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On My TIppy Toes...Reaching for a Dream
As the music played, and the lights were dimmed, it was like the world was at peace; beautiful, relaxing, powerful. It was perfect. My dream was to be as beautiful, graceful, talented and admired as she. She was the image of brilliance, and she was Kristen, my cousin, a dancer. As I sat watching my older cousin at her dance recital, I realized Kristen was the epitome of what I wanted to be like. There was not one thing that Kristen loved that I didn’t love. If she wore the color orange, I wore the color orange. If her favorite animal was a monkey, then my favorite animal was a monkey. So it only seemed fit that I should like dancing too.
I turned to my mother in that darkened auditorium and whispered way too loudly, “Mommy! Mommy! I know what I want to be when I grow up!” My voice grew louder and louder with each word.
“Umm…well then tell me sweetie. Tell me what you would like to be,” my mother was both confused and a little embarrassed at my volume, but at seven years old, there isn’t much of a difference in my volume—just loud, and louder.
“I want to be a dancer, like Kristen!” I said enthusiastically, but more specifically, what my heart was set on was becoming a ballerina. For if I became a ballerina, I could then get the real thing I desired most in the world – Pointe shoes!
I loved dancing already. I think I had been dancing since the day I was born, at least, that is what my mother tells me. My mind was filled with thoughts of the future. I could see myself with Kristen, dancing across the stage; almost like I was floating, like dancing on the sky. I closed my eyes and started to sway back and forth as the music played and filled the auditorium. In my heart, I felt beautiful and strong and perfect—like Kristen. I was inspired to get my Pointe shoes, and if that meant that I had to practice hours and hours a week, then so be it.
So here I am; fourteen years old, lying on my bed, my feet are hurting, the shoes stained with blood, and I am ripe with the stench of hard work and possibly regret. I was feeling tired and insecure. I was beginning to think it was foolish of me to think that I could be a dancer. In my painful state I even told myself, “I have no talent, maybe I should quit.” Nonetheless there was something inside of me driving me on; something in my will that wouldn’t let me quit. There was something about dance that was like life to me and I didn’t want to stop; couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop, even though I wanted to cry from the pain of my feet. I had put too much of my precious time and pain into dance that quitting would be like throwing my life away.
I remembered back to before I had my Pointe shoes. My feet may hurt and my spirits may have been crushed, but I loved dancing all too much. At first, I started dancing only because my cousin danced. Then it grew on me, I began to love it more and more each day. Dancing was all I would think about, it was all I wanted to think about. But more importantly, I wanted my Pointe shoes. And I was determined to get them.
Every second of time that wasn’t spent on homework or school was spent on dancing. That is, until I moved to Houston. I lived in Southlake, Texas, right next to Dallas. It was the perfect place to live, like Heaven on Earth. The dance studio I was enrolled in had everything I needed: talented and wise teachers, supportive and helpful peers, and not to mention how hard the staff worked to help you achieve whatever goal you had set in place. It was devastation to me when I heard the news. Houston? Why Houston? What’s wrong with where we live now? I like Southlake I don’t want to move! I like my dance studio and I like my instructors, and moving studios won’t help me get my shoes any faster. But no matter how much I protested, I had to face the fact that we were moving and I couldn’t do anything about it. The reality hit me when a big, ugly, orange, rectangular piece of misery came up my driveway to carry me away from my dance studio and destroying my dreams of getting my Pointe shoes. So, as I took the long journey down south, I wondered about how I would find a new dance studio and get back on track to fulfilling my dreams of dancing on toe shoes. I knew that moving wasn’t going to crush my dreams of getting my Pointe shoes. This was just a bump in the road, not a dead end.
I sat up in my bed and looked at my suffocating Pointe shoes and I tried to remember the reason that I ever wanted those things in the first place. I lugged myself out of my bed and limped down stairs. It hurt with every step I took. I felt like there were needles in my feet, penetrating deep into my skin. It was an intense pain, but a pain that, unusually, I didn’t mind the feeling of. When my feet hurt, I feel like I have accomplished something, or like I did myself proud. I loved dancing too much to give it up just because of a little pain. I was not a wimp! I worked too hard for too long to give up everything I worked for.
Before I had them, getting my Pointe shoes meant the world to me. I worked so hard for so long to achieve that goal. So when I was twelve and my dance instructor informed me in front of my whole ballet class that I had advanced to Pointe, my heart soared. Mission accomplished! My goal was finally achieved! In my heart, I was bursting with joy and happiness! Finally, I could wear a pair of those pink, satin, dainty shoes that I had been dreaming of wearing ever since I was seven years old at my cousin’s dance recital. I finally had them!
“You know Kennedy, you have become such an amazing dancer,” my mom still tells me. It still comes as a surprise to me. I never really think of myself as good.
“Oh…um…thanks mom! I work really hard at it,” I was flattered.
“Well it shows tremendously. We are very proud of you.” At that moment, it all became clear to me; I may have only started dancing because of that one night when I was watching my cousin at her dance recital, and I have her to thank for that, but dancing became so much more. Getting my Pointe shoes was my one goal, the golden ticket, and first prize. But I came to realize the greatest prize of all is actually the work I put in to getting my Pointe shoes. It is not only a hobby; it has become part of me. And that is why I love dancing. My feet may hurt and bleed, and my spirits may be crushed sometimes, and I may get exhausted from the work. But dancing is my passion and something I couldn’t live without. So I can look at my stained, well-worn, painful Pointe shoes and say that I hate them and that I never want to wear them again, but in reality, I don’t know what my live would be like if I didn’t wear them; they are too important too me to ever give up. All I know is when I am up on my toes, prancing around that stage, I feel like I am dancing on water and that I am weightless. I may have never realized it before, but my perseverance and determination is what always kept me going. My desire for succeeding at something became so great. I realized that it was a kind of passion that could have been added to any part of my life; it was something that if I could apply it to my whole life, not just dance, I could succeed in anything that I attempt. It was a kind of passion that no one could get in the way of; it was a kind of passion that drove me to achieve my goal. And that is why I dance, not just so I have something to do after school, not so I can say I have Pointe shoes; but because it is a part of me, it is my passion, it is dancing.