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My Sister Stole My Dream—and I am Happy about it

I remember my first dance performance, the awful tapping of the tiny shiny plastic tap shoes that donned the feet of myself and the other four-year-olds attempting to stand in a line beside me. I remember the rush of the feeling of the light’s heat on my skin and the excitement I felt slipping on the itchy costume I wore. I can remember distinctly the promise I made to dance until I could not any longer. 

That promise broke a lot sooner than I originally dreamed. If you were to have asked me eight years ago what I would be studying in college, I would have said “dance” with the hopes of dance being my forever job. While many young girls often say that, it was truly my everything. I spent hours in the studio, in physical therapy and sobbing whenever the cast list didn’t come out in my favor. I pushed past dance teachers telling me that I would never make it and promised to prove them wrong. I was determined, no matter what it took. 

Just as I remember when my dream was born, I can remember the sinking in my stomach when my dream died within me as a junior in highschool. I realized that I did not love to dance any longer. It did not bring me joy or life like I thought it had. I felt sick knowing that it has not brought me life for years, but rather was breaking me down brick by brick. I remember when I told my mom that I was done and I walked away from the only dream I thought that I had. 

I moved on and found new dreams that bring me life. I fill my time with activities that bring me joy and make me feel like I am making a difference in the world around me. I rebuilt what dance broke within me. As I walked away from dance, my little sister did the exact opposite. She spent more hours in the studio and became better than I ever could have. 

Sitting in her first large dance performance, watching her perform a role I could only have dreamed of getting, I could feel the jealousy burn within me. I was angry that she got to live the dream that I had tried tirelessly to reach. I was jealous that I was never as good. I was angry that it was affecting me at all, as I thought that I had moved on from this dream. Sitting there in that audience, though, I felt like such a failure— I had given up on a dream that still seemed to define me. 

After the show, my sister bound up to me, the brightest smile on her face, desperate to know how I thought that she did. She said she wanted a dancer’s opinion. I felt the jealousy simmer softer. I watched the light in her eyes as she wanted to know what I thought of what she did, if she made me proud. The envy melted within me. She had danced beautifully and I knew in that moment that she had found her dream. 

When I saw the joy, determination and drive in her eyes I realized quickly that maybe it was never my dream to hold. I remember the tears in my eyes when my sister thanked me for finding her dream for her and showing her how determination can get you places. I realized that without me she may have never found this passion, for it was the hours I spent in the studio at such a young age that drove her to join classes herself. 

I have continued to watch my sister grow into the dancer that I could only have dreamed of being. This year she has one of the most amazing roles in “The Nutcracker” that will probably make me cry when I watch her. She spends hours in the studio and doesn’t back down from being a better dancer. She continues to come to me for advice and thoughts she has about dance. She wants me at as many performances as I can attend and always runs up to me with that adorable little smile on her face after the performance to ask me what I thought. She lights up on stage no matter the role or performance. 

She took my dream. She achieved things beyond what I even dreamed for myself. She has a drive that I never had. She found love in something that I eventually started to hate. She is a dancer, something that was not a part of my plan. 

She stole my dream and I could not be more happy—because it was never my dream to chase, but hers.

Kateryna Gehlhaar is a senior nursing student at St Louis University. She enjoys exploring new places, reading romance novels, and having dance parties with her friends. One of her greatest passions is taking photos in her free time! She is so excited to be a part of the Her Campus chapter this year and to share some of her own stories and adventures.
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