I attended Alberta Ballet’s production of “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” on Friday night. It is a new ballet set to the music of Sarah McLachlan. In my late teens I listened to a lot of Sarah. The album “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” will always remind me of being 18 and 19. I remember my mother wondering why I liked listening to such depressing music (ironically, she loved the music in the ballet, and has no recollection of me ever listening to it).
I found the ballet moving, and it brought me close to tears a few times. But it wasn’t the content of the ballet in so much as it was the feelings and emotions that are connected to that music. 18 and 19 were not easy years. When people say that they wold love to have those years back, I think they are crazy.
I was struggling to figure out who I was, and what I wanted in life. I was enrolled in engineering at university, and hated it. As a result I may have skipped one or two classes to hang out with friends. The thing about skipping classes though is that it makes it awfully hard to pass the course. Which I did not.
I fell very much in love with a young man. He was good to me. But I was not good to him. I was struggling with so much and my relationship with my parents was strained. I hid the truth from them, resented them worrying, and didn’t know how to deal with all the things in front of me. I sometimes wish I could have met him later when I was a grown up, and not the insecure and overwhelmed young women I was. I made huge mistakes in both my academic choices and my relationships with my family and this guy. Mistakes that still haunt me when I am most vulnerable.
There comes a time when you hit bottom, and I did. My parents brought me home, kicking and screaming, but it was just what I needed at the time. It took a long time before I felt like me again. Years really, and the birth of my son. I find it funny that I was much more “me” at 15, than I was at 18.
I had moved on from all of this, it has been almost 18 years since I was 18. And yet sitting in the dark, listening to that music all those feelings of pain, confusion, guilt and self hate came flooding back to me. Tears filled my eyes and I bit my lip to keep it together. Time brings distance and perspective, but it really struck me how a line in a song could wrench my heart, and bring all those feelings back.
it’s not the wind that cracked your shoulder
and threw you to the ground
who’s there that makes you so afraid
you’re shaken to the bone
and I don’t understand
you deserve so much more than this
To my 18-year-old self; I’m sorry you went through that. It gets better. Hold on. Trust yourself. You’re worth it.