Learn To Dance With The Limp
I learned many years ago to live with the very essence of this quote below and that is what has made me the survivor I am. Some things in life you work to change and some you learn to accept. Even if it is something you can eventually change, you still must learn the sage advice below.
“Learn to dance with the limp.” ~Lamott
I jokingly say that I am older than dirt but the reality is that when you reach the age where you can count the rest of your life in months, most people start to think about the true meanings in life and the most important things. Happiness is one of those things and it took much learning for me to realize that happiness is not based on money, possessions, places, people or any of those things but rather is a state of mind inside my heart/head. I own the key to happiness and part of that happiness came when I “learned to dance with the limp”.
Many will ask what does that mean because they are so tuned in to the hype society feeds us: if you buy this, you will be happy….if you go here, you will be happy….if you have that fairy tale romance …you will be happy. Learning to dance with the limp means you accept whatever trial is in your life and learn to be happy in spite of it. This philosophy is why you will see some people after a catastrophic event that can still smile for they know for example, that the home they may have just lost in the storm is not what brings them happiness.
Learning to dance with the limp means you have to let go of things. Many people carry tragedy around like a badge and take it out and polish it up and show it to the world as a trophy of sorts. I have people who have known me for years make comments at times about how they can not believe all that I have endured in my whole life and will bring up a specific event. I find myself looking at them, their words trying to jog my memory because I had survived it and it was no longer something I needed to carry around and so I did not keep it in my current memory. I had learned to dance with the limp and move on. I find if I have to keep listing all I have been through, I have not dealt with it emotionally and need to.
I am always taken back when someone says things like “How do you stand it??” when someone tells them how sick I am. I have said many times, I do not even think of myself as chronically ill or disabled and so will find myself mentally looking around thinking “Stand what?” See, when you learn to walk with the limp, you no longer pay attention to what is wrong. It just becomes “normal” for you and you go on in life. Does this mean I do not feel bad, have high pain, get sick, etc? Of course not. It simply means I consider them part of the limp and so I just carry on through it. I move ahead knowing this is part of the limp. I work to fix whatever I can and what I can not fix…I accept as part of the limp. I learn to find the humor such as saying I will get a tattoo of a purple Mohawk on my head if all my hair does fall out.
Life is like a camera lens with a zoom. What we see as our life is what we focus that lens on and sometimes people can take that lens and zoom it in until the picture is just their illness, their loss, their problems, or whatever. All of life is not that. I do not care how bad it gets, there is always something to be thankful for and something good in it if you look for it. If you do not like what you see, change the view of the lens. Learn to dance with the limp and find the joy in life. And to do that, you must take control of where you focus that lens.
I am careful about what I allow into my world for I find that negativity breeds negativity. I have seen people who I thought were such wonderful warriors with the most beautiful and glowing smiles and were always uplifting and positive, turn into “Negative Nellies” as I call them after hanging around people who are negative for a while. Suddenly, people I have admired as warriors begin to make posts that are totally unlike them. Their posts change and you start to notice these dramatic poses and posts of how bad they are. It is amazing how much other people’s attitudes can affect our own. Why we have to learn to be in control of how much negative is bombarding us from others…from the media…from all sides of life.
I quit doing chronic illness groups because I found the atmosphere to be toxic with a twist. If one said they were having a horrible day, twenty-five others would chime in “I know just what you mean, I am too. I have blah blah blah.” So, instead of lifting each other up, they bring each other down. The twist I talk about is the posts like this: “Oh, I am so thankful for the day even though I am in agony and can barely lift my arms and legs and my head is killing me and my stomach is revolting, etc.” That is still being negative but just throwing in the “Oh, I am so thankful” seems somehow to make some think that others will see it as positive. We all complain at some time but if every post or every word we say is complaining about how we feel or what is wrong, we need to look and see why we have our lens zoomed in on that one part of our lives all the time.
For me, learning to dance with the limp also meant trying to live my life in such a way that my actions spoke the truth about me. My desire became not to bring attention to how bad I was but to do things to lift people up to how happy I am in spite of the things wrong. You remember the leveling concept. We either pull people up or pull them down…we level them to where we are. I wanted people to see things in me that made them say “What does she have that I do not? I want some of that.” Those motivational/inspirational speakers that truly are make me go “What do they have? What is their key? I want to learn how to do that.” are the ones that are authentic and who have truly had the limps in their life to deal with. If you researched them from different sources than just their writings and listened for any inconsistencies in their own words, you would find their stories true and marvel at how they truly are inspirational and motivational. They truly had learned to dance with the limp.
Learning to dance with the limp means daring to be positive even though you will make some of the Negative Nellies mad and aggravate them because you make them have to see themselves in a light they do not want to see. But, seriously…that is not important. What is important is living your life as someone who has learned to dance with the limp and as someone who has found the key to happiness in spite of any tragedy or hardship you may encounter. You have to lift yourself before you can lift others and you have to be careful that when you reach down to pull someone up, that they do not snatch you down into the dark pit of negative living. Keep dancing with the limp and be proud of the fact that you have learned the key to living joyously and being happy. Protect your happiness and joy from those who have not found theirs yet for many want to destroys yours just because they are not happy. And keep dancing…always..even if you are flat on your back in the bed…do the best bed dance with the limp ever seen.
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