Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Healing and hardship.


Ah, a return to home. My home among the dance community. This was effectively my early Thanksgiving trip. I need to take the actual week-long break to catch up on all the work that is overdue. In spite of all that I was supposed to do, I am so glad I came.

It came down to a last-minute decision on Thursday night to go to the event. Worried about not being able to dance, injuring my collarbone, and having too much work to do, the decision did not come easily.

The pivotal moment came from looking at my productivity. It started off great -- I hit the ground running after the surgery -- but by Wednesday evening, I was increasingly exhausted and emotional. I'd sit in my room, staring at my computer, trying to will myself to work. Instead, all I could think about was how lonely I felt. It was distracting. I was running myself dry and not giving myself time to heal -- both physically and emotionally. Thus, I resolved to go up for the weekend.

It proved to be a wise decision. The weekend delivered exactly what I needed: love. Love that I didn't have to ask for. Love that came from dear friends and from mere acquaintances. Love that came in a continuous flow throughout the whole weekend. Love that formed a healing cocoon in which I could rest my weary heart.

These events are no longer about the dancing for me -- they're about the people. I spent an entire weekend surrounded by talented dancers and stunning music, yet I only slightly missed dancing. Without dancing to distract me and eat up time, I could focus on connecting with the dear people in my life. (That said, I did walk away from the event really looking forward to healing so I could get back to dancing.)

The past month has presented many challenges. I did not realize how much it drained me until Thursday night I found myself lying in bed, crying quietly. Not for any particular reason, just a general sense of weakness and vulnerability and exhaustion.

Academically, I have not faced such rigors in a while. Losing a week and a half of school did not make it any easier on me. Between having to walk around campus everywhere (I average 1-2 hrs / day), dealing with the physical limitations, and the healing process, it's taken me a long time to return to full efficiency. I'm still hindered by the fact that I can't get around quickly, but oh well.

I did not realize the close link between my body's health and my emotions. When you become injured, you experience a confusing array of contradicting emotions. It's so difficult to sort through it all. One persistent feeling was one of vulnerability. I think that's the real reason I so desperately needed to be among my support group.

Being in that cocoon of intense love and support, I finally received the positive reinforcement I've craved for the past three months. Moving to grad school, transitioning to a new stage in life (physically, mentally, relationally, emotionally), it has all placed a strain on me. I have deep-seated issues with self-confidence, issues that can flare up easily when I'm placed into a new and unfamiliar environment. My gung-ho attitude about meeting people at the start of school was mostly bravado: underneath, I was terrified and craving the acknowledgment of others.

This is why that community is so good for me. People just love on me without me having to ask. They lavish me with positive energy, feedback, and thoughts. Sometimes I really need that -- as weak as that dependence may seem -- especially when I'm going through a period of great flux.