Archive for ‘Me Time’

January 20, 2012

Sometimes They Come True

So … with tomorrow being the 5 YEAR anniversary of the accident (fondly known as “Hooray! Sarah’s Still Alive! Day”), I feel it appropriate to post a reflection today.

In late fall, after much cheering on from all of you, I signed up for a Master Class with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

I was scared, then I was nervous, then I was excited.

So, I did some reasearch and ordered some new dancewear. Paid for fast shipping and everything. (Thanks a lot DC area and your 2 dancewear stores. You fail.) Got it. Got super excited. Tried it all on.

And cried. Hard.

Putting on a leotard and capris for the first time in 5 years really magnified what I’d lost. Wearing something I’d basically LIVED in for 23 years, I hated how I looked. HATED it. And I’ve never been one to hate my body. I mean, yes, I knew I’d put on some weight … but to have a leotard that was ALREADY a size up from all my old ones be too small? To have the one-size-fits-all capris pull to nearly transparent across my thighs?

Yah, lots of crying.

Considering I didn’t have time to order a new leotard, or exchange it, I was stuck. And the idea of wearing things too small (to a class I wasn’t sure I could make it though in the first place)  was enough for me to cry myself to sleep, thinking my idea of going was misguided and really, I should just forget all about it.

No bueno.

Saturday morning dawned, and the husband … who HATES it when money is wasted … dragged me out of bed and told me I was going, as I’d already paid. So I shoved myself into the too small dancewear, pulled my hair into a bun, grabbed a pair of sweats just in case. And sniffled my way there.

Getting to the Kennedy Center I was greeted by a beautiful elderly lady, who moved with a fluidity you rarely see. I would not be shocked in the slightest if she was a prima ballerina in her youth. While escorting me upstairs she asked how long I’d been dancing. I told her my story (the short version) and she leaned over and hugged me.

“Ballet … no, modern, I think. Am I right?” She was. “I’m so very glad you’re back to dance today. Congratulations.”

Oh man. After that it was ALRIGHT CLASS, LET’S DO THIS.

Walking into the room, there were about 10 other students. And clearly, I was nearly a decade older than every. single. one of them. I tossed my stuff in a corner, and began to stretch. After about 5 minutes of this, our instructor walked in. Quite unexpectedly, he was the company’s director of choreography, Robert Swinston.* With no warning (and no time to shed my sweatpants), he launched us into the first routine.

I’d forgotten that in a Master Class nothing is taught at half speed. It’s full on, full out, from the very first step.

90 minutes. 90 minutes of steps deceptively simple looking. Of twists and leaps and quite literally flinging ourselves around the room. 90 minutes physically harder than anything I remember doing.

I fell … often … in the first 15 minutes. And I laughed … every time. Which earned glares from other dancers. But also the praise of our instructor “Why shouldn’t she laugh? Falling is silly. You have to have fun with it, laugh, pick yourself back up. If you’re not enjoying yourself, if you’re taking yourself too seriously, you shouldn’t have the honor of calling yourself a dancer.”

That didn’t win me any friends … but it did make me glow. And gave me the courage to get up and re-attempt the step I’d just crashed out of.

I fell a lot. (So did everyone else.) I missed nearly every single arm movement (it’s been oh … 15 years since I’ve taken ballet. You don’t use matched arm and foot placements in modern!). I had to stop twice, as my back wouldn’t support holding a certain position. I laughed (loudly),  I sweated (heavily), I made a fool of myself (often), and I forgot that my leotard didn’t fit.

When he began to cool us down I started to get excited. I’d made it! I’d actually made it though a class, NOW, that I’d been too chicken to take back in the height of my dance career.

As we were all packing up I overheard a couple local college kids complaining that the choreography had been “too easy” and they’d been “expecting … MORE.” Made bold by my sense of accomplishment I walked over and snapped “You’ve CLEARLY never seen this company perform. Their entire style is based on doing basic movements PERFECTLY.” From behind me, someone else piped up, addressing the girl I’d just scolded. “Doing one movement perfectly, holding it, really feeling it and making your audience feel it, too, is much MUCH harder than going through a series where you only need to hit the end step on the right beat. Go back to your ballet class, little girl. Leave this to the adults.”

Um. Wow.

Turns out, the company was rehearsing for the night’s performance, just after our class. The company dancers had begun filing into the room as we packed up.

The complainer flounced away, and the woman laughed. The DoC walked up, clearly amused by what had just happened, and turned to me. “So what’s your story? You clearly have modern training … some Martha Graham, right? You were the only one in the room who knew what they were doing or even TRIED. But something’s off. You were rock solid on your left, but every time we focused on the right, you fell. Why?”

As I explained about the accident and my resulting back issues, you could see the wheels turning. Without asking permission (a dance master never does), he started probing my back, and taking me through some steps. Then, standing back, he asked me to cover some of the steps we’d done in class. While going through them, a couple of the company members came up and began to fill in the empty spaces. It turns out, the series of steps that we’d done in class were actually one member’s movements from a full routine. As the empty spaces with filled with others, it all made sense.

It was magical. And stunningly beautiful.

After many, many thanks to everyone, I left. By the time I got outside, guests were arriving for another afternoon show. Standing there in my leotard and sweats, I was quite the standout among the formalwear. But I barely noticed.

I found a place to wait for my ride, and slowly … as the adrenaline slipped away … what had happened started to hit me. I’d danced, something I’d never thought I would do again. And I’d done so for the DoC of my dream company … with the company members themselves. I’d had two major players in the dance world recognize me for what I once was and encourage me back. And I’d thrown it all in the face of that voice inside me that echoed what so many doctors have been telling me for the last five years.

I started shaking. And I cried. And felt the urge to vomit from the emotion of it all.

And as the cool December air dried my tears, I looked down at my feet…


… and thought maybe, JUST MAYBE, they would lead me back to a place where what I’d once been would become what I AM.


* A quick excerpt from his bio: “… attended the Juilliard School, where he received a BFA in Dance. He danced with the Martha Graham Apprentice Company, the José Limón Dance Company, and with Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre.” Holy big deal, Batman. o_O

** Photo taken about 20 minutes after I left the studio. This really was the moment it hit me.

January 17, 2012

2012: The Goal

Whoops, left you all hanging there!

So, building on the misses … seems pretty obvious I’ve got some work to do, right? So let’s set a goal:

In 2012 I will take back control of my life.

Sounds fancy and all mysterious, but really, what I mean is I need to be accountable for the things I say I’m going to do, responsible about the things I should be doing, and good about listening to myself about what I want to do. Try and banish some of The Fear, re-prioritize my marriage, get my health and fitness back in proper order.

So, how do we accomplish it?

1. I’ve made myself a deadline of February 15th to get appointments scheduled. That means primary, dentist (due in Feb for a cleaning, anyway, so that’s easy), chiro, and a freaking gyno if it kills me. (I’ve been trying to find one that accepts both my insurance and new patients for 6 MONTHS. Something seems wrong with this.) The appointments themselves can be as far out as they need to be, but they WILL be scheduled within the next month.

2. Pay attention to what I’m eating. Honestly, I have never really paid attention to the calories I’m eating, or nutritional content. Not a good habit, I know. I eat when I’m hungry, till I’m full. Period. It’s served me well, until about a year ago. So now, we need to pay attention. Pay attention, and adjust as needed.

I downloaded an app called My Fitness Pal … it basically works the same as Weight Watchers, but with calories instead of points.* You log what you eat, how much you’re working out, and your weight, and it tallies everything up for you. It’s been interesting to see what I’m consuming … and where I can improve. Now, to make sure I’m honest with it.

3. Pay attention to my cycle. I mean, I’m not sure how many of you actually do this, but I know I don’t. Sure, I keep track of when it starts, but length? Symptoms? Flow? Not so much, beyond “wow, this is a really bad month”. A large part of taking control of my body is knowing what’s GOING ON with my body … and once I do, I can tell if something’s wrong.

For now, I’m using another app … P Tracker (as it’s known in the Android market). It takes a full month to set it up, but so far, so good. Hit a button when you start, and it pops up a list of symptoms that allow you to track how you’re feeling, until you hit the button again when you finish. The only complaint I have so far is that it’s only allowing me 4 days … though that may sort itself out after I’m done with setup. We’ll see.

4. Workouts. Freaking DO them. I’ve updated Workin’ It Out to reflect this new philosophy. No set mileage, no dedicated days. But I MUST record everything I do. And at the end of the week, I get a letter grade. The goal is to do 3 work outs a week (for now). We’ll see where it ends up.

The first week of the month, as you’ll see, I failed. Last week was better. This week promises to be awesome, if I can just stick with it.

5. Set actual TIME aside for the husband. Not eating-dinner-while-watching-tv, actual US time.

6. Take a trip … large or small … every other month. I learned last year that I really REALLY need to get away every now and then. My quick trips to NYC and Boston last year were perfect for that. NYC cost $40 roundtrip at the most expensive point. Boston cost $3 (seriously). That’s easy to do and easy to afford, right? So I should just do it.

Of course, there are some larger trips in there, too. April (if everything aligns), I’ll be in SoCal for a few days for a friend’s wedding, planning with the sister, and my mom’s birthday. Then we’ll have the sister’s shower. And we’re planning on doing our anniversary (a few weeks late) in Napa, just ahead of the sister’s wedding.

Things to look forward to help keep me sane.

Oh, and one more:

7. Take a dance class.

Because dammit, this Saturday marks 5 years from the accident. 5 YEARS. I’ll be damned if I’m not trying again.

So, that sums it up … though I’m sure there are things I’ve missed. Any clue what they are? Who has their goals?


* Christine gets credit for that description. It’s how she sold me on it.

January 9, 2012


Oh … hey there, 2012. You snuck up on me.

So, um, happy 2012! New year! New beginnings! The world’s going to end this year, so might as well make it a good one, and all that jazz, right? ::laughs:: Right.

I may be a week late, but it seems like the right time to get this corner of the interwebs up and running again. No, my headspace hasn’t completely sorted itself out yet (or really, at all), but one of the things I promised myself last week was that I wouldn’t let things like this stand in my way this year. Little breaks are fine, disappearing for months on end is NOT.

So, with that in mind, this week will be what SHOULD have been my year-end posts. Recapping the year. Celebrating the wins. Mourning the losses. Setting goals for 2012. Looking ahead.

Oh, and one long-awaited post on a certain dance class…

So, let’s jump back in, shall we? I’ve missed you!

December 12, 2011


So … everyone must be wondering what actually went down yesterday, based on husband’s tweets.

We both ran an 8k race, and after, he offered to run and grab the car so I didn’t have to hobble back to the office (my back was seizing up … apparently my body does NOT like me to run). Knowing the streets were shut down all around the race site, I suggested we meet a couple blocks up.

As he was running away he yelled back “13th and …”. Thinking he had said H (which was my original suggestion, as I know the area pretty well) I confirmed “13th and H!” and off he went.

Apparently, he heard “13th and G” … which means, yes, we DID sit one block apart for an hour. I didn’t want to leave right as he drove up, so I didn’t move from that corner (except to cross to the opposite corner where there was sunlight. It was sub-freezing yesterday!) … he did the same. After an hour, he started driving around to see if he’d missed me somewhere. He apparently drove through the intersection I was waiting at, but it being a green light meant I didn’t see him, and he didn’t see me.

And hour and a half in … filled with annoyance, then worry, then deep sadness … I figured this was excessive, and walked to my office. But oh, I didn’t have my keys. Luckily, one of my tenants let me in and I called him … only to have his phone say it was “out of range”. (This happened three times … twice with borrowed cell phones).

So I walked home. 6 extra miles. Crossing a state line even. (Ah, DC…)

I walked in just as he was about to head out to start canvassing(with the police). It’d been almost 4 hours since we’d finished the race.

Needless to say, next time he tells me not to take cash, my ID, or a key with me to a race, I’m going to laugh at him. I got stubborn and took my ID (because, duh), but left the rest with his assurances nothing would go wrong.

Um, yah. It really sucks to walk past 9 metro stops and not be able to get on the train because you don’t have your fare card or any money to buy a new one.


Thanks, everyone, for your prayers and well wishes. Husband looked at me last night (I freaked out once I was home, and then promptly slept for the next four hours) and said “You have some really awesome friends.” Up until now, you were “the Twitter girls”. Clearly, you made an impression on him.

Love you guys.

November 7, 2011


Sorry I’ve been MIA … that post last week took it out of me.

Things in the world of Sarah have been a little bleak as of late. Too many arguments with the husband, too little attention, too much sadness. I don’t know if it’s the weather or just that I’m not wanting to take any of it right now, but the depression cycle is on a downswing.

Which is not to say there haven’t been highlights: Dinner with Cindy Saturday night was delicious … and the company was fantastic. =) The leaves are finally changing color (I was afraid the early snow would kill everything) … so looking out from our balcony is mesmerizing right now. My little sister is finally planning her wedding, and I am SUPER in love with everything she’s sending me. (Outdoor courtyard, at a boutique hotel they’ve rented out (28 rooms) … evening ceremony, nighttime reception. “Elegant but modern.” Black and white with kiwi green accents. GAH!) It’s so, so easy to be supportive when you like everything you see. I’d be supportive either way, but wow, this just makes my job that much easier.

Oh, and I stopped taking all my vitamins/supplements two weeks ago (having a gigantic hole in your mouth will make you wary of losing pills … especially when your dentist warns you about it!) and have lost almost 10 lbs. Clearly, one of those supplements is keeping a whole lot of water weight on me. Now … to figure out which one it is. Please let it not be the one that’s helping my back.

All this is to say, I miss you guys, and I’m not ignoring you. Just need to get back into the proper headspace.

Sometime this week, I promise a post on homemade mallows. =)