Sunday, 30 August 2009I think everyone has dreams. I don't think you're really human if you don't. I know I dream. But it seems to me that, so often our dreams seem completely unattainable. I think back on the many, many things I've said to myself that I want to achieve over the years. So many of them seem utterly ridiculous now. For years and years, I've wanted to be an actress. And guess what? I've done it. So that's one box ticked. It may not have been for a particularly great company, or very long lasting, but I did it.
But, before that, I had a dream that I quite frequently pretend that I never had. It's one that a lot of little girls have at about the age of 5 or 6 I think. I wanted to be a dancer. Quite badly. I went to ballet classes, as a lot of girls do. Actually, if memory serves me, I had a chiropodist who 'strongly recommended' that I went. I had a curvature of the foot that meant I didn't really walk in a straight line, and he thought that would help. And I did ballet classes for a couple of years, and then started tap. Then I stopped. And for the life of me, I can't remember why. I think it was getting too expensive. But over the years, I've done various dancing classes. I did modern dance, where I remember my mum bargaining with me, that I could only go if I had school dinners, which we got for free. Otherwise we couldn't afford it. Now, I did this for a while, and did a few exams and earned a few rosettes even. But again, I stopped. Again, I think I knew it was getting too expensive to carry on.
After that, when I had my own pocket money, I took up line dancing. It was pretty fashionable at the time, and I was actually good. I won a regional trophy against people I was pretty sure would wipe the floor with me. I passed lots of exams with extremely respectable marks. I had a bash at choreography, and it actually led me to meet the closest thing I've ever had to a boyfriend (but let's leave my miserable excuse of a love life out of it, hey?). But again, I stopped.
I was a fat kid. I got thrown out of the school dance production auditions because I was too fat. This sounds like something I'm making up, I know. But I swear it's true. I got through to the last audition, only for the head of dance to tell me 'You're too big. You won't keep up with the rest of the cast.' and ask me to leave. And I didn't really dance any more after that. Sure I did a few workshops and whatnot, but all I could think was that I was clumsy and graceless, and too fat for dancing. I had far too many people who called me clumsy, and it really did nothing for my self esteem. Because I believed them.
Now, I'm sure you're probably wondering what this all has to do with diabetes. And that's a fair question at this point. But stay with me, I'll get to the point eventually.
So when I went to university, I went to Cumbria Institute of the Arts and did a degree in Performing Arts. This, naturally, included dance. Our dance tutor there put me in the 'high stream' class. I argued with her, and didn't understand why. I found the whole thing extremely frustrating, and shed more than a few tears over it, because I just couldn't keep up. But in retrospect, I know why she did it. I was better than I gave myself credit for. I didn't sign up to take part in dance shows, or take the dance electives, because all I could think was 'fat, clumsy, graceless'. But I'd see what they were doing, and part of me knew I was missing out. But I took up tango for a while, and loved it. Then after uni, I took modern jive classes as something to do in our town, which was in the middle of no-where. It was simply bad timing that I actually got an acting job which took me away, and I then moved to York, so I've not been able to carry it on.
There are lots of other things I've wanted to be able to do. When I was younger, I imagined that by the time I was 25, I'd be working regularly as an actress, have an amazing boyfriend, two cats and a gorgeous home. I'd be playing at least five instruments, painting, know how to surf. I would be a published author. I would travel, and speak multiple languages. I would know how to fence, do archery, and I'd be an amazing cook, I would be happy going for a run. I would be pretty and slim and confident. Oh, and of course, I would dance. And if I want to stay in line with that, I have about 6 months to complete an awful lot! And it wasn't that long ago that I thought all these things were achievable.
Now, with diabetes thrown into the mix, I've got a whole load of new things I want to achieve. I want to lose enough weight for my BMI to edge away from its current 29 (I really hate BMI - I think it makes everyone feel bad). I want a brilliant HbA1C. I want perfection in my blood sugars. No hypos. No highs. I want to be able to take everything in my stride. I don't want to ever feel down, depressed, angry, stressed or frustrated about this chronic condition that I didn't ask for and don't want. I want to eat better despite the hang-ups and issues I have with food. I want to exercise plenty. And I want to do it all with grace and humour. I want to make it all look easy and effortless.
Of course, that's ridiculous. I'd be completely in cloud cuckoo land if I thought I could do all that. But wait! There is hope, as I see it. Of course I can't do all that. I can't be a multi-instrument playing, surfing, quad-lingual, travelling actress with perfect blood sugars, a HbA1C to envy, and probably perfect hair and skin as well. But what I can do is try. Simply TRY to achieve some of these things, and be realistic about what I can and can't do. Self-destructive behaviours don't help anyone, and they simply hurt you. Now, I'm not claiming that I won't ever doubt myself or want to quit trying to do better. What I need to try and realise is that I could do all these things, and be this amazing person, but I'm probably not too bad as I am. Even if I don't think I am.
So, just to take stock of a few things, I've lowered my HbA1c from 8.8 to 6.0 since June. That's pretty good. I've lost about a stone pre-diagnosis, and I've not put any of it back on. I've lost another couple of pounds. That's an achievement, Becky! I'm going to try and get to the bottom of why I keep hitting the 3's before lunch. Oh, and I plan to send an email to York Dance Sport about their beginner's ballroom classes after the Bank Holiday weekend is over.
So what about you? Want to join me? What's your dance class?