A Shattered Dream: Part One

It seems like yesterday when my Mother sat at the kitchen table across from me and told me that I was adopted.

“Whatever you decide to do, know that we love you very much and will not hold you back,”is what she  said to me.

Of course I felt that I had to say something in return. The first thing that came to mind was simply that they are my parents. And there is no need to be concerned that I will want to search out my biological parents.

I was only 10 years old and heading off to what I thought would be another normal day at school. We had assembly that afternoon with a guest appearance by a touring group with the National Ballet of Canada. I sat in amazement through the entire performance and felt an inner sense of excitement.

That evening when I got home I rushed into the house and told my Mother about it. I said to her that I wanted to become a ballet dancer. Without any hesitation on her part she handed me the phone book. She told me to look up a few places and call around, which I promptly starting doing.

The first place I called was Dorothy Carter’s School of Dance Arts. I soon found find myself attending evening classes after school and all day on Saturdays. This was surely a dream come true and I never looked back for a moment… until the time came when I started to get bullied at school for making this decision.

Being so young and naïve I could not understand why my peers were doing this to me. This went on for the duration of my grade school years until my teachers intervened one day with a proposal. I was dumbfounded when they asked if I wanted to perform a dance piece at my grade 8 graduation. At first I hesitated. They explained to me that the students may gain a respect towards my decision to want to become a dancer. Despite my nervousness and anticipation my dance teachers helped me to choreograph a piece to perform.

I have to confess that my teachers were right. Not only did the students congratulate me, but most even apologized for their behavior towards me over the years! Many even signed a program stating their feelings, something I have kept even to this day. Thanks to these classmates and teachers I developed a new found confidence and sense of empowerment. This was an invaluable experience as it helped me when I entered high school and was exposed once again to bullying and teasing. I also carried this experience with me throughout my career in ballet which would have me in the public eye. And finally, the strength I gained from these experiences helped me endure the greatest challenge of my life - an HIV diagnosis.

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