Student Showcase: A Ballerina's Life

  November 21, 2017

Today's student showcase features a gripping personal statement essay by high schooler Sydney, who is quite an accomplished ballerina for her age. Sydney is currently taking the  Essay Rock Star full course program

Personal Statement Essay

by Sydney F.

If you would have told me when I was seven years old all that would happen in the next ten years of my life, I wouldn’t have believed you. I now know what devastation feels like, I know what a real heartbreak feels like, but I also know how it feels to be showered with love and filled with joy. When I was little I was able to find joy in almost anything. I was a very positive little girl, but most of that came from having such positive and encouraging parents. My parents would always tell me to chase after my dreams, and that’s what I did.

One dream I had was to be a ballerina and to wear a pretty tutu, because I thought it was the closest I could get to looking like a princess. My mom enrolled me in ballet classes when I was three years old, and at three years old I discovered my passion. I have now been dancing for a total of fourteen years. The older you get, ballet becomes more than just an activity. It starts to become an art form. You learn how to tell a story through your movements. One major thing ballet requires is dedication. If you want to succeed and improve, you have to have the dedication and the passion. This past summer I was awarded the Kansas Young Artist award for 2017. Winning this award was an absolute honor. It was something I never imagined would happen. This just proves that when you put your whole heart into something, you can do anything. I feel that as I’ve grown, ballet has become more to me than just an activity. Ballet has become my therapy. It is the only thing that can distract me from the pain of reality. Over the last few years life has been a roller coaster, but when I am dancing I feel so free from all my anxiety and sorrows. I can finally just breathe and express myself through my dancing.

When I was little I had this idea that my life was perfect and that nothing bad could ever happen. Sadly that idea I had as a child was wiped away the summer of 2014. My mom, who was my best friend, passed away. She had been diagnosed with Cruetzfeldt Jakobs disease on June 15th 2014. Cruetzfeldt Jakobs Disease is a rare brain disease that quickly begins to shut down every functioning part of the brain, resulting in death. This disease has no survival rate, yet a part of me thought if I prayed enough that she would get a miracle. I thought she could've been the first survivor of Cruetzfeldt Jake's disease. She didn’t get a miracle, and she passed away on June 29th 2014 in a hospice care facility. After she passed I lost every inch of faith I once had. I no longer believed in a God, because how could a perfect and almighty God allow this to happen to someone I loved more than anything? I lost all hope in life. I allowed the enemy to drag me down to this deep hole of depression, sorrow, hopelessness, and self hate. Life at this time was meaningless to me. Suicidal thoughts took over my mind. Praise the Lord that I never did anything harmful to myself. I slowly but surely realized I couldn’t live in darkness any longer and that my mom would not want this for me. I began to fill my mind with positive thoughts and all the good memories of my mom and I. Today I live to tell her story and to continue her legacy.

Losing my mom has not been the only battle I've faced over the years. When I was seven I began having severe panic attacks almost every night. I had fears that weren't typical for a seven year old. I wasn't afraid of the dark or monsters. I was afraid of dying, and I was afraid of losing someone I loved. These fears kept me awake many nights. My mom would constantly have to calm me down. My panic attacks would get to the point where I couldn’t even speak. When I was ten I went to the doctor and was told I had an anxiety disorder, and I then got put on a medication. Anxiety disorders ran in my mom’s side of the family and she too had severe anxiety. It was something she had hoped neither of her kids would ever have to deal with. She and I together made a pretty good team though. Whenever she was anxious I would help her and vice versa. One of my mom’s biggest fears was getting sick. She always thought she was dying just because of a simple pain. It seems ironic now, looking back. Although anxiety is something I still continue to deal with, I have found ways to distract myself when I’m anxious with things such as ballet, which has been far better for me than any therapist I’ve gone to, whether it was for grief or anxiety.

Setting aside all the negatives, there have been many positives to my life as well. The best thing to ever happen to me has been over the last four years. My dad and I have a bond now that I never imagined when I was little. Because my dad is in the military he was gone for a lot of my childhood. It was just my mom, my brother and I. The reason my mom and I were so close is that sometimes it felt like she was all I had because he was gone so much. Because of a recent promotion, my dad does not get deployed and gets to be home a lot more which has really given us the chance to become best friends. Just recently he and I went to Hawaii for a father-daughter vacation. It was one of the best weeks of my life. It amazes me how something so tragic as losing my mom has given the chance to bring my dad and I closer. Without him I don’t think I would still be here. I would have left the world three years ago with my mom. He is the only person who can make me smile when I am depressed. He is the only one who can turn a bad day into a good one. I don’t know what I would do without him.

Another positive event in my life was the time I met my favorite actor of all time: Freddie Highmore. I have been watching Freddie ever since he was Charlie in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Ever since I was little I would tell myself, “I am going to marry that man.” Freddie is now twenty-five and he starred on my all time favorite TV show, “Bates Motel.” It had been a dream of mine for years to meet him, and on May 6th, 2017 my dreams came true. I attended Frightmare Weekend in Dallas, Texas with one of my best friends. I, of course, went dressed as a character from Bates Motel. When we first arrived at the convention I was having a literal heart attack. I couldn’t believe that my idol was on the other side of the door. When the employee opened the doors and I saw his glorious face, I screamed so loudly that everyone, including Freddie, was aware of my presence. After an hour of freaking out and crying in his line I finally met him. He hugged me and we talked for three minutes, which was the longest conversation anyone got. We later got to pose for a photo-op, and he held my hand and I cried and I told him I loved him. That day was by far one of the greatest days of my life. I can’t wait for our wedding.

In the midst of the tragedy and heartbreak I can still come out and say that I have a very good life. I have a family that loves me. I have a God who looks after me, friends that support me and three dogs that bring me endless joy. I am also blessed with the ability to dance, which has not only been one of the greatest experiences, but also the most therapeutic outlet for me to truly express my feelings. I am thankful for every opportunity I’ve been given in life, whether it is to dance the lead role in a ballet, or the opportunity to become a stronger person through a heartbreak. Although my mom isn’t physically here, I feel her with me at all times of the day. I see her in the audience during ballets, smiling at me like she always would. My hope in life is to show that even through the toughest times, you can come out stronger and that the positives will always outweigh the negatives.

 

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