My response to injury is instant frustration and the muttering of expletives because, more often than not, I believe I could’ve prevented it. The overuse injuries, that is. Not the sudden, acute injuries like when I was an aerial artist and someone flew into the back of my head giving me a concussion. But the times when I’d “go hard” and neglect regular body maintenance. Back in the day, I’d return to stage before healing 100%. For example, I’d secure my sprained ankles with tape; and then run, jump and stomp onstage, numbed by adrenaline and endorphins.
I don’t push through pain because I’ve done it enough to know that pain is a cautionary tale. In fact, the “No pain, no gain” mantra needs to disappear forever because it’s absolutely false. Pain usually means I’m doing too much, too fast, too soon and my body is about to go on strike. But in the past, while doped up on adrenaline, endorphins and youth, I’ve ignored all the pain signals that eventually landed me in the emergency room. Multiple times. And then I was relegated to rest and a boring regiment of PT exercises which really sucked as a professional dancer whose passions and income were wrapped up in my ability to perform.