Sometimes I think to myself, “How did I get here?” Then the pain hits and I remember…it’s because she’s gone. I now live in a new town, go to a new school, and I’m supposed to be moving on with my new life. Only, I no longer know who I am anymore. Dancing is all I have left and every day I feel completely alone. Silence has become the theme song to my life. She said to find some joy and light, but I don’t know how. Mostly, I feel surrounded in darkness…that is until I meet him.
I have only one goal, in 298 days I’m going to drive away from this small beach town and never return. People are always watching me closely, too close, and I’m tired of wearing a mask. I need to be free. Swimming is my ticket out of here and I remind myself daily to fly under the radar, stick to my routine, and under no circumstances let anything distract me. I’m not as perfect as they think, most days I am drowning in guilt. I’m not sure I will ever be able to escape the feelings of shame, worthlessness, and just being unwanted…that is until I meet her.
“All right, let’s get started. Most of the time if someone is to ask you to describe yourself you would say that you’re a dancer, correct?”
I nod my head.
“Well, we want you to describe who you are, but leave the dancing out.”
I look at each of the eight faculty members and feel my heart rate pick up. They don’t waste any time trying to get to the core of me and of all the questions they could have asked, I don’t know how to best answer this question.
“If I remove the dancing element of my life, I don’t know who I am. I think that this is an evolving question because life changes so much, and so often that these changes can have an impact on who you are or who you think you are. If you had asked me this question one year ago, my answer would definitely be different than what it will be one year from now. Who am I today? I’m girl who is trying to follow her dreams.” This must not have been the kind of answer they’re looking for because each of them just stare at me. I straighten my back, pull down my shoulders, and smile while looking at each of them eye to eye.
“Perhaps you could elaborate on this a little bit more for us. What changes have taken place in your life to make you feel like you don’t know who you are?”
“My mother died.” All eight of them put their pens down and look up at me.
“Two hundred and three days ago. August second.”