Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Finding myself, unbroken

Cold car driving down a cold road to Bethesda. C and his mom chat quietly together in Polish, and I am feeling the weight of this winter pressing down upon me. Tomorrow by this time, my foot (and our stamina) will have been tested by the first competition we are dancing since August. I've been on the sidelines so much lately that I can hardly understand how it will feel to be back on the floor again. I'm nervous, I worry I won't be able to enjoy it, I worry my foot will give out on me, that my stamina is completely shot, that…..and on and on.

It is Valentine’s Day weekend. There is this card that my savings bank sent me last year. It says, “What a difference a year makes.” This was my first competition back as an amateur last year. Since then I've traveled abroad for lessons, competed across the country, and remade a foot bone. This past week my coach gave rare praise, “your activity is so much better now than a year ago; there is not even a comparison.”

Upward and inward go I.

In the past weeks I have sometimes tried to take stock of where I am. I somehow imagined, back in October, that my foot would be completely healed by now, that I would be able to step onto the floor as some new incarnation of myself. Wiser, stronger, and better. That I would be able to write here and expound upon all the lessons I've learned. But it isn't like that. Instead I am struggling everyday to eat at least 2800 calories, to try and push healing energy to my foot, which is still weak and aches after every practice. I avoid this blog because I truly cannot yet verbalize how this injury has changed me, if it has at all. Our coaches keep checking in, but even they have started shaking their heads about how long it is taking.

On the other hand I can't say that I have not progressed. I tried many new types of shoes, and found that the wide width Supadance shoes are an incredible amount more comfortable than my normal ones. I will be dancing in competition heels this weekend. My amazing support group of fellow dancers and friends, are always checking in with a hug and a kindly, “how’s the foot?” and I feel I am giving them better news each time. Three days ago I was able to find a place where I completely gave in to dancing, and even that little corner of my mind that seems to always scream “no! Your foot is not ready for this yet!” finally shut up.

I very much want to find my joy in dancing again. I've felt so much pressure to be whole again, and I found that the pressure has sapped much happiness from me. I hope that tomorrow, when I feel the lights on me, when my feet caress the familiar competition floor, when that music begins and asks us to move, that my heart will rise to it and I will find myself again, unbroken.
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