Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 4 April (age 15) The Audition

Stockholm

April 13

My birthday.  I am 15 now.  I feel big on the inside but small on the outside.  I wonder if I will always feel this small and young.  In one way, I hope so.  Then I can stay younger longer.  Time flies.  I wonder what I will be doing and who I will be when I am 18.  I’ll have to just live a day at a time.  It’s probably for the best.

April 23

Saturday.  Lord, it’s exactly 10 days since I wrote.  I sure have a lot to write.  But guess what I did today?  I auditioned at the Opera Ballet.  I have danced at the Opera Ballet!  My number was H1.  We get an answer in 2 weeks.  I wasn’t nervous till afterwards.  So long for now.  See you in the morning.  Good night.  – Nina

 April 25

Now I am sitting on a bench and waiting for the train to come and take me to ballet.  These endless trains.  I am so glad I am going to move.  Not that I would be glad to move from the Opera Ballet should I get in.  But everything else.  The trains, Central Station, gross people stumbling around with beer cans, tagging along after people, and that horrible, horrible school where nothing is fun.  One doesn’t dare to speak to anyone at anytime about anything.  All those stupid girls that walk around painting their faces and talking about clothes, and parties and who think that they can decide what everyone else should wear.  As soon as you don’t have tight enough jeans, they whisper.  I will be relived not to be tormented by Assyrian men.  I’ll explain more later.  Too many people around me right now.

The audition for the Opera Ballet. 

Number H1.  I went to the 3rd level foyer.  Karin and Carina were there.  Typical, I thought.  I wasn’t nervous though.  Mom and Dad came along.  The exam was 40 minutes delayed.  Then they opened the doors.  There were at least 20 judges.  I was so scared for the improvisation part of the exam.  But this was different.  We did a regular ballet class instead.  During the lesson, the judges asked me to do a demi-plié.  I guess they were checking turnout.  Svalberg was in the middle of all the judges.  When I was going to do waltz steps, it didn’t go so well.  I think that’s why I didn’t get in.

No, I didn’t get in…  This is how the letter read:

To guardians of Katarina Thorsen (H1), regarding completion of audition for the Opera Ballet student program, Saturday April 23, 1977.  We regret to inform you that we cannot offer a position to your son/daughter in our student school.  We thank you for your interest.

Sincerely,

THE ROYAL THEATRE BALLET SCHOOL

Gösta Svalberg

Do you think this meant that there was no room for me?  That if they had had room, I would have gotten in?  Svalberg signed it himself.  But I won’t give up.  I read about a ballerina that didn’t get into the Opera Ballet and now she dances in Leningrad.

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 3 March (age 14) #puberty

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

March 22

So long since I last wrote.  I have had so much to do.  Five tests last week.  Now it’s spring break.  I am going with Fredrik and his friends to Bugsy Malone.

Maud and I were thinking of visiting my great aunt Helga.  But she has an ear infection so we can’t go.

I have been to the doctor about the bump on the left side of my face.  It’s by my ear but they don’t know what it is.  They say I should go to Huddinge Hospital and get a biopsy.  [This was the start of a long journey of operations and radiation treatments through to 1983.]

Aija got a concussion when we had our hockey tournament.

Anna, Katarina and Marie are joining Maud and I for our dance show.  Maud and I have filmed some of the dances and now during Spring Break we will watch it.  It will be so fun.  It will be so fun.

I got highest marks in Biology. What a surprise!  I have 4 cavities.  Blah!  Now we have to leave for the film.

I feel so strange when I watch the movie.  It is so cute.  Blousey and Bugsy suit each other so much.  I wish that would happen to me.  It’s so sad.  Why can’t something special happen to me?  Why do I stay in the same spot all the time?

I have sent in my application to the Opera Ballet School.  Lillemor wrote a letter of recommendation.  What if I get in?  Then I would rise up.  Then if we move to Canada or the US, I would rise even higher.  Stand taller.  Then I would fully concentrate on ballet.  I want to visit Hollywood and Disneyland.  I have never seen it.  What if someone offered me a roll like Blousey or just the part of a dancer?  Bugsy.  When I see him, a feeling explodes inside me.  What does it mean?

It’s so boring at Balettakademien.  It’s just Karin and Carina all the time.  I have to leave there.  There’s nothing there to strive for.  Dad is in Canada now.  He hasn’t called yet, but Mom has called Margareta.  Dad was at MacMillan Bloedel with Magnus.  I think he found a job.  I hope so.  It will be nice when he gets back.

I started crying the night before my History exam.  I didn’t have the energy to study.  Mom said it doesn’t matter.  But I got pretty good marks anyways.

I got my period.  I had such a stomachache that day.  It was a Saturday.  When I got home, there was red in my underwear.  I still have it a little bit.  I want to try to use tampons but I don’t dare.  Pads are so big.  I hope no one can tell during PE.  Otherwise, it’s not so bad.

We played lacrosse with the boys.  I got a goal.  Steven was goalie.  Steven is in the local town basketball league.

I have permed my hair.  It’s wonderful and it feels longer somehow.  It cost 70 kronor!  It’s curly at the bottom.  My hair was boring before.  I always had it in pigtails at school.  I want to start wearing my hair in a ponytail and a bun at ballet.

Lillemor participated in a dance conference.  It got rather a bad review in the paper.  I have bought a hair dryer and a curling iron.

I went to the city with Milton.  He has a hard time on the train but not too bad on the bus.  He will get his haircut tomorrow and that will be nice for him to get rid of all that excess fur.  I have to tell the dog trimmer to use a mouth guard on Milton.  He nipped at Mom the other day when she tried to put cream on his paws.  They are raw from the road salt.

Gitte and Lena have started talking to me a lot now. When Gitte was sick last Friday, Lena and I were together the whole day, but it wasn’t all that fun.  We saw each other today when Mom and I walked to look at Henning Sjöström’s mansion.  We didn’t say hi.  Gitte’s dog, Kompis, and Lena’s dog, Castro, fight a lot.  They are nervous around other dogs.  They are supposed to be training to not bother with other dogs, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  Milton doesn’t mind other dogs and he isn’t doing obedience training.

It’s so nice out.  They don’t have any snow in Vancouver right now.  When we move back, we’ll probably have the worst winter in decades.  That’s what happened when we moved here.  [In fact, there was a major January storm when we moved back, shutting down schools etc.  It was dubbed the Blizzard of 1978”]

Last Thursday we had sports day and Catharina and I chose skates.  It was boring and my feet froze.  We left early.  Helene in my French class chose slalom.  She has the world’s best looking ski clothes.  She looks so professional.  Her brother knows Anders.  He is in the US and does ski ballet.  Dad says that when we move, we’ll get skis and all the equipment and ski in the Pacific Northwest mountains.  Wonderful.  I have 10 million letters to write.  I have to go to bed.  Good night.

My study of Munch's "Puberty" (china marker, oil pastel on wood)

Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February (age 14) #innocence

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977: go to Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 1 January (age 14)

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

February 1

I am sitting at school again.  We were at Västergård Gymnasiet yesterday.  I was very nervous on the way there.  I met Catharina there.  She was just as nervous.  It is the world’s largest school.  I don’t now how I will find my way around.  We went up one staircase, and there was a door labeled A123.  Then you go down another staircase and up the same staircase you went up before, and now the door is labeled B123!  How  will I find my way there?  Chemistry and physics seems so hard.  I wonder if I will make this.  I am going to look at Anders’ textbooks and see how they are.  I don’t want to take another major, but I wish there was more art classes and things like that.  In the four-year technical major, you get to do masonry and woodwork in the first year.

No one has said anything about my new jeans.  I have gotten new ones.  Wings.  They look tight, but they aren’t.

Maud and I were at the Royal Opera Ballet on Saturday.  They did four dances.  Flower fest in something… Meeting Death…   Beyond the Ages… Othello.  Nils Åke Häggbom was there.  Svalberg sat in the row behind us.  We bought a really nice poster for 10 kronor.  Guess who we met there?  Lillemor [my ballet teacher]!  She just said hi and nothing more.  She is rather dry after all.

At school, we had sex education.  I don’t have any experience.  People talk about their experience and we watch films on techniques.  When we first moved here, I overheard girls talking about the p-pill.  I thought they meant penicillin.

Eva S. is so depressing.  Mikael A. is so silly around her and she wants to break up with him but doesn’t know how she will tell him.  I overheard her telling Aija that during Art class.  It’s all so dumb.  Maybe one shouldn’t ever have a boyfriend.

I walked home with Catharina and Christer R.  I wish he would talk to me.  I feel so dumb and so dry.  Me, in my silly hat.  I really think it’s comfortable but I don’t know what they think at school.  But you know what?  He offered me some of his pop!  Maybe not very romantic.  I guess he was just being polite.  But still. I said no thanks.  Maybe that was wrong.  I should maybe have said yes.  I don’t know, and today he borrowed my pen.  But he probably likes Catharina instead.  Catharina said that she drank wine last Saturday and was dizzy.  I will never taste a single drop!  I wonder what it looks like when a guy or a girl from my class is drunk?

I probably saw the worst thing ever today.  A girl in my school, who is not very tough and does not have tight jeans and who reminds me of Thomas H., smokes!  I don’t understand how people can smoke.

I got my Balletakademien sweatshirt.  It’s really gorgeous.  Red with white lettering.

February 6

I am going to wear my sweatshirt in the morning.  Then everyone will know that I dance ballet.  Imagine the teachers.  I have also bought pointe shoe protectors and now it won’t be so loud when I jump and stuff.

I have mini skis now.  They are really hard to control but really fun.  Sometimes they fall off and it is really hard to climb up the hill with them.

I have a little contact with Carina at ballet now.  I just wish I wouldn’t be so flushed when I dance.  I was going to ask Lillemor today about the audition, but she had a class right afterwards, and luckily so- for I would never have dared.

I have filled in my choices for courses for Biological Sciences.  French and German, first choice.  French and Spanish, second choice.

We might move to Portland, Oregon next year.  I have to sleep now.

February 10

I am in the school library.  We’ve had an hour of French and have one more hour to go.  I have such a stomachache because I didn’t eat any lunch.  I wanted to study French.  It’s boring reading French.

Music is a very unnecessary course.  We don’t learn anything.  She tells us it is not a lesson.  Then she doesn’t tell us what we are supposed to do.  I feel sorry for her.  She is old and has a crooked mouth.

I try not to be prejudice against [middle Eastern] men.  But… they surround me on the train, smelling of beer and teasing me.  I end up curled up in a corner.

I dreamt that Maud and I were going to Germany and I had only packed pajamas.  I called mom and she came with clothes.

Yesterday we finished early and I wanted to go home early to drop off my schoolbooks and then go to ballet.  I also needed to go to the bathroom.  Mom forgot to put out the key.  So Fredrik had to sit outside and wait.

Lillemor is driving me crazy.  All we hear- Karin, Carina, Charlotte…  She doesn’t pay any attention to the rest of us.  It gets tiring, and you don’t know if you are making mistakes or doing it correctly.  Anna and Katarina want to be in our show.  We are going to ask Marie too.  It’s starting to get serious.  Maud says we can rent a theatre in Huddinge.  We want to show our dances to middle schools.  My pen is running out.

February 11

Diary, I hardly ever have time to write in you- just when I have some time at school.  Now I have a whole half hour to write and I am in the mood.  I may perm my hair.  I hope it works. And I would pin it back behind my ears.  Sometimes my hair looks terrible. My hat looks like a big egg.  Yesterday I walked home from school and didn’t touch my hat just to see what it would look like if I left it alone.  I thought it would look good but my heavens!  The hat had ridden up so it stuck straight up and you could see my ears.  Blah!  I feel like everybody is looking at me at the bus stop and commenting on my ugly hat.  Now I am going to perm my hair, and cut my bangs, and Mom is going to buy me a flowered scarf to have a round my head.

Mom has bought herself a leather jacket (black).  It is really nice and fits her perfectly.  It is definitely her style.  She wants me to buy a gabardine coat and I certainly want to.

I have created a dance about a troll but I don’t know what kind of costume I should wear.  This new pen is much better.  Not so messy.

I am going to sleep over at Maud’s this weekend.  But not tonight.  It will be great to be back at the barre this afternoon.  We have the whole weekend free.  I love ballet.  It doesn’t matter too much that Lillemor doesn’t pay attention but sometimes I get grumpy about it.  Now that my pointe shoes have a protective toe cover, I hardly make a sound when I leap.  I wonder if we will have a whole lesson en pointe soon.  Do you think I could be a ballerina?  My dream is to go to the Opera Ballet.  Live close, yet on the countryside.  Have a dog that I take for long walks (Milton, of course) and not do anything other than dance, paint and take care of the dog.  Mom wants me to be a doctor.  I am interested in the human body but I don’t think I could do the various subjects needed.  I find chemistry and math so difficult.

There is a girl in Järna who has come down with polio.  The family refuses to get vaccines.  I wonder why?  Poor girl.  I hope she doesn’t get paralyzed or dies.

Maud, Marie and I walk around Central Station and yelled at everyone who walked by in fur coats- Animal Killer!  Gjidborg has a fur coat and I think it is so creepy.  Poor animals.  And idiot humans!  Idiots!  Leave them alone!

The cold weather has come back and we skate during PE.  We have to wear stupid helmets.  Fredrik laughed when I told him we wear hockey helmets.  Girls in hockey helmets!  HA HA HA!  I agree with him.  We look stupid.  And me with my hat.

I told you earlier that we might move to Portland.  Dad is going on a business trip soon to check out the job in Portland and to go on holiday in Vancouver for a week.  He doesn’t think he could get a job in Vancouver.  If we move I would buy new jeans and clogs.

Delbrook School in North Vancouver has burnt down.  All the students have to go to Balmoral now.

February 12

I asked Lillemor about the audition.  She actually said she would keep her eye out for the age requirements for scholarships.  This could mean something.  At the lesson yesterday, she asked me to demonstrate fondue- all of a sudden.  Maybe this means she will pay more attention to me.  Gissi got mad at Lillemor and left the class and slammed the door.  I wonder if she will come back.

I want to move.

February 14

Yesterday, I didn’t have time to write.  I was going to put my hair up but it looks all right anyways.  I’ll do it tomorrow instead.

The mouth ulcer is so painful and I am so tired and I feel nauseous.  I am staying home from ballet today and will go to the nurse.

I want to perm my hair.  I have to wait until Mom gets her paycheck.  Lassie was on TV yesterday.  It was good.  It’s only about dogs.  I told myself not to cry but I did it anyway.  It hurt so much.  I know it’s only a film but the tears came anyway.  (Thomas H. just sat down on the bench next to me).

I feel so sorry for Milton, being home all day by himself.  When I come home I will take him for a walk, play with him, brush him and wash him.  He needs a trim.  I’ll write more after I have been to the nurse.

I am home now.  Mom ordered time at the medical clinic.  The nurse put some purple stuff on the ulcer.  It stung!

Lena is talking to me a lot.  We sit at the same bench.  But when we stand at the bus stop it’s like we don’t know each other.

Milton was happy to see me.

February 24

Maud writes:

Hi Katarina, I have to write a few lines, even if I could just call.  When you told me you may be moving, I became very sad.  Even if it sounds dumb, I cried when I got home.  It just came out, until finally there was a big lake on the floor.  I have never had a better friend in my life.  You probably think I am very silly now, but enough about that.  I hope we will be together during spring break. 

Blah, blah, I hope Karin and Karina are not in our group.  They just think they are something because they have gone to the Opera Ballet School.  I hope you don’t become that way when you get in.  Because you will get in. 


Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1 January (age 14)

Adolescence is just one big walking pimple. – Carol Burnett

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

My childhood had the luxuriousness of being just that- a childhood.  So unlike the childhoods of many of my art therapy students who I hold in my heart tonight.

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

JANUARY 1

At last.  Imagine a whole year has gone by.  This year went by so fast.  We live in Sweden.  Ballet has become my life.  Lori, my friend from Grade 7 in Canada, was here for the summer, and we have a new queen- Silvia.  We attended their wedding (outside the church) and I got to see her.  She is so fine.  We have a new government (doesn’t interest me so much but I am glad Prime Minister Palme is gone).  I met prima ballerina Anneli Alhanko, and premier dancer Per Arthur Segerström.  I have become crazy about animals- mostly dogs- and most important of all- we have a new dog- Milton!  He is my best friend.  Today we went to the cinema and saw Flåklyparens Grand Prix.  My favorite character was Ludwig.  I have to buy a Ludwig doll.  It’s the #2 film in Sweden.  I hope to audition for the Opera Ballet (Operan).

JANUARY 3

As I mentioned, I hate Gitte and Lena.  They were my best friends at school, but I had a feeling they didn’t want me hanging around.  I was the 5th wheel.  When we were going on a field trip to Birka, they never bothered to pick me up at our meeting spot as planned.  I missed the field trip. The relationship ended there.  They are always trying to show off and they speak a little extra loud when they talk about dogs.

JANUARY 6

Today I am writing at 9:30 AM.  No one is awake.  Yesterday I got two presents from Lori- a deck of cards with Snoopy, and a necklace.  I have to write to Lori, Linda, and Dana. Rudolf Nureyev was on TV yesterday, but just for a little while.  I would also like to become a jazz dancer.

Fredrik and I were horsing around in the bathroom and I laughed so hard that I peed my pants.  I am so ashamed.  I have to stop doing that.  Today I have to paint and draw, write, clean and go for a walk with Milton… Today I am not going to be hyper and I have to help mom.  I am not allowed to run to the fridge.  Harry Belafonte was on TV.  He sings so beautifully.  Have to start going to bed earlier.

JANUARY 7

The wonderful film- Beatrix Potter’s World- was on TV again.  It is about a little girl who draws and writes stories and the Royal Ballet perform in the film.  I love it.  I don’t want to be a jazz dancer.  Nothing can beat classical ballet!

The snowy weather has returned.  Fredrik and I were out skiing and I thought it would be so glorious to ski on top of the snow, but the skis broke through the frozen layer and I slammed head first into the icy layer- skinning my nose and cutting my chin.  We laughed.

JANUARY 8

Today I went into the woods with Milton and followed animal tracks.  I found rabbit tracks and deer tracks.  I found a spot where a fox had killed a rabbit and there was fur and blood everywhere.  That’s not a bad thing, because one has to kill survive, but when humans kill each other in unnecessary ways for unnecessary reasons, I want to scream.  I dreamt about war last night: the city was being bombed.  Our neighbor sat in the tub and a soldier came in through the bombed out ceiling and she sang for him.  He fell asleep and she ran away.  We moved to our summerhouse, and the traffic line-ups were really long.  Milton was along.  And my ballet pictures.  Our bomb shelter was under our summerhouse.  I hate it.  War was on TV yesterday.  Today at school we were trained what to do in the event of a nuclear war.  Will it ever happen? When I walked home from the bus there was an air raid siren drill.  I ran all the way home.

JANUARY 10

We were out on the lake yesterday (Malmsjön).  The ice was about 12 cm thick.  Fredrik caught a little perch.  Milton loved being out on the ice.  We could walk all the way out to the two islands.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  I can’t understand why my feet freeze all the time.  It is so painful.

Every night I say: Good night Milton, Tippy, Fredrik, Anders, Mamma, Pappa, all animals in the whole world, ballet, Lillemor, Anneli Alhanko, Per Arthur Segerström, Maud, Kathy, all people, everything, all everything, all, good night Milton, good night Thorsen.  It’s a habit.

Today I started school and ballet.   The ballet sweatshirts don’t arrive until next week.  School was usual.  Typical me, I forgot my ruler and had to borrow one from Ulla Hyllman and because of that, I was late for Religion class.  Blah!  I have to some Math tomorrow, and French.  Gitte and Lena are proud because they went to a great cat show.  I would have liked to have gone, but didn’t have time.  They don’t need to brag about it.

Maud is in my ballet group now.  It’s really fun.  Next time I am going to have to ask Lillemor, my dance teacher, about the Opera Ballet audition recommendation.  I don’t dare.  Maud is really good.  I have to express myself and keep my bum in and maintain my balance.  I had my hair in pigtails.  Not terribly ugly, but not nice either.

JANUARY 11

It’s like this- everyone stares at me at school again.  I hope it’s because I have such a nice dress and not because they think that I am retarded.  I wish I wasn’t so shy and when I try to speak only a hacking cough comes out of my mouth.

If I got three wishes, they would be:

1.  Be a ballet dancer

2.  Be as good as Nadia Comaneci in gymnastics

3.  Milton and the whole family live for all eternity.

JANUARY 15

We have two new students in our ballet class.  It ruins everything.  They have gone to the Opera Ballet, but had to leave, and so went to the State School.  Their names are Karin and Carina. They are so good!  And supple.  And tiny.  I get so irritated that I am not that good.  But they do not have good point when they jump.  Until now, I was one of the most flexible in the class and thought I had a good chance at getting into the Opera Ballet, but now I’ll have to go through the rest of the year depressed.  Maud feels exactly the same.  They are so sure en pointe and have good balance.  Stupid me was going to show off.  Then Lillemor says, “Do tendu jetés en balance.”  God, I have such a bad sense of balance.  The pointe shoes really hurt.  Everything went wrong, and the sweatshirts won’t arrive for another two weeks.  My ballet suit is so see-through.  Blah!  Now I don’t dare to ask Lillemor about the Opera Ballet.  What am I going to do?

JANUARY 17

Mom has a cold.  I want to do what Mom would like me to do.  Yesterday I tried on jeans from Caroline from Canada.  They are not big, but they are loose.  Mamma thinks they are nice.  But I wouldn’t dare wear them to school.  I want to do what you want me to do, Mom.  I don’t want you to have to go to work and to wear yourself out.  I know I am lazy.

At school, I feel so boring.  I am so bad at talking about interesting things.  Nobody is interested in who I am.  I hope it will be better in Grade 10.  I am going to take Biological Sciences.

Maud has gotten some new material for a skirt.  Do you think we can put together a show?  You have to have permission and to rent out a venue, and to get people to attend.  But our dances are so short.  But I am sure it will be fine.

Everyone is talking about a school camping week.  I don’t want one.  Just think all those ones, you know- Steven and those ones.  You know the ones.  You know how they are.  I wouldn’t dare and I wouldn’t want to be away from home for a whole week.  I don’t have anybody to be with.  I hope it doesn’t happen.

… I have to draw something.  Good night!  10:11 PM!  Go to bed.

JANUARY 18

(Karin and Carina aren’t so good after all.)  Yesterday when I went into the changing room at ballet, I told the girls that Gary Gilmore was executed 15 minutes ago.  Maud said his last wish was to be executed today.  In the newspaper it had said that he might be executed in a month.  Then later they announced on TV that he was executed 4:07 PM Swedish time.  I noticed in the paper that he could sketch so well…

A plane crashed in Bromma the other day.  22 people died.  Everyone.  It’s terrible.  And they found a dog on a leash under the plane.  Poor thing.

Queen Silvia is pregnant.  Wonder if it will be a prince or a princess.

Thomas H. is gross.  He hovers over me.  He borrowed my comb today.  And it turned all white!  I rinsed it off.  He has bought new cowboy boots.  Duck feet.  It’s not easy.

JANUARY 19

When I was walking at Central Station, an old man came up to me.  He only had time to say- Do you have a…?  I was so scared, that I turned away immediately.  Poor him!  Why did I have to be so stupid?  I would like to go back and give him 100 kronor.  I feel so sorry for him.  There is nothing dangerous about him.  When I was on the subway, an old woman was standing beside where I was sitting.  I was talking to Maud.  Another lady stood up instead of me to give the old woman a seat.  I feel ashamed.

Maud was pushed down the stairs at her school, and she hurt her knee so she can’t dance.  That is too bad.  She is watching the class instead.  My leg hurts.  Tomorrow I am going to put my hair in a bun.  I get so flushed in ballet class.  Purple-red.  How do I get rid of it?  Every time the same thing.  The new two students have been to Ellen Rasch’s ballet school.

JANUARY 20

Milton’s 1st birthday!  I bought him dog chocolates, Frolics, and he got a flower and a long walk.  You can tell he has changed.  I remember when he first came into our family.  When he fell every second step, and when you had to run after him with a cloth to clean up the mess!  When he ate, he jumped into the food bowl, and gobbled up the pablum and became round as a ball.  And when I showed him in the dog show!  Puppy class – 6th place!  25 puppies.  Fredrik and Milton came in 3rd in the dog/owner look-alike contest.  He did not like obedience training.  He chased after a teacup poodle the whole time.  When he first lifted his leg to pee, it was so funny!  All of a sudden- there it was!

JANUARY 24

Maud and I went to see the movie, Bugsy Malone.  What a movie!  Just kids.  If only I could be in a film like that.  And they speak in such a cute way.  Bugsy and Blousey were so cute together.  I would really like to be involved.  It’s a lot better over there.  In Sweden, the films are so boring.  I dream of being Blousey and to collide with Bugsy and he would want to be with me and he would try to make me a better dancer and to get a job.  It stirs the butterflies in my tummy just thinking about it.  Or- I would want to like someone and we would be shy in the beginning and we would help each other and stuff like that.

Now I have to do my stupid homework.  I wish something fun would happen to me like being in a film.  To get into the Opera Ballet.  Instead, I go to school, hang out on the train, walk through the gross Central Station.  Someone would recognize me and when I walk on the street, they would say, “That’s Katarina.  She is so talented.”  Now all they do is whisper behind my back.  Sigh.

JANUARY 28

… I am so tired of school.  Guess who just sat down.  Thomas H.  He is so creepy.  Everybody must think that I like him.  But it is just a coincidence that we sit on the same bench in the same classes.  And we even have the same kind of pencil case.  I have to try to forget about him.

I am so mad that I sprained my ankle during PE and it hurts so much.  I hope I can dance en pointe today.  I need the training.  I hope my gym socks will help me support the foot.

I have my hair pulled back with barrettes.  It’s ugly, but I can’t have my hair down because my hair is so static.  I hope everybody thinks that I think it looks good.  It looks nice at home but never at school…

Rosenborgs Skolan, Södertälje, Sweden

Recommended:

DEAR DIARY: A PEEK INSIDE THE PAGES OF OUR LIVES

As part of the Hidden World of Girls project, NPR collected intimate diary entries. With enough of them, they could form a comprehensive tapestry — from elation to depression — of life experiences. And give us insight into a world most people rarely see.

My Diary, 1977

Unless artists can remember what it was to be a little girl, they are only half complete as artist and women. – T.M.

A few years back, I translated my little Holly Hobby Diary (Jan-Dec 1977) from Swedish to English for my brother as a birthday treat.  It was also an exercise for me to look back and at myself (my terrified, pubescent self) objectively and with a hint of forgiveness.  It is a hilarious read.

The pages show an innocence and longing that borders on a personality disorder, I swear.  They record an epic year in a young life.  It starts in Sweden and ends in Canada.  Throughout the pages one can gleam signs of development, torment, birth, death, family and health issues, anxiety, longing, leaving, movement, goodbyes, dreams fulfilled and lost, friendship, romance, love…  And ballet, ballet, ballet.  But there is a strange detachment on the part of my adolescent self- an innocence that shocks me now.  Perhaps the self-indulgent tunnel vision and inappropriate affectation I exhibited in those pages protected me from the growing pains of change.

There is a need to revisit the past.  To re-look.  To analyze.  Who was I then?  And why did I not know that all would eventually be OK?  Why was I so naïve, berating myself with bitter self-judgments and debilitating existential anxiety?  But truly, I was just developing.  I can forgive this young diary writer.  I can.  And I thank her for her recordings.  It is cathartic to revisit the past from the safe house of adulthood.

The color of my 1977- PINK- Halfway between the white innocence of a child and the red worldliness of a woman.  No… not halfway quite yet.  Revision: the color of my 1977- PALE PINK.  Quite pale.