She is Finding the Right Balance – Bella’s Story
I looked into the mirror all day in class at ballet, constantly critiquing and picking apart steps to make them look perfect. I was always being told, “Don’t be a lazy dancer, Come on give it all you have, higher, stronger, more, more, more.” The message was relentless and sometimes so negative I would tell myself I wasn’t good enough. I learnt at an early age not to show weakness but I would later learn that what some see as weakness can be turned into a strength.
In January 2015 all of the senior ballet girls were planning a trip to Europe to audition at the top ballet company schools. This was expected to kick start our careers as dancers and be a life changing experience. I was so excited. I had my bags packed a month in advance, just like a little kid ready for their first day at school. One week before the trip I felt an ache in my foot. I kept dancing however as to ask to sit down would be seen as laziness. The pain became progressively worse and my sense of denial was getting stronger. As the days passed everyone was talking about how amazing the trip would be, such a great opportunity for our future and we would be seeing snow! There was no way I was going to let some minor pain stop me from this trip.
A few days before we were to leave my teacher asked me to go to the physiotherapist to have my foot pain assessed. “There is nothing the matter,” I told myself “It will be fine, be strong.” The physio referred me to the doctor and the doctor ordered an MRI and some x-rays. Unfortunately the tests confirmed that I had a full stress fracture in my right metatarsal. The doctor told me that I would be unable to go on the overseas trip. I was devastated. I felt all the blood drain from my face and the pain in my foot was replaced by a feeling of numbness throughout my whole body. My cheeks were wet from burning tears of shock and disbelief.
The next few days were a blur. I was so frustrated that all I could do to heal my foot was rest. I normally don’t express too many emotions but I felt like a bottle ready to burst with anger. I looked ridiculous with a huge chunky boot on my foot, hobbling around with crutches. By now my friends were all in Europe enjoying the trip of a lifetime that was meant to include me. It just wasn’t fair. Why did this happen to me? There seemed to be no logical answer to my questions.
Eventually I realised that these questions may never be answered. I began to understand that my negative feelings of pity and frustration were not helping me in any way. Positive things can only occur in a positive mindset. I could learn from this experience, the key to my recovery was positivity. Instead of sitting n my dark cave of a room dwelling on what could have been I began to tell my self “You are going to come back stronger, those who have gone through hardships have more to fight for.” I started to see that this injury could be a blessing. If I didn’t have to go through this challenge I may never have felt the true hunger inside of me. I may never have known how privileged I am to pursue my dream and live it every day.
I worked hard to keep my head in the right place, my body toned and my motivation high. My perspective had shifted. Going back to ballet was not going to be easy but I was determined to make it a positive and productive experience. I will take critiques as constructive criticism and remind myself “I am doing the best I can. I will find the right balance between being hard on myself and knowing when to stop. I will remember this experience as a positive one, one that caused me to grow. I believe that your destiny begins in your mind and you have control over it.”