Tuesday, March 07, 2006

i'D LIKE to move it, move it.

"My feet danced and my arms moved, not in a dance that I had learned from others, but in a dance that moved and lived in me. My whole body moved in joyous ecstasy.” - Mika Walteri


This photograph is of a place called 'Arthur's Seat.' Believe it or not, it is smack-dab in the centre of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The other photograph is of the path we took to get to the top!

I often read Jamie's posts with a tinge of jealousy. She writes so happily about movement and dance. I have secretly wanted to be like that for a large part of my life. When I was a little girl my Mom signed me up for gymnastics classes. I should have been good - even now I am strangely flexible - but I just remember NOT being able to do it. I felt bigger than the other girls; I felt self-conscious and uncoordinated.

This feeling of physical self-consciousness has continued to hold me back in so many ways. I longed to be able to play silly characters in skits at camp, I longed to let go at dances, I wanted to be good at Phys. Ed. I always felt tight, held in, held back, uncomfortable letting myself just BE. To this day I have trouble letting go enough to dance - even when I am ALONE in my own living room.

One of my favorite memories from my early twenties was a dance that I went to with some of my friends. It was a 'Country 105' dance. (That's right, Susan!!) We got stupidly drunk and bought $5.00 felt cowboy hats and didn't know anyone except each other. I let go there like I have not done in a long time. We had so much fun dancing that our friend saw us from the BACK of the area and we were at the front. I remember it fondly because for about 4 hours I felt free of the ties that keep me from dancing.

Yesterday when I was walking I wanted to drop everything and spin and spin and spin on the beach. The day was warm, the sun was shining, and the tide was going out so the beach was sparkling. I stood there WANTING to feel more, to let go, but I wasn't fully alone and I felt too shy to follow my instinct to celebrate the day. I couldn't do it. Maya Angelou talks about life as being, "A dance that's walked, a song that's spoke." THAT'S how I feel about the way I have been in my body.

But, in the funny way that the universe pokes holes in our fears, when I got home from my walk yesterday there was an email waiting for me from my friend Michelle. Last October she walked with me during our 16 mile walk for Save the Children. I never thought I could have done THAT, so on the walk we decided that we would start running. (ME?! RUNNING?!) Yesterday she signed us up for the 5k 'Race for Life' (for Cancer research) in June. I'm so scared and nervous about it and I'm not sure my old knees will be up to the challenge, but you know what? I think that I have HAD IT with being afraid of my body. We haven't really been on speaking terms for a long long time. I want to get in touch again. I want to stop being afraid of it. I want to run and play and dance and SPIN again. I have walked 16 miles, I have climbed Arthur's seat. 5k shouldn't be too hard, right?!

First step: dancing alone in the living room...

19 comments:

melba said...

Two things I know will make you successful are the fact that you have a friend with you cheering you on and a reason..the charity to motivate you. When I lived with my sister years ago we would go walking everyday after work. When one of us didn't want to go the other pushed her along. I wish I had that now. I feel like my neighborhood is so...dead and not fun to walk around at all. I have taken some walks this winter pushing the children in the double stroller trying to point out exciting things like wow there is a fire hydrant! I promise myself we will be more active in the spring going to parks and then the beach...finally moving! I guess writing this I realize one thing we Do do is dance in the living room. The children love to listen to Wubba Wubba by Grover from Seasame Street. You motivated me today. I will keep dancing in the house and in the spring....

tara dawn said...

I love this post. I, too, have often felt that incessant little voice nagging me to stop, to hold it all in, to act in the "appropriate" way. And yet I long to dance, to dance with abandon in the open air.
How proud I am of you! For walking, for running, for being passionate enough to want to dance through life. Wanting it is the first step...now dance in that living room girl, and let it all out. I'm cheering you on from Georgia...and I'm dancing in my own living room.
Lots of love,
TD

M said...

Isn't the view from up there amazing? I went up there on my first few days living in Edinburgh, but never did it again...probably too winded after the first time! I love your post today. I too had decided to run a 10km run in April as a 30th birthday present to myself, but have been faltering in my motivation...you have helped me to get pumped again! Thank you! Good luck with your goal as well, you can do it. One day, one run, one km at a time.

Living Part Deux said...

First, the pictures are wonderful. And look at what you have already accomplished. You have it in you - you can do it! I totally relate to that feeling of holding back, of wanting to let go, but being restrained, and I've always been in awe of people who have the ability to fully let go. I wish for you the freedom to dance on the beach, without any fear or even thought about what anyone else might be thinking. They would probably envy you.

HoBess said...

Can you teach me more about Arthur's Seat? What is the story behind it?

I love this ... it was like listening in on a conversation you had with yourself. So inspiring. And that part about you and your body not being on speaking terms, well put!

And I want to share a quote, too. One from my 5-year-old son, who was very excited the other day when he spent an hour in our living room discovering that spin-until-your-dizzy sensation followed by sit-until-the-room-stops: "THAT WAS FUN!"

Can't wait to hear how much fun YOU have!

Karen said...

Congrats Meg! That's such exciting news. I think that I might have to set a similar goal for myself this spring, and get rid of all of this post-baby pudge! Great idea!! xoxo k

la vie en rose said...

i tend to hold back too megg so i know right where you're comin' from. denying the body is a hard and haunting thing. i deny myself movement and expression way too much. here's to the small steps!

Colleen said...

How's the dancing going girl? I totally know where you're coming from. Lauren (3) is in a ballet class. It's pretty cute to see all the little girls in their tu tus skipping and spinning around. They sure look like they are having fun. At that age they don't worry about what others think. I'm hoping my girls don't inherit my shyness. :o) Good luck!

chest of drawers said...

You can do it! I will join you...I have been thinking of jogging for ages because I have all this beautiful nature right in front of my house...endless kms of nature tracks outside my front door and jogging is a sport you don´t need expensive equipment for. At the moment there is heaps of snow and it will take ages for it to melt but I will start walking today and walk every day until spring comes and then start jogging. I have a few magazine articles that I´ve saved with plans on how to build up from a 30 minute walk to a one hour jog over 3 months so it´s a perfect time to start! Let´s MOVE IT, MOVE IT!!!!

Helen said...

Good luck with your 5k race - I ran it in Hyde Park a few years ago and the atmosphere is so amazing that it really spurs you on and keeps you going! Helen

Cate said...

I hear you, Megg. Your words are stirring and hopeful. I hear you tell yourself enough is enough.

We have "dance parties" in our family room almost every night. My children run and leap with abandon, no matter what kind of music is playing or who is watching. My hope for you is that, no matter what, you learn to run and leap with abandon, too.

It sounds like you are well on your way!

melba said...

I don't see an email address? I will just have to write you here. If you are really interested in being part of the justBe... gathering you definately can! All conversations can take place by email. I probably will want to talk to you by phone, but I can call you. If you are making such a big trip you probably want to come early, you can stay at my house or maybe we can work something out with a hotel... I think you are so creative and talented and I would love for you to be part of my team. Let me know. I understand though if you would rather just enjoy the whole gathering instead of having to teach a workshop. I think it is important for the team to be the ones to teach the workshop because by the time the gathering takes place we will have communicated so many times and have a similiar vision. Thanks for your support...it means the world to me!

jason evans said...

Such a gorgeous picture. Scotland seems like such a dramatic place.

Laini Taylor said...

Meg, I know EXACTLY what you mean!! That's just what I meant in my three things list when I said I wanted to feel lively in my skin. I am SO self-conscious and have always been so envious of people who can just... move. I have a memory, too, like yours, only mine is in New Orleans during Jazzfest, in my early 20s. I danced for days there with my friends, sometimes with alcohol, sometimes not, I somehow just got into the spirit of things, got used to it. But not usually. I know when it started: adolescence. Before that I was a competetive gymnast, I was kind of famous in the small Italian town where we lived, as the girl who did gymnastics on the beach. I was a show=off. I felt powerful. That all vanished at adolescence into bad perms, bad mid-80s fashion, and all-around discomfort in my skin. Oy. When I see young girls today, I see so many who are sleek and slim with perfect hair and cool clothes and I think, Really?! That SO wasn't me and my friends!

Letha Sandison said...

First of all, Megg thank you for your kind words on my blog entries!! I read your blog and could relate to so much of what you shared. The experiance of moving abroad, family and friends reactions. I also recently began running, training for a half marathon. Keep going, it get's addictive and begins to feel wonderful. I promise :)

I love Edinburgh and smiled when I saw this post. We are actualy heading back to the UK and Edinburgh this June. My husband is Scottish but was raised in London. I LOVE the UK!!! I wish we were still living there!

Nice to meet you Megg and thanks again for your comments and for reaching out!

Bohemian Girl said...

beautiful photos.
touching post.
i resonate with you.

i want to see you dance on the beach!

Jamie said...

Meg, my heart is just singing with you today reading this post. You have inspired me deeply here and in fact sparked something that is filling me with joy and excitement and that I'll reveal when the time is right. I hope it sends sparks backt to you.

You are a gift.

liz elayne said...

i took a breath as i read your last line and felt my heart lift for you. this post touches me so much because i can relate on many levels. the realization that you want to feel yourself in your body...yes, this is fantastic. i experienced this connection through yoga a few years ago, but even though i teach, i sometimes allow myself to forget what i already know. this body can do anything. thank you for reminding me of this. my hope for you is that you own this same idea.

andrea said...

I hope you do it. Running has caused me to be an endorphin addict...