There are often times when I envy my daughter and other children her age. Autism or no autism, it’s not considered socially unacceptable for a preschooler to spend a lot of time dancing and twirling around, even in public. If I could, I would probably spend most of my time dancing.
I don’t really mean the choreographed, neatly-categorised-by-genre sort of dancing. Dance classes are not for me. I have absolutely goddamned awful co-ordination, proprioception and spatial awareness, as well as struggling to follow verbal instructions.
These are also the reasons why my favourite gym classes (when I have time to exercise, that is – currently home life prevents very much of that) are Spin (indoor stationary cycling to music) and Body Pump/Body Max/whatever your gym chooses to call its lifting-weights-in-time-to-music class. You only have to master one technique at a time. And I like to home in and focus on one thing at a time – it’s also why, despite being an avid music-lover, I never listen to music when running. I got up to 22 miles for my longest run during marathon training (never ran the bloody thing – got injured during taper! Gah!) without ever once sticking earbuds into my ears before setting out on a run.
But I digress (I’m good at that).
No, when it comes to dancing, I’m very much about the freeform. But I have the urge to do it pretty much all the time.
My husband and I were brought together by music. As a keyboardist, trumpet player and backing singer/shouter, I joined the band he was already drumming in, and after a relatively short time, we were going out, and six months after that we were married. That was twelve years ago. I’m sure I’ll write more about music, social interaction and so on at some stage, but that’s for another post.
When I was in the band, I was known for “Anna dancing”. This involved staring eyes, a lot of quick looking-from-side-to-side head movemens, and plenty of flailing arms. I miss those days. Right now hubby and I are not actively playing music (>sob!<), but we’re still dancing around in the kitchen. I have indie discos with my daughter in the living room, and we twirl around lots. Our tastes are pretty much as eclectic as it gets.
Anyone who knows me will also know that I am the first person on the dance floor at weddings, conference dinners, hell, any situation involving music and a bit of space to move. Although I’m partial to certain boozey beverages mainly for taste, I need no alcohol to lubricate my flailing, twisting joints and limbs. Punk, ska, Pulp, and Beyoncé are particular favourites, but I’ll basically dance to owt (as we say in Yorkshire).
Perhaps I would not have such uncontrollable urges to dance if it weren’t for my relatively sedentary day job, but then, when I think about it, I’m not so sure.
As a non-driver I walk everywhere, and when I do, I often wish I could still just dance. I make do instead with Tangles (always keep one handy!) and drumming rhythms with my teeth. Occasionally, when I’m somewhere more open like a park, and there’s nobody in immediate view, I’ll allow a bit of arm flailing to take place. When waiting for my tea to brew in the kitchen at work, when no-one’s watching, I dance. When I’m doing jobs at home, I dance. Sometimes to a song in my head (this is usually the case); sometimes not.
I welcome the opportunity to be free with self-expression that parenthood brings. When carrying my son in the sling, I do allow myself to sway or bob a little bit from time to time as I walk. And I can get away with twirling about, singing songs at the top of my lungs and making rhythmic movements with my feet and hands when I’m in the company of my two small creatures.
Because I need to do it. I need to move in order to ‘feel my body in space’. Moving keeps me anchored.
[Featured image by Mark Vegas, 2007. Used in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 Generic licence].