I wake in the morning to orange streamers over my bedsheets. I face the sunlight, curl into myself and breathe deep. The first long stretch of sleep after nights of meager hours is always a restless one for me, yet when I walk to class, I can feel the air around me. I revel in the calm gray light, the sharp energy of a single bird calling. For this feeling, I think I might gladly lose sleep more often.
Then again, I cannot deny that sleep loss leads to poor judgment (like choosing to park in a reserved lot and incurring a $100 parking ticket). There were more than a few moments in the past week where I thought to myself "this is not living!" On Tuesday, I couldn't even focus long enough to carry my half of a phone conversation. At the Nicholas School, we dragged ourselves bleary-eyed through the days, accompanied constantly by mugs of cooling coffee, like a zombie horde huddled before computers and textbooks. Perhaps I'll take my sleep after all.
After all, we sleep to wake. I'll be resting in Durham this week, neglecting the warm climates and tan to get ahead on class work, to gnaw away at my bedside book stack, to perhaps make progress on a long-overdue quilt. Derrick is visiting next Thursday evening to Monday morning, which means I'll be putting aside my textbooks, and reaching instead for my long-unopened North Carolina guidebooks. Adventures, wakefulness, shall ensue.
And then, dancing. The past two months of pilates and modern dance have made me much stronger - I can feel myself accessing power in my body that I didn't realize could be available to me. But last week I got quite a talking to on the difference between doing what one thinks one ought to be doing, and doing what one ought to be doing. "Embellishments and additional actions are to be added on as an extension of movement," I was told, "and you are much too busy. Take it away, just dance!" And so I dropped whatever trappings I'd built over my dancing, and underneath discovered an entirely new quality of movement. I found the floor, and my partner, and a fresh understanding of how two people can dance together.
Tomorrow I'll drive to snow-capped Asheville for the Heritage Classic, my first true competition since September. Last week my coach pushed my "nervous" button by mentioning that we of course want to win, and that it would be a good chance for me to "show off" my dancing to find a potential amateur partner. But I think I'm forgetting that now. I hope to bring my full self to the floor, to awaken something joyous in those watching, to revel in the feeling of doing what I love.