Anniversaries aren’t really my thing. I’ve never exactly had a significant date to remember that hasn’t at some point caused some sort of emotional/physical damage! This time around, I was reminded that 4 years ago I got my foot cut open and my sesamoid snatched out. I can remember bits and pieces (lol that’s how my bone looked) like it was yesterday… I can how freakin bright the operating room was, I can remember waking up afterwards and having my surgeon come in and tell me that that tiny little bone was “destroyed and there was no cartilage left.” What I can’t remember however, is the optimism I had going in. I know it existed, I mean heck! this was gonna be the fix to the things that plagued me for months and months! And as my mom so lovingly put it on facebook, I would be back to pain free dancing in no time! I can’t recall exactly how it felt to go in with the hope and knowledge that I was going to be back on the dance floor in no time. I can’t remember anything about the months that followed except for flashes here and there of physical therapy offices and my first class back after I was cleared to dance again. My adrenaline was high, nothing hurt, and considering I hadn’t danced in like 6 months, I looked preetttyyyy damn good. Looking back on it, that false sense of accomplishment was the tipping point that lead to 2 years of hurt and frustration trying to return to the point I was at before the surgery.
If I went back to cross town surgery center 4 years ago and talked to the Irish Dancer having a sesamoidectomy and asked her where she thought I would be now, she probably would’ve said that I’d be the World freakin Champion or something. Obviously, we can see that that was not part of the plan that was created for me, and in the grand scheme of things, I am perfectly okay with that. But sometimes, I feel I can justify wallowing in my own misery (and complain to the internet about it!).
I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, or myself for that matter, this f*cking sucks. I hate looking back and feeling like I gave up on my dreams and aspirations. I hate that I spent 2 1/2 years in and out of dance because of injury after injury after surgery after injury after surgery, only to give up. I’m jealous of all my friends that get to spend the next couple weeks dancing their little hearts out for schools and nursing homes and drunks at various pubs across the twin cities. I’m tired of seeing all these miracle stories of girls coming back after having their hip replaced a month before winning Worlds! (slight exaggeration)
IT SUCKS TO FEEL LIKE I WENT THROUGH ALL OF THAT JUST TO GIVE UP
I always say that I “had to” stop dancing due to injury and surgeries I never fully healed from. Its an easier pill to swallow than saying “hey I got frustrated and this thing I loved that was my ENTIRE LIFE for 11 years became so physically and emotionally draining that I gave up and QUIT after years spent trying to fix the physical things that held me back!” Doesn’t quiiiiiite have the same ring to it does it? Saying the former also makes it easier for me to pretend that it wasn’t entirely my doing. I know that I stopped for a reason. I am so incredibly grateful for all the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met because I stopped dancing (that’s a whole blog for another day). Even though this is the case, I can’t help but think about how awful I was for not doing my physical therapy, or for using my pain as an excuse when I switched studios because they didn’t want to push me because they didn’t know that I had more in me. I gave up because it got too hard, and its days like today when I’m slapped across the face with that truth.
I realized the other day that I have a tendency to downplay this experience and the impact it had on me. Maybe its because I’m so far removed from the dance world that I don’t have that constant reminder. Maybe it’s because the group of friends I have now never knew me as Lauren the Irish Dancer. Maybe it’s because I remember so little of that experience. I mean I did spend a lot of that time ridiculously depressed. I repressed a lot of what happened, probably to allow myself to move past it, but days (months) like these make that difficult. St. Patrick’s Day used to be my favorite holiday as a kid because I got to show off what I loved doing. Now I dread March 17th because it’s just a reminder of everything that could’ve been.
I hate being so negative and as much as I want to end this post with that last statement, I can’t bring myself to do so. I firmly believe that I am no longer dancing for a reason. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t stopped (I mean shit, an identity crisis at 16! I’m set!) That being said, it’s easy to look back now and see the big picture. Its nice to be able to confidently say that things have changed for the better.