The importance of not assuming
Hi there, dear readers.
Today I’d like to share a quite personal story with you.
I was born with a severe hip displacement, a rotation in the femur-bone in both legs, causing my knees and ankles to face severely inwards towards each other. As I grew older, the angle of my feet and legs were causing difficulties while walking and running around with the other kids, and I kept stumbling over my own feet, hitting them into each other.
From the age of 6 until I was about 8, I went through a series of hip-surgeries. In simple words, the doctors cut open my upper thighs at the side, cut the femur bone, twisted it to a “normal” position, and fixed it there with two massive metal plates bolted together. The metal plates and bolts were later removed (I still have them in a drawer back home), after the tissue of my femur bone – now with my knees and ankles facing front – had grown together in it’s new position. The surgeries made me dependent of crutches or a wheelchair for about two years, depending on where in the process my two legs were at the moment. But it also made me able to later use those legs to follow a dream, and make it my living.
But let’s turn the clock back a little more, first. I am a four year old kid, with legs facing in all directions. After seeing some girls dancing ballet in a local ballet-studio during one of my little family’s daily walks around the neighborhood, I tell my parents I want to be a ballet dancer. Now, let’s face it, I didn’t exactly have the perfect starting point. I was an active kid, keen on doing anything and everything, at once, and completely and happily unaware of my handicap. But my parents were not, they saw that I was stumbling, that I was hitting my feet and kept falling. But they also saw that I got up every time, back on my legs, and kept running. Where some parents might think that the kid doesn’t stand a chance, my parents supported my idea of dancing ballet, and enrolled me at a local ballet school. They might not have known at the moment what a pillar this should become in my life, but they supported my idea then, as they have kept doing every step of my bumpy and curvy road towards becoming a ballet-dancer. They have always been my strongest support, and that four year old kids idea grew into the passion of my life.
This is me performing at my graduation concert. When I left the stage, I was, officially, a ballet dancer. Never assume you can’t do it!
When I was 19, I was back at the doctors office for a routine check, 10 years after finishing my surgery. I’ve had close to no problems with my legs ever after, and rarely think about the surgeries. The doctor looked at my scars, tested the flexibility of my joints and found everything to be working as it should, much to my pleasure. He continued to ask what I was doing, what my hobbies were, just for small-talk, I guess. I had just been accepted into the Hungarian Dance Academy, a full-time professional dance academy, and proudly pronounced: ‘I am going to be a ballet-dancer’. The doctor started laughing, thinking I was joking, and said: “well, we sure didn’t operate out your sense of humor”. I assured him, I was not joking at all, and now it was my time to laugh. The doctor assumed what my parents didn’t back when I told them I wanted to be a dancer – that it would be impossible. How could he know?
I’ve always known that there is the opportunity my legs wouldn’t manage the strain ballet training causes. I still do, I know someday it might be my hips that finally causes me to end my ballet career. And so what? If it isn’t my hips, it would be something else. Nobody dances forever. But if I were to think like the doctor, I would never had danced at all. And that would be a shame.
The only thing left to remind me of my surgeries today are the two large scars on my thighs. I have been offered to have them removed, but I kind of like them where they are – a proof that it is possible, a reminder not to give up without a fight. And a reminder how important my parents endless support is.