I’ve been trying to write this post for at least 8 months now. Seriously, if you look at my drafts there’s like 3 pages all trying to say the same thing in different ways: I really fricken miss dancing.
Now, I don’t really know what to say. I mean what is there to say other than “hey! I really miss doing what I did for about 3/4 of my life!” Cause that should be pretty obvious. I miss the dress and the wigs and the comradery and the competition and what not. I miss my friends and my teachers and I miss the studio and drilling until I literally collapsed and I miss performing and traveling the globe. But that’s all trivial, I can get over it. I think I just REALLY miss the person I was when I danced. I miss BEING an Irish dancer. It was a part of me that in a way got taken away too quickly and kind of suddenly. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you it’s not my fault. (If you take one thing away from this post for the love of God do your physical therapy) It is my fault. I’ve talked about it before, but I gave up on myself. I didn’t care enough to try to see results and I think fear held me back. Things were different then. I don’t know if its a good thing or a bad thing, but sometimes I wonder.
Dance, or I suppose lack of dance, is what triggered my depression. Now, about 4 years later, I’m sitting here still dealing with it. It’s different for me now. I’m coping differently, and I’m way more aware of when these episodes of sorts are occurring. It’s changed a lot as I’ve gotten older. I know its happening, I know my thoughts are irrational, but I can’t control it. I just let it run it’s course and do it’s thing. I know the bad days will pass.
I can’t tell if it’s because the Oireachtas are literally right around the corner or if it’s because of a lot of other things going on in my life, but the past couple days have been particularly difficult. Putting on my hardshoes and attempting to put on my solo dress probably didn’t help the situation. Trying to dance and seeing that I still remember things but can’t physically handle it or perform it well is such a weird thing to look at when everyone I used to dance with has continued to progress. They’re living out my old dreams, and while I am happy for them, it kinda, definitely sucks. I have new things now I’m able to do and participate in (for example, I impulse bought a new lens today), but 11 of my 17 years is a lot of time to get over.
After about a year of being out of dance I said I was content with not dancing. I miss it, but its okay! Man was that far from the truth. I want to say sheading tears tonight over the fact my beautiful dress doesn’t fit anymore will be the end of it- I’ll finally move on- but you and I both know that’s not true. I don’t think I’ll ever fully “get over” it. How can I? Just like these cycles and bouts of depression (maybe its connected), some days its going to hurt like hell that I don’t dance anymore. Life is weird like that.
In the midst of writing this Powerless by Villain of the Story came on shuffle. I remember talking to Michael at a show a few months after they filmed the video and, because he knew my history and all the trouble I was going through, asked me how dance was going. This was a couple weeks before my last competition. I explained how after the Murray Feis I was going to take a break until September (this was in May) and he told some of his story, and how that correlated with the concept for the video (Each member told the story of the most difficult parts of their lives). The song has a ton of meaning to me not only because of that, but because of the lyrical content. I remember probably a year ago now realizing just how much of those lyrics reminded me of myself back then. I felt broken and powerless. I just wanted it to be over. When I officially stopped dancing I literally felt like my life had no purpose. I had no hope left in me.
Dance simultaneously created and destroyed my life and my body. The time, energy, and money put into it don’t seem wasted per say, what I learned through dance shaped a great amount of who I am today, but they do seem as though they weren’t worth it. I’m grateful for the years I got, but I had goals I never got to accomplish, dreams that could never come true. I was terrified of hurting myself again or disappointing people and I let that stop me from trying my best. I hurt yes, but often times, especially after I switched studios I let that stop me when I easily could’ve pushed through it. I claim I had fight left in me, but if I did I would’ve done anything to keep pushing. I would’ve done my physical therapy (again, if you get one thing this whole post for the love of god please do your pt) and I wouldn’t have let my laziness and weaknesses hold me back.
I realize now that I don’t think I’m sad, but disappointed. Throughout the whole process I don’t think I ever genuinely tried my best. I stayed in that comfort zone we all love so much. Even trying my dress on again tonight brought me to tears when it wouldn’t zip. I felt that pretty black velvet in my hands and realized how much I put into that dang dress to only wear it maybe 4 times.
I NEVER gave dance everything I had. How can I be upset over that? My past doesn’t define my future. That doesn’t mean I can’t learn and grow from it. Life is weird like that.