I do this thing called what I want.
If you just glanced at my life and behavior from the outside, you might think I'm a glutton for pleasure. I mean, I eat cheesecake for breakfast and always seem to have a glass of wine in hand. So, I can see why you might get that idea;) But the truth is, I wasted so much of my life denying myself pleasure & love that I'm now just making up for lost time.
I spent my earlier years abusing my body as I tried to force it into the perfect ballet mold. I starved myself. I exercised obsessively. I ripped and tore my joints apart, disregarding what was anatomically possible & healthy. I said terrible things to myself in ballet class in an effort to get my body to obey what I thought it should look like. I punished myself, destroyed my body, and endured a lot of pain…so much so that I gave myself PTSD and still have trouble taking ballet classes to this day.
But I wore that pain as a badge of honor. I was a queen of self-denial. I thought, the more I suffered…the more I would surely be rewarded for my sacrifices. For some sick reason, I was convinced that if I made it hurt bad enough, that would somehow equate to being “good enough”- in my ballet, as a person, in my life.
And the thing is…I know there are lots of other dancers out there with a similar tape running through their heads. Your demons tell you the more you torture yourself, the more success you will find. So you obsess – over your classes, over your workouts, over your technique, over your food choices. You brutally criticize that image you see in the mirror – must get your leg higher, must get skinnier, must force a better line. You turn down opportunity after opportunity for pleasure until there is nothing left in your life but torture. And you think that will bring you success.
But take it from me, that path will get you nowhere except to a place where your self-loathing consumes all your passion. Not only will you hate yourself, but you’ll eventually start to hate ballet, the very thing you were sacrificing yourself for in the first place. The hate will creep in slowly, without you even realizing it until it’s too late and you’ve thrown away years of your life and art to this torture you thought would lead to success. No amount of torture will ever be “good enough” when you are reaching for outside perfection.
Maybe this self-torture method doesn’t sound very productive after all. Maybe you need a new plan. Maybe you are ready to try on a different mindset.
It wasn't until I learned how to enhance my body for what it was that I saw my true potential (in ballet & life) realized. I’m talking about body transformation not out of self-hate but through self-love, by nurturing your body into its full potential.
How do you do that?
1) Through shifting your mindset around exercise – seeing it not as a means of burning calories or beating yourself down…but as a way of building yourself up. Cross-training should be a way to upgrade your body - using workouts to enhance your musculature, fortify your joints, improve your coordination, & understand how your unique body moves. Exercising Bulletproof Ballerina style teaches that the magic is not in the exercises themselves but in the way you do those exercises, requiring an internal focus where you get in your body, appreciate how it works, & enhance how it moves. This is what it means to train differently. Instead of leaving the gym barely able to walk because you beat up on yourself so badly, you strut out more confident and stronger than ever. That self-built strength and confidence transfers directly over to your ballet as you upgrade your body to its full potential.
2) And through diet – not a “diet” in the traditional sense where you hold yourself to a strict procedure and deny certain foods…but an eating plan that nurtures your body and coaxes certain results through your food choices. Gaining an insight and awareness around which foods to eat for fat loss, performance power, and pleasure gives you control over your eating in a healthy way.
Through these 2 shifts…I was able to get my passion back and stop my cycle of self-denial. I was able to enjoy life again. My self-worth and “success” were no longer tied to how much torture I could inflict on myself…but through how alive I could feel in my life. That’s why I now consider myself a hardcore pleasure seeker. That’s why now I embrace all the opportunities to indulge. That’s why now I do what I want instead of what those demons tell me I should do.
Which version do you think will allow you to create better art - being a Queen of Self-Denial or Unashamed Pleasure Seeker? Stop trying to torture yourself into success. Stop reaching for something outside yourself to make you happy. Stop trying to stuff yourself into a “perfect” ballet mold. It's time to turn inward to develop your unique version of ballet, fusing your body’s ability with the art. Ironically, when you stop trying to achieve success through self-abuse & austerity…that is when you start creating real art.