The art of dance. Ballet. Tap. When I was about 6 years old, I absolutely hated my name. Asking my Mom over and over why she picked this stupid name and how do I change it? How old do I have to be? Can you just call me something else? Puh-leeeeze?? It worked out weird for me and my sister...neither of us use our given first names so we go by, and have aways gone by, our middle names. And, to make it more confusing for a little kid, my middle name was too long to write, so it was shortened to a nick name. Any idea how tough that was on the first day of school? I still find myself trying to explain why I am called a name that isn't even any of my names. I think I have more issues with this than I realized.....
Ballet and Tap. I lived for it. Dreamed of being a famous dancer named "Tina the Ballerina". I would have a beautiful, sparkly pink tutu and dance all over the world. When I was in dance class, I told my teacher of my dream....every. single. class. She would always smile and tell me I was cute, which to me meant I would soon be Tina the Ballerina for real!
I loved everything about it. The costumes. The shoes. The music. My Mom bought the Nutcracker so I could hum along and practice, practice, practice.
I went to class every Saturday just knowing that I was the best. I mean, really. Who looked better? No one. Who danced better? No one. I was always in the front row and the teacher asked me to repeat steps just to show the other girls how it was done. We were getting ready for the recital. I asked the teacher if she would put me in the program as Tina. She said she would...I was Tina!!
The Saturday before the recital, the teacher asked my Mom if she could speak to her in private for just a minute. I raced to the car with my head full of tutus, ballet shoes and crowds of people throwing roses at me...Tina the Ballerina. My Mom came out to the car and she was crying her eyes out. What...was she so happy that I was chosen to be the star dancer that tears of joy were pouring out of her?
At this point, I have lost all memory of exactly what happened next. I only remember getting home and running to my room in tears....and I remember that this was my last dance class. Seems that Ms." I should be a Rockette or something" had told my Mom that there was no place for me in the recital. She asked my Mom not to bring me back to class..any class..because my dancing was so out of whack that I was a distraction to the rest of the class. Cruel. Mean. Not Nice. All this time, I believed I was just the best thing ever and I guess I was really like this:
I was heartbroken and so very sad for about a day. It's amazing how resilient kids are. I bounced right back and decided I wanted to open a restaurant. I still hated my name and constantly asked how to change it and when could I change it, but I got over that, too!
So...all of this leads to what? Be nice to little kids. Don't squash their dreams. Let them dance. There is a Tina in all of us....don't lose her. ;)