I seeded an album on Facebook so I could post from my phone directly into the album and avoid moving them later. I added two additional photos from the series that can't be used, one for fun to lighten her up I suppose or just because they wanted to and this which could never be used because you can't see her face well enough, but is the most beautiful of the series. She is soft here, vulnerable. She almost never looks 14. Part of it is the way she dresses and the complete lack of makeup although there's a little here, and there should be and will be today and tomorrow, but most is the way she carries herself. I think she carries herself the way a 14 year old might if she wasn't exposed to the early sexualization of the modern adolescent. It isn't that she hasn't been exposed; there's more than enough of that been going on around her since middle school and it's all over the media which she's just as inundated with as any other girl but maybe she's been somewhere else or maybe she's had a knee jerk reaction in the other direction. Maybe part of it was Cynthia who while truly beautiful holds herself apart and above all of that and considered anything other than a basic leotard a distraction while what is available for purchase these days is astonishing. And maybe it's partly who I've become and partly who Lucia has become in absolute defiance of expectation. We are all beautiful but we're not buying into it. Periodically I am stunned at what she's becoming and I tell her so. I watch her dress up in my bedroom, putting on dresses she owns or has inherited but not ready to wear, adding my shoes and admiring herself in the mirror. She takes them off and puts them away and says, not yet.
There are things I can't say on Facebook, because she's already horrified that I've posted these at all even if I didn't tag her (apparently I'm forgiven because 'I understand you're upset'. The grieving mother gets some slack?).
I cannot say that she is so beautiful she breaks my heart. I cannot say that I am terrified about this weekend. I wasn't really thinking about this. I was all set to just send her in with her dad. She researched this all on her own and announced that she was going to do it. Didn't ask what we thought about it (and really, that's how it should be); just decided this was what she wanted and told me when, where, how much and mulled over the class dates, bitching about the third week of one of those classes falling into the first week of school and what the HELL were these people thinking anyway?
It wasn't until things started to get truly dicey that I turned inward, looking at my own life and priorities and decided I could do this after all and that maybe it was for the best if I had some time on my own and NM had some time on his own and I struggled with my own fears and concerns and finally let go. Given the recent events, saying my head has been elsewhere is an understatement. My head has been pixelated. I wanted to write shattered but that's just not it. I'm not shattered. I'm pixelated and the pixels are starting to come back together out of panic that I not complete foul this up for her.
She was going to go to her 10 AM class today and I realized this morning that would make getting to a 1:08 train a just in time sort of thing and she's not even packed for the weekend. She can do that in about 5 minutes but, well, WHY?! Her forms aren't filled out. I haven't been to the bank to get the rest of the cash I need although I can do that after the fact, I have enough for the first audition this afternoon. We just haven't thought this all the way through but in the end we'll be OK with logistics. I made it back to CVS to get the envelopes, labels and good pens to contain her photos. Lucia picked up the photos on Thursday evening. NM's last gift.
I am frightened for her because she's going to be looked at closely. If I understand correctly, this will be in a class format which is better than being asked to do something by yourself. There will, however be a number of people in that room looking at her. Perhaps she will not notice. Who am I kidding. I wish for her to not go to pieces and cave into herself when she can't do something. I wish for her to remember where she's come from with her Vaganova ribbons and that hand on her head just so. I can say these things but in the end she has to walk into those rooms by herself.
I will not cry for her heart which broke in December, broke again in January when she was found wanting and sent back to wait with the younger girls, and then picked herself up turning her face toward the city.
She is an unprompted young woman and she is extraordinary.
There is also the possibility of joy. There is a great deal of truth in the belief that we choose our experience. We can live in our fear and choose from our fear and therefore have nothing but our fear or we can do something entirely other. When my mother made her first jump I believe she did so because she didn't want to be one of those women/wives in the sixties (and later the seventies and even into the eighties) who sat at the drop zone watching their boyfriends/husbands jump. She was so scared she made another jump. She decided to keep jumping until she wasn't scared anymore. Well, the fear didn't exactly go away and as my brother once said, you'd damn well better be afraid; your life is on the line. You need to be conscious of that. You just don't live in it. There was more joy than fear. You choose out of the love of something and you remain conscious.
When I get up and speak publicly or teach, there is fear but I pass through that because I love what I'm doing. In those first few moments I have trouble breathing but I find I'm hyper-aware and for the most part very coherent. It's when I can't pass through that fear, when I'm choosing or coming from that place that I am not being or giving myself. I'm not real. She won't dance well if she gets stuck in the fear but on the other hand she won't die either and she'll come out of there knowing that.
I think she'll be ok. I think she'll be better than ok if she can remember why she's there.
I reached out this morning to an old friend, a friend from GFD from before I went to GFD. I knew him from other dances and when I went the first time, as far as he was concerned, Elizabeth and I were there to see him. I told him what had happened, he did not know yet. I told him that I didn't want to stop dancing at GFD but that I needed support. He wanted to know if we could still be civil and I said that wasn't the problem, that of course we could still be civil, that there wasn't any fault here, just a lot of pain. I explained that I wasn't angry and that I had no regrets, I just needed support and to talk to someone and that I needed a hug when I got there. I didn't want people talking about it even though they will. I need to be able to step through my fear and reach for what matters to me even if it means that I can't look at him for however long I can't look at him or be in the same room with him. I don't know how long that will take. Getting in the room is going to be the hardest part.
Elizabeth. Getting in the room I think may be the hardest part.
Getting to the podium was the hardest part. Opening my mouth and speaking, once that started I was and am wonderful. That comes from my father. It's funny what an introvert can do when they find a way to walk through the wall.
Elizabeth spoke in front of 500 people last year when her legacy project won and she must have walked through something because I don't honestly know how an eighth grader does that sort of thing. Elizabeth danced in front of maybe 300 people this winter and even if there are lord knows how many other people on the stage, 15, 20? there she was anyway.
So we will go. She will have her first audition at a studio in the city where she's very comfortable, possibly even in one of the rooms where she spent nearly two years with Cynthia even though this will be the hardest audition. She will live out her Eloise fantasy (NOT at The Plaza) at a hotel closer to the Village and we will dance later with the New York people. In the morning we will wander uptown and in through the Met and finally to the second audition before we go home.
One of my husbands, probably Elizabeth's father once said you could throw a box of tissues on the floor and I would make up something powerful about it. This is the absolute truth.
I thought about reposting one from Cynthia's studio, so intense at the barre with her perfect head and perfect focus or putting back the first arabesque on pointe but I think this is better. The outtake maybe to lighten her up or just because.