Here’s my contribution to this week’s Picture it & Write Enjoy:
My gloves, my pearls… My ballerina shoes. I left them all behind as I lead myself away from the life I had had to endure.
Indeed, it was over…
“Higher! Come on, Catherine…”
“You should be more graceful than that…”
“Show them that you are the best…”
These were the words that I kept hearing every day, since I was able to stand up on my own. I was very young and I agreed when my parents signed me up for ballet dancing. I was a girl after all, I should love to dance and be gracious and wear pink. I should love this path that has been premeditated for me before I was even born…
But I did not.
The moment I put on these little pink shoes, I realised that this was not me. It could not be. I would always feel heavy and clumsy at every move and my teacher would scold me. But then, being ignorant, I thought that I was the one to be blamed, thus I tried harder, because I just loved to see my parents smile.
Yet, when I grew up, I discovered something.
I hated ballet dancing. I hated my teacher and dancing mates. I hated every Saturday night. But I smiled and went. I danced and improved. I won some prizes.
I was believed to be the best dancer of my region and soon I was told that my grandmother and my mother were also among the best epic dancers of the century. I was merely to follow. It made me proud at some point, but that was before I entered high school.
Let me say it here, I was an intellectual. Raised in a highly respected family, I was plainly born to be successful at everything. In matters of brain, books and feet that is.
On the other hand, I have always felt that something was wrong with me. As if I didn’t belong to anything around me. I enjoyed watching football matches between the teams at group. My friends would tease me about falling in love with one of those guys. But in fact, I was simply in pure admiration. Their moves and techniques were so different from what I was taught: theirs were strong, harsh and firm, while mine had to be grace incarnated, frail and soft.
I wanted to be strong. I was sick of being the little ballet dancer.
But I was a girl.
People might say that I’ve never actually fallen in love, and that might be true, but I’m not that sure. I’ve never shown my love interests outwardly; I had no idea how to do it anyway, I had never been taught.
Guys would eventually fall in love with me, since even at sixteen, it would be my mother who would choose my dress code for the day, and I would always appear rich and girly. My hair was kept long despite the intolerable heat and my eyes bombarded with unnecessary colours.
I was only a puppet in a show.
That was why running away, or mostly walking, was the best choice for me. That was why I am currently walking in the woods, away from my expensive country house, away from all those conventions…
Let the ballerina shoes stay behind.
Now I could think by myself, I could decide my path, I was in control.
Today I am eighteen. And that’s the gift I have offered to myself. Freedom.
Freedom of movement, of expression, of opinions and thoughts…
As I said, I don’t know if I’ve ever known this feeling, but as my mind started to look back on its own…
There was a girl, sitting in front of me. Her name was Kate.
We have never talked to each other. I’ve never dared to make the first step and she seemed not to notice me. Or maybe she hated me, for what I appeared to be during all these years. Our eyes had never met. Yet, I loved the scent of her auburn hair, her sweet smile to her friends, her little brown eyes shining when she was doing a project in front of the class…
Before I was aware of what I was doing, I was following her almost everywhere, keeping a distance, while relishing her presence… I would be with my friends, but then Kate would not be far either. I had this strange obsession for her.
And on one night, I dreamt about the two of us, kissing and holding hands.
I almost went mad after that. My world was swirling… or my mind… I did not want to accept it. I cried and danced and dived in anger and danced again… My world was shattering in front of me. Because I had realised that everything that my parents built up for me was a lie. A terrible lie. I was not what I thought I was.
And one day, I broke.
I cut my hair.
I cannot described how my parents reacted when they saw me in the morning. A horrible experience. Shouts. Cries. Shatters. Threats.
But a few days later, I was transformed back into femininity incarnated. My hair was still short, yet it was chic and elegant. I was thought to be like a mature woman.
And still Kate would not talk to me.
That was not what I had planned, if I had ever planned at all.
Yet the war had already begun.
Thus I tore all my dresses. I started skipping ballet. I was brought to a psychologist. I skipped that as well. I hung out with boys. I left my friends who in fact liked only my belongings and money. I learnt how to play football. I developed my strength.
And every time my parents would interfere and still no sign from Kate and yet so many tears soaking my pillow every night.
How did I come to the idea of running away? Cowardice? Breakdown? No it was more common sense and intelligence. I realised that since I was known to be successful at anything, I could get out of that situation.
Thus I started to work very hard at school. I took some private courses and exams. Fortunately my savings were of a high value… And I got my certificate well in advance. The key to freedom. Independence.
As I walked down the rocky road of the woods, I thought about Kate one last time. I might never see her again; we might never be together like in my dream, but I would be forever grateful to her. I’d like to see her again some time though, maybe after I find work and a place to live. And maybe after…
I smiled as I said it louder again. Yes, that was me. I was not a ballet dancer nor a well-dressed woman. I was a simple girl struggling to find herself, learning to be strong and to accept who she really was in the end…
Now, I will be the girl who will be making her own destiny.
I looked back only once. “Goodbye little shoes.”
An Evil Nymph.
PS: I really didn’t know where I was going with this post. I usually don’t edit and look back for these kind of challenges because I love to see how people react to my first drafts. It’s… interesting! Tell me what you think in the comments below!