Tuesday, September 8

A Piece of my Story, my Heart, and a Little Song of "Summer"

I drove along the familiar rode of 9th east in Salt Lake, thinking how tired and exhausted I was; partly from serious discipline in not talking to the one person I wanted to all day (another story for another day). I got to my class and thought I was crazy as I stood and stretched with the other dancers. The teacher quickly started teaching us the small to big progressive contemporary piece. I went through the motions numbly, letting the music fall around me, but still not making sense of anything.

Three-Fourths into the choreography the teacher began to explain whats going on to help us put emotion in the dance. She spoke of the messes we each have in our lives and how there comes a point where we can't repress anymore and have to "turn ourselves in," moving away from our past and into the future. I stood utterly dumbfounded and felt my tiredness/sadness quickly shift to express the emotions I've been feeling for the past 4 years of my own healing process from my life messes.

As I watched each dancer freely move I had tears well up in my eyes. "Don't you worry now, it's all about to change.""Don't run away from all this, it can cause more than you think."As I danced through the movement and song lyrics I felt my "mess" of guilt, shame, hate, and fear come up and out as if I was literally, vulnerably "turning myself in," once again.

I walked to my car with the biggest, free-est, sigh of relief I've had in months. I couldn't even turn on my radio because how in awe I was and didn't want to lose the feeling and dance I just learned; The movement, emotions, song, and people I just danced with. My tiredness just an hour previous had changed. Instantly my heart filled with gratitude for my health, for my mess, and all I've "turned in" the past 4 years.

As I drove home in outward silence my mind FLASHED:

I saw myself walking off an airplane in my once tight skirt loosely laying on my body. My family met me with tears in their eyes, hugs in their arms, and apple sauce and coconut water in their hands. I remember my brothers rushing to get me a wheel chair because walking was too much for my body to handle. How I had the strength to fly home from across the country, by myself, is still a mystery to me. The next few months were filled with the reality of not being able to do things as I used to. Walking was a chore. Talking to people took every ounce of energy I no longer had. And eating was extremely difficult because most things I ate my body wouldn't digest.

The months went on and my "mess" kept coming up; involuntarily, but my body had had enough of repressing and running for almost 15 years.

All of a sudden one day the words in the song "Don't you worry now it's all about to change," whooshed over me and I began talking about abuse that happened long ago. Abuse I'd ran so far away from and repressed so deep that my mind had "forgotten."

**Mothers day 2012- I sat in my moms car as we drove to get me some food. All of a sudden hidden words came up and out. "Mom remember (name not added for personal reasons)? Well when I was really little he hurt me, sexually." I watched her sink in her seat with sorrow and regret wishing she could have done something more to protect me. She told me how she and my dad always thought he was a creep and tried to keep us away from him as much as she could. Eventually I told her how he would sit me on his lap and stick his tongue in my mouth never loosing a moment to tell me how beautiful I was. The flashes of bedrooms and the day when Annie (my brave little sister) and I sat in his stupid red truck telling him we never wanted to see him again and that he made us uncomfortable, flooded my mind.

Years passed by and he eventually left us "alone," besides the constant years of bringing "gifts," for when I graduated high-school and even researching my illness when I came home from my mission.

Since that day I first opened up to my mom a lot has changed and happened. I have grown in ways I never thought I would as well as broke down in ways I never imagined. I've told family members, close friends, bishops, therapists, and even the police. The lies that "someone or something will get hurt if I tell anyone" began to fade away learning and watching it not come true. Though he hasn't yet faced consequences fully of his actions I have confidence that by me speaking up maybe someone else like me will have the courage to tell their story (appropriately and in the right order of course) and start the long healing process of the mess that abuse causes: whether its emotional, physical, or sexual. All abuse effects our bodies and minds. Especially when repressed. Hopefully that their repression doesn't go so far as mine did and still does at times (a constant effort to remind myself its okay not to "run" anymore).

Though I've "turned my mess in" in many ways, it still comes up from time to time but is not as nearly as bad as it was almost exactly 4 years ago when I walked off the airplane from Nashville Tennessee.

I continued to drive home as my mind flashed back to the present and continued in immense gratitude for where my body, mind, and spirit are today. The fact that I am even able to still dance is a miracle to me and makes me grateful for all the "mess" I allowed myself to "turn in" so my body can experience life the way we were meant to:

working through pain to better understand joy.

"Don't you worry now...
It's all..
To change."

Indeed it is... and indeed it has.

"Summer" by Hayden Calnin
Feel free to listen. We don't begin the dance till around the 2:12 part in the song as its a slow, powerful, repetitive song. The music video is a little sad about a girl cheating on her boyfriend-I guess that is her mess she gets to work through-because we all have our "messes" right? Some serious and some not as big, but they all matter and are important to face and heal.