Tripping the Light Fantastic...is what?!
The director welcomes the audience and thanks them for their patronage of the show. Applause erupts. Then the house lights drop and stage lights come up. The thick velvety curtain rises and the music begins. My arms and legs tingle in anticipation as the butterflies and bumble bees flap and wriggle in the hollow of my torso. My ankles and feet instinctually rotate in one final warmup as my hips rock side to side, back to front, wiping the insides of an imaginary barrel. Then I hear the musical cue, see the stage manager give me a nod, and I trip into the light fantastic.
This phrase 'trip the light fantastic' dates back to the 1600s and refers--in a poetic way--to dancing. I felt some readers might be interested in knowing about this nod to my previous career, used in the title of this newly launched blog endeavor. Dancing taught me so much about living, collaboration and cooperation with others, being comfortable in my own skin, trusting myself, and challenging self-imposed as well as societal boundaries. Since "retiring" from this career path and shifting my creative focus to writing, I've forgotten some of the lessons learned via tripping the light fantastic. I'm hoping to renew and reconnect with some of them throughout this blog journey.
Am I a dancer? Well, that question touches on a topic that will most assuredly be a running theme and thread in this series of musings: labels. I'm working toward using fewer labels and categories for myself and others. Shifting from an overabundance of nouns to the use of more appropriate and clarifying verbs. Just because someone has done something in the past, doesn't make them that thing. Nouns shame. Verbs explain. "I cheated" tells others that once upon a time, I betrayed people--people who loved me and whom I loved. "I am (or was) a cheater" straps a scarlet letter to the bearer's chest that often proves incredibly difficult to transform into anything other than deep shame, regret, and self-loathing.
Will I always dance? Probably, yes. In some way, shape, or form as I am able and inspired to do so. Will I always cheat? No. That isn't my intention going forward in this lifetime. Are either possible actions in my future? Sure. But whether I dance or cheat will be an active decision, a choice, an action. Not a stagnant, labeled declaration of who I am.
Caveat/Devil's Advocate: Can labels be helpful? Sure. They allow us to communicate ideas in quicker fashion, using less words. But can they also be hurtful? Devastatingly so. I'm not sure the tradeoff, in some cases--maybe most--is worth it.
Labeling and dancing are two of the topics I plan to broach and examine via Finding Jody: Tripping into My Light Fantastic. Though a smidge more so on labeling. I hope you'll stay with me. The road may be rocky and I might need all the love and support I can get. :-)
Thanks for popping by today.