For a large portion of my life, I always knew my love of performance ran deep within me. The intense feeling of going on a stage in front of several people, sometimes more than I could count, fills me with an adrenaline that remains indescribable. If I could do anything for the rest of my life, performing will be my answer forever.
The moment where I felt performance was being taken from me, with no way of stopping it, was the darkest days of my life.
My back injury changed my life as I knew it.
As a testament to how much I love performing no matter the activity, I decided to conquer the art of drum-line. I quickly learned how to play the drums even though I stepped into the club with absolutely no experience. The friends I made were equally kind and crazy—I belonged there.
What I didn’t know at the time was that having zero conditioning of carrying a large metal instrument for hours at a time would put a huge strain onto my back.
I would wake up crying because of how much I was hurting and it slowly became a routine. It came to the point where I would ask my mom if I could skip school for the day because of my inability to walk. I loved school with a passion, so missing it felt like a huge burden. I knew after several days of being unable to walk, getting my back professionally checked out became the only safe option I had left.
Searching for a medical diagnosis made the whole situation stranger.
Going to the doctor did nothing to lift the burden in my heart. The different diagnoses I heard were all conflicting information. Being told I could possibly have scoliosis due to a small curvature in my spine or one of my legs being too long were enormously different things, yet no one could provide me with a solid answer.
Being prescribed with weekly sessions to physical therapy eased my stress. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about what this all meant for me and performing.
The constant back and forth between my own mentality exhausted me. I had to choose whether to continue with my suffering and do what I love or quit for my health and be unhappy. Unfortunately, all that I could do was wait and continue on with my regular physical therapy sessions.
Luckily, I had a wonderful friendship with the doctors who helped me at physical therapy. They made my environment completely safe and an open space to understand what I was going through.
Making my decision impacted me as a performer.
The following year after the injury to my back came club rush. My back was feeling a lot better, but I hadn’t been straining it constantly. I desperately wanted to get back to drumline, but I knew that outcome was nowhere near possible.
I gave up for a while on picking what to do and figured drumline would become my last endeavor. This all changed when I noticed the dance team was looking for new members to join. I eventually decided to show up for a few practices to see if I had the capability of keeping up. To my surprise, I did not feel my injury continuing to haunt me while I kept dancing. My back still hurt slightly, but it never reached the point where it was at its most painful.
Since that decision, I continued dance for another four years in high school and even joined the musicals that the drama department would put on for the school. Taking it slow and not letting my injury define me allowed me to continue with what made me happiest. My love for performance continues and I sincerely hope that I can be a performer for as long as I can.