What do you do when the one thing that brings you joy and makes you happy is the thing that hurts you the most? I know that might be one of the most cliche things anyone could say about any situation ever; but for me, I have days that I can say nothing good about myself and I've had days that I believed that things would not get better. I have danced for as long as I can remember. At the age of three I danced in a ballet class for the first time, at six I sat my first ballet exam, at fifteen I moved out of home to attend a full time ballet school in another state, at twenty I graduated, at twenty-one I was offered my first full time contract, and at age twenty two I was promoted. Classical ballet is not just my job it is my life. I can't even begin to explain how incredible being a ballet dancer is, how glamorous and exciting our lives can be. The feeling of working your body to its physical limits, leaving every ounce of emotion on a stage for others to revel in is indescribable. Working hours and hours in and out of the studio creating art amongst other incredible artists is rewarding beyond belief. The immediate rush of adrenaline you feel when you step on stage and allow the music and lights to move through you is addictive. But no ballet dancer can say that they have had a clean run on the board, injuries, insecurities, setbacks are part of everyday life for us, for me. Everyday as a ballet dancer we strive for this unreachable idea of “perfection” and everyday in some capacity or another we are reminded how impossible that idea really is. Finding things that you love about yourself can be hard when you are standing in front of a mirror for six hours a day six days a week. It can be hard to stay confident when your physical structure is enough for you to be judged and critiqued on. Our entire existence as performers is sustained by the judgement of others. Everyday we have to attempt to impress other people, it’s tiring. Last year I was diagnosed with a chronic back injury called spondylolisthesis, which for your everyday person is not a big deal, but for a dancer it's incredibly scary. Being told you have anything “chronic” is heartbreaking because no matter how hard you wish it away it’s not going anywhere. Immediately you realise in these situations how short a career in dance can be and immediately your entire world is turned upside down. How was it that I had only just began this colourful journey when something as scary as a chronic back injury hits me in the face. You always read about how anxiety can affect people in different ways, I think my anxiety pushed me into a manic driven and inspired person that was not about to let an injury stand in the way of a passionate dream. My doubts and negative energy were suddenly channeled into a positive outlet of rehabbing this injury, and with patience and guidance I haven't really looked back. I have a new understanding of myself and a better image of the person I can be if I stop, take a breath and turn my anxiety into something useful, a tool to help me progress. I have learnt that loving my insecurities is the only way I can stay confident and happy in the skin I live in. Even though I have days that I can't even look at myself in the mirror, knowing how much work and effort I have put into being where I am today, somehow gets me through. Now I take my work seriously but I don't take myself all that seriously. When your entire existence revolves around your passion, it can be a little hard sometimes to separate yourself from your craft. Sometimes it's so important to sit back and look at what you have in life. Sometimes you just have to remember your worth. Sometimes you just have to accept your perfect imperfections.