Hey Gentle Reader, help me out here:
You know my time on pointe was cut stupid short by a non-pointe-related ballet-class injury, and then the class disbanded while I was recovering. Not Cool, Ballet Classmates Who Let The Class Fall Apart Without Me! Not Cool!
But anyway: received this email recently and got really fired-up by the writer’s positive attitude and strong athletic background. I think she can do anything, like, to the Nutcracker, Infinity, and Beyond! I asked if I could share her email with you in hopes of getting some more feedback from people who maybe got a little further with pointe than I have been able to so far. If you feel inspired, Gentle Reader, here’s the email, chime right in.
Hello, I am a 33 year old wife of 9 years (15 years with my husband – I know; he is my soul mate), mother of 2 and an attorney. I started taking ballet with my former nanny and current BFF last November. I always wanted to take ballet, but never had the courage, the means or the time to do so until recently. In March of this year… something CLICKED. I had a terrible lesson, and I was so frustrated. I realized the reason why is because I didn’t practice. That night I practiced after my regular class for an hour, then the next day I watched YouTube videos and thought, “what the hell, why can’t I do this too?! It is no different than training for the marathon I ran several years ago, weight training and tennis I played every year. Why is ballet any different?!” I decided right then and there to start taking it very seriously. I started practicing every day. I was always an athlete, but never thought I could dance…Well, I was bound and determined to prove myself wrong. I sought out and found a teacher that not only is willing to take the time to teach me ballet, but also has put me on pointe. Yes, I know that sounds nuts. Trust me – I thought it was nuts too. However, I have learned from much life experience that when someone that you respect tells you that you “can” and “should” – you DO what they tell you. The decision was not without much opposition – my best friend, the very person that encouraged me to try ballet, told me (in so many words) that I was out of my league and going to fail. I almost believed her – but I pushed forward. Then, 6 weeks into my training, I participated in a basic pointe routine at my FIRST ballet recital. I could not believe what was happening – it was so surreal. What was more surprising was the positive feed back I was receiving from not only my teacher, but my fellow students. Sure, they are half my age (gag), but I do rely on them for support. I mean, technically, they have been doing this ballet thing longer than I have. So, I should highly regard their opinion, right? Well, everything is going well. However, I still have this inner voice that is saying “stop fantasizing; you are dreaming the impossible dream. No one in their 30′s can get good in ballet. It doesn’t matter that you do not want to go pro; you are too old, too inexperienced and OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE.” I hate that this inner demon still lingers. I have proven to myself that I can do this. I go the extra mile every day – I stretch for at least a half hour, practice technique for an hour and practice pointe for 20 – 30 minutes EVERY DAY. I have seen improvements in many areas. I am stronger than most of my fellow students, which is what drove my teacher to put me on pointe in the first place. However, it still seems like I am living in some kind of dream. I have no one to talk to about this. I don’t know anyone who has attempted to accomplish this feat as well. I have looked all over the Internet – women either don’t talk about it or it doesn’t happen. I refuse to believe that in the history of man, there is no woman who started ballet and pointe in their 30′s and actually got good. So, here is my dilemma – am I truly out of my league? Am I an anomaly or is there someone out there who has been through all of this and actually accomplished something in ballet and has reported it? For some reason, I am seeking this reassurance. Maybe because I feel like some kind of freak – not that ballet is freakish. I just think it is a goal that only young folk strive to achieve; not women who are married, have children and a high pace career seek to achieve. Well, I know that I am not the norm when it comes to these things. I was unable to fulfill these kind of dreams when I was young (that is a WHOLE other email altogether), so now that I can pursue it, I want to try. I refuse to believe that my peak was in my teens or 20′s. I mean, really?! In my teens I was a prisoner of my parents (metaphorically, obviously), in my 20′s I was a prisoner of my studies. Now that I am financially sound and have secured a strong family, I can FINALLY focus on myself…at least a little. So – back to my point(e) [Ha - play on words] I need some support. I need a response from you or someone who knows, who has seen or has been there. I want to know what is possible. Can I perform a piece from the Nutcracker or am I just fooling myself….I would appreciate any feedback at this point?