Ninja Ballet

BBC Sherlock, Scandal in Belgravia, Benedict Cumberbatch

It’s been a good week.  Holy Harmonic Convergence, Batman!  How long has it been since I’ve been able to say that?

These lovely in-between places are where I used to pull out my Bad-Assery and get into training for the next bipolar campaign.  But my mindset has shifted a little.  I don’t need to train to be a Bad-Ass any more—I am one.  The training has become more and more internal—acceptance, awareness and experimentation becoming as important as routine and discipline.

Part of that is due to my therapist.  I have a partner now, someone with experience in going deep, someone with an even bigger arsenal.  It feels very different fighting this battle with someone at my side, someone whispering a plan of attack I never considered, someone with Ninja skills.

These slow, subtle movements are hard.  I’m teaching my mental body to move in different ways, ways that feel foreign and beautiful at the same time.  I keep thinking of a ballet dancer with blistered, bloodied feet.  It takes practice.  And hardening.  And more practice.

Yesterday I drove to the city for a mandatory meeting at the psych hospital for all the support group facilitators.  Dan, the social worker who recruited me, told me about the meeting a couple of days ago.  He didn’t know what the meeting was for, couldn’t be there himself, and apologized for yet more chaos as the Center tries to reorganize and align with health care reform.  So I showed up at the appointed time and place—to find I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But the Psych Tech who was helping with the meeting said she’d go over the material with me then and there.  I signed a confidentiality agreement (which I’d already done with Dan) and answered a ten-question True/False quiz on the role of facilitator.  The whole encounter took fifteen minutes.

I had issues when I left.  Since thought generates emotion which drives behavior, it could have been the start of a very bad day.  Or week.  But my Ballet Ninja skills surfaced.  I was able to acknowledge that I’m out of practice dealing with workplace miscommunication.  This stuff happens all the time.  It’s not personal.  And there’s no need to get trapped in it.  All I have to do is show up on Wednesday nights, sit with whoever else shows up for group, and see what happens.  Management stuff will work itself out.

Then, I was able to watch the emotion drive my behavior.  I had already planned to find a frame for the beautiful print my friend Rob send me, so I watched as my internal agitation pushed me to add more things to the list.  And then to snatch up stuff as I wandered through the antique mall.  There was a graceful slowing down as I watched, a deceleration, and a returning to center point.  I bought the frame.  Nothing else.

And on the drive home, I felt the residual effects of emotion spinning out possible lunch scenarios—where to eat, what to eat, how much I to eat.  I felt the familiar spin and shove of using food to calm down, using food to feel normal, using food to make the rest of the internal discomfort stop.  I watched and allowed all that mess.  And then I went home and made lunch.

ninja balletMy brain feels bloodied and blistered from pausing.  It’s so much easier to let the thoughts and emotions run, to just get out of their way and tag along.  But each time I practice, I build a little more stamina, a little more mental body memory.  These foreign maneuvers of acceptance and interruption may always be difficult to perform, but that’s part of what makes it art.  It’s part of what makes an audience gasp.

So, today I’ll try again to stalk myself, to be stealthy and nimble.  A Bipolar Bad-Ass Ninja in toe-shoes.

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle at The Green Study
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 08:59:14

    You know I’m all for ninja and warrior analogies. You do a fantastic job of describing the cycle and the new skills you are learning will get easier with practice. Every time I read your posts, Sandy, I identify with so much of what you describe. I experience it on a smaller, more manageable scale, but it can be exhausting and demoralizing. Reading of the challenges you have come up against and how you manage it really inspires me.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Jan 12, 2014 @ 17:46:00

      Thanks so much, Michelle. I’m afraid I’m on my way back down, but hopefully I can drag these skills with me. We’ll see.

      Reply

      • Michelle at The Green Study
        Jan 12, 2014 @ 17:55:47

        I’m in a definite downward slide. Sometimes when I am, I think of the Rudolph movie song “Put one foot in front of the other…”, just dragging myself from one task to the next. Planning on a good night’s sleep, though and trying to not expect too much of myself or others.

      • Sandy Sue
        Jan 12, 2014 @ 18:30:22

        Cripes. Sorry to hear you’re in that nasty place, but your strategy is sound. Sleep is Goooooood.

  2. Servetus
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 09:49:47

    Here’s Richard Armitage in a similar pose for you, for inspiration … http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonone/episode8/slides/rh108_054.html

    Reply

  3. Littlesundog
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 10:18:16

    I think of you this morning, as I watch the wind tear at a few remaining leaves on the trees, casting them into the blustery day. A few of these dancing twirlers, appear calm and sail along, as if adrift on a lazy river. You, my friend, have found awareness and acceptance in the blustery days of life… keep dancing and training and working. What an inspiration you are!

    Reply

  4. Marie Astra
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 15:19:46

    I got a new icon. Do you like it? 😀 LOL! Sounds like great progress. Learning to hear the voices is something I’m working on. Then you can make the choice. Great post!

    Reply

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