I am old enough to hear Dream Doors close one after the other, as if all the guests in a villa retired to their rooms at the same time. Shut, click, shut, click, shut, click. And the keys turned in the locks.
How do we sidestep the regret and self-recrimination that tiptoes into our heart and mind when faced with our locked Dream Doors?
As a child, my limbs and spirit and heart and daydreams knew dance. I spent many compelling hours in my head, watching my magnificent performances.
I attended one term of ballet class in a black leotard and quit when it became clear I needed pink slippers to progress. Money was tight. I didn’t dream of asking my mom Can you buy them, please?
Yet other children, with no money, won’t stop, don’t stop, until they’ve pirouetted to their destination.
This knowledge gnawed at me in later years. Why didn’t I have the tenacity, the determination, the passion, the something, to push through each and every obstacle until I was through my Dance Door in my tutu?
These thoughts made me sad. These thoughts made me think less of myself and more about failure and the vital something I obviously lacked. These thoughts were getting plump on my distress. I was bullying myself.
I created a naive, but satisfying, escape from These Thoughts. I created Exit Doors.
I didn’t become a dancer for one of two reasons:
Exit 1: That’s who I was before, in another lifetime. That’s why it’s a body memory. That’s why it feels like home.
That’s why I capitulated so readily.
Now I had to be here, do this. The this being a singular lack of motivation and ambition, birthing babies, years of intense immersion in parenting, and a healthier relationship with food. Experiences you don’t have when you’re a prima ballerina (well, not if you’re as good as I know I was).
Exit 2: That’s who I’ll be next time.
When I return in a petite body and have rich parents, my talent will be funded, and I’ll get bunions, but no boobs. I’ll be especially driven and unstoppable because I’ll have a body memory of not making it last time. I’ll be the Dancing Queen, and my previous unfulfilled desire will drive my success, will steer me to stardom.
As flawed as these Exit Doors might be, they help me feel so much better here, on the other side of regret and miserable longing.
I went to Nia dance classes (age is irrelevant), and still jump around the living room.
When the ordinary quality of my life strikes me down, I tend to use Exit Door 1: Me, I’ve done the sex, booze, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. I’ve been famous, I’ve been infamous.
This lifetime, I’m chilling. I’m in recovery.
I’m going downstairs in my slippers to put the kettle on.
Sweet dreams, and thank you for visiting.