ballerina banji (no, i am not kidding) screw being positive day 5
Good intentions. As parents we all start out with good intentions. We want what is best for our children. We want them to be happy, to feel fulfilled, to have a positive self image and to grow into thriving, confident adults. Some times, we are successful and some times, not so much.
When my parents decided to send me to the Irene Fokine School of Ballet, I am sure they had all of the best intentions (or did they?). I am sure they thought that sending chubby Banji to ballet school would help her self-image, her posture, her confidence (or did they?). I am sure they did it out of love for their darling daughter ...because doesn't every little girl want to be a ballerina.(just in case you weren't catching the sarcasm, the answer is N O.)
So off Banji went to become a ballerina. She came into class wearing her pink danskin tights(cutting off the circulation to her head and making her quite dizzy, while she wondered how they were going to stay up because she couldn't pull them all the way up over her belly) her black danskin leotard (not giving a visual of that one, I was only 9 or 10..) ballet slippers(those looked fantastic, I have always had surpsingly narrow feet...) and a H U G E sweatshirt over the previously mentioned leotard. I was ready, for anything, no one would ever know what was going on under that sweatshirt.)
"Ms. Banji," the teacher began, "please remove your sweatshirt..we are all young ladies here and need to be in the same uniform..." oh god...someone save me....I turned to ask my mom if I could leave, but she is no dummy, she got the hell out of there to go shopping on Ridgewood Avenue. I was totally on my own.
Now, back then, extra curricular activities weren't like they are now. No one called 15 of their closest friends to see if they were going to take ballet...to arrange post-ballet playdates and a carpool for next 3 years of their lives. It was survival of the fittest...I was being thrown to the wolves and they were all really, really skinny.
And it wasn't just that they were all petit little things who actually wanted to be there...their names were Kathy, Katherine, Katie, Katrina, Chrissy, Christina..do you see where I am going? Not only was I the token jew in an all-wasp ridgewood ballet school, I was a really big token jew. I had to stand in the back for every class, apparently because I was so tall (whatever) and I never could be in any of the recitals because they were always on Saturday. Now, how was this helping my self-esteem exactly? Did my parents send me to this school because they knew I couldn't be in the Nutcracker?I would have made a darn good sugar plum fairy, and then I could have eaten the costume!!
So the ballet torture went on for about a year or two...it is hard to remember, the electro shock therapy that followed erased the exact time table of those events....the one thing I did learn? well, one afternoon, when my dad was driving me home, his car had a blow out and he taught me how to steer to the side of the road to avoid getting into an accident. No cell phones then, so we walked the rest of the way back to Fair Lawn..we were only a mile or two away. That was a nice walk, and I do remember that pretty clearly. (so pretty much that was the one good thing that came out of the whole ballet nightmare...guess it could be worse...I could've broken a leg getting it stuck on the bar (or is it barre?))
So yes, maybe my parents intentions were good. I guess, truthfully, I don't really know and I have put it behind me. At least I was able to rule out being a ballerina professionally...unless they do a remake of Fantasia-dancing hippos anyone??