Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reasons to Smile

Sometimes, as a ballerina dancer, you have difficult days. Maybe your feet are bleeding/peeling/developing weird bumps resembling small mountains. Maybe your calves have suddenly shot up into your knees, and maybe your butt feels like someone with very big arm muscles has been using it as a punching bag for the last week. Maybe you wore a crappy leotard today, and your pointe shoes felt even more alien than usual, and your body is completely ignoring your brain's orders for it to perform unnatural feats with the greatest of ease and grace. Maybe your brain needs a clean-up crew to come in and sort things out. Doesn't matter. Because if you look really hard, or even just take a quick peek, things aren't that bad. Observe:

1. You have all of your limbs...and they function. Seeing terribly wounded soldiers, home from Afghanistan missing a leg (or both), doing Pilates rehab in the gym at the theatre--and with a wonderful sense of humor and incredible determination--reminds you of how lucky you are.

2. You have a beautiful flat, in a quiet, central Copenhagen neighborhood. If you open your windows you can literally hear amusement park sounds. You might live in a postcard.

3. You get paid to do what you love, and you have loved doing it since you were six. How many people not only hold on to their childhood ballerina dream, but then get to live it out, to a pretty sweet extent? (Hint: The answer is, "Not many; you're lucky.")

4. You have an iPhone. This is just sort of nice to have.

5. Your friends are true, and wonderful. It's rare to find people in whom you can honestly and fully confide, and who get your left-of-center sense of humor, and who will let you sit on their couch and cry about stupid things for hours. Keep these people in your life. They're healthy. Healthy things are often good for your skin, too.

6. You have a legitimately large bathroom, which has a showerhead quite far from the sink, and with good water pressure. This is a huge blessing. Also, at the theatre, you have the Magical Sauna.

7. You have daily, nearly-instant communication with your family (especially your best friend aka Dad), thanks to the advances of modern technology. Specifically, Steve Jobs. So even though you're far away, in the land of Vikings and Carlsberg, you can still sort of cry on Dad or Mom's shoulder. And by "cry on Dad or Mom's shoulder," I mean "cry into their ears via your cell phone," but it does the trick.

8. You have P.G Wodehouse, David Sedaris, Milan Kundera, David Lodge, Edward Gorey, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Neil Gaiman...the authors you turn to when things are looking a bit cloudy. They will make you feel instantly snuggly.

9. Related to #8, you have music too: The Strokes, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Prince Billy, the Amelie soundtrack, Arcade Fire, and (when you need to be extremely melodramatic and completely self-indulgent, once every six months or so) Fiona Apple. Blast this music very loud in your ears when you need to.

10. You have pillows! These are excellent to lay on, cry/scream into, throw, hug, and--if they are of the decorative variety--pleasant to look at.

11. You can always have Matilde chocolate milk. Preferably with a slice of toast, perfectly golden and topped with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. The invention of these foods and choice beverage are reasons to smile.

12. You have clothes that you like, and a large collection of fuzzy socks. These are good things to remember when you feel a little bit less than perky. Also good for less than perky is coffee, but that's different.

13. Your current haircut is the easiest "do" you've ever had. Maybe it's not always Vogue-approved, but more often than not, it looks pretty okay and bonus: it takes ten minutes to style. Because ten minutes is about how long it takes you to get out of bed in the morning.

14. You have glitter pens. It doesn't really matter what you write, but filling a blank sheet of paper with sparkly doodles is stunningly gratifying. Just keep this in mind.

15. Your life, at the end of the day, is absofruitly unbelievably fantastic, especially compared to most of the planet. Your family loves you, and they're actually cool; your friends are indescribably fun; your job kicks butt, even when it kicks your butt; you try to live life fully; and just a cherry on top of the cupcake, you get to end most weekdays with Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. So. Things aren't so bad. Soak your feet, have a cry (or a cookie), get some sleep, and do it again--but better--in the morning.

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