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On Being Simultaneously Okay and Not Okay 

I have, once again, rather fallen into the habit of perkily reporting on my ballet is adventures whilst staunchly neglecting one of the other legs of this ostensibly-tripedal blog: the bipolar part. 

That said, I suspect that I often do this when I’m struggling. Keeping a stiff upper lip (which, no joke, autocorrupt wanted to parse as “soft, upset lip”) was a central tenet of my upbringing. I am a Yankee of the old school by birth and breeding; we’re supposed to be stoic  and taciturn and to solve our problems by regarding them severely from beneath or beetling brows, or what have you.

I think part of me still believes that As Long As I Don’t Say It’s Happening, It’s NOT Happening

…Which is almost hilariously untrue.

I’ve noticed that I do this to Denis: often he doesn’t hear that I’ve hit a rough patch until either A) I’m on the third or fourth consecutive night with less than six hours of sleep, B) I’m curled up in a ball.on the kitchen floor literally trying to hold myself together when he arrives home from work, C) I’m curled up as in B whilst freaking out about A, or D) I melt down completely, hit full-on  fight/flight mode, and proceed to get in a fight with with the oven or the cupboard door or some other highly-threatening inanimate object. 

I suppose, dear readers, that I do this to you as well. And that I have been.

As a whole Burning Man was great this year — but there was also a thing that happened which cut too close to old wounds and very much re-awakened the part of of me that is aggressively hypervigilant. This has made coping with the transition back to my normal routine immensely difficult.

Couple that with a couple of extremely-stressful situations at home, add a shot of hormonal chaos and the inevitable weirdness that crops up as the seasons change, and everything has gone right to Helena Handbasket (she’s a busy lady, that one). 

So I haven’t really slept in several days, and now I’m debating whether I should try to go to 9:00 class or try to sleep. It probably says a great deal about the situation that I’m not so much worried about whether or not I can dance — in my current state, I’ve noticed, I always get a miraculous little hit of energy as I belly up to the barre — but whether or not I can drive.

Part of me considers it surprising that I can lie here and write about this lightly and humorously. It feels like hell. I’m getting through it a few minutes at a time, an hour at a time, by mindfulness: that is, by the practice of reeling my monkey mind in when it starts to go “OH G-D OH G-D I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS I JUST CAN’T I AM NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP AGAIN ETC” with the knowledge that I don’t and can’t know the future, but I’m here now, and this is, in the famous words of Avenue Q, “…only for now.”

I remind myself that I might still feel feel like this in ten minutes or I might not, but that right here, right now, I can sit with this — with fury or despair or anger or terror or sorrow or wrath — and just experience it without either judging the experience or buying into the idea that it will never never end.

It will and it won’t. 

The stream of arising phenomena is unending, and so it shall be until the universe cools or torches itself or we all reach Nirvana or Messiah comes (“… I apologize that I took so long…”)

In the calmer moments, like now, when I’m not actively frothing at the mouth, this is a comforting thing to think about. In the other moments, it’s at least something that lets me hang on until.

Meanwhile, I know that getting back to class on a regular basis will help, which right now feels like a Catch-22 (How can I get to class if I don’t start sleeping? How can I sleep of I don’t make all all my classes*?), but I remind myself: that’s only right now. It will come. 

  • *Physical exhaustion is still the only reliable way to manage my insomnia.

Anyway, I’m finally feeling feeling like I  might actually be able to sleep a little. Maybe I’ll make class, maybe I won’t. That’s in the future ,and i can’t live there, but I can live here. 

Anyway, there’s always noon class.

Bonne nuit, et bonne chance. 

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