One of the most remarkable things about my ballet journey has been that I’ve met such an amazingly diverse group of people. We may not have anything else in common, but ballet is the common link that holds us together. Making friends is not easy for me (bad social skills and anxiety related) as I’ve mentioned once or a hundred times, so having the icebreaker of ballet has really helped me so far as interpersonal communication is concerned.
That said, there are drawbacks. For a person as annoyingly suggestible or impressionable (or whatever the word-which-I-don’t-know-and-am-to-lazy-to-scour-a-thesaurus-for) as me, it can mean that I often come close to feeling like I’m losing myself – those things that set me apart, that make me me. Sometimes it’s seemingly easier to go with the group – even if it’s against your own beliefs – and then beat myself up about it afterwards, in solitude. I’ve always had an exceptionally hard time standing up for myself, and I find it really hard to say “no” to people, especially if I feel that my saying “no” will upset them (and then they won’t like me, and I’m already weird enough as it is that I don’t need to give even more reasons. Yes, I’m aware that made me sound like I’m in grade school, but if you can’t be honest on your own blog, where can you?…). Often, I put other’s interests before my own, and then end up feeling emotionally drained.
But – and this is a big but(t) (haha) – I’ve promised myself that I will work on it. And I have, little baby steps at a time. So what does this have to do with a ballet skirt? Plenty, as far as baby steps go.
For our upcoming show, we need to partially provide our own costumes (mostly consisting of a particular style or color of leotard, and I’m able to use ones I already have), except for the tutus which the school owns. For one of the pieces, we need a skirt. Not actually having a ballet skirt previous to this, I started to stress about it. Some classmates began to discuss having custom skirts made just for the show, which I did not want to go for. The worst thing I could think of was spending all this money and getting something new that I would only wear once and then relegate to the closet. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal to people – most people, perhaps – but it is to me, just one of my many “quirks”. Besides the ballet class budget is tight enough without factoring in any unnecessary expenses.
Inspiration struck. I decided I would make the skirt, using my friend’s as a pattern. I hit the thrift store, and was fortunate to find what looked like a curtain, made of a similar sheer material as the skirt for about two bucks. Even though I have no sewing machine, I’m skilled (and patient, surprisingly) enough to be able to hand sew something together, especially when it’s a pretty straightforward project.
And it was fairly straighforward – I laid the curtain over the skirt, pinned it together around the perimeter, cut the curtain to shape, and sewed some black ribbon I had around the waist for the waistband. Easy, if not a bit time consuming.
To be fair, I’m not the best person at noticing details, but once it’s on I find it hard to tell the difference between the original version and mine (I actually can’t tell from the pictures which is which, though I do realize they look slightly different). My first handmade skirt ever – I’m pretty proud of myself. Also proud of myself for coming up with an outside-the-box solution and not letting myself get walked all over. I’d told myself I need to figure out better way of solving my problems (than giving in to pressure and then getting upset later) if I plan to continue ballet. (Not trying to sound like I’m picking on ballet, just that it’s the only activity I do that actually requires specialized clothing at times, so that tends to fuel my guilt. Long story, and beyond the scope of this blog…)
Anyway, yay, $2 ballet skirt!