I am sitting in a small hotel room in Downtown Los Angeles awaiting the beginning of what I’ve been preparing for since March: The World Championship of Performing Arts. It has not been an easy journey to get here, though I feel incredibly fortunate to have been offered this opportunity.
If you don’t know what the World Championship of Performing Arts is (I didn’t when I first auditioned), here is a link to their website
Most of Team Australia arrived early so that we could adjust to the new timezone (Australia is fifteen hours ahead of Los Angeles) and, of course, experience Los Angeles attractions such as Universal Studios and Disneyland.
Here I come to my first challenge; I arrived even earlier still in order to visit long lost family in North Carolina. Being an infrequent traveller and the owner of only one debit card, I didn’t think to organise any backup form of accessing money. Of course, knowing this, a particularly malevolent ATM machine at the airport decided to eat my card. Fortunately for me, my family looked after me and I was eventually able to receive some emergency money, but if anything else were to go wrong once I was away from my US family and require finances I would be in a little bit of a pickle…
…and so, the day after we visited Universal Studios, what did I do? I danced around outside the hotel, fell over and badly injured my ankle. Putting aside the fact that I’m supposed to be dancing, singing, playing cello and acting – all of which require a healthy ankle to be done to the best of my ability – I was supposed to be going to Disneyland in the morning! I should have gone to a Doctor, probably. But Disneyland! My beautiful friend offered to spend the entire day pushing me from ride to ride in a wheelchair. Despite the tough physical exertion (Disneyland has a surprising amount of hills), we both had an amazing time and I honestly believe it helped me much more than a Doctor could have. Whatever I’ve done to my ankle, at worst it’s a ligament tear and all I can do is rest and wait anyway.
The following day I resolved that I would go to a Doctor, but I couldn’t find somewhere that would work with my travel insurance, so I ended up going to hire a cello instead as I need one for the competition and, again, the emotional relief it brought me was incredible. As it happens, I have torn a ligament in that exact same ankle before and I can’t afford treatment here (see above credit card fiasco) anyway. My lovely teammates – go Team Australia! – have been helping me get around and even found me some crutches!
Which brings me back to the beginning: registration is in three hours. What am I going to do? I’m going to wrap my injured foot in lights and learn how to perform with my injury. At the end of the day, things go awry for everyone all the time and it isn’t helpful to dwell in the negative. I have accepted that it sucks, that it’s painful and limiting and I am now focusing on how I can use it for good. What can I learn from this? I am certainly learning the kindness of others towards someone in distress, how to perform simple tasks without falling over and, most importantly, how to turn something terrible into something beautiful.