Writing, Dancing, Creating again
I wrote 7 different novels over 7 years of participating in NaNoWriMo. Over the past two years I have not participated as I was busy getting a masters degree and then surviving my first year of teaching. I believed that I would blog during my first year of teaching but found myself overwhelmed. I not only spent an insane amount of time working but I felt so overwhelmed and insufficient that I could not bear to expose what I felt were inadequacies and incompetence to the world. I did not feel my blogging would benefit anyone and that it may, in fact, solidify just how inept I was. I have been in "recovery" for a couple of months now--since I accepted that I would not be renewed for the coming year of teaching and that I was comfortable with that decision. While I may feel as if I did not receive the support I needed at this last position I also accept my responsibility in that I responded to the environment and conditions around me submissively and did not recognize my complicity in sustaining that environment. I was sapped of my sense of agency without even being aware of it and that awareness was my responsibility. During Spring Break, as I wrestled with these thoughts I started writing again. Just fan fiction with some characters I enjoy but it still felt really good. It felt productive and honest. Since school ended I've been out dancing more and drawing and sketching and doing photo manipulation. I forgot. I forget. It happens over and over; I dance or make art of some sort and I feel the euphoria of my soul. I feel freedom and peace and that sense like the world I live in is mine to explore and create. I remember that I need dancing. I remember that I need art. I need these things to continue to BE. Without these things I am a set of actions and rules and intentions but I lack some integral part that is me. Teaching has taught me much more about what the word "NEED" really means. It is a fantastic word. It encompasses so much. We hear often about the revelations people have everyday about wants vs. needs. When I studied Special Education there was an excellent definition for the word "fair." It stated that what is fair is to give each person what they NEED. Therefore it would not be fair to give some huge plates of food while others starved, each requires what they NEED. But this means that in order to be fair one must be able to determine the NEED of each person. There was a touching analogy given where they gave the following example: If in the middle of a lecture Carol falls out of her chair, her lips are turning blue and I know she is cardiac arrest and needs CPR. I have training, I know how to do it but I say "I'm sorry Carol, I have 30 students here and it wouldn't be FAIR of me to help you because I can't possibly give CPR to everyone." We would say that statement was ridiculous because Carol is the only one who NEEDS CPR. It is just as ludicrous to say that we can't offer special accommodations for a student who has particular needs that are different from the whole class. If they NEED something they need it and it is our duty to provide it.(minute 3:50 here) The trouble of course comes in those revelations about NEED vs. WANT. Figuring out what we really NEED is difficult. Very few people really have it down. We all have desires and wants that try to trick us into believing they are needs and we all have needs that are likely not being met that we either feel we can't afford or we are unaware of how to fill. How many times have I had a conversation or received a hug or a kind word and realized it was exactly what I needed. That a whole had been filled and I was now more complete and in being more complete I was also more competent. I think most of us are likely fairly malnourished in certain areas of need. Maybe it's our physical needs for exercise or touch or healthy food where we have need. Maybe we have need in our emotional arena and need love and comfort and release. Maybe our mind and creativity is not having its needs met. Maybe our spirit and our soul is malnourished. It is so easy to acclimate to malnourishment and to try to fill the holes or cover the defects with other things but it will never leave us as strong as if we are truly meeting our needs. When I went dancing the first few times after school let out I recognized one of these needs. Perhaps its the socializing or the physical exertion or the connection with music and with a partner, perhaps its the spirit and energy of the place or the sense of accomplishment or ability, but there is something about going out dancing that meets my needs. It fills or completes part of me that has been in need. And having a need met is energizing; it's exhilarating; it's uplifting. Please don't let me forget to meet my needs. I need dancing. I need art. They are a part of the whole me and without them I cannot function at my best. Please meet your needs. Find your component parts. Seek out what makes you whole.