Not many would assume I grew up a dancer. From ages 3-15, I took ballet and jazz classes. I also danced competitively and performed with my school dance team. It’s weird. I get it. I don’t have a dancers body (never did), I’m crazy short, I’m extremely clumsy, and if you see my bobbing my head to the music, well, let’s just say my rhythm is sub par.
But aside from all of that, I grew up a ballerina. I closely linked my identity to that of a dancer and a performer. No, I was never the best technically speaking but without fail I was complimented after every performance because of my energy and excitement on stage.
Not having the ideal body type may lead you to assume I was insecure when involved in dance. But, quite the opposite happened. I watched girls stress about everything they did. Watched them practice. And watched them cry when they didnt win. But I didn’t feel those things. There were days I had my feelings hurt because I felt left out sometime but (maybe wrongly) my mom assured me they would go nowhere and end up dancing for Disney shows. Overall though, I loved myself and loved what I did.
The smooth feel of the wooden dance floor, the familiar smell of new ballet shoes, and the burn to push harder and harder was something I craved.
When I was 15 I broke my ankle in a haunted house (yep, I’ll write it out sometime) and I had to stop dancing. It was before one of the biggest performances I ever had the chance to do. And my heart broke. And with that, a lot of my body confidence fell by the wayside. High school was not the ideal time for this to happen and looking back, I wish I had pushed through the broken ankle and gotten back to dancing.
One day I hope I find my way to a wooden dance floor again. It scares the absolute shit out of me, but it’s something I know I have to do.