Ballet Changed My Life

Ballet Changed my Life

...and it's molded me into the woman I am today.

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Today marks one year since my grandfather passed. What does this have to do with ballet?

Ballet has been an outlet and powerful source to release my emotions for the past 16 and a half years of my life. Dance becomes before language. It comes before formulating clear thoughts, and when that movement matures, it comes with purpose. It has shaped me not only physically, but emotionally in ways that no other sport could.

When my grandfather passed, the one thing I wanted to do was dance. He taught me to be a free spirit which is captured through the movement of ballet. I could not be more grateful for everything he taught me and chanelling that into a fluid movement through ballet is exactly what helped me.

My parents got divorced when I was 9, making me mature enough to understand the situation, but young enough to not verbally get involved. I looked forward to my one escape, ballet with my hellish instructor every Saturday morning at 9:15.

Not only did ballet provide a type of therapy for my troubles, but it molded me into the person I am today. Without my "hellish" instructor that guided me for 8 years, I would not have the self discipline that I have now. Ballet goes beyond being a physical endurance sport, it's a mental game. Ballet taught me that setting goals and reaching them is one of the most important things in life, and that is why I hold dedication and ambition as some of the most valuable traits.

My work ethic has tremendously matured through my years of dance, and this has expanded into real world scenarios. My instructor noticed that I became more meticulous of my technique and therefore he became more critical of me. Anyone who dances knows its an honor to be scolded over and over by the instructor, because it meant he/she cares. Because of this, I learned the value of ambition. I learned that hard work WILL pay off. Never forget that effort is directionally proportionate to your output. I've learned to translate this into my school efforts, extra curricular activities, and overall life goals.

My instructor paid close attention to my work ethic: when I showed up to class, how I planned on improving, my etiquette during class, etc. Without someone bearing over my shoulder in order to improve, I most likely would not have had the drive to succeed as a 9 year old. He showed me what improving work ethic would do and that is something I will always be thankful for.

Ballet has also taught me grace. In times of despair and need, ballet was a peaceful display of my emotions. Though the process of creating grace with my body was not so "graceful," it became worth it in the end. Lastly, less metaphorically, ballet taught me physical pain. Any dancer is aware of the endless tears, pulls, and soreness that ballet brings. We only get one body, and what we choose to do with it is ultimately our choice. Ballet has quite literally provided those "blood, sweat, and tears" that everyone talks about.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't change the fact that I am a dancer for the world. It's taught me more than most could. Without passion, life is meaningless. I grew a passion for dance, and I'm thankful for that every day. My passion shines through the work of art that is dance.

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To My Odyssey Team, Upon My Departure

Thank you.

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Hello WWU Odyssey,

At the publishing of this article, I will have left my position as President of the WWU Community. When I took the job back in October, I was hesitant. I wasn't sure I was right for the job, despite being told that I was. I was convinced that my introverted personality and my fear of confrontation would get in the way of building our team. I'd never used Instagram before and I was thoroughly overwhelmed my first week.

However, a few months in, I hit a groove. I found the onboarding strategies that worked for me. I found many great creators to round out our team and to provide their voices for WWU. I've loved getting to see you all grow from your first article and writing about things you're passionate about.

That's exactly what Odyssey is all about and it was absolutely my honor to provide you with that opportunity. I'm inspired by you and your articles every single day. I am going to miss being your President.

I hope that as you continue your Odyssey career you will continue to grow and write about everything you're passionate about and have your voice heard. I hope that you will one day get the opportunity to grow whether it be you one day becoming the President or EIC or if you simply grow through your writing. All of the progress you make with Odyssey is exactly why I loved being President.

Continue to be loud and opinionated. Continue to write your heart out.

My time at President would be nothing without my team. If y'all weren't so passionate and dedicated, I would've given up a long time ago. I can't every single one of you enough.

While I'm hopefully onto bigger and better things, the year and a half I've been a part of Odyssey and the eight months I've served as President have been some of the most fulfilling. However, while my Presidency is ending, that doesn't mean that I will be completely gone. I will continue to support all of your articles and will, of course, read them no matter where I am. I hope the friendships I have gained will continue to flourish and grow.

I know the team is in good hands with the next President and I wish her luck. The job can be tough and frustrating sometimes. It has its little annoyances, but it is so, so, worth it. I wish you luck.

And to Kiahna, thank you for being such a wonderful EIC and a pleasure to work with. I know you will continue to do great things for the community and thank you for being the amazing person you are.

As my last Odyssey article, I wanted to dedicate it to the people who made my experience with Odyssey amazing in the first place. Thank you to Mikayla (a former President) for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to be a creator. And, thank you team for your wonderful efforts for this team. You all made my short time as President worth it and I am honestly sad to leave. However, I also feel happy, knowing that I was able to support such a wonderful and cohesive team.

Before I beginning crying over my keyboard, I must end this article. Considering my journey with Odyssey and the name of the platform itself, I think it is only appropriate to end with a quote from Homer's "Odyssey,"

"There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep."

Love,

Alisan

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