One Step At A Time…

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Dance PassionWhat would you do if you had a physical injury that prevented you from living your passion?  How would you cope emotionally and mentally?  Until you’re faced with that exact situation, it’s pretty hard to imagine.  Here is Maria Salvador’s story on how she overcame such a situation.



And 5, 6… 5, 6, 7 and….

by Maria Salvador

For someone who is an R&B/hip hop and salsa dancer, the count of “5, 6… 5, 6, 7, 8” to start a routine is an adrenaline rush – it’s a rush that your body and mind work in sync with each other; your arms, feet, stance, attitude, rhythm, timing – they all glide – seamlessly, effortlessly and with structure.

But what happens when that structure breaks? What happens when that structure is a part of your body – the very part that instructors often like to call out, “kick, ball change!”

For some of you reading this, you may have experienced what I have just gone through over the last five weeks – a fractured foot (the very existence I’m able to dance, apart from being blessed with coordination skills).

My very first question to my orthopedist was, “how long will it take to heal?”, can you guess what the second one was? Yep, it was, “will I be able to dance again?”

For me, dancing has been a lifelong passion of mine (even with two rods holding my spine in place – dancing has always been in my veins).  For anyone who has ever danced, seen a performance, participated in a flashmob or just daggy danced – you’ll understand the incredible highs in dancing – it makes your soul fly, produces incredible amounts of endorphins and just makes you smile!  It’s exhilarating!

So for me to fracture my foot in the most clumsy of situations (I like to tell people the cause was skydiving, I kicked a few people or I was dancing on top of a bus), was in part disappointing, part upsetting (I was told I could possibly need surgery), and most of all I knew this ordeal would be a whole part of challenging!

The first few days would be the hardest as I’d only moved into the top floor of an apartment the week prior to the injury.  The building only has stairs; 52 stairs up, 52 down (yup I had time to count them).   I used every part of my will and patience to get myself up and down those stairs, given my foot was strapped in a “moon boot” and I had to use crutches. 

The lesson I learnt here – where there’s a will, there’s a way!

I was given a week away from the office to rest and recover, but with that time I busied myself and didn’t lament on the misfortune of fracturing my foot.  In fact, I discovered my friends doted on me and colleagues emailed me reassuring me they were only a phone call away if I needed any help.

The lesson learnt here – be kind, nice and always say thank you to people, it will come back to you when you least expect it and in more ways than one will make you feel you are loved!  And so you should be loved!

The next few weeks, my foot (the left one) would have its good days and bad, but throughout this whole experience, I kept my thoughts positive; sometimes I’d pray for a miracle, sometimes I’d joke about how my moon boot has become my fave fashion accessory, and many a time it has definitely been a good water cooler conversation starter at work.

But never once did I pity myself.  The pity came from those who kept saying, “you poor thing” or “that must’ve hurt!” so there was absolutely no need for self pity.  I’d done that before (in a different situation) and frankly – it didn’t get me anywhere.

So now I am at week five – one more week to go til my next outpatient appointment and I’m very much looking forward to good news!  My left foot is already getting stronger (yippee) and I’ve been known to bust a move or two with the moon boot (couldn’t help myself when I was at a pub with a friend watching the NRL Grand Final, nor could I help myself at the recent Latin Fiesta and got my salsa on).

I must say though, the astronaut boot (it’s real name is the CAM boot) has helped my foot heal back to almost its full strength and I’ve learnt to strap it up with ease and swift – it’s become my best buddy throughout this whole recovery trip. My foot won’t know what’s happened to it after I boot THE boot!

What I’ve learnt throughout the last five weeks is resilience is key – courage, determination, patience and strength will all come along for the ride too, but it is up to you to see it through!

Accept offers from friends, family and colleagues who are willing to help, accept seats offered to you by strangers at the bus stop, accept the kindness and politeness from strangers – don’t feel guilty about this cause one day it’ll be you who’ll offer the same in another situation – when these strangers need it the most.

So as my foot is, or shall I say my feet are, itching to: get back into the groove, get back into the routine, get back onto that dance floor, get back into that dance studio and get back into the call of 5, 6… 5, 6, 7, 8.

The important lessons from my story are:

  • Don’t haste in getting to a destination – it’ll cause an accident
  • See the positives in having an injury like this (more coffee catch-ups with friends and heaps of book reading and movie watching time) and
  • Always have a smile on your face while hobbling along with the moon boot – the guy (or girl for the males reading this) next to you could find you cute and may just strike up a conversation with you. 😉

Onwards and upwards!


Maria SalvadorAbout Maria

Maria is currently the EA to the Deputy Commissioner of an emergency services Government agency for NSW and has previously worked in their public affairs department.

An Associate for the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) and currently Chairperson for its New Practitioner’s Group, Maria is working towards completing her degree in HR and Public Relations and has a strong interest in media relations & publicity, integrated marketing communication and organisational psychology.

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