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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: body

When a Baby Becomes a Person

Sometime between my world being rocked and right now, something shifted. I think it happened between weeks seven and nine of Mars’ life. He grew and grew and grew, and all of a sudden, he seems to enjoy his own existence. He’s not just turning milk into poop and vigorously dividing cells. He’s discovering. He’s emoting. He’s watching and listening and experimenting.

(For now) we aren’t making mindless bounce-laps around the kitchen table. We’re chatting with each other, we’re relaxing together, and we’re discovering what the world looks like when it’s never been seen before. When Mars kicks and swings and I ask him excitedly (like, really excitedly) if moving around is so much fun, he locks eyes with me and wiggles with even more gusto – as if to tell me that not only is it fun, he’s going to wiggle like a maniac if he thinks I’m into it, too.

Mars is a pretty careful observer. He takes in the world intently and doesn’t get distracted by the antics I try in order to tease out a smile. And as much as I love his smiles, I love his focus even more. He’s letting me get to know him and it’s had a profound effect on both of us. And now that I can see him as his own person, parts of me are returning as well. I went to a yoga class. I read a book. (Okay, fine – part of a book.) I finished crocheting the toy octopus I’ve been obsessing over since November.

For a year, Mars has been an ever-present part of my body – the ten months on the inside and two on the outside punctuated by delivery but eerily similar in their physical and emotional effort. But now, Mars is becoming his own body. Body with a capital B. As in, he has his own mind and spirit in addition to his own arms and legs.

My tears used to be spurred by exhaustion and confusion. Now, I cry because I want him to know how loved he is and how passionately his dad and I will always care for him. And in three weeks, I go back to work. My brain is getting ready for the challenges of my job but part me is aching to stay home and keep discovering things with this fascinating little kid.

So this is why moms get mom-nesia.

I know we’ll still have some major ups and downs and that plenty more sleepless nights are on their way. But I think I get it now.


Mars, telling me all about his day.


Day 62: Recorded Bodies

After a three-hour rehearsal yesterday evening, some of my dance friends and I had a little self-image discussion. It stemmed out of the fact that none of us wanted to watch the rehearsal video of ourselves, just in case we didn’t look as good as we felt. We didn’t want to see what we don’t like about our bodies laid bare in a recording.

One of the things I love about dance (modern dance, in particular) is the wide variety of incredible bodies on any given stage. Wiry men and muscular women, short legs, long arms, wide hips, narrow torsos… It’s striking to think that the people who can fling their limbs around with control and pick each other up without batting an eye experience such discomfort and self-consciousness.

But I understand it. For years, I wished my shoulder blades were set farther back so my shoulders didn’t curve slightly forward. Or, that I was just a little shorter so my center of gravity could be closer to the ground. But if I had a different body, I would have someone else’s quirks, someone else’s unique differences and someone else’s wishes. I might as well just have mine.

Dancers train their bodies to be beautiful and strange, ugly and emotional. It takes sweat to power through the uncomfortable movements until they feel natural and good. It takes commitment to show up every day and learn something new. It takes drive to put on those short-shorts, stand in front of a mirror and see the potential for interesting movement, not pale legs and drooping arms.

But sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes nobody wants to watch the video.

Since we all struggle from time to time, I think we all get a pass. We all get to watch the proverbial video and see the structure and intention of the choreography, not our funny bodies. And if we don’t see the choreography, we’ll work harder and try again. We’ll try harder and harder because we love what we do, not because we don’t like ourselves.

Day 41: Why Don’t We Dance?

I’ve always wondered why more of us (Americans, generally) don’t dance. It feels wonderful and it’s incredibly therapeutic. It’s nearly impossible to not smile during and/or after a great dance break.

Tiny Dancer

Every time I’ve veered away from it, dance makes its way back into my life, all sneaky-like. I am currently the proud holder of both a B.A. and an M.F.A in dance. But I firmly believe that a degree is not necessary in order to appreciate, love and use dance to make life better. That’s me on the right, a couple of years before college.

To me, dance is perfect. It connects our minds to our bodies in ways that are impossible to manufacture with other activities. Thinking about an arm, a knee, a hand or one toe so deeply that the owner knows his/her body—really knows it—awakens parts of the brain that don’t otherwise engage. It’s a beautiful thing.

So, I’ve always wondered why more of us don’t dance.

I do realize it can be scary and vulnerable. We get nervous around people expressing themselves with their bodies. Outside of the theater or the dance club, we don’t understand why someone would gyrate their pelvis or thrash their arms around. When a person enjoys a solo dance party on the street or in the park, we tend to see them as drunk, disturbed or out of control.

And maybe they are.

But maybe not. Maybe they just get it. Maybe they understand that one’s body is more than skin and muscles and bones, and it’s more than a temple. Our bodies are so deeply us. They’re our brains. Our souls. Our bodies are ours in ways that nothing else will ever be ours. And when they’re broken, or they don’t work how we think they should or they don’t look quite right, they’re still ours. They’re still amazing.

And we can always, always dance.