I’m gonna be real honest
Last night, I didn’t want to go to ballet class.
I had a emotionally rough weekend, and was having an extreme case of the monday’s–apparently bad enough that my co worker bought us mini blizzard’s on her way in. It seemed like Monday was just kickin’ everyone’s but yesterday.
Days like these can either make for a great ballet class that leaves me with a resounding feeling of success and satisfaction, or a really horrible class that leaves me near tears and wanting to quit. I was nervous that since this was the more advanced class that I would end up the latter.
I went anyway.
Honestly, because I thought of my old studio.
I thought of how I was sick the last two weeks of summer classes.
And how I wanted to skip.
And I did have to miss one class
But how I went to the rest of them, because summer is almost over.
I thought of how we really have no clue what tomorrow really holds. How even though it all looks like I’ll make my next class and everything will be hunky dory, that it might not be. You could get in a car wreck that messes up your left leg, causes nerve damage, gives you arthritis, and complicates your range of motion. You could break your foot. There is a long list of things that could happen and take away any further opportunity to dance.
I let this notion sink in a bit as I sat at my desk for the last four hours of work, thinking of all the things I could get done if I were to go home instead.
Then I thought of being home; actually putting myself in the scenario, and it didn’t feel right.
Then, wouldn’t you know it, the darn radio started doing what it always does when I’m debating against doing something I should do. Just about every dance song that’s popular on the radio came on, one right after the other, like it wasn’t not normal or something.
Then, on facebook, my non-dance, ropes course friend posted a status that said,
“Dancing makes everything better.”
So, I went.
A bit nervous, a bit sad. That started to lift when I saw my friend Mari that I used to teach with at Instep. A very pleasant surprise. Then my other friends began to show up and it all lifted my spirits.
We got into class, and some of the other girls are beginning to warm up to me. It’s really nice. The teachers make me feel really welcomed, and now the students are starting to accept us. (It’s like we’re the adopted kids and the natural-born kids are starting to accept that we aren’t going anywhere.)
There’s still a couple that seem a little rough around the edges, but whatever. I don’t need everyone to like me. I don’t need anyone to like me. But it is nice when some of them start to accept you.
I’ll be honest again, it’s still hard for me to see myself this size in a leotard without a skirt.
With a skirt, I can hide that my hips are there. My smaller waistline takes away from the fact that my hips are so huge when they’re hidden by that little bit of sheer fabric. But here, I don’t get that luxury. I oblige, knowing that it’s better for my teachers to be able to see all my muscles and alignment, and I’m doing all that I can at this point to try and slim it down. (it’s hard when ballet does the exact opposite of what my body type needs to alleviate this issue.) I try to remind myself that I could be smaller, that I have been smaller, I’ve been the size of these girls around me, but it cost me dearly and now my health is suffering for it because for me, that isn’t normal. Normal is a little smaller than I am, but I have to allow myself the time to get there. Also, I’m starting this a little older, so it’ll take me a little more time. I have to focus on the fact that I’m alive, and I could definitely not be. I personally think I was close to real consequences that would have involved hospitalization and who knows what else when I decided to eat again. So, yes, I am a little bigger, but I’m human. I’m healthy. I’m alive. And who knows, there may be a little girl out there like I used to be that can see me and see that I’m a decent dancer even though I’m not a rail and give them hope that they, too, can dance. That it’s okay for them to dance.
It seemed I wasn’t the only one with a case of the Monday’s. One of the “older” (I mean more advanced girls, although I think she’s younger than me) girls struggled with one of the combinations across the floor, grimacing at her less than stellar performance (that looked amazing to me, but whatever) She looked at me (people tend to look at me? I don’t know if this is normal and everyone gets looked at often or if there’s some reason they’re looking at me? anyway) and I asked if she was having a case of the Monday’s. I think that helped her feel a little more relaxed at it and remember that it’s probably just a bad turning day.
We ended up doing the combination again on both sides, and when we finished the left, we all kinda waited in a little clump like we normally do. She was talking to one of the other girls for a second, then she looked at me and asked, “are you trying out for Nutcracker?” I told her I was, and that Mrs. Munro said she’d tell me if there was a part for me that wasn’t with the dramatic difference that would be seen if I was paired with 9-year-olds, and she’d tell me if there wasn’t. So that I was auditioning, and if there was a part I’d definitely take it. (Typically, everyone makes Nutcracker.) She seemed excited that I said yes.
This simple question, this simple moment, really meant a lot to me. Thinking back on it still makes me smile. Here, one of the more advanced students in this studio I’m new to that has a lot of competitive dancers, this student that I haven’t really spoken to before, asked me if I was auditioning and was genuinely excited when I told her, “yes.”
I felt like I belong, like I’m wanted here. And I know this may be a silly thing, but it really does and it means a great deal to me.
Losing my studio was really difficult, no matter how prepared I may have been. Starting ballet at 23 was a big deal for me, it took a lot of guts and I had to confront a lot of demons. Ballet has helped me grow as a person, and I want nothing more than to keep pursuing this thing that teaches me so much in life and helps shape me into a better person. To have someone closer to my age, far more advanced than me accept me really helped.
Mrs. Munro was watching the class, more than likely getting Nutcracker ideas. When we did the right side and I managed to actually not suck as much as I had before, she came over to me and asked me, “Now, you don’t put on your pointe shoes for this class?” I responded, “No, I like having the challenge of this class. I’m not ready for it on pointe yet, I’ll save that for Thursday’s.” She agreed and thought this wise, and asked the same of my other friend who had told me at the beginning of class that she wants to start coming to the Thursday class.
Cliffnotes: The class left me feeling good. I may have messed up on my arms, or have passe’d the wrong leg even though I knew better, I may have glissade’d instead of pas de chat’ed when I knew what I was supposed to do, but it didn’t matter. I’m challenging myself, I’m growing, I’m getting better and better at the things I need to work on. And that is what being in class is about.
Wow that was a long post thank you for making it to the end. If you didn’t, no judgement.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.