Adult ballet. What a crazy journey. What a wonderful, and soulfully crazy, journey!
It’s funny. When I started ballet, it was to drag my arse out of the big black murky hole of depression. Today, I still do ballet to keep that depression away. But I have also realised, while travelling my ballet journey, that ballet is actually like the piece of my soul’s puzzle that was missing until now.
At the risk of going all Jerry Maguire on you, it completes me.
Ballet completes me.
Those things are the reasons I do ballet now. And they are the reason I have so much drive to progress — because I want to see how much more freedom this divine dance can bring me.
But is this dream a difficult one to understand?
For a long time, not many people in my real life knew what I was doing. It was only my blogging friends who knew about my crazy ballet journey — and they reciprocated it with excited glee because they too were travelling the adult ballet journey. They got me. They got and revelled in the craziness.
Then over time, slowly, more and more people in my real life discovered what I was doing. Mostly via word of mouth or facebook. And I usually either got open enthusiasm or silence. And I appreciate both of those responses. I was good with that.
But I have started to run across a different response to my journey recently. I always knew there would be people out there who thought what I was doing was silly, or stupid, or ridiculous and that not everyone has the capacity or desire to understand WHY I would bother with such out there aspirations. But I hadn’t physically faced these people until recently.
And I didn’t like it when I was.
It was the lingering, prodding questions that they didn’t really want answers for and the vague look on their faces as I tried to share my point of view. And the lack of ability to see it positively.
These questions are going to come up more and more as ballet is becoming a bigger part of my life. This is why I have been thinking about it more.
I would have thought that it was pretty easy to understand someone taking up an activity to keep depression away. But it doesn’t seem to be easy for everyone. Which confused me at first…
And that’s where we come back to our crazy adult ballet journey.
If I had taken up tennis to beat depression, no-one would bat an eyelid. Hell, I could even be travelling to amateur tennis comps all over the world as part of my journey and people would just cheer me on because they think: ‘Tennis, oh yeah, that’s a normal sport and a good fitness hobby to take up, that makes sense’.
But you take up ballet, and OMG, you’re a bit different. And if we go the whole hog and take up ballet, on our own, in the bush — all of a sudden it’s like, HOLD THE PHONE! There must be some connection that’s come loose in your brain!
It’s ballet. That’s what it is. That’s what makes me so damn bizarro! I do ballet (on-my-own-in-the-bush).
During these occurrences lately, I was finding it frustrating to feel like I was taking on other people’s judgement of me. Like I SHOULD take it on. It’s not how I consciously think, but I found myself in the moment just feeling that way. Like I owed these people an explanation as to why I do what I do. Like it was my job to help them understand it.
Ugh. No. Not my job. Not my problem.
So now, I have arrived at the conclusion, that the next time someone like this asks me why I am on my ballet journey I am going to answer: “Because it’s what I want do.”
And if they persist, I will add:
“And because if, in my old age, when I have arrived at that place where I am recliner-bound and have cycled back around to needing to urinate into nappies, and eat a soft-food-only diet, I sit there whiling away the hours between custard breakfast and mashed pee lunch, and it dawns on me that I didn’t do what I wanted to do, that I lived an entire life, without pursuing what I love … I will want to hang myself. But I’ll be too fucking old and too sore to tie the knot, so I’ll just sit there in my rotting, stenching, life-half-lived misery. And I DO NOT WANT that.”
Okay, okay, so I might not say exactly that. But I will be thinking it. 😉
I know that taking adult ballet classes is different to my version, and I think the extra parts of my version (bush, own, flying for lesson) are what make it seem even more bizarre to people. But I am interested to hear if any of you, my gorgeous friends and readers, run into these sorts of negative attitudes about your dancing? If so, how did you handle it?
To end, some pics from ballet this week…