Yeah. . . So I actually did ballet, that other post wasn’t a joke.
Yet another pre-write for that piece, but this one had a bit more structure. We had to describe a “transformed object,” beginning the piece with “I think of it with wonder now. . .”
Typically I did not use that for my first line.
I think of them without wonder now, their satin is no longer a shiny cream and the toes are ripped and soft. The ribbons are unraveling, their size is far too small and the wonder of it is, that once they were the object of my pride and now, they’re just that: objects.
I suppose they have some sentimental value and that is why I’ve kept them so long, but to anyone else it probably seems insane—not to mention slightly unhygienic—to keep a ratty old pair of shoes so long. Even the fact that they are pointe shoes makes a difference to only a few and when I say I’m not talking about the pair the famous lead of ABT’s Romeo and Juliet—what’shername—signed, even those few understanding nods disappear. The pointe shoes I speak of were my first ones. I was barely nine years old (so it’s a wonder I still have ankles) when I got my pointe certificate (signed by all four of my teachers and Marat) and was fitted for my first pair of Russian Pointes. It took two hours.
I was so proud of myself.
Even now, it’s hard to remember a time where I’ve been that proud of an achievement. I was nine years old and getting my point shoes when the average (and suggested) age was twelve and all my friends were still stuck in gloomy old flats. My pride was not even extinguished by the pain that came with wearing the satin-covered torture-devices for the first time. Or the time after that. Or the time after that. Or the time after that.
Dancers all complain about their shoes. About the blisters they give us. The pain of breaking them in. The pointe solution the more dedicated of us destroy our feet with. The sheer agony of learning to wear them. The dulled-pain that is a constant reminder you are essentially wearing blocks of wood on your feet. The amount of money they cost. The number we have to buy. It goes on and on. Trust me.
But no matter what we say, we all secretly love our pointe shoes. Not our flat shoes: those anyone can have. But our pointe shoes. The slow-torture we masochists worked so hard to attain.
For the first year of having my pointe shoes, I carried them everywhere and mentioned them to everyone. I took them on vacation and pretended to practice in my room just so I could show off to my cousins. I played with them on airplanes, folding and refolding their ribbons and then just staring at them, hoping someone walking down the aisle would notice that I had pointe shoes. No one ever did.
And if you’re wondering where that beautiful opening line comes from, it’s the first line of the mucus poem.