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Finding Lost Dreams

Posted on: April 26, 2015 by Naomi M. Pridjian | 9 Comments
Finding Lost Dreams

Finding Lost Dreams

 

 

Dancing Waer Lilies v3c_150

 

Children dream and see magic everywhere. Somewhere along the line we lose this important, primordial element of being. By mid to old age (if we are lucky), we realize that something very important—essential to our sense of true self—got lost along the way, so we start looking for it. The process can take a while. Anything can be pivotal in this journey. For me it was cancer, and the loss of friends and loved ones. The color in my world dimmed for a long time until I found the small, bright thread of a voice I called Beauty. It was my own voice…preserved from the beginning when I knew how to live in dreamtime. It wouldn’t have had a name then, but now I know its name was Pretty.

 

“We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”  ~Joni Mitchell~

 

Many little girls love pretty…like fairy princesses, brides and ballerinas. I don’t know why this is, but it is and so it was when I was a little girl as well. Raising my daughter in the early 1970s, women’s movement I tried to interest her in toys and clothing considered to be unisex, but she wouldn’t have it. She wanted to wear dresses and have pretty things. Her favorite game in nursery school was dress up—favorite dress up was bride or princess. I don’t know if this was encoded in her DNA or if by chance it traveled through time, space and corporeality from my childhood to hers. She didn’t become a princess or ballerina…she became a talented teacher of French, and that’s one of the world’s most beautiful languages, to be sure.

 

Lots of little girls want to be ballerinas these days, but back in the early 1940s, when I was a child, princesses were fairy tales and ballerinas could not be seen on the radio! Yearning to be a mommy, a nurse or teacher was far more common. Today little pink tutus can be purchased at Target, Costco…wherever…and kids can twirl and whirl to their heart’s delight. Back then we whirled and twirled in our best dresses, slips or nighties. Having a little tutu would have been quite unusual. This is not to say that the ballerina thing was totally absent in my time, but it wasn’t as common as wanting to be a fairy princess, a queen or a bride in a white dress.

 

Ballet began at Versailles, 400 years ago in the court of Louis XIV. It remained the province of the nobility and cultural elites until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ballet owes its current popularity and accessibility to the 20th century entertainment media that brought Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty into our living rooms with programs like The Ed Sullivan Show and The Bell Telephone Hour.

 

I don’t know exactly how old I was when lady fairies dancing on their toes, and gentlemen princes soaring through the air, came right through our 12 inch Zenith television set, into my living room, and into my heart. I may have been about 7 or 8 years old when my little girlfriend across the street suggested I ask my mother if I could go to ballet lessons with her. My memory is hazy and those who could help with recall are gone, but I think I must have already seen ballet somewhere, because I dearly wanted to go. My mother didn’t relish the time it would take to get there after school, but with my big sister’s persuasion of the benefits to be gained, we went: my friend and I, and our mothers, traveling an hour each way on the bus. I don’t remember what the class was like, only that I was happy to be going with my little friend.

 

Not long into the class the teacher began preparing us for recital. All the mothers were asked to make matching taffeta dancing dresses (not tutus). They were white with lots of pretty little roses. I loved it and was very excited to wear it and be…pretty.

 

After a couple of months, came the day of the recital. Wearing my pretty little dress and feeling special, I joined all the other little girls on stage. The curtains opened and the music began. What I remember from the point forward is that everyone seemed to know the steps…except me…I was awkwardly trying to follow along. The music stopped, the audience clapped. Thankfully, it was over. My mother was upset, my sister was embarrassed and I was ashamed. I don’t remember conversation during the car ride home. I was quiet, deeply embarrassed, and never asked to go back to ballet class.

 

I cherished that dress for a long time.

 

 

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I was probably about 15 or 16 she I painted the Russian ballerina, Alexandra Danilova, copied from a magazine. My father made the frame from wood moulding trim.

 

Despite the performance failure, the magic of ballet lived on in my fantasy life as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake played enchantingly on the living room console. I reveled in the drama of each passage. As time went on, I collected pictures, made scrapbooks, copied poses from magazines and books, and even wrote a term paper on the history of ballet for a high school english project. I don’t remember when I saw my first ballet performance in a theater, but I do remember one of my sisters taking me to see The Red Shoes at the Fine Arts Theater in the city. When I see this romantic film today, I smile at the effect of dramatic artifice on my teenaged mind, but back in the 1950s, it was all strikingly memorable.

 

 

 

Somewhere in the family photo albums there is a picture of me with the taffeta dress, posing in the back yard. I’ve searched and cannot find it, so I’ve made this digital composite of myself at that age in another dress I loved to wear.

 

 

 

 

 

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. ~Martha Graham

 

More to the story, next posting…

 

 

9 Responses

  1. Korin — April 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    What a great story. I’m sorry that happened to you in the recital. Nowadays we would react a lot more compassionately to a child who just obviously got scared. I’m so proud of you for living your dream now. It’s true the mysterious power of “pretty” over women. The other day in a store I was given “the pretty face discount” by the man behind the counter. It’s silly, but it did make me feel like the princess bride! I guess that at even almost 50 years old that still casts a spell.

    Reply
  2. Naomi M. Pridjian — April 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you. You are part of the dream too. We grow up, just being parents.
    Enjoy your discounts. Not so plentiful in senior citizen land.

    Reply
  3. Anne — April 29, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Love the weaving of history with the personal; the painting and the photo. Also transported me back to my youth of dancing in my living room whenever there was music and costumes that my mother made for me – also quite pretty.

    Reply
    • Naomi M. Pridjian — April 29, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Glad you like it. Have had so much trouble on the technical end of this blog… don’t think I’ll get senile… too much learning new stuff for me these days! If you still see typos, I’ll just have to say, mea culpa.

      Reply
  4. Laurie — April 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I really enjoyed seeing your artwork today and reading your post. Some new artwork? The little girl and the colors used are full of energy and warmth. I love the curls cascading down as she looks and imagines.

    Nice to know we all don’t see the world the same and that there is beauty in everything if we really look.

    Reply
  5. korin — April 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    this is a test

    Reply
    • Naomi M. Pridjian — April 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Thanx for the test. Still trying to make Subscribe work properly 🙂

      Reply
  6. Meg — April 30, 2015 at 3:59 am

    How mortifying is the experience of not quite making it especially when one’s heart and soul are invested and then are exposed for all the world to see. I felt your sadness, shame and disappointment as it brought back memories of piano recitals when I wished to be Paderewski, but fell miserably short stumbling about trying to remember where my many fingers should be while playing a piece I had committed to memory. I am so happy with you that you have found your joy and “pretty” in dance at last…and isn’t that what really counts? If we seek it…we evolve.

    Reply
  7. Kristin Cass — March 23, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Loved this post.

    Reply

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