written by
Leah Patterson

Dance and My Suicide Attempt

Dance 5 min read

I've mentioned this before - that dance was a big part of my suicide attempt. But I've never told the full story. I don't know that I will tell it all here today, but I will indeed share much more of it.

It's time.

I was in Montreal at the time, pursuing yet another dance dream. I'd given up tons of life comfort and *sensibility* to pursue my dance goals. I had the title of "young & successful black female engineer" in my pocket and most couldn't quite understand why I wouldn't just run with that. And here I was again, being wooed by the allure of an amazing dance partner plus love affair in a gorgeous city with tons of inspiration and what seemed like a space for me.

You see, I'd already moved 3 times for dance dreams. I'd left my professional dance home after years of trying, because I finally realized I'd never reach my aspirations there. I'd tried another city, going after the promises of a great partnership, only to realize after I was there that there were too many cracks in the pavement and a horribly divided dance scene on top of that. (Luckily or unluckily, I'd never experienced that level of divide - it caught me completely off guard.)

Yet I was willing to make another leap of faith because this time, I thought I wasn't alone. But oh, how alone I truly was, I would find out soon enough.

You see this time, I thought I was in the midst of one of those fantasies where you and your dance partner fall in love and do beautiful things together on and off the dance floor. And I admit looking back now, that it was just a classic case of a girl with very low self-esteem coupled with a guy who probably meant no real harm but had no real interest either.

But the realization that this great love affair and dance partnership wasn't going to happen, that for some reason, "I just wasn't enough", was the final straw that broke my back. What it meant to me back then was that even my dancing wasn't enough. That there was nothing redeeming about me that would make someone choose me. And that there was nothing I could do to fix that or my life period.

Jay is an amazing friend and not the dance partner in Montreal by the way :). Just wanted to make that known!

Let me explain a little. No one has ever debated that my dancing is not great. I've had the opportunity to partner with some amazing leads. And most of those leads have gone on to have great dance careers, this one included. He's one of the most popular leads on the salsa scene in fact and has had the career that I was busting my ass to have.

And just like things didn't work out with him, they hadn't worked out time and time before with both dance and relationships. And each time, I'd get back up, dust myself off and start again.

This time however, the loud nay-saying voices in my head had lots of in-my-face evidence to almost convince me that they were right about me wasting my time believing that things could change and that I could actually have any of the things I wanted.

And so that night, it seemed like the smartest thing to do was to stop trying.

And I wish I had an eloquent happily-ever-after story to show you that my decision to keep trying was worth it. But I don't.

I still grapple with the same things. I still have to adjust what a successful dance career means to me regularly. I'm still working to understand why I keep attracting relationships that trigger the old wounds of feeling not enough. I'm still trying to see how I'm standing in the way of what I want, despite knowing all of the ways to allow and receive what I want.

But I'm also still here. And that is the here or there of it. Either you choose to be here or you choose to not be here.

What keeps me here now is a little different than it used to be. What keeps me here now is no longer the big promises of what's to come. Because I can do all the work, rituals, spells, prayers, affirmations etc. and it still can be slow in coming or never show up at all. I know this, as I'm sure you do too.

What keeps me here now are the little things I do have control over. Like sitting outside with my furbabies, writing in my journal, writing in this blog, making time for a session of yoga, or a cup of coffee, or 30 minutes of reading. Or an hour dance rehearsal just for me. Agreeing to help my mom with something. Inviting a friend over for lunch.

Those very little things that I used to feel like I didn't have time for are the things that are bringing me consistent, 'can be counted on every time' joy. And side bonus, they also affirm to me that at the least, I'm worthy enough to myself to spend some time with and on me.

So that's it. That's my story for today. That's a little bit of the darkness that has helped me grow purposefully towards the light. It's always a choice. Sometimes it's easy and a lot of times it's hard. But it's a choice you can make too. <3.


Please feel free to reach out to me if you are looking for help with finding the audacity to keep going and expecting the best in life. That's my specialty and I would love to help you <3! Email me here: info@leahpatterson.com

And by the way, my email list would love to have your email address on it :-). I'm excited about sharing more inspiration in a newsletter soon, so jump on board if you want to receive it!

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