and STILL got there exactly on the dot or a minute late. And, I’m sorry, but I am not going to get up before the sun rises to drive a couple of miles and wait in an empty parking lot – like I said, I may come across as immature, but I have plenty of responsibilities to take care of at home, and if I’m going to be awake two hours earlier than usual I’m going to be doing my chores!

Anyway, our teacher gives us a lecture on being on time. Except, Miss I’m-An-Hour-Late-And-I-Don’t-Care is so late she doesn’t even catch the lecture! Then our teacher decides that the door will be locked right before class begins, as motivation. Once again, Miss IAHLAIDC is so late that by that point the teacher has unlocked the door (I think because it’s a fire safety hazard to keep the door locked the whole time?), and, rather than having to wait outside, knocking repeatedly, she just waltzes on in.

By this point I’m annoyed. I understand that the teacher’s personal belief is that it doesn’t matter if you’re late by 30 seconds or an hour, but – I mean, seriously! – if you’re so late that the rest of the class is done with barre completely then perhaps it’s not the same thing as running in there right as class is starting. Scratch that – I’m not annoyed, I’m quite angry.

I realize there’s nothing I can do about it though. I could just decide to sleep in for the rest of the session and not even bother with class, I guess. This is a character flaw about me that I really dislike, but I tend to be the kind of person that once I decided that something is unfair it’s very hard to change my mind. But I find this incredibly unfair! If I was the teacher I would have made her (Miss IAHLAIDC) sit out and watch, not allow her to take part in class. It seems incredibly messed up to me that those of us who are making an effort to be there on time- and occasionally don’t make it – get punished more (by having to wait outside until the door is unlocked again) while absolutely nothing for her, who clearly is not making an effort. You don’t get somewhere 45 minutes to an hour late daily by making an effort! To me, that just shows that you don’t care and decided the party won’t start until you get there…

Perhaps… maybe just maybe… could it be because Miss IAHLAIDC has extensions to die for? I’m talking 180 degrees devant and a la seconde, and about 150 derriere, not to mention a perfectly overcrossed fifth position (it’s seriously beautiful) and none of the rest of us come close to that. Do teachers tend to cut much more slack to students that they consider to be “naturally talented”? I mean, this got the gears in my head turning, and now I feel like I can remember plenty examples of people who got many chances, who got away with ditching rehearsals and routine tardiness, but… teachers are willing to look the other way for people that they either consider to be “good” or that they just plain like. I realize at the professional level this may be commonplace (playing favorites, and politics), but it just seems ridiculous at a Beginner class where most of us are true beginners and will only dance recreationally.

Of course, this doesn’t make me feel better; if anything, it makes me angrier. Perhaps I’d be less angry if I hadn’t wasted my time, my gasoline, and my food (I usually don’t eat in the early morning unless I have class), and had just decided to stay home and sleep in since there was no way I was going to get there way early. Well, I guess I’m not angry anymore now that I’ve had my opportunity to rant. Now I just don’t know what’s going on for the rest of this session of classes…

Any thoughts? Yes, I realize that I was technically in the wrong by not being early to class, but I’m mostly upset about how some people get away with it…

Just Ranting, Don’t Mind Me…

In this post I do a lot of whining. And ranting. And generally feeling sorry for myself. I’m only including this in the blog (as opposed to just my offline journal) because it is somewhat ballet-related. Actually, it’s very ballet-related, in a “See what I do for you, ballet” kind of way. But there is a lot of whining. Feel free to skip over. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended…

Ok. (Takes a deep breath)

So, my diagonally downstairs neighbors are the neighbors from hell.  Or at least in my 12 years of living in rented places, in a variety of neighborhoods, this is the closest to neighbors from hell that I’ve had.  I’m talking loud late-night gatherings that sound more like arguments, loud profanity-laden screaming phone conversations that are impossible to avoid (as in, even with all the windows and doors closed it’s impossible to block out her screaming voice, and she actually goes outside and parades up and down the sidewalk while screaming), blatant drug use and drunkeness outdoors, unruly, unsupervised – and honestly, mistreated and abused – children vandalizing other’s vehicles, the list goes on.

It’s embarassing having company over, and there have been so many times that I’ve been grateful that we don’t have kids yet. I would hate to raise them in such a lousy environment, especially since little minds are like sponges.

Back around last May, I was awoken at around 4 am by this woman, who was loudly talking outside. I went out on my front porch and called out “Hey! Can you keep it down?! It’s 4 am and some of us are trying to sleep!”  Well, ever since then she decided that she will not waste an opportunity to shoot me nasty looks as I arrive home, or leave, and on occasion has cursed at me, calling me a “F-ing B—-!”. She has threatened me, though I don’t have it on camera, telling me that “If you don’t shut your mouth, I’ll shut it for you.”

By now, I don’t ever leave home without a recording device, in case she is to threaten me again, or worse, act upon her threats.  We have recorded her behavior from the inside of our apartment, and shown the footage to the manager.  According to management, other tenants have complained as well.  We were promised that these neighbors were going to leave on December 15.  We were counting the days!

That was last Monday. They are still there – I was awakened by her rants this morning, as a matter of fact.

We went down to talk to the office again, and were told that they are doing “all they legally can” to get her out. Truthfully, I don’t believe them. I think they are trying to play both sides, keep us as tenants while not kicking them out. Our lease is scheduled to end on 12/31 and we were actually about to renew the lease. Thankfully, we didn’t; It’s outrageous that our rent’s scheduled to increase and that abusive neighbor is still going to be living there for an indeterminate period of time.

So, it looks like apartment-hunting time again. And of course, amenities-wise, nothing (in our price range) compares with the place we have now; no hardwood floors to practice ballet on, no gym to run at in case of rainy weather, no quiet hilly streets to go for walks in, no walking-distance park to run and jump at, no in-unit washer to wash leotards in.

If we leave here, it seems as though continuing my ballet will be affected.  Not only the space to practice in, but also all the working out that I’ve been doing. I’m terrified; I feel as though my leg muscles that I’ve worked so hard to strengthen will begin to weaken.  At the same time, I feel as though I’m unwilling to continue living near that loud, profane woman – especially if the rent is going up.

I don’t know what to do. The prospect of having to give up ballet is what hurts me the most, but I know there’s no way that I’ll be prepared for next semester unless I can get some practicing done. It’s just the only way I learn, repetition and lots of it. At the same time, I’m just unwilling to continue living in this hostile environment. These neighbors are just out of line! I shouldn’t have to take a recording device with me every time I leave my home for fear of being threatened or assaulted.  I feel like the management should be giving us a freaking discount, not raising the rent (which happens every time a new contract is signed).

I’ve been crying all day, feeling so overwhelmed and sad.  And lost.  I hate feeling so helpless, so miserable, this uncertainty, this feeling of everything being out of my control. I just want to break something. And cry some more.

And then apologize for the negativity. While still crying.