I am a dancer.
I always have been. From my furthest memory, I remember dancing. I remember my classes. I also remember this unceasing chase for a feeling.
For whatever reason, I thought about dance as a task for a while. It was my PE that my mom required for us. I had decided to do Ballet and Karate. Eventually I would drop all my summer sports, baseball, soccer, frisbee, and swimming, so that I could do dance summer workshops. After a few years I dropped Karate as well to allow me to do different dance classes. Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Lyrical Jazz, and eventually Modern and Improvisation all became my go to. All dance.
Although I did not notice it for a long while, it took me some time before I actually realized that I liked dancing. I did it because it was ‘my thing’. But even that one thing that was different than my other siblings was also done by my older sister. Personally, I think that I continued to dance as a sort of competition.
One class, I found a moment of incredible feeling.
That day was completely normal in every aspect. In fact, thinking back on it, I believe it was a bad day for me. The class was Ballet, the teacher did not seem to be having a great day either. She snapped at every dancer and could not be pleased no matter what we tried. Admittedly, the dancers and I were not really helping undermine the negative mood.
However, one thing I remember clearly.
The moment lasted no more that one second, probably less.
It was a jump. Across the floor, one grand jete, (one of the largest jumps in Ballet) out of more than twenty that day. In the air, I felt as if time stopped for a moment, and my heart was in my throat as if I had fallen from a great distance. That moment is what I think about every day in technique classes, it is my goal.
It is a feeling.
I think that day was the beginning of my obsession with flight. I now love birds, I love wings, feathers, speed, air time, anything that reminds me of that sensation. However, I am also terrified of heights.
I know it makes no sense. But that makes it wonderful. It is not the reckless, falling sensation you get when on a roller-coaster or a zip line, but something else entirely. The only way I can describe it is safe flight, or protected flight.
That is to say, not a fall. Flight in itself is incredible, but it contrasts directly to the sensation of falling. Flying is the exact opposite. I always enjoy taking off in planes. I enjoy jumps the best in any form of dance. But the second I loss control, I cannot stand heights.
What is odd about that? Well, it shows a certain obsession over control. For years I have been able to control things. The only thing I could not control was this elusive feeling. Could this be why I continue to dance? Possibly. Dance is an odd combination of control, and learning what you cannot control and letting go of it.
The latter half is painstakingly arduous.
This past year, God has shown me how little control I actually have. I lost control of everything, my friend group was gone, my connections lost, my experience meant nothing, and even my body began rebelling against me. Different past problems resurfaced. Things I thought I had put behind me.
Anorexia, various gut problems, and even injuries and fatigue stopped me from dancing.
I lost the one thing I had been relying on for control, dance. In the wrong light dance is the ultimate control mechanism. Yet it also opens doors to the greatest freedom. After I thought my life would fall apart, God was there. Random events that seemed to add to my dismal heap of failures later became the most nurturing moments for success.
If there is one thing I learned last year, it is this. People may not make many decisions because of a feeling. But without feelings there is no life. We live for feelings. So if that one feeling is a passion for something, God has given you that passion for a reason.
Do not throw away a feeling based on some logic. Even things like choosing between different colleges, perhaps one of the biggest decisions for many young adults, comes down to a feeling.
We walk out of a campus tour, and even if the campus had more amenities, faculties, and the best teachers in the world, it just doesn’t feel right. I walked onto a campus, and before I even went to talk to anyone, or met anyone, I knew that I needed to be at that school.
Only one year has passed since that moment. Though I now realize that I am not meant to be on that campus for the next four years, I do know that God put me there for a reason.
I trust in God’s judgement. God gifted us with the ability to think. He also gave us the ability to feel. Do not undervalue one or the other. Both are incredible gifts, but one makes our human lives possible, the other makes life worth living.
Be blessed today.