When I Hung Up My Dance Shoes
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When I Hung Up My Dance Shoes

My life changed forever

When I Hung Up My Dance Shoes

When I was three years old, my mom put me in dance lessons with all of the other little girls. I had been putting on performances for my family as soon as I discovered how to talk and walk. I would sit everyone down at family gatherings and tell them it was show time. Then, I would go put on one of my sparkly church dresses and do some sort of improvised song and dance routine, blowing everyone away with my talents, or at least that is what I thought. So, after countless performances, my mom decided it was time I joined the big leagues.

From that day forward, dance was everything to me. I tried to play sports, but I always ended up doing cartwheels across the soccer field or spinning in the outfield waiting for a softball to come my way. For as long as I can remember, dance has been my love. It was my outlet when I was having a bad day, when boys were being stupid and when I was stressed to the max. I knew I could take my anger out on the dance floor and I would immediately be granted with a clear perspective and calm mind. I never thought there would be a time in my life where I was physically unable to do the thing I love most in this world.

Unfortunately, my sophomore year of high school, that was exactly what happened. It was a pretty normal couple of weeks. I attended dance team practice three times a week and danced at the football games on Friday nights. I had begun to notice some pain in my hips when I was running our two mile warm up and when I was doing technique, but I brushed it off as usual soreness and took some Ibuprofen. Before long, my hips would lock up when I sat down for long class periods and I could barely make it to the next classroom without stabbing hip pains. Finally, I asked my mom to take me to an orthopedic, fingers crossed it was nothing serious because competition season was fast approaching.

The doctor initially diagnosed me with a torn tendon in my hip, they prescribed physical therapy and we called it a day. I started easing back on the intensity of my practices and attended therapy twice a week. I did this for six weeks and nothing helped. I had four MRI's looking for anything that could possibly be torn or out of place. I was poked and prodded and x-rayed, but I didn't mind. I just wanted to know what was wrong so I could get back to practice. Eventually, they did figure it out and we learned that there really isn't anything to help me besides medication to make things less uncomfortable. Despite my best efforts, dancing at the degree of intensity that I was used to just simply wasn't in the cards anymore. After football season ended, I basically became my team's manager and stopped dancing altogether. I tried to go back to less rigorous studio classes during my junior year, but that fell apart pretty quickly and I decided to hang up my dance shoes for good.

Making the decision to give up a sport I loved my entire life for the sake of my own health is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was like I was giving up a huge part of my identity, but I knew that I couldn't keep on hurting my body the way I was. At first, it was like the world was ending. I had no emotional outlet and I didn't get to see my friends everyday, but I came to terms with it quickly. I took the lessons my instructors taught me throughout the years and applied them to everyday things instead of to dance. I pushed myself in new ways and got involved in things I never would have done because of my time commitment to the sport. In some ways, giving up dance was the best decision I could have made for myself.

Obviously I miss dance every day, but sometimes you have to let go of something you love in order for new opportunities to come through the door.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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