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Posts Tagged ‘chronic injuries’

My one-year dancing anniversary took place last month.

Yes, I’m still dancing. And it’s much more enjoyable now that my problem toe has finally stopped hurting as much. I’m beginning to rebuild the muscle I lost from my convalescence, and my hips are finally beginning to loosen again, and all is going well.

It’s also become much easier for me to ask people to dance. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, precisely, but it is easier. I’ll take it.

And I haven’t taken the dive off the deep end that can be so tempting for me, aka dancing has not become my entire life. I read an article last week about all these things I should be doing and attitudes I should be having in order to improve as a dancer, and I didn’t feel the need to do any of them. I’m sure they’re right, mind you; I’m sure if I made video of me dancing, for example, I’d improve much faster. But I’m okay with my current rate of improvement. Which is for the best, since I don’t have a ton of extra time to devote beyond what I’m already doing.

That being said, I am attending a dance convention over the next several days, which I expect to be incredible and exhausting and punishing to my hamstrings.

My face after dancing.

My face after dancing.

I was talking about dancing recently, and I said, in all seriousness, that it has changed my life. I stand by that statement.

There are many ways dancing can change a person’s life, and I’m sure many of those ways have at least touched on my own. But the primary change for me has been one of physicality. Dancing has helped immensely in this last level of healing after the past several years of chronic injuries.

Perhaps most noteworthy has been its effect on my confidence. After spending years dealing with injuries and re-injuries and the limitations that surround them, I was used to thinking not in terms of possibilities but rather in terms of protection. What did I need to do to protect myself? What might hurt me again? What if I chose to do an activity and then spent six months recovering from it? Six months is not a small price to pay, and those kinds of prices begin to inform your decisions, even when you are no longer as fragile as you once were.

Dancing has taught me to trust my body again. I’m not so wary about my ankle anymore; careful, when the situation warrants it, but not so nervous. Aches and pains feel more like a temporary phenomenon again, instead of something that means “Omg, what have you done to yourself now?” Through gentle repeated use, my ankle has become less rigid, which means hills do not daunt me the way they once did. Uh huh, I CAN CLIMB HILLS. The excitement of that statement cannot be overstated.

One last thought on dancing: It makes me happy. I always feel grateful to be attending dance events. I feel grateful to my partners. I feel grateful for the amazing music. And I feel grateful for the community as a whole.  

My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who has contributed to that gratitude over the past year.

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