This is something that weighs particularly heavy on my heart (though that seems to be a trend here recently) that I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, but didn’t necessarily know how to go about it.
How much do I divulge? What do I say? How do I remain sensitive to this topic? How do I get this out and will it be the right way?
Nonetheless, here is my effort.
It’s no surprise that you find yourself needing to be vulnerable if you want to go anywhere in your journey of dance. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have to dance, and how many chances there are to perform with where I am now. To be able to work hard in a role and get to perform it and display that hard work and all of the literal blood, sweat, and tears is satisfied in those moments under the stage lights in front of all those friends and strangers. It’s moments like that that make you come alive. (And I guess why it hurts a little deeper to work so hard and not get to perform a role, but that’s not this post.)
There’s a history of sexual harassment in my past, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of this every time I put on a tutu and go on stage. Though, largely up until this point they have all been romantic tutus and not as big of an issue. This year is different.
The swan lake tutus are pancake tutus, which I may not even get to wear so that may be a non issue, and two of my recital costumes are flat and one is slit.
I hadn’t even thought too much about it, I guess at least compared to usual, until yesterday.
I do what I can to distance myself from certain people in an effort to protect myself. And I’d be lying if fear wasn’t lurking around many corners despite my best efforts. But there’s someone whose been supportive of my shows in the past and I hoped if I just stayed silent then they wouldn’t think to come or whatever. I had forgotten to even think about this until a comment on social media.
Then I remembered that the person they brought to they last show they came to is now in this show. And they could come through her and her excitement. Putting him in the audience when I potentially could be in a tutu that shoes my entire leg.
Then there’s the fear of dads coming into the studio. It’s typically not an issue, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder if the dads peering through the one way mirror are really watching their daughters, or if they’re watching the full legged, curvy adult in next to nothing; the next to nothing being a non issue in functionality for what I am doing. But in the wrong eyes it could be something easy to fulfill some sick desire.
It’s why I don’t let anyone go outside the studio without some form of coverup on.
But even with all my efforts of protection, there’s only so much you can do to avoid situations that are out of your control.
Does that make them your fault?
Does that mean you should live in fear?
No. (As best you can anyway)
Is it likely anything is going to happen like you’re afraid of?
Does that mean I should let it keep me from doing what I love, what makes me feel more alive and safe than anything?
Not a chance.
Life is risk. Vulnerability is a risk. But if you let fear hold you back, who will ever hear your story?
The world needs your story.
Hold yourself well and your head high. Work hard and let go of fear. Be kind, and also wise. Don’t be afraid to distance from people if it helps protect you, but don’t let hypothetical maybes hold you back from doing what makes your soul sing.
(Ps. My friend wrote a book about her journey to healing from a similar situation. If you or someone you know is going through this, consider checking out her book and her story.)