Cyborg Dance Projekt: Fears for the future

2009 CONvergence, photo by Dave Stagner Photography
2009 CONvergence, photo by Dave Stagner Photography

I’ve been avoiding this post for a while.  It started with missing a few classes, which I attributed to a bad combination of working my job plus doing my mentored teaching plus trying (still) to finish my incomplete coursework.  Then the first summer session ended, leaving me with only my job and my coursework, but I was still having trouble making it to classes & troupe rehearsals.  Then my trip to Minnesota for CONvergence at the beginning of July where I realized that my pain problems with flying have little to do with the crappy seats and are related to pressure changes in flight.

I’ve known for a couple months now that my spine is visibly doing worse via the most recent CT scan.  My L4/5 disc (the one above my fusion) is bulging.  I’ve had nerve issues related to that joint since surgery in January 2013 that I really hoped were temporary, but are getting worse.  It wouldn’t surprise me if I was looking at another spinal fusion in a few years.

Because of this, I’m currently trying to sell my spot for ATS® General Skills & the ATS® Homecoming: Return to the Mothership workshops.  It hurts so much to do this as I feel like it’s the first solid nail in the coffin of my return to bellydance.  In the back of my mind I felt like I could somehow outrun these issues, somehow return to the semi-pro level that I used to dance at.  Perhaps I was just hoping that my demise would be happening this quickly, allowing me to go to San Francisco with two of my troupe mates to learn at the Mothership (the FatChanceBellyDance studio where ATS® began and where I began ATS®).

I’m utterly heartbroken and I cry every time I think about not being able to go, but I logically know that there’s no way I could be able to handle the flight, sleep in an unfamiliar bed in a hotel, dance for 6 hours or more a day for about a week straight.  Maybe if I wasn’t a poor grad student with awful medical bills scraping by, maybe I would risk it.  The thing is that ATS® is a group improv format of bellydance, and my spine causing me to sit at the sidelines of a workshop could negatively impact another dancer’s experience (especially in the duet workshop I signed up for).  That’s not fair for whoever would be paired with me.

Despite this, I’m going to keep on bellydancing as much as I can.  I’ll keep on doing ATS® until my troupe mates kick me out for being too broken.  I don’t know what kind of shot clock I’m on (I’ve known that there is a shot clock for a long while…some of the other Projekt posts talk about it), but I’m going to try to make the best of what I have.  I’m constantly fighting between time, money, and spoons to make dancing happen, but I’m trying.  I’m also trying to remind myself that I can still do other forms of dance, and I will be fundraising to get to the annual AXIS Dance summer intensive in August of 2015 (between taking my comps early summer and defending my dissertation proposal in late summer or early fall).

Right now I’m feeling really emotionally raw.  I was hoping to get either my CONvergence 2014 post or my Flying with Wheels post finished before this, but I felt like I needed to make a more public declaration.  Finances willing, I’m going to try to make the most out of regional dance events to make up for not being able to physically handle going back to the Mothership.

As my mom says, “it is what it is.”

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