It’s sexy. It’s dangerous. It’s unique.
But I’ve seen dear friends of mine driven further into their fire dancing endeavors after having experienced a life altering situation, and now I’ve become one of them. After a major breakup, I watched one man go from being on the fringe of fire arts, to letting me teach him to eat fire, to surpassing my skills and making me a proud woman. When things began to fall apart, he not only picked them up, but he also put them together in new ways that challenged former expectations.
And then a year later one of my best friends found herself in a divorce after being with someone for nearly two decades. This came at a time when she was resigning from tribal belly dance and fire arts (performing them, at least), and before we knew it, these became her outlet like never before and she pushed through some of the pain by diving right back in, and like our aforementioned friend, took her skills to new levels by now learning how to eat fire like a pro.
I’ve admired these friends and their journeys, and I never questioned these paths because as a performing artist, I understand the need to dance, and everything that goes along with it (studying, practicing, performing). About two years ago I felt the need to leave the group that was my tribe of sisters and brothers. I knew that I needed to do something different, but I didn’t know what that meant. I joined Circus Mojo, a local circus group and apprenticed, taught, and performed with them happily. While I still consider myself to be a part of that family, it doesn’t incorporate the fire arts as much as I feel the call to do them.
Last November, I realized that I wasn’t getting younger, even though performing somehow made me feel like that was happening. As some of you know, I am married, and have two sons (8 and 10 years old). It was now or never, if I wanted to have another child. I somehow convinced my husband that this was a good idea, that we needed to give it one more chance to at least see if it was meant to be. I felt like someone was missing from our family, and we had to give her a chance (yes, her) to join us. I had my IUD removed (a major choice in itself, as these cause quite the abdominal pain when you first get one), and off we went.
Month after month, mother nature reminded me on cue that I was not pregnant, with just enough ‘news’ to seemingly taunt me. Month after month, my chest tightened up. I didn’t start crying until after we tried for six months; we had agreed that that was how much time we would give it. My husband convinced me that we should keep trying; he could tell how badly I wanted this. Another six months came and went; I wasted money on ovulation detectors and pregnancy tests (always hopeful), and lied to myself that it was okay that we weren’t pregnant. I went through the pain of getting an HSG test, to make sure everything was still possible. I rarely feel like punching people, but I would still love to slap my doctor in the face for telling me that I might experience “some cramping” during this procedure. It was as painful as a birthing contraction, and the shock that she didn’t warn me better hurt just as bad.
A couple of more months with no changes, and I just couldn’t do it any longer. For the past year, we tried, we hoped. It’s done. We’re moving on. I got a new IUD (same doctor, and this time I felt so nauseated that I again wanted to slap her. Especially when she apparently didn’t read my chart, and said things that she wouldn’t have said if she had remembered that 1. we had a fertility consultation together, and 2. she had administered the HSG on me.).
I normally don’t get this personal, online, and rarely even in person. But few people knew that we were trying, and that’s a lot to bottle up for a year. The point is that I’m coming to peace with the knowledge that it wasn’t meant to be. And now, instead of planning a nursery, worrying about daycare expenses, and dreaming of baby giggles, my energy is diverted. Of course, I’m eternally grateful for my two sons, who enjoy the circus arts right along with me. I expect 2014 to be my year of exploring new opportunities with fire dancing, in particular. While I knew before that something needed to change, I didn’t go anywhere different. But now that enough time has passed between leaving my original group, and I’ve given the domestic life another chance, I’m going to do what my husband advised. “You should dance and perform as much as you can.”
And why not? This is what I love to do. This is what makes me feel alive.
As always, thanks for reading. I hope that when you find yourself in pain, you can find a way to channel it into something. Maybe something sexy, dangerous, unique. But it doesn’t have to be. Just find something.