Why I cut the leotard-legs out of a plus-sized pink ballerina ensemble that I had rush shipped.

Because the measurements I painstakingly took looked like they would work but theAmazon description didn’t say that the waist wasn’t elastic. Because the tutu couldn’t go up over the hips that have carried three children. Because it was going to have to go over my head and the bottom part was in the way. Because I could just cover my underwear with the pink ballet tights I had my mother dig out of my closet from my hometown bedroom, the ones that I got when I took ballet lessons as an adult to have a creative outlet when I took my first real job back near my parents. Because ballet still feels like the thing that was never right for me or my body, but always right for my heart. Because my daughters are there now, under the spell of tulle and ribbons and buns pinned up while arms spin out. Because they think that “Halo” by Beyoncé is a “ballet song” and they twirl through the house and ask me to dance and think I’m good at it.

Because they won’t always want me to dance, won’t always be under the illusion that I am good at it. Because we do a mother-daughter tea party for their friends each fall and this year it had to have a ballerina theme. Because I thought of their faces when I came out in that pink tutu, and I knew their eyes would grow wide and the baby (she will always be the baby) would say “Mama so boot-ful!” and so I would be. Because they don’t know words yet like muffin top or unflattering or flabby or plus-size and they only know that ballerinas are those who dance and they are all beautiful. Because I want to be a woman who unlearns those words too. Because they are learning from me how to navigate the world and I want them to know that they can do it in a tutu. 

Because I ordered the outfit in the middle of a stressful day, an uncertain month, a complicated stage of our lives. Because there are so many things that I can’t fix or change or even plan appropriately. Because I could buy something that would turn me into the ballerina my girls wanted me to be. Because I could have it rush shipped and it could show up in a bundle of bubble gum pink magic just in time. Because the day it actually showed up was a Very Hard Day and it felt like a lifeline. Because when I tried to pull it on and it wouldn’t budge over my hips, I didn’t even think twice before grabbing the scissors. Because I knew that if I could just get it on, even if only for one magical ballerina tea part, I could make something perfect. Because that was enough. 

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “A Question”.

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