I really like running. I’d say that I borderline love it. Despite the “Why the jiggle?!?!?” feeling I tend to get for the first minute or so as my ample flesh adjusts to the jarring repetitive motion, running always feels amazing.
Yet, I don’t feel that connection with it that most runners do. I never did. Even when I ran cross country in high school I still felt no real “this defines me” sort of feelings.
This weekend my mother and I went to go see Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and I discovered several things. First, I love jazz. I don’t know when that happened because I used to hate it but the jazz section of the show they did was amazing.
Second, and most importantly, I am a dancer.
My body might not look like a dancer’s body, I might not be able to do what most dancers can do (right now), and it’s true, I haven’t done any sort of dance performance in YEARS, but in my heart and soul (yeah, we’re going there) I am a dancer.
As I watched the movements of the dancers on stage, I felt it. My muscles started twitching with the memory of what those moves felt like and with excitement to be reliving it. I couldn’t sit still and yet I couldn’t move. I was caught in a thrilling limbo of emotions.
I jumped up and down, ran in circles, excitedly talked too loudly all the way home. I just couldn’t contain my excitement. Incidentally, in that neighborhood of Seattle no one takes any notice of someone walking down the street acting like a fool. It’s too common of an occurrence. I love my new home.
It occurred to me that THIS must be what runners feel when they cross a finish line, make a new PR, or complete a new distance… you know, do runner stuff. That is something I never felt while running, not in a single race, ever.
When I used to do trail running I felt a definite thrill to be running in the woods, leaping over roots and rock, and going all kinds of Pocahontas wanna-be (you know, because I have to represent my Native American heritage that I don’t resemble at all, thanks for the genetic fail, dad), but that was pretty isolated to trail running.
I can dance anywhere, in any style, at any time and get the same thrill. The way I feel after a dance workout or even just strength training that resembles what I used to do in those nine years of ballet, is incomparable. Nothing holds a candle to it.
So, here we take the first step in simply being who I am. I am a dancer. I am not a runner. I like to run but I am a dancer. Nothing will ever change that.
Also, I’m pretty convinced that I burn like twice as many calories during one of my impromptu living room solo dance parties than I ever did during a run. Wait, you didn’t think that I was kidding about those, did you? Oh, no, they’re for real. The building across the street probably gets a kick out of it if they pay any attention. My downstairs neighbor… probably not so much.
Last week I decided to be who I really am no matter how anyone feels about it. I decided that neither friends, family, acquaintances, nor romantic interest get to determine who I am. This week as I analyze myself for what those traits are that authentically make up me and what I’ve taken on for approval, I realize that this is a big one for me.
*So, this was actually supposed to be the second post in this line of “OMG! I’m discovering my identity!” but yesterday I was plagued with my worst/first hangover ever and a lot of mysteriously missing vodka. I’m not sure what happened. The Skanky Tuesday post was just too important to write when I wasn’t really present. I couldn’t even muster dirty thoughts, and that’s really saying something for me.