There is a reason why this particular blog post is located where it is. Those who can read it, should heed its warning. This particular blog post came about, because I recently witnessed two young people ridiculing a U.S. Military Veteran who works for the Salvation Army. These two young people perhaps did not know that the Salvation Army is a Christian Ministry that helps the homeless, and that many of its workers, are recently rehabilitated persons that had been homeless themselves.
If any of the readers of this blog website read my recent blog post titled “My Experiences With Lesbians”, they would have heard my telling about my mother’s Dance Studio and Dance Company, which she started when I was about five years old. I had to take dance classes from when I was very little, and I had to be in many musical and dance productions.
I was done with all of this by the time that I was 20, but I saw the growing up and later fate of many young women. I want to tell two contrasting stories, about reversal of fortune, that to me shows the Correction of God for Arrogance.
There was a young girl named Becky, who was about twelve years old, three years older than me, when her mother signed her up for ballet classes. Becky was from a family that did not have very much money, she was being raised by just her mother, I never knew what had happened to her father.
Becky was kind of plain looking, not very attractive. She had something wrong with her eyes, to where she blinked frequently and kind of forcefully. I remember when she and I and others had gotten into an obnoxious conversation one time, I asked her what was wrong with her eyes.
I did not know, that the whole reason why Becky’s mother had signed her up for ballet classes, was because of her eyesight. Becky had no depth perception, and she could hardly walk. Because of Becky’s eyesight and lack of depth perception, her mother had been overprotective, not allowed her to do anything, and now as she was just entering puberty, she could only walk by placing her hands on walls the whole time she was going anywhere.
A medical doctor realized that Becky, even with her condition, she should or could have slightly better mobility than this. But how to correct this now? Sports were out of the question, there was no way that she could play volleyball, basketball, softball, or soccer. It occurred to the doctor that she might develop some more skill and confidence in walking by taking ballet. I only learned all of this later, after Becky had graduated from high school.
My mother had two very, very good dance instructors, two lesbians who graduated from the University of Wisconsin with B.F.A.s in Dance. These two dance instructors did not show any leniency for Becky in dance classes, she had to do everything correctly, and keep up just like all of the other girls did. Ballet is just like Boot Camp for twelve year old girls, if the instructors give a shit.
Not only did Becky keep up, I never even noticed that there was anything wrong with her. Becky fit right in. Looking back knowing what I know now, she must have tried so hard, and been pretty scared, because she hadn’t even been able to walk without holding onto something up until then.
After Becky graduated from high school, her mother talked to my mother and the other dance teachers in private, and said, “You have no idea what you have done for her, you will just never know. I didn’t even know if she was ever going to be able to go out on her own, or ever live on her own. All I was hoping for, was for her to be able to walk a little better. I had no idea she was going to be able to be just like everybody else.”
I began this story about Becky, saying that she came from a family with not very much money, it was just her mother who raised her. Becky went off to college, at a not very famous school. Most of us paid no attention when she graduated from this college, and went to graduate school. But, after getting her Masters degree, and then her Doctorate degree, she was outstanding enough, to become a professor at Cambridge University in England.
You can imagine what a surprise this was, this reversal of fortune. We had so many kids from our high school that were expected to be professional football players, basketball players, baseball players, or famous scientists, but they didn’t. This girl’s own mother, didn’t even know if she would ever even be able to go out on her own. Becky had so much against her, that all she could do was just try, and try, every day of her life, in a way that most people don’t have to.
The contrasting story that I wanted to tell, was about Jennifer. Jennifer was two years younger than me, and I believe that she started taking ballet classes when she was about nine or ten years old. Of all the dance students that I can remember, Jennifer had the most perfect build, proportions, and musculature suited to becoming a professional ballet dancer.
I didn’t know who Jennifer was until she was about thirteen and I was about fifteen. Prior to rehearsal for some ballet production, we all had to take ballet bar class together for warm up. She was very beautiful. She had a very pale, flawless complexion, and very light color blond hair. She was very technically correct in everything, very graceful, and poised.
In the coming years, Jennifer came to perform more and more difficult leading roles in my mother’s Dance Company ballet productions. She did very well. My mother, my mother’s business partner, and my mother’s two instructors knew that Jennifer could go on to become a very good professional ballet dancer. There was just no reason why she could not, she didn’t have any deficit or flaw of any kind. My mother, her business partner, and the two instructors all tried to do what they could to foster her success, including paying her as an instructor’s assistant for some classes, which they never did before or since.
In high school, Jennifer did begin to become rather arrogant. I can’t remember if she was a cheerleader or not, I think that she was. When I was a senior in high school, she was a sophomore, and she was dating a friend of mine, a senior who was a football player. She was kind of a bitch to me, which struck me as odd, because I know that my mother had made an extra effort to try to help her in a variety of ways.
I never said anything at the time, no one did, except for the two lesbian dance instructors, that my mother was always helping people at her own expense, without anyone knowing. Just some of this, was my mother spending all of the money that she personally earned on other people’s costumes, shoes, and production sets, so that “It didn’t look like shit.”
Back in the 1980s, a professional dance company performance tutu cost $2,000. In today’s money, that would be like $8,000. In order for some 16 year old girl, who was a very good ballet dancer, who probably could be a professional ballet dancer, to look like she could be a professional ballet dancer, and she may have only one chance to make a good enough impression to be accepted at a professional ballet company, my mother bought a $2,000 performance tutu for her to wear. Remember, that would be like buying a girl an $8,000 dress in today’s money, in order for her to be remembered as being perfect, when it really, really counted.
Anyway, Jennifer was kind of acting arrogant, ungrateful, like a bitch. I said something about it to my mother, my mother didn’t say anything back. It wasn’t that my mother was ignoring me, she was listening to what I said, and she was mulling it over, as if she knew and was aware of this too. My mother felt the same way.
It was probably a couple of months later, that Jennifer ran a red light at an intersection, and her small car was hit broad-side. Her back was broken. She would never dance again.
About one or two years later, Jennifer was cooking in her grandmother’s kitchen, and she set her grandmother’s condominium on fire, I believe the condominium was totally destroyed.
Today, Jennifer is a plump, unattractive housewife, with a very ordinary husband, and some dumb ass kids.
I believe that there are a number of Biblical proverbs that say something along the lines of “To those who receive little, who are diligent with what little they have, God will reward greatly. To those who receive much, God expects much in return.”