This past week has been a trying one, indeed. With the start of a new job, petty dance drama, relapse into a depressive low and loved ones being in the hospital, my life as of late seems to be trapped in a shadow of negativity. That’s why I haven’t been active on my blog this past week, and I apologize for that.
As I make my transition into adulthood and begin dealing with more and more with people beyond my immediate family and friend circle, the following truth has unveiled itself to me, many times over: in life, you will face many sharks. Real unpleasant, obnoxious, condescending people. People who have no problem stepping on you to get what they want. People whom you once deemed friends, but at the slightest rock of the boat, turn the other direction. People who, no matter what you do or say, will just keep on disliking you, for no apparent reason.
I am truly blessed to have a family that, no matter what, will love me without bounds. There are very few people in life whom you can trust wholeheartedly, and family members are amongst the select few.
I won’t get into the details of what kind of drama– particularly within the dance world– I’ve been dealing with. Behind the limelight of sparkly gowns, theatrical makeup and magical, entrancing dancing, the reality of competitive ballroom dancing is in fact very ugly, fraught with drama and politics and pettiness all around. This is something I’ve grown to realize with experience. It isn’t a world I wish to be apart of. There was a time, this past week, when I was about ready to hang up my shoes forever. I was sick of dealing with cult-like loyalty ties, endless gossip, the exorbitant financial cost of lesson packages, and manipulative and disingenuous people. Everything bad and ugly about this world seemed to simmer and boil, until it hit me– slowly, at first, then with full force.
I don’t know if my wanting to quit dance was my depression talking, or Belicia talking. As I’ve told you guys before, my highly unstable moods have a way of affecting my day-to-day living and decision making. Sometimes, I’ll find myself riding the greatest of highs, accomplishing every goal I set my mind towards and functioning at maximum capacity with euphoric positivity. During these times, I really feel that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. On the other hand is the crippling depression that hits, seemingly out of the blue, but in fact stems from a mental and behavioral pattern I’ve yet to uncover the mysteries of. When such lows creep their way in to my life, I find myself lethargic, struggling with motivation and discipline, and unable to take hold of my negative thoughts of guilt, self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy. “Why can’t you just snap out of this shit and get back to work?”, demands the demon, though Belicia knows better than anyone that this is not the way depression works. Sometimes, the lows can get so bad that I’m driven to abnormal self-harming behaviors, like purging food or cutting my skin. This past week was filled with all those things. Last Thursday, in fact, was the first time I successfully vomited food; Friday was the first time I cut. Walking alone on the levee at 11pm, I thought to myself, “Is this really living? Waiting for the next low to strike? I used to have faith during my highs that I’ve tackled my depression for good, and that things would be better thereafter. Now, my highs are tainted with the expectation of an ensuing low… I don’t know if I want to keep fighting any longer.”
It seems to me that every time I’m faced with some kind of adversity in my life, I cannot handle it with level-headedness and grace. My emotions seem to usurp utter power over my life, and thus I am driven to engage in self-harming practices. Of course, I am working to take control of my extreme emotions– both highs and lows– with my therapist. I have faith that, with hard work, I will eventually be able to conquer my demons and regain control of my life. Now is where the real battle lies.
These past couple days, however, have shown improvement. The cloud of my depression is slowly lifting and I am finding enjoyment once more in dancing. While I have decided not to compete at next week’s competition, Embassy Ball, I am preparing for a wedding performance next month, which I am excited about. I have a wonderful dance teacher who genuinely cares about my growth as a dancer, and whom I can also call a great friend. I am back at my former dance studio, filled with my dance family whom I love dearly. Though I do not intend on pursuing a professional dance career, I know I will always keep dancing. Even if I quit dance, such intermittent phases will never last long, for dance will always find its way back to me. It’s ingrained into my soul. I love dancing. I hate the dance world, and having recently felt the effects of such drama and ugliness for the first time, was compelled to stop dancing altogether. But I know that doing so would be to empower the very people who have driven me to quit. No way will I give up, just because of the actions of some people. If I love dancing, I will find a way to transcend the ugliness of the world and dance for one person alone– me.
As usual, writing out my feelings and sharing the truth of my life– dirty socks and all– has lifted a load off my chest and made me feel immensely more at ease.
What helps me when I’m struggling inside is to look around at the tragedies of the world beyond myself. Hurricane Harvey. Typhoons in Macau. Violence in Charlottesville. Endless terrorism prevailing over Europe. My godmother, who is very sick in the hospital. All such travesties make my personal problems seem minuscule, at best. I also love going to the beach and looking at the ocean, as taking in the vastness of the infinite blue sea makes me, and all of humankind, seem insignificant. What is a human life, anyway? A mere fraction of the universe’s lifespan. Why spend your fleeting life, then, mired in stress and worry and sadness and hopelessness, when you have the power to choose a path of positivity and happiness? I am not disregarding the realities of mental illnesses like depression, and how they can cripple people into submission. In the darkest of times, the act of picking yourself back up and finding light in life once more seems impossible. But, with the help of loved ones, slowly but surely, you can dig yourself out of the hole.
This brings me back to the point of surrounding yourself with people whom you love. People who serve you. People who bring light into your life. You don’t have much of a say in what goes down in this world, but the one thing you CAN control is yourself. You have the power to choose which people you wish to surround yourself with. You have the power to change your life into the one you envision yourself living.
I don’t know where this post is going anymore, so I’ll end it soon. My apologies, by the way, for the myriad of banalities and clichés I’ve sprinkled throughout this piece.
Concluding words: If anyone is going through a low right now, please know that you are not alone in this struggle, be that as it may seem. I am here for you, and I sympathize with you, and in me, you can find a friend to overcome this adversity with. Though human life may be short and seemingly insignificant, we can still create our own meanings and significance by living on our own terms. Enduring the hardships and inhaling positive energy with each breath we take. Life is truly a blessing. Just remember that, the next time you’re ready to give up. As long as you’re breathing, there is still hope.