Life, like dance, requires communion. Connecting with others after Justin died was a painful necessity. I needed to give words to my experience but stepping into the grief world was a stretch and one I’m glad I took. I was not used to emoting in front of others but when I did I found compassion. It was in grief groups that I softened up. I found my people and in doing so I found myself.
The first time my dance teacher, Raul, said “We need to tenderize you,” because my movements were rigid and harsh I honestly pictured my father-in-law repeatedly stabbing a ribeye steak with a fork to allow steak tenderizer to penetrate the fibers (apologies to my vegan friends here). Best steaks I’ve ever had!
I think Raul could sense my trepidation so he took a video of us dancing and showed me what he meant. I could see that he was right. I danced defensively, my arm movements more like karate chops than dancing. I realized then that, not only did I need tenderizing, I wanted it.
As a gymnast in my youth, I enjoyed feeling strong and fit. I liked being able to make my body perform back handsprings, kips and handstands on the high bar. But here on the dance floor to see my feminine self fully expressed in movement makes me vulnerable to the attempt.
Can I do this?
I have always been the “strong one”. Most of the nurses I know would say the same thing about themselves. It seems to be a prerequisite for the profession and that makes sense because we do have to maintain a certain level of composure to be able to perform life saving skills in our day to day work.
But, nurses are people too.
There’s more to uncover here and that feels a little scary. I have been sitting quietly with whether I want to go deeper or not for a couple of weeks now but I’ve decided I am all in.
Pass the A-1 sauce please!