Though my pointe shoes may be dying, I am getting stronger

These+are+the+countless+pointe+shoes+that+reside+in+my+closet.+

Lauren Batterbee

These are the countless pointe shoes that reside in my closet.

There is a box of dead pointe shoes that sits in my closet. It’s just a plastic bin my mom bought at Target, but it holds the memories of five and a half years of struggles and accomplishments. 

My first pair of pointe shoes resides in the box. Sometimes I take them out just to remember the joy I had when I first put them on. I couldn’t wait to be like the older girls I looked up to. I look at them and remember the struggles I had with my two different sized feet.

I didn’t even kill those first pairs—I just outgrew them. The box is still as hard as a rock and I barely broke the satin layer, but I made many accomplishments in them. I survived the first dreadfully painful class. I felt the pain long after I took them off. I did my first pirouette en pointe; I worked so hard I started shaking. Those first pair of pointe shoes lasted me an entire year, and it was a year I’m proud of. 

Without that pile of dead pointe shoes, I would be a completely different person. ”

There are other pairs of shoes in the big, clear box—the pair I first performed in, the first pair I killed, the pair that I did six pirouettes after class in, the pair I didn’t want to let go of so the box is still soft years later. The shoes range from squishy to rock solid, from shoes I labeled to shoes I took a guess on. Most of them have shanks that are useless now as I can bend them in half. 

Most of the shoes have hardened after years of peace and rest. They have built back a life, but it’s not the same as it once was. They harden so I can no longer get them over my foot if I put them back on. They harden so no one can ever harm them again, but that means no one could fully appreciate or love them again either.

So, they sit there in the clear box in my closet that I occasionally look to when I am bored. I see how they are healing. I think of all they have done for me. 

Without that pile of dead shoes, I would not be where I am as a dancer. Without that pile of dead shoes, I would still have that little girl inside of me with a dream wondering what it would be like. Without that pile of dead shoes, I would never know how exhilarating doing a pirouette en pointe would be or how your stomach drops after reaching a new record of turns. Without that pile of dead pointe shoes, I would be a completely different person. 

There is a box of dead pointe shoes that sits in my closet. It’s just a plastic bin my mom bought at Target, but it holds the memories of five and a half years of struggles and accomplishments.