Limpy the Limper

Sunday, August 22, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

As my profile on the right says, I was a dance major in college. (i actually double majored in psychology and dance, but people tend to fixate more on the dance part even though, or perhaps because,  i'm currently a psychologist.)  This is an accomplishment that I am both immensely proud of and that has affected my world view significantly.  Most centrally (and especially in that it is the theme of this post), the Wesleyan dance program instilled in me the idea of a mind/body connection. 

There are a number of different ways to consider one's own body.  These days "judgmentally" is probably the number one way (sadly).  But, just for example's sake, let's take Judaism.  The Jews say that your body is borrowed, on loan to you until your death.  That's why tattoos are (only by the orthodox standards) considered a no-no (you'll be fine, Amare [and welcome to the tribe]).  Since your body is not yours to begin with, it follows that you shouldn't go permanently marking it up at your whimsy.  In this definition, what makes you you, is your essence, or spirit.  A non-tangible collection of your personality, memories, etc. etc. etc.

And for me, that simply doesn't work.  A dancer is trained to understand that your physicality is optimally in direct connection with what makes you you.  That you can't discount the part of oneself that we use to touch, move, relate, react--that we stare at in the mirror.  Furthermore, dancers are taught that the mind/body connection is an extremely positive thing.  When you take ownership of your body as you, you are simultaneously empowering yourself.     I believe it.  I tattooed it.  Because it, is me. 

So here is the question im now asking myself.  What do i do now, 10 years later, as my body is failing me?  My recent chronic back pain has been truly humbling.  Most horribly (and hilariously) one of the muscles in my back that i've damaged is the one i use to stop peeing (kegels anyone?).  So on top of limping around everywhere, I also need 100% concentration while peeing or i go all jackson pollock.

add my night vision issues and sprinkle in other various ailments that i'll spare you the details of, and that = a struggling mattitiyahu.   And one of the reasons this is so difficult for me is that i DO feel so connected to my body.  I have truly started questioning whether or not this mind/body thing is as effective (or beneficial) as we get older.  Unfortunately, I think i already know the answer.  The answer is that the harder it gets, the more important it is.  As my body weakens, committing to its importance and its re-strengthening has to be a priority.  Because to give up on your body, is to give up on yourself.  And that my friends, is a very slippery slope.


  1. There is nothing more frustrating than being in pain and feeling like you don't have control of your body any longer -- and the longer the pain goes on, the rougher it is! I've been through this with some chronic pain issues before and sadly I don't have much advice except to focus on the wonderful things your body CAN do as you seek to heal the things that aren't working quite right. Sending you love!

  2. I can identify with your mind and body issues. Don't give up
    the fight! I' m not. Your 84 year old grandma Rita

  3. I agree with Melissa, one must focus on the positive you gain and enjoy from your body and try to push away the negative pain
    course thats a load of crap sometimes, especially when you wake up first thing in the morning and you cant step down because your calves are so tight from the horridness that is the achilies pain that follows me around all day (sorry felt the need to include some of my own omg it hurts comments there)

    hope you start to feel more connected soon!

  4. @Mel and Andrea. i'm really trying my hardest. i appreciate the well wishes. this too, it will pass.

    @gram. see next post.