Care. Listen. Breathe. Repeat.

“…a series of discouraging events…Time off, missed roles and shows, a walking boot fashioned with a small decorative blue bow, physical therapy, x-rays, an MRI…-negative highlights of this past year…the positives I’ll save for later…”

This is not a normal blog (it’s more like a small rant)…targeted at my ankle, not at an actual person, to clarify. Today, I present you with the question of “why?” I know everything happens for a reason, I’ve preached that myself, but I still don’t understand why physical harm occurs. Why? What’s the bigger picture? I haven’t reached an answer for that one. So I reach out to you.

Back in September, I experienced a fall while dancing that set into motion a series of discouraging events. A ballerina’s season from hell, to put it bluntly. Time off, missed roles and shows, a walking boot fashioned with a small decorative blue bow, physical therapy, x-rays, an MRI, taping, fear of jumping, self-doubt, tears, anger-negative highlights of this past year (the positives I’ll save for later, so just let me roll with this for now). According to the diagnosis I received eight months ago, I’m missing something in my right ankle—my ATFL (anterior tibiofibular ligament). Unfortunately, it did not just walk off on a journey of self-discovery, perhaps able to be convinced to return. No, it’s torn in two sad, little pieces. Fixable pieces, I believe, since surgery was offered to me, but pieces, nonetheless.

I’ve spent the past eight months since this news, trying my best to overcome my “shortcoming.” After all, the phenomenal Ashley Bouder dances sans ACL all the time! But after about four minor inversion ankle sprains, postdating my original tear to the ATFL, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s time to ask for help. Maybe the only way for me to regain stability, a feeling of safety, and courage to dance without limitation is to have this damage repaired.

So if you’re listening, I’m sure you most certainly don’t have an answer as to “why?” Yes, strength and wisdom comes with the territory, as I continue on this journey, but I feel enlightened enough at this point. I surrender. Each time I feel my body fail me, I lose confidence all over again (excellent article regarding the physical and emotional stresses of injury by Dance Magazine). Knowing what I lack and the associated risks I take each day haunts me all over again. I become afraid to misstep, afraid to cross train, afraid to enjoy myself, afraid to dance. And so, I lose a piece of myself. However, despite the loss, I rebuild each time, fine-tuning the process along the way. I know to care for myself, listen, and breathe. The recovery quickens, but the frustration silently mounts in the shadows. So maybe it’s time to ask for help…

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This guy’s been in charge all year & he’s not givin’ up yet…
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