This I Believe

Chloe - Harrisonburg, Virginia
Entered on April 27, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Dancing Will See Me Through Anything

Through all my childhood trials and tribulations, one thing stuck and was absolutely permanent no matter how hard my mom threatened to take it away. When I lost my “first love” boyfriend in my sophomore year of high school, when my mom and I would have yet another epic argument, and when my grandma died of Alzheimer’s my junior year of high school. When all of these conflicts were eating away at my heart, I could count on one thing to remain at my side. Most days of my childhood, my dance classes were the sole purpose of waking up in the morning.

I believe dancing will see me through anything. The dance studio I attended was my retreat from the day’s problems. When I lost my first boyfriend, I knew I couldn’t react in front of my mom-she wouldn’t understand because she didn’t like him anyway. I kept my composure through the school day and the long car ride home, until I reached the dance studio, my sanctuary and second home. I bawled in the back room on my favorite couch until dance class began. Throughout class, I focused on nothing but the tasks presented to me. My teacher noticed my work and felt the impulse to praise me after class. I remember her joking that she actually saw my brain’s cogwheels turning. That single class helped me through my problems more than any advice or empathy could have.

Dancing doesn’t leave room in your mind for worry, anger, or fear. While you learn an exercise, you don’t have time to think of all things that are going wrong in your life; you have to focus to remember the sequential steps, and then to perform them to your best ability. The act of trying to remember combinations the teacher doles out is enough to allow your mind to recenter itself for the hour long class. Dancing is the most stress-relieving action out there. Concentrating on your elbow not being bent or your foot rotating the correct degree fills the unwanted, negative images in your head.

When my grandma died in 2004, it was as if a weight had been lifted off the house. Not to say that my mom and I didn’t love my grandma, because we did, but she brought with her many complications. My grandma had Alzheimer’s Disease, resulting in dementia, and when she became unfit to live alone, she moved in with my mom and I. At one point in the six years she was with us, my grandma was determined to “go home”. My mom and I took take shifts staying at home so she wouldn’t try to leave the house, and actually succeed. In the later years of her disease, we took turns sleeping on a couch in her room, previously our living room, to steer her back to bed when she would awaken and try to return home again. My release from this prison was either school, which was another form of prison, or dance class, which was a release and welcomed.

I strongly believe that through grandma, school pressures, and other issues present throughout my teenage years dancing kept me going. Dancing became my stress release, and through these trials, also became my passion.