Looking Back

Sometimes I wonder how I reached the point I am at in life. I have few friends but those I have I value. I have recently shed myself of people who I once considered friends and in retrospect I question why I ever thought this. I logically understand the why, it was a step on this path to knowing that they were bad for me, and that I deserve better. I did not always deserve better. In a way its like watching my mother date an abusive man who was in her eyes good because he just did not hit her. Baby steps. Learning steps.

I think back on all of the years I struggled and just wanted any friend at all. I can see myself sitting on the swings alone, watching people. I do this often. All my memories punctuate the aspect of watching as from the age of eight through now there is the blurred shape of the world then the crisp shape of whatever is past my glasses. Even in the memories this is so, whatever I see is drawn into sharper focus that way. I remember watching people, and wondering what it was that made all of the girls come together and laugh over things I still don’t get the joke on. I sometimes think there was not really a joke but a need to pretend that they all mattered. A need to be something. Anything.

I am still socially awkward. In fact in recent years by no longer putting on the act of normalacy it may look like I am more awkward now. I no longer risk dying just to be around people, especially since dying isn’t very fun for anyone to experience or witness. I no longer tolerate people in my life who think that its just enough to close a door, as if an allergen strong enough to put me into anaphalaxis when I breathe it is really stopped by a closed door. If the door was air tight? Maybe. That person was once my best friend. If they read this they may know who they are. I am thinking too on being pushed to do things I am not ready to.

There is a way to invite someone to do something, and there is a way to demand people do things or else. The difference is dramatic. I look back on my life and while I am still very young I have seen over and over again so many people who just want to take and drain no matter the cost. Perhaps it is being disabled that makes the cost something so clear to me, but I do not think so. I think it is simply being alive. The cost can express itself in the form of that person at work who walks into a room and in five seconds you feel drained. They stay too long, they ask too much but society obligates you to not say a word, to act like its fine for people to be that way. They might be obnoxious, rude, or even too polite so that you know they are up to something. THey could also be desperately lonely. Sometimes its okay to leave people in their loneliness.

Sometimes it is okay to tell people too, that solitude is not the same as loneliness. I was asked recently what I want from travel. It is not the tourist hot spot crowded with people but the serene beauty offered by nature. It is the quiet space where few people know to go but holds more beauty than the pastiche of plastic doodads for people to buy and the obligation of what must be seen. While I do want to see the Great Wall of China, the Mona Lisa and of course the Tower of London, I also want to see a backroad in any given country but my own, to listen to the people laughing and talking, and to watch the world.

I look back and I find I am greatly relieved to have found friends when I needed to experience them, and now to lose those people who were not really friends. I am solitary but not alone. I wish I had learned to walk this way long ago. This path of quiet where I reach out to people and they reach back, instead of one of us reaching and falling again and again and being left to wonder why friendship hurts. Friendship is like love. It does not hurt, but feels quite nice.

I look back, and it leaves me looking forward too.

Dancing with Limited Mobility

I miss dancing. It was one of my jobs, but just as writing is like breathing, it was also a part of my life that I thought I would have forever. I started dancing when I was three, my Aunt’s daughter taught Ballet and we had lessons. I remember my pride at being able to lift my leg high, and the motions, the grace. I felt like a fairy princess during every class. I never wanted it to end. It did.

My father decided that dancing was just too good for his children, so the lessons ended. The ideals and memories did not fade. I discovered Belly Dancing when I was 17, and I once again found myself moving to music. I could feel it in my blood, coursing through my veins and just as singing, it took over my soul. I could leap, I could twist, I could use my hands and my entire body to entrance someone, as I celebrated the life that is in music.

I was the healthiest I had ever been, and I finally had a job as a dancer. I was reading through the contract to sign on as a permanent dancer with a troupe when I broke my back. I knew something was wrong immediately during practice when I first lifted my arms over head and wanted to scream. I still danced, but, quickly gave up on it. I couldn’t make my body move the way it used to. I had lost the silken rhythms and was trapped in a world of pain. It was the first blow of depression. For a time I wanted to die. If I could not move, what was the point of living?

Four years, maybe more as my time line sense is skewed, and I find the music still stirring my body. Every time, if I twitch my hips slightly my spine begins to burn and I cry. I am failing to resist the lure of a simple beat. I can hear it in my head, my heart pounds and I want it. I cannot strike the poses from my modeling career, I cannot dance… or can I?

Thanks to William Shakespurr I discovered a new method for dancing. He has mastered the remote control just as Sprite has and was watching fashion shows. He has a love of the bright colors and I think it is the techno that is the latest in fashion runway modeling that draws him. I could not resist the music. Tonight after a satisfying, if exhausting Career Builders Toastmasters Meeting I flopped into bed and got comfortable. I left the TV going and reminisced.

I remembered walking on the catwalk, Striking a pose, my body in line, my face the face that the people watching wanted. My body the perfect display for clothing, to make you want to buy it. I struck a pose, laying flat. I crunched horribly but despite the protests of my frame, I felt free. It wasn’t nostalgia, my mind was not trapped in the past, it was just the giggling and playful side that I do not let out as often.

A commercial came on with music and I moved my arms, my back is supported when laying and so it doesn’t have me tipping out of my chair. I was dancing again. This is how I dance now, a fresh discovery. I can twist, I can move, without really moving. I can feel the rhythm and I am not trapped now. My limbs feel freed. I know there will be conecquenecs in the morning, there are already now with my hands refusing to respond as fluidly as normal. I am forbidden to move like this by my doctors, yet, I need it for my soul.

I will have no regrets tomarrow. I have none now, and I am free. I am dancing in the air, I am floating in the sea. Nothing can stop me, for the melody frees me. Twisting, twirling, weightless, and so alive. I burn, not with pain but with Passions that have long been starved. Model, Singer, Dancer, Teacher, Writer. Who I have been? Who I am.

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