For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling a lot.
Mournful and blissful. Sad and happy. Bittersweet, if you will. I’ve got one month left until I throw my cap in the air and say goodbye to Boston University for good. This past weekend has shoved reality in my face: I’m graduating in 25 days.
I had my last show with my dance group last Friday and Saturday, and to say that I was — and still am — a mess would be an understatement. I’ve always been terrible at goodbyes. Even though I won’t be leaving dance behind, it feels like a definitive end.
Performing has always been my favorite aspect of dance. The lights turning on, the audience watching and the music you’ve heard a thousand times playing — it’s a thrill I can’t explain. Dancing with people you’ve learned to love adds more depth to a beautiful moment.
I love the chaos of the days leading up to a show. The giggles shared backstage, the hugs given as encouragement and the adrenaline felt when rushed back to the dressing room. I know I will get these opportunities again if I seek them out after graduation, but it won’t be the same. Leaving this nest of familiarity is terrifying.
It’s always the people that make our memories worth remembering. Even though they’re merely a phone call away, the knowledge that I won’t share a stage with them again hurts.
I remember looking at all the seniors during the closing night when we were preparing to take our final bow. I remember the barely restrained tears in our eyes, desperately trying to ensure our makeup wouldn’t be ruined. That was when we all collectively realized we had reached the end of our time at university.
The next day, I cried. It was a good cry.
I was grateful for all the memories I made and proud of all my hard work. The cry helped me release something I want to hold on to forever. Something tells me I’ll be doing a lot more of that in the next few weeks leading up to commencement.
I have one final dance show this coming Sunday, but it’ll be with a different group in a different environment. It won’t feel the same, but I’ll do my best to soak it all in.
I recognize how lucky I am to feel this way. Many people come to dance and find it to be a horrible experience. I’ve had many downs, but none comes close to outshining the ups.
The nights I spent stressed and crying, the days my body hurt so much and the hours I’d spent in the studio frustrated out of my mind was worth it.
I don’t plan on dancing professionally in the future, but I will keep taking classes and hopefully find ways to perform again. Dance is part of who I am. I’m determined to keep that part alive.
Thank you, baby Michelle, for attending that first dance class at five years old and sticking with it for more than fifteen years because — oh boy — look how far we’ve come.