I’ve been thinking about Swan Lake.
Doing little conditioning things that are actually feasible for me and aren’t so overwhelming that I avoid them. Making certain choices that will help me in the long run. Releve-ing at work while I prep for tax season.
My goal is to be a Swan.
Not some watered down version of a Swan, but a real one.
I was a little anxious thinking about it, because I didn’t know if this was even a logical goal. What if it’s just the older girls, ya know? I know I’m not at their level yet. I’m on my way, but these things take time.
I was thinking about it in church this morning. About dance and why I do it and what it does for me.
I thought about how much easier life would be without the dance schedule. I immediately thought of how sad I would be not having said schedule. Dance makes me happy, it makes me feel alive.
Then I thought of how I’ve seemed to have more bad days than good lately. I thought of how reasonably it has been my body holding me back in one way or another. I thought of all the times I’ve panicked. I thought of the defeat I’ve felt.
I thought of Nutcracker, and how there were times I felt like I was just falling short. That I just barely wasn’t good enough for what my heart wanted. That the mark was just out of reach.
Then I thought of that last Sunday show; how everything seemed to align for me perfectly. I thought of how alive I felt. I didn’t think of how bad my feet hurt that day, or the fact that I was so sad the show was over, or my shoe falling off. I thought of how Rat Queen went the best it ever has. How I hit all the corrections Ms. Munro gave me and was able to grab the cannon ball in a stealth way to get it out of everyone’s way. I thought of Flowers and how I hit all the marks on that as well. I thought of Finale, and hitting the timing perfectly with the conductor. I thought of how I felt standing there, looking into the audience, the most alive I’ve ever felt.
And I wondered what the difference was. What made that day special? Was it the cape I got to wear? Or was it what having the cape made me feel?
That there was no pressure. That cape reminded me of how fun Nutcracker can be. That it’s not just about doing a series of moves and hoping not to fall, but it’s more than that. It’s about coming alive in ways that makes the audience feel something. Sure it’s awesome if you can do 32 fouette’s en pointe, but ya know what? That’s nothing if there’s no heart behind it. The difference is clear. You can be the most technical dancer with absolutely perfectly gorgeous lines, but if you’re hearts not in it, it falls flat.
(This is how it is for life in general, as well. Are you just passing the days, or are you truly living?)
As I was standing there, on the front row, God reminded me of how far I’ve come. He reminded me of what I felt when the idea of dancing ballet was just a longing–an unreachable goal. He reminded me of how much I’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time. Then He asked me, “By whose standards are you falling short?”
It was then I realized that it was only by my standards that I wasn’t hitting the mark.
I know I’m never gonna be prima ballerina or anything remotely close. Even if my body could handle it, chances are life will cause me to back away from ballet as I know it now–it already has. The mark should always simply be to do the best I can and make the most of every day I get to dance. By all means, I shouldn’t even be able to. I’ve dodged many-a-bullet with how accident prone I seem to be, yet I can still dance.
God also reminded me of what fuels my passion–what the heart is behind my dancing. It’s not about gaining anything, it’s not about hitting a certain mark, it’s all about shining His light in my life. It’s about the freedom I feel which allows me to move and live and breathe. It’s not about me.
So whatever happens with auditions, whether I suck or succeed, I will be content in being able to participate at all. I will be happy because I am doing the very thing I love that seemed impossible not too long ago. I will remember what I felt before this was my reality.
I’ll channel those moments I find myself realizing that these are my pointe shoes and I dance in them. That this isn’t a dream or a fabricated, colorful mis-telling I’m trying to pass off as true. This is reality. This is me. This is what I get to do.
How freaking cool is that?