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  • Writer's pictureShawn McNulty-Kowal

The Memory and The Dance, or; The Memory of the Dance

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

I want to say that I want to be held. The other night, I was dancing alone and I told myself that this is what it feels like to be held. Remember this, I demanded of myself. Remember what it feels like to admire the way your feet land with each pirouette. And remember how you’re not noticing if anyone is watching. Remember the feeling of weightlessness when you swing your arms so quickly above your head, like you’re flying on a swing as you once did on the playground. When you were at the top of the swing’s trajectory and there was that second of weightlessness before falling. Only to return to the top, once more. Falling and then soaring. Once more.

Remember this , I demanded of myself. This instinct of locking doors before dancing. Putting that wall up, instinctively, in order to survive. And you danced and you held yourself. With each pirouette, you felt your legs moving and how they felt strong, holding your heart and heavy chest and tightened throat, dewey eyes. And you learned to trust yourself before anyone else. So in a way, you’ve made it near impossible to be held. Because you find the act of holding and being held interchangeable, or; identical. That to be held is to present yourself and to admire yourself at the same time. But dancing alone is not the same thing as being held. As weightless as your arms feel, they are heavy. And dancing alone is not holding.

Remember what it feels like to hold yourself as you toss your arms into the air, but never mistake it for being held or holding someone else. To dance behind a locked door and to dance alongside another’s weightlessness is not the same. In fact, they could not be more different. Even when you’re at the top of the swing’s trajectory, you carry weight and fall back down; it is impossible for you to carry all that you are all by yourself. If you fall, you fall, but hold onto that second of weightlessness for as long as your might allows because sooner than you know it, you’ll soar.

written by Shawn McNulty-Kowal

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