So that’s me, in my new pointe shoes. Pretty exciting, isn’t it? Well, maybe it isn’t as exciting for you as it is for me. You see, I have wanted to be a dancer since I can remember. Maybe since age 7. Big deal, you say? Isn’t that what many little girls want at some point, you might be thinking? Perhaps. But you could change the word “dancer”, and fill in any number of dreams that a person might have. I wasn’t supported in following this particular dream. For reasons that stemmed out of their perspectives and their love for me, the people in my life that would have been in the position to help me pursue this goal of mine were not of the mind to do so. So here I am, at my age (mid-life, a-hem), with my first pair of pointe shoes.
I share this because I think that others might be able to relate. You think you can’t do something — especially if it relates to your physical condition — and so you wipe it off the slate of possibilities. Let me tell you, I was not in the shape necessary to put these puppies on 3 months ago. No joke. In December, I received a huge gift of free unlimited dance classes for the entire month in exchange for being a part of a dance troupe that performed that month. I promptly scheduled as many of these as I could fit in and shoved all of my limiting beliefs (I’m not the right body type — too short, to stout, toes aren’t in the ideal formation, I don’t have time, I have a kid at home, I have a husband at home, I’ll have to wake up early, I’ll have to walk 5 miles round-trip to get to the studio, etc., etc., etc.) out the window. While I could still hear the racket they were making lying on the ground outside said window, I put my headphones on and drowned them out with motivation and determination. AND YOU CAN DO THIS TOO.
There is nothing special about me. Not in the general sense, that is. Yes, I am lucky that I have legs. Yes, I am lucky that I am able to move. And certainly there are others who cannot say this. However, among those of us who are fortunate enough to have so many of the privileges that we in fact have, I am not any more able to accomplish something like this than anyone else is. I worked my behind off, and surrounded myself with a supportive community of people who wanted to see me succeed. There was my awesome personal trainer who helped me — virtually, from across the country, no less — with short, manageable strength workouts, easy recipes, and just the right amount of kick-me-in-the-hiney-when-I-needed-it-ness. There was my husband, who sat down with me every single week to juggle his class schedule, his meeting schedule, our daughter’s needs, and my dance classes to figure out how to make this work. There was my daughter, who agreed to accompany me to class and busy herself quietly in the studio lobby when Daddy couldn’t stay home with her. And there were a goodly number of long-distance friends (I just moved to Berkeley, so my local friend list is a wee bit short!) who never once said, “Are you crazy? You’re too old for this!”. There were also classmates who lifted me up and helped boost my morale, teachers who helped with corrections and who were willing to stay late after class for all of my numerous questions, and other people I’m sure I’m forgetting. Were there naysayers? Sure. Some were quieter than others. But I rose above, and decided to kindly move away from those who were negative and unsupportive. And one of these people was a family member, so trust me, this wasn’t easy.
It’s taken me 25 years to finally get the nerve up to pursue this dream, but I did it, and here I am. What’s your dream? Do you need support? I’m here for that. I can help you make a plan and move forward with it. And I have a number of other support folks I can refer you to if you want even more help. Don’t let the negative thoughts stand in the way. We only get one chance with these bodies we’re currently in. Let’s use them in ways that make us happy. 🙂
<And just in case you wanted proof that those above feet are actually mine….>