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The last dance

Today I watched a video of a dog with arthritis on a lift his owner built. I cried for ten minutes. Then, out of the blue, I felt so hungry my stomach hurt. As if my tears were carrying millions of nutrients and I had suddenly run out of them. After eating half of the fridge I checked the calendar, my fears confirmed before me: it was ovulation day.

I turned on the TV. Metaphorically, because I don’t own one (I looked for my regional streaming TV on the internet instead, but that sounds less glamorous in an essay). Eight out of ten news stories were bad ones. Death, rape and severe climate disasters. I cried for another ten minutes. I don’t know why I even bother to put on some mascara these days. I decided to repaint my nails but my pulse was quite shaky so I ended up replicating a Pollock masterpiece in my own hands. “Being a girl sucks” I heard myself whisper. But immediately after I knew that was not true - I wasn’t a girl anymore, and it didn’t suck to be a woman. I laid on the floor facing the ceiling, one hand pressing my belly and the other one scratching the wooden imperfections of the floor. It felt good to be alone, yet awful. I was the only one I could project my mood swings to, the only one who could talk some sense into my own irrationality, at least. Prisoner of a deadly roller coaster, one that didn’t care about safety measures or overspeeding. At this time of the month, I usually think about Camus and how absurdity, in its deepest manifestation, seems to be the answer to all my questions. How I’m no longer concerned with finding the ultimate meaning, because I am certain all things are born and die in the most arbitrary insanity. “My dearest existentialist friends, always there to share the burden of life” I thought.

A faint, quite distorted melody crossed the window right into my ear. Every dramatic event needs a soundtrack. Ludovico must have been busy that day and I was left with an amateur folkloric band instead. They sounded like teenagers practicing for the first time in their parents’ garage, but I was too lazy to stand up and validate my assumption. I remained on the floor, laying on the side now. I could feel a soft pain on my hip bones, I embraced it absently. I remembered the first time I got my period, it was in ballet class. I was dressed in a nude gown with white tights. There was a pianist, the teacher and twelve other girls dressed in the same pale pink palette. It was the end of the practice and we were doing a diagonal exercise. All of us lined up waiting for our turn, observing the one in the spotlight, secretly expecting that tiny mistake. It was finally me, and, after a few skips I attempted a final stunt at the end of the classroom. The jump was alright. I was probably thinking about homework, I’ve never managed to focus on one thing at a time. I saw the girls staring at me with O-shaped mouths. Aware that my performance had not been that brilliant I looked at myself in the mirror: the vivid image of Tchaikovsky’s showpiece turning into the black (red?) swan. My body changed in a way I could not yet understand.

And I still do not understand. Is it possible to reach full self-awareness? Has anyone, ever, said “I know me, I know everything about me”? And was that even true? I guess I’ll always be more of a Socrates babe, because I don’t just think I know nothing, but I believe there is nothing I’ll ever know for sure.

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