Monday, March 24, 2014

Pink and Precocious

The Secret of the Absolute Dancer

I haven't written a lot on here recently, and I would apologize but it's been for a good reason.  I had emergency surgery and the recovery has been incredibly painful.  I'm used to surgery and physical pain, so that's not why I haven't written nor would I ever use it as an excuse to not write.  But, with this surgery being of the "we're operating as soon as we can get you in a gown and the OR open" variety, it's been a scary experience.  I'm not used to being scared about health related experiences.  Sure, the long-term illness and the certainties that come with a lot of the things my body deals with definitely terrifying, but they're also easy to block from my mind unless someone asks me about them.  The reason and recovery for this surgery, though, has been really hard on my body and my mind.  It's not something I can push out of my mind and certainly not easy to 'bounce back from' so it's been difficult to hide from.

Whenever I have pain, physical, emotional, or otherwise, I get through it by pretending it doesn't matter because it doesn't come close to what someone else is going though somewhere.  Why should I give mine attention when it's nothing in comparison?   My husband (still not used to calling D my 'husband!')said something the other day that made me realize that it was okay to admit to feeling pain, and not just admitting it to other people but admitting it to myself (that's the toughest).  He probably doesn't even remember saying it, but that's alright - he's an amazing person who wouldn't take credit for it anyway (though he should).  He said that pain isn't and shouldn't be about comparison, because pain is pain.  I know that to anyone who is reading this, you might think "well, that's not much of a pep talk."  But if you knew you well, then you would know that is was.  If pain and anything other physical or emotional feeling were supposed to be a comparison, then I wouldn't/shouldn't let myself feel happiness, loneliness, heartbreak, joy, pain, etc.  I would be a shell.  I wouldn't let anything impact me for fear of feeling something, and if nothing impacted me, what would be the point of living?  Is that not one of the reasons for living - to impact and be impacted? 

So, I'm going to let myself FEEL.  I'm still not ready to let my friends know in moments of great pain or great joy because I've had bad experiences with some people not reacting well to those moments, so I'm going to reserve them for myself for now.  I need to feel and feel honestly and truthfully without someone telling me that it's silly or selfish or generally making me feel bad because I'm joyful in an area of life in which he or she is not. 

One of the reasons I loved being able to dance for all those years was because I didn't have to carry around a burden of emotion - I could let it out with movement and I felt relief from that.  I guess not being able to have that release and relief for the past few years has created a pretty big amount of bottled up amount of physical and emotional pain.  I wasn't a dancer who realized that she was releasing these burdens by dance while still dancing...I was one of the 'late to the party' former dancers; I didn't know the feelings I was releasing until I was unable to use that outlet anymore. 

Here's a great quote from the Martha Graham days of dance, and about the particular form of art's relationship with 'truth:'

I am certain that movement never lies.  The inner quality of the dancer is inherent in all that he does.  I am not saying that a good person makes a good dancer or that a bad person makes a bad dancer.  The motivation, the cause of the movement, establishes a center of gravity.  This center of gravity induces the co-ordination that is body-spirit, and this Spirit of body is the state of innocence that is the secret of the absolute dancer.                      - from Dance Anecdotes: Stories from the Worlds of Ballet, Broadway, the Ballroom, and Modern Dance by Mindy Aloff
My 'movement that never lied' isn't an option for me anymore, so I'm trying to find a new one, even through writing in this blog.  I'm still trying to take that first step to make me able to admit to myself that: 'Today I'm in pain, and that's alright to admit aloud.  I may be physically weak, but it doesn't make me a weak person.'

I can't say that it feels good yet, but I think it may make me feel a bit lighter.


And you wonder why dancers always look so light on their feet... :)