Sprained Ankle

OMG Taylor. WHO gets injured at the club?! 

While everyone else is at BBQs and pool parties celebrating the 4th of July, I’m sitting on my couch with an ice pack and compression bandage on my ankle, telling myself that I should go back to admiring dance from afar so that I won’t risk getting hurt--or worse: embarrassed--again.

The day before, I sprained my ankle at a salsa club. It actually wasn’t from a dramatic fall. It was a minor misstep that caused a sharp pain that I exacerbated by trying to make sure no one noticed. I could feel huge pain coming my way immediately, but I didn’t want anyone to know I’d messed up. So I ignored the pain and kept dancing for a couple more hours as if nothing happened... The next day I could barely walk.

Note to self: pretending like I’m not in pain today will make me have even more pain tomorrow. And the new self-inflicted pain is even more embarrassing than the embarrassing thing I was trying to avoid in the first place.

As I sit on the couch rearranging the ice on my ankle, it hits me that it wasn’t until I started worrying about what people thought of me on the dance floor that I ended up here. Up until that point in the night, I was having so much fun dancing and not caring about anything else.

It turns out that facing fears/insecurities is not a one-time thing. I have to constantly put myself out there--even if I mess up and/or don’t feel good enough--in order to keep improving. Confronting my perfectionism on the dance floor is helping me become a better dancer, even though it involves plenty of missteps along the way. I’m learning that if I embrace them instead of hide from them, I can save myself a lot of pain and embarrassment.

So I end my personal pity party and decide to celebrate my own form of independence. Independence that comes from embracing the journey, despite how silly I may look. A journey that involves mistakes because mistakes are proof of effort. After ten months in the salsa scene, I’d finally become confident enough to stop caring what I looked like and danced until it hurt. Literally.

I wonder how different my life would be if I gave everything 100% and decided to learn from--instead of hide from--the inevitable injuries along the journey. It's not too late for me to find out.

© taylordmills 2017

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