Time Should Not Be Rewritten

Time Should Not Be Rewritten

Most people wish that time travel existed. Wait, let me correct that. Almost everyone has wished, at some point in their life, that time travel existed. Who wouldn’t? Even if it’s just something stupid, like you missed the bus and wish you’d moved that little bit faster, or you forgot something and wanted to go back and remind yourself to take it with you.

And sometimes you really wish there was a way you could talk to yourself in the past and say – wait. Don’t do that. But you can’t. Even if you could, it wouldn’t be a good idea. Time can be rewritten, the Doctor is always telling us. But should it be?

About a week before I turned eleven, I went to see a doctor. Not a time travelling one, just a doctor who pokes you and asks if it hurts and prescribes medicines you would’ve bought over the counter anyway. I was having trouble with my knee caps, the problem being that they kept dislocating.

The doctor said to me, “Do you do any kind of sport?”

imageI knew why he was asking, so I said, “Yes, I do ballet.”

“How would you feel if I told you that you had to quit for six months?”

I glanced at my mum; she knew exactly what I was thinking. A little cautiously, I said, “I wouldn’t be that upset…”

People who know me now would find this hard to believe, but ballet didn’t mean much to me back then. I went to a much stricter school, which if I’d been one of the super-committed kids who did every type of dance there was would have meant I had a much better chance of getting anywhere. However, I wasn’t. I played two instruments, and anyway at a good school like that (not that my current school isn’t good!) classes are very expensive.

I used to come home from most classes in tears, or I wouldn’t go at all – I’d pretend to be ill. If you missed more than two classes in the term, you couldn’t take your examimage that term. The three or four exam candidates got to stand in the front row for centre work – and woe on the one who was demoted! And if you copied another student, it was the greatest of sins. It was a hierarchical, terrifying, disciplined place.

I like to think that if I went to somewhere like that now, I would appreciate the criticism and the perfectionist teachers, but I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I like being able to muck around doing pirouettes and having a laugh with the other students. I like how you’re never pressured to come to more classes, and how if you miss one it’s not a massive big deal. I like how we’re allowed to copy other people when we can’t remember the steps.

Anyway, several times over the past year or so, since I started getting seriously interested in ballet again, I’ve said, “Oh, if only I could tell myself not to quit ballet, or to go back when the six months was up.” By the way, the reason I didn’t do that was because the few friends I had would have moved up to the next class.

And then I look at it. I thought I was being kept down a class, thought that my teacher didn’t like me, thought that I was a rubbish dancer. I wasn’t. I look back and see how I at, ten, was in a grade three class with students two, three years older than me, some of whom I still know. I look back and see how I was moved up from grade one to grade two without taking an exam, because my friends were all going up.

protagonize_mini_200dpiI look at how I discovered writing. The end of year eight – I was thirteen. I did very few activities. Hadn’t started Irish dancing yet. Music was the only thing I did. Though I wrote stories, no one read them and I had no way of improving. And I found Protagonize.com and everything changed. From there I met my friends Spook and Elo, or Charley and Cathryn. I started blogging, and I came across National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

Without that sudden discovery of writing, it would have been much longer until I was talking to people about my hobbies on the internet. It would have been much longer until I could call myself a novelist, a blogger; until I could write posts and know that someone somewhere would read them; until I ran into Mark Williams and got involved with his blog and St Mallory’s Forever; until I had a hope of being a decent writer, ever, in my life.

I like to think I would have been good enough to go to a ballet school if I’d carried on as a kid. I don’t think I would have done. But I also know that if I had, if dance had become my life and the thing I did, I wouldn’t have discovered writing, and I wouldn’t be who I am now.

And maybe I wish I could be better than I am. Maybe I’ll be sad if I never make it as a dancer or dance teacher.

But I still have my writing, and without that I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t know all of you people. And if I changed history, if I rewrote time, then who’s to say I wouldn’t wipe all of that out of my life?

Not dancing showed me other paths. Not going back shows me how to carry on.

imagePhotos via Facebook, Google, the website of Bird College Junior Dance and random folders in my computer…

6 thoughts on “Time Should Not Be Rewritten

  1. We will always wonder “what if” about our life. The trick is to be content with what we have – I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t changed majors in college. What if I finished my music degree instead of getting an English degree? Would I have been a music teacher or a band director? Would I have ever tried to be a writer? Good luck with nurturing your passions and don’t ever think it is too later. Just don’t worry that it has already passed.

    1. I definitely have that problem, with the ‘what-ifs’. I saw this quote the other day: ‘Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I am not living.’
      I’ve no idea who said it – it was tweeted by @HogwartsKids under the hashtag #Ravenclaw – but it was so appropriate at that moment.

    2. It is never too late for passions… I have an awesoem example in my grandmother who, at some age over 50, took up some teater class at the local community collage and danced on stage in a performance. She also returned to dancing at about that age after having given it up 20+ years before… Also at the age of closer to 60, she went form a visiting nurse for special needs children to an court advocate for domestic violence…

      Yup. It’s never too late, and if you have the drive, you can make it happen.

  2. Well said – I couldn’t agree more. Though sometimes I do wish I could undo certain blunderous or especially stupid or harmful acts …. but never anything major.

    We write our lives in pen. There can be no rubbing out. We just have to learn to make the most of what we do.

    1. I wish I could undo the fact I left a drawing pin on my floor and blundered into my room in the dark, treading on it and causing surprisingly excruciating pain…. but alas, ’tis not to be.

  3. Wiait I think that sigh shoudl say:

    Writer At Work
    Do not disturb or I will write you out of the plot!

    Or should it be into the plot? Or should it be a t-shirt t=with one on one side and the other on the other side…. *giggles*

    (maybe we should submit that to NaNo?)


    On to What if’s… I think my biggest what if, they one that I still ocasionally ponder, but that I had no control over…
    “What if my older brother hadn’t died the month before I was born?”
    I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today. My parents might not have gotten divorced. I might not have been shy… I might not have ended up being the writer I am today.

    the other one I kick my self for and ask what if about: “What if I’d joined Protagonize when Nick invited me (and others) to the Beta…”

    Still *huggles* Del. Glad to have become your friends. :}

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