"What doesn't kill you makes you Stronger"

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”

I wrote this blog last week for Sunday but due to the threat of the tornado rehearsal was cancelled. Sorry guys, no fierce footwork Fridays, but I think I have something better.

"What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”
I hear that quote from every inspirational speech I’ve ever heard. I roll my eyes and lean back in my chair imagining which cupcake I’ll get once I’m out of this lecture. Seriously though, that quote seems to lack a strong meaning unless you have really have experienced it first hand.

We think that those who take big risks; like climbing mountains, battling polar bears or even curing diabetes are the only ones that reap the big rewards from their high risk situations, but we deal with risk every single day. With each risk comes important learning and more importantly growth.

Take a risk, jump for joy!

My career with dance has been a risky one at that. Simply landing a job in the highly competitive field of dance is more than half the battle. You walk into a crowded, sweaty studio where you can barely see the person leading the audition choreography and are quickly judged by a small group of individuals sitting before you. They may not like your height, or the way you smile or even how flexible you are. At the end of the day, many times you don’t make the job…but sometimes you do. I can remember getting my letter offering me a position at The Montgomery Ballet as well as at Arova Contemporary Ballet. I sank to my knees and cried. It was worth it.

A pirouette is a type of turn that can be done in many positions and is a challenge to master. One must know exactly how much force to use, how fast to turn their head, where to keep their weight and how to use their arms. Anybody who knows me knows that pirouettes are the bane of my existence. I can do them just fine but I always fear them. I am terrified of slipping and falling so I come out of them before I really should. I miss the last turn because I am scared. What is holding me back from pirouette perfection? Fear? Sometimes you fall out of the turn…but sometimes you do a perfect triple and land it cleanly. I always know that wonderful feeling when all the tiny variables are in balance and enjoy it every time. It is worth it.

Diabetes is risky business as well! Every single time I bolus on my pump I know that if I miscalculate I could easily go into a coma from the delivery of life saving insulin. It’s a little crazy. We risk it when we try different foods. We risk it by putting ourselves in stressful situations. We risk it from rage bolusing (trying to take down a stubborn high blood sugar by giving too much insulin). There is always the risk of falling asleep and never waking up. I feel like I could go on and on with how risky diabetes is. Each variable makes a difference in managing this disease but unfortunately the variables are always changing.

For example, I usually like to bolus 30 minutes before I eat. It seems to work most of the time. This morning I planned on having a big bowl of Cream of Wheat as a treat for my hard work this week. I lay in bed knowing that it would take 30 minutes for my novolog to kick in so I lounged around and checked out twitter. 10 minutes later my vision became blurry and as I looked about the room everything looked soft and fuzzy. My Dexcom immediately starting alarming the 55mg/dl alarm. I was confused, this normally doesn’t happen!

It is always worth it

I checked my blood sugar and it had dropped from 90 to 42 in 10 minutes. The novolog was working way too fast. I tried to get out of bed being careful and trying not to panic. I live alone so I had no help. I tried to wash my face and put in my contacts and didn’t treat my low. We all do strange things when we’re low I suppose. Eventually adrenaline kicked in and I began to shake uncontrollably and felt the most terrifying fear that I was about to die if I didn’t take care of this. By that time my jaws were too tired too move so I grabbed my emergency glucose drink that I keep in the bathroom and downed it. I sat on the floor with tears in my eyes, confused, sweating, shaking, unable to see or hear properly. I felt horrible for about 2 hours afterward. I ate a big breakfast after but I wasn’t hungry.

As I sit here my head hurts but I’ve decided to make it to ballet rehearsal. I have overcome a huge risk. If my Dexcom hadn’t kicked in, I’m not sure if I would have been able to treat myself in time. Just knowing the fact that I was able to take care of myself and pull myself back from the brink makes me feel like I’ve conquered something. A terrifying wall was placed in front of me and I wasn’t sure if I could scale it, but I fought tooth and nail and made it. It didn’t kill me but it certainly made me stronger.

No, diabetes doesn’t make any sense. Dance is difficult. Anything that is risky in your life like job interviews, going to medical school, even rock climbing at your local wall will make you stronger. Take care of yourself and pat yourself on the back. While living with diabetes is tough stuff, managing the risks is worth it.

-Exit Stage Left

It was actually Friedrich Nietzsche who said that more than a hundred years ago. He said other things that gives one pause for thought:

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
and one final one that you may appreciate:

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

I think he meant, "he who has jelly beans can bear any low?"

Love your post, dear heart, and I'm glad you made it through! We need more dancers in the world, not fewer. I had to laugh at your title, however, as I just now became a one-song-only Kelly Clarkson fan, and three guesses which song:


You have to imagine me playing this on my iPhone while I walk around the lake trails dealing with my post-assault anxiety about stranger-danger:

"Think you left me broken down...you don't know me because you're dead wrong...what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller...what doesn't kill you makes a fighter..."

Oh, yeah.

We're survivors and we're stronger than we look. ;0)

Beautifully written.. thank you.

Great post, I really appreciate how you connect the two and draw a lesson out of it.

Thank you all so much.
and Acidrock, you're totally right about those jelly beans!