The Flash

“You know what you truly are when your link to your passion is gone and you immediately don’t feel like yourself. You don’t feel whole.”

Have you ever experienced a moment that changes your perspective? A moment when you are certain of the bad things to come and you instantly regret not appreciating the status quo? That unfortunately happened to me on Monday.

The first day back with your ballet company is like the first day of school. Weird and juvenile, but pretty true. Everyone has gone their separate ways for the summer, enjoyed leisure time activities and vacations, and behaved more like normal humans than ballet dancers. Although there’s that nagging feeling that you’ll be a little out of shape, no matter how much exercise you’ve done to keep up, there is also a desperate urge to move and emote again. Instead of a fancy new backpack, everyone wears their best leo and their hair is pristine.

"First Day of School" CB style Photo Courtesy of Emily Mott
“First Day of School” CB style
Photo Courtesy of Emily Mott

Monday’s ballet class felt wonderful. I had my new peach and sky colored Yumi on, I was hitting balances left and right, I was having a great time…and then I was on the floor. My ankle cracked loudly, rolled over, and I fell into an embarrassing heap. For the first time in my life, I cried out in pain. I didn’t actually cry (until later), but part of me immediately thought, “well, it’s been real, but you just broke your ankle…thanks for playing—you’re done.” A horrendous future of not dancing anymore flashed before my eyes, and it shocked me.

I took all the immediate first steps of injury-ice was rushed to me, I popped three ibuprofen, I elevated the injury. But every time I even slightly wiggled my ankle throughout the day, the episode re-emerged again, and I felt awful. Mainly because I missed my norm. I missed having two flexible, pretty feet, I missed the freedom of not being afraid of pain or falling, and I worried that I had not respected my abilities and sufficiently utilized my time.

On Tuesday, day one of not dancing, classical music began not sounding pretty to me. It sounded haunting and dramatically sad. It filled my head with images of things I could not currently (/safely) do. You know what you truly are when your link to your passion is gone and you immediately don’t feel like yourself. You don’t feel whole. I’m sorry to be melodramatic, but it can happen to the best of us.

“I am grateful. I have overcome such things before, and I will do it again. It is not a challenge I want obviously, but it is one that I accept.”

The boot of shame...
The boot of shame…

Aside from all of these awful feelings, I found out yesterday that it’s only a sprain. Not an easy fix, but do-able. With my ankle and most of my shin sequestered in a walking cast, the emotionally painful no dancing marathon will go on for a week unfortunately. But there is hope on the horizon. And that endpoint isn’t always there when you experience that flash of fear in your head, the one that blurs your eyes to your surroundings. So I am grateful. I have overcome such things before, and I will do it again. It is not a challenge I want obviously, but it is one that I accept. Then I will feel like myself again. Music will sound beautiful again, and I will be confident in the movement I produce.

Be grateful. Appreciate your body and your career…your opportunity to do what you do each day. And do not by any means squander it. Because there is always someone who’s fallen down. They envy you. And they’re ready to stand back up.

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9 thoughts on “The Flash

  1. Nicely written! I danced with Charlottesville Ballet and unfortunately stopped dancing due to an injury. I wish you the best in your recovery! Setbacks always make you look at dance in a more grateful way. Remember to cherish every moment you have as a dancer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been there. It’s a weird feeling to be held back by the body that you relied on- almost like feeling betrayed (flashbacks of wrist braces, neurologist visits, and endless chiropractic adjustments!). The mind is willing, but the body is weak. You always, ALWAYS come back from a physical injury with a stronger mental game though. I know every muscle in my back, forearm, wrist and fingers now and I’m able to adjust better than ever before. Injury is the risk you take when you ask your body to do things it was never meant to do 😣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. From a dancer who wasn’t able to get back up, these are very true words to live by. Keep the J.O.D alive inside you during these hard couple weeks. You will rise again and fight on.

    Liked by 1 person

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