I’ve spent my whole life being taught how to keep it together, to find the line, fall into line…but no one ever taught me how to fall apart.
It seems I’m always writing about the heavy, but dang how I love to feeeeeel grounded. I blame my dancer brain constantly trying to balance out the positive feedback with the equal side of the associated negative hanging behind it aka “the critique”…what the rest of the world refers to as a backhanded compliment, might be the only compliment I can handle. It’s a dancers norm and we crave it, the good WITH the bad, badly.
I’ve been writing, no, sharing my writing for a year now. Though I spend more time experiencing the happenings of my subject matter rather than documenting it which probably shares the same ratio as rehearsal vs. stage time, this gritty process of bagging my head against my computer while sipping on oat matcha lattes in the coziness of studios and coffee shops has become almost habitual, as well as the frustration that causes these self discoveries. In fact it is what I wait for…..frustration.
Let me explain this little love-hate relationship I have with this helpful annoyance. It’s the build up of my redundancies in the process of creating that brings me to it. It is where I get so sick of myself and my routine of repeating, and repeating, and repeating, and repeating that that repetition turns into irritation, and irritation becomes momentum. It boils up inside me, consuming me in such a way that I can’t identify it, let alone control it. It is that moment, the moment where you realize you are at the mercy of your own emotions, and whatever is inside you is going to come out, regardless of what it looks like.
That is the moment, the build up of the overwhelm. I thrive off that moment and wait for it to eat me alive because I know when I hit that wall that I’m close to something real. Truth. I’m not waiting for the words or movement to come or inspiration to strike, nope. I’m waiting to become so completely exhausted with myself, and my external attempts. So tired of holding on to what “I want to be” that I have no choice but to let go and fall apart into “what I am.” The exhausted you, is the real you. What I’m waiting for might not even be frustration, but trust. Trusting that I’m ready to know all of what I already know. Trusting to be, ready. Woof.
The problem with frustration is it gives you no options, just direction. One direction, and it feels worse than the band sounds. It’s almost tunnel vision you’ve been internally forced to, regardless of how much resistance you can give there is no escaping this reaction. It’s chemical. Where you realize there is no going back, only forward…and now thanks to this bitch of a buildup you only have one choice, one way, and it’s not out of the mess it’s through it.
No wonder dancers are driven by it, because frustration causes a physical reaction. It makes you make moves. It gives our emotions physicality. It is why we scream, shake our head, pull on our own hair, fight or flight, or in our case use our body as a way to get out what we feel when keeping it inside seems not enough. And it is not enough. It’s how we move through our emotions, and because we move through our emotions. We revisit the same movement a hundred times in hopes that we might discover something more in it. We don’t avoid it, no, we flirt with it, we sit with it, we revisit frustration and know it well. Because we know if we leave it too soon we might never get to see what exists behind it. It’s the unknown that motivates us, not the knowing.
So for the last 3 months I’ve been a filthy flirt. I’ve been frustrated by my frustration, by my frustration. Ugh. I waited and waited for that moment, to be so consumed and emotionally constipated that it pushes me to the studio so I could bust out all of what’s inside me in the attempt of shaping it into something. Creating something. But as soon as I got there I couldn’t handle it. I became so blinded by it, defeated by it, how it puts me faced to face with myself, that I become paralyzed by the truth. The truth?…when I step foot into that room my doubts, my judgment, and my fears replace everything I was trying to create in my head outside of it. It gets in the way of what I see, and disrupts not just vision, but my ability to share what I am. And to me that shows me I am in the right place.
So I did the first response, and forfeited. I quit, I gave in, packed up, and immediately started to bitch-myself-out and beat-my-self up, because I knew, I knew as soon as I left the studio, it would be the only place I wanted to be. Needed to be. Had to be. It’s maddening to have something so close to you that drives you crazy while loving it at the same time. Love-hate, am I right? The best kind love because it forces you to find balance. Forces you to grow.
Sometimes you have to leave, to come back.
So I left and got as far as the car and came back. I faced myself. I was faced to face with myself and the self that is inside of me, where we stared at each other through the mirror, letting the tears burn the sweat down my face. It is that moment as you confront the you of which you are, to the “you” that only you can see. Where I screamed, and spit out words towards myself…
“How long are you gonna wait?”
“How long you gonna wait to let out all of what’s inside you out?”
“What is it gonna take?”
“What are you waiting for?!”
“When will you just trust yourself?”
I swore to myself I wouldn’t leave that room until I knew how to sit with my frustration. The only thing harder than finding the line, is breaking the line. And amazing things come out of conflict, you just have to stay with them long enough to see it through. Truth is beautiful, regardless of what it looks like.
It took falling apart. It took falling into frustration to give up, so I could give in. It took trusting my uncertainties as much as I trusted my certainties, when everything is really uncertain. It took having the worst year of my life, to see it was the best year of my life. It took losing the love of my life, to realize I am the love of my life. The good WITH the bad, badly.
It took strength to fallapart.
Written December 2017