Of identity crises and I’ll laugh about this someday

Last week, I finally made the decision to give up dance for good. I went to class last Monday and before class was even over, my knee was screaming at me. It’s not just the patellofemoral pain, it’s also the leg with the poorly healed groin injury, and the side with the formerly pinched sciatic nerve. In short, it’s a hot mess. I’ve been told multiple times that I need to find some other option for exercise. This time, I finally decided to listen. I did the movie cliche of getting in the shower and crying once I’d decided it was time. I felt like I’d lost who I am once and for all. I promised myself when I extracted myself from Will that I wouldn’t give it up again. I wouldn’t let someone take it away from me. It’s the last shred of who I was before. It’s the last shred of the girl who got lost that day.

I find myself, once again, with an identity crisis. I gave up dance for the betterment of my own health. It wasn’t taken from me. I know I’m doing the right thing. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. I’ve gone back to my cave analogy. I find myself sitting outside the cave, not sure how to get back down there. I’m not even sure what’s down there to see.

I had an honest conversation with my friend who has morphed into this odd mix of big brother, dad, & friend. I’ve kept him actively involved in my adventures in online dating both for his take on the situations and entertainment. I asked him what drew him to me in the first place. He told me that he remembered seeing a picture of me he thought was cool & decided to start talking to me. As he got to know me better, he appreciated my wit & (funnily enough) maturity that he didn’t see in people his own age. In the past 6 years, we’ve come and gone in the other one’s world, some times less fucked up than others. True friends, he said, always stick around. He loves me and doesn’t want to see me get hurt because I lost sight of the fact that I’m worth more than who will sleep with me. That, unfortunately, is a nasty side effect of not having a solid grip on who you are. Fortunately, I have his voice in my head (and his texts on my phone) to remind me.

“Dancer” is really just an adjective. It’s not the core of my personality. I was rather fond of that adjective. I’m sorry to see it become part of my past rather than still in my present. I like to think that this will leave space for something, or someone, to fill the gap.

I am not a victim of life. I’m an active participant. I’ll just keep repeating that until I believe it.



Of knee jerk reactions and driving

The Internet is like driving. Everyone who drives faster than you is a psycho. Everyone who drives slower than you is a jackass. Everyone with an extreme opinion in either direction is a psycho. Everyone with a lesser opinion, as it were, is a jackass.

Gun laws / control has been popping up on my news feed a lot recently. I’ve already made my views on gun ownership clear. I saw a post referring to the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms, for my non-US readers) with the caption “27 words that have caused untold preventable deaths”. My knee jerk reaction was “jackass”. Then I had an epiphany

Just because it’s a knee jerk reaction doesn’t mean it has to come out of my mouth or be put down in writing. This person put his opinion out for public consumption. However, I don’t have to respond. I don’t have to rattle off a list of other things that fall under the “preventable death” umbrella. He may very well live outside the US where the culture surrounding civilian gun ownership is completely different. Starting a fight on Facebook won’t change his opinion. It’s the old cliche about mud wrestling with pigs. You’ll only get dirty and pig will enjoy it. I chose to leave it alone. I still disagree with him, but it’s not up to me to try and change his mind. In my own experience, I’ll only get more defensive and stubborn when my thoughts are called into question. It’s not because I’m questioning my own beliefs, but 9 times out 10, the approach is emotional rather than logical. That’s the very definition of a knee jerk reaction.

I’m guilty of this across the board. My mouth frequently starts going before my brain can get involved. I’ll pop off and say something I regret before the sentence can finish leaving my mouth. Stop, take a breath, and consider if this is something really worth fighting over. My parents frequently tell me to pick my battles. That moment was a prime example. My brain kicked in and I was able to back off. There are only 2 or 3 things I’m really willing to fight over. Gun laws are not on the list.

It’s so easy to get sucked into pointless disagreements online. The Internet has tons and tons of positive things to offer. It’s up to me to let the petty bullshit go. It’s not worth my time or energy.