4. Learn to care for myself. Give myself a pamper day every 6 months.

Hello readers, from me, on my couch, on a Wednesday at 4:30pm. I’m taking a sick day. Ugh. When did sick days get so boring? Remember when you were little and sick days meant napping, delicious soup, and reading in bed? I’ve had none of those things today. I stayed home because I’m dizzy when I stand, and a little when I’m sitting, and while teaching dance from a pillow on the floor would be a good challenge, I thought I should try to zap whatever this is out of my system. Now, I’ve tried to nap, on 3 separate occasions, but I’m just not tired. I don’t have any soup in the house, and haven’t been in the mood to read. So basically, I’m a cranky, dizzy, grump. With a super cute little nugget on my lap, which I’d gladly show you a picture of, but my Internet freezes every time I try to attach a picture. Woof.

Ok, so I’m about to get serious for a minute. Hold onto your hats. The past couple years, I’ve held mini conferences with my older dance students. I give them a goal sheet on the first day of class and they have to come up with three goals, which we discuss during their conference. I do the conferences during class, and although I like getting to chat with my students one on one, it takes a long time and doesn’t always produce the dialogue I’m hoping for. Sometimes, it provides no dialogue and I might as well be telling the wall how impressed I am with its intricate footwork. So, this year, I decided to switch it up a bit and give my students a notecard each month. I pose a question, they respond on the notecard, and then I write back to them on the back. Jessica and I are both doing it with our classes, and so far, I’m really enjoying it. So, this month, our question is, “What qualities do you have that make you a successful _______ dancer?” I posed this question to my advanced tap girls on Monday. I have 4 girls in there, who are all extremely talented. But when I gave them the question, they all stared at me blankly. I stared back. They stared some more. Finally, one of them said, “But what if I don’t know?” My response was something along the lines of, “You mean, what if you don’t know what makes you one of the most successful tap dancers in our program?” I thought this was a little strange at first; I mean, surely they had to know they were talented. So I said, “Well, for example, if I was doing one of these, I’d write about my sense of rhythm, and how I pick up a lot of tap steps by listening rather than watching. I’d also talk about how I seek out challenging steps on my own, to help me become a better tapper and a better teacher.” Crickets. And then it hit me. These beautiful, talented, awesome girls that I work with don’t know how to brag about themselves! They don’t know how to talk up their good points, or what makes them GOOD. So I said that. Just that. And they all agreed. “But bragging about yourself makes you seem like a jerk,” one of them said. I agreed that it can, but if done in the right way, it doesn’t have to. It makes you look confident. It took them nearly 15 minutes, but at the end of class, each girl turned in a notecard with all the reasons she was a successful tapper. It got me thinking, though. Is it part of our nature as humans, or as girls, to discredit our successes? I’m read about how females think they are imposters, especially in the work environment. I’ve felt it. And I’m pretty sure my 16 year old self wouldn’t have known what to write either. Why are we that way? Why is it so hard to recognize our strengths? The girls told me that if the assignment had been to write a card for each person in their class, they could do it. It was hard because it was about them. 

I’m bringing this all up because, I feel like a big part of my job is to be a personal cheerleader for each one of my students. Some days, I’m praising them. Other days, I’m giving them tough love. Some days still, I’m trying to help them with life lessons. But, I am always, ALWAYS pushing them to take care of themselves. Always. Have a big test tomorrow? It’s ok to miss class to study. Your ankle hurts? There’s no shame in sitting down. Take care of yourself.

…Which is something I need to say to myself more often. I mean, earlier today, I had an internal battle raging: go to work, when I knew I shouldn’t, or stay home? I kept trying to tell myself that maybe I’d feel better once I got to work, and that being dizzy wasn’t so bad, it could be worse, etc. In the end, the smart part of my brain won, and I decided to take care of myself. Yes, I’m sitting here feeling bad that Jessica is teaching my classes for me, but I made the right choice.

Now, today isn’t my pamper day. That would be awful. My real pamper day was supposed to be this past Friday. I scheduled a massage for after work, and cleared my evening schedule so I could have the night to myself. Me, homemade pizza, cheesecake, wine, and JGL movies. Best night ever. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. The massage was excellent, but I got home and spent the next three hours working on scheduling for the show I’m choreographing. I ate dinner at 9, sans wine, as my massage left me pretty dehydrated. My slice of cheesecake was the smallest thing known to man, and, in all honesty, wasn’t that good. I thought my pamper day had been a failure. But, then my sister, Mal arrived on Saturday morning and things looked up. She convinced me to set my work aside for a bit and go shopping. We did, met my friends Bryan and Seth for lunch, shopped some more, ordered buffalo chicken pizza (yum!), and watched Modern Family all night. The next day, we stayed in PJs, ate leftovers, skyped with Kaylee while Mal did a dramatic reading of “The Giving Tree,” cried during said dramatic reading, took naps, and went for a walk. Though it wasn’t planned, it was the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in a long time. I loved every minute of it. And, even if I didn’t know how to take care of myself, Mal knew exactly what I needed. It was the best pamper weekend ever.

Phew…this post turned out much longer than I anticipated, so yay for you if you made it through. Now, I’d like to challenge each of you to your own pamper day. You deserve it, you need it, so just do it.

Until next time, xoxo.


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