Footage Fridays: Living Room Lunacy

This is the long-overdue next chapter in my creative collaboration with my oldest friend, Marsha. It’s also the return of Footage Fridays! Huzzah! I missed making videos!

Last month, Marsha presented me with a music track that rivals Kitchen Cacophony for weirdness. So I made a sequel of sorts. It just had to happen.

I present Living Room Lunacy.

This video is dedicated to anyone who’s ever worried about looking silly. Lord knows I have…but here’s the thing we forget: silly is fun! Sometimes you just have to go for it.

Also, it’s possible to dance with only your face.

And, finally, pulling faces is hilarious.

Let this ridiculous piece of film be a reminder of all of these facts (but mostly of the first one…that was my main point :P).

(If you can’t see this video, click here to view it)

Do something silly today…I dare you!

Breaking the Silence

Words words words.

My head is stuffed full of words unspoken and words unwritten. I am stifled, smothered, crushed by the weight of unspoken thoughts and untold stories. I am self-censored to the point of utter silence, mired in the shame that comes when you feel that your thoughts and feelings are not worthy of expression.

When you look at me, you might think I look a little sad, a little tired, a little stressed. But I am drowning, lost in a sea of words and stories and emotions, and unable to find my way out.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for days. I kept writing “blog post” on my to-do list and then…checking Facebook, opening tabs for other people’s blogs, obsessively collecting information about the thoughts and feelings of others instead of being in my own head and heart and processing their contents. As if salvation was possible only outside myself, as if other people’s breakthroughs could take the place of my own.

The only expression that has managed to break through the chaos is dancing…brief moments of release and escape from the crowded prison of my brain.

 

Big changes are coming for my family. Big changes for me, the stay-at-home mama. Changes which mean stepping out of my safe little bubble, smashing through my comfort zone, and doing the things I’ve said for ages that I wanted to do…but didn’t make time or space for because I was too afraid. It’s already starting. And I haven’t said one word on this blog or anywhere else on the Internet.

I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Didn’t want to upset anyone or take the risk and fail. Thought that if I kept quiet and didn’t tell anyone, maybe the Big Scary Changes would wander off and bother someone else.

And that makes me shake my head in disgust, because the second-to-last real post I wrote was about my epiphany: how I didn’t want to live in fear anymore, wanted to live out loud and be 100% me 100% of the time.

“Now look at you,” my inner critic cackles, “Stuck in the mud, quiet and cowed like you always will be.” The untold stories threaten to bury me, to cover my head and suck me down into a life of silence and shame once again.

But, eventually, I stop them. I close down Facebook and all the other browser tabs full of other people’s stories. I open my word processing program. I begin to type this out. And the pressure inside my head and heart begins to ease. I start to feel more like myself again. Like maybe my stories are as worth telling as anyone else’s. Like maybe it would be OK if I just wrote what I was feeling. Like maybe this is only the beginning.

I know me. I know that in a week, or even a day, this collection of sentences won’t remotely resemble what I’m feeling, just as it bears no resemblance to how I was feeling 2 weeks ago. I’m an air sign, as changeable as the breeze. But this is my story right now…and I will tell it. Keeping silent hurts too much.

The words flow out of my head and onto the screen, and I breathe a little deeper, sit a little more solidly in my body, make plans to dance again tomorrow. I remember why I started blogging in the first place, remember the relief of letting my stories out into the Universe. I start to think of new stories to tell, now that the dam is broken.

There are always stories to tell.

Dance 5: (Don’t) Stop

When I was in my early 20s, my friends and I used to have awesome parties. We would get together at an apartment or a rented cottage, and we would drink and eat and hang out. OK, we still do those things, but the thing we don’t do any more is dance. We used to dance for hours. We had a special “parties” playlist, and every song had its own schtick. It was fabulous.

And then it changed. Dancing became something we did only at weddings. I don’t know why that happened…did we get bored of the same songs over and over? Were we less fit? More self-conscious? Just not interested? All of the above?

I miss those parties. I was “the dancing girl,” first to start and longest to move, never afraid to get up and dance alone. When did that stop?

This past New Years I was determined to revisit my fabulous younger dancing self. I was going to get up and dance, dammit, regardless of everyone else.

Did I?

Sort of. A little. Self-consciously. In the corner.

I couldn’t access that fabulous dancing diva. She couldn’t get out from under the layers of “not _____ enough.” Not fit enough, not strong enough, not confident enough. And also “too ____.” Too old, too fat, too unfit. Too likely to hurt myself. Too easily mockable. And what would my friends think?

…writing this out, it makes me sad. I’m not any of those things, not really. I’m fit and strong enough to dance, at least for a bit (and that will help me dance longer next time). I’m confident enough to post this video online, which has to be scarier than dancing in front of people I know and love, right? And there’s no such thing as “too fat to dance.”

The hurting-myself fear is a whole separate issue with its own complex layers, but the bottom line is that I will be OK, especially if I build my fitness up gradually. People who want to mock me can eff off. And it’s not like my friends have never seen me dance before.

So there.

This video is dedicated to the fabulous dancer-at-parties I used to be. The one I peeked at last New Years. The one I am dedicated to excavating fully by next New Years.

Want to dance with me?

 

Dancing with Fear, Part 3: Moving My Body, Walking My Edge

Truth: I am desperately afraid of hurting myself when I move.

I think this is because injuries and I have a long and not-so-proud history. From chronic Achilles tendonitis in my teens and 20s, to a periodically spasm-y back, to my knee which went PING last year, I have a history of getting hurt when I dance. (I think this has a lot to do with dancing from the outside-in and not listening to or respecting my body, but that’s a whole other blog post, and something I’m working through)

Unfortunately, my automatic reaction to this fear has been to stop dancing. I don’t just mean stop whatever I’m doing when I start to hurt (because that’s a very good idea). I mean stop dancing for weeks, months, or years—falling into stasis.

Resting is one thing, ceasing to move at all is another.

I mention this because I’m finding the process of moving, truly moving, my body again to be a challenge. First, there’s the muscle soreness and the emotional pain of realizing just how weak I’ve become. Even though I’ve been trying to move my body every day for a while now, it’s not the same. My muscles are struggling to wake up again. But that’s nothing compared to the overwhelming fear. What if I can’t move my body the way I want? What if I hurt myself? What if something snaps or pops and I can’t move at all? Wouldn’t it be safer to stay a little more still? Take a few less risks?

NO.

Today’s Delicious Body Dance-a-thon piece is my first step through that fear. I took my movement just outside of my comfort zone and walked my edge. It was hard. It was scary. It’s difficult for me to sense where my edge ends and “too much, too soon” begins for this body of mine. I know what it used to be able to do, and not what it can do now. So I’m inching forward carefully. I want to walk my edge, not smash through it (and shatter myself).

But here’s another truth: this take is a thousand times more satisfying and true to my instincts than my first attempt (which you will never see). Because I took that risk and leaned into that fear.

There is so much possibility in walking my edge…like the possibility that (with time and effort and love) I will be able to extend that edge and move again the way I remember moving (or in a way I never imagined). The way I see myself moving in my mind’s eye.

That possibility is dizzying in its sheer awesomeness.

Here it is:

 

Dancing with Fear…

Sometimes the Universe asks you to dance (literally or figuratively), and it scares the sh*t out of you.

That happened to me the other day…when I watched this video:

(You can see the whole blog post that video came from HERE)

And while part of me was freaking out…the other part was screaming YES! YES! DO IT DO IT DO IT!

If you’ve signed up for my newsletter (and looked at the free-ebook-plus-video) or if you saw this post, you’ll know that dancing on video is something that I tried twice last year. I’ve wanted to do more of them, but it’s hard to fight the resistance and fear. But this…this project was like a giant message from the Universe going “LET’S GO! It’s TIME!”

So I’m saying yes. I’m throwing fear (lots and LOTS of fear) to the wind and stepping out onto that dance floor. I will get in front of my camera 12 times in the next month, and I will let my inner dance out. And I will share it with you. Warts and all (not literally, I hope, but you know what I mean).

(Actually, I was going to start sharing today, but my laptop decided it didn’t want to associate with the likes of my video camera. Hopefully I can get them to communicate tomorrow…or work out another solution)

The Details:

I will post videos three times a week. I will aim for Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (but I reserve the right to post on other days as needed).

Unlike Rachael, I don’t have an album that I want to dance through. I looked, but I just don’t have one. So instead, I’ve picked twelve of my favourite Creative Commons-licensed tunes, and I’ll dance to one of them each day. I won’t tell you what they are in advance because that way I can go with whatever I feel like on the days I’m filming (and because I currently have 13 on my list :P). They range from sparse instrumentals to hip hop to pop-rock. It should be a fun ride.

For the “dance-a-thon” portion of the challenge, I’ve chosen a cause that’s close to home for me (literally). I’m pledging money to a local modern dance troupe called Mocean Dance. They’re a truly incredible company, and I wish that I’d been able to support them via ticket sales over the past 3 years. Instead, I will be contributing $75 to help them further their mission:

Mocean Dance’s mission is to create a sustainable, innovative contemporary dance company based in Nova Scotia. This company will offer Nova Scotia dance artists employment in their home province, and the opportunity to work with exceptional local, national and international choreographers in collaborative new creation that integrates dance with other art forms. The company will create technically and emotionally rich dance that contributes to the growth of Canadian dance from the perspective of our region and artists. The company will communicate and share its work with audiences through performances both at home and on tour, and will maintain its strong commitment to community outreach, development, and youth education through residency and school programs.

Somewhere in an alternate dimension there’s another version of me who joined that company…

I’m not officially asking for money here, but if you enjoy the videos over the next month and you have a little extra cash, maybe you could send some their way (or to any other cause that strikes your fancy).

And there you have it! Thank you so much to Rachael for coming up with this idea. Let’s dance!