Six years ago and three cup sizes smaller, I was on the road to becoming a ballerina.
I had all the necessary components.
My mom had been a professional ballerina, and luckily, she passed down her technique, turnout and flexibility to me.
I'd been dancing my whole life, and most importantly, I had the passion.
However, problems started popping up once puberty hit.
The curves startled settling in, and out of nowhere, I had cleavage busting out of all my leotards.
That's when it hit me: Sure, I loved it, but ballet was no longer in the cards for me.
Dancers live in a bubble, and unless you're in the bubble, it's hard to say you truly understand what it's all about.
You can't understand pain unless you've danced for two hours in pointe shoes, and you certainly can't understand how we walk in leotards and tights with no underwear (like 24/7).
Sure, it's a tough life, but it's our life.
I'm here to give you the true life story of dancers.
As a senior in college, I'm still dancing my little heart out, but after 20 years in the dance world, I can honestly say I've lived and breathed #dancerproblems.
Here are 20 experiences every dancer can relate to:
1. Prepping for dance classes and performances was more effective than home ec.
2. You haven't felt pain until you've danced in pointe shoes.
3. You mastered dance terminology before your ABCs, 123s and even English.
4. Your response to everything is, "Sorry, I can't. I have dance."
5. Your favorite brands are Capezio, Wear Moi and Danskin, and you spent your free time searching Discount Dance Supply for good deals on the trendiest leotards.
6. You were legitimately afraid of your dance teachers with heavy accents (emphasis on ballet instructors from Russia).
7. You made garbage bag pants cool before Rachel Zoe did.
8. You felt beautiful in a crisp, black leotard and pink tights with lines on the back.
9. There was no such thing as a good dance bra for a big-breasted girl.
10. You were embarrassed by your feet because they were probably covered with blisters, calluses and every injury known to man.
11. You saw "Center Stage" a million times.
12. You had at least three amazing GBFs (gay best friends).
13. You learned the techniques to become an amazing hair stylist and makeup artist (shoutout to those mandatory hair and makeup tutorials).
14. You could perform 'The Nutcracker" in its entirety in your sleep (mostly because you've played every single part by 18 years old).
15. You learned that "break a leg" is not okay to say before a dance performance.
16. If your mom wasn't the stage mom, your best friend's mother probably was.
17. People always complimented you on your posture, and you've probably spent many nights eating dinner with a ruler against your back.
18. When you told boys you were a dancer, they assumed you meant an exotic dancer.
19. Your Christmas list consisted of leotards, warm-ups and tickets to see the New York City Ballet perform.
20. Through all the blisters, injuries, lack of a social life and emotional strain you've endured, dance was your life. Nothing could replace the way you felt when you stepped on stage.
Yes, #dancerproblems are endless, but there's something special about being a dancer.
Sure, it's hard to figure out what that is when it's tech week for your company's annual showcase, your feet are bleeding and you're eating celery and carrots to make sure you fit in your costume.
But when you point your beautifully arched foot and see how far you've come in your center split, you'll remember why you're a proud dancer.