What is the hardest part about coming back from an injury you ask? Well in my opinion it’s the mental hurdle that you have to throw yourself over to kick off any kind of progress. For me, the first day back on stage is the scariest. Yes, I have been back in rehearsal for months now, which was a hurdle in itself, but performing? You mean to tell me you want me to get in front of an audience and dance with the risk that my knee may shatter into a million pieces at any given moment? No way.
This weekend I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a mini-tour with the Ballroom Dance Company at Southern Utah University, this was four days of performing through out Nevada and California. Although this was an incredible opportunity, I don’t think I have been that scared to perform since my first recital where I stood on stage and watch all the other little girls dance around me. When any part of your body has to be surgically repaired a little anxiety is acceptable and completely necessary. After a surgery your body will never be the same as it was before. Yes, that is an obvious statement and we’ve all heard it a million times, “It’s just not what it was before.” I mean this in the most literal sense possible, there are sutures or staples or duct tape or anything else inside your body. How weird is that? With that said, you have to re-familiarize yourself with your own body, minor surgery or major surgery, your body is still different now. This is a very mental thing, you have to constantly ask yourself; What can’t I do? How far can I push it? Will my body ever be the same? How can I possibly start over now? These are all questions I ask myself before every show, rehearsal and day.
At our first show this weekend I had to really take time to calm myself down, I had to tell myself over and over again to trust myself and that my legs will be there to catch me. Before going on stage I used the grounding technique to calm my nerves. Sometimes it’s easiest to focus on what is right in front of you, tune everything else out and make sure you are fully connected to YOURSELF. You can only do as much as you tell yourself you can do.