I cannot dance upon my Toes -
No Man instructed me -
But oftentimes, among my mind,
A Glee possesseth me,
That had I Ballet knowledge
Would put itself abroad
In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe
Or lay a Prima, mad,
And though I had no Gown of Gauze
No Ringlet, to my Hair,
Nor hopped to Audienceslike Birds,
One Claw upon the Air,
Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on the wheels of snow
Till I was out of sight, in sound,
The House encore me so
Nor any know I know the Art
I mention easy Here -
Nor any Placard boast me
It's full as Opera
~ Emily Dickinson ~
The decision has been made for me. I was right. My body was changing.
There were changes within that were unbeknownst to me until it was too late. Or maybe it was meant to happen anyway. And why shouldn't it happen?
Hysterectomies happened to other women. Other, older women. That was not true, of course, for it happened to younger women as well. I certainly found that out whilst researching this subject that suddenly loomed in my face, reminding me of what I would be losing.
No longer a young woman in my twenties nor even my thirties, I am now an older woman in my forties. It is true that I have experienced more of life. And yet I haven't. Not really. And yes, I come to that same topic of motherhood. Family life. A different sort of family life, with children running around the house, siblings playing with one another or playing with their animal friends. And hearing a child's voice call me, "Mum." I will miss that. And I have missed that.
It is not such a tragedy. Of course it isn't. I'm not sure what it is. It hasn't happened yet -- the hysterectomy -- but it will happen. It has to happen, said the good doctor, and he even wondered why it hadn't happened sooner.
I feel as if I will be losing something precious. It is a part of my womanhood, after all. But it is something that I have never really used. Not really. Not in the way that other women have. And it seems almost ridiculous to say it but I do feel a sense of loss. But how can I miss something that I never had? I have never experienced pregnancy. I have never experienced childbirth. I have never experienced motherhood. But I will miss it. Believe me, I will miss it.
Many years ago, not long after I was married, I remember wanting to resume ballet classes -- again as an adult beginner -- but then I wondered, what if I got pregnant? Should I even begin dance classes again? If I started dancing again, and my pregnancy interrupted it, what then?
Such a quandary I was in.
I was such a fool.
Have I danced since then? Not really, no. The passion that once consumed me had apparently cooled a little. There were other pursuits in life, other dreams to dream about. Life happened, as they say. And some dreams, as important as they once seemed to be, just fell by the wayside.
One night, some time ago, I dreamed that I was dancing and it was exhilarating as I executed a pirouette. It was almost perfect. And it was wonderful.
My body has changed, in more ways than one. And I never thought that I would return to dancing again. Not that I was such a faithful ballet student. I was a late starter, an adult beginner at seventeen years of age. And even then, I thought that the most wonderful thing in the world was to be a professional ballet dancer. I even held on to that most unrealistic dream for a while. Did I have the disposition for it? Not really. Of course I daydreamed that I did for that was all part of the fantasy. And it was a most wonderful fantasy for a while.
I sometimes wondered if I would ever return to ballet classes again. There was a time when I would watch a ballet performance on television and actually felt bored by it. I wondered how that could be for didn't I used to find it all so fascinating?
No doubt I had some growing up to do where my ballet aspirations were concerned. After my marriage, I didn't do serious ballet classes again. Neither did I become a mother.
But since the news of the upcoming hysterectomy, things have changed somewhat. Or maybe things started changing even before the news. For there are things to do, places to go, people to see. Well, things to do, anyway. Growing older does something to you. There comes a point when you go, Wake up! Before it's too late! And for some things, it is too late.
The other day, I went walking with my dogs in our backyard. It was nice. It was calm. Then I thought of what I would be losing and I started to sob. And then I was all right again. Perhaps it's all part of being a woman. And God knows that I'm sometimes ruled by my emotions. They come and then they go. Just like that.
I will never conceive a child in my womb. I will never experience childbirth. I will never experience what many other women experience. And there are women who experience it so naturally, even easily. How do they do it? I've often wondered that. I never used to, of course, not until recently. I was a foster mother once for two brief months to a fifteen-year-old boy. But that doesn't count, of course. It was an interesting experience, that was true, but what is two months compared to raising a child from infancy to adulthood? There is no comparison at all and I applaud all you mothers. If you are a mother and you are reading this, God bless you for all that you do, if that doesn't sound too cliched.
I will miss something that I have never had. I grieve for something that I will never have. There, I said it again. I had to. It helps to write this down, you know. It is vague and uncertain, yet as real as the morning sun and the air that I breathe.
One door will close for good. It has been decided for me. And that's okay. It has to be. But there are other doors still to be opened, other dreams to pursue ... again. Surely there must be, and of course there are.
For in my dreams, I danced... And I will dance again.