I’ve been dancing a lot more recently. I am finding that dance helps me balance my emotional weather far better than anything else I’ve tried (to the point that I’ve put a note up to remind myself: When feeling out of sorts, go dance!). Dancing takes energy. And we often dance later into the night. My body is showing signs of fatigue that my mind does not want to accept. “You have less energy than people older than you are! You should have more energy!” the voices tell me. It’s embarrassing to not be able to go to dance events because my energy is just too low. Since I don’t have a car, I end up cancelling on rides – wondering what people think.
What makes being a spoonie difficult is that our handicap is invisible (one reason I blog about it is to raise awareness!). If I were in a wheelchair, say, people could see that I can’t walk. People can’t see that my body recovers slower from exertion. Given that I look younger than I am, I probably battle even more assumptions about my energy level. Sometimes I have a sense that people think I am just making up excuses. It doesn’t help that I happen to like dancing energetic dances… This both depletes my energy and gives the impression that I have tons of it. It’s not obvious that it takes me a couple days to recover.
I realize that I have been pushing myself, too. Instead of just watching when I am tired, the voices drive me to keep going, rather than sitting down. Or I just don’t participate in an event. For example, I have yet to go to a dance camp partly because I am scared of dealing with energy conservation there. I am certain that I cannot do everything. I will find out this summer…
In the end, though, it all boils down to acceptance. It doesn’t really matter what the voices tell me. When my body is tired I can rest – even when I think others think that I shouldn’t (because, for one, they might not even think that…). Something else that might be helpful for me to embrace is the idea that, especially for women, style and grace is more highly regarded than the pure display of energy. Maybe part of moving toward self-acceptance is a shift away from high-energy dances toward those with more subtle and intricate patterns. And, above all, to talk about all this, to raise awareness, so that all of us spoonies can find more acceptance.