It’s Been a While…

Over the last few months a lot has happened causing change in my life, but also leaving me exhausted and unsure. I was dancing three times a week a few months ago. Progress was coming, though I was still behind most of my class and struggling with weight, but I looked forward to going to the studio after work and working hard. Then I got laid off. I was a contracted graphic designer with a one year contract that was cut in half. It may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was instant anxiety. Not only did it mean I had to give up my ballet classes, but how was I supposed to pay for well….life. I have a crushing amount of student debt racked up on credit cards that I had started to pay off and was actually making good progress on with my job. I was hoping that my position would go permanent, that someone would actually want me, that I’d finally be good enough to be a part of a team that meant something, and again I was wrong. I started to think about my life as a series of failures strung together with glimmers of hope in between that always become extinguished by failing. I know that negative thinking is not going to solve anything, but when nothing good or successful ever happens to you no matter how hard you work, how else are you supposed to think? Right know I feel broken, useless, untalented and like I will never be able to support myself because I’m only good enough to be a greeter at Wall Mart or something. I’ve been on a few great interviews since, one I even had 3 for, but it always ends the same: “We want to thank you for your time and interest in this position. At this time we have narrowed down our selected candidates to those that more closely fit our culture, and the experience and skills we were searching for. I am sorry to say we will not be progressing further with you as a candidate for this role.” Now what? I was sure I had it! Even though it would be a three month trial period (that I was sure I’d be fired from after) it gave me hope that I could finally fit somewhere and be valued. I’ve paid my dues, I’ve worked for years for free which cost me more credit card debt and a ton of mils on my car, I just crave that moment of success where someone sees me as talented enough to be paid a livable wage, have a secure job, and start my life. It just doesn’t seem like it will happen for me.

On a positive note, it does give me plenty of time to work on my photography business and hopefully be able to learn marketing and get noticed in that field, which is where my passion really lies besides dance. I’ve also had time to go to the gym daily, practice yoga, and even was available to sub some aerial classes (another job I wasn’t talented enough to keep and make a career out of, and that crushed my soul when I was replaced). And since I’m competing in pole fitness again I’ve been setting time aside to practice at home daily and get to the closest studio a few times a week to work on endurance and choreography.

Ballet got pushed to the side for a few months because I resented it for not being able to do it. I stopped working on my feet, I stopped doing arabesques at my kitchen counter, and my pointe shoes practically had cobwebs on them. When I went to the studio yesterday to work on my pole routine, I grabbed my dance bag and my camera thinking maybe I would be inspired. And I was right. After practicing pole for a couple hours I definitely needed a break. The lighting is always beautiful here, so I dug in my dance bag and found a leo, tutu, pointe shoes, and made a messy bun atop my head. Then a song came on, I danced for the first time in months (ok so wearing a tutu makes everything better anyway), and felt magnificent. This is what I love. This is what I crave. Maybe this is where I belong. I might need to do a re-shoot this week, since when I changed positions I forgot to take the focus lock off and so my depth of field is off  (oops!), but that just gives me another reason to go back. To create. To fly.

Last night I started re-watching Dance Academy, which opens with Tara, a simple farm girl who dreams of being a ballerina, wanting to fly. She says:

“I always knew in another life I could fly. That’s why in this life I dance”

Fly!

Alicia-1

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At The Ballet: Boston Ballet Swan lake!

If I could sum up the Boston Ballets production of Sean Lake in one word (and that’s hard!) it would be mesmerizing. I have never had my eyes glued to the stage so hard, on the verge of tears. My aunt and mom came with me this time, my aunt had done ballet and pointe as a kid/teen and was excited to see her first production. My moms been hooked since Onegin and wants to go to all of them now (except I have to buy next time haha)! 

The ballet started out just as you would expect, with a girl being dragged into the lake and bewitched into a swan. The Prince is celebrating his birthday and receives a shiny new bow, in which he wants to use in a hunt, where he meets the Swan Queen, Odette. She is scared and timid, but they fall in love. The Principal dancers were Ashley Ellis as Odette/Odile, Eris Nezha as Prince Siegfried and Bo Busby as Rothbart the evil sorcerer.

Ellis drew you in to the beauty and desire of the swan as the story unfolded. When the prince promised to love her and break the curse, and then faltered, her emotion was powerful, raw and real. It brought tears to all of our eyes. 

When the third act opened, the swans rose from the fog in the most unforgettable display of beauty that I will remember forever. As a photographer, I would seriously love a print of that moment with the swans rising from the fog, it was breathtaking! Boston Ballet has a photo of it on their page that I borrowed for sake of this blog to show you!


Photo by Gene Schiavone, who is one of my photography idols!

The third act was a stunning array of deception, scandal and passion. When the Prince realizes he has made a tragic mistake and trapped Odette forever, they dance until the sorcerer is killed, unlike most versions of the production. The lovers then have nothing to live for and acend into the lake to die. 

I have to say, the ending was changed drastically from all the Swan Lakes I’ve seen online. There was no dying swan solo, which I was looking foreward to. But in some ways, it wasn’t needed. I liked the story change, where they are together no matter what and the sorcerer is defeated.

Another marvelous production! 

Here are some photos from the day and some swan photography from my week!

Belonging

I literally just deleated the most depressing post I would probably ever write. It was last week I started it and never got around to finishing because I felt so sad. We all have those days right? When we feel like we art life’s third wheel and don’t fit in anywhere? Well, needless to say, if I had posted it I probably would have gone back and got rid of it anyway, because those are not the kind of vibes I’m trying to bring into my life!! 👍🏻

The end of last week I had a massive migraine for 3 days, and it was awful! I’m training for a 10 miler and half marathon and missed 2 run days on my schedule due to the headache 😖. The worst! Anyway, I’m back on track with that and have a 5 mile run today after work. My body has been in so much pain from working out lately, that I haven’t been dancing, and started again last Thurdsday. I felt stiff and sore, but otherwise I don’t think it was too tragic (maybe from everyone else in the class’s point of view haha). But I’m glad to start working ballet back into my schedule, I think I’ll stick to once or twice a week until the 10 miler, because I have to stay flexible and definitely noticed my turn out suffering. After tonight’s run I’m going to do a great long stretch and maybe a very basic barre.

Speaking of body pain, I have not been able to sleep a wink because of my old, hard mattress! I woke up in such agony this morning, tossing and turning all week, that on my lunch break I went to Cardi’s and laid on all the plush mattresses in the store. Kind of pathetically desperate to get a good nights sleep, I bought one and it’s being delivered tomorrow! Horay!! Now I have to clean my house, because between my ballet barre, photography equipment, painting supplies, and clothes and other random stuff piling up, they probably can’t even get to my room with it! 

Oh and painting! I’ve been finding a little time to get back into that as well! I went to see Boston Ballet do Swan Lake this weekend (look out for my next At The Ballet! Post) and was so inspired I painted a white swan vs black swan theme on an old pair of pointe shoes. I think I finally figured out what to do with them when they die! Maybe they will go on my Etsy shop???

See you at the barre!


Self-doubt and Why You Shouldn’t!

Bad things I say about myself is the topic of the day in a dance forum I belong to.  Well this is a good one for me because I’ve been self-doubting and talking bad about myself for years. Mostly because when I used to be confident, people who didn’t know me judged me on how I looked and called me a conceited stuck up bitch. Once they actually got to talking to me they’d tell me how nice I was and how everyone says I’m stuck up because of how I look. (Believe me I don’t think I look that great but I would do my hair and makeup and felt pretty, I guess thats being conceited). So I started talking down on myself before other people had the chance too because it hurt me so much. In college once we had a show where we had to do 5 pieces, and I did a series of self portraits in photography of me doing ballet in random outdoor places. One girl in my class tore me apart and said I was the most conceited person she ever met because the whole thing was a “shrine to me” and that I “must think I’m so great” when most of them you couldn’t even see my face, I didn’t have any models, and I was so new to photography I really didn’t know what I was doing. I remember going to Starbucks after and crying to the barista. I was bullied in college a few years later again, by a girl who was threatened by me and tried to get me kicked out. (What the heck is wrong with people!!!??)  After that whenever I would present work or meet people I would instantly bash myself before they could, and sadly it worked. I haven’t been called conceited or stuck up or a bitch since I started putting myself down. I’m trying to break the habit now, because I’m trying to love myself and not care what people do or say about me. It’s their choice to be judgmental instead of getting to know someone, and if that’s how they want to be then its their issues with themselves and shouldn’t be mine. I think really immersing myself in yoga has helped me a lot with this, and about looking within myself and seeing my worth regardless to other peoples opinions. I started calling myself fat, useless, an awful amateur photographer, I suck at art, I suck at dance, I suck at life, and everything in between. It was so much easier to devalue myself before someone else could make me feel useless. I felt sad and depressed all the time. I threw out multiple pieces of art because I thought if I showed anyone they would just say it was terrible and I couldn’t take any more negativity. If I felt it already, it couldn’t get worse right? I’ve been constantly bullied and put down by people everywhere I go, and at every stage of my life. I even had an older woman say some rude judgmental stuff to me here at work last week which upset me. I’m not going to let their problems be my problems though. I see the beauty in everyone, and I hope someday the people that hurt other people to make themselves feel good can learn to see that too.

Starting a blog and vlog were really difficult for me because of how I’ve been judged before. I thought, if I start this the comments are going to come again “oh look a blog all about you you you you conceited bitch”. That fear stopped me from writing and photographing for years. I just recently started creating self portraits through photography as artistic expressions of my fears, hopes and dreams inspired by my favorite self portrait photographer, Brooke Shaden. I took her workshop back in November, and she is such a beautiful and positive soul!

I’m going to keep creating, regardless of judgmental people. If they want to leave mean comments, thats marks on their character, not mine. My soul is going to be free to create and live the life I want, not trying to hide in the shadows because of other people and their insecurities. Why shouldn’t you be proud of the amazing things you can do?!! I find uplifting people so much better than tearing them down to get ahead or because someone is different. Follow your passion, and don’t let anyone stop you!

If you want to see my fine art photography work, visit https://www.facebook.com/AliciaHeaneyPhotography/

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I Started a Vlog????

So this is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. I’ve been inspired by fellow bloggers and vloggers (even though they are a lot more interesting than me) and I guess I have interesting things to do or talk about, but I feel kind of silly. Here’s the girl who was bullied in high school, college and everywhere in between, who the heck wants to watch and listen to me??? My boyfriends probably going to laugh at me and my moms probably going to think I have a few more screws loose in my head, but honestly, filming was a lot of fun! I’ve never seen myself talk on camera and it came pretty naturally. I’m making a lot of lifestyle changes with healthy eating, more yoga and meditation, ballet multiple times a week, cooking, and working in the real world about to be on my own. So some people might laugh at me, and I’m sure there will be a few trolls trying to bring down my positive vibes (seriously, get a life) but I feel like a fresh start, and I might as well join the social media Vlog community along with it. Maybe no one will watch, listen or care. But if I can be inspired by others, who are just regular people like me, then I hope I can inspire one person too. Maybe I’m not inspiring, I’ve struggled with self image for years now because I used to be confident and would be called a snobby stuck up bitch by people who didn’t even know me. Then they would start talking to me and be like “wow you’re actually really nice, I thought you were a bitch because of how you look” (ummmmm….what!? I didn’t know bitch had a look!?). So I always thought I’d put myself down before everyone else had the chance to. Well I’m not going to do that anymore, because people are going to be mean and judge and make you feel bad regardless of how you view yourself. We have to have to power and belief in ourselves to ignore them and continue to be happy and confident! So here we go!

Vlog # 1:

Enjoy!

Also, here are some of my yummy healthy eats from this week! 

  
Take beautiful photos,

Live a beautiful life ❤️

Alicia

http://www.aliciaannphoto.com

http://www.righthereatthebarre.com

Yogarina

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather the past week. Job stress and sitting all day is really starting to get me down. I’ve been feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to do everything I want to, and still get enough sleep. I need a good reset, so I’m going to trade my Tuesday ballet class for yoga for the next couple of weeks so I have more time at home to get some photo editing done for clients after work. There’s a great little yoga studio right down the street from my work, and from recovering from this awful migraine the hit me a couple days ago I think that’s just what the doctor ordered! The class starts at 5:30 tonight, so right after work, and I’ll be home much earlier and miss rush hour! My ballet class wouldn’t start until 7 and I can’t go home in between because of traffic, so I end up with and hour and a half of useless time to kill when I’m not getting anything done which is super frustrating. I need to find a way to make that time productive, somehow, or maybe just stick to yoga on Tuesdays. I really don’t want to give up a dance class, but the struggle of work life balance is getting real!

  

It’s all about the attitude

This week ballet taught me an important life lesson, attitude. A lot of people describe me as a downer, always talking down about myself (a defense mechanism from when I was young and confident and often called a snobby b*tch) and an all around negative person. I’ve often described myself as an epitome of Murphy’s Law: If it can go wrong, it will. Well this year I’ve been working hard to try and change my mindset and break that thinking pattern to build a successful life. I’ve been reading book on the Law of Attraction (“The Secret”- some of it is kinda iffy, but all in all a great read), and currently “You Are a Badass” at the recommendation of one of my favorite photographers when she started a book club. Many of the things I’ve been reading talk about how your energy attracts like energy. If you go into something feeling like it’s going to fail, it probably will. If you go into something saying “yea I got this!” You have a much better chance of success. Right now in my life, I’m trying to build my photography business, work full time, and improve so much as a dancer that maybe I will someday end up with a chance to perform. So many things (that could go wrong shhhhhh! Stupid negative voice go away!!) happening at once with so many different goals. 

When I got back into serious dancing 3-4 times a week it was about 3 months ago. I started by going back to beginner classes, but quickly realized that I was bored in a lot of them. Sure I’d still leave sweaty because the barre work, but center, where I need to improve the most, was just not at the level I needed. Step out of beginner classes and they are wayyyyy above my level of needing everything broken down and demonstrated for me to understand. The classes I’m taking now are a good balance, and I’m really glad I found this studio. While it’s still faster paced, I feel like I can kind of keep up and there is something to strive for. The teacher is wonderful and answers questions and explains things if slow little me asks! 

Back to how the attitude comes into this! The past 2 weeks at the studio I felt good, barre went well, I didn’t make a fool of myself until petite allegro and a bit of grand allegro, but that’s my weak area. Last Thursday went awful and I left in tears. Everything went wrong. That morning I was late for work and stuck in crazy traffic. Work was busy and stressful with constant edits to projects that in my opinion were unnesicary and very annoying. I was exhausted on top of it. I went to class in a bad mood, hoping it would cheer me up, but it didn’t, it got worse. I got the most terrible spot at the barre, the one where you have to start facing the back of the room where there is no mirror and no one to follow. I panicked and knew it was going to be a disaster. The voice in my head said this is about to be an awful class. Awful. You’re going to fail all over the place. And guess what, I did. I was on the wrong foot through half the combos, my feet were getting tangled on each other, and my balance was off completely. At the end of class I as I held my head in shame leaving, I walked across the studio floor in street shoes and completely got called out on it. I went to my car and cried all the way home feeling like a miserable failure.

This past week, for my first class of the week, I went in with a better attitude. I acted like I belonged. I felt like I belonged. I got my spot at the barre that I like (made sure of it!) and while I still made mistakes (no one is perfect, I’ve even seen company members loose their balance and misstep!) I didn’t let them affect me, I shrugged them off and danced on. When I got a correction I applied it and worked harder. I left with a good feeling and ideas in my head on which things I wanted to improve upon next class (tonight!). What did I learn? If you go in thinking everything will go wrong, it probably will. If you go in saying I will do my best with what I have and where I am now, you have a much better success rate! So now, I’m going to give myself that pep talk before every class, as well as this great quote from Dance Academy: “Success is 90 percent hard work, 10 percent raw talent. I am not a cross. I am a tick. I don’t deviate, I don’t loose focus; this will happen for me. It has to”- Abigail Armstrong

  
See you at the Barre!

Alicia