I’m experimenting. I’m making decisions that go against my nature and against what I’d like to do, and, instead, I’m doing shit that is way out of my comfort zone. These decisions wouldn’t have been outside my comfort zone when Chuck was alive, but they have been, and remain so, now.
Grief changes us, doesn't it?
In order to be truly successful at something, we are oftentimes told that we have to go into it with the proper mindset. You know..get the mind straight and the body will follow. I can see how that could help, but, especially in grief, we don’t necessarily have any good mindset, and yet must do things anyways.
A young man I spoke to recently told me that any good story must contain conflict. He suggested I ponder that thought in relation to my story...this Odyssey of Love. Is there conflict? (I’ll make my point with all of this shortly...I promise).
Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to answer him immediately as to what the conflict is, in my story,(beyond the obvious death of my husband). I wanted to figure out the deeper conflict, brought on by the death of my husband. Ultimately, it's a common conflict, I think, to many of us in this widowed world.
My beloved husband died, and I died too. Or at least, the woman I’d been for the 24 years we were together..she died. She’s gone. Forever. And I know it. The woman I am now (with whom I am entirely unfamiliar), has no interest in life, and yet is alive, and therein is the conflict. I am a woman alive, with no interest in being alive, and yet, because I am still alive, even without him, I must live. Even as it takes everything I have in me to live each day.
So...here in this life, this life that I am living without him, I realize that I need to make myself strong. Living on my own requires strength of body and mind and soul, especially when I’m out on the road in my PinkMagic rig.
Additionally, in this time since Chuck died, I’ve lost all sense of myself as a woman. He and I were very physical together and it’s as if that energy that I had, which was received by him and reflected back to me by him, is gone. Just completely gone. The energy and the spontaneity and passion for life and the sensuality that allowed me to savor him, the world around me...life. Gone.
And, because I’m the kind of woman who is solution oriented, and because I am fully aware of both of these huge issues in my life, and the need to do something about them, I’ve decided on two things for myself in the next few months while I’m taking a break from the road.
One: I joined the Warrior Training program at nearby Luke AFB. Three days a week, I’m going to go sweat and lift weights and build muscle and lung capacity, and two days a week I’m going to do cardio. I’m going to join a yoga class and teach my body about flexibility and opening up the heart chakra.
Two: (and this is way outside of my comfort zone since Chuck’s death, believe me). I registered for a burlesque dance class, meeting for 8 weeks, learning a routine, with a performance at the end.
Dancing...something I haven’t done since Chuck died, something I can’t imagine doing again, and yet, I signed up because I know I need to find something that will force me out of myself, and away from this grief, at least temporarily. Burlesque requires playfulness, open-ness, and a sense of adventure. It will force me into an awareness of my physical body as I learn the moves, as I push myself into a world of sensuality again.
Does the mind need to be on board with the body in order to facilitate success? Nope, not as far as I’m concerned. Every part of me doesn’t want to do Warrior Training and every part of me doesn’t want to step into the world of burlesque but you know what? I’ve already done the Warrior Training twice this week and I have every intention of dedicating myself to it. And when January rolls around, I’m going to attend Burlesque class.
It doesn’t matter to me what my mind is telling me. My gut is telling me what I need to do, and I’m listening to my gut. And I'm not even trying to change my thinking. Not trying to talk myself out of my grief or into my grief. I'm just letting it be whatever it is while I go about doing what I know I need to do.
Strong in body from weight-lifting and cardio. Strong in body and mind and heart and soul from learning how to embrace my female-ness again,in dance.
Grief is a battleground for me. Each day I fight the urge to just go away somewhere, to just disappear. I fight to stay present, I fight to stay in the moment. Yes, I've considered doing this all Zen-like...the way of the peaceful warrior...but that way doesn't work for me. I need armor and I need weapons and I need to be strong and flexible. I do, very strongly, believe that I'm in the fight of my life. Since Chuck's death I've built some of that armor, in a good way, and now I need to do these two things to push myself even more.
I honestly never thought, (because, seriously, I have never been an athlete or a dancer), that weight lifting and dance would ever be part of my arsenal.
Grief. It will take you places you never could have imagined....