Variations in Motherhood

Photo by Jonathan Smith

I used to roll on the floor. A lot. I used words like octahedron, kinesphere, iliopsoas, and turn out. You would usually find me in tights, probably barefoot in a studio, maybe even doing something we call ‘improv,’ in front of many people (and don’t you dare call it ‘interpretive’). Sometimes it was awful to roll out of my warm bed and lug my achy bones to that frigid studio. But I wanted to dance. I needed to dance. I had already experienced life without it (an exploratory period when I was silly and changed my major), and it felt like I had an itch I couldn’t scratch. The process of releasing endorphins, dripping sweat, and simply moving was so satisfying. Obliging the cries of “more, more, more!” was a challenge I sought daily from my teachers and mentors. My body rejoiced in the euphoria of feeling the earth and filling the space. Maybe it was selfish, but dancing was ultimately for me.

Shortly after graduation, my dearest husband and I found out we were pregnant. I may or may not have crawled around the house like a confused dog upon discovery of this news. I immediately started a full-time job, and I immediately had all-day sickness (as opposed to ‘morning sickness’ the lucky ones get). There was no way I was going to jump up and down or attempt any kind of turn. My huge baby bump appeared in no time, and there was no way I was going to stuff it into a leotard. Excuses, excuses.

After nine months and some, my giant baby was born. The Johnson & Johnson commercials are right, “having a baby changes everything.” I was completely overwhelmed. Sometimes it was too much, and sometimes, I couldn’t get enough of my precious son. It’s been almost a year, and I find my whirlwind of hormonal emotions coming to a resolve. It’s been almost two years, and I haven’t stepped foot inside a studio. I am completely soaking up this new euphoria of snaggletooth grins, stroking baby-soft skin, and exciting milestones. It’s a sweet kind of ‘high.’ But I feel the itch creeping up. Dancing around the kitchen to Raffi’s “Baby Beluga” just doesn’t do it anymore. My son’s needs are met, and I hear my soul crying “more, more, more!” I need to dance.

Maybe the sentiment of dancing for me isn’t so selfish after all. What if, by taking care of myself, I can in turn give more of myself to others? We all have something that makes us feel alive, that scratches that proverbial itch, if you will. Fill up on the things that make you rejoice so that you may overflow for those around you.  I vow to start dancing again. I will even conquer my fears of putting on some spandex. I challenge you to pursue something you may have left by the wayside. Make time, even just a tiny bit, for your passions. No more excuses—I need to move!

“There are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words.” – Doris Humphrey