Leaving the ugly ballerina behind.

For the past few weeks things have been really, really difficult. A couple of days ago, I hit rock bottom. I had really turned that corner where everything was bad, negative, all I wanted to do was cry, scream, and hide under the covers.

I hadn’t had a ballet dream in ages. This past week, I had one. And it was awful. Everything about me was wrong. My feet were in pointes, but they were horrible, my legs were wrong, my hands looked like claws, I could not do what the other girls were doing. It was awful, so dreadful. I woke up shaking and crying. Writing about it now almost makes the tears come back.

I was not ok.

That day, I wrote a horribly negative email to a dear, wonderful friend. As I was writing that email, I saw that I had really gone around the bend and lost it. I had actually internalised and absorbed all the negativity around me, and it was clouding, poisoning my mind. That ugly, broken down ballerina in my dream was not me. It could not be. That bad dream personified my current state of mind, and as awful as it was, I am glad I had it. It made me realise that I had hit rock-bottom.

And that helped. Admitting to myself that I had lost it was the first step in starting to get things together again. I know it is a cliche, but after confronting the ugly ballerina, the only thing left for me to do was to find a way to leave it behind and climb my way out of the hole.

Yes, a lot of what is happening is due to external factors that cannot be changed at the moment. But I can’t, I absolutely CANNOT internalise it. I cannot bring it home with me. I cannot let it bring me down. I have to find a way to be strong enough shield myself against it.

Lorry at Bead 109 has written a very moving post that has really helped me in my quest to find my way out of the hole.  She also tells about an inspiring Japanese custom:


“In Japan, there is place just outside of most of the temples to find your fortune but fear not if you get a bad one because there will be a place like this to tie the bad fortune and leave it behind…”


I have also tied a ribbon where my sadness is. I see it everyday. I acknowledge it. But I don’t take it with me. I acknowledge the ugly ballerina, the ball of negativity that I had absorbed, and I move on. I try to anyway.

Amidst all this, there are so many wonderful things. I am lucky enough to have the hubby, who is my best friend and my rock. My family are getting better, and I have made fantastic friends through twitter. The bad times are almost over, and it is up to me not to let it get to me again.

That dear friend on the receiving end of my emails told me to be kinder to myself… And yesterday, I did just that by taking some time and watching my Giselle DVD.  It was wonderful.   I find so much of myself in this ballet… I’ve never danced it, I never will. But there is something so me in that ballet. Watching it made me see a vague outline of myself again.

So this is it. A pledge for this week: I will be kinder to myself. I will surround myself with things that I love, and I will pull through.

This week, I will start to pull myself together again, and working towards finding my way back to the ballerina in my head, back to me.



6 thoughts on “Leaving the ugly ballerina behind.

  1. That was very moving, Nina.

    I find it somewhat inspiring that you’ve managed to leave bad things behind after seeing yourself as a messy ballerina. But you know what? Time, friends and relatives always help to make things better… and even an ugly ballerina can turn into a beautiful swan =)

    So cheer up! You’re amazing and you know we are here if you need to talk!

    P.D: Oh and… thumbs up to the Giselle DVD! I love it. The story is so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time!

    • Hi Nerea! Thank you so much! It is lovely to know I can count on you 🙂 And Giselle is my favourite ballet, for many, many reasons! Hopefully I can really leave that bad image behind and become a better me again 😉

  2. I´m a true believer in dreams. I think that while dreaming, sleeping, we reflect through our dreams the true state of our well- being. Your dream of an ugly ballerina was a reflection of your own self- image and the way you felt at the time. Not too long ago I too saw a dream where I had two children to mind. One was my own, the other was a little girl. She was severely handicapped and weighed a lot since she was entirely limp and it hurt her to have to handle her. At the time I was dealing with a certain unpleasant legal issue and I think that that little girl was a reflection how I felt about that situation in my life. I knew I had to take care of her and I was going to but I needed to be very careful not to hurt her and it also was such a burden to me. So I thought, why don´t I see if I could take this all lightly. And I started to think good things in life, I started to bask in good thoughts and feelings. Very soon I was able to take my son on the other hand and the little girl on the other. They flew. Then I noticed how I too flew. We just floated through the air, the sun was shining and the air smelled sweet. We were floating through buzy streets and people were passing us and I felt such joy and told the little girl that in the end, it wll will be just all right. There´s nothing to be scared of and I told my son that I will always take care of every situation that´s thrown in our way. No problem. Because all things, in the end, will solve out themselves. We just need to stop fighting, trying to go against life and instead, let go of all bad feelings and the notion of having to wrestle with things. All will be fine. And I woke up and I felt so good and the rest of the day I felt even better. These days I take a few moments to just think of all the good things in our lives and appreciating them. The better I feel, the better all things will go. And somedays, when it feels like there is zillion things to do and no time- I halt and take a moment. Like today. I have five hours to go. I still need to bake bread, bake a pie, get my son from school, clean the entire house, make crepes, wash half a dozen of towels from their clorine- bath etc etc… and you know what inspiration told me to do? I sewed two pillows to our larger sofa. And watched some decorating vidoes from You Tube as I went. I had this inspiration to do just that. And I did. And I felt so great afterwards. I felt so great that a load of laundry and washing the entire bathroom felt like peanuts afterwards.
    I think it´s so very important to coax yourself to feeling better no matter what. Because I do believe that your personal happiness is the launching point to all other things that are good. So use whatever you have- you´ve mentioned your husband many times with great fondness. How great it is that you have him in your life! So you keep just thinking and appreciating those good things in your life and THEN do something.
    I swear, even a bread that I bake with joy tastes loads better than a bread that´s baked in haste.
    Every day is such a great gift, own them!
    I see this ” sharing ” was way more self- centered than I originally intended. Then again, I really wanted to share with you how I trick myself into feeling awesomeness every single day. Because I´ve been the queen of sourpussies and I can tell´ya- all things WILL go south. It´s no use to stay there. So come on to the sunny side of the road… we have point shoes…

  3. The thing that has been the hardest for me, Nina, is accepting that I can’t fix everything just because I want to be able to. When I see my ribbon I am reminded that there is sadness that is still there because of unresolved issues and sometimes that makes me sad but also frustrated and even angry! I have to remind myself that I cannot change everything. I can only do what is in my power to do and then pray and believe that things will get better and then continue. I don’t say get over it or move past it because I don’t know that this is every really possible?! But we can continue and we can be happy – even though. I hope and pray for lots of happiness for you, Nina, you deserve it!


  4. I went through roughly the same phase as you describe here last week – just nothing going right, nothing working the way it is supposed to. Then one night, I couldn’t sleep (it was the night before work started after the holidays) and though I’m not a very religious person, I took a few minutes out to just have this weird conversation with God. I do that every once in a while, and it helps. Or writing helps = )

    *hug* You are headed in the right direction. Sometimes it just takes a while to get there

  5. I danced for 10 (throughout my childhood). Now 15 years later I have strated taking ballet classes again. My how things have changed, ballet the second time around is more fun and there is definitely less pressure. Sometimes I look at the girls in my class (the graveyard of ballerinas is what I like to call it) and I feel sad because I know at some stage we all shared the same dream, whether it be to dance Swan Lake or Giselle. I now know that the only place that this will happen is in our dreams, but the important thing is to look forward, its never too late to be the best dancer that you can possible be. There are no ugly ballerinas, as long as you remember to always dance from your heart.

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