Saturday, November 30, 2019

Body thoughts, continued

For a while, when I thought about physical activity, I thought: the point is dance. The thing to do is go to dance classes, or do something else that will make my dancing easier or better (e.g. jogging so that I had better cardiovascular stamina for jumping combinations). And I thought, I could or should make sacrifices for this. And there was so much to lose from any time off.

Then I thought, maybe the point is physical fitness in whatever form feels good at the moment. Maybe what feels good points to what I need, and maybe what feels good will be easiest to stick with and therefore also the best for my health.

I took up jogging, again. I saw changes in myself - I grew stronger, and softer. Not smaller. I grew calmer. I walked up the long flights of stairs from the underground train stations without getting out of breath.

I struggled to fit in as many runs each week as I thought I should. I thought that I should still be able to fit in dance classes too. Part of me felt I was holding out on myself, not trying as hard as I could. I don't know why, though - when in my life have I ever succeeded in having that many regular commitments of time and energy on top of existing ones? Never.

Then after a while more, I thought, maybe the point is not physical fitness or movement. I thought that whatever the point was, it was achieved by various combinations of napping, jogging, dancing, sitting in my grandmother's chair doing nothing, walking, looking at the sky, lying in the dark in a bed of saltwater, each according to the day, and that whatever was gained was worth sacrificing for nothing. There is a high-level vocab word I can't remember that means "incapable of being lost." Whatever was gained was something occurring between me and myself that could not be lost.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Body thoughts: I promise I'm going somewhere with this

I was in love with ballet as a teenager, painfully so. As the vast majority of teenaged ballet students do, I eventually quit. Then I did something as a twenty-six-year-old that kind of surprised me - I went back to it, back to the same ballet school even. And I had such a wonderful time compared to when I was fourteen/fifteen/sixteen years old. It was what I needed, too, during a tumultous and painful period of my life - something absorbing that felt as familiar as church. After class, I strode around in the night hours collecting groceries, putting off going home, all glowy with sweat, my legs sore and strong.

 And I actually think I was a better dancer than during my teenage years dancing... I had much more awareness of my physical self, more intelligence about what my muscles were doing. I had more ability to have an interesting physical presence in the center of a dance floor.

But after a year and a half I changed jobs, my work hours changed significantly, the neighborhood I worked in changed, and it became a lot more difficult to get to class, so I stopped. And my life became, for separate reasons, a lot calmer and safer, and held itself together without ballet class.

I have further places to meander with this; to be continued.