We are ALL guilty of it. That insane thing called dreaming. Far too often we let ourselves get carried away with our high expectations, our unbreakable career plans and our passion for what we do. But what if our perception of reality is overly tinted by what we want? What if something changed everything?
Since the age of two, I (apparently) knew that I had to dance; “I want to do that” I told my family while watching a professional ballet company perform Sleeping Beauty. This began what turned out to be the very best and most eye-opening fifteen years I could have ever dreamed of. From ballet to street dance, from tap dance to reggae, from local theatres in South Yorkshire to London’s West End, with Disneyland Paris somewhere along the way. I felt like I had it all!
Naturally, the ballet dream passed when I came to the realisation that my big thighs and flat feet wouldn’t be welcome in an elite company, but I knew in my heart that I had to have dance in my life and I would defeat all obstacles that got in my way. Each day I worked harder and, more importantly, I believed that I could do it. Sometimes, you can get carried away with the illusion that there’s no one who wants your dream more than you do, but I knew how it was – I’d seen what dancers were like; they’ll take the risks and they won’t give up. I knew this and so I fought. I lost the weight I needed to, I embraced my strengths and defeated my weaknesses. I said the naive words that everyone says – “it won’t happen to me”…
On April the 21st 2013, I got injured. During an intense stretching session I felt a snap down the back of my right leg that sent chills down the spine at the concept of not being able to dance again. I took a deep breath, and used my arms to prop myself up, but even just a centimetre of movement sent agonising shooting pains down my leg.
Now, at the risk of sounding dramatic, I will assure you now that there is a happy ending to this tale, but not on the pathway that my whole life had been leading up too.
Through months of physiotherapy my hamstring, a part of which had in fact torn, did start to show improvements. I could put my weight on it again and, to my relief, I could dance. It wasn’t until I returned to dance classes that I realised the further damage that had been done. The dancers who, just four months before, were of a similar ability to myself were performing in a way that I couldn’t. They were kicking their legs right up to their shoulders and effortlessly falling into the splits on demand. I couldn’t even touch my toes; something I wasn’t used too after spending years trying to improve my flexibility. I was determined that this was just another little blip that would seem so insignificant in a year’s time looking back.
Well, a full year later and I cannot describe how my life has changed.
Despite applying for a dance school in Liverpool in the hope of someone taking a chance on me and my useless right leg, my audition was unsuccessful. Luckily, I had prepared myself for this and applied for a course which, although started as my back up plan, is now the pathway I knew I was meant to take.
Sometimes, people are lucky and they get exactly what they want and things work out, but sometimes you just have to accept the situation you have, grit your teeth, be brave and embrace another journey. As my hero, Patrick Swayze once said, “When one dream dies, you have to move on to a new one. The unhappiest people in this world are those who can’t recover from losing a dream”.
That’s exactly what I did.
In September, I’ll be going to University to study a degree in Journalism. Something that will enable me to be honest, creative, excited, involved, and still in contact with my performing background.
I may not have arrived at the destination where I originally intended to go, but I know for sure that I have ended up where I was meant to be and truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Featured image: ✿ indecisive/ Flickr.