I Feel Ashamed of My Chronic Illness

It was the second-to-last assault. Jonathan was my best friend at the time, and when he stepped forward to hug me hours after the assault, with no acknowledgement of or apology for his earlier use of force, I felt the ground sink under my feet. Two giant hands seemed to press down on my skull.Continue reading “I Feel Ashamed of My Chronic Illness”

How to Take a Critique

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of whining on Twitter from authors. Someone left a bad review of their book on Amazon. Or someone gave a 4-star review but meant 3.5 stars. Or someone just didn’t get it. These authors receive unfavorable critiques as if they were personal insults or the equivalent of systemic injustices.Continue reading “How to Take a Critique”

Healing Through Dance

Because trauma is of the body, it must be healed through the body. I needed a safe space where I would be supported, where I could practice trust, where I could begin healing in my body. Only one place could offer me that. The dance studio. *             *             * I was 30 years old. IContinue reading “Healing Through Dance”

After the Assault

I begin to have panic attacks in the dance studio. I have been dancing for seven years, but now, suddenly, I can’t. I can’t go to auditions. I begin to skip the occasional class. In the studio, I can’t stand the sight of myself in the mirror. In my maroon leotard and pink tights, I lookContinue reading “After the Assault”

Frank

Every story has its heroes and villains. In a story of trauma and assault, the villains are easy to spot. It’s the heroes who can be harder to see. Look at any trauma survivor. Look deep enough, and you will find a human behaving badly. It’s inevitable. PTSD is an ugly beast. From punching wallsContinue reading “Frank”

Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery

When I was six years old, I made a choice that would shape the course of my life. I chose my career. I had decided that I would become an artist. Now I had never met an artist, but two years later, I got the chance. My parents enrolled me in the Preparatory Dance ProgramContinue reading “Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery”

How I Ended It

Like many girls, my first great love was ballet. But the Royal Academy of Dance examinations terrorized us once a year. The first time I stepped into an examination room and faced an examiner shipped in from the Commonwealth, I was ten years old. The square windows in the doors were taped over with paper,Continue reading “How I Ended It”

The Dance of Perfectionism

The pianist rests his fingers on the ivory keys. He locks eyes with my teacher. She mouths the words. One, two, three— They nod on the four. And the studio fills with a high note that rings along the barre and into my fingertips. A Chopin nocturne rolls through the sunlit air. I push aContinue reading “The Dance of Perfectionism”