There have been many golden days lately, with a soul-stirring dry wind and high blue skies. The nights are clear and starry with Vega and Cygnus flying high above when I come home at night. There are still crickets chirping, but the air smells of autumn and there is mist in the mornings. The leaves are beginning to fall. It hasn’t made me feel melancholy yet. I rather feel like I did two years ago, full of energy and expectation. I have discovered a new swing down by the lake in an ugly playground, but the chains are very long and allow you to swing gloriously high (I got blisters on my hands again). Last week, I went there with June and we had a lovely time, even though it was already dark. We were swinging and later lying in a hammock, looking up at the stars peeking through the clouds and talking. A group of teenagers was there, too, and they played loud music to my great delight (because I didn’t want to use the earphones when I was with June, which would have been rude. But swinging without music is only half as nice). I was once again full of life and passion. Twice, I went to AS and used the cross trainer on the gallery during the huge exercise class down in the gymnasium. They had very loud music. I could feel the energy of all those people moving in unison, it was vibrant, palpable. I got high on music and motion and the feeling of my own infinite energy and passion. How could I ever think that moving was unpleasant and sit for hours hunched over some pointless craft? What a fundamental change.
On Tuesday, we had a staff outing. School and staff outings used to be things I dreaded. Walking in a group and feeling my stamina waning while I started to lag behind. Feeling mortified sitting in buses or trains, stiff and uncomfortable, taking up half of my neighbour’s seat. Not being able to do activities or making a fool of myself attempting them. Having to drive or stay behind while the others hiked. Horrible, horrible memories of feeling excluded and ashamed. But not anymore. This time, I was among the foremost people walking up a steep hill, hardly out of breath, thinking I would love to walk faster. Sitting relaxedly on my own half of the seat during the train journey. Taking part in every activity, lying in the grass, talking, feeling like a normal person, part of the group. It was lovely. My face was aching because I was smiling so much. I was so happy. The contrast between how it used to be and how it is now makes it even sweeter.
It finally happened on Saturday: I was seen and even spoken to by a man. I was on the Sun Mountain, swinging, it was just after sunset. Three young men came up to the deserted playground. One of them walked past me and said something I didn’t hear (earplugs), so I took one out and he repeated his question. I don’t remember exactly what he said. Something like: ‘Take care to hold on to the chains. Shall I push you? (No thanks, I can do it myself, I said). You could almost let go and land down in the lake’ (It would be a little far, I said). Then he said: ‘It looks cute’. Or maybe pretty is the better translation. Something in between. I had to grin and thanked him and put the earplug back. He walked back to his friends and they loitered about for a few minutes, looking down over the city, smoking. They were young, all dressed in tracksuit bottoms. The one who spoke to me had a beard and was quite a bit overweight. He looked very young. There was no attraction, but I was feeling very flattered. The first normal, young man to ever chat me up a bit. Maybe he thought I was similar to him, weight-wise, I don’t know. I did look and feel pretty though, with my hair freshly washed and loosely pinned up and wearing a blouse and cardigan with flowing parts that fluttered as I flew through the air. ‘Finally’, I thought. Another step in the direction I want to go.
I have noticed, as the weeks go by and the topic of relationships keeps occupying my mind, that the more I think about it, the more worries and doubts appear. I have no idea how to behave with somebody I feel attracted to. The impulse is to hide it and run away and talk myself out of it, as I have always done. The idea of showing my interest and being seen, understood and turned down is utterly horrifying. The idea of not being turned down is overwhelming. But I just know that I want this now. I’m trying to focus on the positive aspects, on being happy alone, and trust that as I relax and gain confidence, it will work one day. There is no hurry.
Last night, I dreamed that I was dancing on pointe and not getting over the box. The shoes looked squished up at the tips and Franca kept correcting me and finally took the shoes away. It must be a manifestation of my guilt because I didn’t do any foot exercises all week. They are tedious and painful and I don’t have the discipline. But since I lost no weight this week, there is no hurry. I had extremely strong cravings last weekend and ended up eating over 5000 calories on Sunday. It took me five days to get the weight back down and the cravings are still there. It worries and scares me. I don’t want to go back to having to fight, thinking about food all the time, feeling deprived, fearing hunger, not trusting myself. No, no, no! I want my mind free to think and feel, I want to keep getting thinner and seeing new bones and muscles appear, fitting into smaller clothes, getting higher up on relevé and in jumps, getting higher extensions, getting stable, solid pirouettes. (Front développé in centre last night was above 90 degrees, by the way). I want to be able to like my thighs in more positions than a croisé lunge.
Dinah and I still haven’t been in contact. She was away on holiday for a few days and during that week I went home more often and stayed longer. Now I miss my family even more. I want to be part of it again, go home spontaneously for a short visit, talk for hours with my sisters sitting around the kitchen table, the way we used to. A part of me has changed so incredibly much. Another part is still the same. I worry how Dinah will react to my weight loss. The last time she saw me, I weighed 100 kg. It’s a huge difference. I imagine she will be shocked and I dread the meeting as much as I long for it. The more I lose, the more I worry about this. I have regular dreams where we meet and her reaction ranges from rejection to indifference. Mine is always insecurity.