When Shannon hears elephants

jumping across the floor,
I'm not controlling my landing.
Chassé, plié, jump, turn, land, repeat.
The cadence of my feet pounding the rhythm of the exercise
matches the cadence of my pounding heart.
She's yelling instruction and I hate her.
Nothing I ever do is good enough;

no landing is ever cats' paws,

it is always elephants.
Years ago it didn't matter,
when art was my freedom and

perfection
was nothing more than
abstract paint strokes on a
blank canvas.
Now I repeat the same scenario
three times a week
hoping to eventually be worthy of praise.
Shannon asks what's my hold up.
I wish the answer was more

complex
than my longing for her to tell me
I was doing something right.
Once, the smell of acrylics relaxed me;
Now the smell of sweat frustrates me.
Once it was "there is no wrong answer";
Now it's "keep working to match everyone else".

Here come the elephants.