Once a dancer always a dancer

So I was busy decluttering my to-be home office, discarding the old and making space for the new. It’s a ritual that I take seriously because it allows me to work with my feelings about the things I own, my past, present and future.

Determined to pull an all-nighter according to Canadian time so that I can peacefully fall asleep at night, I decided to play a list of fast Bollywood songs which is specifically created to lift my spirit up from time to time. I thought it was helping me stay up and get work done.

Just then, this one song plays and I’m like nahhhh, everything can wait. Everything must wait. I need to do this.

Think about it for a moment:

With the dark cloud of chronic illness constantly hovering above us, what can we do to lift our spirits?

What sparks true joy within us?

Could we be letting our disability confine us more than it needs to?

Can we not find ways to work within our limits and still experience similar feelings of passion?

I think we can.

We’re all different, with different illnesses, different degrees of severity, different scale of limitations, different support systems, different biographies which could very well translate into a drastically different experience altogether — there’s absolutely no reason for us to even make that comparison. All said and done, each of us is doing our best to work with the cards we’ve been dealt.

BUT. In the midst of the pain and suffering, I think it’s possible to find ways to work with or around things we truly enjoy. I can’t dance like before, nor can I move with as much energy, but I do know for a fact that when I’m on my roller chair and if symptoms are manageable for the day, I might be able to move a little and FEEL that same feeling I experienced when I danced in the past. I do have to be careful though but I’ve reached a conclusion that you can’t take dance out of me.

It makes me feel alive and so I do it very often :) I hope you enjoy my crazy and find something that makes you feel a tad bit crazy too.

Lots of love,

Manasi

#onceadanceralwaysadancer #bollywood #dance #passion #love #joy #wholehearted #chronicillness #pain #fatigue #suffering #smile #invisibleillness #ehlersdanlossyndrome

Advertisements

#marathimuli

After more than two weeks of thinking through whether I wanted to or if I was even in the mood to host a mini Ganesh Chaturthi dinner, I finally figured I had to do it this time. I got a couple of messages from friends who were looking forward to it and I knew it wasn’t going to be like last year. This time round,  everything was going to be different.

Because it is different.

Things change, times change.

What remained the same as last year was the feeling of love and joy, dressing up & being around a few people and knowing that no matter where life is heading, you’d always have some memories to look back upon and smile. To feel grateful for.

Ultimately, that’s really all I care about when it comes to festivals. If you’re like me, spiritual enough to respect that people get to have their own set of religious beliefs and, you’d agree that if any festival is celebrated with the people who love you and people you love, people who have been there for you and people you’ve been there for, and if you’re present in that moment, do a small ritual and feel immense gratitude, it is more than enough. You get to choose how you want to live your experience.

Amongst all the amazing photos captured that day, these three will always remind me that despite everything,

you have a choice.

To pick a family,

To dream freely,

To hope without fear,

To laugh without guilt,

To cry with your heart,

To love with your mind,

To sing your very own song,

To live with what you have and make the best out of it.

P.S. if you’re wondering what’s happening up there… you know, we were just trying to dance on “raat ke dhaaii baje” and “pinga” for very obvious reasons. Also, did you notice my freakishly bendy fingers?

Alive

🤷🏼‍♀️💃🏼🤦🏼‍♀️

🌸Do what makes your soul smile. If that’s dance and you can’t dance, find a way to feel like you’re dancing. Feeling is everything. Find ways to keep your spirit alive while you have to deal with and work around a not-so-healthy body. It’s hard enough on a daily basis and you’re allowed to find ways to make it a tad bit lighter on yourself, okay? You don’t need anyone’s permission for that. You are doing your best with the cards you’ve been dealt.

I can’t dance/perform like before, I can’t just stand up and let loose and dance freely but I can imagine doing it in my mind. I can imagine dancing, performing and choreographing like before and I can FEEL it as if it’s true. It makes me smile from within. That said, I know my body has its limitations and I know what’s right for my health. I don’t have it in me to be stupid and push my body in ways I tried to back in the past. You see, I might have had to leave dance behind but my love for dance will always stay with me and you know what?…that’s enough for me.

This isn’t some law of attraction discussion and I’m not going to say “imagine and you’ll have it” because if you don’t get it, you’d think you didn’t want it enough or you haven’t tried hard enough. If that were really the case, if only imagining solved all my problems, I’d be doing different things at this point because trust me, I’m bloody good with my imagination. All I’m saying is, be true to who you are and things that keep your fire going. Be a little #crazy in your own special ways. Keep those things alive; things that keep your enthusiasm for life going. Keep working on finding ways, finding solutions. Be open to possibilities while being aware of your #reality. I’m not going to tell you to have high expectations out of yourself when you have REAL LIFE limitations and when you’ve worked so hard to leave your old life behind.

Acknowledge your present with your heart and mind. Please do not work on going back to the life in your past which doesn’t serve you anymore today. Please don’t force yourself to walk backwards and create more suffering. Past is gone for a reason. Walk forward with what you have and what you can do. Be very practical + imaginative where necessary 🌸 #chandralekha #bollywood

Once a dancer, always a dancer [2]

The memories I have of the times I could dance are nothing short of beautiful. Dance was something that filled me with pure ecstasy each and every single time performed, taught or just danced for myself. I used to sprain my ankles very often and required rest but I couldn’t resist dancing even during those times.
 
When life started looking different and I had to spend more and more time in bed, letting go of my passion for dance was one of the many painful decision I had to take. It used to hurt me each time I saw that those around me were able to dance and I couldn’t. It used to kill me each time I looked at old photographs and videos of myself dancing and I’d think to myself that life was becoming pointless – how is it that everything you love so deeply is harmful for you and your body in some way or the other? I’d wonder.
 
Then there came a point when I literally deprived myself of anything related to dance. No more old videos. No more old photographs. No more watching anyone else dance. No more listening to happy bollywood songs which drove me mad. No more talking about dance because each time I did, I’d have tears in my eyes. I thought I was helping myself get over my passion for dance by trying to forget everything related to it in my past. Which meant forgetting a BIG PART of my past and that was ridiculous.
 
Over last year or so, things started looking different. It was the year when I allowed myself to feel pain. I had to let myself grieve over what is no longer mine and what I had to leave behind, along with an older version of myself. Letting go wasn’t easy, because it wasn’t only dance I had to let go of. There was a list of all things that I loved and wanted and couldn’t have that I had to come to terms with. Till this point in time, I hadn’t let myself grieve that old version of me. The one I was so familiar with. I was only holding on. Not moving on. Soon, I began to ease into not being able to do certain things because I realized something very important – I started choosing health over everything else, and that is what made me come to terms with my present self. I don’t regret that I left dance but I know dance hasn’t left me. Dance will always be a part of me.
 
Though this process has been extremely uncomfortable, it has been absolutely worth it because I no longer look back at my photos and feel like shit. It doesn’t bring me to tears. When your story doesn’t make you cry, you know you have healed. Watching others dance doesn’t make me feel bad that I can’t. Instead, looking at people dance out of happiness and passion makes me insanely happy. And you know what? It makes me want to dance again sometimes. I can’t compare it to how things were and I won’t try because I understand the change my body has had to go through. I do what I can do and even that brings a smile on my face – even if it means just to dress up, blast music, move just a little bit and imagine as if I can dance like before. Dance involves both movement and expressions and even if EDS has taken away a decent amount of freedom of movement from me, it most definitely hasn’t taken away my ability to express/give expressions, or imagine and choreograph steps in my mind.
 
It’s true – once a dancer, always a dancer.
Today was one of those days when I let myself dance a little bit. Just a little bit. I was careful not to over do anything and it really required me to be aware and present. I think it’s okay to do what your soul craves sometimes as long as you have your next physiotherapy session booked. I do.