Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Quitting Ballet and Finding Out We’re Living A Fairytale

In seventh grade, my best friend was a girl named Gillian. I didn’t like the way her name was spelled, and for a long time, I didn’t like her. We’d been in ballet class together for years. She loved it, and I hated it. And, because life works that way, I was more natural with it than she was.

“You’re lucky,” she said. Being double-jointed, I can do the the turn-outs and turn-ins, but have never felt comfortable following the instructor’s prompt to “Just do a free-form dance across the floor! It’ll be fun!”

Fun? I’d have rather put staples in my toenails than dance across the floor with all of the class watching.

Gillian though…she thrived on those free-form moves; a natural performer. I got from A to B as quickly as possible, usually with a lame little sashay from corner to corner joking my way through.

“She’s got real talent,” the teacher told my mom, who didn’t need further encouragement in her dream of me becoming a ballerina. “Don’t be so shy. Just dance,” Mom said, as if we can fix things like shyness and not-good-enoughness in our heads at the age of twelve. As if we can fix them ever.

The summer after my mom had me do ballet class twice a day, I swallowed my shame. “I quit, Mom. I hate it.” Her tears were the only thing I felt badly about.

Somehow, losing ballet and not liking the spelling of my friend’s name evolved into friendship with Gillian.

She continued ballet. Dreamt of dancing and of making fairy tales real. She was Snow White in the recital.

I never looked back at ballet. Gillian’s friendship gifted me with a love of cold pizza.

Seventh grade was awkward - findingninee.com

***

One day, I remembered what I knew as a little girl. Witches and bad guys were real. Gillian laughingly told me that my crush, a boy named Curtis, said that he and his friends would follow me home one afternoon to gang rape me. She, giggling, “Curtis so has a crush on you!”

We weren’t friends after that.

The rest of that year, and part of the next, I hid after school so that Gillian and I wouldn’t be walking home at the same time.  So that Curtis and his friends wouldn’t have an opportunity.

That was the year of my nightmare. A tiny, pointed cartoon-character of a man with a knife chased me up the stairs. I ran up to a hallway of closed doors.

Woke screaming. Wishing I had fairytale powers.

I wished to be a fairytale creature with invisibility, or strength, or anything at all.  

I didn’t see Gillian or Curtis much after the nothing coming from any of it other than a love of cold pizza.

***

Finding Ninee Tucker I have abilities - findingninee.com

“I have abilities! Just look at me balance!”

“I have abilities!”

My son told me to close my eyes as he whisked himself to another spot in the room. “Open your eyes!” he said, “You won’t believe where I am!”

“How did you move from here to there so quickly?” I asked.

“Well, I have abilities,” he replied. “They’re super-human. Like a hero. You know – a fairy tale.”

“They are,” I answered, and thought about the abilities I had as a kid. About the witch under my bed who could only move as much as I did. How I had abilities then, too.

Jumping Out of Bed To Pee with Witch underneath

***

“It might be autism,” they said. “Speaking will be a lifelong challenge for him.”

I didn’t fall to my knees. I didn’t cry.

“Okay. What should we do? We’ll do whatever it takes.”

Afraid, I hadn’t yet realized that my little boy is a superhero, a mythical creature, a fairytale waiting to unfold. He makes the world lighter with his silly grin, his dumb jokes, and his balancing acts that show his abilities.

Because of him, I’m kinda a superhero fairytale creature as well.

***

Although, I still think there’s something to having the ability to bop the people of the planet on the head with empathy, or create a world in which empathy and wonder rule

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where writers gather to finish the same sentence prompt. This week’s sentence is “If I were a fairy tale creature…”
Hosts:
Me (Finding Ninee)
Julie (Velvet Rose) and this week’s sentence thinker-upper
Vidya (Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles)

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  • Janine Huldie - Aw, you most certainly are a super hero in my book and definitely think your powers are amazing, as are you, Kristi! 😉October 9, 2015 – 2:19 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, you most certainly are a super hero in my book and definitely think your powers are amazing, as are you, Kristi! 😉October 9, 2015 – 2:19 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, you most certainly are a super hero in my book and definitely think your powers are amazing, as are you, Kristi! 😉October 9, 2015 – 2:19 amReplyCancel

  • Vidya Sury - You are a fairy tale creature, Kristi. Your words are magical and thought-provoking (and induce tears…for me at least – which is crazy because my Mom always complained about how rarely I cried.)

    Gillian was NOT a nice friend even if you look at the cold-pizza-silver-lining.I had a similar experience with learning music, except I did enjoy the music, but not the teacher or my classmates who always made fun of me. (I was so short!)

    My son went to karate class and hated it…but stuck to it for three years because he didn’t want us to “feel bad”…until they started nunchuck and sparring training sessions when he finally got the courage to say so…via a letter to my Mom who was in hospital at the time.

    Life is strange. And I love how, in spite of everythng, we keep meeting angels! I am with you on wanting to bop people over the head bit. Hugs and love – Tucker is a Champ! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen your videos of him on Facebook. ♥October 9, 2015 – 2:33 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw Vidya, you are so kind. Thank you. I’m sorry about the tears, though! And yeah, I think Gillian wasn’t a good friend, although looking back, maybe that was just the way of 12year old girls and jealousy and the funny strange relationships between seventh graders.
      I don’t like that your teacher and/or classmates made fun of you for being short! Not nice! And wow to your son not liking karate for three years… sigh. Thank goodness he finally told your mom!
      I love how we keep meeting angels as well and here’s to us bopping the world on its head with empathy! And yeah, Tucker’s a total champ 🙂
      I hope you have a great weekend! xoOctober 9, 2015 – 9:39 amReplyCancel

  • Julie Smeltzer - Aww, wishing to have special abilities – don’t we all, especially as children. Even now I wish I could teleport, cause driving places isn’t fun. Agree with Janine, you’re quite the superhero anyway 🙂October 9, 2015 – 3:08 amReplyCancel

  • Julie Smeltzer - Aww, wishing to have special abilities – don’t we all, especially as children. Even now I wish I could teleport, cause driving places isn’t fun. Agree with Janine, you’re quite the superhero anyway 🙂October 9, 2015 – 3:08 amReplyCancel

  • Julie Smeltzer - Aww, wishing to have special abilities – don’t we all, especially as children. Even now I wish I could teleport, cause driving places isn’t fun. Agree with Janine, you’re quite the superhero anyway 🙂October 9, 2015 – 3:08 amReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Gosh your friend was a bully!
    It sure is traumatizing to have been followed…
    Admire your spirits though, you took it in the right stride and a yay to you!
    xoxoOctober 9, 2015 – 4:49 amReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Gosh your friend was a bully!
    It sure is traumatizing to have been followed…
    Admire your spirits though, you took it in the right stride and a yay to you!
    xoxoOctober 9, 2015 – 4:49 amReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Gosh your friend was a bully!
    It sure is traumatizing to have been followed…
    Admire your spirits though, you took it in the right stride and a yay to you!
    xoxoOctober 9, 2015 – 4:49 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - I’m glad you stayed away from Gillian – I don’t think she sounds like she was a very good friend to you. But I DO think you’re more of a fairytale super-hero than you think, because you HAVE changed the world for T, and you continue to do so for everyone else’s sake, too.

    Sorry your mom wanted you to do ballet and you hated it. I’ve never ever been a dancer-y type, and I think the thought of having to dance in front of a class of my peers would have traumatised me completely. I was never taken to any kind of class as a kid – not only was there the money factor, but also that I was a stubborn, ornery kind of child, and my parents didn’t want to have the battles each time I decided I inevitably didn’t want to go…upshot: I didn’t learn to dance, but it was ok, because Mandi was entirely too drunk to feel me stepping on her toes at that Mexican restaurant 😉October 9, 2015 – 6:06 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - I’m glad you stayed away from Gillian – I don’t think she sounds like she was a very good friend to you. But I DO think you’re more of a fairytale super-hero than you think, because you HAVE changed the world for T, and you continue to do so for everyone else’s sake, too.

    Sorry your mom wanted you to do ballet and you hated it. I’ve never ever been a dancer-y type, and I think the thought of having to dance in front of a class of my peers would have traumatised me completely. I was never taken to any kind of class as a kid – not only was there the money factor, but also that I was a stubborn, ornery kind of child, and my parents didn’t want to have the battles each time I decided I inevitably didn’t want to go…upshot: I didn’t learn to dance, but it was ok, because Mandi was entirely too drunk to feel me stepping on her toes at that Mexican restaurant 😉October 9, 2015 – 6:06 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - I’m glad you stayed away from Gillian – I don’t think she sounds like she was a very good friend to you. But I DO think you’re more of a fairytale super-hero than you think, because you HAVE changed the world for T, and you continue to do so for everyone else’s sake, too.

    Sorry your mom wanted you to do ballet and you hated it. I’ve never ever been a dancer-y type, and I think the thought of having to dance in front of a class of my peers would have traumatised me completely. I was never taken to any kind of class as a kid – not only was there the money factor, but also that I was a stubborn, ornery kind of child, and my parents didn’t want to have the battles each time I decided I inevitably didn’t want to go…upshot: I didn’t learn to dance, but it was ok, because Mandi was entirely too drunk to feel me stepping on her toes at that Mexican restaurant 😉October 9, 2015 – 6:06 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - What a terrible thing to say to you, “Gang rape.” Did we even know what that meant in the 7th grade? I’m can imagine how scary the thought was which probably had everything to do with the nightmare that followed.

    Love Tucker’s pose.

    And as for your picture, it’s adorable. I’m going to imagine that you’re NOT wearing Penny Loafers with actual pennies in them. LOL!October 9, 2015 – 8:02 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I know Kenya, right? I have to wonder if she knew what it was. I’m not sure that I did but I remember being scared so I must have had an idea. I have to believe she didn’t know how mean that was to say… but who knows.
      LOL to the Penny Loafers! With a real penny in them! It would have been either those or my Top Siders (remember those? LOL).October 9, 2015 – 9:41 amReplyCancel

  • Allie - Um, Gillian sounds like a whack-a-doo! I say good riddance. I also had a similar relationship with the violin (that you did with ballet). And I love the clever quips that come out of your mini-super hero’s mouth. “I have abilities” – I want that on a bumper sticker!October 9, 2015 – 8:18 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yeah, she really does, huh? Although I do have to wonder whether she really knew what she was saying. I’m sure she would be horrified now… And yes to “I have abilities!” on a bumper sticker!October 9, 2015 – 9:46 amReplyCancel

  • Emily - I love your varied trains of thought for this prompt…I quit ballet too – disliked it intensely. I eventually moved on to tennis lessons, which I still play today (although my skill level has pretty much stayed the same.:)) And my Little Dude? He loves cold pizza too.October 9, 2015 – 10:06 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Little Dude loves cold pizza? One more thing that makes that kid simply awesome! And I’ll bet you’d kick my butt at tennis (and glad I’m not the only one to have hated ballet).October 9, 2015 – 10:50 amReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - “Well, I have abilities,” he replied. “They’re super-human. Like a hero. You know – a fairy tale.”

    LOVE.October 9, 2015 – 12:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I know right? He’s getting so much more articulate with what he means. I love it. I hope you’re having a great weekend!October 11, 2015 – 9:36 amReplyCancel

  • Tamara - That’s.. horrifying! Curtis and Gillian. Ugh! I wonder what ever became of them.

    I quit dance after five years. I had the body and the double-jointed-ness, but nothing else. Literally nothing.October 9, 2015 – 12:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - UGH I know! Who knows what became of them. I just know they’re not around here. LOL to literally nothing. Ditto.October 11, 2015 – 10:00 amReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - I think we all have super-powers in a way.October 9, 2015 – 5:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - I think we all have super-powers in a way.October 9, 2015 – 5:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - I think we all have super-powers in a way.October 9, 2015 – 5:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandra - I want to hate you a little bit for being a gifted ballerina, but your personality won me over a long time ago, so I’ll let the whole “gifted” thing go. And I don’t like the name Gillian spelled that way too. And Curtis? Really? WTF? Say that shit to my kid nowadays and that kid would have my foot up his ass.October 9, 2015 – 8:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Well gifted ballerina is a total non-starter. Gifted at being able to do the butterfly pose on the floor and turn out my feet? Ok. That’s about it though! Yay to not liking Gillian spelled that way too. It’s like Gilligan right? Curtis sucks and yeah, anybody says that shit to your kid, I’ll help you kick his butt.October 11, 2015 – 10:04 amReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - I love your stories. Gillian sounds like a bitch (not fond of the name, either). I think you’re a super hero mom! <3October 9, 2015 – 10:46 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Marcia! And yeah, I guess she was a bitch although I didn’t see it at the time. And I give her a little of the “12 year old girls are awful people” break.October 11, 2015 – 10:05 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - I always enjoy reading about Tucker’s abilities. They’re growing and getting better, just as Tucker is growing and getting better. It’s fun watching the pictures you post of him trying new things and enjoying life to the fullest! I can actually see you as a dancer. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it but you’re expressing your natural artistic talent in other ways nowadays!October 10, 2015 – 9:24 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - I always enjoy reading about Tucker’s abilities. They’re growing and getting better, just as Tucker is growing and getting better. It’s fun watching the pictures you post of him trying new things and enjoying life to the fullest! I can actually see you as a dancer. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it but you’re expressing your natural artistic talent in other ways nowadays!October 10, 2015 – 9:24 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - I always enjoy reading about Tucker’s abilities. They’re growing and getting better, just as Tucker is growing and getting better. It’s fun watching the pictures you post of him trying new things and enjoying life to the fullest! I can actually see you as a dancer. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it but you’re expressing your natural artistic talent in other ways nowadays!October 10, 2015 – 9:24 amReplyCancel

  • Crumpets and Bollocks - I remember an incident where some guy was trying to form a gang rape on me, and it just makes you feel horrible. I’m glad you managed to make it through, and I hope Gillian found Jesus since all this.October 10, 2015 – 11:30 amReplyCancel

  • Crumpets and Bollocks - I remember an incident where some guy was trying to form a gang rape on me, and it just makes you feel horrible. I’m glad you managed to make it through, and I hope Gillian found Jesus since all this.October 10, 2015 – 11:30 amReplyCancel

  • Crumpets and Bollocks - I remember an incident where some guy was trying to form a gang rape on me, and it just makes you feel horrible. I’m glad you managed to make it through, and I hope Gillian found Jesus since all this.October 10, 2015 – 11:30 amReplyCancel

  • Mimi - I loved all the different vignettes in here. Glad you got rid of Gillian & Curtis. And so glad you have your little man who provides you both with a world of fairy tales and super powers. Although you’ve got those on your own too. 😉 glad I finally linked up before it all became a pumpkin at midnight. XOOctober 11, 2015 – 2:17 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Mimi! I’m so glad to have him too… and aw! You’re so sweet! Also just fyi, I usually leave the linkie code live until Sunday around noon but nobody ever knows that…but I’m glad you made it in before pumpkin-time! I hope you have a great Sunday!October 11, 2015 – 10:06 amReplyCancel

  • Dana - I wonder what Gillian would say if she read this now? It’s amazing how sometimes the things that are so meaningful to us are completely forgotten by others.

    Gwen took dance once. When it was time to sign her up for summer camps, she said she would do anything but dance. And that was the end of her dancing career.October 11, 2015 – 10:49 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I wondered that too Dana. Like, a lot. But honestly, maybe she was just being 12, and insecure like we are at 12 and forever, and who knows. Also LOVE that Gwen said “anything but dance.”October 12, 2015 – 10:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Eli J. Pacheco - I mean, it’s GILL-ee-un. It’s just not right. Like, Nichole. That’s NITCH-ohl. But I digress.

    So many people impact our lives and some of them are boxes of dark, Kristi. They can’t be avoided. But it makes me so much more appreciative of the boxes of light that expell that darkness.October 13, 2015 – 4:56 amReplyCancel

  • Eli J. Pacheco - I mean, it’s GILL-ee-un. It’s just not right. Like, Nichole. That’s NITCH-ohl. But I digress.

    So many people impact our lives and some of them are boxes of dark, Kristi. They can’t be avoided. But it makes me so much more appreciative of the boxes of light that expell that darkness.October 13, 2015 – 4:56 amReplyCancel

  • Eli J. Pacheco - I mean, it’s GILL-ee-un. It’s just not right. Like, Nichole. That’s NITCH-ohl. But I digress.

    So many people impact our lives and some of them are boxes of dark, Kristi. They can’t be avoided. But it makes me so much more appreciative of the boxes of light that expell that darkness.October 13, 2015 – 4:56 amReplyCancel

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