“Who you actually are, and who you think you are suppose to be — THE GAP BETWEEN THOSE TWO THINGS— that’s where disappointment and bitterness live”. I heard someone say this, I don’t know who, on the radio as I was driving home last Saturday night.
In fits and starts, with grunts of pain and howls of uncertainty, this gap is starting to close.
It’s getting smaller, every single day.
I think that’s what happens when one becomes “middle aged.”
Besides the fact that:
Perimenopause is now a word I use in day to day conversation. For the first time I am having pain in my body that I can’t ignore and shake off like every other pain I have ever had. A little girl said, “Excuse me. You, with the old lady hair” the other day, and it took her saying it 3 times before I realized I was the one with “the old lady hair”. I had a pile of dirty laundry I almost dropped into the toilet rather than the laundry basket this morning. I can’t read ingredients, menus, or instructions without squinting,
Besides all of that, I think that swimming in the age during this middle time has been quite a relief, precisely because this gap between “who I actually am” and “who I think I am suppose to be” is getting smaller.
In dancing, this means I am following a thread of curiosity that is unspooling before me from a place that is so deep inside of me that the thread is not actually coming from me.
It is coming from a much more intimate place than that.
In a certain sense this thread I am following, it has nothing to do with me or my body or the space surrounding me.
Instead, I think it has to do with what’s been forgotten.
It has to do with what’s been brushed over and left behind.
I have been told over and over again to stop moving the way that I do:
To stop dancing this way, or that way. To speed up, or slow down. To hold that line. To look up and out, rather than down or in. To stop dancing all together, it’s just not in the cards.
I’ve listened. I’ve nodded. I’ve followed all of the above in one way or another.
But in this middle age of mine — with my aches and pains, my grey hair and my eyes that can no longer read the fine print — I am unable to follow this advice any longer, precisely because it cuts to the core of who I actually am as opposed to who I am suppose to be.
I’m doing what I’m doing in the way I am doing it because it is exactly who I am at this moment in time, and I am unable to make any compromises regarding who I am, what I am interested in and intrigued by, and what I value in this life any longer.
That part of myself that used to be able to comply and bend to meet someone else’s expectations of me?
She has left the room and she isn’t coming back.
But the part that has stayed?
She is listening as closely as she can to what is bubbling up and arising, within her and outside of her.
And she is following that, no matter what, and no matter where it leads, because a world is being created that has never been created before.
But maybe that's wrong.
Maybe that world has been created over and over and over again, and it is only now that she has the patience and the where with all to experience it and take it in, as is.
She is following this slow unfolding of a new world or an old world, whichever it may be, because it feels like running naked, in a warm rain, in the hills and among the wildflowers, when no one else is around, on a summer afternoon, forever and ever.
That’s the part that has been forgotten.
That’s the part that has been left behind.
So this dance, it is about remembering.
Your Dance Mission for the Week is to find those parts of yourself that have been forgotten and brushed aside.
Give those parts the space and time they require to bubble up, arise, and unfold in whatever way that they do. to create a new world or an old world, for as long as it takes to create.
Follow the making of this world with curiosity and breath.
Notice if the gap between who you actually are and who you think you are suppose to be, notice if it begins get smaller.
And then, let me know how it goes.
With Warmth and Jivey Vibes, Joanna of Joanna and The Agitators sweetly agitating/persistently upending www.joannaandtheagitators.com
PS! ONLY ONE MORE FREE DANCE CLASS UNTIL NEXT YEAR! Tomorrow, Thursday, Sept 8th from 11-1pm at The Boulder Circus Center.
Sign up to Dance with me in the fall Fall session runs from Sept 13th-Dec 15th, 2016
Dog Dance: The 3rd Friday of every month starting in September. The first one is on Friday, Sept 16th at 7pm at Floorspace: 1510 Zamia Drive, #101. $5