I believe in loving what you fear losing. It sounds dramatic but I didn’t understand this myself until a dream I had five years ago. At the time I was thirteen. It was a recurring dream at the time or rather a nightmare in which I am alone in the center of a vast stage. I am wearing a white tutu and pink satin pointe shoes. I look out into the audience but it is too dark to make out any figures. I can see only the source of a white light that pours down to me on the stage. I hear faint music begin to play and it is different each time. I begin to dance. Sometimes the music is loud and I can feel the bass in my feet and sometimes it is sweet and classical and it doesn’t matter because I am alive and I am dancing. I travel across the stage with speed and grace and I always find myself back in the center performing my best pirouettes. I’m on my sixth, seventh, eighth turn and I feel as though I am spinning above the floor—but then I am on the floor in a heap of white tulle and mangled body parts, twisted in ways that are only possible in dreams.
This dream came to me most often during a time in my life when I was unsure of my path ahead. I was only thirteen and struggling to balance my time consuming sport, dance, with my academics, and with life. I was tempted by the thought of quitting dance and being a normal teenager who didn’t have rehearsal six days a week.
I always woke up after the fall; I never dreamed about what would happen next. But I know. Serious injury is a dancer’s death; it means you can never again do what you love. I never dreamed about being an old woman, paralyzed in a wheelchair, watching a ballet and yearning for the past when I could move and dance. I know that my dream showed me my thirteen year old fear. I was on the verge of quitting when I realized that because I feared losing my ability dance that it was a part of me and I should persevere. I continued to dance and I haven’t had the nightmare for five years. I know that I need to keep dance in my life because I believe in loving what you fear losing. And I fear losing my ability to dance.
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