Saturday, August 11, 2012

Roots & Reunions

Wedding - 16 - Version 3
April, 2000. My sister and closest friends from high school and college,
lip-syncing at my wedding reception.

Reunions make me nervous. Then again, most everything makes me nervous. Give me a situation and I'll figure out a way to feel awkward about it.

Yesterday I saw a handful of the ladies pictured above, some of my dance friends from growing up, at a surprise get-together for my friend Michelle (on the left end of that picture) who is in town. I was a bit apprehensive to go. Not apprehensive to see anyone, but to bridge the distance that comes from lives inevitably growing apart with age and situation and geography. Apprehensive about feeling weird or bad that we don't talk as often as we used to. Apprehensive about falling back into old social patterns. Or not. Or even thinking about old social patterns. Just unsure about how to mitigate (or maybe sit with?) the distance. And yet, in that distance I've grown into so much more than I was between 1992 and 2000, when we were a daily part of each other's lives. In that distance has been a lot of me becoming me.

So much of my development as an early adult happened in that time with my dance friends. Because I was there through high school and college, because I danced and worked and spent all of my time at that Christian ballet studio, my earliest ideas about faith, dance, art, teaching, expression, work, body image, marriage, responsibility, friendship, gossip, and guilt are all wrapped up together. To this day it's still hard for me to think about one without it also sparking another, like an involuntary nerve reaction.

I am so different from that girl I was who lugged around her green duffel bag full of pointe shoes every day and was afraid to have opinions. And then, I'm not, really. She is the reason I turned into who I am now, and she is, in part, still me. I'm grateful for all the clear conventions of that time--the expectations, the black-and-white-rules, the structure, the discipline, the prayer, the friendship and the constant companionship, even when my angsty teenage feelings about all of it resurface.

It was nice to see everyone. Ours is a connection that probably defies definition, developed while sharing emotions and hard work and time and physical space for so long. I think because dance is such a tactile, human-to-human art of sharing personal space, it connected us in a way that other activities might not have. I'm not sure that's something that we even can approach in conversation.

I suppose it's important to touch that connection from time to time, to remember where you come from.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. We share so many emotions, yet you explain them so much better! Those were great times!