this is something i don’t usually talk about.
i have a little bit – like once or twice in a RECord here and there – but – i don’t talk about it a lot – and i’ve never talked about it in this much detail.
i saw a rotscoped image of me dancing today.
and it almost made me cry.
not because i tend to cry at the drop of a hat anyway *mumbles inaudible apology as she goes to grab a tissue* but because seeing something made out of something of me dancing…well…i should explain…
in april 2011, i had a little bit of an, um, adventure…
let’s just say that i found myself in a hospital hallway with my daily scheduled physical therapist clutching to a walker as i braced myself up trying to force my recalcitrant leg muscles to function. instead they remained in increasing states of atrophy as they silently, stubbornly rejected all efforts to do anything aside from nothing.
seeing my hands holding on, my knuckles turning white with effort as my eyebrows furrowed, all focus on slowly bending one knee, dragging one foot as i tried to lift it, sloppily shuffling, shifting my weight only to repeat the process on the other side…i’d moved about an inch.
there is nothing more maddening than your brain SCREAMING through your nerve channels, feeling the weight of a dead limb, but not able to feel much else, KNOWING that you knew how to do this – you already learned this, these muscle patterns were already established – you should be able to do this. you should. but. you. can’t.
fast forward about 5 months, and walkers were out of the question. i could maybe make it from my bed to the latrine about 3 feet away, held up by nurses. but anywhere else – four wheels and a chair.
i’ll spare you the gory details – i’ll just give you the short version which was – i couldn’t walk.
lucky for me one random december day through a series of youtube video clicks as i lay in bed, i ended up watching a video of joe talking about this thing he and his brother did (*admits she didn’t even really know he had a brother before this moment in time*) – and stumbled upon this little place called hitRECord.org…
i will never forget what it was like to find art again.
again, i will leave out the doctor’s visits, the fact that both the backs of my hands and my arms can still feel the cold flow of an iv if i think about it long enough. and if you asked me to tell you how many iv’s i had, or even just how many times they had to move the iv spot, i can’t tell you. i lost count a long time ago.
all i remember is that somewhere between the pain of the tests and the side effects of the treatments – i found this place i could disappear into art.
none of you who knew me then had any idea what i was going through. but – i didn’t want that to define me – i just wanted to be kouralilly, to make art, and forget that my entire life, everything i had worked for and dreamed of achieving, was slipping through my fingers.
time went by.
medicine as a subject worked.
and i eventually found myself on my feet again.
walking was slow and limited, but i could do it.
more physical therapy and more time and you’d never know by looking at me that anything was wrong.
more time, more treatments, more physical therapy – and i slowly was starting to dance again. i guess you could say i reached my impossible dream. not only was i alive and steadily getting healthier, i landed a job choreographing a cabaret show in la!
those dancers i was working with never knew what i had been through – only the producer, on days when my face would turn white as a ghost, when i couldn’t remember my own steps, when i’d go silent or repeat myself, my poor inoperational brain struggling to keep up with everything i wanted to do – only then would she quietly ask if i was ok, and let me know i could go home, or sit out the next number. she said nothing as i slowly choreographed myself out of routine after routine, until i was barely in about half the show, several of those numbers very simple and with time between songs for me to rest. what no one else knew was how much of a miracle it was that i was even in the show at all.
fast forward now to the pinecone ballet collab…and some very dear friends who pushed me into a corner and beat me up until i agreed to dance! (i’m kidding!!)
but they gave me amazing support and words of encouragement – the kind that can only be done out of the purest of love.
“cabaret is NOT ballet!” i argued!
“you can do it!” they insisted. with love, and kindness, and the kind of insistent insisting that can only come from the heart.
i won’t tell you how long i spent working on that dance (thank you , again, mintstrill for your skype help!!). or how many takes i had to do to even get it to a level of ok-now-i’m-sort-of-willing-to-post-online >.<
or what it was like knowing that dance as a thing used to be so easy for me – that my legs would move and i could hit each step and the beats after running through it a few times. how many times i had to block out each motion now, just to create some semblance of muscle memory that would carry me through that short, short, short little routine.
when it went up, i expected a handful of hearts, if that.
…but the response was overwhelming.
when it got featured, i was shocked. (thank you again, kevin)
but then, then each frame, each motion, was pulled out and captured in a sketch – this beautifully rough hewn animation where my hands become pine needles and my torso moves with a grace i honestly thought would be lost to me forever.
to see that version of me, dancing, where i am just floating in the air – my legs don’t even matter.
i just - i have no words.
this is probably more than any of you wanted to read!
and thank you to those who made it this far :P
why am i telling you all this?
because – you have no idea what other people are going through.
and you have no idea what your words of encouragement, your REmixes, and your hearts can mean to someone.
from the bottom of my heart – i just wanted to say “THANK YOU” to hitRECord – and to all of you here.
i know it can get noisy and seemingly political and popular and whatever :P but – never forget, this place is first, foremost and always about the art.
thank you for all of yours – your art, and your hearts.
Created: Oct 02, 2014Document Media