“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck
Everyone experiences things/moments in their lives that change their outlook or perspective towards life. One of these moments happened to me back in 2009.
I was a full time student at Texas State working on my dance and education degree and dancing for the Austin Toros basketball team (now the Austin Spurs). Life was busy and fast paced, I was constantly using my body and working it into over time. I was a work out junkie, so being sore and having muscle cramping was normal and it did not make me think twice. After a particular practice I remember complaining about being unusually sore and uncomfortable. “No pain, no gain” is what I’ve been taught, so I pushed through the pain.
It wasn’t until one morning I woke up and couldn’t lift my arms off my bed. My legs were stiff and I was in complete pain. I couldn’t get up to get someone’s help so I just remember screaming to get attention. I didn’t know how to explain how I was feeling because I was clueless on why my body felt like this. After calling the nurse’s line, I was directed to go straight to the ER.
After I checked in and did the normal check up routine and blood work, the nurse came out and told me the different possibilities this could be. The options ranged from least serious, dehydration, to most serious, a condition called Rhabdomyolysis, which we were informed could be fatal at worst case scenario. Patiently waiting, with my mind set on that I just need to drink more water, the nurse came out saying I was going to be set up in a room immediately. My heart sunk and I was scared. The doctor informed me that I had an outbreak of rhabdo and it has spread into my blood stream and liver.
The next 3 months involved trips to the hospital, multiple tests, patience, and most importantly, prayer. There were some mornings I couldn’t get out of bed because my legs wouldn’t bend at the knee. Rhabdo causes paralysis, the feeling of being paralyzed but it is not permanent. As you probably concluded, any form of physical fitness or dancing was not allowed. I had to drop two of my classes that semester and I had to give up my spot on the dance team. At one point, the doctor told me to consider a different career path because he wasn’t sure if my muscles would heal and grow back properly. My liver counts got progressively worse before anything got better.
I had moments when I was optimistic and continued planning my next steps to make up my college credits and what team I wanted to dance for. Other times, I was researching desk jobs. As terrifying and negative as this experience was, it brought a lot of positive into my life. It gave me a new outlook. I promised myself I would never take for granted the blessing God gave me to dance and appreciate everything a little more. Before this experience, there were mornings I would wake up and complain about going to class, having to practice, and days I would do everything half way. Now I know I am blessed to have this body with the ability to move, this talent that God trusted me with to share.
I made a full recovery about 4 months from the day I went into the emergency room. At that moment, I made a goal that I was going to audition for the San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers and I wasn’t going to let fear of failure or anything else stop me. I put every ounce of energy into earning my spot that year and odds were against me because I was basically starting from square one. After a drilling prep season and audition process, my name was called the night of finals. From thinking I wasn’t going to be able to dance again, to being selected for my dream team, it was indeed a dream come true.
I now teach dance and try my best to ingrain the importance of appreciating the feeling of hard work. It feels so good to dance, sweat, struggle, and push limits. When your passion is taken away from you, even for a short period of time, you never want that feeling to leave you again.
Always be thankful for God given talents and don’t waste it on temporary feelings. Take the risk and go after your goals. Find your passion and share it with others.
Live full out!
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