Vulnerable Outlets

I have taken dance classes and performed since I was three years old up to May 2011. For me, dancing was that physical outlet that I used to clear my head. Since graduate school has started, I have resorted to randomly dancing in my kitchen and lamely trying on my pointe shoes every so often to see if they still fit. (Those of you who do dance, you know that “fit” is a relative term when referencing pointe shoes.) More of what I am finding while missing dancing, is that dance was more than just an outlet to clear my head, but it was a time where I could show everyone who I was on stage. I was my most vulnerable self when I was moving through my emotions for everyone else to see during a show or practice. The feelings that I owned through performing to music were incomparable to any other outlet I have experienced.

I still remember my high school senior show; I cried so long and remained on the stage in costume until most everyone had left the auditorium. My family, friends, and dance instructors all surrounded me and kept reassuring me that I would dance again. I was so distraught that I was losing what made me whole, that nothing they said comforted me. My first semester of college, I was miserable without my studio and having practice 10 hours a week, thankfully Facebook connected me with other students that loved dancing just as much as I did, and those students invited me to a company called Higher Ground Dance Company. HGDC was perfect for my love of dance and helping others. I served so many glorious semesters on HGDC until my last semester show (May 2011). Since then, I have had a terrible time finding a studio or my age bracket that can challenge me and fit into my graduate school/working schedule.

Now you are probably catching yourself think about your own outlet that helps keep you sane.  I am so glad! Whether your own outlet is for stress, frustration, anger, or sanity, find it and use it! I can sit here and lecture about having a healthy outlet until I am blue in the face, but only you can find what works for yourself. And what worked for you five or ten years ago may not be what works for you now. I have had friends that have tried running, song-writing, drum-making classes, unicycling, or even mountain biking. Find how you connect your heart and mind through a certain -ing activity that reenergizes you. I am personally starting to understand the different outlets that I can pursue by feeling that same vulnerability that I used to on stage. Give yourself the chance to experience what that feels like again.



One comment

  1. Kristin Walker

    I hear ya Colleen. I was able to get a minor in Dance to keep my outlet. Loved those classes. Then I was fortunate enough to teach dance for seven years at two studios and the school where I worked. Coming to grad school was the first time in 30 years dance wasn’t part of my life – except for the kitchen floor studio 🙂 And it’s hard to teach or take classes when our schedules change every semester. I enjoyed reading your piece and wanted you to know I feel ya. Cheers to missing our dancing days. If you need a “So You Think You Can Dance” watchin’ buddy this summer, I’m game!

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