Courage

October 6, 2012
On a sunny warm afternoon, a fragile aged woman named Belle wanders into a sunlit path into the woods. She looks up at the trees and watches in adoration at its beauty. She takes in her surroundings and feels a sudden wave of euphoria. At the ripe old age of 90, she takes in everyday as it comes. She often wonders if she’s done all that she’d wanted to do. Or all that she was expected to be.
She had grown up in a time where a woman was no more than a mere possession to be paraded around on a man’s arm. She lived in a wealthy neighborhood; with balls every weekend and tea parties every Monday. She had a certain standard to live up to. Belle’s parents had no intent on her going to college, as it would be no use for all she was to do was to be a wife and have children. Belle dreamt beyond that. She wanted to perform as a ballerina. As a child, away from her parents she’d run to a forest near her house and dance to the singing of the birds. The feeling to dance was visceral to Belle, and she knew it was something she could not live without. She often looked up to her inspiration, Anna Pavlova. She had seen her perform at an opera house she had attended earlier that year with her parents and could not believe how magical the ballet was. How delicate yet strong the ballerinas were, the innate emotions that they had displayed, their pointe shoes ability to make them seem fairy like. Belle was entranced and excitingly asked her mother if someday she too could become one of the fascinations she had seen on the stage.
“What kind of career is that? It is not a real job – where’s the stability in that? The stability that will suit you in this life, is the stability your future husband will provide you” her mother scoffed at her. Feeling defeated, she let down her hopes of ever performing on the stage. Until one day, a ballet academy nearby were having auditions for their upcoming year. She snuck out of her house during the day, telling her parents she’d gone out to run errands and went to the ballet auditions. She didn’t have the right attire or shoes but she had been hoping her simple chemise dress and stockings would suffice.
She walked into the classroom where the auditions were taking place and felt suddenly intimidated by all the ballet dancers there who seemed like they’d been dancing all their life. Belle didn’t have much doubt she could make it, but she had an innate feeling that it was the right thing to do. She did the simple exercises all the students were asked to perform and along with that learned ballet terminology. While executing a plié she had just learned to do, the ballet mistress walked up to her,
“Have you been doing this long, dear child?”
“No, it’s my first time.” Belle said nervously.
“I see potential. But your intelligence in ballet is not up to our caliber.” The ballet mistress replied with disdain.
“I will learn, I promise you.” Bella replied worried.
After that encounter, the ballet mistress knew she was a student the school was looking for. Someone who was eager to do something they wanted, something they love. Belle left her home and the sheltered life she had once had behind her and took up boarding at the academy. Belle’s natural ambition and determination helped her hugely throughout life. She had gone on to be one of the world’s greatest dancers, proving that dedication and determination was all you needed to succeed in something you want to do.
However, walking through that sunlit path, Belle felt lonesome. She never had the husband she was expected to have as a young girl, or family. She put her desires above others and realized she had done what she had wanted. Is that not the meaning of life? To do what you want, and not what others expect. Belle didn’t have a family, or the luxuries she once had but she felt content. For a little girl with courage and desires beyond her life, growing up to be what she wanted. Can that not be called happiness?





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