Anonymous said: A couple of years ago like when worlds were in Philly... Did you actually think you had a chance of winning worlds. And do you think that someone could win the worlds even if they don't go to a top name school like Doherty petri or the academy.
In 2009, I sat at the Philly worlds watching my competition with a broken foot. My dreams were honestly crushed when I fell 10 days beforehand and suffered a sever break. I had spent the whole summer working as hard as I possibly could and knowing that I was going to be off for the next 3 months, possibly even 6 killed me. Following this I struggled getting back to dance and I had a few results in which were among my lower placings in my career such as placing 6th at the Australian Nationals (6th was still a wonderful place, but I was disappointed as I hadn’t dropped out of the top 4 since I was 8, and following my injury I was hoping to make a big comeback.) After the nationals, I seriously considered giving up. I was struggling socially, I was not pleased with my dancing, and simply wasn’t enjoying it as much anymore and after a long chat with my mum I decided I would do worlds 2010, just to have the experience of getting up on the big stage. I decided if I wasn’t enjoying dance again after that, then I could let myself give up knowing that I had given my all.
Worlds 2010 was an incredible experience and during the training period leading up to this I truly rediscovered my love for dance. No matter what happened on stage that day, I wouldn’t have cared because nothing could compare with the feeling of rekindling my love for dance. I placed 24th, had an absolute ball and learnt so much from this experience. Following this I went on to win my first State Championships (qualifiers), and National Championship in 7 years. It was in 2010 that I was first told by someone that they thought eventually one day I could win a world championship. That goal, or idea was something that had never even come across my mind, and at that time seemed so incredibly unreachable and unrealistic.
2011 and 2012 both contained many highs and lows. I placed 10th and 6th at worlds, my dance teacher (my hero) moved overseas, I placed for the first time on the podium at a major (3rd at Nans) and then also struggled with nerves during this time period. High placings, lower placings, brilliant jigs, and not so brilliant slip jigs - I went through it all but I learnt more and more about myself as both a dancer and a person and allowed myself to push more boundaries.
2013 was the year in which everything changed for me in dance. I went overseas and trained by myself for 2 months in leading up to the All Scotlands and Worlds because at that point it was a dream of mine to get on the podium. The first feis I did was the Clondalkin feis where I think I placed 12th in my age. I was absolutely gutted having placed 6th at worlds the year before. I remember holding it together and crying my eyes out when I got home because I thought I simply just couldn’t do it. I started back at it the next day and worked as hard as I could and then placed 4th at the All Scotlands - I was absolutely over the moon and was so grateful to be up there with the worlds best. Following this result I unfortunately lost my beautiful Aunty. Being away from my family during this period while also training for worlds by myself was a huge struggle, but I danced every step of the way for my Aunty, also knowing she was by my side. Yes this was tough, but worth every single minute when I placed 2nd at the Worlds. I was in complete disbelief with my worlds results. I never ever dreamed of receiving a globe and still couldn’t believe that people thought I was good enough to stand on that second block. My guardian angel certainly looked over me every step of the way.
After worlds I was lucky enough to then win the Nans and then the All Irelands later on that year. I was absolutely over the moon with both those results, but also started to feel a lot of pressure. I knew that people now expected me to dance amazingly, and I started to place more and more pressure on myself to live up to these expectations. I didn’t want to drop at the worlds, but didn’t think I was good enough to stay up there.
I worked harder then I had ever worked for anything in leading up to the world championships, but there was not one bone in my body prior to the win - not the day beforehand, nor 5 years earlier - that thought I would actually win it. Yes I hoped that I would achieve my dreams, but I never ever thought it would actually happen.
The reason I have written this is simply to say no matter where you are at right now, where you dance, whether you are an open or a beginner dancer, or even if you are still learning your easy jig, with hard work you can achieve things beyond what you ever thought you were capable of. There will be many highs, and surely several lows, but you have the strength, the power and the courage to be whatever, whoever, or wherever you want to be.
So jiggers, where will you be in 5 years? ;)
This is so inspirational and a testament to what hard work can really do!