This post by guest author, Laura Sheehan, really moved me when I read it. I am pleased to be able to hand over my blog today to Laura, who was kind enough to share her story and showcase her new Red Sage release, Dancing With Danger:
I couldn’t agree more. Dance was my saving grace. On stage, I was beautiful. And eventually, dancing helped me realize that I was just as beautiful off-stage.
You see, I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I was in and out of hospitals throughout my childhood. I had my first operation when I was a few months old, and my last at age 14. That last surgery was the one I’d been looking forward to since I was old enough to realize that I was “different.” In addition to the scar on my lip, the gaping hole in the roof of my mouth, and my awkwardly placed teeth, my nose was also deformed. It was assymetrical, slightly off-center, wide and flattish.
The most common question I’d been asked (even more common than “How are you?”) was “What’s wrong with your nose?” I was so very tired of answering that question, and dealing with the bouts of self-consciousness that inevitably followed.
That last surgery, just a few weeks before high-school started, was supposed to fix everything. It would be the final attempt to close my stubborn cleft palate, and at the same time, the surgeons would “fix” my messed-up nose and make me look normal. I didn’t expect to be made beautiful (as my tactless surgeons made very clear), but I didn’t care about that.
Unlike most young teenage girls, I wasn’t dying to attract the attention of boys. I didn’t wear skimpy skirts in the hopes of getting whistles from the football jocks as I walked past the field. I wasn’t into make-up or fashion or crazy hairstyles.
No, what I wanted was to walk down the hallways at school and NOT be stared at. I wanted, for once in my life, to blend in, to not have to constantly explain my face, to be normal.
When I finally took the nose cast off (just 24 hours before my first day as a freshman), I was overwhelmed. My nose was so much better! It was skinnier, straighter, less-flat, and although it was still a bit asymmetrical, it was so much closer to “normal.” I walked into high-school with my chin held high and my confidence soaring.
When I caught a cute boy staring at me in my AP Biology course in 2nd period, I did something I’d never done before: I returned his look and smiled.
And then he leaned over and asked me, “What’s wrong with your nose?”
I won’t go into my devastation at hearing those five words.
Instead, I’ll tell you what happened in my ballet class just a few hours later. My ballet mistress, Miss Pamela Langevin, was a gorgeous, tall, red-headed beauty. She was graceful, talented, and elegant. So when she came over to me during class and told me that my arms and hands reminded her of her own, I almost cried. When she pulled me aside after class and asked me if I’d ever considered a career as a professional dancer, all thoughts of that stupid boy in AP biology flew out the window. She told me I had a special “something” when I danced, that I shined. She said that it was hard to take her eyes off me when I lost myself in the movement.
And for the first time, I realized that I liked the idea of people looking at me, of people’s eyes being stuck on me. I liked the idea of being in the spotlight, of being the center of attention.
Because everyone is beautiful at the ballet.
Lily, the heroine of Dancing With Danger, is a professional dancer who only lets her guard down when she’s performing. She can bring an audience to its knees when she dances on stage, but until she meets Marc, she has no idea she can be equally as passionate off stage.
What experiences in your life have helped you realize how special and capable you are? Share your story in the comments below!
Lily Brookstone has always been fiercely independent. She learned to take care of herself when she was just a child, when her mother died and her workaholic father refused to make her a priority. Now she’s a dancer struggling to make it in Los Angeles, and the town hasn’t been easy on her. First her father disowned her, then she was injured on the job and dropped by her agent. Now, she’s working three jobs to make ends meet, and, oh yeah, she has somehow managed to pick up a stalker. In short, Los Angeles has not been kind. But then she meets Marc, a tough LAPD officer who is determined to break through her defensive walls. Lily might be able overcome her untrusting nature and allow him to protect her life, but what about her heart?
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Read an Excerpt HERE