After cleaning (some more) of my things out of my childhood bedroom, I returned home with three videos of my ballet performances from '92, '93 and '94.
I did ballet from the age of 5 - 12, finishing just before I would have started to learn to go en pointe; before I would have really had to have committed.
So, I did yearly exams and productions in which I performed in such delightful roles as a Wood Sprite, Bluebird, Flower Girl, etc etc. No solos, Nothing fancy; your typical little-girl-learning-ballet routine.
While I loved the thought of being a dancer (still do. hence name of blog), I always thought that I stood out in the class as being particularly fat and clumsy. Lacking in skill and grace. I would get really upset on the way to class, panicking about standing out and looking like an idiot next to those small, light, delicate girls and their amazing ability to remember what all those french terms meant.
In years since, whenever anyone asked my I didn't continue with ballet, I would answer that it was because as that point I really had to choose if I was going to focus on music or ballet. That ballet classes would increase in frequency and difficulty once in high school. Which was true and was the main reason i gave up.
But I would always follow up that statement with a negative, self-deprecating "oh, I was never going to be a dancer - a fat little hobbit like me! Can you imgine!". Harharhar.
It's true, I was never going to be a dancer - I had neither the drive, dedication, passion, or talent to go the distance. Being a dancer takes some serious passion. I was never going to be a dancer, but it wasn't because I was fat or clumsy.
One of my favourite lines from Rules of Attraction by Brett Easton Ellis is "How time distorts things". Those years doing ballet, feeling self-concious and inadequate - too big, too useless - really defined the remainder of my teen years.(which I also spent feeling too fat, too useless). I was never teased, just to be clear, this was all from me.
I just watched one of those videos. I do not stand out. I am the same size as most of the girls in my class. There is very little difference between my performance and those of my classmates - I am just as light on my feet, just as graceful. There are a couple of girls who stand out , and I can tell you that they did go on to become successful dancers. But the rest of us? we are lovely, delicate little flowergirls.
How time distorts things.
Photo from here