A young girl celebrated her 11th birthday by opening her closet door to peek outside. Her closet had grown considerably in her life, but she desperately wanted to see what was outside. She had heard and seen many things about the world outside. Her closet was a safe place and had many pretty outfits. The young girl would dress up and put on her make-up. It was fun, but it was time for something more. She put on her prettiest dress, fixed her hair, and stepped outside. This is what she found.
She found that those in the world had a difficult time understanding her. She looked and spoke differently than the other girls. Everyone would tell her that she was a boy. "But I am a girl!" she exclaimed. People looked at her in a funny way. Most people, that is. Some were kind to her. One lady even said she looked pretty in her dress.
On her next adventure outside the closet, the young girl happened upon a building with a loud wooden floor. People gathered around a lady with an index card and several others with strange objects. When the lady spoke, people walked in circles. Then the other people moved their fingers against these strange objects, and funny sounds came through many big black boxes all through the building. The people started walking faster.
The young girl asked what it is they were doing. "It's a dance," they all said. "May I join?" One older man said she could, and she joined him in the dance. She became very dizzy walking around in circles and had to be helped to a chair. She danced only a little bit the rest of the night. She liked the music, the long pretty skirts, and the nice people. Some gave her funny looks but not as many as the people during her first trip.
The young girl found many more dances, but she was only able to do a few each time. For you see, she needed a partner to dance, and she was only able to find some. Most of the nice people found other nice people to be their partner. The girl thought she needed to find more dance partners.
One day at a dance, one of the young girl's friends came up to her and told her she needed to be a gent. The young girl tried to explain she wasn't a gent, but her friend persisted. "You'll have more dance partners, " she explained.The funny thing was the young girl kept wearing her pretty dresses and fixed her hair all the same. She just went to a different spot on the dance floor. She danced more as she found more dance partners. She found her friend was right after all.
Shortly after her 12th birthday, the young girl went to longer dances called "Meltdown" and "Soiree." The sounds from the strange objects didn't sound so funny anymore. They were in fact quite beautiful. The other dancers called it music and said people trained all their lives to play it right at the dances. What a wonderful thing the girl thought. They work their whole lives to make other people happy. The music was a wondrous sound that made the dancers move even when they said they couldn't walk another step.
The young girl found she felt more like a girl when she danced even when she didn't always look like it. She loved the happy music, the flowy, twirly skirts, and all the new friends. She felt moved both on her feet and in her heart in a way she never knew before. It was like the dance had been made just for her. The young girl also found a thing called love. She had never known it before either, but she liked how it made her feel. On the dance floor, her dance partner told her without speaking that she enjoyed her company and sharing the dance music. The young girl thought she needed more of this love thing. It made leaving the closet ok.
On her 13th birthday, the young girl found the secret of the index cards. People who called themselves callers would read words and symbols from the cards. The music would start, and the dancers would begin dancing with the reading. The caller repeated these words and symbols and then stopped. The dancers kept dancing. Then the caller told them to stop dancing and the musicians to stop playing, and they did. The young girl thought she needed to learn this strange magic of the index cards. So she asked a couple of callers to teach her, and they did.
By her 14th birthday, the young girl had been practicing speaking the words and symbols. She walked into an empty field to recite them, and nothing happened. She tried a busy city street. Still nothing. She spoke them to her four cats. Definitely nothing! Finally she went to a dance hall with dancers and musicians. It worked! She found the magic. She asked other callers to help her do one then two at a time. Later two callers told her to try six in a row. The young girl thought she needed more index cards.
On her 15th birthday, the young girl was not feeling so good. Being outside her closet was hard work. She didn't think she could manage the rejection and the funny looks. She thought she didn't make a very good girl. She thought of returning forever to her closet. Then someone called and said, "Dance with us for a weekend. You'll feel better." She did and she did.
By her 16th birthday, the young girl was performing whole nights of index card magic up to 12 cards in one night. She was also feeling love more often during her dances. Others who had left their closets were telling their stories to her. "So you have a closet too?" "Oh yes," they said. The young girl found people like her who had similar closets. So many of her dance friends told her she was brave for leaving her closet. The young girl didn't feel very brave. "I would have died in there," she explained to her friends.
Outside her closet, the young girl now quickly becoming a young woman found many things. They were good, bad, and everything in between. Most of all, she found a reason to be outside her closet: to be with others who had left their closets. She found a shared purpose with dancing, love, and the index cards. The closet remained in place as a reminder of the old life and to hang pretty dresses. She found that even old closets have a purpose.