Saturday, June 9

Wholeness (and Dancing)

(A friend who knows me well said that this was too short. She asked me to elaborate because it ended too soon. I love my Melissa, therefore: EDITED)
There are tooo many things to write about these days. I’m so in my head with multiple life lessons and “issues” needing my attention. I would say I’m overwhelmed, except for the gravity of each of them. I think they are all bigger than me. So really, its like looking at planets or moons… all I can do is stare and talk. There is no holding them or trying to carry their weight. They are just too big. Feeling these things are bigger than me, I do still feel pushed by them. Despite not collapsing under the weight, I find myself needing coping mechanisms.

I have two great ones. The first is more temporary than the second, and its also a bit ethereal because it requires the decision to be present. I think that decision to be present is possibly why so many people love PHOTOGRAPHY. I highly doubt most people know why they love taking pictures, just that they do. I think for many, the joy comes in that capturing of the NOW. They don't consciously say "I am being present, I am enjoying this scene, I am composing this image, I am paying attention to this beauty, I am a sentient being" (haha). All they know is it's fun and feels nice.

It's fun and feels nice to me too. It is also an enigma to me. I've been taking pictures since I could operate my mom's Kodak Instamatic 608 using 110 film. (Which btw, I still have; it's in my camera collection.) I have done portraits, glamour photography, food, still life, and ads. All fun, but my greatest love with photography is what I see vs. what the camera sees. Many people argue this, when I say it, but I stick to my experience, and that is I don't decide what looks good. The camera does. And with that in mind, I regularly grab the camera when I see something that looks cool to my eyes, to see if the camera agrees. I would say 75% of the time it does, and it even shows me MORE than what I SAW. And then there are all those times the camera can't see anything I am wanting to capture. One thing I know for sure, is that if what I'm seeing has elements of light... Then the camera and I conspire in fascination for coolness and we have even more fun together. Which is also a reason why I love macro photography. I want to see the little stuff the naked eye can't appreciate, like how the shape of water is sometimes only evident because of light. The camera is fond of this too, and we regularly PLAY.

Instagram was made for people like me who take hundreds of photos and share one every few hundred taken. I love to see what other people are finding cool, and what their camera is finding beautiful. The mention of instagram compels me to say that people who are finding their own face or body fascinating everyday are the ones I just can't follow for long. Sorry Charlie, your pouty lips just aren't as cool to me as they are to you. But, Yay You, for loving your face!!

Photography is one of the few things that give me a separation from those weighty planets, with my brain happy to say: “I’m busy right now. Call back later. I'm already occupied with looking at beautiful things”. 

The second coping mechanism is actually a pretty big thing I should have discovered long ago –and many have. It’s DANCING. Not dancing for anyone to see, just dancing for me to feel. This also comes back to what I write about all the time: getting to know yourself and improving self esteem. Which is how the dancing started, actually. I decided to use it as a way to try and feel more comfortable in my own skin. And I’m going to jump ahead for a second to say: It Totally Fucking Worked!

I’ve said this so many times, but I have not known myself most of my life. I’ve been an enabler ON HOLD. So as I've been getting to know ME and realizing I have many things to fix and heal, I have learned much about who I am and who I’m not. This is my journey now. It’s possibly best described as a path to wholeness. So, in my attempts to feel whole, I must stretch and step outside of the space I regularly stand… and Dance.

How I started was like a coward. In the dark, in the bathroom, in front of the mirror, but with the only light coming through a crack in the door from my bedroom. So I began dancing in that sliver of light, and used my fascination of light and shape as a way to keep moving. The REAL key was having just discovered the music of Andrew Belle. Dancing to his Black Bear album was more fun that I could believe, and so the dancing continued effortlessly, until one day, the dark didn't even matter. I knew how certain songs made my body feel, and then The 1975 got involved, and it's impossible to hold still when I hear songs I love.

Dancing has altered so much in me. It’s been over a year now, and there is no going back. The benefits literally can’t be explained or shared. It has changed how I see myself and how I even see life. It has increased my love of music (which seems impossible) and I can’t squeal enough about this new found tool. I do realize dancing is so normal for most people they don’t think twice about it. But for me it was never normal, and now it has become extraordinary.

Having explained the dancing, I will say this is one of the reasons my lovely Melissa and I connected. It is also why she said this post was not long enough. I had already started dancing as a therapy, before I learned she is in school to become a dance therapist. She saw the dancing become more and more fluid to me as this whole process unfolded.

That old Lee Ann Womack song “I hope you dance” has new meaning to me. I always heard the message as taking what life gives you and turning it into success –Dance being the metaphor for success. But now I want to hear it as Dance being the tool to get through everything. Don’t do what I did and NOT dance. Keep yourself healthy, keep you eyes and ears open, keep you body and mind willing to be fluid, and when you need some help, or happiness, or therapy, DANCE. I’m proof it does things, it changes you.

Now I’m gunna dance my way to Wholeness.

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