The summer I was 12, I attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet summer school. Basically, it was a 5 week audition. I worked my ass off. I’d been dancing since I could walk and I’d never been so sore in my entire life. I loved it and I hated it. I was so exhausted I would go to my room at lunch, listen to Van Halen’s 1984 on my walkman and fall asleep.
My friend Carol, who I had been dancing with for a few years, went too. They accepted her into the full time school that fall. They didn’t want me. I was already tall and have my father’s build (muscular and thin but never skinny). I remember thinking while I was there that I didn’t want to get into the school. I didn’t want to leave my family, my dogs, my friends. I wanted to be a normal kid with a normal life. I don’t know if that was my way of protecting myself, or if I was creating my own destiny by thinking those thoughts. I do believe that not getting asked into the school saved me from an eating disorder. Small mercies.
Carol was there for a couple of years I think. Then she hit puberty and her body changed and things just weren’t the same for her after that. I ran into her once at a high school dance. Funny how you can spend so much time with a person and then they vanish from your life.
I often think about that whole “normal life” desire. I feel like there are two of me who have been waging battle internally for most of my life. The one who just wants a simple life of love and family and the one who wants to be a fucking rockstar. I used to joke that being a Pisces, I was two fish swimming in opposite directions so I never got anywhere.
Society – the media – doesn’t tend to give us many shiny examples of people who are successful and happy. I grew up thinking the two were mutually exclusive. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve spent so much time convinced I’m a failure – it’s the only path to happiness. I struggle – daily – with the balance between raising a child the best way I know how, holding on to a marriage so that we are more than just co-parents, and wanting to change the world. Baby steps can be so frustrating. Slowly, slowly I am learning to enjoy the journey instead of beating myself up for not being there, wherever there is. Maybe there is no “normal”. There’s just life.