I deal with perpetual depression and anxiety.
Now that that is out of the way.
I woke up this morning pretty panicky. For no good reason, but I couldn’t shake it. All I wanted to do was dance, but deep down I was nervous that dance might make it worse. (Probably me jumping to worst case scenario there. Typical.) I tried to go into the class day with an open mind and giving myself room for faults.
Ballet went fairly well. I was able to hold a few balances I usually suck at and do the fouetté prep at the barre I used to really do terribly. We got to center and I still struggled a bit with balancing but was able to see little bits of improvement here and there. Overall, it wasn’t bad. I appreciated that she gave us combinations that were easy on the brain but still challenging our bodies. I think that helped make it better.
Jazz-but-really-lyrical class went fine. Not all the girls were there so we still haven’t changed it up to the final way we’re gonna have it yet, but the new girls that have added on are doing well. They retain the choreography, which is super great. Ms Heidi said she might pull me and either Savanna or Valerie to be another duo, or separate singles–she’s still playing with ideas–and one of them sort of play off Ileana.
As we were standing there while she was figuring out a part for another group, my mind began to wander as it does. I was watching Ileana and wondering what I would do if I was having to sort of mirror her.
And it hit me.
This terrible wave of whatever you want to call it that I hadn’t felt in a good long while.
I thought of being in the audience, watching this piece, it being she and me, and thinking, “that one girl is so good and absolutely gorgeous. Shame they paired her with the bigger girl, she’s not as good I kinda feel bad.”
It’s a dialog I’m sure I’ve heard said of someone on a stage once somewhere. And it’s probably part of the subconscious that stuck in my head growing up and lead me to make decisions I made that lead me to stop eating until I was really thin because I was terrified I would be that person. The “bigger girl” that was seen as a terrible thing. As lesser. As not enough.
And I realized that I would be that should Ileana and I be paired.
And I realized that there are bits in Julie’s recital piece that I am that.
And I realized that at some point my perspective had changed from that negative way of thinking to one of what-can-I-achieve-if-I-work-hard.
But still I found myself standing there tonight with a different kind of panic. What would I do? I can’t lose any more weight than I have. I’m doing my best to improve with the hand life dealt me. How can I not be “that girl” ?
I told myself I couldn’t think that way. Tried to push it out of my mind.
Mere minutes later, the newest new girl and I were learning a bit we had just been shown. I didn’t really know what I was doing but was trying to decode the struggle, so to speak, and she looked at me and said, “man you’re really good. Like, you’re so talented. I know I’m new and all, but I hope I can be as good as you.”
In my head I said, “are you blind? Like. I can’t do anything she’s asking us to do. I’m trying not to panic because I know I can’t do a firebird or a leap in second. I’ve never tried them. I’m gonna look a hot mess, and if I can’t do it how am I gonna teach you to do it? I’m terrible. I’m new to this class and much of it is way over my head. Have you seen me? I’m not exactly the dancer type.” But instead I replied with, “thank you!”
She didn’t have to say that. She could have kept it to herself. Sure, it’s safe to say the entire class is better than me in skill, but whose to say I’m not good in my own right? She didn’t see me as the “bigger girl in the class full of skinny, good girls.” She saw me as “talented.”
I may still struggle.
I may feel like I don’t really do anything right.
I may feel like I’m just a 5 year old playing a giant game of pretend and all the adults just think “aww how cute” cause it’s cute when a 5 year old makes a fool of themself.
I may feel like I keep missing out on roles and parts and accomplishments because I must just not be good enough.
I may feel like I don’t have enough time to get to “enough.”
But to her, I was enough. I was the “goals.” I was talented. I was the one to be like.
Who am I to limit myself with my own judgements?
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.