Let Go or Hold On?

This year has been filled with ups and downs,  new directions, exciting dead-ends and coming full circle. When 2011 started, I was a ballroom dancer. That was a HUGE part of my identity, and it was a central part of my future vocational plans.

Kurt and Tammy in a Tango Promenade Position

Then injury stepped in and poor medical treatment and … and… and. I needed to let my dream go.

In the Spring I went so far as to write a eulogy to dance, thanking it for all that it had taught me. I feel tears in my eyes just thinking about it. When I started the blog, I fully intended to run that as one of my posts. One of the points I made in the eulogy is that while the external voices that I use to draw validation keep changing throughout my life, dance has taught me that my own personal voice has earned its place and should also be respected.

Last week a bunch of us got together to plan out some marketing strategies for our LGBT dance class, and Kurt invited the man with whom he’s been dancing. He was introducing himself as Kurt’s dance partner. Everyone else at the table immediately looked at me to judge my reaction. I simply smiled and shared an inside joke with him. I’ve known all along that Kurt had been looking for a same-sex dance partner. And, in that instant, seeing the pride in the man’s eyes, I knew that that title had been a gift from Kurt. Nothing inspires a beginning dancer to work harder than knowing that they have to live up to being a more experienced dancer’s partner. Also, knowing that someone else saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself was a crutch that got me through the valleys of the learning curve. Why would I want to take that gift away from anyone or tarnish it in any way?  At that moment, I truly felt like a grown up.

Recently I was seen by a Sports Medicine Knee Specialist – I finally found one that would let me self-pay! I have a diagnosis I believe in (I saw it on ultrasound!), it should fully heal, and on Tuesday I start my prescribed physical therapy with the wonderful doctor that helped me with an over-use injury on the other knee.

Returning to dance is seeming like a possibility. This does scare me a bit: My heart was broken when I thought I had to give it up for good. Would my body hold out? This time would be different (isn’t that what everyone says before making the same mistake again?!?!?). I no longer plan to teach so I don’t need to intently focus on what the leader is doing, just how that affects how I need to respond. It will also be a different dynamic between me and Kurt.

I’ve learned that different is okay. My time away from the dance floor has taught me that I truly love it. I know I will never be world champion, and I actually want to have a life outside of dance (now that I know that there is one!), so this time it will be for me.

But this is all carts in front of horses. I need to get healthy, a FULL recovery, before I even start to look for the dance shoe box again. But with all of this, there is hope. What better way to end one year and begin a new one?

8 thoughts on “Let Go or Hold On?”

  1. Tammy, I hope you make a full recovery…two things we have in common are blogging and dancing. That is pretty intense and amazing to feel so strongly about something that when you can no longer do it, it’s like a part of you “dies”…and to write a eulogy for it…what a way to give closure. But I am glad that it sounds like you won’t have to do that! Here’s to a speedy recovery, and getting your dancing shoes back on!

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    1. Thank you, Ali! A fellow dancer!!!! I felt so hollow when my dream was shattered. The eulogy helped, but the void remained. I so hope to find a real solution to my knee pain so I can go back on the floor.

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  2. Tammy, I am so happy for you – believing in recovery (I think) is the first, incredibly important step toward it! Best wishes to you on your physical therapy path. I wish you strength of spirit as well as body in the year to come. Just make sure your fingers keep dancing across your keyboard to let us know of all of your progress!

    This following paragraph is my favorite:
    “I’ve learned that different is okay. My time away from the dance floor has taught me that I truly love it. I know I will never be world champion, and I actually want to have a life outside of dance (now that I know that there is one!), so this time it will be for me.” Having suffered my own identity crisis due to a medical condition that ripped me from myself, I completely understand the reassessment, the new appreciation and the comprehension of where things truly fit in life. Kudos to you – you are a life champion already, just give the world time to recognize 😉

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    1. Thank you, Nicole. So sorry that you also have gone through losing a part of yourself due to the frailties of the human body. I wish “they” weren’t right so often,especially when they say that you don’t truly appreciate something until it is gone. I hope you were able to find another passion to follow, one that inspires you to be a better you.

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    1. Thanks! I just completed week 2 of PT. I don’t know if it is better or not. I have to stay patient and rush things or I could end the dream forever. Breathe, Tammy, breathe!

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