Monday/Tuesday: This week is our dance showcase…. I spent the past two days sewing, sorting and glitter-dusting anything and everything that will cross the stage on Thursday evening.
I have the very good fortune of working with wonderful kids. The younger ones are so excited, its palpable. The older kids are ready to debut their senior pieces of choreography to family and friends. And I get to pick costumes and style them any way I want, pretty much. It’s a great job. A challenging one, to be sure, but truly great.
Last week, I realized that this will be my twelfth show with the school. Thinking back to my first one, I was so nervous, terrified of messing up. My mentor and I hadn’t developed the friendship we now share. He was learning to trust me and my judgement. And I was learning his methods and style of teaching. Now, we understand each other with a look. It’s almost scary sometimes, LOL.
Despite new pain, and the fears that accompany it, this has been a good week so far. Amid what appears to be confusion and semi-chaos at times, is a system that works. Would I love to NOT have kids showing up two days before a show telling me that they didn’t find anything for their costumes? Yes. Yes, I really would. But those moments are inevitable, so I plan for them.
Regardless of what happens two days from now, I’m proud of my work, the children and their teacher – my mentor. There’s been a tremendous amount of effort and creativity invested, and it shows.
Wednesday: Our tech rehearsal – when we get to see what the lighting will be like – went better than I could have hoped. There’s something about this day that makes me nervous. Almost like I’ve forgotten something, but I haven’t. I’m almost sure that I haven’t……🤔
[to be continued]
Thursday: this started out as a really bad day. Walking into my dining room, carrying breakfast, my hands just gave up. It happened so fast, I lost my grip on the mug in my right hand & my left (holding a buttered bagel), just flopped. Water, bagel pieces, butter, the plate & mug – it was everywhere. I just stood there, crying. My daughter cleaned most of it up while trying to calm me down. The day didn’t get better, not for a while. I’m not even sure what upset me more: the fact that I’d made such a huge mess or that my daughter had to console me.
Later in the morning, I was holding an iced coffee in my left hand. And then, all at once, I wasn’t. It was everywhere. This started to get really scary. This cannot happen. And yet it is. It’s happening as I write this. My hands, actually all the up both of my arms, feel weak & disconnected. It’s a nightmare coming true.
Forcing myself to refocus on the day ahead: show day! I geared up for the next 6 hours. And that’s when I discovered the missing piece! The forgotten thing. Counting garments for one of the ensemble numbers, I visualized where I’d left the missing balance of shirts. One catch: it was back in my apartment. When the final rehearsal was over, I raced home and found that I’d not only left the shirts there, but that I’d never actually sewn them. Oh joy. There was time, so I quickly made the alterations and headed back to the school.
Show time! The saving grace of this day has been the energy and excitement of the dancers. I loved seeing this show come together. Like a creative jigsaw puzzle of movement. Really, really cool. I tried hard to not think about the mounting pain in my upper limbs. Not the time. Not the time. NOT the time.
The show is over. We all took our bows. Flowers were presented. Another one for the books and it was magnificent! Now, all I can think about it how much pain I’m in. I float home in the rain, gripping an umbrella and bouquets from the kids. I’m numb. Mentally and emotionally numb.
Friday: Today, I didn’t trust myself to hold anything important in my left hand. Today, both hands feel like there’s bubble wrap between the joints. Every time I bend my fingers, I feel popping and hear crackling. It actually gags me. Bubble wrap bones mixed with painful electric shocks, shooting through my hands from wrist to fingertips. Numb pain. Does that even make sense?? No, it doesn’t. But that’s where I am.
I worked today, covering classes for my mentor. The sixth graders worked in small groups, discussing costumes for their upcoming performance. The seventh graders and I talked about last night’s showcase. Part of me was so excited to see the kids. The other part wanted to go home and cry, the discomfort was so intense. I didn’t. Instead, I stuck it out. Even though I was whining and screaming in my head, I’m fairly sure I looked semi-normal to the outside world. After school, I took myself over to the local Starbucks and got a coffee. A lot of our students were there, “Hi Ms. Becky!” sung out in a series of shouts as they realized I’d walked in. It’s nice to see them, a good reminder that my work isn’t done. I can’t fall apart. Well, I can. But then I have to get it together and make sure that everything’s done.
I’m seeing my doctor in a few weeks. It’s awful to imagine losing control of my hands. Earlier tonight, I sat with my husband, talking about – what else? I cried again. I haven’t cried this much since……. well, it doesn’t even matter. It’s like a mantra, “I can’t lose my hands. I can’t lose my hands.” But saying it, even out loud and through tears, won’t change anything. Won’t make it better or worse. And yet, I keep chanting those words, over and over. That would be the ultimate slap, the ultimate insult. Come on. I cannot lose my hands.
Maybe the universe will hear me.
P.S. Saturday: I was about to publish this but felt compelled to add this story. Earlier today, I went to the local grocery store. It’s the nearest one to my apartment. And the one that I detest because everyone is always so aggressive while they shop for their overpriced, organic everything. The thing that makes this store EVEN more annoying, if that’s even possible, is their complete disregard for space. The aisles are about two feet wide. The only doors in and out of this mess are completely obstructed by giant displays of fruit, sale items and flowers. And today, lucky me, there were hamburger buns. I exited the store, trying to navigate between a tall case of cereal boxes and a 3′ x 3′ huge pallet, stacked with baskets of hamburger buns. This thing was on wheels, NOT braced, perched at the edge of the raised sidewalk. You KNOW where this is going. I accidentally clipped the pallet, which promptly rolled off the step, tipping over. At this point, I’m pretty sure I yelled out, “REALLY??” Grabbing the edge of the basket with both sore hands, I managed to pull it back up. Then it rolled off again. See why I think the universe is having a huge laugh at my expense?? Finally getting it back up on the step and being semi-certain it wouldn’t roll, (until the next poor sucker bumped into it), I did the only thing possible: I stood up straight, grabbed my groceries and acted like nothing happened. While laughing hysterically, of course. Best not to draw any more attention to myself. 😂😉
Be kind to one another.
Peace & painlessness,