“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck by the difference between what things are and what they might have been.”
– William Hazlitt
The common denominator of all human activity is movement. Even in stillness, our heartbeat and breathing continue and the qualities of movement can be recognised in facial expression and body attitude – for example, actors and dancers are trained to exaggerate the intensity and body stance so that it radiates throughout a pause ensuring continuity is maintained.
From movement grows drama – the social interactions of the human race.
Aristotle points out that the term drama is given to works because they “represent men doing things”*. The word drama literally means “a thing done”*.
People who suffer mental, physical or psychological disabilities are inhibited in using their bodies as their expressive and communicating instruments. Thus the aim of their therapy is to create an awareness of themselves – as individuals and in the grand scheme of things – and also to promote an awareness of others.
These are the opening paragraphs to my university dissertation. I dug it out of the storage box as inspiration for the next steps in my life and boy, it shook me up.
For one thing, it reminded me how capable I am of writing some lyrical shit for a grade. And the other thing is that it underlined how due to my illness, I have become one of the people that I trained to work with. Life is funny like that.
Why should this matter? Because there are a couple of issues that I need to resolve.
My relationship with my body has always been a very important part of how I perceive myself and the world around me (see Muffled for details); and the hardest part of these shenanigans has been not being able to dance out my frustrations.
Dancing makes me FEEL! I use it to express the things I have no words for – and yet I haven’t seen a dancefloor for nearly 2½ years. I’ve kept telling myself that I will go out dancing when I get a little better, but that doesn’t look like it’ll be any time soon. So I have decided to go on out anyway. As Rudolf Laban said,
“Man moves to satisfy a need. He aims by his movement at something of value to him. Its shapes and rhythms show the moving person’s attitude to a particular situation.”
I have a need to express my situation in the manner that is most beneficial for me – and I can’t worry about freaking others out in the process. If this is to become my usual state of functioning, I’m taking my spastic self out into public regardless.
I was in the process of completing my post-graduate Masters degree in Social Work when this illness hit me with a vengeance. I’d completed and passed all the modules bar the dissertation – which had to be deferred. I have now been informed that I have until May 8th to hand it in, otherwise I can kiss the qualification goodbye.
All my experience in social work has been what I’ve learnt on the job and this is no longer enough. If I don’t get this professional qualification, I cannot continue to work in the field that I love. And I am not interested in retraining in another area of work.
So I have decided to attempt the dissertation anyway because I really don’t want to have to repeat the course. My wife and sisters are gonna help with the typing and proof-reading.
I’ve had a chat with myself and decided to lower my standards. This time round, I just need to pass. The important thing is to ensure that I obtain the qualification – ready for a time when I can return to work. And to ensure that they spell my name correctly on the certificate!
So these two activities are the challenges that I need to complete over the next 3 months. I dare to post them before the eyes of others so that I will be bound by my words. This is the written equivalent of having a glove slapped across my face.
Fuckerty happens, but I can at least put things into place in readiness for a time when I am healthier.
And in the meantime, my motto will be this:
Si el teu univer no te lluna
If your universe has no moon,
Granted, things have not panned out as I had planned/hoped. Fair enough. But I am bored of dragging my body and my self through the day – bleeding away, hour by hour. My world has changed beyond recognition and to live it to some kind of fullness; I need to change my perspective equally as drastically.
I am hoping it will be the motivator that I so desperately require. Because truly, I am tired of being sick; tired of describing myself in terms of “cannot” and tired of suffering the insult that my life has become.
So I put it out there: why demand a ball of lava and gases when you could have a balloon and dreams instead?
“Ah, but a man’s dream should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
– Robert Browning
* The Uses of Drama by John Hodgson
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.