My friends’ athletic trainer told them a story of a gymnastics coach he knew. This coach was coercing one of his pupils into her splits. Her legs were resting on two boxes, but one wouldn’t quite straighten out. She was already crying from pain when the coach decided to sit on that leg. I have no idea what pre-Olympic training is like for those kids, and I’m not going to pretend either. I have read my fair share of horror stories about ballet classes though, from abusive teachers to catty classmates.
And, I’m often concerned for my “big brother”. Though not my real brother, he’s very dear to me, and I love him as a sister. We’re both students of dance and practice together when we can, and like me, he’s very driven. He also works out—a lot. Between eating too much and working out too much, I’d prefer the latter. Yet, it’s becoming an excess. He injured his left quadriceps and hamstring because he did too much yoga. But, that didn’t stop him from working out more. When the studio went out salsa dancing recently, he could barely walk. Both DP and I have questioned why he works out so much. Why did I relate these anecdotes to you, readers? Both have to do with drive, be it yours or someone else’s. It’s that drive I believe all humans have to be extraordinary.
We all have this drive in different capacities and manifestations. Me, I’m outwardly aggressive, which is a blessing and a curse to me. Others I’ve known take their sweet time. But, I don’t want to discuss the extreme of being laid back, laziness. There’s plenty of writing about that. I want to talk about being too driven, where a person reaches the point of task-driven autopilot, one that disregards his or her safety and health. Hearing horror stories, how one of my former classmates had hip surgery at the mere age of twenty-one because professional ballerinas dance that much, and my “big brother’s” problem has made me ask: Is it worth it? Of course, I can’t answer for them. I’m asking, “In today’s world, does the path to being extraordinary inevitably lead to eventual self-injury?” Even if it’s part of your livelihood, where’s the line between preserving your career and your health/happiness? I’m asking you because I don’t know. As for me, I don’t want to be extraordinary if it involves metal screws in my body or unneeded pressure on my mental stability. Life in of itself is enough.