Reflections on dance & life #2

7 months on from PVFS I am starting to wake up from the dead. Some reflections from the sidelines of my salsa journey over the last year.

Who we are and what has formed us, build a unique combination of hindrances and assets that we bring to our learning. It takes an insightful teacher to navigate these by providing a safe space, balanced with pertinent pushing, to open the door for students growth.

I was horrified to see how I looked the first time I saw myself salsa on video! Apparently it’s normal to feel nauseous the first time. Suddenly I saw everything I dislike about myself blatantly screaming at me from camera, in the form of dance where each physical aspect that needed work reflected something of who I am…Too safe and predictable – take risks. Too controlled – let go. Engage – get outside of my head. Stop caring what other people think.

Over the 3 months since seeing the video I was lost in negativity not wanting to face any of these things, thinking that I needed to analyse and uproot each thing in order to move on, which sounds a ghastly process so naturally I procrastinated doing that and just wallowed.

Eventually speaking to my instructor about what was going on for me his response was so en pointe that I couldn’t ignore it, it shook me up and was the catalyst to spark me from my mellowing and face what lies beneath my blocks. I spent the afternoon emotional, writing blog after blog.
I was watching this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPOhLAGpLe8
“Ooo! I want to look like her!”, I thought.
In the same moment I realised, I will never look like her. Because I am me. I gave up salsa (for the 3rd time…lol). I will never be the salsa dancer I want to be, because I can’t change my personality, I’ve always been safe, controlled and inward. At the time it felt like a lightning bolt moment of clarity – of course this is why salsa is such a struggle for me! I’m trying and fighting to be something that just isn’t me! Cue my tango epiphany! In this moment, I realise I am built for Tango.

I got up the next day and took on my teachers challenge of dancing not just stepping through the moves, finding I was moving more freely and having fun.
A milestone social was made as I discovered what it is to be satisfied!
No longer song after song sitting, waiting, watching, overlooked.
I got asked for dance after dance, and for the first time ever I got repeat dances!

Some small thing had changed within me I think because of facing these blocks, rather than letting them drown away under the surface.
Others could feel it, for the first time I sense that people want to dance with me.

Despite this progress, I still believed I’ll never be a good salsa dancer because it’s so polar to my introverted personality and this despair hung over me like a cloud. Happy though I was to realise there might yet be a place on the dance floor I can call home -tango, this bug wouldn’t go away, each morning I woke to think, what is this thing that hovers over me still, I cannot shake it. It felt like a black cloud clinging overhead, for a few weeks.

I’d spent the month feeling very tired but unsure why because I was on holidays (I hate going to work in winter, reason enough to take 3 weeks off eh!). Unable to keep up with the rest of the world, but I pushed on anyway.
The next week, I was exhausted. Dragging myself around wondering how I can sleep for so many hours yet wake up dying for more sleep. (Is there such a thing as pre-viral fatigue? O_o)
Then I became sick with a strange virus. I escape into the sound of Ed Sheeran on repeat. Distraction from misery by imagining myself moving to his beautiful music.

All of these depressing dance musings go to the back of my head of little importance, as it takes all my energy to navigate recovery from the virus over the coming months.
In hindsight now I’ve woken up from that despairing place, I know I don’t need to change who I am to improve in these areas, they actually have nothing to do with introversion they are just less developed parts of me from anxiety or the way I’ve been brought up. Taking risks, being experimental, less self-conscious more engaged are good things and working on them will round out my personality more while still being true to my quiet nature and introversion.

Overthinking my flaws was useless, it lead to despair and untrustworthy thoughts – me thinking that I can’t do salsa because of who I am felt like a lightning bolt moment of clarity but I can see now it was a lie. Question my thoughts.

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A gentle rediscovery of energy.

Today marks 3 months since I was sick. “What do you do with all your time!?” People ask incredulously. A question that bounces out of one who can only be well.
At first being sick blurred the weeks, then morphed into sleeping 18 hour days, slowly becoming recovery and then “I think I’m better!” which turned out to be totally fickle. Setback. Body s l o w e d  f u r t h e r.
Now, I’m not back to normal. I am accepting a slower pace of life.
‘Things’ pile up and I don’t care! The shower is disgusting and its taken me this long to say never fucking mind! I accept my body is a temporary granny. I am liberated from housecleaning! Also from the many projects my creative mind likes to dream up, which I never had the energy to do when I was normal anyway causing cycles of pressure and guilt.

These days if I’m not at work for a couple hours or Tango class, I don’t really do anything. It’s been a pleasure to find there were a few more hours this week where I didn’t need to rest. So I’ve started munching on this delicious book, The Sound Of A Wild Snail Eating.
And now…a spring of water in dry land, for the first time in months I feel this tiny desire to create. Ah so good to feel something other than “dull…
stuck in the mud…
…my body just won’t GO”.

Now…a gentle rediscovery of energy. Mini setbacks week after week from stomping or even just toeing the line between activity and rest – living a normal life and healing- made me cautious. It’s still up and down but there is nothing left to cut out from my life! Exercise, housecleaning, tafe, life groups, piano, singing…already gone. Some dancing stays, Drs orders. You cut out everything you get depressed. That bug stuck to me for a short while. Starting work helped to dissolve its cloud over me.

Now when my energy comes out to play I am very cautious what I give it too, who I share it with. That has always been the way of my personality but now it is different. It runs me, it is no longer subject to what others think of me, my desire to be like them, incomprehension at why I feel different, frustration at tiring so easily. I had to give in, it has shrunk my world, my world has become little. Hopefully God will expand my life in new ways. In the stillness. In the quiet. In the paring back He will bring something new.

If I look a little blank when you ask how I am…lol…XD

Harry Potter movie marathon

There’s simply nothing else for it.
Always wanted to do this! And thanks to glandular fever/post viral fatigue this is the first time in my life I’ve been able to give myself permission to indulge in 20+ hours of HP viewing.
Maybe it will cure me of my HP addiction, I am 27 probably need to grow out of it soon…But definitely not before I visit Harry Potter World. And make my own fangirl clothing. Sew a Bellatrix costume. Marry meet Daniel Radcliffe.
I’d invite all you fans over but I haven’t showered in a while…what day is it again? Lol. When I google GF, the not showering is a thing, an actual thing! People list it along with the rest of the symptoms!
Missed taking the bins out 43895902 weeks in a row. Now I finally venture outside to water the plants. The backyard is a JUNGLE! Where have the roses gone!? (Sorry Penny) And the spinach! Sorry Mum. Lavender! Sorry Rach. DEAD. All dead.
Think of all those petals that won’t be picked, dried and crushed. For….craft or something…soap that I don’t know how to make. (What the hell was I thinking?! Oh come on I know you have a stash of utter shit that you’ve collected for that day-in-the-future where you will be craft queen!)
And another thanks to GF, I’m no longer comfort eating! Despite still being stupidly worried at times (usually at 2AM about whether I’m “sick enough” stay home from work or “good enough” to go to work and not relapse). Yes I used to STUFF my freaking face in order to numb the anxiety that bubbles up about painful emotions that I don’t want to face.
So I’m facing those emotions now? No…lol one step at a time.

It’s taken a long time to accept help. So grateful I have friends to help me create picnic-inviting-lawn from the jungle and nourish me with home cooking.

Glandular fever.

Glandular fever.
CRUEL IRONY.
Ain’t no one been kissin’ this girl!
Day 1 – Feel like death, killer muscle aches & sore throat like I’ve *never* had before. Throwing up & fevers of 39+

Day 2 – Continues…well where is the rest of the flu then, bring it on, never had a flu before. But still no sneezing coughing or runny nose, it’s like a half flu! Must be a 48 hour virus.

Day 3 – Ok it’s a 72 hour virus. How much weight can I lose. Norovirus lost me 4 kilos. Wonder if I can get out of bed yet…hm I CAN. I mustn’t be sick then! Everyone says when they have the flu they CAN’T get out of bed. Look at me go! I don’t have the flu! I’M NOT SICK!
I srsly believed this.
Lots of stuff to do around home before I go back to work tomorrow. Better go to rehearsal tonight.

Day 4 – What?! I thought there was nothing wrong with me?! This is a really long 24 hour bug! Back in bed, 48 hours of fever, cue my mum googling extensively is it better to let a fever run to ‘burn’ out the virus or to take Panadol… Mum the old-school nurse wins, no Panadol. Dad makes & delivers chicken soup to me!  (Along with 1kg of tinned peaches!? It’s now week 7 and I have 3kg of tinned peaches in my cupboard..)

Day 7 – I can get up! Yaaay I’M NOT SICK! Better go to the supermarket! Gee I feel TIRED. But I’m still standing, not sick like yesterday so…carry on.

Day 8 – As a very allergic person I have sneezed a lot in my life. But this was insane, *never* like this! Back to bed, pretty sure I’m going to die. Ok…I accept this IS the flu, the whole flu, not a halfie.
My body is screaming at me YOU ARE SICK but I scream right back at it: THE PLANTS ARE DYING! The house is a mess! Someone has to cook! I’ll just do it really quickly. Am I shaking? Is the world moving or am I woozy? Better lie down.

Day 9 – Move in to mum n dads, just for a night or two…famous last words.
Midnight: *coughcough* *coughCOUGH*…*coughoughcoughcoughcoughcough* repeat ad infinitum
Rest of the household: silently thinking STOP…..COUGHING….>.<!!!!!! They deny thinking this of course, but this is because they are kind.
Coughing is exhausting and you discover muscles you didn’t know you had, and to give those ones a break you find different ones until your entire torso is in crazy workout pain. But uncontrollable spasm continues.
Prayer from mum and probably many others, the spasm slows and soon leaves me for good.

Doctor thinks it could be glandular fever.
How silly of her, my glands are fine! lol. Must be an overly cautious & thorough doctor.
But I nod and smile. She is aghast at my throat. I think: Oh how sweet to find a doctor that is caring and still able to be shocked. Even when there’s obviously nothing wrong with me.
Srsly that’s what I believed!
Off to get bloods taken, I’m going to quiz the nurse on GF. The second I meet her I like her! Older, reassuring. Kindness emanates from her even though we both know after 5 minutes we’ll never see the other again. Difficulty finding a vein, “Luckily we’re not in a rush”, she says firmly. (wohooo for nurses who don’t rush!) I promptly state it’s very unlikely to be glandular fever.
Nurse: Why is that?
Me: I’m simply not sick enough.
Nurse: How sick do you want to be?
Me: *stunned* Touché.
Hm. In hindsight I have been really sick even tho I didn’t let myself think so at the time. What more *did* I expect?
You don’t seem surprised, she said when she couldn’t get the blood. Uhh..I never seem anything, that’s just my usual ninja face. lol
Back to the car, burst into tears. I didn’t even think I was sick, I only just accepted it is the flu and now it might be GF, what the heck even is it?!

GF means I wouldn’t be able to dance & might have to miss the next salsa workshops and that is horrifying as it’s one of my only joys (joy here meaning bittersweet joy followed by deep deep turmoil making you question if it was ever worth it in the first place…lol, see multiple posts below). So I take that thought and all the feelings surrounding it and I put it in a little box and put that box away and choose to feel nothing instead. This is a dysfunctional ability that has taken years to perfect, I don’t recommend it lol.

Bloods test negative for GF. White cells nasty, CRP 30 which everyone was shocked by but I see them in the 100’s at work so thought nothing of it. I move back to my home. But having to get out of bed to DO so much (read: shower & eat) is making me weak, shaky and dizzy. Awake at 5AM with muscle aches. WHAT?! I thought I wasn’t sick anymore! Thought I was getting better! Cue sobbing. Wish I had my canine friend Collie to cuddle. <24 hrs since going home I’m back staying at mum n dads 😛 lol
Sleeping 14 hours a night and waking up only to think Gah! Why did I wake up?! NOOOO go back to sleep I’m so tired! And then sleeping during the day.

Doctor, I thought I was getting better but why do I still have symptoms after 3 weeks, I’m so tired and every time I start to feel better I do a little more ie 10 minute walk, pace of a caterpillar, feeling like a dead weight, and then I get tired and if I don’t stop then I get sick.
“Post viral fatigue” is caused by a number of different viruses & happens when you don’t rest enough during the initial phase. Another blood test for GF as sometimes the first one is a false result. This nurse is efficient. I become a task, not a person. Wow, the power of a 5 minute interaction. That’s the power I hold too as a nurse and as a person.