The process of completion of my tax return and what I found to be a demanding online course within a few short days has led me to make some unusual correlations with regarding to the next two stories in my little book.
The first one is guaranteed to make vegetarians squeamish and carnivores blanch at the tastelessness of the sentiment. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to share:
In the great biltong stick of life, one seldom manages to chew everything properly.
Biltong, for the uninitiated, is dried meat, salted, sometimes with other spices. It is a southern African speciality for which no other substitute exists anywhere else in the world.
I shall pause while you let that sink in, and I move to what I have to say about ballet and freelancing:
We all have autonomy. The sooner we figure out whether ballet is really our thing, the better.
You will probably enjoy the stories more, so here they are:
My maternal grandfather, a copper mine manager who retired at the age of 45, was a “Great White Hunter” of sorts, complete with pith helmet, in his spare time. He made biltong with some of the game he killed. By the time I was born, he was reduced to buying meat from the butcher and hanging it on lines of wire strung up in their apartment kitchen in Johannesburg.
Imagine my five-year old delight when he arrived at our house with an armful of elephant biltong from a friend. I was allowed to sit on the back steps and gnaw at a piece about two feet long and four inches wide for most of the afternoon.
Of course, I did not eat it all by a long shot. I merely made one end of it look rather revolting, with all my spit. And my wobbly tooth did not come out.
The next story describes an important lesson about speaking up:
I was six when my mother took me to a narrow shop in the city of Johannesburg with boxes of things lining its high walls. There were tutus in the window.
Suddenly, I had a black leotard, pink tights and pinkish ballet shoes. And a bright red and white tinny tambourine which bothered me and did not match the shoes.
I did not like ballet lessons. The other girls looked like fairies. I was a lump with wobbly pink shoes on. My feet cramped when I pointed my toes. I did not see the point of pretending to be a flower growing. I did not like the dust on the school hall floor.
After three or four sessions, I told my mother my feet hurt. She saw how miserable I looked. That was the end of ballet for me.
© 2015 Allison Wright
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