By Mark Ballas, Special for USA TODAY
And?Exhale. Time to take a breath.
It's been a long couple of months. I'm sitting on the plane writing to you, my first time alone in several months. I realize that I'm finally able to catch my breath, as Season 12 is officially done for me. As I try to get my thoughts in order to express the past fourteen weeks of my life, one of my favorite songs came on my iPod Shuffle. The lyrics seem appropriate, as Chelsea and I begin to live our lives post-DWTS:
And now, the end is here;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear;
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.
? And more, much more than this, I did it my way.
I already miss my new best friend. Chelsea and I worked together between six and twelve hours a day, everyday for fourteen weeks. We've been joined at the hip, literally. This started in late February. It's now a few days before June. Getting on the plane back to Los Angeles is really strange, knowing that she isn't next to me and that I won't be spending the next day in rehearsal and press with her. Fittingly, as the Shuffle is supposed to do, a completely different song comes on that strikes a chord:
Another turning point;
A fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist;
Directs you where to go.
So make the best of this task and don't ask why.
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time.
It's something unpredictable
But in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
Let me assure you: We had the time of our lives. I've learned a lot from Chelsea and I truly cherish the time she and I spent competing this season. Even though we've come across a new turning point and we will take different forks in the road, she's a lovely person and I'm blessed to consider her a close friend for life!
As the frenzy after the finale slows down, I now get to focus on my passion, which is my music. I had a lot of fun interviews when I was in New York with MTV, VH1, and a few others, and we're gearing up to play some shows this summer. Those dates should be released soon on my website and social media sites, so please check for those if you want to catch me play live. One fun event I'm really looking forward to playing this summer is the Martin Owner's Club Annual Event, held at the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth, Pa. It's such an honor to be supported by the music icon that is Martin!
As I've said many times before, music is what drives me. Even when I dance, I consider my movement an extension of the music, with the musicality predicting what movements will occur. The biggest difference between the two, music and dance, is that dance requires you to color between the lines determined by the rules of the dance discipline and music allows you to do whatever you feel on a blank canvas.
It's been a great ride, Team Kanenball. I greatly appreciate all the love and support (and birthday wishes!) that I received this week and all season long. The journey was memorable and the memories will last a lifetime. I hope to catch some of you this summer at one of my shows and also this fall for Season 13. Happy summer everyone!