Okay, so it’s reached the point where I need to take the bull by the horns and get back out there and step into a dance studio. I truly am the queen of procrastination. Partly from fear and partly from I’ll-go-next-week-I’ve-conveniently-found-something-to-do-instead, but it all originates from that prevailing fear, although no one would ever know.
My dancing days seem so long ago but with a determined intent, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone to experiment. As well as doing things I love and enjoy, it’s not only for me but for my health, my epilepsy and more so my endometriosis.
So as I donned my little leather jazz shoes last night, I was immediately transported back to my days at the performing arts school I attended. For two years I majored in dance, predominantly jazz and contemporary, but there was a spot of Afro-Carribean and tap thrown in too.
As we warmed up, my body happily slipped into the familiar positions that it had found itself in many years before. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the difference in how my brain perceived it all.
I felt those sensations that I was all too well accustomed to, welling up inside. As I watched and intently listened, I realized I was missing chunks of what was being said. I’d hear the words and as I would recollect them in order to process and absorb them, to my horror, they had just disappeared courtesy of my absence seizures. Embarrassed, I opted to not ask. The lack of being able to retain that information and movement caused me to heavily rely on watching the teacher a lot more than I would have deemed preferable. The frustration, anger and upset bubbled up inside, and as it grew, I was aware I was starting to shake. Good lord, I could not burst out crying in my first dance class!! But the significant difficulty with balance, as I was repeatedly attempting pirouettes and finding myself ungracefully veering off to the right, was increasingly mortifying. I couldn’t go on tip toes without stumbling sideways. What had happened? I didn’t remember having this much trouble in college. I could see the teacher keeping watch out of one eye to see what I was up to, no doubt thinking she had her work cut out with this one who wasn’t listening to a single thing she was saying. Unfortunately for me, I had not made the time to go and explain my epilepsy just as a general heads up, but now this situation made it seem even more necessary.
I’ve always been open with my condition, but one thing I do cringe a little inside about is when, on occasions like this, I feel an explanation is necessary; I never want it to be perceived as an excuse. There’s no need to feel sorry for me, this is just how it is, but this is why I might look like a numbnuts and can’t pick it up as quickly as everyone else!
However, that being said, I was impressed with myself as I plucked a few affirmations out of the blue and told myself that I was doing a splendid job and it didn’t matter if I messed up, the whole point I was here was because I LOVED to dance and I loved music. As long as I enjoyed it that was all that mattered, and as my Nanny would say, “As long as you do your best that’s all anyone can ask of you.” Voila, it worked!
With that aspect conquered, the anxiety had lessened which I hoped would have a positive impact on the amount of absence seizures. I couldn’t be sure about that as on many occasions I don’t know when I’m having them, but what I was aware of was that they were happening. We began to run through the routine to music having learned and put all the segments together. On more than one occasion I became aware that everyone was part way through the routine – I hadn’t made it from my starting position, I’d got lost in my head again.
The question I ask myself is, does this get easier with practice? Will my body adapt? Until tried and tested I’m not so sure. There’s part of me that is resentful of my seizures because it prohibits me from doing things in the way others do, but then I stop. How fortunate I am to be able to do any aspect of it at all? To move my body in time to the music, to be able to learn the poses individually and put them together even if it does take that bit longer. There’s plenty to be grateful for and I am so elated that I can say I am dancing again, in whatever capacity that is.