There are a few things I want to talk about.
Firstly: Recently, I have noticed that my reaction to other bloggers’ accounts of how they progressed in ballet, ‘felt like flying’, ‘just let go and danced’ etc. was one of annoyance and jealousy. Somehow, I want to be the only one who loves ballet so much, who feels a deep connection and reacts with emotion to music and movement. I want to be the best, the most dedicated and inspired adult ballet student in the whole world. That’s silly, but it is how I reacted. I’m actually jealous of others who have the same experience. Quite absurd. As if it would take something away from my own joy if others share it! I should be glad for them, but I’m not. I dislike this about me.
I’m sure others do, too. But I MUST be honest. No more trying to seem who I am not.
Secondly: I have been reading Tolkien again. The Elves fascinate me most, and I wish there was more written about them. Some of them feel like people to me and I long to know more about them. Sadly, I feel ashamed to admit this. I don’t want to be seen as a nerd or Tolkien fan, really, especially now that there are new films and new fans all around. And liking the Elves could so easily be misunderstood as liking the ‘Film Elves’ with their stupid ears and behavior. That’s why I never speak about Tolkien, even if the stories are often on my mind. This weekend, I took out the History of Middle-Earth again and read about customs of marriage and rebirth among the Noldor. I wish we had hundreds of years to live and a body that hardly aged! So many things are lost to us with our brief youth and short lives, things like strength and speed for dancing, or beauty. And time seems to run faster and faster every day.
Thirdly (this has several aspects): I have been taking two ballet classes back to back on Mondays and Tuesdays for a few months now. Franca on Monday and Mandy on Tuesday. That makes it seven to eight classes per week now… Mandy even lets us attend the basic class after the Tuesday class for free. That is a 105 minute class, followed by a short break and another 90 minutes. It lasts until ten o’clock and I regularly reach the end of my strength on Tuesdays, especially now that I do most jumps. In a way it makes me feel good and proud of myself for working as hard as I can. It also made me realize that I am now quite fit! A few people get very out of breath or can’t lift their legs anymore, but that doesn’t happen to me. I eventually lose the strength to do relevé or push off the floor properly, though. But even after a hard Franca barre, I don’t feel completely spent anymore like I used to, or the strength comes back quickly after strenuous exercises. I only realized this recently, but it made me very happy.
When I was finally in bed last Tuesday, I couldn’t sleep because from the shoulders down, my whole body ached with a mixture of soreness from the day before and soreness from that day’s classes. Hips, feet, thighs, back, flanks. In a fit of motivation, I had done Pilates core exercises on Monday before class, too. Wednesdays are hardest because the soreness and tiredness of the last few days usually catch up with me by then. After that it gets easier. But I’m not complaining. I choose to do this and deep down, I love even the pain and weariness.
But last Tuesday in the middle of the second class, I had a ‘moment’. Mandy used a beautiful CD by Alla Reznik. She plays in a way that just inspires me to move. The exercises were very slow, which makes them difficult. But the music just carried me through the fondus or whatever it was that seemed so hard. And in the middle of my tiredness and pain I felt that I could continue to dance for hours. Music would take the place of my will and give me strength when my body had nothing left. There was a powerful certainty to that thought and it left me a little breathless. ‘I never want to stop’, I knew.
Fourthly: I took two classes yesterday to avoid being at home and wanting to overeat. I had my cheat meal when I got home, but couldn’t really enjoy it. The first few bites were wonderful: Finally, eating what I had longed for all week. Then came the first signs of fullness, but I continued. After all, the food was there and I had this one chance to eat it. But it doesn’t taste as good when you’re not hungry, and worrying ‘will I be able to eat it all?’ while you eat doesn’t make it better. And then, when I’m really full, there is immediate regret. It is hardly ever worth it. And yet I can’t resist, the tension is too strong. So I thought: ‘ok, that’s done. And tomorrow, everything will be back to normal.’ I had a good morning, reading Tolkien and eating porridge. Then class with the Gorgeous French Teacher. And then on the way home, an impulse to visit the bakery. I debated. I lost. At home I debated again and almost won. ‘I want to be thin. I want to improve in ballet. I want to look beautiful. I want to feel free and good about myself. I want to eat bread and butter.’ I ended up eating, too much, but not all the things I’d bought. It was a partial failure. Or a partial success, if you want to be positive.
Now the weekend is almost over. I’m looking forward to sleeping and dreaming tonight, to ballet classes and being too busy to eat. I am determined to publish this post.