It’s strange to come to this point in my life. This point where I have become actively aware of ballet’s predominance in my brain. Yes, it’s always been a huge part of my life, driving (and at times dragging) myself to ballet class every day after school, practicing until well into the evening and falling asleep with a sore body- muscles, bones, tendons- everything hurt. But it wasn’t until this past year that this aching carried itself from my body up to my mind. It dug deep into my brain each night, racking my nerves, pulling on my emotions and burying itself into my soul. It started with my replaying of the day’s rehearsals and corrections in my head as I settled down to sleep…”shoulders down, chest out”, “articulate the feet”, “JUMP”…this sort of thing. Then it burrowed in deeper, more emotionally. I began contemplating each movement and decision I had made that day. Each class. Each rehearsal. Each moment in time meant something. Ballet is precise, and everything you do is based on a decision. A decision to push yourself to use your body in a way that was never intended or deemed healthy. To ignore the pain and self-depreciation and doubt and just do it. To just dance. To dare to enjoy it. And to be the best that you can be. The latter, however, is never a reality. In ballet, there is always room for improvement. Refusing to accept your current skill level is what makes a truly passionate artist.
I first began to really feel the confirmation of ballet’s mind-warping-take-over when I realized my dreams had been invaded. It was not the normal “ballet dream”- I had had those before….Oh no, everyone is injured all at once. I’m dancing the entire Nutcracker by myself and surprisingly knowing every step, somehow I’m pulling it off…No, these were realistic, rewarding, dangerously addictive dreams in which I was often the best version of myself. I reached new heights each night as my dreamstate allowed my brain to be free of the physical pain that wracked my body as I slept, leaving me feeling spritely and hungry for movement. Hungry for improvement. Starving for challenge. In my dreams, I was mature and on a mission. I fed my soul with dreams of my own success. In this way I could see myself stomping down barriers and progressing- no- excelling. Somehow, like this, I could push one step past visualizing my goals and really feel them. My mind was actively and realistically playing out before me all of the effects and emotions that came with such a personal success as fulfilling life long dreams. It was the closest thing to experiencing them…and all I had to do was climb into bed and close my eyes.
The farther I am from working full-time, the harder it is to summon this “dream me”, which at this point feels a bit like unexpectedly bumping into an old acquaintance at the bank. But not the kind of acquaintance whose visiting requires stale small talk, but a familiar, energetic acquaintance in the most wonderfully beautiful bank I’ve ever visited.
Have you ever met your dream fantasy future?