The Dance

Maybe it’s the rapidly waxing moon, almost full now. Or maybe it’s estrogen, or rather a shortage of it. Or maybe it’s the over-abundance of stimulation at the music festival on the weekend, or the humidity, or just the fact that it’s been a busy month and it’s back to work and ordinary life now. Maybe it’s because even though the yard is finally gorgeously drenched in flowers and sunshine and lush green grass, we can’t take our supper outside, not unless we’re willing to become supper for the mosquitoes.

Whatever it is, I keep losing my equilibrium today. Not falling-flat loss of equilibrium, just not in possession of sure and easy footing. Stepping on toes, bumping into the words of others, wondering why they’re being contrary. Old-fashioned crankiness, is what it is.

It irritates me that I still, after all these years, respond to strong personalities by wanting to shrink rather than by asserting myself. It takes every ounce of energy I have not to back down and say “silly me, I don’t know why on earth I ever needed/thought/imagined that!”

I don’t like that my values and views on everything from vaccines to politics (though as informed by fact as any), fall well outside the mainstream and are shared by almost nobody in my circle of friends and family, but they’re my views, and I don’t know how to lie.

Maybe my disequilibrium sometimes comes from plain old-fashioned fatigue resulting from the constant tension between positivity and being honest about reality. Bright-siding has not served us well after all—averting our eyes to the truth of history and current powers at work dooms us to the rut of repeating the insanity. But a steady focus on reality is crushing, so we try to balance between the two poles. Will I give my attention to Chris Hedges right now, or chase another of Edmonton’s great summer music festivals? It’s a dance, and it requires a strong sense of balance.

Or maybe my irritability stems from the fact that I haven’t published anything (outside the informal and therapeutic bits on this blog) since my cancer diagnosis over a year ago.

Now that I’ve said it, I see that not publishing is exactly what it is. It’s not only this of course—it’s all of the above—but I’m a writer, and I’ve been busy with infinitely more boring and less gratifying activities for much of the past couple of years. It’s time to change that, though I’m aware that working on changing it is exhausting and irritating in it’s own right. Publishing isn’t exactly a cake-walk these days.

So, in the meantime, note to myself: breathe. Be gentle with yourself, and with those around you—they don’t want to be wrong about disagreements anymore than you do. Extend grace. Don’t be the judge, just be honest about your own truth. Accept that you are once again at a crossroads. The world is full of confusion, joy, conflict, change. Embrace it all. Offer a blanket to those in pain. Smile with those who have reason to smile.

And get to work.