Hello! I am a fairy unicorn ballerina named Joan. Yes, a real one. Recently, it has come to my attention that many young children wish to have my job someday. It might seem like this work is all about fun, sparkle, dancing, and sliding down rainbows. But you do not want this life. I’ve toiled away as a fairy unicorn ballerina for years, and it’s time I set the record straight: this job is a nightmare.
My days are exhausting. As soon as the sun appears in the cotton-candy sky, I awake for dance rehearsal—I am a principal in a fairy-unicorn ballet company called Unicorndance. After I put on my silver headband and leotard, I trudge along the lemonade stream to our studio, in a far-off buttercup meadow. Our company director, John, drives us to clip-clop, leap, and twirl en hoofe all day, with only one break to sip from the waterfall. By midnight, I am weak, sore, and nearly broken. My fellow-dancers and I hobble to the clearing that we share. “Thank the Great Spirit—another day of Unicorndance is done,” we say. To coerce myself to sleep, I take a double dose of Spellatonin and pull a weighted hay blanket over my weary body.
My schedule takes a toll on my social life. My friends are pixies, leprechauns, and mermaids. Each week, they gather for Thirsty Thursday at the Potion Puddle. “Joan,” they message me on WandsApp, “you never join us for potion hour after work.” Sometimes, I dream about indulging in my favorite elixir made by the puddletender, Jeffrey the Gnome. I adore Jeffrey the Gnome and find his lustrous mustache to be very alluring, but he hardly notices me. Last month, he called me Jean, which I do not understand. What kind of fairy unicorn ballerina is named Jean?
Even though we work nonstop, fairy unicorn ballerinas earn pitiful monthly allotments of gold coins. I spend most of my meagre wages on staples such as oats and cloudberries. I also have to make payments every moon cycle to my alma mater, Hooflliard. Since I am uninsured, I do not have access to horn upkeep or annual wing cleanings. I am always afraid that my new dance partner, Jared, will drop me, and that I will not be able to afford surgery. Jared has a tendency to drop his partners.
All the stress has led to health problems. My hooves have become gnarled and ingrown; I can no longer paint them with sparkly gold polish, and clip-clopping has become more challenging. The muscles in my forelimbs are always sore, and my joints are inflamed. Don’t even get me started on my deep digital-flexor tendons—they’re a wreck. Worst of all, my long mane hangs limp, with split ends. It’s no wonder Jeffrey the Gnome doesn’t notice little old Joan.
I’m almost thirty-one, which is old by fairy-unicorn-ballerina-industry standards. John is already transitioning me to play matronly roles in performances. The other day, he cast me as Mother Bubble in the annual bubble ballet, and I thought, This is the beginning of the end for me. As my position in the company slips away, I must twirl even harder to stay relevant at Unicorndance.
As you can see, life as a fairy unicorn ballerina is an endless string of miseries. Young human children who wish to follow in my hoofsteps must reconsider! The Jeffreys and Jareds and Johns will disappoint you. Twirling makes you dizzy after a while. And the sparkle and shine—it’s really just sweat.