I had known that the five year anniversary of the day I began dancing was coming up, but I couldn’t remember the actual day. I thought it was October, but then I calculated and thought it put it late September.
Then my Timehop app brought up the picture I have been looking for–the one I took of my feet in ballet shoes on my first day.
That was it. That was my first position.
And I remember taking this, and being embarrassed to even take it, even though no one knew it existed. Even though no one would see it. (Well, until now.)
But I knew that this was something I wanted, and I knew I wasn’t brave enough to take any other type of “beginning” picture. I hoped deep down that I would stick with this and one day be able to have progress. I hoped one day to be so much more than that Nervous twenty-three year old in the footed tights , scared out of her mind to take this first class, to begin again, but more scared of the regret I would feel if I never began again.
I did feel a bit of reassurance that I had taken a few months of dance in a studio near our small town, but even then we hardly did any ballet.
It’s amazing how much can happen in five years. Sometimes it feels like nothing, sometimes it feels ive done the impossible; especially given how many trials I’ve faced.
It hasn’t been easy, but boy has it been worth it. And each time I can step into a dance studio is a breath of fresh air, knowing I at least get this one more chance to do this thing I love.
I don’t know how long my body will let me continue, but I’m gonna push it to its limit.
And how appropriate was it that the five year anniversary fell on the annual Bailando Dance Festival that my first teacher puts on at the university here? Surrounded by friends I’ve made over the years of my dancing life, being inspired by new and old faces, be they dancers or teachers, surrounded by some of the people I love most.
I would be lying if I told you that this week wasn’t difficult. But seeing the performances last night, and some of the dancers essentially baring their soul on that stage, and sitting there just feeling everything they had to give–it was like fresh air in these struggling lungs.
And my favorite Company that comes, Ad Deum, performed both the nights I was able to watch, and last night did a particularly deep piece that reached all the way down into my soul. They dance with such passion it’s as though it reached down my throat, into my chest, and massaged my heart that somehow forgot to beat. It spoke straight to me, and that I appreciate more than I could ever tell them. I was able to thank a few of the members and tell them what their piece meant but really words weren’t enough.
If my body didn’t hold me back, and if I had someone to believe in me enough to take me at my beginner level of contemporary, I’d move to Houston and join up with them. Even if just my body wasn’t acting up, I’d take the plunge. They inspire me in ways I can’t express.
Here I am, five years later, still fighting, still trying, still never satisfied. Even when I’ve danced my last, it’ll never be enough.
But dancing makes me feel alive. It makes me feel like there’s more to this life than just going through the motions. And I know I’m nothing spectacular. I know that I just sort of fade into the background. But that’s okay. I dance for me, not for anyone else. I dance because I still can, and I don’t want to waste another day that I’m still able, because one day I won’t be. And I hope with everything in my being that when I die and when I’m in the presence of God and my body is restored and I don’t have to feel these aches and pains and worry about if it’ll function enough today or how I’ll get through, that I’ll be able to dance like my heart does, I’ll be able to dance like these people I see. That my soul will lay bare and I’ll finally feel free.
I fight so much more than people could ever see or realize. That’s just how it is, I think for all of us really. But what would my story be without struggle? I honestly don’t know. It sucks, but really it refines me.
Five years. So much has changed and so much remains the same.
I’ve gone from a pigeon toed nothing to a company member at a local place here, performing in shows and teaching young dancers. I made my bucket list goal that fueled all this of getting en pointe by 25. I’ve made some of the greatest friends and family anyone could ever ask for.
I’m so glad I took that first class. I’m so glad I had a stroke of bravery. I’m so glad I fought through when everything seemed impossible. I’m so grateful for the people who helped get me to where I am today.
Life isn’t perfect, but boy am I grateful to be living it.