What is this strange beast that trickles so many memories into my body? It’s a remembering, nothing new, nothing strange… but time has tricked me, fooled me into thinking that it’s gone. It’s never been gone, it didn’t die, didn’t fade into the oblivion of age. Just got lost along the way, left behind like an empty crisp packet lazily blowing down the street unnoticed.
I forgot. I forgot how alive my body could be, even tentatively, stepping apprehensively into the stream, fearful of being swept away, kept stable on two feet for the most part. Risqué lumbering onto only one leaving me wobbling upright, reaching for balance. What of the tai chi I learned so many years ago, what of that balletic ability to control the body in movement on one point? What about the dancer, the positively athletic movements of my youth on the dance floor, lost in the music, lost in the rhythm, lost and delightedly so in the body itself?
Rhythm, movement, chaotic and yet pulsing, playing and joyfully teasing itself by a stretch, a leaning just on the verge of off-balance, yet finding it and keeping it within the container of intentional dance. A thrust here or four, a sway here or more, a turn and a spin that once so devastatingly easy, now creates a pause, for rebalance.
But it’s still there. Dear sweet gods it’s still there. The ability to lose my body in the rhythm, ignore all pomp and circumstance and forget ‘what it looks like’ and focus instead on feel (is that what we learn, as adults, to be adults? What a crying shame) and just… let… go.
A remembering. A losing oneself only to truly remember oneself. To step over, past, through all culturally swallowed appropriateness, socialised properness, and to simply be free.
So easy as a child, no care in the world, just freedom of bouncing joyfully and hurtling the body around with gleeful ignorance of any fear. Is that what it is, fear that stops us in the end?
Then no wonder as young adults we master the art of enjoying that ‘freedom’ in a somewhat controlled, masked format, constrained, looking awesome, posing delightfully, knowing with more control of our forming adult bodies we can ‘look good’, pose, or staying seated or by the walls if we have that fear instilled a little too far already.
No wonder indeed as older beings we stay more still, or keep those movements within ‘safe’ constraints, walking perhaps, exercise classes… so much structure and ordinary.
Fuck the fear that stole my movement. Fuck the socialisation that created that fear, that made me, us, constrain ourselves within the suit of armour known as ‘safe’, the bars of the cage labelled ‘grown up’. Normal. Socialised ordinary. Fuck that noise.
I want my body to remember it’s liberation, that freedom, this luxurious wantonness of mayhem, this tornado of the body releasing itself. Within all things, whether walking, dancing or sex. Remember what it’s like to not care who’s watching, to not mind what it looks like, to ignore pretence of constraint and control. To remember true bodily freedom.
This goes so deep, so far. Not just in dance but in all things. In posture, in being ‘with’ others. In clothing, hair, choice of accessories to ‘dress up’ ourselves in childlike glee. Stop worrying what others think, who’s looking, what that might unintentionally say about us. Just be, do, fly, free.
Isn’t this the microcosm of the macro? As we age, grow older, become more searching, seeking of ‘who am I’ and ‘what is the point’… so becomes the deluge of realising just how much of ourself, is not ourself. Just how much and how deep it goes that we are shaped by our socialisation. How much of ourself we hide, bury deep, only to have to excavate it all over again later in life.
Why must it be so? Why can we not always be free to be the truest version of ourselves? Why must we wait so long before we start to uncover just how horribly influenced we are, in all things, by society, media, family, lovers, peers equally influenced by all these things. Fitting in. Learning how. Becoming less of ourselves as we go on.
Only to finally turn around, look in the mirror, and start to remember.
One’s true self.
It’s bloody glorious.