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Pas de Don’t

Please forgive the Giant Stupid Whiny Rant to follow.

Yesterday, I had an absolutely lovely conversation with my therapist about trying to learn to sort of honor what I am, including the delicate-respiratory-system part.

Today, I’m just frustrated.

I feel like I make so much progress, then get sick and lose so much ground, and like this is an ongoing thing for me, and like the smart thing, the good-zen thing, the Good Mental Health thing to do would be to learn to accept and embrace that.

And then another part of me is all, “Ain’t got time for all that, I’m a dancer.  Dancers gotta dance.”

(The painful corollary: if I’m not dancing right now, do I cease to exist as a dancer?  What a freaking terrifying question.)

I have written, occasionally, about Making Dance Accessible.

I am forced, now, to admit that my own internal prejudices, or whatever, have left a potentially huge group of people out of that thought process — that is, people like me, who are talented and have been given bodies that look and in most ways act like classical dancers’ bodies but who are afflicted with chronic illnesses that make sustained training problematic.

Truth is, I don’t see a workaround for someone like me. Or, well, yes — here’s something. Short-term projects; an approach to training that recognizes that even the longest spell of good health will eventually be interrupted by illness. A willingness to be flexible about classes; to step it down a level when the body demands it.

I admit it: I don’t feel ready for the physical demands of Brienne’s class yet — and a part of me is angry about that; just furious that my body has failed me.

Another part understands that it doesn’t help to think of it that way; that this is just another wave in the ever-changing ocean. After the ecstacy, as it were, the laundry: after a stunningly-long period of quite good health, the pneumonia, the period of recovery.

And still it is painful, yet again, to run up against the limits of my being; to be reminded that I am working with mortal clay and all its host of flaws (though, on the flip-side, I remain grateful for the great gifts I have been given, and I recognize that if this is the price, or only part of the price, I have so been given an amazing bargain, here).

I also recognize that the day I accept these limitations will be the day they stop hurting me so often: I’m like a stubborn horse that doesn’t want to stay in its field, startled every time I run headlong into my fence*. The fence is always there; if I just accept that, I won’t crack my legs against it anymore.

For what it’s worth, I was thinking about backing out of the audition (haven’t felt up to extended rehearsals with Denis), but instead I think I’m just going to change horses midstream, maybe: channel all this into a dance, albeit indirectly.

It may not be a dance about all this; I have something else in mind, though something equally topical in its own way — it relates to my other ongoing struggle: how do I learn to live as the androgynous person that I am when, in a very real sense, I’m afraid to do that for reasons even I don’t understand? 

That, or else something about living with bipolar (perhaps unsurprisingly, that was my first idea anyway).

Either way? Cue Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.“

*This is actually a terrible analogy. With few exceptions, horses don’t do this kind of crap unless there’s a good reason to get out of the field in question. Will they bolt through an open gate just for a lark? Sure. When they bash themselves repeatedly against a fence for absolutely no reason, though?  Better check your pasture for locoweed (or scary plastic shopping bags — horses be cray).

Danseur Ignoble: Back to the Doctor

…Sadly, there’s no DeLorean involved.

I’ll have to preface this with an, “I’m not dead yet! … I’m feeling much better.” (Apologies to the Python.)

That said, I still have the world’s most annoying cough and (as a result) can’t sleep for more than a couple hours at a stretch, both of which are interfering quite seriously with my ability to dance.

Denis, of course, can’t sleep either: it is hard to sleep next to someone who sounds like a robotic sea lion. I offered to sleep in the guest room until this blows over, but he told me that he would rather have me right next to him so he knows what’s going on with me.

He has been incredibly sweet and forebearing every time my cough has awakened him. Instead of being all GRAAAAAR GO SLEEP IN THE GARAGE OR SOMETHING FFS, he’s like, “I’m so sorry, baby, that sounds like it hurts.”  (He described the sound of my cough as “mechanical” and, at one point, “like glass breaking,” which suggests that it sounds much worse than it feels.)

Meanwhile, I am more worried by the precipitous drop in my weight — 2+ pounds since Wednesday in addition to the 2 pounds in the previous few days.

This wouldn’t worry me if it had been preceded by an uptick; my weight fluctuates like that all the time.   In fact, it has been known to fluctuate by as much as six pounds after century rides as I regain equilibrium — but always in an up-then-down pattern.

The fact that I’ve dropped four pounds below my previous “floor” is the worrisome part. The last time I lost weight this fast, it turned out that I had pneumonia. I also felt a thousand times worse than I do now, though, so I don’t think I actually do have pneumonia. It just makes me nervous.

Denis told me this morning to call our doc and get them to fit me in, and since he rarely gives me a direct order, I gathered that he was quite worried.

Needless to say, I am going to see our regular doc today at 2:30. (Ironically, Denis called them for me because I finally feel asleep around 8:15 AM and turned off my alarm at 9:00 AM without properly waking up. ._.)

In other news, I came up with two dances for the audition, one of which is a serious ballet and one of which pokes fun at the seriousness of ballet.

I asked Denis if he’d like to do the second piece with me (it requires one fairly skilled dancer and one dancer who’s willing to camp it up and clown around, but doesn’t have to be all that great at actual ballet), and though I assumed he’d say no, he agreed rather enthusiastically. Have I mentioned that I adore this man?

I can’t wait to get a video of the dance in question; I think it’s going to be pretty great. The music for the piece is the second movement to Beethoven’s Piano Sonota Number 8 in C minor — that is to say, the adagio cantabile from the “Pathétique.”

Go listen to it and then try to tell me there isn’t a built-in Charlie Chaplain Does Ballet thing going on! (Here’s a link:

Denis is going to wear his fabulous tutu costume; for the performance, I’ll have to come up with a Serious Ballet Is Serious costume. I haven’t decided whether to go with the traditional “Ballet Prince ” look or an Austere Contemporary Ballet ensemble.

Perhaps I should take a poll!  (HINT, HINT.)

So that’s a go, and we’ll be rehearsing the choreography starting next week, provided that I do not, in fact, have pneumonia (which I’m quite sure that I don’t) and can get some sleep between now and then.

In still other news, this post was supposed to be short. Ha! Will I never learn?

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