She can’t remember much of her childhood, a life spent travelling from town to provincial town, her parents picking up jobs where they could until something, as it inevitably did, went wrong. She tries not to remember the shouting and yelling, the men fighting, the women cursing, the pointing, the stares, the hasty packing of meagre belongings and the jolt of yet another train carriage.

She has always been looked at, glances becoming stares. She is used to it now but it wasn’t always this way, she remembers moments of peace, childhood memories of dolls and quiet places.

She knows she was loved, that her parents understood her life and how she was seen by others, she knew why they looked on her so, a girl who didn’t belong, who didn’t fit. She was an outsider, accepted by some who understood that the world will always turn, shunned by others who thought it flat.

But all that is in her past, she keeps it close to her heart, refuses to deny it and uses it to drive herself forwards, day follows day, and her life will be her own, she will be happy. She is determined. Driven. Passionate. She knows her faults and lies, and holds her head high despite them.

As a teenager she took the time to learn of her ancestory, enveloping herself in the clothes and traditions of her mother’s homeland. The stories of the tribes and dynasties, passed down from generation to generation, are found in the soft curve of her dark eyes and the kindness of her nature. Her pale skin she inherits from her Scandinavian father, a gentle sheen that shimmers and glows, pulsing sunlight. She knows she is an odd mix from distant lands, she revels in exotic.

She is proud that she retains only the happy memories, taking comfort that she still prefers the solitude of the single child. She remembers days spent running through fields, dancing her way through stalks of wheat, swaying in time with the breeze, their feathery tops tickling her face as she spins and spins, dancing and falling to ground. Laughing, panting, happy to be in her moment, free from life, exploring her own being. The pattern was set back then, those moments of elation, the joy of letting go and the release of embracing her longings.

The final move was the hardest on them all. The cold winters of Sweden were. all too soon,  too much for her parents to bear. Alone she continued, happy to live under the gothic ancestry, adding yet another culture to her makeup, another twist to an already unique perspective. She was a definition only of herself, teasing what she wanted from her heritage, ignoring the rest and filling the gaps with anything she pleased.

She always knew she was different and her inner confidence, inherited from her mother, found her curious of everything in life, fascinated by cultures and religions alike, eager to experiment and understand.

Eventually, after many years of travelling, she found her way to Varmland, met the musicians and artists that congregate there and soon realised she had found her way home. All she had to do was follow her own desires.

She was in control, she was grace and beauty in her own eye, and soon everyone would see this to be true. She spent her days wandering the countryside, blissfully unaware of the world around her, lost in her thoughts, the memories of her childhood and the dances she led.

She remembers all of this, each glorious moment pinsharp in her mind. As she sits in the changing area backstage, quietly she closes her eyes and she is that beautiful child again, the soft eyes, and pale skin aglow, porcelain pure. As the languorous thump of the music echoes down the corridors, she stands and checks her appearance in the mirror, scantily clad, she runs her hand down and over the curve of her hips, she smiles. She is different. She is beautiful.

She pulls her gown over her shoulders, turns on a statuesque heel and makes her way to the stage.

As she pirouettes, fluid and sensuous in her movement, she forgets herself. The leering spotlight and shadowy faces disappear. Beyond the stage the room turns to her and once again, they stare.