Finding my “thing”, finding myself

“That’s crazy how ballet is your thing,” my boyfriend remarked the other night as we spent a quiet evening at home.
“Hmmmmm?” I responded, my eyes transfixed on my tablet screen.
“You like ballet, that’s your thing,” he gestured to the screen. “I mean, it’s cool what they’re doing, but I don’t think I can appreciate it as much as you do.”
There was a pause before I answered, a self-reflective pause. “You’re right, it is crazy,” I acknowledged.
The crazy part is not the actual liking (more like loving) of ballet, obviously. I mean, what is there not to like? The beautiful music, at times slow and inspirational, at times dramatic and lively; the dancer’s strength, agility, grace, the way they fly through the air, just talent; the wide variety of colorful and at times very elaborate costumes. I believe there is definitely something for everyone in ballet, provided they actually give it a chance.
The reason for my boyfriend’s comment was that when we met, 12 years ago, he (and I) would have never imagined that I would develop this ballet obsession. It would have been completely out of character. Allow me to explain.
As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t take any ballet lessons at all as a little girl. What I haven’t mentioned before is that I was a bit of a tomboy. I mostly hung around with boys and for fun we played outdoors like boys. Once I hit puberty and instead of playing wanted to date some boys, things got complicated. Since I had no female friends, I never learned how to do things like pick out clothes or flirt. But from somewhere I got the idea that boys liked it if girls had stuff in common with them. I could do that!
So from that point I decided to mostly be into “guy stuff”, or whatever I presumed “guy stuff” to be: cars, loud music, action movies, wrestling, etc.
I did this for so long that I actually convinced myself that I was actually into those things. That was the girl my boyfriend met.
Once in my late 20’s I realized that I didn’t actually enjoy most of those things. Not only that, I realized that I had been repressing my true self for so long that I had forgotten what I was really like. I began my journey of self-discovery and found that for the first time since I was a child I could actually find joy in the simple things. I discovered I liked gardening, cooking, playing slow songs on the guitar.
But then I found ballet and it was the most incredible feeling ever! Because, even though I had never tried it before, it felt like returning to myself. It felt as though this was what I had been looking for for so long, but I hadn’t even realized that I had been in the middle of a search. When I do ballet, I feel like I’m being real, like it’s the closest to being myself that I can ever be.
I feel that ballet has given me the strength to express myself as I am, instead of wanting to be anyone else. Because it doesn’t stop at ballet, I discovered. I find that I have more confidence to try out things that I would have previously not given a chance to, just because they did not fit into the mold that I was trying to force myself to fit into.
So I can totally understand what he means by “it’s crazy you like ballet”. But the most awesome part is that I realize I don’t care because, crazy or not, I’m being myself.

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