Multiple sclerosis, Struggles

Moving past the negative

I never want to say “I used to dance.”

That's me with my head thrown back. This was Year 1 of the Breast Cancer Dance Project.

But the reality, though, is that limitations come with the territory. I can’t move the way I used to, the way I’m used to. Every step is different. Every muscle feels heavy. Every movement takes a conscious effort, and even then it’s sometimes not what I was expecting.

Which is so different from how I lived most of my life. I began dancing at age 4, stayed with it through college, and had recently begun again. To say I love it would be an understatement.

It is the best, and at times, only, way I can express myself. I feel at peace with my body in motion. It was meant to jump, contract, contort, turn, whoosh, extend, bend, turn and fly.

And now some days I can barely put one foot in front of the other.

Dance, which used to bring me so much joy, now brings me to tears.

Nick and I have had near-daily conversations in the past month about staying positive vs. staying realistic.

My take on it is that I must accept my reality before I can adjust in a positive way. And by that I mean I must throw a tantrum, feel sorry for myself, get bitter, hate the world and all the able-bodied people in it before I can arrive to the point of acceptance and think positively.

He wishes that I could go from setback to acceptance without all of that in-between ugliness. I sometimes do, too.

But grieving, which is what this is, is a natural part of the MS process.

I see his point, though. If I dwell on the reality and fear the future for too long, it becomes an exercise in negativity.

And leads to me saying things like “I used to dance.”

A dear friend told me that dancing was in the heart and that even wheelchair users dance.

Maybe someday soon I’ll dance, even with these heavy feet and arms.

So long as my heart isn’t.

4 thoughts on “Moving past the negative”

  1. Of all the things I have lost, I miss my bicycle the most. Once I circumnavigated and criss-crossed Mexico on a bicycle, Tejas to Guat, Atlantic to Pacific. I dream about it sometimes.

    1. It’s tough to think of things I might never get to do. I’m sorry that you lost one of your favorite things – bicycling is your dancing. I hope you remember it fondly.

  2. You should give yourself permission to feel what you need to feel and do what you need to do as you adjust. Life has thrown you a really hard curveball, but I know how much dance means to you and how beautifully you do it!

  3. I am in love with your comment, and may even use it in my blog. I loved that you said you have to adjust to the reality in order to be positive. 🙂 That is such a great quote. I’ll even mention you wrote it!!!! Fantastic! 🙂

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