When I was at the lowest point in my illness, the light had gone out of my eyes. I looked like I had no energy. No hope. I was hanging on by my fingernails, the grace of God, and the kindness of loved ones.
Sleep-deprivation will do that to a girl.
On one of these days, I went to see my Naturopathic Physician. Dr. Mitchell looked at me, and asked me what I loved to do. When I was strong. Healthy. What I thought was fun.
“Dance. And sing,” I replied. “But now I associate singing with Jerry, and my voice sounds like crap because I can’t hold my body up. So singing isn’t so fun any more.”
She sat there for a few minutes. Then she wrote on a lined Post-It Note, her loopy handwriting filling the slip of paper. “This is your prescription,” she declared. “I want you to follow this as you would any prescription. It’s that important.”
I looked at her prescription, and my face turned hot and red. It said, “Dance in your living room with a pink feather boa and a tiara.” (As you would imagine, just thinking about doing this made my face turn flush with embarrassment.)
She saw the expression on my face and said, “Do this. Because the movement will do you good. Because it’s fun, and you haven’t had fun in a very long time. Because it’s silly, and it’s about time you stopped taking life or yourself so seriously. Because you’re a woman, and I think you’ve forgotten that. And because you need to shake up your identity.”
I didn’t have a tiara. Or a feather boa. I didn’t feel like dancing. And I hate pink. I don’t mind raspberry, or fuchsia, but girly pink? No way. You might as well tie me up and make me eat liver.
I got in the car. My friend Ruth looked at the prescription and then at my face. “You’re so doing this. And Rosie and I will help you.” They found a pink feather boa. A pink scarf. And Ruth loaned me the tiara she wore at her birthday party. They put it all in a bag to take home.
“No excuses. I don’t care if you close the curtains and can barely move. You’re dancing with this stuff. Put on some of your favorite dancing music and let loose. Doctor’s orders.”
Ruth and Rosie left the bag right next to the stereo. I stared at it. “What’s the worst that could happen? I could start to dance, the tiara could fall off, and in my attempt to catch it, trip, fall, and crack my head open on the coffee table.” (Yeah right. Like that’s going to happen.) “I could feel really stupid. I already feel stupid. I don’t feel special…or pretty. I feel stupid. Or more accurately put, silly. Embarrassed. Even though no one’s watching.” Again I felt my face flush.
But even though I felt silly, even though my face was hot and red, and even though I didn’t see the point, I put on my favorite Earth, Wind, & Fire dancing music. I tied the pink scarf around my waist. Wrapped the pink (gag!) feather boa around my neck. Put the tiara on my head….and danced. I didn’t move too much, but I did it. To be silly and lighthearted. To get out of the protective box I had built around myself. To enjoy doing something I had loved for a very long time. To celebrate life – my life.
Yes, I danced.
What can you do to bring yourself back to life? Be a little bit silly? Celebrate you? Leave a comment. And maybe even a picture. (Sorry – I didn’t take any.)