I’m sharing this from a friend of Kris Pedretti. It’s beautiful!
Me: Hello God.
Me: I’m falling apart. Can you put me back together?
God: I’d rather not.
God: Because you’re not a puzzle.
Me: What about all the pieces of my life that fall to the ground?
God: Leave them there for a while. They fell for a reason. Let them be there for a while and then decide if you need to get any of those pieces back.
Me: You don’t understand! I’m breaking up!
God: No, you don’t understand. You’re transcending, evolving. What you feel are growing pains. You’re getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down. The pieces are putting in place. Relax. Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need fall down. Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer for you. Let them fall. Let them go.
Me: Once I start doing that, what will I have left?
God: Only the best pieces of yours.
Me: I’m afraid to change.
God: I keep telling you: YOU’RE NOT CHANGING! YOU’RE BECOMING!
Me: Becoming, Who?
God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. I made you for so much more than those shallow pieces you decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear. Let those things fall off you. I love you! Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become! Become who I want you to be, who I created. I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember.
Me: There goes another piece.
God: Yes. Let it be like this.
Me: So… I’m not broken?
God: No, but you’re breaking the darkness, like dawn. It’s a new day. Become!! Become who you really are!!”
I just took my first kick-boxing class in a very, very, long time.
If the purpose was to incur an instant massive headache and kick one’s own butt – I was very successful. However, the whole time I was thinking “Give me a kick-butt jazz class any day.” Sadly, I usually find a way to think about being somewhere I’m not. It’s a coping mechanism. It doesn’t usually work.
I was so mad:
* that I even found myself in a position of needing to find a place to work out.
* That I don’t get enough time in a dance class, either taking or teaching, to maintain the skills and the muscles that have been a lifetime in the making.
* That I live in a place where a jazz class of any level isn’t offered during the week days. That, when I do find a dance class hours away from me, that I’m always the oldest in the class, and I barely get off the ground in a grande jete anymore.
* That, lately, I’m always the oldest anywhere, and ancient by comparison to the person I expect to see in my mirror.
* That there are even mirrors in a kick-boxing class reminding me that I’m the oldest, wimpiest one there.
* That I’m a strong woman who 15 minutes into a fitness level class wants to pass out, without having had the joy of a soaring grande jete, without accomplishing an athletic feat that pushes against gravity. The gravity of aging, of geography, of my world pulling me down to ground level. The level of a kick-boxing class at 8:30 on a Thursday morning.
* I have allowed gravity to level me.
All of this anger came surging out of my pores in the form of a flop sweat and nausea. The room was already swaying just after the warm-up, when I landed my first right jab on the thing you beat up in a boxing class…I don’t know what that thing is, but it’s rubber and it moves when you hit it with all the anger of gravity pulling you down. And it keeps bouncing back. So, that anger that found a place to land, comes right back again to ask for more. And, the perfect specimen of a kick-boxing teacher, yells at you to punch it again – in a right jab, left cross, right upper cut pattern.
And then you get to kick it.
Not like a ballet dancer with control and a light lift at the end, but a sharp, vengeful thrust of your heel. Again, and again, and again.
And all that fury fueled by a life now lived on the outside of civilization, finds something to beat up. Again, and again, and again.
I could not flatten my fury with that rubber thing you beat up. I didn’t have enough energy. I wasn’t strong enough. And that rubber thing you beat up, even though it kept moving away from me through my wimpy, yet perceived powerful swats, I kept following it. I didn’t let it go.
I could only punch and kick to rhythm of the music. I could only start on the first beat, after I counted in “5, 6, 7, 8.” I stopped to tie my shoes, to wish for my heart to remain in my chest, to drink not enough water, to pray I could finish the class with the slightest thread of dignity. Yeah, the dignity thing was a wash.
Kick-boxing may be the anti-thesis of ballet. It may be a symbol of giving up. Right now, it may be the best workout available to me to gain strength and freedom. I hated it. It was great. I’m going back.
Maybe, if I can stop comparing this class to my cherished moments in a dance studio, I can get the indignant rage to stay in that rubber thing you beat up. Then maybe there’s a chance I can let go of the need to make where I live, something it is not. And, I’ll eat something first. That might help everything..
Kick-boxing is only wrong because it isn’t what I’ve found to be right so far.
Reason to Dance # 872.5: Strength and grace under pressure. Even when the you’re the oldest ballerina in boxing gloves.
*Just to be accurate, I can drive an hour to find a dance class, late on a Monday night. I do make it to that class on rare occasions, due to my schedule. I’m so grateful that it exists, I could cry. http://www.abbybelladance.com
I live in a suburb next to an enormous Intel plant in a desert where I don't belong. My neighbors are techies, blue-collar football fanatics, gamblers, bankers, parents, sky-divers, nurses, pilots. I'm a dance, music and acting teacher, performer still, mother and wife hoping to be kind in this corner of my non-indigenous environment. I actually like living here. Most of the time.