Every Valentine’s weekend, the magnificent dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater command center stage at the fabulous Fox. I’ve gone perhaps once every five years or so since I was a little girl. I don’t remember much about my first show other than I was there with my mom and one of her friends, and I was quietly awed about what I’d seen.
Since then, each time I’ve returned, the beauty, power and magic of Revelations is what I most long to see. Years I don’t go, I pacify myself with YouTube.
When I’m lucky, I find older videos, sometimes 20 years old, and watch them alongside the newer ones. The dancers’ athleticism and grace, and the pictures they create on stage are awe-inspiring.
Last year I hadn’t moved back to Atlanta by the time AAADT came and went. Still, I was disappointed I didn’t go to a show. I missed them. It’s been too long, I told Blue. I’m turning 40 next February. I have to go see Ailey next year. An early birthday gift.
This year, just in time for the second great thaw of 2014, we went! I have rotating list of favorite things, and Revelations has a permanent place in the top five. I’m not alone:
I woke up this morning and felt high on endorphins even though I had only a few hours of sleep and no exercise. Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt more and more myself.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist as a first line of treatment for my fibroids. Dr. Liu is a trained medical doctor who learned Chinese medicine later. She aims to help the body achieve optimum health with the belief that it will then be able to dissolve the fibroids. She’s had a lot of success with patients, and although there are no guarantees, I can definitely say I’m feeling better than I have in months. That is a huge win.
In addition to my higher energy levels, my insides no longer feel twisty, and I can breathe normally (all month long) in everything from dresses to jeans to yoga pants. Blue says I look more “sleek,” and because I feel it, I walk it, too. #hotmama
I’m home, after a day of inspiration. And like I’ve been for the past few months, I’m tired. I’m not bone tired or weary, but I’ve just noticed that I’m not as energized as I used to be. There are many very specific reasons for that, but they all boil down to one: change.
Over the past several months, I’ve changed a lot and so has my environment. From my zip code to my job responsibilities, to aspects of romantic and platonic relationships.
Personal goals and professional goals have shifted. Exercise habits have changed. Food. The amount of time I spend in the sun or the ways I engage nature. The amount and type of sleep I get. It’s all been one massive ball of change.
Some changes have been on purpose, and others were the result of circumstances. But it still amounts to the same thing: a whole lot is different right now.
It reminds me of the time I was a classroom teacher. At the beginning of every year, I started routines and rituals. I got to know my students, and in some cases new curriculum, new materials, new administrators, and/or new colleagues. All I could do was work my heart out each day and come home and sleep. And sleep.
Sometimes, at the start of school, I’d be asleep well before sunset (not kidding) and I wouldn’t move until daybreak. And that would go on maybe two or three weeks. Suddenly, I’d get in the swing of things. I’d be on it. Everything would run smoothly at work, and I’d have plenty of energy to plan ahead, or dance, or date, or take classes, or whatever.
But it always took time. And even though it happened every year like clockwork, I had to be gentle with myself, and do what I needed to do to reach a state of equilibrium with my surroundings.
Except for exercise choices, which are primarily seasonal, my recent changes have not been cyclical. They’ve been positive, yet progressive and persistent. One month after another, there’s been a new spin on things. And I haven’t been very good at stopping to reflect. To do the inner work to harmonize fully with all aspects of my life.
And I took the time to sit with that this morning. I journaled about it. I sat in the sunshine. I mulled. I want to feel energized and accomplished. Cheerful. Not superficially, or for a few hours in the morning, but I want these feelings to pervade my day and influence my environment.
At the core I want to BE energy and BE productivity and BE good cheer. I’ve felt that way before. I’ve been those things before. I know how to be that person. I’ll learn how to be those things again, in my new place and under my new conditions.
“The less of yourself you feel when you are with someone, the less of them you should probably see!” – Lakara Foster
I logged into Facebook this evening, and my friend Tia had the quote above as her status update. I quickly commented, “That’s a word,” and I meant it.
I totally agree with that sentiment. I’m nearly 40, and the best thing about being 39 1/2 is the fact I’ve spent nearly a decade living authentically. It was as if some magic switch turned on at or around my 30th birthday, and I shed the bullshit and suddenly became myself. The dormant me, always there, sprang forth. And even though it’s fair to say I’m still (and always will be) in a state of becoming, being true to myself and learning to live life on my own terms is freeing. It’s joy.
It’s not a secret to close friends and family that I’m in a romantic relationship. It’s been an amazing experience – one in which I’ve been able to grow as an individual and as a partner. It’s beautiful and yet it’s challenging. Not in a toiling, difficult sort of way, but it takes effort. And part of what takes effort is allowing myself to be me. The normal day-to-day is easy. Yet when inevitable moments of tension come up (growth opportunities in corporate speak), there’s always the option to avoid the situation, to play a role, or to be myself.
Sometimes “myself” has feelings I wish I wouldn’t have. But these feelings, whether or not they align with reason, are human. Experiencing them is what it means to be human. Exploring them openly is what it means to be intimate. To the degree that you feel you can be honest with a friend, partner or lover – intentionally transparent – that connection is a healthy one.
It’s not easy, but it’s honest. And worth it.
it’s hard, being vulnerable. but all you can do is try. and love. and see what happens.