An Ode To Dance

An Ode To Dance

Once a dancer, always a dancer.

There is one thing in my life that has always been present. It has always been there for me on my best days, as well as on my worst. It never let me down--no, it always pushed me and encouraged me. It was something that I was never forced into, for it was something that naturally ran through my veins. This is my ode to dance:

Thank you for always being there for me. Even when there were days where I was frustrated, lonely, and angry, you never yelled, shouted, or showed signs of discouragement. Instead, you lifted me up and pushed me forward. You allowed me to get lost in you and the music you provided. I got lost in the art, the story, and the beauty and pain behind it all. You allowed me to tell stories, year after year. You were there for me through every heartbreak, celebration, and ordinary day. There were plenty of moments where we fought; where I thought I had lost myself. There were days where I wasn't sure what kind of dancer I was meant to be. You see, you were there every step of the way, guiding me to find out who I was and who I was meant to be.

Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself. Together, we worked through every road block, injury, and obstacle. I never once lost my passion for you. I long for days where I can spend hours in a dance studio getting lost in every contraction, pirouette, step, leap. There were moments where I thought I'd never grow as a dancer. I believed I had peaked at a young age, and I was lagging behind the others. You allowed me to keep growing and learning. By the time I graduated I think I finally became the dancer I wanted to be.

Thank you for every battle wound. I start each day with a crack, pop, and a twist in all of my joints. Every broken foot, twisted ankle, sore hip, and pulled leg muscle was worth it. I was born with tight muscles and stretching was often painful, but I learned how to compensate and push my body to its limit. I miss waking up after a night of conditioning and feeling sore all over my body. It was the kind of soreness that meant that I worked hard at dance and that I was growing stronger. The body is a powerhouse that can make any movement graceful or powerful. Dancers are examples of beauty, strength, and gracefulness.

Thank you for providing me the greatest dance teachers. The beautiful, strong, and confident women I grew up admiring, who I consider not only friends, but also family. My dance teachers believed in dance and believed in their students. The dance studio was a second home for me. It was a place where I felt safe and loved. I have learned so much from each teacher and I want to thank them separately for believing in me and always encouraging me. They have all helped me get to where I am today.

Thank you for giving me best friends. The girls whom I ate with, danced with, cried with, shopped with, laughed with, and learned with. The amazing young women that I had the pleasure of dancing with have shaped me. They have inspired me greatly. You see, you provide us with a special bond that only dancers know. It wasn't just the long hours in the studio or at the competition, it was the ability for all of us to feel the same emotions, the same music pumping through our veins and bleeding out of our hearts. We leaned on each other in the darkest of times and we leaned on you to pull us out. My friends and I connected on so many levels of understanding throughout each and every dance. I have girls in my life who will always be there for me.

Thank you for allowing me to create art. I have taken pain, beauty, and excitement and poured my heart out in each dance. I learned the meaning of leaving my heart out on the stage. There are moments where you realize that you have to seize the moment, seize the day. I can honestly say that I left my heart out on the stage, and I never got it back. You have stolen my heart and I will always be with you. I often choreograph dances in my mind as I walk to class. I can't help but tap my feet to the music playing in the grocery store. I look longingly at the dance studio in the gym and wish for a dance class that isn't zumba or yoga. I miss creating art and telling a story. I miss pouring passion into movements that connect my body to my heart. I miss letting go of everything, feeling everything and nothing at the same time. I miss that moment on stage, where everything stops for a moment and I gaze out into the audience, breathe, and smile because I am doing something that I am passionate about.

Thank you for everything you have given me over the past 18 years. I would not be who I am today if it weren't for you. I hope someday to have a little girl of my own and I hope she loves dance as much as I do. I hope to send her off to her first day of ballet class and know that she is in good hands. I hope that she feels passionate about dancing and wants to share her passion with me. I hope to connect with her with the special bond only dancers feel.

Thank you for being you. I miss dancing more than anything. You can take the girl out of the dance, but you can never take the dance out of the girl.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Tanya Gold, Your Fatphobic Article Is Uneducated And Arrogant

BREAKING NEWS: Women come in all different shapes and sizes!


Just recently, Nike released a plus-size mannequin at one of their stores in London that showed off their plus-size leggings and sports bra. And, because we live in a world where being fat or overweight or obese is somehow the worst thing in the world to some people, this has sparked a lot of discussion.

Tanya Gold wrote an article for The Telegraph saying that this mannequin “cannot run" and is “likely pre-diabetic" and “on her way to a hip-replacement." Not only is Tanya's article uneducated and poorly written, it's completely fatphobic and embarrassing.

What I would like to know is this: why can't plus-size women work out in Nike clothes just like a size 2 woman? People want to scream from the rooftops that plus-size women are fat because they don't exercise and when companies FINALLY start catering to plus-size women with clothes they can EXERCISE IN, people lose their minds and think that they're promoting obesity.

What are plus sized women supposed to work out in if they can't even wear Nike leggings without being fat-shamed?

Would you rather them wear jeans? Overalls? A parka, maybe? What about a garbage bag?

Let's also discuss the fact that being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy, just like being at a “normal" weight doesn't make you healthy. Did you ever stop to think that some women have diseases that make them gain weight that they, in return, can't lose? Some women can eat salad for every single meal, seven days a week and they still can't lose weight.

Let's all say this together: SIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. Being thin doesn't equal being healthy and being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy.

Everyone (and yes, I mean EVERYONE) should be able to be comfortable in their own skin AND in their clothes.

You can't sit and pout saying that fat people don't care about their health and then when they want comfortable clothes to wear while they're EXERCISING, hell has frozen over and how dare Nike cater to people who aren't a size 2.

Tanya, be honest with yourself. You aren't anywhere near a size 2, either, so where is all of this coming from? Are you self-loathing? Do you have some kind of internal fatphobia?

Pick a side, Tanya. You can't hate people who are overweight because you think that they aren't exercising and then when they do exercise and they get clothes that cater to them, it's all of the sudden wrong and horrible.

We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. As if women (and men) weren't already being shamed enough for being plus size, we're now being made to feel bad because a brand caters to our size so we can wear the same clothes all of the other sizes can wear.

Thank you, Nike, for making your brand more inclusive for all shapes and sizes so we can ALL feel confident in our clothes.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nike released their plus-size line in 2017 AKA 2 years ago... Why weren't you mad then?

Oh, and, Tanya Gold, you might want to stop smoking since you're all about being healthy, right? You don't want to get lung cancer or anything, do you?

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