The Way We Were

When you were younger, did you ever learn to do anything like dance or play a sport or sing? And it was fun and you could actually do whatever this particular thing was, but your teacher/coach kept trying to explain (repeatedly, and almost always the same thing) how to do it better? And you just couldn't get above mediocre? And after years of pondering and growing (intellectually and/or physically) and actually using your brain to think, you realize what they were trying to say and kind of wish you could go back and do it over?
When I was 7, my mom asked me if I wanted to learn ballet. I remember her asking me when I was 4, but I was too scared to do it without my older sister in the same class as me (she is 3 years older than me and had already had ballet so we would NOT have been in the same class). I also declined the offer to play T-ball (Really, watching me play any sport beyond croquet is down right hilarious. After observing me for about 5 minutes and laughing, you start to think maybe I'm not joking around and that I really am running in fear from that volleyball/basketball/raquetball/etc). Anyways, at the ripe old age of 7, I decided that yes, I was mature and wise enough to handle ballet class on my own. My first official class really was on my own. It was in the summer and no one else signed up for it, so I got a private lesson every week. I moved on from my first dance school, which didn't specialize in ballet, and started taking classes at a ballet academy. I had 2 wonderful women, who had been ballerinas for the better part of all time, that imparted their dancing wisdom to me (There is always going to be a special place in my heart for those 2, what with all the crap they put up with from a bunch of hormonal girls). I had so much fun dancing, I made a lot of friends, and I LOVED performing. However, I don't know how many times I heard Miss Chambers say to me 'Sandi that looks very nice, now just try and move your arms as if you were moving through caramel.' I'm not kidding. Caramel. Or I would say to Miss Paula how graceful I thought our guest artist was, dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and she would shake me violently by the shoulders and scream "THEN WHY DON'T YOU DO THAT?!?!!?" And my parents would laugh and say how grateful they were that they had found such a wonderful ballet instructor for their favorite daughter and then they'd move over to the refreshments table and get some punch (It was the cast party for 'The Nutcracker' after all. Also, my parents probably wouldn't have reacted in that way and Miss Paula never exactly did that. Although one time I did see her kick a box in anger and then laugh because it hurt and that was a dumb thing to do.) It really didn't help matters that I am basically five foot nothing and I have inherited my dad's legs (I have been told by multiple guys that 'wow your calves really are bigger than mine').
Do you want to see how amazingly awkward I looked? Here I am. In all my glory. Glasses and braces included.

Do I look Russian? Because I was doing a Russian dance.

Anyways, every class/rehearsal, I felt like I was walking through the redwood forest of ballerinas. If you want to be a ballerina, you've got to be long and lanky my friend. After 8 years of enjoying ballet, but realizing it just wasn't for me and I just wasn't for it, I quit. 
Back to what I was saying at the beginning. I have had 10 years to occasionally reflect on what Miss Paula and Miss Chambers (By the way, they were both married so I don't know why we referred to them as Miss, and why Miss Paula went by her first name and Miss Chambers went by her last? Truly, one of those eternal questions I might never know the answer to) were trying to teach me. I get it now. I know exactly what they're talking about. I could SWIM through caramel if they asked me to.
Had I not quit ballet though, I probably wouldn't have discovered how AWESOME Irish dancing is and that they love having people with muscular thighs and calves because that means your dances are full of more power.

(I'm the one on the right, black top, white skirt with blue knot work, legs crossed precariously, wig slowly taking over my head)

I guess there are a few other things in my life that I would go back to try again. Not because I have regrets or anything like that, but because I understand it better now and would gain more from the experience.

Not piano playing though. I took about 3 months of lessons for that, decided I do not like being told what keys to put which fingers on, or how to properly count the music, and I've just been playing what I want on that thing ever since. Now that I'm older (and SO much wiser) I suppose I could probably "re-learn" the piano... Then again, I am getting on in years and I am pretty set in my ways and there's still that whole trade embargo thing with Cuba. I think it's best to just leave things as they are.

Oh guess what I did today. I bought a new pair of shoes!!!!
Were you thinking something like this?
(those are so cute, right??)

Because I meant this...

Why is it that I will put down $200 for my brakes to get new shoes but I've never bought a pair that cost that much for myself?


Me: I feel like going to the library and looking at books.
Mike: You have fun with that.
Me: I wanted you to go with me.
Mike: You know how I feel about libraries.
Me: ....what does that even mean?
Mike: What doesn't it mean.