Dear Diary…

I’m not the type of girl to keep journals or anything like that, but I have no one to talk to and so much is on my mind. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the past and what should have been. I know it’s pointless to backpedal and try to relive what can’t be changed, but I need to get this off my chest. Maybe then I won’t have so much regret. So here it goes.

My teenage years were legendary. I was the Winter Court Queen. My grades were great. I danced ballet and had more friends than I could count. People talk all the time about how tragic their teenage years were, about how much they were teased or bullied. My high school days were nothing like that. Everyone adored me, and I never went long without a cute boyfriend on my arm.

Hmm, the boyfriends. Looking back, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were my downfall. I loved the fact that so many boys wanted me as their steady girl. How could they not? My body was sleek and graceful from years of ballet. Thick ebony hair flowed past my shoulders in gentle waves, and it complemented my honey complexion perfectly. Mom and Dad both had good jobs which meant I always had a pocket full of money and trendy designers on my back. See, Diary? Even now I still hold a thin strand of conceit and pride despite my lackluster appearance of today. I guess some things never change.

Ricky was the boy who got the snowball rolling in the wrong direction. He was a stereotypical high school Adonis: star quarterback, popular, rich and, oh, so gorgeous. Flocks of silly girls forever waited in the wings, but he only had eyes for me. Like a fool I fell right into the trap.

We only dated for a month before I gave into him. He wanted sex from the very beginning, but I held out. Oh, I fully planned on sealing the deal, but I wanted the illusion of being his “girlfriend” before I gave up the goods and got passed over for the new flavor of the month. I wasn’t stupid. Even back then I knew how things worked.

Or maybe I didn’t. Ricky stuck around after we had sex the first time, much to my surprise. He even stuck around after I got pregnant.

Of course, pregnancy wasn’t a part of the teenage dream, but it was a part of teenage reality. A few of my friends had gotten pregnant and they managed to deal with it just fine. So I wasn’t worried at all when I told Ricky I was knocked up. We both agreed to get an abortion and continue on with our lives. He would go off to play college football. I would become a famous prima ballerina.

Too bad my parents didn’t see things that way.

Mom and Dad were livid to find out I was pregnant at sixteen. I can still feel the heat of shame and embarrassment that flushed my face while Dad yelled at me. Mom just sat at the kitchen table with tears flooding her eyes and streaming down her face. Her whole demeanor screamed DISAPPOINTED, and the only thing I could do was hang my head.

They made me keep the baby. As a minor, I was too young to have an abortion without parental consent, something they refused to give. I had made a mistake, so I had to deal with it.

With their help (and Ricky’s occasional contribution) I managed to carry on with the pregnancy. Everything was okay at first. I was eighteen weeks when the baby became too much for my small body to handle. As the weeks went on, I watched in horror as my body morphed into something large and grotesque. I was no longer graceful; I became clumsy and slouched on the best of days. With chronic nausea and back pains ruling my life, school was out of the question. My blood pressure would shoot up just from walking across a room. How many days did I spend in the hospital? I lost count.

Baby Sarah was born a week behind schedule by C-section. The moment I heard her scream with lungs full of air for the first time, I knew I loved her. In the months following her birth, though, resentment began to settle in. My body was foreign to me; the weight I had gained with Sarah stubbornly remained attached to my body. I had no time to practice any stretching exercises to keep my muscles limber, nor did I have time to take ballet classes. My dream of becoming a ballerina quickly slipped away from me.

All my life I had been a ballet dancer. It was my dream to get accepted to The American Ballet Theatre after high school. I toiled diligently for many years to transform my body into a graceful work of art and perfect my technique. If only I had said “no” to Ricky. If only I had been smarter with my decisions…

Sarah is four-years-old now, and I’m not quite as bitter as I used to be. I just received my G.E.D., and soon I’ll begin taking classes at the community college here in town. Ricky still comes around whenever he has time. Sarah is the apple of his eye and he does what he can for her; however, he’s usually preoccupied with his college football training. After all, he is still a star quarterback.

As for myself, I still daydream about being on a stage in pretty leotards as adoring fans admire the fluidity of my movements while I perform all the classic ballets. However, the reality of that dream is gone. The only place I dance is in my imagination. I have more serious things to deal with now, and silly childhood dreams are not a part of my life anymore.

So long, Ballerina. Hello, Mommy.

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