Dig In

Bear with the preamble here, I’ll get right to the point of ‘dig in’ in just a minute, but I had a 25 hour period that, if I’m really real about it, might just help some of you out there.

A few nights ago, right as I was putting my two kids to bed, I came down with some nasty food poisoning. Here I was, ruthlessly itchy all over my entire body and crouched on the floor of my bathroom hoping to vomit to get it out of me. My husband was working an overnight shoot and I was by myself, two little kids just in bed, a call scheduled with a client in and two more hours of post production on the schedule. Somehow, I made it through two hours of the worst but was up and down all night with stomach tension and the ribs I had dislocated that week.

The next morning, while trying to get my 5 year old to the bus, my 3 year old pee’d twice, giant rivers all over the rug (we are potty training but I was a little distracted). The 5 year old cried all the way to the bus that I work too much and she needs mommy time.

Next I was told by the customer service person over the course of a 20 minute phone call that my debit card had been canceled (for no apparent reason) and the parking meters on my street were down so I had an ordeal trying to not get a ticket.

My assistant made it to the studio before I did, only to let me know I had left the heat on overnight.

I could go on and on further about the hurdles I seemed to face that day, coming in rapid succession, twice making me want to throw my hands up and say F### it, what is the point. I’m done, I quit.

dance photo male andrew daly

Andrew Daly, Dancer: Pennsylvania Ballet Photo Rachel Neville

I’m sure we all have days like this.

What did I do? I dug in, got to work and did the best I could.

It’s a little easier for me to do this now, I have a lot of people depending on me for support, pay checks, work, overhead, children… I don’t really have the easy choice to quit. I keep going, take a breath, try to remember that tomorrow will be better and remember the pleasure I take in helping everyone.

But that wasn’t always the case. When I was a young dancer and had times like this, I did quit. I took the day off. I stayed in bed or went to the park. It didn’t really seem like anyone cared whether I kept going or gave up. And as that happened often, being the perfectionist that I am, I can now see how I didn’t quite work as hard as I could have and become as good a dancer as I could have been.

So if you see yourself here, what can you do to counter these tendencies? What do you have on the line that can help you to keep going when you have an epic bad class or day? What support systems can you put in place to keep going?

screaming dancer photo Rachel Neville

Andrew Daly, Dancer: Pennsylvania Ballet Photo Rachel Neville

Please reach out if you need help.  We are putting together a list of people we can refer to dancers who who need this or any other type of help.  Because you deserve it.  And you need it.  We all do.

Shoot me an email, call, comment here, talk to someone. Don’t stay silent. It might just be the difference between being good and being great – the difference between getting a job or not getting a job.

Breathe, and let the light in!  We’re here for you.


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