Monday, January 30, 2017

whether the crop be corn or character

Day 1.
I hate this exercise because it is so embarrassing in an oddly performative feeling way. I almost immediately start hyperventilating, its hot inside the blanket, and as small as I squeeze myself, I so quickly run out room. Squeeze, hold, squeeze, hold. When I feel like I can't force myself any tighter, I let them know I'm getting the fuck out. 'Are you sure?' I get asked by the teacher's assistant. She says something to me about expanding and condensing, and I realized that I had been HOLDING, not EXPANDING. Her hands joined the others supporting me and I responded to it by pushing into them, and when I went to pull myself back in, there was so much more room to fall into myself. Something about the fullness of my back body firing let the front side of my body calm down, and there seemed an endless reservoir of space every time I pulled myself back in from pressing up against the edges I was contained in. The feeling that built up in my body in this second attempt was so intense, I giggled uncontrollably as a way to stay with it - it reminded me of watching a scary movie, when the music comes on as a clue that something is going to jump out at the screen...except I didn't have to brace myself because I was the thing that was going to jump out.

The hands holding my feet were soft, as in present without pressure. The first time I really pushed out, was the first time I gave those hands any force to even gauge how responsive they needed to be to me. The more I bucked, giving him the force of my weight, the more supportive a jumping of place his hands became. I couldn't do it alone, and I waited for his hands to fee strong enough for me to take my leap.

I still went sooner then I could feel ready in my own body, because what was happening inside of it was too intense for me to be ok feeling in front of an audience. But the giggling followed me out, and I was reminded of the meaning of my name: Fountain of Joy.

There are so many layers to that experience that I need to process. It feels like I understand everything I have ever heard her say in a completely different way now.

Day 2.
At work, 20 feet in the air on a cranky lift, untying drapes from the truss in front of me, while the chandelier hung on air craft cable connected to the truss shifted in space, and the truss swayed and the height of the extended and ancient scissor lift sighed underneath me, I couldn't tell for a second if I was standing on shaky ground or if it was the elements around me. Moments like this are relatively common for me, and the contact of a hand or an elbow is all I need to feel the ground flow through me, the points of contact connected in my body, a spider web of support where the movement is something I can calibrate around. Sometimes in those moments I can't quite tell what is foreground and background, when there aren't quite enough elements for me to have an accurate reading of what I'm looking at. I thought this happened to everyone. I could never do those squinty eye things, there the picture pops out of the white noise background, and 3d movies don't actually work on me. I didn't learn until after college that I had astigmatism in my left eye, and it wasn't until yesterday that there is so much more to this picture than I could ever see in the vacuum of my internal experience.

I heard her see it when my head didn't right itself as I rolled onto my left side, the side with the side bend we discovered a few weeks ago. I had to rush to a gig right after class, but as I went through the appropriate motions, images tumbled through head, my difficulties on the playground and physical education classes all through grade school, from the monkey bars to the gymnastic classes I stopped taking, to falling over while simply standing in a ballet class, while walking home from school, even last week while talking to someone I work with, always to the left side. My violent carsickness growing up that I could only calm with chocolate milkshakes, my persistent belief that I was somehow allergic to alcohol because of almost instantaneous headaches with lasting debilitating effects from relatively small amounts compared to my peers, and the headaches and migraines that have plagued me my whole life. Even silly things, like the terror I feel about roller blades, roller coasters, or the inevitable startle of horror films. I could keep going, the moments of trying to be like everyone else and failing piling up, drowning me in a flood of my own helpless history.

It feels like I've just discovered that I never possessed a limb that I was convinced I was incredibly skilled at using. What could I do but mourn that piece of myself that suddenly was just a ghost? A phantom limb.

I think the best thing I could have done in the wake of that new powerful awareness, was to go to work. To feel in the midst of these images, the culmination of a child's frustrations and fears manifested into the resilient and powerful person that she became. Now that I can so clearly see the thread that connects that little girl to me in time, I know myself as I stand there, watching the flower crew pull apart the thing I brought down for them. Even though I am filled with a sadness that I don't have time to feel at the moment, I am also so proud of that little girl.

My ability to leech support from the world around me, unrelated to the downward pull of gravity is much greater than my fear of falling, which has been one of the defining aspects of my career path. I don't know yet how this may affect my sense of what I want, or how the ways in which I relate to the world are potential expressions of this missing piece, but I'm here. My feet are finally on the ground.

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