The flow of time can’t be reversed. I know I’m not the only one that has wished it could turn back to a certain event or period. I find I’m wishing it against my better judgment. It all comes to the surface when I begin working in the center. During barre exercises, it’s not too bad. During center, I become a fish out of water, flopping around this way and that. The tears threaten to fall as my regret bubbles to the surface: why didn’t I begin sooner? The dance floor is no place for such thoughts, but it repeats: why didn’t I begin sooner?
I know why, but it doesn’t make things better. Better start at the beginning. I had major issues as a child. I’m adopted, and it has been the biggest blessing. Too bad I didn’t understand that then. I was an infant, so I have no memories of my biological parents. My birth mother left me at the hospital.
I grew older and began to observe. I did not look like Mom and most kids seemed to look like theirs. I asked Mom about it, and she told me That’s when the anger began. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. How could she leave me, her daughter? I wanted my mom, what I believed was my real mom. I was too young to know how to handle the pain constructively. So, I handled it destructively. Needless to say, Mom had her hands full with this passionate, strong-willed child.
Mom knew I was a dancer before I did. Mom tried to get me to ballet, but I would scream and resist. Why? Because she was Mom. Moms were something I held in vehement resentment. If my “real” mom left me, why wouldn’t this one? Eventually, Mom stopped fighting it. Instead of being on the floor where I belonged, I spent much of my childhood in occupational therapy and psychiatrists’ offices. I know I couldn’t help it at that age. I know it’d be insanity to expect a kid to consider the consequences of their actions. I know that Mom tells me it was worth it despite the challenge. I know I was worth it because I have forgiven my birth parents and carved a happy existence for myself. But, that doesn’t prevent my regret.
Like it or not, I struggle when I go to adult ballet. All the others have been doing it since they were little, just as I would’ve been. It has been my biggest regret. I feel like I have failed, even though I have not. I wish I would’ve built that balletic foundation when I was young. As an adult, I have self-awareness and feel very self-conscious of my newness. I understand that everyone is concentrating on themselves. But, it doesn’t stop me from convincing myself that I look like an idiot. As I write, I know I probably don’t look as worse as I feel. As I move, I feel utterly ungraceful, stupid even. I don’t even feel like a dancer. Why do ballet if it makes me feel like that?
I want to become a better dancer. I want to challenge myself, and see if I can rise to ballet’s challenge. I don’t have to go en pointe, though I was looking enviously at two other girls’ pointe shoes today. That would’ve been me, but all that matters now is today. At least I’m doing it now, Mom says. Yes Mom, at least I’m doing it now. If only “doing it” wasn’t so scary and difficult. If only I would’ve made a different choice as a kid. I was angry at the lack of control I had as an adopted child. “It’s not like my birth mother ever asked me if she could leave,” my little self rationalized. Now, I feel a similar pain with ballet. It’s not that I didn’t want to dance, but my choices still have consequences. Now, they’ve come to bite me on the [bleep].
P.S.: As you can tell, I was very emotional when I wrote this. I know I’m making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be, but what can I say? Dance is my art. It really is that important to me. But, perhaps I’ve made it too important.