Je Suis Finis

Here are the good things about a youth spent in ballet class:

  You learn anything worth having is difficult
              You learn how to focus.
       You learn to see two sides of most situations because after you learn a dance you have to reverse it.
          You can do something that a very small percentage of people can do.
         You love it more than anything.
Here are the bad things:

 You are never good enough
 You are never thin enough
  You can never grow up because you are called “boys”, “girls”, and “kids”.
 You are horribly underpaid and can barely make a living.
  You’re finished at about 35.
 You’ll miss it more than anything.

I am telling you this because it explains why at fifty I still feel I am not good enough or thin enough and because of that I feel I have hardly any value what so ever.  I am writing about this because I want  to stop feeling that way now.  After I push “publish” I am done.  I am tired of feeling bad about myself all the time.  I never considered myself self-absorbed, but guess what?  You are still self–absorbed even if what you are thinking about yourself all the time is bad.  The amount of energy that goes in to this self-loathing is ridiculous.  So what to do?  How have I dealt with it in the past?
In my twenties feeling not good enough and not thin or pretty enough coupled with paternal abandonment made me a really fun date.  Pretty much a sure thing.  Ask anyone.  I look at pictures of myself then and I was pretty hot.  I did not know it or feel it at the time.
In my thirties I became a childbirth educator and doula.  If I wasn’t hot for a dancer anymore I certainly was hot for a Lamaze teacher.  I didn’t know it or feel it then either.
In my late thirties through now I have just been driving my husband crazy and teaching my daughters the art of self hate.  When I am seventy and look back at pictures I am pretty sure I am going to think I was kind of cute now.
This is how sick I am.  I don’t want to go to events my husband has at work because I think it will embarrass him that his wife is not young and thin and has no marketable skills.
Peggy, after going through chemo and radiation, has double pneumonia and while I am concerned about her I am mainly jealous because she is getting really skinny.
I know.  Pathetic.  But wait! There’s more.
I am constantly comparing myself to others and becoming increasingly judgemental. I am coveting what I don’t have.  I feel envious and entitled.  I was never like that before.  It’s ugly and I really don’t want that to be me.
I want to travel all the time but it occurs to me the reason that ultimately doesn’t make me feel better is I am taking the problem with me.  Apparantly my brain is a pretty unfriendly toxic place to be.  Bathed in vodka or Xanax it wasn’t so hateful.  Spell correct just automatically capitalized Xanax.  It did it again!
Writing makes me feel better (too bad for you!) So, I decided I needed to move to Paris and sit in cafes guzzling café au lait and write.  Then I realized that if you feel bad about how you look and covet designer handbags Paris is probably not a good idea.  I was telling my friend Henia about moving to Paris and she showed me a poem she had written just that day.  I will let her speak for me.
She thought it was time
To finally escape
This sun-baked race
Of trophy freeway cars,
Fighting each other to get
Faster than the other
Snail-paced Mercedes
In the next lane.
The speed of it all
Like escargot—
And she thought again,
It was time—
Because she was tired…
Time to retreat to Paris,
To start smoking again,
To stop working out
To resume eating cheese,
And in sidewalk cafes
Drink wine by the bottle
And languish
In words and a notebook…
And the river,
And aimless walks
Over snow-covered bridges;
Blowing hot breath into
Icy cold fingers
That would soon grasp a brush
In an attic apartment,
Warmed by the steam from a mug
Of stove-top black coffee,
And the strains of cool jazz in the air…
Henia Flynn
Au Revoir and don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.