Athlete

LXXXV: To Be Me...

To be me is very challenging. I am a difficult person, shaped mostly by my past experiences. I do my best to learn, not to internalize, and to remain open.

At 27, I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, and learned more than I’ve wanted to.

So, I guess I can say that:

TO BE ME IS TO BE CRAZY

The way that my mind works is unlike any other.

I have the most outlandish ideas and the most quirky conversations, but I wouldn’t be me without this quality.

I like that I’m not like other women and that I’m not like other people, in general. It’s one of the best things about me — I am unapologetically me at all times.

So, you can call me crazy but you can never say that I’m like anyone else you’ve ever known.

TO BE ME IS TO BE BENEFICENT 

Some day these good deeds will be the death of me. But, until that day, you will know me for my good deeds.

Despite my exterior and the fact that I literally have no patience for people, I am a very giving and loving person. I would honestly give my last to those that I love (and even those that I don’t know). Some people see this as a weakness or as me loving myself less than others. But, I just see that as the mind fooling fools out of doing good deeds.

I pity those who do not have it in them to do good unto others, BUT where they slack, I’m fine with being great. 🤗

TO BE ME IS TO BE ATHLETIC

I am a full-blown participant in this workout game and have been for as long as I can remember.

Working out brings me a sense of calm and clarity that I can’t get from anything else. Even though I have to deal with some of the most insane things just going to the gym, I would definitely not stop going.

I’m someone who enjoys working out and can never understand it when others see it as work or a task that they have to get through. But, I always encourage others to join me for a workout so that they too can find the fun in healthy living.

TO BE ME IS TO BE OVERLY ANALYTICAL  

Okay, so I’m overly analytical but not in a good way. Remember how I mentioned that I come up with the most outlandish ideas and have quirky conversations? Well, I’m sure that that goes hand-in-hand with this little quality about me.

A lot of times this deals with a pattern from my past. So, basically if I feel that I’ve ‘been here before’, then I will over think whatever the situation is while making guesses about what will likely happen in the future.

Honestly, a lot of the time, I am right: the friendship ends, the person was lying, the guy was fake the whole time, etc… I got this over thinking thing on lock down, but only because no one has been honest or real enough to prove me wrong yet.

Although I am usually right, this is still not a good quality to carry unless applied to situations that should receive an extra thought. But, I wouldn’t be human if I did things correctly now would I?

TO BE ME IS TO BE COMPLETELY IMPATIENT

If you are at all religious, then you know that a lot of learning your way through the Bible is learning to be patient and have faith.

Now, patience and faith are supposed to go hand in hand, but I lack in a major way at having any type of patience. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have faith, but it means that I am still learning.

This world is quite vexing, so each day that I leave the house and don’t end up slapping someone is a gold star on my calendar (if I’m being all the way honest).

Apart from people however, I think that my biggest lesson in patience is the fact that I don’t know where my life is taking me just yet. I have worked hard at the things that I’ve genuinely wanted for my life and those doors have all completely been closed in my face.

Now the only direction that life seems to be kicking me in is towards the law, and it makes me nervous.

When I was younger, I wanted to be many things: a chef, a singer (don’t ask), a flutist, a teacher, an actress, a writer, a ballet dancer, but never did I wish to be an attorney. For some reason, this is what’s in store for me. This is apparently meant for me, and although I’ve met some of the most dishonest and disloyal people while in this field and have no faith that I will meet better people, I’M STUCK HERE.

Because of this, I have to think that maybe I am here to be the change. Maybe I am here to be the difference. So, while all of this works itself out, I have to practice patience and continue to be me.

TO BE ME IS TO BE THE MOST LOVING

My heart is the thing that will forever get me into the most trouble.

I don’t give it out often, but when I do, it’s usually to the wrong people. This is not to discount those who are handling my heart like they have a sense of humanity at all. I see all of you great people who know how to act! LOL 👀

But, the ones that are ingrained into the back of my mind are those who have inched their way into my heart only to leave it scarred.

My heart has worked overtime to expend itself and then to mend itself. Time and time again.

Luckily, for me, my heart is most protected by the love of my family! When all other love fails you, familial love will not. It certainly hasn’t failed me!

TO BE ME IS TO BELIEVE THE FALLACY THAT I AM AS MEMORABLE TO OTHERS AS OTHERS HAVE BECOME TO ME

Life is nothing but a bunch of memories and I love making memories with different people.

Nothing means more to me than to have moments that I never want to forget with people who I hope will always be there.

A lot of the times, that’s not the case, but for those who have stuck around, I am truly appreciative. My blinders are on to those who have chosen to make me less than a memory or to those who have come into my life for just a season.

A lesson that I will forever be forced to learn is that, not everyone is able to be good to others. Some people have it in their minds that the proper way to treat people is as though they are disposable. I’ve seen it time and time again, and it will forever be my reminder not to be like those people.

I cannot express how forever appreciative I am of those who have ever treated me like I was forgettable or disposable — You’ve all taught me a more valuable lesson than you will ever know. And although I may not be memorable to people like YOU, I know that, where it counts, I am so much more!


I could honestly go on forever about what pieces make up the Brianna J. pie, but that’d be boring and ever-changing!

All-in-all, I am a food-loving, studying, loud-music-playing, cynical, always honest, never patient, irritable, movie-going woman who is always growing, learning and changing. My secret weapon is that I know who I am. I am always unapologetically me. I fight for what I want, love and care about. And, no matter the turns, I always win.

I guess you could say that, to be me is to be simply amazing. And, if you don’t feel this way about yourself, then you’ve got some work to do. 😉

XXXIII: Athletes vs. Ballet Dancers, Is It Possible To Juggle Them Both?

Many of you know that I am a ballet dancer and have been for quite a long while. I am also fairly athletic in that I work out and compete in a number physical activities and races throughout the year (although I’ve slowed down significantly this year).

I've noticed, however, that after a week of running a bunch, I suffer at ballet because my hips are too tight to give me any turnout. And, after a week of hardcore ballet rehearsals, my thighs, arms and shoulders just don't have the strength to make it through a gym session (even if I make it an easy one). These things have left me wondering if a balance between the two is even possible anymore...

Being a Ballet Dancer

Ballet is a full body workout. To even stand in first position takes full-on mental and physical discipline. I've worked at this for years and I still have days where I suffer given my inability to get my feet to do what my brain tells them to do. Or, my all time favorite instance of not being able to shut my brain off enough to actually get through a rehearsal while also looking like a functioning human being. 

I do, however, thank Heidi at The Ballet Studio here in Sacramento, CA for all of her patience and hard work at teaching me over the years. I'd also like to extend a huge thanks to my former ballet teachers at The Vallejo Ballet in my hometown, Vallejo, CA. 

I found an insane love for ballet because of these people, and although I don't have the ideal ballerina body (my hips are the least flexible part of my body and my feet are downright awful), I still want to be able to be both an aggressive athlete and an elegant ballerina. My other physical activities, however, make it difficult when my larger muscles are sore from running or lifting weights, and then I go to ballet and attempt to work my smaller muscles (which feels impossible when the larger muscles are already upset with me).

It is difficult to paint a vivid enough portrait of all that must be considered, body wise, during any given evening at ballet rehearsal. For this reason, I've found a couple of cute animations that lay out what must be considered with each below-titled motion, move or position. These do no lay out every ballet position or every leap or jump, but they do give you a minute taste of what ballet dancers have to keep in mind at every moment on the moment:

Being An Athlete

I don't compete as much as I used to simply because time does not permit, but I have goals of getting back to a competitive level soon. I honestly just miss the thrill of it all! 

I always flashback to my days as a wrestler because those were my best competition days, hands down! I lived for that mat time whether I won or lost. I trained long and hard for each meet and even though my diet usually wasn't where it should have been, I still managed to work out enough to maintain the weight that I was supposed to in order to compete (because God forbid I let Coach Jessica O. down for not making weight). 

Nowadays my competitions come in the form of the many runs, races, and obstacle courses that I sign up for throughout the year. That means that my training consists of running (a lot) and lifting weights/strength training. 

For those of you that know about ballet, the muscles that are formed from being a ballerina are usually a bit softer than those you get from going into a gym and just lifting weights. Don't get me wrong, you can totally get ripped from being a dancer! Look at Misty Copeland or Michaela DePrince, but these two are dancers that have found the balance between their athleticism (which is a part of dance) and their dancing. They seem to be able to workout and maintain their turnout and the right type of flexibility which is what I just can't seem to do. 

Even though I stretch after each workout, when I go back to ballet, I just can't seem to get any rotation in my hips (and therefore, any turnout, any extension, etc.)! I know that my stretches work because my Jetés and Grand Battements are becoming things of beauty, but I cannot help but to harp on the fact that my turnout is just abysmal because of all of the running. So, I wonder...

Is The Balance Even Possible?

The answer has to be 'yes'. I can see that the answer is yes in the dancers listed above. In order to adjust my methods a bit to see what helps my turnout, I've looked up alternative ways of running. I tend to run on two extremes: I'm either on my toes, or I'm flat footed. The position of your feet when they hit the pavement, track or treadmill determine how your body reacts (the tougher the medium, the harder the impact on your calf muscles, shins, knees, etc.). So, I am picking one and sticking to it! I am used to running on my toes, but will now make it a point to run from heel-to-toe. This change will certainly create shin splints until my body is used to it, but with this, I'll be able to adjust my stretches to where I keep the strength in my ankles for pointe, and can work on the rotation of my hips for my turnout. But, I figure that, if I keep switching up the way I work out/run, then I will continue to experience extreme muscle rips (soreness) and shin splints which keep me from getting where I want to be as a dancer.

My hope is that these little changes (the heel-to-toe running and different stretches) will assist in reaching my dancing goals, but we shall see! I will definitely post an update after a couple of months of this to see if I have to, once again, change my methods.