Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Pain is Your Gain & Stories of Canes

Strong legs...
I've written about the time that my life was changed meeting a physical therapist who I thought was just some know-it-all FREAK. (The funny ironic part is that now I am quite certain there are people who think that upon first meeting me and my certainty of being able to alleviate their pain and limitations!) I was so acclimated to pain and injury and difficulty WALKING that I assumed no one would ever be able to help me.

You can read about how close I got to buying a cane in my mid-30s here.

Meeting that physical therapist, who was not your garden variety physical therapist by any means, was one of the many threads that needed to be woven into the rope that I eventually followed out of the labyrinth and back to my life in dance.

Emerging from that labyrinth, escaping the True Self-eating Minotaur at the center, does not mean, however, that things are just perfect now.

The pain issues in my body come from congenital structural issues. I was born with some twisty-ness, to say the least.

But.

But...those issues are my teachers.

Yesterday, they did not feel like my teachers. Yesterday, they felt like my persecutors. Yesterday, for a wee bit of time, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Until I remembered that this won't kill me. That I am still here breathing and that as long as you can breathe, you can dance. It might not look like what you expect from yourself, but there is always a way.

There is always dance.

It may look like that person is paralyzed and in a wheelchair. It might look that way to someone with unseeing eyes who cannot see the dance in her breath or the dance in the tips of her fingers or the dance in her smile or the tilt of her head.

But I can see those things in all the dancers around me.

I can see it because I have lived with so much pain for so much of my life.

Living with so much pain gives me a window into others' pain and it also makes me HUNGRY for all the learning that I can gather. This makes me a better dancer AND a better teacher.

After I got over my Whiny, I took really good care of myself. I remembered and re-membered all sorts of things that I should be doing daily and not just when this issue strikes.

By the end of the day, I could feel some progress (and I am still working on this and will forever be working on this), and I laid on the hard, wood floor to just relax.  I put on the Max Richter Pandora station and I wasn't still for more than a few seconds when I remembered that I could dance with the floor under my back, supporting my hips and pelvis, and that that was just as good as the dance that happens when my legs are firmly and strongly beneath me.