Three months ago this word would have meant very little to me, not because I am unfamiliar with injuries but because I was so used to having so many that one more was hardly a surprise--just another thing I had to deal with on top of everything else.
That was before I had something to lose.
Injury is something that every dancer fears. For most their body isn't only their way to make money, their job, what they do, it's who they are. How they define and express themselves. When that is taken away a very powerful feeling occurs like you have been ripped out of you and are left with an empty useless husk of nothing and you have absolutely no idea what to do with yourself.
While I am no stranger to pain and a body that won't work right I was not intimately familiar with this inexplicable pain until dance was taken away from me.
Three months ago I found something I could do, a part of me that I had never known existed, never been given the chance to discover until then and I was over the moon: dance. There is a moment when I prep and my arm moves out to land on that smooth wooden barre to begin a plié when I am overcome with such an overwhelming indescribable feeling that I know this is where I need to be, where I belong and for one and a half hours nothing at all can wipe that smile off my face or take that feeling of belonging away from me.
After two classes though, some of my usual symptoms began to act up and I had to stick to work at the barre which was no problem for me as barre work is one of my favorite things in the world. One more class passed and I had a very serious (unrelated) medical issue come up out of nowhere and had to take over a month off of classes and return to filling my days with doctor appointments and waiting for doctor appointments and then more doctor appointments. After some time I felt this condition had become manageable enough that, if I took four medications at exactly the right times I was ready for class again and I was right, sitting out only what I felt I couldn't do which wasn't much. But by the next class my condition was starting to worsen and as I sat beneath the barre watching my classmates continue after my stamina had dwindled to practically nothing I began to feel doubt slowly spreading throughout every part of me, silently wondering if I was really--physically--ready to return to this.
I never got to find out the answer to that question because not long after that something happened to my leg. I'm still not sure what--a slip, or maybe I tripped, or maybe a million other things--and now I can barely walk. Class, or even practice, is completely out of the question.
Now, once again, I am stuck in my bed, in my mind, with that ever present nagging voice telling me that I will never be able to dance again. Every time I subconsciously start to do tendus or ronds de jambe in the line at the grocery store or when I start moving my legs and muscles while lying in bed listening to music and have to force myself to stop I feel that ripping/tearing sensation in my whole body and all I want to do is take every single pill I have because if I can't dance, I have nothing to live for. The only thing that's keeping me going right now is that maybe this isn't as bad as it seems, maybe this physical therapist will be able to help me, maybe it won't take as long to heal and return to class as I think, maybe I will be able to return to dance again or at least return to the barre.
Even now the only thing keeping me going is dance.
I know that having no support system, no dance friends, no one who understands these feelings and fears is one of the things making this so difficult and I'm scared. I'm scared of having the only good thing in my life ripped away from me and I am scared to hope, to even imagine returning to dance again, not because of the fear of being injured but because I am afraid it will simply never happen.
Currently I have a puzzle book I hold onto like a bible, more doctor appointments to look forward to and while I have mixed feelings about dabbling in media that has to do with dance because it brings on heaps of anxiety, I find I can't stay away.
Your limpy gimpy blogging anonymous dance acquaintance,
Titled Lowering the Barre from a blog I am in the midst of trying to set up and get going.