First Trip To See The Kansas City Ballet!

Seldom have I looked so forward to a Friday as I do toward this one.

Today, some of us have been given the chance to see the Kansas City Ballet perform! They’ll be doing their show “New Moves.”

I’m overjoyed at the opportunity.

I’ve never in my own memory been to a professional ballet performance. It’s always been one of those things I imagined; one of those things I saw in small clips shown from YouTube for old VHS tapes, which were shown in dance classes to reveal what we must aim for in the movements we were about to learn.

Until now I’ve only ever actually been to collegiate-level dance performances. Even those have blown my mind. I can never forget what it was like to be in a room with some of the amazing ballerinas and dancers I’ve been around here in college. Their influences, both as dancers and as people, have engraved their imprints permanently onto my memories so every time I think back upon them, I find the strength to keep aspiring to be more. To aspire to one day be like them: As a dancer. As an artist. As a person.

I can’t imagine anyone better, either as people, or even just as performers. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like to see something somehow better, in some way, than what I already can’t stop remembering.

Yet tonight, some of us get to.

Poetry: Anthem Of Age 27

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Today I am fast at play.
Not “hard at work” because to say “work”
would be to imply I resist what
I do.
I do not.
 
On my desk are notes
and a full page of verse I have been…
What’s the word? “Whittling away at”?
surely not “Working on” but perhaps.
Working on.
 
Behind me is a made bed with blue blankets
on my left. On my right
a freshly-erased dry-erase board
sticks to a wall. It is empty like a blank page
though I don’t believe there is actually anything empty about a blank page.
 
To my right is a coffee cup on my desk
with the inscription “The Adventure Begins.”
Further to my right is a lithograph of Taylor Swift in summer.
On the floor to my left is a blue yoga mat. The sky is blue as if in summer
though I know that scientifically, it isn’t actually blue.
 
All around I am surrounded
by beauty. From Taylor Swift
to the phone which lacks any new texts, even as I hope to get new texts.
And in front of me is a beautiful, blank piece of paper on a screen, not beautiful
Because of what already is, but beautiful because of what may yet be.
 
God is good!
I love Sundays.

Not Looking For A Ted Mosby Kind Of Love

I recently saw a post on one of my dear friend’s twitter-feeds talking about how he could see himself as a Ted Mosby type guy. It’s a comparison that’s occasionally been made similarly about me, especially others who have seen my hopeless romantic side.

And until this morning, I always thought I wanted that. Not to be him of course, but to find love like him: to have a girl I was destined to meet and fall in love with and to one day know the stars had nearly aligned so many times until ultimately they ran out of ways to keep from aligning perfectly, causing said girl-of-my-dreams and I to finally meet, fall in love at first sight, and know that we were right where we were supposed to be.

I also thought maybe it’d be like Ted and Robyn were, where they found love in each other so many times only to keep screwing it up until they finally gave up from angst, until they realized they hadn’t.

All of this I’ve long thought I wanted.

But as I walk around my apartment this morning with the fresh realization that coffee somehow calms me down and makes me sleepy, a fact likely to confuse my friends to no end, I have a realization that I no longer care how love comes.

I don’t dream of finding a Ted Mosby kind of love. I’m just excited to dream about what it’ll be like to find it again at all.

God knows I’ve failed enough times at this whole love thing. I’m terrible at going from friendship to boyfriendhood and I’m as awkward as they come every step along the way. God also knows I should fear love, and that in many ways I appear to fear people even though I actually don’t, except when I do. Still, somehow I want to believe in it. I want to write about it. I want to daydream about it. I want to imagine a girl one day getting as excited about random texts from me, and I want to one day make a girl happy instead of making her feel awkward when I tell her I love getting even the smallest, simplest of texts from her.

I can’t wait to find that, and somehow I’m too naive, too stubborn, and perhaps too pretentious to believe such a thing doesn’t somehow exist, even for someone like me.

I dream of it: the subtle, unexpected kind of love that doesn’t make its clichè, “love at first sight” appearance, but instead starts small and builds slowly, artistically, subtly. Not like the love novel, but like the waves.

Who knows. Maybe I am destined for that Ted Mosby type love. Maybe there’s no other option for someone as “cheesy,” frequently “over-affectionate,” and prone to overthinking as I’ve historically been.

Or, maybe, just maybe, I’m starting to grow out of that last little bit.

Maybe now I’m finally learning to avoid overthinking, and thus maybe I’m ready for something a little more unexpected. Something exciting by not seeming to exciting. Something that doesn’t need Taylor Swift love songs or William Shakespeare poetry to describe it, because it instead is best described with a simple, U-shaped curve of the lips.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

On Reading “The Abnormal Is Not Courage” by Jack Gilbert

I am overwhelmed.
I have seen through the half-blind verse of another
writer’s eyes. I have become
involuntarily mesmerized
as if watching an owl fly
illuminated only by the light of the stars beyond,
little more than a mere memory of a shadow.
 
I have been overwhelmed,
have looked into her
eyes before “Anything Goes” in 2014. Seen
Taylor Swift at the Sprint Center a year earlier heard
13,000 fans sing in blissful ignorance about love.
I have been overwhelmed by the poem
the way I felt walking
home after my very first dance class.
The way I felt after seeing Carolyn dance
to win “Dancing with the K-State Stars.”
 
I am, at the hands of verse
Emancipated.
Enthralled.
Left wordless.
Freed.
Voluntarily recaptured.

Completely Not Ready

I have known this day would come, and I confess I am completely unready for it.

Today, those of us in the Kansas State University Tap Dance Ensemble, as well as the other dancers cast in Spring Dance 2017, take the floors in Nichols Hall for intensives to prepare us for our shows in March.

For me personally, it’s the last first time that I’ll step on the floor in Studio 026 as a student, and I confess that no matter how excited I am to graduate this coming May, the emotional weight of the steps I’m about to take weigh on me heavier than anything I’ve ever done.

I’ll of course try and be an adult and keep it together as much as possible, but the fact is seeing my teammates will bring me a joy only matchable perhaps by the sadness of a final new beginning.

It’ll take everything I am, every ounce of strength I’ve never showed the world, to focus on what I need to, which is how amazingly blessed I get to be as we start the new semester, and, what is more…

As we all get to dance our way into it.

 

Have a great day everyone :).

The 3 Days 3 Quote Challenge

Day 1. Jan. 4, 2017

Starting off 2017, I have been invited into the “3 Days 3 Quote Challenge” by the lovely and kind Harriet over at A Ballet Of Life. Check her site out, she’s constantly trying to encourage other dancers, which makes us similar in that effect, and her site is incredible :).

With my quotes each day, I’ll try each day to provide at least a little inspiration, and at least one concept maybe you haven’t heard of or thought about before.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Post three quotes each day for three days
  3. Nominate three bloggers each day
  4. Inform the nominees

 

Here are mine for Day 1!

“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”

-Martha Graham! 🙂


“Practice doing things that make you happy. Practice them often. If the things you are doing stop making you happy, find new things to do. Go after happiness.” 

-Tara Stiles! 🙂


“Writing is an art, and few people from big education or elsewhere can do it.”

– Kansas State University athletic director John Currie


Thanks for reading :). Here are my nominees. Don’t feel like you have to participate, it’s just a fun way to connect with other bloggers and writers, and learn about each other as we start the new year. 🙂

Ellie’s Little Bit of Sunshine

Beginning Ballet

Imitation Ballerina

Have a great day everyone. See you tomorrow :).

Poetry: Artificially Friendly

We drive over a hill and find ourselves
face to face with the night
of a thousand multi-colored eyes
staring back at us,
the Christmas lights illuminating
the suburb below.
 
We drive through, exploring
them, exploring
ourselves, exploring
the unique joy, the happy story
each pretends to tell
to the passersby in the dark green Dakota.
 
Each bulb speaks,
silently but unrelenting
as the rays of light that each casts away.
Each bulb whispers its partial meaning
like a shy, rainbow-colored flower
that only blooms at night.
 
We in the truck crack jokes we shouldn’t,
we in the truck share stories we shouldn’t,
because we are drunk. Except I.
I am sober. Silent. Determined to listen
through the whispered lies the lights try to tell us
into the deeper meaning of the truth they don’t.

Unpacking Baggage, and Celebrating Swiftmas

In my senior year of high school, we performed a musical by Elton John and Tim Rice. It was called “Aida,” and its score entranced me so much that I ordered the bloody thing.

I have it to this day.

Song number one of the musical is called “Every Story Is A Love Story,” and this morning, I can’t stop thinking about that line.

I hear the recording of the original Broadway cast singing it. I haven’t actually heard the song in what must be at least six years. Still, it won’t be silenced within my head.

A couple of nights ago, I lay in bed in the dark. I had been doing something occasionally common of late: dwelling on my frustrations at romances lost.

I was deep in thought. About all the times I had messed things up. About all the times I had lost friendships by suggesting they become romantic. About all the times I let romantic relationships go too far only to eventually fail for other reasons entirely, and about all the times someone had simply chosen someone else.

The hobby of trying to figure out where I went wrong or what it was about me that made people shy away had become a favorite hobby, on par with dancing, and far surpassing poetry.

Yet as I lay there that night, in an empty room on a queen-sized bed in a basement apartment, a softer, gentler voice from somewhere deep within spoke up for the first time in a while.

“When are you going to finally let me unpack?”

It was the better part of me speaking, the hopeless romantic and optimist who I’d long ago exiled somewhere accidentally, and it was finally back, returning from exile like Napoleon.

As I lay there, I remembered something: carrying around baggage doesn’t help anyone, least of all us.

And that’s why I have to write this today.

To some degree, every story really is a love story. Every interaction we have, regardless of sexual preference or affiliation with the other person, is a page in the way we treat others. When the Bible tells us “Love your neighbor as yourself” it does not mean “as long as you can be with that person romantically.” It means period. It means “take care of one another.” It means “trust one another, build one another up.” “If I don’t love, I am nothing” does not mean that the person who dies single at age 120 lived in vain, unless they never took care of those around them.

Every story is a love story, with or without romance.

Still, on a more personal level, I realized the other night it was time to unpack. I was sick of carrying around regret and sorrow at things that had failed.

I will no longer remember the wrongs or the failures. I choose to remember only the lessons and, above all, the hope of finding her, my “one,” who these lessons have prepared me to love every bit as gracefully as she deserves.

Muddled together in the suitcase of my past life had been clothes I ruined on the chaotic seas of my previous adventures into romantic love. Clothes of personality traits that I wore until they no longer served to assist or protect me from the hard winds and cold rains I had battled and, at times, danced in.

But mixed among the ruined clothes of my memories were the mementos of the lessons I took from each. Not sorrow-filled or sadness-affiliated ones; just… happy ones. Sure, my heart had been sore at those I lost, chased away, or had to be left behind by, but hidden among all of those memories, once I decided to unpack them all and stop dragging them everywhere with me, were little gems of hope.

My first girlfriend in college introduced me to the soundtrack of the musical “Spring Awakening.” I’ve never seen it, but one lyric from one of the songs comes to mind:

“Those you’ve paid, they carry that still with them. All the same, they whisper ‘All forgiven.'”

This week, as we look ahead to the holiday season, I encourage you to take a second and unpack. We all have it, and though I’m certain I’ve unpacked all of mine, I know someone reading this likely has baggage they aren’t ready to unpack yet.

That’s OK. All I’m saying is remember to go easy on yourself if you haven’t found your “one” yet, especially in a season during which everyone around you might appear to have everything you’re still looking for.

In a season full of holidays that include probably getting new clothes, let us wash the clothes of our memories clean and hold on only to the helpful lessons, the mementos, of that which we’ve left behind.

It’s “Swiftmas” everyone. On this day 27 years ago, a girl was born who, as a child, would write some of the truest literature about love to ever be written in any language.

Don’t forget to love a little childishly today.

Let me know if you need anything.

Sports: Countering The “Today’s Game Is Harder” Argument.

One of the biggest comments I often hear from younger sports fans of some of the old-school greats is “Well, the game is different today than it was back then. It’s harder.”

I don’t buy that logic.

Sure, today’s athletes are in many ways bigger, stronger, and faster than they were as recently as the 1990’s and the 1980’s, and of course the gap gets bigger the further you go back in time.

That argument, however, fails to account for the fact that today’s sports are in many ways easier than they have ever been as well.

The argument that today’s sports are harder than they have ever been is used seemingly without fail to support the theory that today’s athletes are the greatest of all time. Most often, this argument is used by people in my generation, the Millennials.

Everyone wants to think they’re watching the best athletes ever and sure, that’s probably technically true in some ways.

Regardless of sport, many of the records in professional baseball, hockey, football, and basketball have all been either set or challenged recently by players or teams who played after the turn of the millennium.

Last year, the Golden State Warriors broke the record held by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls for the most wins in an NBA regular season, and the 2007 New England Patriots challenged the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team to win every game, including playoffs, in a season, falling one game short of perfection with a loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl that year.

But the argument that today’s players are better than ever simply because the game is “harder” is inherently fickle.

We are a society of “what have you done for me lately” thinking. We as a culture, like the minds of us as individuals, have a far greater appreciation for recent memories than for more distant ones. We feel the bitter windchill outside and think “today is the coldest it’s ever felt” even if two years ago the weather was actually colder.

Such thinking is inherently self-centered, however, and that’s where the argument for today’s greatness over yesterday’s runs into its greatest problem; it doesn’t account for the mental toughness of the players who already are considered the best ever.

Saying today’s game is more difficult than it used to be, whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, hockey or any other sport Americans compete in at the professional or intercollegiate levels might be factually true. Baseball pitchers may throw faster pitches than ever and they may have more pitch variations than ever existed. Football players may run faster or jump higher than they ever have. Rules in football or basketball may make the game less physical than each sport has ever been, meaning players of old might not have been able to get away with some of the physicality they played with in their times.

Yet however true these facts may be, and however harder today’s sports may be for all the reasons listed above, this particular argument inherently fails to take into account how today’s sports are easier than they’ve ever been as well.

Today’s technology is just one example. Technology is better than it has ever been. We can analyze and study film in ways players like Micheal Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain and Joe Montana and Dan Marino never could. Pads are more durable, lighter, and smaller than they have ever been because of technology only recently developed or mastered, allowing athletes to move more easily, efficiently, and safely than has ever been possible.

That isn’t all either.

Instead of practicing every day with pads, NFL teams are able to supplement on-field practice with tools like virtual reality headsets, like the Arizona Cardinals have.

Computers track information in ways coaches like Mike Ditka never had available to them as recently as the 80’s. Sure, today’s athletes are faster, but that’s at least partially because of science. They’re able to achieve such feats more easily because the understanding of human nutrition has never been better. A torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow used to be a death-blow to a baseball pitcher’s career. Then, in 1974, Tommy John surgery was developed. Now, players not only recover, but actually often have better careers because of the surgery and the recover affiliated with it.

Modern science continues to help athletes both lengthen and improve their careers.

That isn’t to say today’s greatest players couldn’t compete with the greats that came before them either, don’t get me wrong. I just think we as fans often overlook one key piece of information when we compare today’s athletes to yesterday’s:

A person’s success is a manifestation of the mind within.

Regardless of the field in which we exist, whether that be as professional athletes or as professional anythings, it is the mind that creates success, not the body. The body is a manifestation of the mind within, not the other way way around. The same is true with success.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to ever play not because of his physical ability but because of his mental ability. He played on Father’s Day in an NBA Championship series despite his father’s death just three years earlier. He played the famous “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals, in which Jordan earned 38 points despite playing through what was either the flu or severe food-poisoning.

Mental toughness, and the desire needed to accomplish such things, transcends the rules of the game as they are now or as they were then.

Such feats show the mental toughness and the desire Jordan had. And Jordan isn’t unique among professional athletes who demonstrated such mental toughness.

There’s the late Gordie Howe, who played professional hockey until he was 51. There was Nolan Ryan who played 27 years and still holds the record for most career strikeouts as an MLB pitcher with 5,714. He’s a whole 839 better than Randy Johnson, No.2 on the list, and 2,988 better than C.C. Sabathia, who has the most of career strikeouts among active pitchers with 2,726, according to baseball-almanac.com.

Jordan, Ryan and Howe were all great athletes because they possessed incredible mental toughness, and that toughness manifested itself in their athletic endeavors.

Such toughness adapts, regardless of the challenges it faces, and prevents those who have it from ever being forgotten.

It also prevents me from ever believing these players wouldn’t have been just as good in today’s sports as they were when they played.

 

 

Poetry: “Memoir Of A Sea Captain.”

Memoir Of A Sea Captain
 
 
He sails alone.
In a ship with a hull full of holes
The Sea captain engages the journey’s onslaught.
 
He has spent weeks on this ship,
Bailing water out of a wooden bowl
With but a single sail.
 
Death’s body odor has been his lone, constant companion.
It could have come, could still come
At any moment.
 
He has slept.
But when he has slept
It has been with the restlessness of an infant.
 
He has eaten.
But when he has eaten,
He has conserved food like the soldier in the trench converses toilet paper.
 
All the while, he has spent every minute aware.
 
Aware that the little hull he sails across the sea,
Aware that this vessel, the single, small sinew which binds him to life,
Could fail at any moment.
 
Until he sees the shore, that is,
And he finally starts to believe that he might actually make it.
 
Thus is my autobiography as I approach
My final semester in college.