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Raising the Barre Since 1997

Anxiety has taken many things from me.
She has taken my sanity, my comfort.
She has robbed me of experiences.
Anxiety screams at me constantly. She is louder than the voice inside my head.

There is one thing in the world that settles her.
As soon as I slide my feet into one of three pairs of shoes, she knows her time is up.

She can’t get to me when I am dancing.

I have been many, many things in the last twenty years. I’ve taken on different roles. I’ve played many parts. My weight has fluctuated. My face has changed. I have grown in so many different ways.
Three things in my life have been constant.


And dancing.

My favorite me is who I get to be when I am dancing. I am fearless. I am safe. I am free.
I am any personality I want to be. I am anything I want people to feel when they watch me perform.
I can feel the music move through my soul. My world is whole when my body is in a rhythm.

The hour and a half I get to spend in the studio on Wednesday nights is the only hour and a half of peace I get all week.
Peace of mind.
Peace and quiet.
The speakers could be shaking because of the volume of the music, and it is still the quietest my brain will be all week.

This peace wouldn’t be possible without the support of the greatest group of women in the entire world. Wednesday at 6:30, you are my entire heart. It’s been 8 years, and every week is better than the last. You make me a better dancer, and a better person. You push me to move, create, inspire. Each of you holds a place in my heart, and your love gets me through my darkest hours.

My mental illnesses have constantly let me down, disappointed me, hurt me, and stopped me from living my best life for the last twenty years, but that’s okay. Because at least dance has never given up on me.

3 Replies to “Raising the Barre Since 1997”

  1. egbumblebee says:

    Love this Olivia. I think you perfectly captured the stillness of our brains and mental illnesses when we are enthralled in something we feel passionately about. Drawing makes me feel this way. I am so happy you have this outlet and passion – I hope you never stop!!

  2. OliviaM27 says:

    @egbumblebee I am so glad you understand how I feel so well. Dancing has always meant the entire world to me, and I am so lucky that I get to have a safe and creative outlet. It is so inspiring to find others who I am able to relate to in terms of my mental health and wellness. I’ll keep dancing as long as you keep drawing!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Olivia, I am so happy you found something you love to do that helps you cope! I really resonated with you when you said you’re fearless, safe, free and any personality you want to be. I feel the same when I meditate and exercise. It seems like dancing is a huge asset to your life and I encourage you to keep at it!

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