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When I stopped dancing

WHEN I STOPPED DANCING I stopped dancing first when the screeching screaming voice, cut into my small, happy, care-free body like a sharp knife cuts into warm butter, the accusing words freezing my bones, so I couldn't breathe or move and my little spark got lost in my heart and my little candle was simply snuffed out! I didn't dance for many long dark years out of fear of icy glances and of stepping on someone's toes. At 14 I started dancing again because a fierce storm started building inside my chest and I was afraid that I would explode and shatter and there was no one to pick up the pieces and put me back together again. But it hurt, maybe like when a mutinous seed breaks out of it's shell, only to find a desert with no water and no loving gardener's hands. But I couldn’t stop And the rumble in my stomach became a scream that had been trapped in my throat like a caged bird who had forgotten how to sing and I found a crowd that was ragged but proud with music that was jagged and loud and a perfect fit for my dance. At 17 I stopped dancing, again because I had to go to another city And the people I met didn’t see anything good in how I moved but only prickles and thorns and I seemed to pierce their defences with my broken points, they felt uncomfortable, with icy stares, or look-away glances, became agitated and angry with words that were like acid that that made my cheeks red and my skin burn, like: I was deformed, gross and sick And: I didn’t know what I was doing, all wrong! But: I only longed to somehow belong, con-form and fit my uncomfortable gesticulations Into their nice and tidy, square boxes But I didn’t know how. At 19 I started dancing again in secret darkness, the blackness like a friendly warm blanket keeping out the biting wind and icy rain. I kept on dancing because again somehow, met others who danced like me and we seemed to see and understand and could talk a similar language - through our disorderly bodies. I stopped dancing again… after she went away, because my heart felt like cold lead and so heavy, that I was afraid that I couldn't stop it from falling on to the floor and that all would see it in it's naked, broken ugliness and I didn't know how to make it pretty or put it back together - again. For a while, I only danced in my head, my body feeling like a warm, lumpy sack, keeping me safe, But filled with lead. other times, feeling like see through glass and was afraid too move much, in case I might shatter maybe I should of, but does it really matter? I still hadn't learnt how to put the pieces back together again, does anyone? I started dancing again because there were animals moving inside of me that I couldn't control. An elephant; slow, heavy and graceful in my feet and legs, Rilke’s Panther, creeping back into the jungle of my hips and torso – silent and hungry and a snake menacingly uncoiling in my spine, and when I opened my arms… a great Buzzard soaring high and swooping down. I gently took my fear out of the freezer and held him quivering close to my heart, and as we stood and danced close to the speaker that sent vibrating pulsating rhythms and soft warm melodies exploding in rainbow colours from foggy grey to grassy green, from muddy brown to flame red, to the barren fields of my war scarred body, my lonely dread started to melt with dirty tears of long unexpressed rage, shame and despair and the polluted river slowly became clearer, cleaner washing my bones and heart and here I am, dancing, again – even now as I am, in the sun, thunder and the rain. © Sangeet Portals 2018

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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