What Happened

How to begin this post… I need to write about the last few weeks. It’s going to be all about me, and it’s complicated.

The bare facts: I took class every day, sometimes twice a day, during my two week break over Christmas. Two rest days in between somewhere. I lost three kilos/over six pounds. I was as strong and light as never before. Then I got a cold, during which I danced. Then work started again, and I somehow couldn’t face it. I became ill again, stayed home the whole week. During that week, I sank into a sort of despair. Then I went to work for a few days, again becoming ill and missing the next few days. Now I’m back at work, back in class, back in life. I missed over two weeks of classes. I feel as if I lost my strength and technique. I lost confidence. I lost no weight.

This despair or stupor is known to me. Years ago, I suffered it at almost every beginning of the semester. But this time it came wholly unexpected. It was frightening, because I had thought I’d risen above it and would never experience it again. I felt powerless in its grasp. I felt miserable, small and weak. I couldn’t face going out, working, speaking to people, dancing, being alone in my room, thinking, checking websites. All I could do was sit in my father’s armchair and watch slow old films, reread old books and watch the birds in the trees. That was the only thing that comforted me. I had no desire to dance, to move or express myself. I had no joy, no passion. The best available emotion was solace. My goals in dance, my weight loss didn’t interest me at all anymore. Music would hurt me, I knew, so I avoided it. My family no longer annoyed me, their untidy rooms and little annoying habits even held a kind of comfort. I ate a lot. Not in an ‘I’m-punishing-myself’ sort of way, but because it was a comfort. I ate lots of white bread, pudding, chocolate, sweets. I did fear to gain weight, so I counted everything and went on weighing myself every morning to keep some sort of discipline. It was shocking. Several days, I ate over 3000 calories. It’s a miracle I didn’t gain weight. Maybe I lost muscle and gained fat. That’s probably it.

What I did do was go to my appointments with Mrs. H. She seemed confident that this strange condition was temporary. She said I was much more ‘present’ in my despair than in my everyday mood. I know why: I didn’t care what anybody was thinking of me anymore. I was authentic, if miserable. The worst of the pain left me after that talk. It got better about a week later, when I noticed myself thinking of ballet in a positive light again. A few days after that, television started to become boring. The prospect of next week, which I had been waiting for all year, seemed promising again. In my darkest days I’d been thinking of not going at all, even though I had already payed for the hotel. (More on that later.)

Today, I went to see Mrs. H again. We talked about this period of depression. Here is what I have decided: To accept that I cannot always be motivated, disciplined and full of energy. To listen to my emotions and accept them as parts of me, even if they don’t always match the way I like to see myself.

For so long, I had been the passionate dancer, the dedicated thin-woman-to-be, the joyously expressive, driven person. Dancing, blogging, tweeting parts of myself out into the world. I LIKED that person I thought I had become. I thought I liked myself, finally. But a few colds, a small bout of despair and listlessness, and my self-image lay shattered around me. I wasn’t passionate anymore, I wasn’t dedicated anymore, I was weak and vulnerable and ugly and stupid. Who is the real me? Maybe the real me is all of those: the passion and beauty and energy, and also the despair and pain and sloth. Maybe I don’t need to be all positive to be allowed to love myself. I could be like… a garden, with sunny paths and beautiful roses as well as darkness under trees and black pools. Because I am both light and dark, both joy and despair, and I want to love the WHOLE me. I realise this isn’t very ‘Law of Attraction’.  But to me the dark moments make the golden ones more poignant, and after it is past even darkness seems sweet in retrospect. Not fear, but deep sadness. I don’t like it while it lasts, though.

There is still a long way to go. Just like in ballet, actually. Whenever I think I’ve made progress, a new and harder lesson comes along. This one was painful. I lost some of the progress I had made on my outside. I hope I gained something on the inside.

About annalienor

Lover of beauty, adult ballet student, deliberate creator wannabe.
This entry was posted in Ballet, Family, Health, Law of Attraction, Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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