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April 27th, 2018 / Anya Bhargava

It was an ordinary Saturday in 5th grade and I was at my friend’s house. Her favorite show at the time was Dance Moms. She was watching an episode when I came over and I thought it looked interesting. The following day, I found the first season on Amazon and I’ve been hooked ever since. I binge-watched it all summer and by August, I decided that I wanted to take dance lessons. In the fall of 2014, I began dancing at Dance Destination. The funny thing is, I thought I was good. Thanks to five years of gymnastics, I was fairly flexible (which means I could do one split), but dance flexibility and technique are so different from gymnastics.  However, even with the initial hardships, I began to fall in love with dance, slowly, but surely.

Now let’s flash forward to December of 2015.  I had just joined my first lyrical class with less than eight people and a new teacher. The first day of class, two girls ran towards me excitedly and told me, “We are going to be BEST friends.”  After that, I was a little freaked out and was going to tell my mom that I didn’t want to join the class, but then realized that it would be a good opportunity to get more practice time. As the year went on, one of those girls actually became one of my close friends, and the following year, we made the dance competition team together.

Eighth grade was a good year. After two years of working hard, I was so excited to make the competition team.  The team required a whole new level of commitment and dedication. I went from dancing two hours a week, to dancing about 9 hours a week. That year, Chloe (the friend in my lyrical class) and I made a new friend, and the three of us have stuck by each other ever since. Not only did I have amazing friends and great dance instruction, I also had the best teachers. They’re sweet, hardworking, and always believe in us. All of this put together has made my dance experience incredible. Those of you who are on any sort of team know how stressful it can be when you’re competing. At one of our competitions, we were backstage and one of the girls in my dance realized that she forgot her costume. Immediately, she started panicking, called her mom, and left to go get it. My teacher was also extremely stressed and was scared that she wouldn’t be back in time. Unfortunately, the girl didn’t come back in time for the dance and she felt so guilty in the moment, but now we laugh about it. Unforgettable memories and experiences like these make it all worthwhile.

Lastly, this year.  This year has been the most hectic year ever. I added even more hours to my dance schedule, more difficult classes, and many new clubs. Despite my packed schedule, I have continued to love dance, and I hope to do it for many years to come. A few days ago, the girls at my studio found out that the owner was moving and we were shocked!  Later, we understood why, and we are very happy and excited for her! However, the shock still hasn’t worn off, and it has made me realize how much I cherish the dance community. A community I am fortunate to be apart of. In the next few months, many girls from our studio, including myself, are on a search to find a new studio.


This new studio will never replace the first one, but now it is time to start a new chapter of my dance life.

I FAINTED during my covid shot.

May 31, 2021 / Anya Bhargava, Co-Editor In Chief


I knew that it would eventually be my turn to get the COVID 19 Vaccine, the first vaccine I was ever excited about. The hope of concerts, large gatherings, and a normal college experience seemed so close! Yet, I’ve always had a fear of needles and vaccines. Not only do I get extremely nervous before getting a shot or a prick, my body goes into a nervous overdrive and causes me to faint. Usually, I have to lie down whenever I get a shot and have to continue laying down for the next 10 minutes to ensure I don’t fall over and injure myself. Although fainting may seem abnormal to most, it’s actually pretty common in a large percentage of the population. About 3% of men and 3.5% of women report fainting at least once during their lifetimes, but it is unknown just how often people faint after being vaccinated. Fainting is particularly common among adolescents, where one study reported that 62% of fainting reports were from adolescents aged 11-18. That made me feel slightly less abnormal. 


As many know, you sit in a chair when getting the COVID vaccine since there’s such a high demand and so many patients waiting. I, of course, was in the same situation. Rather than telling the doctor that I faint when I get a shot or prick, I convinced myself that I “had probably grown out of it” and that “I shouldn’t be dramatic”. Little did I know that not telling them this vital information would result in even more stress for the doctors and my poor mother. 


I quickly walked to my assigned seat and watched the doctor get the dose, a wipe, and a bandaid. I felt a quick pinch and was all done. It was quick and painless. No big deal, or so I thought. I walked over to my seat across the hall to wait, feeling completely fine and being really proud of myself for not fainting so far. Well, I spoke too soon. My mom asked me if I was feeling fine and I responded with a confident yes. A few minutes later, I retracted my statement and said “actually I feel kind of bad now”. Before I could even finish talking, my eyes started rolling toward the back of my head and I began to get dizzy. I saw grey and felt like I was spinning into oblivion. Then, I began to fall. It was like I had gone skydiving without the parachute to slow my fall and I was rapidly approaching the ground. 


I abruptly woke up to 4 concerned nurses staring down at me as I was laying across three chairs pushed together. The once crowded waiting room was now empty. When I asked what happened, the doctors said I fainted and thankfully, my mom was there to catch me. I was shocked. I had really believed that I had grown out of my fear and could possibly go to the doctor by myself like an actual adult. Apparently not. 


I did, however, meet and get to talk to some of the sweetest, most caring doctors. I had always heard people talk about the importance of passion in the healthcare field. Until that moment, I hadn’t seen that passion with my own eyes, but as I began talking to the doctor who’s job was to take care of those who reacted to the vaccine, I finally witnessed that true passion. The way she told me that she too faints when she gets shots and proceeded to share stories of how multiple of her friends in the healthcare field also faint but overcame those fears to follow their passions, made me think that maybe the entire medical field isn’t an impossible job prospect. 


I hope to one day be so passionate about something the way that doctor is so passionate about taking care of her patients. For now, though, I’ll lay down while taking the second dose and hope that I don’t faint once again.  

A Time of Uncertainty: A Story About Tactile Defensiveness.


February 12, 2021 / Taylor Poore

Everybody struggles in their lives at one time or another. Everybody questions the unknown at one time or another. For me, these hard and questionable times overlapped. At the age of nine I was wearing my favorite sparkly dress from Justice and working on my multiplication tables in Ms. Seaderstrom’s fourth grade class. Suddenly, I started to feel uncomfortable, which was nothing new as I had already been diagnosed with anxiety, but this time it was different. Pins and needles felt like they were stabbing at my skin. I ran to the bathroom, where Ms. Seaderstrom later found me crying in a corner. My mother was informed of the situation and insisted we go to the doctor’s office, a place of which I was not a very big fan. They couldn’t find anything wrong, so I went home and lived happily ever after.


If only that were true. What actually happened was not as easy. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, so I did go home, until it happened again. So we went back to the doctor; again they found nothing abnormal. Then it happened again, so we went to a new doctor .hey did not find anything wrong either. The next year consisted of a  continuous cycle of pain, doctor visits, and utter confusion about what was happening to my body. That can be scary at any time in one’s life, but especially when you’re a little girl who doesn’t even know how to handle fractions. At this time, I stopped dressing how I wanted to and started wearing anything I could find that was comfortable. Usually you would find me in a t-shirt from Justice, gaucho pants, and bright orange crocs. It hurt  that these were the only types of outfits I felt comfortable in  My mental health began to deteriorate. I was scared to go to school because I thought everyone would make fun of me. Of course, that was all in my head, but as a 10 year old I didn’t know that.


Things finally took a turn when my mom found a specialist for mental and physical disorders caused by touch. She booked an appointment and we headed to the southside of Richmond. When we arrived, I was nervous, because I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I wanted some answers. They walked me into a beige colored room with one wooden desk. The doctor had me sit down and take a multiple choice test. At the time I had no idea what any of the questions had to do with how I was feeling, but I obliged anyway. After I completed the test, they told me I have a disorder called Tactile Defensiveness. Tactile Defensiveness is a neurologically based hypersensitivity to touch or stimulation, meaning I react to feelings that other people usually don’t notice. Sometimes it can be triggered by big problems, like anxiety, or daily occurrences like fatigue, illness, or even hunger. I was ecstatic, believing all of this would finally end.  It didn’t. 


There’s no clear treatment for Tactile Defensiveness, which means going through a lot of trial and error. The doctor first recommended regular therapy to help treat the self deprecating feeling that often arose with this disorder. Then, it was time to move onto special touch therapy. My first session was quite odd. I went in with my mother and we talked about different things to try. At the end of the session she gave me a white plastic bristle brush. She said I had to brush myself each night. I didn’t even know what that meant. I was supposed to run the brush over my limbs every night and then my mom was supposed to pop my joints. I tried this for a while, but it wasn’t for me.


I still struggle with Tactile Defensiveness nearly every day. Common things that come easy to others are tricky for me. I can’t just see a cute piece of clothing and decide that I want to buy it when I’m at the mall with my friends. There are bad days and there are good days. There are mornings where everything goes smoothly and there are mornings where I cry. But that’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is to remember to wake up every morning and push through the pain and the unknown, because, most likely, part of it will pass. And, if it doesn’t, well then I know from first hand experience that someone will be there to help you through it. If you don’t have anyone now, then I can always be that person. It’s important to have a positive perspective, remembering that you still have places to go, people to see, and new things to try.

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