I eat, breathe, and sleep color guard every day of my life. Ever since I showed up to my first practice in 7th grade I knew my journey wouldn’t be easy. Walking in on that first day with my water bottle in one hand and my fear of not doing well in the back of my mind, I learned how to do my first jazz walk and drop spin. Looking around at the seasoned members, I was petrified and embarrassed of what my capabilities were. Over the course of that first season I was able to make an impression that little did I know, would shape the next five years of my life.
As I went through many intense practices and hard competitions I came to the conclusion that performing was what held me together through what otherwise felt impossible. Dealing with what my instructors knew as my “tics” was a hard thing for me to share with my other teammates, even after performing for many shows with them. My neurological condition known as Tourette’s Syndrome was something I only shared with my closest friends. Letting go and expressing my tics wasn’t something I had ever thought of doing in front of others, therefore I kept it hidden. I often pretended to fix my pants or adjust my hair while doing a tic to mask what was really happening. Not having complete control over my body was and will always be the hardest thing I will ever have to deal with, especially while performing.
I learned that when I was completely focused on spinning my urge to tic diminished. This was a feeling I had never experienced before and was curious to explore. As I finished my first season on the varsity team it was apparent that performing was what calmed my Tourette’s the most. From this, I learned that I was accepted for who I am. I have become a confident leader in and outside of the classroom with tremendous success academically and socially. My focus and determination has prepared me to be successful in all of my future endeavors. While new things may always be intimidating, I will never hesitate to step in on unfamiliar situations.
As I approach my sixth and final season of spinning with my team and the family we have created, I look back at what I have overcome. Opening up to a group of complete strangers about why I can’t control certain things I do and say was never my plan. Nevertheless, I could not have imagined any other way to grow and thrive as an individual. I am forever grateful for all the friends I’ve made and shared my passion with throughout these past years. When I set foot on the floor for my last performance, I’ll be filled with emotions I won’t be able to express. I will never forget the true beauty of this activity and what is has allowed me to become.