It was roughly two o’clock in the morning and I was high on cocaine. I had just arrived home after working a double shift at the club. After twelve hours in my six-inch stilettos, I was a zombie on stage as the last song played. My feet throbbing and longing for a hot bath, I was in a trance with each flash of the stage lights. All I could think about was the cab ride home, a hot bath and my bed.
The cab arrived shortly after I shelled out my tips to the crew (bartenders, servers, door guy, bouncers) and I was on my way home.
Before long I was in a tub of steaming water and bubbles; I couldn’t help but shrug at the irony that was my life. Just a handful of years earlier I used to sit too close to the television watching my favorite dance program, Solid Gold, dreaming of strutting my stuff as one of their performers.
After drying off and tucking myself in to bed, the cocaine had run its course and my high was leveling. I grabbed a pen and notepad from my nightstand and began to write.
The music engulfs her
Her eyes begin to close
The beat goes boom bada boom
No one really knows
As she stands there, beside herself
Inside that fishbowl of smoke
She is just a ballerina
Trying not to choke
Her eyes gaze into the crowd
Beyond the blinking lights
Her body goes through the motions
It’s just another night
She’s just a ballerina
Tip-toeing through the show
An angel with a broken wing
Trying to make it through the snow
She dreams of the quiet ride home
The moment she slips into bed
Visions of Sugar Plum fairies
Still very much alive in her head
She’s just a ballerina
Trying to survive
With a blanket of hunger surrounding her
It’s a wonder she’s still alive
~ ~ ~
In reading this poem after so many years I still connect to the young woman who wrote it. I understand feeling amused by the irony that after dreaming of becoming a professional dancer on television shows like Solid Gold, I wound up working as a stripper.
I wasn’t so much sad as I was numb. There was a void in place of where my passion wanted to be, and I felt stuck. I was living in emotional cinder blocks, my choices being the cement.
I had yet to learn so many things about myself. If I could speak to my younger self, the gal who wrote this poem – I would tell her that changing the course of our life starts with deciding we are worth it.
And we are.