Fighter..Things Will Get Brighter
As a child I was shy and quiet. I had to be. I was not allowed to show the girl I became in my room every Saturday afternoon . As I cleaned, I would watch American Bandstand and Solid Gold. I tried with my little feet to imitate the every move of the dancers I watched. All of us as children are natural born artists. Play is the work of children and in my mind today should also be the work of adults. If nurtured properly the artist remains and thrives. We continue to play regardless of the work we do. Many of us put that artist to sleep. The dragons and fairies we danced with as children are replaced with a dance of security, insecurity, anxiety and fear. Slowly, the child dies, our spirit dies. We are programmed by society , by family, by friends to stop dancing and start marching to the melody of quiet desperation. The only music we can hear is the funeral hymn of our lullaby dreams. For many years my little feet stopped moving. The tiny ivory cells of my mind held onto beliefs that I was NOT GOOD ENOUGH and never would be. To this day these beliefs haunt me. They wake me up in the morning and sleep with me at night. They have caused me to stumble , their weight is too heavy on my soul. But, I have aways been a fighter. Even as a child. Regardless of the oppression, I continued my expression, i continued to dance if even only only in my dreams.
As I got older, I ran. Literally and figuratively. I ran anywhere I could in travel and when I didn’t travel I ran on the cement floors outside, or to dance studios. It was in these dimly lit studios that I could let the brightness of my child out. When the music hit me I felt no pain. I took many different kids of dance classes. Always with a partner leading me. I have been dancing a long time, mostly with the doubts and insecurities that plague many of us. I always depended on that partner to pick me back up. Sometimes, they just stepped right over me, sometimes I had to find my own strength. It was also in these dimly lit studios where I felt oppressed once more. The little girl inside was not perfect enough once again. Or so I perceived others to believe. So, I’d run to a different studio, hoping to find one where I could be me and be accepted, perfect or not. I have tried many different dances, this year I discovered pole. No dance partner to depend on. I also discovered that high school doesn’t really ever end. Friends form and people are ostracized.
One as sensitive as I just doesn’t play in sandboxes anymore. When I began pole , I heard comments I have always heard, Maria why do you do such strange things? Maria what is the point of that? Maria that is a stupid exercise. That is for strippers. In other words, Maria why can’t you be like everyone else? Why? Simple. I am not, nor do I want to be. My child wants to play. But, she also wants to be validated. The adult wants to be strong but she needs others to believe in her potential. Don’t we all? I didn’t find that in the first studio I went to for pole dance and fitness. I found instead, Maria you can’t do this, don’t try. Maria just follow what I say, I am the teacher.
As a teacher, I know this is detrimental to all , for within all of us is a child. Whoever said that silly rhyme about sticks and stones obviously never had a bruised heart. So, I left that sandbox and tried to find a new “home”. One where perhaps the little girl could feel free without judgement, could play and reach new heights both on the pole and in body and mind. I don’t believe in coincidences, people come into your life always for a reason. In Sugar Dance Studio I found what I was looking for. Validation and gentle pushing to reach my goals. There is no YOU CANT, there is no LOOK AT EVERYONE ELSE, there is no DON”T EVEN TRY IT. The only words out of the mouths of these instructors are those that slowly awaken the little girl inside of me and slowly help stitch her heart back together. The only judge I have is myself. And yes,I still do it, even in Sugar Dance Studio, however quickly I am reminded by them to respect my body, to listen to it, that I am beautiful, that I can do any move they show me. If not today, then tomorrow. I am reminded that I have to compete with no one but the Me that was there yesterday. Life like pole dancing has been, is a struggle. Once you embrace it, once you find those you can trust to allow you to fall and gently help you back up again, you can be free if even for an hour out of the day.
The other night was an extremely bad one for me. My mind was in a million different places. I am a person whose mind is always rewinding to the past or fast forwarding to the future. Rarely, am I empty. My body was in pain from the invisible illness of Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. I could have stayed home to sleep with the dreams of the little girl doing pirouettes and spins in her room, or I could have pushed myself to go to Sugar. I went. Somehow. The studio was the same as always. Dimly lit except with the reflection of colors from the strobe light against the walls. The colors usually which seep into my soul and bring me back to life. It didn’t and I failed or so I thought. I went home and messaged my instructor, Dance First, Think Later…It is the Natural Order. Sometimes it’s not that easy. Her response.. FIGHTER…THINGS WILL GET BRIGHTER. So, for those of you who think what is the point of pole dancing?
Am I just working to improve my body? No. Been there, done that. Meditation does not require sitting in a lotus position. It is a state of complete being. Achieving even for a few seconds emptiness. Out of emptiness can come everything. So, this is my meditation. For those of you who doubt your own abilities, for those of you who let fear and insecurity control your life. I understand. I also know that the greatest obstacle are our thoughts and those thoughts we grasp onto can be let go of even in dance. So, you can choose to put the dragons and fairies to sleep or to wake up the child and climb high on that pole.. as you dance with them once again. The key lies in finding that dimly lit studio,those gentle hearts that will welcome you in and believe in you as I have, like Sugar, where you can shine.