The house was quiet. I suddenly had the urge to tear off my clothes – down to my underwear and tank top – and crank up the music and the fireplace. I wanted the room hot. I wanted the room loud. I wanted to dance.
I was born with a dancer’s heart. My mother says that I began dancing before I could even stand up. Any time music was on, my body would move, my feet would tap, my hands would wave. Dancing was something I did to express myself, to SHINE for the world. It was the only way that I felt I would be seen – dancing, on stage. It was something I innately did from deep within me and it was also a way that I escaped from real life. On stage, I was someone different.
I stopped dancing about 25 years ago. Back then, when I stopped dancing, I stopped because my heart was shattered beyond repair and I spent the next 2.5 decades going through life without dance and, really, without being alive. Aside from a year long stint in Egyptian Cabaret a few years ago, I have not danced for any length of time. I would snatch moments of dancing here and there, but not regularly. It just became habit to not dance after I had glued my heart back together and wrapped it in bandages until it stitched itself into a semi-resemblance of the beauty it had once been.
Sometimes, I must finally choose to do the very thing I have been avoiding. You would think that, if I repeatedly got the message that the very thing I have been avoiding is THE THING I must do to move beyond The Nothing, that I would do it immediately. Well… if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to be told what to do while, at the same time, longing for someone to tell me what to do. It’s quite a dichotomy I live with. Perhaps it is true to Gemini form. Yeah. That’s what it probably is. We’ll go with that.
You have travelled with me through The Nothing for a week now. I have shared with you my experiences, my emotions, my heartbreak, my wonderings, my pain, and my willingness – or unwillingness, depending on the topic at hand. I have shared about instincts and survival and choices. I’ve shared about crying and stomping and being very, very still.
What I haven’t shared with you, though, is how I have danced through The Nothing. Do you know why I haven’t shared that? Because I haven’t danced through The Nothing. I have refused to dance.
The thought occurred to me while I allowed my body to stand still in the heat of the room as the music filled the space, that my heart has been broken – seemingly beyond repair – again. This time, though, I simply cannot not dance. It was as though, the choice I made 25 years ago was calling to me to make the other choice today.
I put my pandora stations on shuffle, trusting that the Universe would pull through the music I needed to hear to process all that was within me. The first song was slow and gentle, filled with heart-tugging, slow pulls across the violin strings. I allowed myself to melt into it, just moving in the way I saw the music in my head, matching the curves and the swirls. For me, music has always played in my head with visuals of bodies in motion with dance. Giant numbers of many people in flowing, choreographed amazement.
The next song was a saucy remake of What Lola Wants and I giggled myself around the room in a partnerless Tango. There was a pause and a song from Tenth Avenue North, Oh My Dear, that I had never heard before came on. Something about the rhythm and the music had me paying attention, until the tears started to build and I began to feel the longing surfacing.
Oh! To experience that kind of love. To have someone hold me while I cried! I felt the tears burning my eyes, but they wouldn’t spill. They just hovered there, on my lashes, burning the tender whites of my eyes. And my body swayed and moved to the music as the lyrics filled my head.
Pause… as stations switch.
Then… just like that… Michael Silverman’s Canon in D was playing and I knew that Kelsey was with me, supporting me, helping me. I danced my ballet steps around the room, the cell memory stored in my body recalling the perfection of pointed feet and lacy, light arms. The Canon faded away and a new song came on. It stopped me for a moment as I contemplated changing the station. It was a “religious” song – Paul Cardall’s Redeemer – and I wasn’t sure that I wanted religion in my space right then.
I didn’t recognize the song at first. But, suddenly, I felt my energy sit down and I could see in my mind’s eye that I was sitting in a chapel. Within a breath, Grandma Faye slid in on the left of me, her hands holding open the hymn book so we could sing together. She always loved to sing, hymns being her favorite. And, even as she aged and her voice grew shaky, she still sang full out with total commitment. Her voice filled the space beside me and I felt her fullness touching me. I cannot remember the words to the song now, but I sang them from memory with her, remembering the countless times I had sung that very song with her. I saw her smile, felt her squeeze my hand, and pat my back reassuringly. I slumped sadly as her energy began to leave the room. I wanted her to stay. She turned and smiled as she faded away and gestured with her hands to indicate that she wanted me to stand tall and straight.
I didn’t recognize the next song, although I knew the artist. Reba! I like her music so I turned my attention to the words of Maggie Creek Road and soon found myself seething mad. The rage built from my toes and boiled in my belly and then cascaded forth in a primordial growl-scream. The dam broke and the tears burst down my face in gut-wrenching sobs. All of the anger of the last 25 years came rushing to the surface and exploded out into the room before I could stop it…
Mama stood on the front porch ringing her hands
Watched the taillights fading on his black TransAM
With her precious little baby taking off inside
Staring at him with stars in her eyes
She tried to tell her but the girl might as well have been deaf
She wasn’t gonna listen to a word she said
Don’t go down Maggie Creek Road
With a boy lookin’ like that
He’ll tell you things that you wanna hear
And there’ll be no turnin’ back
There’s an oak tree down by the lake
In the shade where the wild flowers grow
What will happen only heaven knows
So don’t go down Maggie Creek Road
It was a still black night dark is coal
Nobody heard her when she said no
She kicked and screamed and got free somehow
Tore her dress on the door when he pushed her out
She walked thirteen miles on the gravel road
With tears in her eyes
Twenty years ago
The song goes on, but I stopped listening. The anger was pounding through me with such force that I could not catch my breath. It roared through me, crashing into the room in thunderous booms of energy and swirling winds. I surrendered to it, allowing it to carry my body on the torrents of the storm.
The next several songs were gentle, providing me space to allow the energy of anger to pitter out. It poured and it poured until the downpour became a drizzle and the drizzle became a drip and the drip became the silence.
Then The Kiss from the “Last of the Mohicans” soundtrack came on and my heart squeezed while scenes of that movie flashed in front of my eyes. I danced through the emotions, moving with the sadness and the longing. I witnessed scenes from this life and other lifetimes melding into one and I danced and swayed some more.
Elegantly, the Universe delivered Third Day’s I Need a Miracle and the gentle tears coursed down my cheeks and that song was followed by Brandon Heath’s I’m Not Who I Was, Kim Wilde’s Set Me Free, and Tim Neumark’s Beginnings.
The titles alone of those last four songs had me giggling as I danced. By the end the last notes of Beginnings faded into silence, I was exhausted and danced out. I had moved my body for an hour, allowing the emotions to move me. I sat down, breathing heavily, drenched in the sweat of 25 years – thick with toxins and sorrow.
And then, Natalie Walker’s Colorblind came on and I sighed.
Pull me out from the inside.
The Nothing is all lit up now. There is fairy dust scattered across the ground, glimmering in the pinks, purples, and golds of the continual sunrise. I have moved. I am moving. I am changing. I am changed.
Step. Step. Step. Breathe. And move!
I am ready. I am ready. I. Am. Ready.
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