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Do the stuff that scares you

Updated: May 6, 2023

(I can't take credit for that. Someone I follow on Instagram says this as her mantra.)

I don't scare easy. That's the one thing a lot of people know about me. I'm usually the kind of person where I see something that I like or something that I want to do and I just do it. The older I get the more I've given myself the ability to stop and think about things. For instance, I was scared to audition for a summer program at 16. I did it and got accepted; it was one of the best experiences of my life and cemented my love for dancing. Then came time for college auditions and I wanted nothing more than to get a full scholarship to the University of the Arts to study dance. I ended up going to Temple who only had a choreography program but I’m glad it’s where I graduated for my undergraduate degree.

I did my best to survive living in Philadelphia, working two or three jobs trying to make ends meet, trying to prove to myself that I could be an adult. I was dancing a little in Philly but I wasn’t dancing how I wanted to be dancing. (The scene has changed in a fabulous way 20 years later) After a year I decided that I had to move to New York City to pursue my goals. My mom really wanted me to stay in Philly (because moms) and I told her to: listen if I don't do this I'm never going to; she left me alone. And like magic, there I was living in Midtown Manhattan by myself. I got the deal of a lifetime. I cannot stress this anymore, I got the absolute motherfucking deal of a lifetime. Not many 23-year-olds move to Midtown Manhattan in a doorman building with laundry in the building by themselves who aren't trust fund babies. That certainly was not me. There I was living in Manhattan trying to figure out which end was up. I was there for a year and a half and I wasn't happy because I wasn't dancing the way I thought I would be. My good friend Barb told me to look on Dance/NYC for auditions; and I started auditioning. For any dancers going out into the world, auditioning sucks and it's scary. You have no idea how many dancers are going to be there. Is the process going to be smooth? Are the people running the audition going to be nice? Will I make it on time? Is the choreography not sucky and easy to learn? Even though I was by no means a big person, I was too big for the world of dance. I'm 5'3 and at the time, 145 lbs which doesn't sound small but I can assure you I was by no means big compared to the general population. I just happen to be super curvy. I went to dozens of auditions and am pretty sure I was not considered the second I walked into the room.

But I kept auditioning. And I finally got a position with a company that was super tiny and let's just say the entire experience was not pleasant. But it was the first and the only audition I ever nailed in New York city. It opened up so many more doors for me. After I got that audition, it was grueling, but I wanted to dance so I stuck with it. That one audition opened three or four more doors for me and after my one performance I had a few people come up to me after a show and ask me to dance for them. I can't begin to tell you how that made me feel. I wasn't dancing for big companies but I was dancing and that's all that mattered. I loved it. The injuries started at 25. I had my first stress reaction (an almost, sorta stress fracture) in my leg and went to see a physical therapist who didn't really understand what I needed. I’ve told the story a million times but it’s a part of my origin story of where I am today. There I was 25 and really pissed off. I turned my anger to academics and started my post-bac journey at BMCC because dance majors don’t have a lot of science classes in their curriculum; also turns out when you’ve been out of school for over 10 years, your credits expire.

It took about 3 years. Initially I thought it would be easy but the further I got in my journey and when I had to write essays the weight of what I wanted started to hit me.

I still maintain applying to physical therapy schools was one of the hardest things I've ever done. After all of my submitted my applications and you could see in my face that I felt like I had everything riding on getting into physical therapy school; I had no backup plan. I remember speaking with one of the professors who wrote one of my recommendation letters to PT school, Dr Geddes. I will never forget him. He looked at me and he said," are you a blight on the ass of society?” and I said no and he said something else that I can't quite remember but essentially he said if you don't get into PT school it's not the end of the world. But I felt like it was because I had put so much time, effort, and money into applying that the thought of not getting in would just wreck me. After all that waiting I got into Northeastern and Long Island University; waitlisted at Thomas Jefferson. I eventually graduated from Long Island University in September 2015 (which is also its own story onto itself). The hard part was essentially over, and I had three chances to take my licensure exam. Very happily and very grateful to say I passed on the first try. Everything I had worked so hard for was finally completed and it felt good.

Throughout my short PT career I worked at different physical therapy settings; I've worked in a more acute home care, outpatient homecare to regular outpatient. I truly love being a physical therapist, but I felt like there was something missing. My wonderful fiancé said to me before we even got engaged, asked me if I would consider going to business for myself and I never really had. But he urged me to consider that at the very least I'll be protected if something happened with a patient during treatment. (Yes, I am insured 6 ways through Sunday, but I understood what he was saying.) I did treat collegiate athlete privately but that gave the itch and I scratched it. I thought to myself… okay well if I'm going to file a PLLC (professionally limited liability company), I might as well make a website and I might as well try to start my own side business. What's the worst that can happen?

So here I am circling back to doing something that's scaring the shit out of me. Filing the PLLC wasn't scary. Getting all the information wasn't scary. What was scary was taking pictures and putting my physical self out there to the universe to see me as a physical therapist who wants to treat dancers. I'm not scared of treating people. I’m scared of what everybody else is scared of: the judgment, the trolls, people who just look for a fight, ad hominem attacks. I already had somebody try to get me flagged as a fake medical doctor when my credentialing clearly says PT, DPT. And I'm not really sure why it scares me so much because I am one amongst millions of people who are on the internet doing the same thing.

As of today, I launched my website (which is a work in progress) . I have pictures of my lovely friends help me demonstrate that I am a physical therapist and one to take professional grade pictures. Here I am writing in the blog, posting it for the world to see. I listed myself on Doctors for Dancers. People tagging my stuff on Facebook, Instagram and I’ve even started treating patients thanks to word of mouth (Thanks Wendy!! Thanks Jerome!!)

This is the shit that scared me. What I've learned in my 41 years on this planet is that doing something that scares you will always teach you something no matter what the outcome is.

Do the shit that scares you.

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