I was in a discussion with q friend recently where she stated that she believed her cheerleading background to be more.athletic than my 12 years of classical ballet training with a nationally known instructor.

I fought that argument with 2 words: pointe shoes.

I was obsessed with dancing en pointe from an early age. It was so beautiful.

When they finally told me I was ready, I was so excited that I made my mom take me shopping that day.

At my first real class en pointe, I beamed with pride because of all us beginners, she called me out for having the best feet.

Of course I did. I practiced the whole summer before on my own.

For those of you unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, pointe shoes are ballet slippers with wooden toes that allow you to truly dance on the tips of your toes. You’re not supposed to (or allowed to, at least by my old teacher) do this until you’re around 12 years old, your feet have finished growing, and you’ve demonstrated that they’re strong enough to handle it through proper technique.

In other words, it was kind of a big deal.

It was also incredibly hard work. To even wear the shoes, I had to wrap my toes in gauze, pull tights over it, and put plastic padding in them. I got crap from other girls who didn’t use the plastic. But I also saw them lose toenails and that was something I never had to deal with.

My most favorite moment was dancing in the dream ballet of a performance of Oklahoma. Picture a flowing white dress, dry ice, and beautiful music.

Pique turn, pique turn, pique, pique, pique turn, arabesque.

It was hard, yes, but it was just so beautiful.

I was so happy.

Fast forward.

Last year, I saw a production of Oklahoma with the original Agnes de Milled choreography.

God, it was beautiful.

And then I remembered my feet.

I have a lot of work to do, yes.

But since being diagnosed with RA, I’ve ran many 5K’s. I’ve hiked. I’ve done a ropes course.  I’ve conquered fears and anxieties and walked myself out of toxic relationships, bad jobs, and into new situations and cities that are pretty scary to me.

But even in failure, my feet have been unfailing.

I’ve always gotten myself to better, more beautiful places.

So yeah, RA and all… I’m pretty damn proud of these feet.

One response »

  1. How I envy you! My feet were one the the first areas where my RA hit when I was 16. I haven’t been able to run in nearly 20 years. Nowadays, I’m just happy to be able to walk. Ankle replacements are looming in the very near future, followed by knees not long after that. I would advise you to keep doing your exercising as much as possible, since it can keep your muscles strong and help minimize problems in the joints. You’re fortunate that today’s meds are so much better than the plain old aspirin they gave me when I got RA 30 years ago.

    Oh, and I agree 100% that there is very little that can compare to the beauty of ballet. They always make it look so easy, but you know better. I always wanted to do ballet when I was little, but even then, I didn’t have the feet for it 🙂

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