An Unlikely Ballerina

I admit to not knowing a whole lot about Misty Copeland. But after watching the segment of “Dear…” on Apple TV+, which profiled Ms. Copeland, I wanted to learn more. 

Recently I read her memoir Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina and was left in awe of her talent, her spirit, her poise.

I’ve never read ballet described quite this way:

“Ballets are just stylized versions of these seemingly basic movements on a grand scale. If the basic strength and elegance of a barre class is like slipping on a little black dress, the challenge of dancing a full three-act ballet is like learning to accessorize for any occasion.” 

Though we may appear to be vastly different, there were also several passages I read that made me feel as if Ms. Copeland was writing about a younger version of myself.

“I was a nervous child. And my unease, coupled with a perpetual quest for perfection, made my life much harder than it needed to be.
“I think I was born worried. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t feel some kind of anxiety, especially in school, and my panic would begin from the moment I woke up, fretting that I would be late to homeroom, until I came back home in the early evening. I was just nervous about life, period. I felt awkward, as if I didn’t fit in anywhere, and I lived in constant fear of letting my mother down, or my teachers, or myself.”

“When I was a little girl, I lived in terror of being judged, of letting others down. I was the people pleaser.”

I really thought the only thing Misty Copeland and I would have in common was the fact we both grew up in Southern California. Reading her book made me realize there’s more to it than that. 

And this is one of the reasons why I read as much as I do. This powerful feeling of connection and understanding.

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