So, I am sitting at my desk with a candle burning, outside there is this special spring twilight (though it’s rainy) and I want to write. It feels as if I had not written for weeks. So many things have been going through my head, ideas, sentences, emotions. I don’t know where to start…
Things are moving fast. My future landlady wrote, saying that if everything went as expected, I could get the keys to the flat next Saturday. Moving day will probably be Tuesday. That’s really soon! So, this is my last weekend at home. My last week at home. Maybe I have just taken my last bath at home. It feels very unreal, somehow. And painful. I’m not going to miss my family that much, because we haven’t seen much of each other for weeks anyway, and I can always visit. But I get very attached to places, sights, sounds, smells, atmospheres. Seriously, I grow roots in a hotel room after one night. So to move out of this apartment where I have lived for over 27 years feels… weird. Moving out of this room with my memories, good and bad, and my dreams and thoughts still somewhere in its atmosphere is very painful. I hope to make a new, similar room in my new flat, and a new beginning can be freeing, but still: it feels like a loss of a part of myself. Mother will make the room into her office once I am gone, with a reading nook and guest bed. It will never be what it was again: a girl’s and young woman’s room, with all that that entails.
Rooms are strange, when you think about it. They mean much to me. I’m going to make my new room beautiful, hopefully harmonic and calm and cosy, with some space to live and breathe and dance and think. There has to be an armchair or chaise longue by the window. And bookshelves. And a barre. I will hang up my favourite picture, a print of white lilies on a dark blue background. I found it in F the first time we were there, and it has always meant a lot to me. I don’t know why, really. (Oh, I need to write about F some time soon, while this spring mood lasts…)Mandy wants to give me an armchair that belonged to her dead mother. This is so nice of her. I just hope it is comfortable. I have some visions about the finished room, but I first need to see it empty.
I’m actually thinking about staying in my new flat for a few days before the real moving day. Just take a small mattress and some clothes and food and then lock the door and just be… In my own place. Alone. And just… give myself time. Get used to it. Get a feeling for the space, maybe imagine ways to furnish, observe the light and atmosphere. I sort of did this in Italy this summer, when I had my own little holiday apartment. I just locked the doors and lay on my bed, cooked myself something when I was hungry, read ‘A wrinkle in Time’ and observed the thunderstorm outside. I had no obligations, no sense of passing time. I just drifted through the day. It was oddly peaceful.
I really AM in a strange mood. And I’ve been like this for the past few weeks. I almost cried in ballet class TWICE last week. Once, because I had dared to try and show some emotion during a waltz combination. I wasn’t doing it fully, only letting go a little. Mandy had practically demanded it, and we were only a few people. Afterwards, I felt so naked and open and vulnerable, and embarrassed, that I really had to fight to hold back my tears. Did Mandy see what I tried to show, or was it just horrible? I FELT the beauty of the music and the movement, but I knew I wasn’t doing it justice by far, struggling with the speed and changes of direction. I’m sure I looked horrible, and for me it is unbearable to try and express beauty or joy and failing at it. I’d rather be stiff and boring. The second time was yesterday. There were only two students, June and myself. June is really nice, and we once had a long talk where I basically told her what I just wrote, about feeling vulnerable and naked when I dance. She seems to take me seriously with my ambitions, despite my age and weight. June is herself very ambitious, following a ‘professional’ dance course and taking class every night with Mandy. She’s good at turns, especially on the diagonal, and that is what we were doing last night. We were in a new studio with a more sticky floor, and I was feeling a little off anyway, so my piqués were really bad. Especially to the right. After three or four, I lost my spot and my axis and had to stop and begin again. I was much too slow. HOW do people move so fast? I just can’t! So June was whirling through the diagonal and I was… whatever-ing after her. Then Mandy had the great idea to have us turn en manège. That didn’t work, either. And then double piqués. I have never done double ANYTHING, and was having trouble getting around once, so I didn’t attempt doubles. But I still almost fell. I was bad, I was frustrated, I was embarrassed, I was angry at myself for making a fool of myself and I was jealous of June (who has only been dancing for two years). So again, I had to fight back tears. Mandy made a remark that it seemed like I wanted to give up, and I had to answer, saying that I was frustrated and getting worse all the time, and I think my voice kind of broke, which made it even more embarrassing. But I didn’t give up! I tried again (and failed again).
Mandy said that I’m such a perfectionist, that I’m always focused on the negative and don’t hear the praise. And it’s true. But she praises GPS, for God’s sake! So I know that a praise doesn’t mean it was really good. It just means it was good for that particular person. I can often tell when I make mistakes, even small ones. If Mandy praises me or the whole class afterwards, I know it wasn’t truly good. I could have done better. That’s really not a very good way to stay motivated, is it? But I’m working on it. I’m trying to be more positive. I’m trying to remember, after a bad class, what Belinda told me in October and again last week: You have a lot of talent. There is a dancer inside you waiting to come out. You are very musical. Still, on Thursday, I got so low I honestly considered quitting. But right afterwards, I heard a snatch of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights somewhere, and suddenly knew that I just couldn’t stop. Music does something to me, and I just HAVE to dance. Even if I was the worst dancer in the world, I’d still do it. I can’t NOT do it. It’s only this contrast between what I feel inside and what I look like that just tears me apart sometimes. Last night, June and Mandy were trying to cheer me up after class. And then when we said goodbye, June – it was raining and I was holding my umbrella over her – kissed me on both cheeks and hugged me for a second. I couldn’t return it because I had no free arm, but it was so sweet of her. You know how sometimes it’s kindness that sort of breaks you when adversity doesn’t? Well, it broke me. I turned away and couldn’t stop crying all the way to the bus station. I must really be lonely if such a small thing affects me like this.
I am really lonely.