just dance. it’s gonna be okay.

how many times did i tell myself that in my 4 and half years?

it was my answer for everything. it was my comfort.

just dance.

i’m pretty sure i loved it.

even though in a lot of ways, it ruined my life. i didn’t care then, but it did.

i never got out of the habit of pointing my feet when i walk(that’s why i bounce. i don’t put my heels on the ground enough.) that isn’t really a bad thing that came of it, but it is a result.

my knee still daily hurts me from the time i popped it backwards and refused to stop dancing on it.

i still assume that everyone thinks i’m stupid.(and it really hurts when people say “wait, you have ADD?” like it’s a shock. you at least pretend that you thought there was another explanation.)

i’ve never lost the idea that i need to lose weight, and i haven’t felt skinny a day since i was fourteen.

it will always be hard to see myself making it anywhere in life.

every day all of that was driven into my head. i quote:

“you say you think you’ll be in ballet magnificat one day? well sorry, you’re never gonna make it.” *turns and goes back to teaching the class which she just humiliated me in front of*

[in front of everyone as always] “things will be a lot harder for you if you don’t start losing weight, your legs are getting bulky. professional companies don’t want football players.”

“one of three things is going on, either you aren’t trying, you don’t care, or you’re just an idiot.”(what else was i supposed to assume? i was killing myself trying, and i cared about it more than anything in the world. that was when it clicked.)

[she never was one for discretion, see. always in the middle of class, always where people were listening and looking at me, always when there wasn’t time for me to retaliate. solid strategy, i’ll give her that.]

and so it continued, those were how they were said the first times. she always worded them a little differently every day. but that was the gist.

i remember in january the year we moved, she kept me back after class and said it seemed like my attitude was changing, and did i even still enjoy dancing.

YES.

you think i come in here every day to do something i hate?

i didn’t say that. i just nodded and asked “can i go?”. i was too busy fighting tears to make bigger words come out.

and really. i wasn’t in denial. of COURSE i loved dancing. i still do today.

struggling to do everything i was asked to when i had tendonitis in both knees and being called lazy because i couldn’t do it, is not dancing. being told in front of all your friends that you’re getting fat and need to “be careful”(and you know, even after i lost 12 pounds over freshmen year, i doubt if she would have noticed), is not dancing. being pulled out of a piece and standing on the side posing, watching my friends do what i love, is not dancing. and trying your hardest every single day, while hearing the words “you’re not good enough” in all possible forms and fashions, is not, was not, and never will be, dancing.

but that was as close as i was allowed. like a donkey with a carrot hanging in its face. i settled for following the carrot instead of eating it.

yes, i love to dance. always have and always will. i just didn’t love what i did for the last year and a half of my days at that place.

the fact that they called it “moving for christ ministry” makes me laugh. mrs debbie was moving to make her studio look good, and that’s what she tried to force us to do.

and really, i wasn’t moving for Christ either. it was about me. i did it because i loved it, and i loved it for all the wrong reasons.

once it was taken away from me, i realized that. and i’m so different now. if i still lived near there, i would go back, and i doubt i would care where she put me or how she treated me. i really would be doing it for Jesus. i think that’s why i’ve been missing it more lately. i know so much more what worship means, and all that time, that’s what i could have been doing instead of feeling sorry for myself.

i remember one day last march, at cru we sang how deep the father’s love( back in the day, it was one of my favorites that we did. there was no dancing so i got to be in it the whole time). i tried to remember the signs to it, and suddenly i couldn’t stop crying. later that night i went back to my room and went through every dance i ever learned and could barely remember a thing. it’s like i forgot everything i wasted four years learning.

although, i can get some pretty good things out of it, looking back.

at the time my only friends were the people i spent 20 hours a week with. we got through it together. some of them weren’t always the nicest people in the world, but i got one or two real friends out of it.

then there were of course ballet magnificat workshops. i got to go to two of them and one other time we went and saw them when they came to columbia. they never failed to amaze me. my favorite part was the end, when the audience claps for them, and they look up and clap for Jesus. every single one of them is legit. i learned so much from them. they are what moving for Christ should have been. and i wanted so bad to be a part of that. apparently i didn’t have what it took.

and there’s the constant reminder of everything that happened in those years, that i always have with me. that’s where i got the necklace that i refuse to take off. and i haven’t. i’ve had it on since june 15, 2007. and it’s served its purpose well. every time i look at it, i remember. anytime you see me playing with it in my hands when i’m bored, i’m trying not to let myself forget.

i don’t always like remembering. but i don’t ever want to forget.

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