It seems almost every girl who breaks her neck or back has a sad story about how she used to love to dance. Well, I have one as well. Growing up I loved to dance, and ballet had a special place in my heart. Ever since I found out what toe shoes were and how they made a girl look when she went up on her two feet, I was obsessed. And the frilly tu-tus didn’t help slake my obsession.

And even though I never made it into pointe classes pre-injury, ballet was always my favorite style of dance. There was something peacefully hypnotic about ballet classes. The swooshing of the feet when going through the different positions, the arc of the arms … oh, I better stop now. It hurts to think about.

Ever since my injury, it’s been incredibly difficult for me to watch ballet again. It hurt too much to watch girls doing what I used to love to do. I want it to be me up on that stage, not them, but there’s nothing I can do about it. As a result, I decided to no longer go to the ballet — to not even watch it on television. Out of sight, out of mind; this was how I decided to deal with the loss.

But now three of my four cute nieces are all about ballet, and this past weekend was their performance of Cinderella. What kind of aunt would I be to skip their dance recital, just because it made me sad? Nope, that just wouldn’t be right.

So last Friday I went to my nieces’ ballet. They were adorable as I expected, flitting around in their fairy uniforms, but nothing changed my feelings regarding the ballet. It was still terribly difficult to watch the older girls (not my nieces) do their lead parts. Just to see them move their legs in ways I’ve long forgotten, oh made my heart ache. But that’s how life is, right?

Sometimes you just have to do things even though they hurt like hell. I may be paralyzed, but I’m not selfish. I can suck it up, especially for my adorable nieces. It’s incredibly difficult moving past this kind of loss after a spinal cord injury, but it is possible.

If anything forces you to move on and face the music, it’s something like this. It’s not always about you or me or what we’ve lost; it’s about family and friends. Sometimes they come before our feelings, even if the situation is tied to some of the biggest losses of our lives.

You know, I’m glad my brother had his girls, which finally forced me to go to the ballet. I’m facing one of the last “monsters” in my closet, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Have you been avoiding things you’ve missed because it’s too hard to watch?