Some of my peers called me “Little Miss Perfect”. They knew I could never color outside the lines on a good conscience. I cringed when I heard the name, but I dreaded the one day that I would prove them wrong.
Six years ago, I went to the Atlanta Jazz Theatre audition for Junior Company. I was confident in jazz and had no worries for that half of the audition. At the beginning of the ballet part, the other girls were trying a turn that I had not practiced before. Trying to be as good as everyone else, I attempted a fouetté rond de jambe en tournant. I had never even taken a ballet class. My ankle and I went separate ways that day; I sprained it and was out for six weeks.
Later that night, I went home and cried, not from pain, but from anxiety. I replayed the scene over and over again. So many things went wrong. For a while after the audition, I was angry at myself for not being a good enough dancer. Why had I chosen that audition to leave my comfort zone? I was so disappointed in myself that I wondered if I should go back to soccer or basketball. I wished that I could have prevented the incident. Finally, I realized that my moping was not accomplishing anything that would help me get back to dancing.
I took a risk before I was ready. I would not have hurt my ankle if I had more experience in ballet. I was trying so hard to do well at the audition that I overlooked the obvious risks. Taking smaller steps before larger steps would have helped me to succeed. Bringing up the confidence to try the fouetté again was difficult. I was thankful that no one would ever say again that I had not tested my limits, but I wished that I had remembered my old, cautious self. I now know to balance all the risks and cautions. I know that even if it is easier to jump into something, I must find the “perfect” way to take my steps.
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