It's another day of fatigue and slowness. The mind is half dreaming and half awake. There is the smell of cigarettes from outside. A neighbour in the building must be having a smoke on the balcony even though it's not allowed. My heart feels joy as I inhale and taste the reeky air. I love this cigarette smell even though I don't smoke myself because it is unhealthy. I am surprised to discover the impulse of joy in my heart, as passive smoking is not something I encourage. Yet the overriding instinctive feeling is that I love where I live and I feel alive living in the middle of town. I start deep breathing exercises in bed to check what my body is capable of today. After 30 minutes, I fall back into dosing off. The breathing exercises have the effect of connecting the mind to the body and are training my patience to balance what the body can do each day. I aim for the impossible balance of not doing more than my body can handle.
I can't remember when I did too little. Did I ever do little? I certainly have done too much for my body's capacity lately. My activity has increased since the pandemic started, digitally. The wonderful feeling of being part of society on more of an equal premiss has made my enthusiasm purr with joy. Unfortunately, this also contributes to the never-ending fatigue, like all activity does for the body. I wonder whether putting myself in a coma for a year would do the trick. Like turning off all systems for a long while would be a reboot for the immune system. A dreamy idea, if nothing else.
I dance within myself every day, it is a must in this existence. As I breath in the reeky air of smoke, I dance. As I continue with deep breaths to balance what my body is ready for, I dance. As I dose off, nearly falling asleep, I dance. As the mind start to ponder and I write these words for my blog, I dance. I always dance.
I always danced, yet my reasons for dancing have altered. These days I like to say I dance for equal rights for the disabled. I dance for joy and I dance for value. I dance to stay alive and I dance for an audience. I dance for myself and I dance for you. Being alive despite the chronic illness is in and of itself; a dance.
I danced to prove a point-I was good enough. I danced to get away-I can be happy anywhere. I danced to be seen-I have been noticed. I danced to be attractive-I found attraction. I danced to be happy-I need to continue dancing. Happiness is the ultimate reason.
Kristine Nilsen Oma has worked professionally as a dancer, choreographer and teacher for over 23 years in Norway and internationally in several productions. Oma’s dance education is from the Ballet academy in Gothenburg, the Laban Centre in England and a postgraduate degree in choreography from Victorian College of the Arts in Australia. Since 2010, Oma has been severely ill with ME/CFS and focuses on developing art by doing a writers course and finished a 3 year net-based writers course at The Writers Studio.
Click to read this piece in the Disability Pride Anthology.