Can you let it be done?

I danced with a chair last night.  You heard me, a chair.  The invitation during the night’s meditation cycle of sit, walk, dance, was to feel into what it is like to be beloved, to know your presence matters to others.  And though it was not posed as a question, my mind translated:  how would I move if I were certain of being loved?  I have little problem with loving myself.  That wasn’t always true, but the amount of romance between me-myself-and-I is downright blush-worthy these days.  It’s other people’s love I am not always sure of.

As I got ready to leave the first sitting meditation, I almost missed my own quick whisper: take the chair with you.  Wait, what?  If you really believed you were loved, you would not feel you have to do anything to earn that.  You would plop a metaphorical chair down wherever you needed.  You would learn to be, and be involved, without doing.  Oh.

I can’t tell you how awkward I felt.  Not only does a chair have different weight and dimensions than my usual dance partners, but I felt very visible.   Carrying the possibility of not working for love,  while still asserting my right to take up space, felt dangerous.  I was afraid of accidentally poking people with the chair legs, and when I finally picked my moments and my spots to sit, right amidst all the other dancers, I had no idea what to do.  In short, it was perfect.

I know it doesn’t sound perfect, but I find myself contemplating another question lately that is closely tied to this one:  how do I notice oncoming exhaustion and do something different before it gets here, including possibly leaving?  This can apply to exhaustion with people, events, places, or ideas.  Needing to earn love is part of why I have little blueprint for how to do that.  In this light, I feel mercy flavor my frustration for myself.  I’ve been trying to protect what I once viewed as a finite love supply, by running myself into the ground (gotta love perfectionist logic).  In this same vein, I realized a few weeks ago that I have been confusing protection for support.  Turns out they are not the same thing, though they may be related.  I’ve been staying where I feel protected, not seeing that there was little to no UNCONDITIONAL support available–people are surprisingly willing to protect their martyrs, those who have died for the cause, without being willing to step into the lions den with them.

I have however started to change these patterns in recent years.  Exhibit A: It took me multiple years to recognize that I was exhausted with both Christianity and public education.  Exhibit B: I stayed with my last relationship about a year past the point of being done.  Exhibit C: I only stewed in my done-ness with being a flower shop girl this Fall for about a month.  I understand much more quickly these days when things aren’t fitting, but I still stay with bad fits for longer than I would care to, feel the need to justify my leaving with, “I did everything I could.”  I have trouble softening the rigidity of my thinking when things are “good” and I decide steadfastly to stay forever.  I pledged my undying love to the salted caramel ice cream from Rick’s Rather Rich in Palo Alto….somewhere during the first bite?  I then ate it for months, till I could barely stand the smell of it.

Thus, I am once again marshaling my creativity to once again face this piece of myself.  I am accepting, mostly with gratitude, how many smaller questions and lessons flow into this larger one.  I dance with chairs.  I stop eating halfway through. I’ve even entertained the possibility of taking a Monday a month away from dance, not to deprive myself, but to allow for things to stay flexible and not dogmatic.  I can leave the good, I can leave the bad, and endings are rarely tied into a perfect bow.  Sadly, I know I have tremendous resistance to all of this: not being exhausted, not being a perfectionist, a martyr.  I’ve literally played a couple hundred games of Fruit Ninja on my phone in the last few weeks, always when I finally have some time to write this post.  This is a tremendously confusing paradox, since I have enjoyed nothing more this year than slowing the fuck down.  I could guess at what I am afraid of, but I haven’t really met it yet.

I now have this unfinished mandala hanging on my bathroom mirror.  It literally makes my skin crawl and my ears itch with all the white spaces that should be filled in, but I will leave it there as I keep learning (even if sometimes I have to brush my teeth in the living room as a result).  I’ve hit on a foundational question for me, and I am willing to stick with it while I learn how not to stick with it.

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This Land Is Your Land–Fuck You, No It Isn’t

I have a hard time with change.  And before you say, “But everybody does!” I need you to know I HAVE A REALLY HARD TIME WITH CHANGE.  I am continually in dialogue (used to be conflict, but I’m learning) between my yardstick of a left brain, my hot fudge sundae of a right brain, and my dancing body.  Likely because of this, I get many opportunities to study people in the midst of transition, myself included.  How is it that we are one way today, and perhaps an entirely different way tomorrow, next week, or next year?

A part of transition is leaving.  You must leave a person, place, or thing in order to go somewhere else.  You’ll find these blog posts absolutely pockmarked with my distaste for leaving and the necessity of it.  Yet, here I am again exploring a new layer of what it means to leave.  I’ve decided to end the romantic portion of a long-term relationship with a lover.  I know this is not a new dilemma in the history of humankind, but I have received some very new information about myself this month during the process:

I do not really know how to leave anythinig until I am exhausted (more about this in upcoming posts–the next few weeks worth of posts are basically going to be me processing this subject).

This all landed me thinking about colonies yesterday.  I know that feels like you’re missing about fifteen steps, but remember readers, my right brain=hot fudge sundae–it’s delicious, but things tend to melt all over each other in there.  The writing that resulted was done in a park, on a concrete stoop, and on a dance floor.  I was going to wait and give you an edited version, but I like the first draft, even the parts I don’t really like, including the fact that WordPress fucks with my line spacing any time I copy and paste a poem I’ve written.  Not made for poets, are we WordPress?  Join the rest of the world on that one.

This Land Is Your Land–Fuck You, No It Isn’t

How can it be as a white woman–

unraped land,

unerased language,

unscattered clans–

that I can know anything about colonies

beyond 8th grade Social Studies?

But then what do I call the unfinished stories

of my mother and father,

crawling up my neck,

braving gray matter waves?

They lay stakes,

poor foundations

in the place my vision

wants to tangle and creep.

Or the lovers,

who told part of the truth

so I could never release or blame them?

Put covers and locks

on the wells of my heart,

made my blood private property.

Every person I’ve left really,

threatens to punish the stride in my step–

regret is the new religion of the new state.

Forget you used to know courage, adventure,

and connection to a borderless tongue.

And I know it’s not the same, but these colonies,

and a thousand others, threaten to smother

with benevolent hate, promenading as protection.

Some days they “just” deny me a vote,

others I’m caught in the street with my hands up

begging an agent of this power,

“Don’t shoot?”

My sovereign shares the crown with other powers

in a place that is my home.

The promises made for pleasing both

are immense and fake as set pieces

for a low budget musical.

I begin to see why I have trouble leaving before I’m exhausted.

And I know it is not the same.

So maybe the question should change.

Instead of, “Why do we continue to colonize

those who are already free?”

Why do we sometimes turn away from violence done to us–

and sometimes relish inflicting it on others?

A butterfly landed on my shoe in the park today.

It didn’t stay for very long.