Friday, June 10, 2011

Embracing the Mess

What have I been up to? Well, first of all, there was this:

I spent most of March and early April training to get this down. And when I wasn't physically training, I was dreaming the damn routine in my head, complete with Neko Case's Red Tide ringing in my ears as I awoke.

With no stringent guidelines to follow, the choreography of the piece was primarily left to me, and this song--which I had initially not liked two years ago when I first heard it--became a mantra. It's really about the Pacific Northwest, and, to me, about shedding a layer of skin by leaving it. What I didn't realize until my instructor pointed it out, however, was how forceful all the moves in this routine were. I pictured myself as almost a passive aerialist (is that even possible?); most certainly, I had the sense of being "just a student." She listened to 30 seconds of this song as we sorted options and said "This is the one. This matches the force of the moves you've been showing me." And I thought, "Force? What force?" and promptly spent another hour reassessing what I was doing eight feet off the ground.

Because it was force.It was something I was proving--maybe only to myself, but still. After being so badly injured last summer and unable to perform in the student showcase then, this routine became a hard-fought and hard-won declaration. Sure it feeds a bit into my age-old habit of needing to prove myself, but what training this routine and this song turned into was the liberation I intended it to be. Once I knew how to do it, I felt free. I had no nerves that night. I felt euphoric. I wanted it to keep going. I can't overstate how satisfied I was with the whole process. I don't think it was perfect or anything like that, but I finally learned how to let things go a bit--to enjoy the moment and make it look like it was easy to do. That, after all, is the trick with trapeze. Now you know.

I was balancing training the trapeze stuff with a new position at work that is still its own work in progress, a thing that cannot be perfected, but that is slowly arriving at the same point of excitement and feeling like I understand its execution. It's like I've been in professional boot camp again, which is something I always welcome. I need the influx of ideas and challenges. Which isn't to say it's not totally exhausting sometimes. But I'd rather have my brain whirring along than come to a dead stop.

Add to this that I completed six weeks of training to become a hospice volunteer and you begin to see the compartmentalizing of my brain. How to balance being upside down in the air with professional/mental somersaults and this new endeavor that makes you feel, pardon the metaphor, thrown for a loop. I've already had one patient and somehow convinced myself that this would be an older person with whom I'd simply visit and run errands for--only to feel punched in the heart when she passed away.

There's a push-pull in my brain now--crying in my office over a woman I should have known would die at any moment, deciphering the latest challenge on my desk, and wondering what I will do next to push my body to do something it and my brain never thought was possible. Needless to say, it's a mixture of liberation, fear, and happiness. These things are buzzing in my brain, telling me to enjoy the moment whenever it is possible, to continue to explore, to stop being afraid of making it all perfect and acceptable to everyone.

Life is a mess in the best possible sense.

If I've actually retained the lessons of the last three months, I think this is it. I am reminded almost daily. I don't want to forget.