Ham. It’s just ham.

Emotions are interesting. For me, it has been quite the journey to unlock, control, and accept them. As a teenager, I was always so focused on my goals that I saw showing my emotions as a sign of weakness.

When I joined my first ballet company, one of my coworkers thought I was a cold and emotionless bun-head because I was so quiet, rarely showed feelings, and focused everything on my skills. Then came our tour to Spain…Spain has a lot of ham. One day, we were trying to find a place to eat while most shops and cafes were closed for siesta. The one place open nearby was only serving ham sandwiches. It had been about 3+ years since I ate ham, but a girl’s got to eat, so I gave it a try and it didn’t seem so bad. Flash forward 2 hours after taking the train to Barcelona. When we arrived, my stomach began to cause me a lot of pain. It was so bad that I could barely stand up and yes, I began to cry in the middle of crowded downtown Barcelona. This was the first time that coworker saw me cry and till this day she claims it is the moment she realized I was a real human with a soul. (We’ve been best friends ever since)

I am much more open with my emotions these days. Yesterday, in the middle of yoga, I had a complete meltdown. I went into the hot room as I usually did ready and hydrated for class, but as soon as we hit the floor, I was flooded with emotions. Emotions I could not handle. My heart hurt, the heat was annoying me, and my muscles were so fatigued they began jittering. What was going on? I was thinking, hold it together, finish your practice, you’ll be fine. My body had another plan though and released the floodgates. I felt so emotional that I couldn’t physically do the postures and had to sit some out. The teacher asked if I was ok and of course I replied yes, but I wasn’t and have no clue why. Maybe I was just being a girl, and letting go some of the stuff in my heart? Maybe it was my emotions from the night before finally letting themselves out? Maybe it was because I didn’t get the same sleep I usually do? All I know is I let it happen. I laid there and cried and took deep breaths and let the feelings run their course. Then I rejoined the class for the final few postures. Guess what, I felt so much better after! I think it was just stuff that needed to come out.

My emotions often come out at odd times, like the ham incident. I mean really? I cried over ham? haha Sometimes it is hard to decipher when to show your emotions and when to hold them in and be tough. People may judge you or you may feel vulnerable. However, I believe it is perfectly fine to show how you feel, when you feel it. It will only allow you to go through life more truthfully and open πŸ™‚

 

Kaia and I. Thanks to that ham sandwich for bringing me this best friend :)

Kaia and I. Thanks to that ham sandwich for bringing out my emotions and giving me this best friend πŸ™‚

 

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

I woke up today and for some reason I had this song stuck in my head. I could not stop singing that line “Have I told you lately that I love you” and then it really got me thinking. I began thinking of all the people I love. My parents, sister, brother, nephews, grandparents, the rest of my family, friends near and far, loves. I was wondering when the last time it was that I told them I loved them. I try to show my love everyday but as far as saying it, I think it could come out a bit more often. Β So I made a pact to say it. If I love someone, on any level of the word, I should start telling them more often.

Then, as I thought more and more about this phrase of the song, I thought “Wait a second! What about me?!” Do I love myself? Is it ok to love myself? Is there a way to fully love yourself without being narcissistic? I’m writing today to tell you that it is possible and needed. It is very much ok to love yourself. Most of us spend days upon days trying to impress others and please others and trying to make others love us, when really what is probably most important is loving ourselves first.

Every day both at ballet class and yoga, I am forced to look at myself in the mirror. In ballet, the mirror is a means to fix lines, movement qualities, and aid in placement. However, in yoga it is there to face yourself and begin accepting who you are. To become comfortable with who you are and then if there is something you would like to change, to be able to see yourself changing but because you want to, not because others want you to change or because that change will make someone else happy. I have been practicing for quite some time now and am just beginning to see it. I am accepting who I am and honestly, beginning to love it. Flaws we see in ourselves are just our bodies and minds being unique and we all need to love ourselves for them. When you begin to feel comfortable with who you are this amazing sense of freedom encompasses you.

I do believe that we can only begin loving others once we have a strong grasp on who we are and once we love the person we are. Because once that freedom in yourself is obtained you can begin to spread it to loved ones. Otherwise, if we are not yet in love with ourselves, we are only seeking it in others to feel accepted, not to actually love the person.

So I challenge you all. Spend a few minutes just looking at yourself in the mirror. Look in your eyes, look at our face, your body, you hair. Observe, absorb, critique, compliment and then end by saying “I love you”. Β Try it everyday until you begin to truly understand you and accept who you are. It may sound easy, but trust me, things will surprise you. Then, once you’ve got a handle on loving yourself, go out in the world and spread your love to others πŸ™‚

Now enjoy this tune:Β http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ4NAZPi2js

Two Days till showtime!

In just two days, The Barak Ballet will present L.A. Moves. I am so honored to be a part of this performance and perform Lux Aeterna choreographed by Melissa Barak.

We have been working very hard the past few weeks getting performance ready. For me, the biggest difficulty with this piece was letting go and almost trying to make lines not so classical. I came right from Sleeping Beauty with Ballet West where I had to make sure every step I took was a classical line. Now I need to try and forget a bit about the technique and bring more of my soul and feeling into the dancing. In Lux Aeterna, I am representing someone who is facing death and I need to show resistance, fear, struggle, and finally give in. It has felt satisfying to be dancing more free and emotionally connected to the dance and am really looking forward to the the performance on Thursday. It is a bit stressful that all this work is for just one performance but I am sure that pressure will actually work in our favor and help us perform our best.

The performance is on Thursday October 24, 2013, 8pm at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. It consists of Β four unique pieces danced by beautiful, dedicated artists. Hope to see you there!

Here are a few links about the performance:

http://barakballet.org/

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-melissa-barak-ballet-20131020,0,5280714.story

http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2013/10/melissa_barak_ballet.php