“And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off…”

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One of my favorite quotes is from writer Muriel Rukeyser. In her first volume of verse she wrote, “Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.”

I came across this quote in a women’s literature course during my senior year of college. This quote has never left my soul, and I am reminded of these words whenever I hear a song or read something that resonates with me and strikes me as absolutely beautiful or painful. Being able to absorb an experience, memory or emotion and radiate words, music, movements or other forms of art that reach another’s soul is an amazing talent. It brings us closer to each other.

I have a great appreciation of and for this talent, especially because I never came close to possessing this talent after years of writing poetry and majoring in English and creative writing. When I hear or read what is true poetry by my standards, I feel thankful for being able to have an understanding of an experience I have never encountered, and I feel thankful for being able to be reminded by poetry that I am not alone. This is why I am currently obsessed with listening to “Shake it Out” by Florence + the Machine. My soul is clinging to this song.

I am determined to shake out the negative energy that I have allowed to disrupt my happiness and restrain my motivation to live an intentional life. I am determined to make some thoughtful changes that will make it easier for me to be who I am inside. I know that by doing so I will need to face some consequences and I will need to accept that there are some things I cannot change. But I am ready now to face these consequences and accept what I cannot change so that I can see light again and dance through this life more freely.

Yesterday marked my second full week of being home with my kids since leaving my job. Already I feel more alive than I have since I was on maternity leave with my daughter. That was almost two years ago.  I have been able to truly play with my kids without the stress of my job clawing at me. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when I want to go in my bedroom, shut the door and throw a tantrum when my kiddos are throwing their own tantrums. But these moments pass, and my kids and I go on with our days together laughing and dancing.

I have had time to focus on myself, too. I am writing, I am reading and I am learning. I am accomplishing tasks around the house and yard that I have been putting off. I am curious again. I am trying new recipes and crafty projects. I am actually trying to have real conversations with my husband again about his engineering adventures that are way over my head instead of just listening due to lack of mental capacity and energy to provide any input. I am trying to rebuild connections and relationships with others that I have let slip away due to my own selfishness. And I must confess, I also watched the entire third season of “Pretty Little Liars” on Netflix.

These past two weeks with my kids, my husband and myself  have been absolutely awesome, which is making the job search more difficult than what I had anticipated. I don’t want to be ripped away from my children again and this happy state that I am in, yet I knew going into this that I would need to make finding a new job a priority. To prepare myself for when I do find something, I have been making mental notes during my adventures, reminding myself that I can still have these moments with my kids, my husband and myself as long as I do not let that devil on my back again.

So before I get back to discussing how I am going to have to do some creative budgeting due to the reality of the situation I have put myself and my family in, I am going to listen to “Shake it Out” on repeat a few more times. This song is therapeutic and it is poetry and it has turned my pain and experiences into something I can sing and dance to. I was paralyzed in the dark for a while, but I am slowly regaining my ability to move out of this dark place and toward a lighter space. I just need to keep dancing.

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