Pink Salvation

Image struggles of a young woman.

My first pair of pink, satin toe shoes mesmerized me. I was struck by the smoothness of the satin and the beautiful ribbon that would wrap around my leg. Fear became a prominent thought because I wondered how this delicate shoe would hold all of me.

You see, I wasn’t the typical ballet dancer. Weight was a struggle for me and as a child my parents made sure that “active” was my middle name. Dance and ice skating kept the weight off, but I was no string bean. The thought of my beautiful toe shoe giving way as I propelled all of my body weight onto my toes was frightening.

My concerns were never realistic. The toe shoes held my being and I was propelled into dreaming of being a ballerina. My perception has always been distorted, so realistically that was not in my destiny, but at the time it took my mind off of my weight issue. I danced a couple of times a week and loved watching myself in the mirror during dance class. The reflection was of a graceful, sleek dancer that glided across the room with incredible ease. The reality was a chubby preteen struggling to look the part.

I didn’t care what others thought. For me, the only way for me to shed my incredibly bad body image was to escape and my pink toe shoes gave me the ability to leap into my fantasy world.

I remember in 7th grade I decided to enter the school talent show to display my dancing ability. The song that I have picked was Music Box Dancer. To this day, I still remember my routine. Fearless and confident, I danced in front of my school feeling one with my being. My pink toe shoes lifted my soul and fed my spirit. With those shoes, I was not the chubby girl who needed to stay active. I was

Allison, the beautiful ballerina, who danced with grace. I don’t remember anything else about that day. Kids could have been cruel or I could have stumbled, but my memory only holds the feeling I felt as I danced.

While the dream of dancing the part of Clara in The Nutcracker never evolved and the time line of when ballet was no longer apart of my life is fuzzy. I still have my worn, tattered pink toe shoes. They represent my inner beauty that took flight on the outside. Through dance, I was able to express what I hope to be as a person. A graceful, beautiful woman that accepts herself for who and what she is and what she will become. Today, my pink toe shoes don’t fit, but I can still leap into life and feel the spirit inside of me soar.

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  1. This is a nicely done memoir. All of us need something that takes us out of reality sometimes and lets the beauty inside show. Good points.

  2. This brought back my own memories of all the ideas I tried on as a child that led me to be the woman I am today. I also have my pink ballet shoes and remember my first recital, yet more over my fondest memories are of being under the dining room table in a “tent” reading with the world removed and me in fantasy. What fun this article is to bring us back to those memories.

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