Από μια πολύ σύντομη κουβέντα με αγαπημένο φίλο σήμερα, θυμήθηκα ένα κειμενάκι που έγραψα πέρσι, μονοκοπανιά ένα βράδυ. Πέρα απ το ανεκδοτολογικό του πράγματος, συνδέεται με την επίγνωση (ή μη) με την οποία εξελισσόμαστε, με το αν επιλέγουμε να προχωράμε και με ποιό τρόπο.
Καλή σας νύχτα!
Growing Pains (yes, still!)
Athens, April, 2010
When I was a very young girl, working with dogged determination and militaristic self-dicipline towards becoming a ballerina, with my head and heart filled with dreams of tutus and pointes and bright lights and Tchaikovsky and my leotard soaked through and through and my hands sticky with resin powder, a very well-respected teacher and examiner came to Athens from RAD HQ in London, for a series of seminars that would culminate in a public performance: Danielle Taylor.
From the second day of classes onwards, I remember returning to my mother's arms exhausted and in tears. Miss Taylor had honed her attentions on me and bore down on me with all the charm of a drill sergeant. Why? Why me? What had I done wrong? Why did she hate me so??? One day I was in the show with a solo (no less), the next told to pack my tights and go. This went on for a week, and I was on the brink of a breakdown. I was seething. I was angry and bruised, in more ways than one. The self-pity was delectable. After all... I *was* one of my teacher's star students. I had passed all my exams to date with no less than "Highly Commended", but more often with "Honours". What did the Wicked Witch Of The West want with me???
I just didn't get it.
Furthermore, I couldn't believe that my adoring mother let this gross injustice unfold without so much as a protest. Finally, two days prior to the performance (my place in it was -yet again- uncertain), I'd had enough. I returned home in an absolutely vitriolic mood, declared that first thing next day I was going to quit the bloody show all together and unleashed all of my bitterness on the only person in the Universe who would carry on loving me, no matter what: my mother.
After my wrath was spent and I was sobbing in her embrace she very VERY gently said to me:
"Let me ask you something. Miss Taylor flew here all the way from London and has more than 200 girls in her tutelage. She doesn't know you, and once she is gone, the two of you will probably never meet again. But she has devoted so much of her attention and energy to you. Why do you think that is?"
What was she driving at? Where was the line connectiong the dots? I was baffled.
"Teachers like Miss Taylor only give their time to those that show the most promise. She works you so hard because she believes you are worth it. Really, it is a great honour. Now... sleep on it and tomorrow you can decide whether you still want to quit the show. Assuming Miss Taylor decides to keep you in it, that is."
All this happened a good 30 years ago.
It has become abundantly clear that in the more than 16 years of performing to date, I went pretty much unquestioned. I was allowed to rely on my abilities, such as they were, unchallenged and unquestionned. Never pushed to evolve, never encouraged to better myself, never given the time and effort. After all, the "job" got done, didn't it? How sordid. Because, you see, this is not a "job". It goes to the very core of who I am.
Assuming that at age 12 I didn't know any better, now aged 42, I would certainly hope that I *do*.
Recently I have found myself in a situation that has recalled these long-faded memories. The circumstances are other, the relationship different. No yelling, no tantrums. Well, not so far (LOL)
... and yet!
My dismay lasted all of 2 minutes. Thanks to the combined efforts of Miss Taylor and my very wise mom back then, that's how long it took me to realize what I'm being offered now: An invaluable opportunity to concentrate on what's really important. To learn. To dare to strive to be all that I can be. To go beyond what comes easy, to unlearn the bad habits I picked up along the way in order to deal with the less than encouraging status quo of my chosen craft, through which I had forged a path in near-utter solitude.
Some would say that an old dog doesn't learn new tricks. To them I have only this to say: I am not a dog, I'm not old and I'm not interested in learning tricks. Furthermore, and at the risk of being labeled a conceited cow: I'm not a peddlar, I'm an artist. I have shied from this long enough, time to Face The Music And Dance.
To the person who gave me this blessed wake-up call, and you know who you are, I can only say this: thank you. For deeming me worthy, for your precious time and effort, for caring, for reminding me what it's all about and for pulling the train, side by side. It is nothing less than a perfect gift, an honour to which I am but happy to gratefully respond by submitting my obligation and promise to do my level best.
To all concerned: Flock to those who make things tough on you. Those who make it easy do so by indifference.
And now, if I might be excused, I must get back to my work. What joy!!
PS: I did perform in that show. Miss Taylor hugged me after, with tears in her eyes. I never became a dancer. I did become an actress and a singer. One day soon, I'll be a musician. I suspect mom is smiling.