Monthly Archives: May 2014

The truth about adversity

I am bumping along nicely in my life. Everything seems to be falling into place, just as I have always dreamed it would. I am feeling secure in the certainty that life is starting to truly even out. I am sure that all the plotting, planning, and wars I have been through until now have laid the ground work for me to end up in this zen-like paradise of calm. Yup, I am the master of my universe and the controller of all. That is until I am not.

I have often fallen into this egotistical sense of security that all is right with my world. My career is lining up the way I dreamed. I have freedom to choose my schedule. I have the strength to say no to things that do not serve me. The seeds I have planted are ready for harvesting. Yes, all can seem so right with my world. And then, it all gets turned on its ear.

Aspects that seemed calm, normal, and reliable blow up into these monsters that steal my sleep. Devils that sap my energy. Ghosts that blow through me and nab my soul. Suddenly I am aware that all that seemed right suddenly seems wrong. How does it happen that I swing from one pole of greatness to another of devastation within such a short period of time? It’s beyond me and I admit it is exhausting.  Sometimes it makes me feel like I was duped into believing the best in something and once I am committed, the mask of what I believed in is removed and the reality of what I committed to becomes clearly different than what I thought.

I am not sure if I am built tough so that I can endure struggle? Maybe this is my place in life? Maybe I am meant to be an ambassador of strength? To shows those who are struggling that things could be so much worse if they were in my boat? That sounds quite depressing, but I am trying to figure out why I attract struggle.

I definitely attract dichotomies. I am either truly loved or truly hated by those in my life. I seem to have this power which I have not honed that allows me to switch those from love to hate and back so quickly that I often don’t know what happened or why. It is a taken I do not wish on others. It can turn bosses against me quickly and it usually lies in my truth telling nature. I am not skilled at spinning situations. I call it as I see it and this can cause that love to hate shift, I too frequently enjoy.

So what do I make of all this? I am uncertain. I do enjoy when I fall into that sense of security, false though it may be, where I get to just enjoy life and feel carefree. Though time after time that seems to become broken, I still enjoy wearing my rose coloured glasses of naivety. Maybe that is just naive? Maybe I try to see the brighter side of life and this skews my perception? Maybe I am just cutely gullible? I actually doubt that one as I see through people so easily. Perhaps this is my coping mechanism to give myself reprieve after difficult times. It does make for good material to work out in new work or just random play on the dance floor. 

Partnerships and Such . . .

Why is the idea of a new partnership so tantalizing? I can taste the excitement in my body whenever the opportunity comes up. It doesn’t matter whether it is in dance, business, or personal relationships. The excitement is still the same every time.

Maybe this means I am a people person more than I thought? I used to always think it was easier, smarter, and more enjoyable to be a soloist. That has been the thought since I was little. I found ties to others confusing, more often disappointing, and quite frankly a nuisance. I think I still had that excitement when those partnering opportunities appeared, but I was guarded against them because it seemed they were more likely to fail than succeed, so why get attached?

Maybe I am growing up and becoming more insightful? I still value my alone time. I think that is my personality. If I don’t get that time in my own head and physical space, then I start to feel crawly and overwhelmed. Like the world is trying to steal my essence. I need that time away from others to recharge. To reconfigure who I am and want to be without the influence of other’s ideas. Maybe this is selfish in some people’s eyes? For me it is survival and the healthiest way that I can deal with my situation.

I have been told before that I don’t let anyone support me. Honestly, feeling supported is a scary thing. There have been few times in my life where I needed support. When they did happen, the support quickly dwindled away and friendships and relationships were lost. It was not that I was overly needy during those times. I was still standing on my own two feet. The topics of those periods were rather heavy and scary. Apparently, they were scarier for those witnessing on the outside than my experience on the inside.

That dwindling of support reinforced my childhood instinct to be independent because I did not feel I could rely on people. In those periods of need though, I was so sure that these were people I could count on. They were people who had counted on me to support them when things went awry in their life. The reciprocal support was unfortunately not meant to be. Nor was a long term relationship with those people after the suffering period had passed.

Because of all that, I have approached my relationships since with a different attitude. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold for myself or others. This is the fun of life. I could be dead tomorrow and so could they. So in today, I am going to enjoy those who are part of my life. I am going to make the most of the connection I have. Tomorrow they could be gone metaphorically or literally, so I am not going to lay my happiness in their hands. I will just find happiness in what I glean from knowing them.

Dance like the Wind

My exposure to dance followed years of training as a gymnast. Gymnastics was about discipline. It was about pushing harder, faster, farther. It was about pushing through boundaries be they pain, flexibility, fractured bones, strained tendons and ligaments. I was built by gymnastics to be a warrior. Someone who could shut down the signals in my brain and body that told me to stop and listen carefully. As a young, rubbery, not easily destructible person, this wasn’t a good thing, but it was survivable.

In the long run, this approach to training is dangerous and sets up the body for disaster in later years. It trains the mind to think that pain is normal. It makes pain seem less alarming than it should be. It makes it so that responding to and respecting the pain seems abnormal. It breaks the body down in a way that comes back later in life if not chronically from a young age. My ability to tolerate pain is disturbing. I can carry on in extreme pain without anyone  being the wiser, except those that know me well. I remember so many of us having extreme injuries and still training. My body is used to that into adulthood as well. I have to reason with myself that pain isn’t normal in order to get myself in to be checked out by any medical practitioner. The fear that accompanies that type of visit has me talking myself out of actually making it to a clinic in a timely manner. If I wait long enough, everything will be better, I always assure myself.

As we get older, being able to have a paradigm shift from that type of intense training into one that is kinder may make us feel like we are getting soft or losing our edge. It really isn’t. It is more about us getting smarter and more intuitive. Wisdom comes with age and gaining the insight that injuring ourselves regularly is not a wise choice, is part of the aging process. I am starting to realize that I am lucky to be able to train the same or harder than those a decade my junior. I want to be able to continue to do so for the next decade and the one after that. To achieve that, I have to train smarter. I have to use my body in a way that gets results with minimal injury. This is easier said than done.

Coming from a gymnastics background where you push until you literally break is a different style of training compared to how I approach now. I need to make sure I am not being forceful in my movements. I need to watch that I am using proper and efficient technique. I need to be mindful of areas that are more prone to injuries. My achilles tendon is literally my achilles heel. We all have our thing. Be careful in your training in your current  youth  – I wasn’t and I wish I was because it would make a difference for me now.