There are few professions in life that may require the removal of a bone from one’s baby toe. In fact, the only one I can think of happens to be the one that
I’ve chosen chose me: ballet.
Whenever I meet someone new, it usually goes like this…”Hi, KRisten, er, Kirsten, uh, Kee-irsten…whatever…so, what school do you go to? What are you studying?”, “It’s Kirsten/Kee-irsten, depending on my location. I’m working towards a degree in Journalism part-time online through Providence College, but truly I’m studying ballet. I’m a professional ballet dancer with Festival Ballet Providence.” (silence and a confused/surprised expression are what most commonly follows.) “…yes, I did say professional ballerina. I know, it’s odd.”
I’ve never been quite sure how to feel about people’s reactions. Sometimes people think it’s cool, while in other instances people don’t really understand. They don’t see how dance can be my job, can’t fathom me being paid to “flounce around on stage in a tutu and tiara”. Little do they know ballet is a lot more about literal blood, sweat, and tears (all three, in most cases), than smiling, pretty costumes, and applauding audiences. People don’t realize that this profession is so much more than a 9-5, it’s 24/7. Becoming a professional ballerina transforms you. It takes over every facet of your life: days, nights, meals, dreams, music, weekends, “downtime” (or lack thereof), relationships, holidays, vacations…the list goes on. Sometimes just the sheer dedication to ballet leaves you with no choice but to subject yourself to surgery, so that you may avoid the threat of your beloved profession warping into little more than ceaseless physical pain spurred by the very pointe shoes that made you fall in love with the art form in the first place.
WELL folks, that’s where I found myself at the end of this past season. With a chronic bone-friction-induced infection that just would not quit. When my podiatrist recommended a small surgery, I was nervous and wary, but have since decided to trust my instincts, his wisdom, and the miracle of modern medicine. This morning when I woke up, I had all the usual bones that make up a right foot, and now, a little teeny one is gone! While this may seem like a strange extremity to care so much about (the baby toe is actually not even required for living), my toes obviously play a huge role in my life. The surgery went very well (I was giving out lots of thumbs ups and my doctor even drew a little flower on my bandage), and I can only hope for a smooth recovery. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Until then, I’ll be on the couch enjoying the perks of temporarily staying with my parents…
…not being allowed to walk means yummy food made by my mama, full service! Life could get much, much worse…