So I spent Easter being miserable and wanting to quit. I got back with my boyfriend, or he deigned to take me back. He then spent a long while persuading me to go back to school- I still had enough time, apparently. I could go to sixth form college, I could study and make something of my life. He was pretty angry with me when I chose to audition for other ballet schools, and got offered a place at one. He kept telling me not to screw it up again, and I believed it was my fault. After all, I overreacted and panicked and took things to extremes. I deserved to get it all wrong and mess it all up.
I went to my new school. My scars were healing. My life seemed to be changing, and the hopeless despair had lifted as the summer passed.
They were good to me. They liked my dancing, weren’t worried when I got injured, picked me for choreography and shows and praised me in class. I had a good set of teachers, and I made an amazing set of friends. I hope they know I haven’t forgotten them, even though I’m not able to talk to them at the minute.
Throughout that year, my boyfriend got more and more into my head. He took all sorts of things from me- my pride, my self-respect, my common sense… I was no more than a receptacle for whatever he felt like. I was controlled to the point where I was allowed certain friends at certain times, and he charmed all the ones who would have been a threat to the point where they couldn’t see his manipulation.
So I gave up feeling angry. I gave up sadness, and irritation, and just sat and smiled. Even when third year happened, my boyfriend broke up with me because I hadn’t seen him enough and new teachers who didn’t like me… No pain broke through. I smiled inanely, whilst being scooped out and bleeding and raw inside. Even when we got back together and my degree turned out to be favouritism, not worth the paper it’s written on… I just smiled. It all burned, and I had no release. Just the smile that was not a smile. There was no question of self harm, because he would have left again.
I just burned.