Yesterday I just about lost it. And I’m not really sure what was getting to me more: my injury, my mental frustration about my injury, my physical limitations due to my injury or the idea that I’ve been beat over the head with the message that my limitations are “in my head.” Let me assure that when I tried to kick in dance class and every bit of my body seized up, it was not in my head. It was in my hamstrings, calves, quads and in my Achilles, literally, the same place I am having surgery on three weeks from today.
But I wanted to push. And I kept trying. And I kept falling. And I kept watching the people around me do it with such ease. I felt like I was drowning in high kicks. I’m not competitive, or at least that’s what I tell myself, and I never been super flexible so I didn’t expect to fly high but something was bothering me, REALLY bothering me and I didn’t know what. I made it through the night without a major meltdown, climbed in my bed, exhausted from the fight I was having with myself and BOOM! The light started flashing.
I’m tired from being at war….with myself. And I’m pretty pissed off about the whole thing.
I’ve created all of these expectations or taken on the expectations of others on my shoulders. And I have been carrying them around, unable to move with freedom, exploration and joy because I am trying to take a swing at a moving target, you know that goal that you never reach because you feel like you could always be better? I don’t knock staying on top of your game. I’m just against self destruction. And that’s what I’ve been doing, pushing too hard with the wrong force behind me. It’s the very reason I am being benched for six weeks.
This morning I had to REALLY forgive myself for being injured. Yes, it sounds crazy unless you are on this side. To be in an industry that tells you to “push until you puke” and you’re not getting strong until it hurts it has been difficult not blaming myself for going down with an injury. I was on a run, my ankle twisted funny and next thing you know my choreography suffers, I can’t walk straight, my students are freaking out that I’ll be gone for over a month and my surgery became front row and center. And I have STILL been trying to teach. Want to know what’s crazy?
I believe in discipline. I believe in diligence. I don’t believe in destruction. And pushing forward, for me, means finding the right balance of effort, go-get-it-ness and grace and common sense…for me. This is my fourth surgery in 5 1/2 years. Three of them were worse than they had to be because I pushed too hard.
Have you been in a similar situation? How did you handle it?
Forgive yourself for what you see as “shortcomings” or “limitations.” Consider them “pauses” for you to evaluate the amount of force you are using.