Rebecca Joy

About Me

Rebecca Joy

Just a girl finding her place in the world through change, adventure, and learning.

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Be Still...and Dance

May 22, 2020

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When the street is dark except for a lone street lamp, I delight in the tranquility and seemingly endless hours of the night alone. I wander the rooms as my conscious wanders my thoughts, picking up a project I think of in an instant, burying my nose in a book, or dancing euphorically to a soul-speaking melody. The nights are still and tranquil, but in this time of motionless waiting, the days are quiet too. My purpose has evaporated from my sight, leaving unapologetically harsh lessons for this time, causing me to reflect on the stillness and what it brings.

And tonight I think, while I relish the darkness the new moon has brought, that maybe the lessons I needed to learn were learned in just a year, and now it is time to reflect on those lessons I lived through, and to continue on my journey with a new set of lessons - ones that are hard in a different way, but more bearable because of the path I have just come from, sweaty and tan.

Midnight Art
Midnight art.
Mango Art
Part of a mural I created in the basement with long strips of paper.

Uncertainty is a guest I did not invite, invading my deepest spaces with its equally unwelcomed companions of vigilant avoidance and some days sadness or paint spilling anger - offspring of grief -brought to me by the largest loss in my blessed and privileged life. I have not learned to lose and I have not learned uncertainty, but they are guests in my house now, and I will host them while they are present with me, learning from what they share, until time shows them the door and new guests arrive.

Months may pass before the space is cleared for new guests, but I have accepted the door of the past year closing behind me. Knowing that it will never cease to be a cherished memory - full of moments of both light and darkness, a glimmer of time so fleeting, and yet so crucially sculpting of everything that is me. Forgiving myself, for the seemingly wicked thoughts of relief for escaping the pieces that I wanted no part of but were almost impossible to evade. That door is closed, but I haven't found the next one. Other doors have been presented, but my heart rejects them, inexplicably knowing they cannot take me where I need to go. And in these moments of quiet, it is easy to listen to what my heart knows.

So, for now I am still. I pass the days moment by moment, quiet in the calm and reflective of every second I move through. I bury my hands in the wet, clumpy soil and pull out worms to watch them wriggle in my palm. I run to the woods where I can let out all anxiety and frustrations in one freeing sigh, and listen to the birds in concert. I feed my curious inner child, reading and learning, and finally understanding the lesson that cooking is a vital self-care that even I can learn and appreciate.

Some days I feel alone in my stillness, watching others return to the busyness and the clamor that is what we deem normal, but I know now that I cannot return to that - never fully. Years ago, when I succumbed to the normal, it gave me my darkest days and the biggest loss I had experienced until my most gut-wrenching life-altering shake up now. And this blessed year - when I was absent from all that used to be my life - shoved me farther from that "normal," pushing me to find my place, where I can be blissfully, obscenely happy.

Iowa woods
A quiet path in the woods near my Iowa home.
Garden Produce
Asparagus harvested from the garden.

Being alone was one of the lessons of my leaving, tearing me, by my own exulting choice, from love I thought I wanted, but knew would never give me enough. In the ensuing months of necessary loneliness only broken intermittently by those who understood me by their likeness, I settled into myself, relishing the dim interior of a space that was only mine, where I stretched, crafted, and danced. Now, alone in a new reality, I struggle with the connections, overwhelmed by the loudness and preferring to plug in my headphones and be present to only my thoughts. And yet, I am more closely attached to those whom I love than ever - the energy to give of myself to those who are important brimming to the surface in a way I've never been able to harness. Laughing, belly-shaking, smiling in understanding with only a voice or inches-wide picture to tether us across the miles.

My lessons have not all been learned. Uncertainly and the children of grief accompany me in my quiet moments, while I listen to my heart and carry the heavy burden of my deepest loss. The wandering nomadic spirit in my soul deplores the static, and waits, breathlessly, for the next door to arrive and the adventures to follow. But for now, I have learned to be still. And on the nights when I feel restless, while the world is quiet and the street outside is silent and dark, I find joy in the quiet stillness, and dance.