Saturday, December 16, 2006

this is the day

All fall, I've felt like Izzy on Grey's Anatomy in that episode where she stands outside the hospital all day, trying to psyche herself up to go in but never quite ready to do it. I've been putting off going back to ballet class the same way. Just not feeling ready. Not energetic enough. Not having a leotard that fits my postpartum body. Not ready to appraise my body and my posture in a full-length mirror for an hour and a half. Not being able to find my ballet slippers in the bags of pre-pregnancy clothes I stashed away almost a year ago. Not organized enough to figure out the logistics of feeding Daniel or pumping breastmilk before I go so I don't have to worry about leakage during class. Steve has been trying to encourage me. A few weeks ago, he bought me some new ballet slippers, but I procrastinated on sewing the elastics onto them.

Well, this morning, I finally went. Last night, I sewed on the elastics; and this morning I got up at 7:30, fed Daniel and left the house at 8:15 in a too-tight leotard, breast pads and yoga pants. And it was wonderful. It felt so good to be back at that barre, doing pliƩs and tendues and arabesques and soutenu turns. To hear Tatiana pound out the familiar music on the piano in the corner, and to remember how soulful and joyful it feels to stretch my body and dance. And it felt nice to see all the old familiar faces and my teacher, Janet, who gave me a hug when I told her about the baby. She told me to expect my body to be "lush" for a while, especially since I'm breastfeeding. She said the same thing happened to her, and I was relieved that even longtime ballerinas have had their "lush" periods. (And God knows "lush" sounds a lot better than some of the words I've been feeling!) So I summoned up a healthy dose of compassion when I looked in the mirror, and I even felt a bit of pride in my mom-body, not perfect and young anymore, but still perfectly capable of glissading across a floor and bringing a baby into this world.

I feel like I've reached another turning point in this journey — like I'd been tamping down a passionate part of myself these past months as I embrace (with an entirely different sort of passion) the role of motherhood, and now I've allowed that old self back into my new life. It feels great!

No comments: