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Wednesday Class: Less Tired This Time

Barre today was challenging: Brienne stepped things up a notch, bringing in changes of body direction in long combinations. I got many, but not all, of them.

I continue to try to focus on using my inner thighs, though it’s a greater challenge while also trying to remember the direction changes and whether to go en croix and trying not to kick the taller of the two new guys, who stood beside me today.

I’m really glad they came back to class. I feel like their presence enriches the class; they’re both good dancers who work hard. Taller Guy* has impressive splits!

*For the record, they’re both taller than I am, maybe even just plain tall — but I’m right on the borderline between average and miniature. Still, I don’t know their names, so for now they’re going to be Taller Guy and Smaller Guy.

At center, we did a pretty, but hard, adagio with … erm, fondu devisé? Something devisé, (edit: turns out it’s divisé — divisé en quarts) short for anyway (edit: also, I have no idea what I was trying to type here; autocorrupt was cray this afternoon). My phone is being weird, so I’ll have to look it up when I get home.

Turns were better. I had doubles from fourth, though not as consistently as I’d like.

Our grand allegro combination was fun — Glissade, jeté, glissade, jeté, step-grand jeté, step-grand jeté.

I did it well enough at first, but as I got tired my legs kept wanting to put extra glissades in after the second jeté.

Still, I was less tired today than I was last Wednesday — much less tired, in fact – and I felt stronger last night in aerials class. My tuck dismount on  trapeze and silks is no longer just an uncontrolled unfurling 🙂

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I think I will be able to adapt to this training schedule, and since I wasn’t sure, I feel good about that.

There are more days in my life now on which I look at myself as I undress at the end of the day and I think this part or that part of my body is beautiful. Rarely, I even think the whole thing is pretty decent.

This is a huge step forward: I never used to have any of those days. I used to pretty much hate my body all the time.

Ballet and aerials are changing that in a way I never expected. I used to hate it — and, honestly, I often still do – when people would respond to my feelings about my body, which were the irrational result of deep-seated dysphoria, with so much pablum about how much my body could do.

I don’t think being reminded of that on a rational level helps any more than does telling someone with depression to buck up because at least they don’t live in a Siberian prison camp. That’s not, as it were, how any of this works.

But doing amazing things with this body, and discovering it to be strong and graceful and capable, has really helped — as has exposure to the wild array of beautiful male dancers’ bodies, into which my own body increasingly fits.

In short, ballet and aerials have altered the scope of my inner sense of how my body should look (a concept that’s more complicated and less rational than it sounds). Constant exposure to my own reflection, meanwhile, has adjusted my sense of how my body does look.

I suspect that I still often literally see a distorted version of myself, but the maybe the distortion isn’t as bad as it once was.

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So that’s it, today. I’m going to go home, take a hot bath (in which I will read La Dame aux Camélias in the original, maybe), foam-roll my legs until they fall off, and then do some work stuff.

I used to think that my body dysphoria and anorexic thought patterns would never, ever, ever change. Now I’m not so sure, and that feels like a good thing.
À bientôt, mes amis!

Edit: PS, my ear behaved itself today. Woot!

Ballet Squid Chronicles: Back to Monday Class Notes

Essentials tonight.   Lovely, easy class: port de bras and épaulement hung together all through barre, full splits again, grand battement mostly sans barre, back to doing single-leg relevés on both sides.   I was able to do our sous-sous-échappe exercise (also sans barre, because there’s really no excuse for using the barre for that at this point).

No jumps tonight, which is for the best.   The calf is definitely just a touch sore, so jumps probably would’ve been a bridge too far.  Little jumps and Sissones next week, I think (and whatever on the left leg).   Temps levee, on the other hand, is at least two weeks out (on the right leg).

Across the floor we just did glissade-pas de bourree.  Super easy, so I made an effort to make it look pretty (and succeeded, if I do say so myself).

Today was one of those interesting days on which I felt okay about my body  throughout class. I’m still wrestling with being okay with my body.   That’s going to be a long process for me.

Still, it does help when your turnout works, and your extensions are high, and your arms work, and you don’t dance like a squid on too much Ritalin.  Then you can at least say to yourself, “Okay, so I can be grateful that my body is capable.”

For a long time I really struggled with that idea, because I thought that recognizing that was supposed to magically make the bad feelings go away, and when it didn’t it hurry and I resented it.   (I also resented the heck out of the idea that people wanted to tell me how I should feel: and while I’m sure some of them actually did, a lot of people who have said, “… But it’s great that your body Works!” probably really didn’t intend that.)

It turns out that I’m not stuck forcing myself to only feel one or the other.

Instead, the dysphoric hurtiness and the gratitude can kind of coexist, like siblings in the back of the car, elbowing each-other now and then but also not killing each-other, which really kind of feels like a big deal, to be honest.

So the difficulty, the dysphoria that may or may not every go away, that’s still there, but I’ve reached a point at which I somehow simultaneously manage to be grateful for some stuff about my body (and not just my feet).

It doesn’t make the dysphoria not hurt, but it makes it less cognitively dissonant to sit with the dysphoria in the face of an emerging appreciation for what is rather an immense array of capability.  I don’t know if I’m making any sense, here, because it’s such a weird, new idea for me (I’m sure that folks who are better-versed in dialectical behavior therapy are all like “Well, duuuh!” ;))

Okay.   That’s enough trying-to-asplain for now.

Anyway, I plan to go home and RICE my leg and rest it well tomorrow.   This coming week I have a bazillion things to do, including a doctor’s appointment to discuss meds.  I will try to also get caught up on comment replies (which I’ve been handling kind of willy-nilly) and reading all the awesome blogs that you guys have shared with me and, I guess, also shared me with 😀

No Wednesday class this week.

G’night, everybody.

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