Tonight (or more accurately, tomorrow morning at 5 am) A and I leave for our Nutcracker guesting with the North Ballet Academy in Minnesota, and we are beyond excited! Of course, since timing always seems to spite me, I came down with a pretty bad case of bursitis in my left foot (re: sort of a giant deep blister on top of my bunion, lovely, I know) this morning and wasn’t able to do much dancing today. Lucky me, right? But! I’ve got a few prescriptions and a determined mind to help me through these next few weeks. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
In light of this fun journey and a few other collaborations/surprises coming up on Setting The Barre, I’ve decided to open an exclusive STB instagram account, so I can easily share updates on my travels and behind-the-scenes peeks with all of you! To follow along, find STB @settingthebarre on instagram.
Let the madness begin…xo, k.
Coming back to the states means not only an end to my french adventure, but also the return to my schedule full of acupuncture and physical therapy appointments. Ah, the life of a dancer.
This morning at acupuncture (which I attended all by myself for the first time ever! be proud!), I asked my doctor to put special needles in my ear to curb hunger cravings, telling him that I’m still trying to get back into shape and reminding him of the dishonorable amount of cheese I consumed in Paris. He then sized me up, asked me my weight, laughed at me a little bit, but eventually agreed to give me the hunger-halting pressure points remarking, “To always be more slim…that’s the curse of the ballerina.” This guy really knows what he’s talking about…
Later on at physical therapy, I received some rather painful, but quite necessary soft tissue massaging. Oooh, these casual little soft tissue massages they give me. You’ve never experienced as uncomfortable a massage as one of these; It’s like they are feeling around for the most painful inch of muscle in your body, and upon locating said twisted tissue, they pound it into the floor. So, as the trainer dug her elbow farther into my left buttock, she politely suggested, “Just let me know if I need to back off a little, okay?” but she already knew my response. Before I could get out the full, “It’s okay, I can take it”, she interrupted with a laugh and said, “Yeah, you’re a pro athlete, you love this kind of pain.” Not only was it extremely refreshing and lovely to be referred to as a pro athlete by a trainer in a sports medicine facility, but she was also exactly right. I do love that sore, almost-on-the-brink-of-tears, recovery and healing, grinding away at my tight muscles, type of pain. So, healers and feelers, keep that good pain coming!
An essential part of healing an injury is paying close attention to your body. Being a dancer, not a day goes by where I don’t notice a new ache or pain pop up somewhere. What’s important is knowing which twinges to ignore and which to coddle. Honing this pain-filtering system is an essential part of succeeding as a professional dancer. It’s not a skill that is acquired over night, but one that develops over time at its own pace. The only way to cultivate it is to focus. And try.
While I’m usually the type to overwork an injury, most often refusing to let my body take the necessary recovery time (or any recovery time at all, for that matter…hELLLOOoo Swan Lake on a sprained ankle), this back injury has completely turned the tables on me. I’ve been away from the studio for a total of 4 days now, and boy am I missing it over there. But this time I want to go back to ballet with the confidence of a person whose back is spasm-free. I must say- after Day 2 of acupuncture, I am feeling the results. I feel more mobile and relaxed. My muscles are slowly letting their guards down, and while I can’t say I’ve miraculously healed, I am certainly better than I was yesterday. And you know what? That’s what this healing thing is all about.