Dance to live or live to dance ….

Gosh it is a decade since I nearly died. Nine years since my lovely Dad died. Life is precious and for living. Easy words to say heh? Ten years ago a group of doctors muttered and grumbled around me. Sending me for tests, prods and zapping with large polo mint machinery, shoving cameras in intimate places they had me up for dead and dying.  Then the amazing Mr Hunt chopped a huge chunk out of me and declared me fit to get on with life and living.

 

There was a week of “limbo” of all this. Of waiting . Of lots of time and thoughtfulness. Time to go to the scariest of scary places. That dark shady place you never go . Naturally as a Mum I could not stay there in the dark . Two small boys constantly pulled me back to sunny side. I can remember my lovely friend visiting, sitting beside me saying “I know it is your boys” whilst I reached out and stroked their cheeks, their necks and grabbed their hands . My boys indeed thought Mummy was some kind of a nutter  who would not stop touching them!

 

Funnily enough in the topsy turvy place of life. I sat at same said friend’s death bed a few years later with her grown up children. Still her babies to the end.

So today I look out at a small clutch of snow drops under my apple tree. Every year they appear bringing hope of spring and warmer sunnier days. A reminder life is for living. I struggle with the constant mundane . How does one reconcile oneself with coming back from scariest place, from lying on operating table, pain, sickness  in order to fill the dish washer and wash school uniform? It is has become a question of balance and looking at my snow drops today reminds me of this balancing act of life.

 

Yesterday I worked . I do not sell my soul nor tip my emotional balance. I participate in something ethical which has some value for society I think. I give my skill, my intelligence my knowledge for money to pay bills for part of week. I will not and have no desire to work full time. I am convinced folk think I am lazy . Quite frankly I do not care.

Today is a day off.  I did  empty  the dishwasher  I may have piled clothes in a pile? I did assist smallish boy with cleaning out the fish. The house needs cleaning ish but not enough. Driving in my car I found the most wondrous beautiful soulful music. It is a new jewel to brighten my day. So today I danced and danced and danced. Listened some more and danced.

I bought large boy shoes and purchased some “far too young for me” denim pumps in fact I shall call them sneakers if only to annoy the kids! . It is also worthy of note that large boy and spend considerable amount time playing with the word shoes over and over in absurd voices to emphasise the shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhoo and make ourselves laugh. I then managed dancing more  in between supporting smallish boy with making a cushion . I am now dancing amid fabric thread and smallish boys bright ideas of mouths , cutting and creative genius . 

 Goodness I am so into this new song. It feels me  up with emotion and I need to dance to express all this new feeling  .Dance is an amazing way to celebrate life. I love the connection of the physical to the emotional . The telling of the story. To me it is more than getting a move right, being the dancer with best hips in the room. It is a painting of a picture, telling of a story that has to be done.

I think this connection to be creative with my physical self is linked to being so ill. Stripping away the layers of my physical and emotional being is the  great  gift coming so close to death gave me. That very sense of being , of living in the moment in time and feeling real. No layers of illusion just one’ s sense of self. Dance gives me this or at least gives me an opportunity to be there. I suppose that is why I use words like integrity, honesty , sense of self when describing dance and performance.  

 So now I am returning to my new beautiful piece of music. I would tell you what it is but for now it is all mine in my own private dance space . Naturally it may well come into a hall with me dancing near you soon. 

Annah x       

 

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Life on track or off the rails?

My life is a challenge of balancing the need to make money and pay the bills, be a Mum and bring up boys, being a lover and a partner and fulfil my need to do more than the mundane. Generally I lurch along and then it tips this way or another and I have to take action. This month I am thinking about the areas of work and parenting and looking for the gains and the positives!

Work – an interesting one. I am the kind of woman that has always paid my own bills. Never been kept, paid for or indeed financially supported by any man apart from my lovely dad bless him in my youth and hedonistic art student days! I sometimes wonder how life would have turned out if I had refused compromise my artistic integrity and sold my creative soul to keep a roof over my head. Perhaps life would be more fun.

When you have no man to pay the bills or indeed do not see the welfare state as an going life style choice for artistic endeavours then earning money is a constant nag. God it is dreary and dull.  Trouble is generally I like financial security and there seems to be a price to pay for having a sense of integrity. Actually not integrity good old fashioned working class protestant work ethic. Honest day’s pay and all that…

Boy interrupts this creative endeavour with a moment to tell me the merits of eating and making iced buns versus the yummy scoffing of chocolate éclairs.  Second small child arrives in the room. He is a drowned rat having walked to and from school with no coat. We tell him he is dripping wet and to seek a towel. This is refuted by him as he drips all over the floor creating a small puddle.

A parcel has arrived. This is from “Father of the children” who makes a small financial contribution into our weekly expenditure. Naturally as is the way the boys are over joyed at a parcel of DVDs and fancy T-shirts from sunshine holiday “Father of the children” has been on. I would like some sunshine. My feet are freezing. Ahhh but it is okay as I have the love of my two boys.

Yep I like having money so I can pay my bills and way through life. Except these days it feels like a lot of effort and little reward. So you know what I am seeking creative ways to manage being a wage slave and to not panic about bills. If I disclosed anymore it is likely I would be shot at dawn or more than likely bore myself to death. So we won’t go there.

Having a Master’s degree, professional qualification and 20 years’ experience means I have the good sense and opportunity to work part time.  I used to think I was lucky as this used to be other’s perception of me.  But hard work and controlling your own destiny is not luck is it? Work is now a constant of suffering fools within a circus of public sector nonsense. I may have less money but I am certainly the wise one for not being there five days a week.

Which brings me to the point – I am not there today. I am now shoving all my work into three days. So from now on I shall start the week at dawn on Monday morning produce breakfast, lunch boxes, and schools shoes, hurtle down motorway, screech into last few parking space and reach my desk all by 8.30AM, work and more work come home, do catering for boys, do homework, generally demand small person hygiene and teeth cleaning of smallest boy, sleep and do all again x 2. But then it will be done! So I shall be up to other stuff on more days. As I said I am a lucky lucky girl.

Being a Mum.

I parent alone and have done for eight years. I wake up most days constantly amazed that I am a mother. At 31 I was an artist, dancer and professional living life to the max in the east of London. Looking at single parent friends I already had made the logical decision to never be a Mum. Not for me. Love and an internal subconscious took over and there I was in love and pregnant with a man who promised to parent forever whether by my side or not. Sixteen years on and I am doing it all alone. I love being a Mum. Not in the big I love kids big soppy maternalistic way. It is quieter for me with small little on-going moments and love lots of love. Being a Mum gives me this massive opportunity to love other humankind which I never really thought about before. My life before children was a searching and a yearning to give and to find love.

With parenting I reckon you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. No one does poo, tears, sickness catering or laundry with great cheeriness. But I can still smile at my little batman sitting under the table and doing a huge poo!

Bringing up boys is a wonder and a challenge. I have large nerdy boy. He does Maths, physics and nerdy boy stuff. Small boy is an indigo child of creative wonder. Reading and writing for him I suspect is a bore as well as a challenge and he struggles with the world’s rules. Small boy reckons life is up for negotiation on his terms and he is right off the page with creativity.

Anyway small boy moment –“Mum I cannot go to school tomorrow as I have this rash”. Boy holds out hand which is covered in slightly concern rash of little red marks. He assures me it is itchy and not sore but probably chicken pox hence the need to be off school! No school is not an option and having checked out the rest of his body I suggest a bath and that he will be fine in the morning.

Small boy being a “special boy” has a home/school book written by TAs one of which expresses their concern regarding his rash. I read on a bit further to discover no need to worry- This rash was created over an afternoon lesson of Maths with a red pen!

Ending my marriage 8 years ago was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I committed my heart and soul to marriage and we had been through so much together it was very hard to give up. For me I felt a great deal of shame. Shame at being treated so badly with so little respect and shame at being so unsuccessful at marriage.  Several years on and I am happy and proud. So many folk compromise relationships and live lonely lives with folk they do not like I am happy that at 40 I decided to go it alone. I am also proud that I had the honesty then to face up to a relationship that was destructive and move on.

I make all the decisions as   a parent alone. My parenting style is my own uncompromised by others. When their dad first went I used to try to be Mum and Dad all rolled into one. These days I am just being “good enough Mum”. I tick off food, love, a roof over the head and anything else is a bonus. Our home is a happy home we do not have big rows, sulk have meanness or long term anger all of which was a daily feature of living with “Dad”.  These days we have mess, laziness, fiery tempers, bickering, laughter and fun. We also sit in separate rooms, rarely eat meals together but hug a lot, tell each other we love each other and somehow all get along.  I fret a lot about being a mum about the if only, but today I think I am doing okay.

Being a Lover and partner

Doing more than the mundane-

I struggle with the mundaness of it all. All of it. There must be more to life than paying the mortgage, feeding kids and TV and the pub.  I am a soul who is happiest in love and in relationship. I have never quite worked out why someone with such a big heart as mine ended up home alone! My theory is I was too busy partying when the sensible girls picked out the boys for “keeps”. I always seem to choose the lost souls to be rescued. Nearly three years ago I went on a date with a quiet, seemingly nice and kind man. Unsure I sought the advice of a friend and so I went on a second date. Three years later I have found my lovely man. On life, love, dance and going beyond the mundane is perhaps a blog for another day.

Kisses Anah x