When I was a baby, I had one leg shorter than the other. I used some irons that positioned the legs in an external rotation. My mother remembers that I cried a lot. When they set my legs free I was happy, I felt like a contortionist.
After two years I was freed from the irons. I went to the ballet to strengthen my muscles. I loved the ballet. Even during the winter, I went to the ballet school, in the summer I wore a baby blue tutu and danced in my grandmother’s yard.
I wanted to be a dancer, but they told me not to. It was impossible for me to walk on tips, had a crooked body that did not understand me. But I believed. I was the first to arrive at the studio and the last to leave. Two years later, I could dance in point shoes. Dance was my life.
One day I fell in love with the trapeze. It surpassed the physical limits, the limits of gravity.
The trapeze made me fly and it was also the trapeze that one day made me fall. I was doing a sequence: somersault, hook dropping, running my feet up the rope. I fell with my neck on the mattress. It was like a button turning off my body. I floated. I was in a panic. I didn‘t feel the body. My body was floating. I fought against fainting. Result: Fracture / dislocation C5 / C6 with compression from C4 to C7.
I woke up quadriplegic at the hospital, intubated and tied up, with my boyfriend saying the alphabet and I winking at the letter I wanted to say.
My body, which knew everything, was no longer my body. At first i was grateful to give me a glass of water in the mouth, then I was disgusted to get showered by someone else. At my thirties i was no longer the dancer, i was a body that would not obey me. Frustrated that i could not do the smallest tasks. I could not stand. I could not move my legs. My hands felt like claws. In physical therapy i fought that body, i fought every day for another millimeter of movement. And the biggest problem was that I did not see myself that way. I did not accept that it was just that now. An old body, worn and sad.
It’s been five years and today I think I’m almost independent. Almost. I take my chair, I walk slowly. Although they look at me handicapped, they recognize the dancer again.