Monday, 13 August 2012

Making progress (and dancing irreverently)

So, there's an exciting thing happening today (although not the exciting thing that I keep saying I can't talk about.... there's a post coming about that later).

Today, I'm starting Grade 1 Ballet with Irreverent Dance. Now, partially this is massively exciting because I'm learning ballet with a bunch of awesome people in a safe and encouraging environment. It's a place where I can be myself, and not feel the pressure of trying to fit into the Ballet stereotype. I know for a fact (from the people who raved about last term) that I'm going to have fun and make some amazing new friends. And the classes won't be *too* serious.

But the thing that makes me most excited is that I'm well enough to go this time around. I registered for last term, hoping to have got my seizures under control enough to deal with something like a ballet class and all the things that come with it (travelling into London, concentrating on learning a new thing etc), but the week before I was due to start, my seizures kicked off with a fearsome vengeance. It was a pretty hard knock to my confidence and my happiness. At the time, it felt like seizures were blocked me from just doing the normal things I wanted to do (and the reason it felt like that was because they really were, in a horrible, boring way).

It's only really in the last couple of weeks that I've started to see my confidence eeking back, my happiness raising a little and my body feeling up for the challenge of exercise and activity. I've been spinning poi daily, and spinning a little hula hoop here and there too. I span fire poi on a beach a few weeks ago. And on Friday, I went for my first run in about 5 months. It was nothing special, just 2 laps around a fairly small park, maybe 10 minutes of running in total, if that, but it was something. A run has genuinely never felt as good as that one. Seeing my body able to do the thing I've missed so dearly. It felt like a significant moment. A symbol of freedom being given back.

It's weird - I'm not completely better - I still have a blacklist of cafes that I know will trigger seizures within 10 minutes of entering, I still take my giant (awesome) headphones and a bottle of diazepam everywhere with me, just in case. I still leave parties early if they get too loud and have odd patches where I space out and forget entire conversations. I still see the looks of concern on my best friend's face if I'm staring into the middle distance for no apparent reason, and I still have days where I end up collapsed in a shaking heap on the bed, biting back tears of frustration. But I feel better, stronger, more in control. A seizure or a patch of spaceyness doesn't throw me as much as it did. I'm not as angry at my body. I don't feel so sad or so alone. I actually spend a lot of my time feeling lucky and appreciative that things are getting better and that I'm surrounded by so many wonderful people who've done and given so much.

For me, starting a Ballet class today isn't just another exciting event on a sometimes too busy calendar. It's a symbolic marker in my journey towards normal life again. And that, my friends, makes me happier than you could possibly know.
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