"Make voyages! Attempt them…there is nothing else." - Tennessee Williams
"Dear Future you,
We will travel all over the world and save lives just by making people laugh. You will play music, and I will sing. I will read poetry to people, and we will all cry. Our children will always have bare feet, and I will only cut my hair in the summer. We will live in Africa for five years and then move to Nepal, Australia and then South America. We’ll bring Jesus to everyone we meet, and people will crowd the streets when we leave. You’ll sing songs in my ear until I fall asleep at night and I won’t need anti-depressants or sleeping pills. Our children will always know they are beautiful. They will dance on your feet after breakfast. I will cook all of our meals from home, except on the weekends when we’ll eat in diners. We’ll host dinner parties and drink white wine, inviting everyone we know: the homeless man who hangs out by the grocery store, the teenager working at the deli down the street, our kids soccer coaches, your boss, all of the kids from the youth group at the church we attend. Our kids will be home-schooled, and we’ll teach them about astronomy, horseback riding, calligraphy. We’ll go on hikes every weekend and take them sail-boating. I will write songs and we will sit on our front porch and sing. People will come from all over the neighborhood and sit on our front lawn. In the spring, we’ll plant wild flowers, and in the summer, we’ll fly kites and go on picnics. Our children will all play musical instruments. They will love reading, and our daughters will respect themselves because they will know that God treasures them and that their worth is found in Him alone. We’ll read the Bible to them as they fall asleep, and when they rebel, we’ll wait and pray and trust God to bring them back to Him. We won’t worry about money, and we’ll always help out the families we know who are struggling. We’ll always be smiling. You’ll always make me smile.”
How I long to travel! I dream of taking part of some great adventure in this great big beautiful world. To let go of my many inhibitions and let myself be changed by different cultures and new experiences.
I love my hometown, but I’m finding myself aching to spread my wings. I can feel this fear building up inside me that I’ll get swept down some path in life, directed by other’s expectations and responsibilities, and I’ll never get the chance to life a little dangerously. Vibrantly. Exhilaratingly.
I want to forget the fact that I’m not spontaneous and just pack up and leave one day.
To feel that little flutter of fear as you undertake something new.
that little chill as you see a sight that takes your breath away…
Whether it’s a sight you’d been planning to see for years
Or an unexpected detour
Planning theoretical trips has always brought a little smile to my face. It reminds me, when I’m mired the day to day mud of my routine, that one day I’ll break out of it, even if just for a little while.
Even though most people hate it, I love packing. The process of putting clothes in a suitcase only helps me visualize what I’ll be doing while wearing them. Where I’ll be going. What I’ll be feeling, seeing, smelling, touching…and the anticipation builds.
"I travel a lot. I hate it when my life is disrupted by routine." - Caskie Stinnett
But perhaps one of the reasons I love to travel so much, is the coming home. To remember, that after all you did, and all the sights you saw, home still has a hold on you. The ones you love are your happiness, your anchor and your thrill all at once.
Yes - travel. Explore. Be curious. Whether it’s through a stroll in Paris, or a romp through a book.
I’ve always been a dancer. Even when I was little and didn’t take classes, I always danced in the supermarket, my room, even in church. I was a little ball of kinetic energy, and I twirled, jumped, and frolicked until I made myself dizzy. Always intently aware of nuances of movement, I would use my observations to mimic my favorite dancers or just make childish fun at a family member’s quirks.
My skirts had to be silky, and they had to twirl. This was not negotiable. I don’t think I’ve changed all that much in that regard. No matter what style I’ve danced, I’ve always enjoyed the “gear” part of it, buying up leotards and shoes until my bank account was traumatized.
It was in dance that I found myself. It was through movement that my life made sense to me. No matter how stressed I was walking into class, after just a few exercises I would be calm. Centered. Sometimes energized. The positive feedback I received would only inspired me try harder. I viewed my ballet school as a ladder, with each dancer being a rung. I was not happy until I knew that I was in the top three. I became obsessed with details, the shape of a foot, the curve of a back. I spent hours researching technique and exercises to do outside of class. I was a ballet bun through and through.
But suddenly after 4 1/2 years, something happened. I burned out. I was getting frustrated and lost all my motivation. I was losing my passion for ballet. It felt too uptight and “pose-y”. The very aspects of it that I loved were starting to turn me off. I tried modern, trying to break out of my rut, but it didn’t work. While I connected with Modern’s abandon, it still reminded me too much of ballet- except I wasn’t as good at it.
So I stopped dancing. I said I was too busy, too poor, but really I merely didn’t want to do it anymore.
Immediately I knew something was missing. I felt off, like all my creative energies had dried up. I stopped writing, playing music, for a while I stopped singing. I slowly felt my body losing tone, felt my legs lose precious muscle I had worked so hard for. I almost became depressed. I watched my friends explore their own niches in life and I felt like I had abandoned mine.
But then I needed a job and responded to a little ad looking for ballroom dance instructors.
I had thought I was done with dance, but figured I could do it as a job. I trained for weeks, putting my competitive nature to work for me again. It was enjoyable, but still felt more like work than anything else. I had lost all interest in technique and just wanted to know enough so I could teach and make commission.
But a bunch of young teachers hired two months after me changed my viewpoint. They were my age, and dancing was their life. For the first time I had friends who were just as obsessed with dancing as I had been. They danced “ballroom” but watching them was not stiff and formal but rather fun, saucy and entertaining. They literally forced me to go out dancing with them, and inundated me with dancing videos on youtube. After just a few weeks they got to me. I felt that spark begin to ignite again. I started volunteering to go out dancing, instead of reluctantly agreeing. A few Salsa nights later and my passion for dance had returned in full force.
And now? The sparkle is back. I’m starting to work on toning up and stretching out again. Spending an hour watching rumba walks spins perfectly executed. Dance is once again is a source of joy for me, and something which fills me with satisfaction. Ballroom has the added challenge of working with a partner, which is both fun and frustrating.
There is something about dancing with a person which bonds you together. Working together, cooperating and moving together as one adds a level of comfort to the friendship. Many assume it’s a sexual connection, but I don’t think that’s true. To be sure, dancing is sensual and many normal social space barriers are broken. But I think it’s more about the satisfaction of accomplishing something together, than sensuality, which creates that bond.
But, I also feel that Ballroom has made me mature as a woman. It’s made me more comfortable in my body and my own skin. No longer am I criticizing my leg lines in a leotard, but am instead celebrating my shape, curves and all. I’m now having to move in ways I never dreamed of before, and that uncharted territory is exciting and challenging. The dancers I’m now watching are no longer flat chested sticks, but rather muscular women with breasts and butts. It’s a much kinder aesthetic for me to aspire to, and one which feels more natural on my body.
Dancing satisfies me down to my soul. It’s amazing how centered I now feel and how suddenly other aspects of my life have fallen into place again. I’m now writing, something I haven’t done in months. I’m playing piano. Life is as it should be.
I feel normal again. Like myself, but better. I’m glad to be back.
I’m confused. Confused about many things, but especially my peers. Their noise, their thoughtlessness, their use of drugs and alcohol to forget. This post may turn out sounding like a D.A.R.E advertisement, but it’s an issue that has been bothering me for a while.
Inside, we’ve become numb. Some might think this is a good thing, the pain is lessened and disappointment diminished. But deep down, we know this is not true. We long for more. We long to FEEL - for better or for worse. How else can we know we’re alive?
Even though society has long been a society of excess, my generation has taken this to a new level. Faster, louder, brighter, more, more, more, more. We are never satisfied, never satiated. We start with cigarettes, then weed, then harder drugs. We start with beer, then more beer, then harder alcohol. But “we’ve got it under control.”
It’s sad to see the cycle. An observer can only watch and hope they outgrow it, while knowing many will not. For some, casual drinking will turn into alcoholism, for others, casual drug use will turn into dangerous abuse.
I suppose there are many reasons for my generation’s self abuse. Disappointment, frustration, disillusionment - these are all reasons. We stuff our essence inside, try to get by, try to fit in, try to be different. We’re all told that we’re unique - just like everyone else. Is that fear of blending in driving us down these paths? Is our constant repetition of “it’s no big deal” just a way of covering up the emptiness?
Life is full of pain. Life is full of joy. Life is moderate. Life is excessive. We all must find our own balance. I have personally found that alcohol and drugs do not give me that balance. I know a sober laugh satisfies me more than a drunk one. I prefer getting high on living, rather than on weed. I know that a friend helps me celebrate more than a drink, and I know that crying doesn’t indicate that I’m weak. Since birth it’s been a sign that I’m alive.