Why don’t you write?” Wise words from my Aunt Catherine as I sobbed on my living room couch on Christmas Day. An odd juxtaposition–the joy of the holiday with unrelenting sadness. My aunt had known something was wrong as soon as she came to visit that year. My normally energetic personality was dampened down by a giant weight. The magic of the season was lost to me, a dead bulb on a string of lights/
Why didn’t I write?
I hadn’t written a thing since I wrote for a local newspaper in my mid-twenties. Before that I’d spent four years plucking away at fiction in college. Eventually, life got in the way, like having an adult job. Man, that nine to five put a damper on my creativity. What killed the rest of it was having my heart broken at thirty years old for the first time in my life.
Looking back, I’d given up things that created magic in my soul. Ballet had long since gone by the wayside, a dream dead after having it drilled into me I was too short and too fat (great feet though!). The writing had dried up like an overused pen, tossed aside in favor of adult things, like commutes and falling asleep in front the TV at nine pm. No writing. No ballet. The two things that I had used in my teenage years to ground myself in the world and make sense of things I didn’t understand.
When I gripped the wooden barre and started a demi plie, it reminded me that there was order and sense in the world amidst any chaos that I could be experiencing. Ballet class is a set series of combinations, moving from one sequence to the next. The steps may be different, but the order of events is always the same. Writing allowed me to vent my frustrations on the page with a fury, pouring my emotions into empty journal pages. Until I discovered I could use those things to craft stories about fictional people in fictional worlds experiencing things similar to myself.
I’d let those things go. My turmoil started to fill me up and I had no way to pour it out. Much like Daniela, the protagonist of my book. Daniela loses the one thing that grounds her in the world, same as I did. Through the course of the novel, Daniela returns to the magic she lost, walking back into a ballet studio when she never thought she could again.
It was time I stopped crying and went back to the things that shaped who I was. So, I did. I started to write a story about a girl who lost everything she ever loved. She lost ballet. She lost a boy. She lost her home. She had to return to her roots, the core of her, in order to find herself again. In the midst of penning this story I found that my own magic was returning. I was starting to feel that little spark inside myself ignite, a flicker of the person I was before the tears. With each click of the keyboard the spark got brighter, the flame growing.
By the time I finished the whole book my core was lit up like a Christmas tree. A bright burning blaze that I’d forgotten I had. There was just a bit that was missing, a place that Daniela returned to, while I hadn’t. A room with a wall of mirrors and a wooden barre that I gripped like a lifeline. It was time to go back to that too. Time to hold tight and find peace in each plie and tendu. I’m going back to ballet, too. The way I returned to writing.
It’s a strange thing to find yourself in the things that you loved and love again. A circle back to who we start as. Finding my magic again was all I really needed and it brought me back to everything that I’d forgotten.