When I was younger, I took ballet lessons. I remember the feel of the wooden pole under my palm. Knees shaking as I tried to maintain my balance—an un-easy task, for a little girl with Asperger’s Syndrome and the motor skill/coordination difficulties that accompanied it.
I don’t think I ever fully mastered the dance. I watched the other girls—imitating, approximating, but never quite the same. My movements were clumsy, awkward. Where they glided, I wobbled. Where they leaped, I jumped, only to come crashing down moments later, shoved by gravity’s forceful hand.
A strange thought: My parents almost named me Grace. What a misnomer that would have been.
It didn’t really end up mattering anyway, because I had no choice but to quit ballet a few years later.
The tights were too itchy.
Maybe that was why I could never move like them—because my legs were choking in a polyester-nylon prison. Because whatever was happening inside this spastic little girl, it couldn’t be contained by a black leotard. Or because “almost grace” isn’t graceful enough.
At least I still get to enjoy the feel of a wood pole in my palm.