Why would you want to help a stranger?


I really hate reality shows, competition shows. No, really, I only watched one episode of the Bachelorette, I swear. But I generally take in SYTYCD because, well, it’s dance. I loathe some of the artsy affectations that especially surround the judges (Mia’s cheek suck, for example). But I digress.

Those of you who have been around me for a few years (mostly writing cronies) know it’s been kinda rough in spots. I had three living relatives on the planet. My eldest brother suffered in surgery and became disabled. He’s not doing well now. My other brother miraculously got the liver transplant he needed, but of course that is touch and go (although he’s living life large). But my mom–Kitty–the center of my universe… Not well for a decade, she broke her hip, and suffered a horrendous year in and out of hospitals and homes, until the inevitable end.

What the hell could that have to do with a dancer on a TV show I’ve never met and will never meet? He’s young enough to be my son (except the Asian thing would be a dead giveaway).

I was so world-weary and locked in the grips of my mom’s shadow, friends were suggesting I might be suffering “complex grief”–that is, it doesn’t get better. I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t say goodbye. It was effecting everything–day job, play job (writing), health, marriage. I have been like a zombie.

Then I saw the dance show. I was kinda scratching my head at first. “Hey, that guy looks familiar”–I had seen the Miami City Ballet during a drive by stay on my way to Key West, and again back home in Princeton. Yep, Alex Wong. Interesting. So I watched. Wow, great stuff.

Then one night (and I suppose it had to be a Wednesday), he danced a routine choreographed by the aforementioned annoying (but evidently amazingly talented) Mia. I cared little about the boy character, or the aged character, but my mind, heart and soul fixed on the man in his prime, strong and striving and… The tears flowed. I cried in a way I hadn’t been able to. It was magnificent. Not the awesome hip-hop routine or the contemporary tearjerker. Nope. The exquisite man in his prime. Why did it make me cry?

Because I was grieving for my lost prime. My disabled brother, my sick brother, my aged mother. But mostly, for myself. For wanting so desperately to have that age, strength, hope and promise. And to accepting that it was past, and I had to now do the most with the days the Universe has given me. I grieved. Through dance. What’s up with that, eh?

So when I heard that this particular dancer had a devastating injury, it broke a little piece of me. How could this be true? He didn’t know me, but he’d somehow held a key to opening my heart to living fully. And now he was hurt? So friends have made fun of me as I call around looking for apartments for him, dial up the rehab center he may go to, contact a lawyer fan who is willing to set up a foundation for him, contact a dancers’ foundation in NY… I couldn’t explain it to them. So I just said I was a fan. And I am. But I’m also So Grateful. Because I was able to grieve for all my losses. And I’ll never, ever be able to repay the debt I owe to him.

Sounds really corny, right? I don’t give a fuck. And that’s the beauty of turning 53 this Friday :o)

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10 thoughts on “Why would you want to help a stranger?

  1. Laimen Chiu says:

    Ciar,
    I don’t think it’s weird you want to help Alex.
    I am glad his performance helped you.

    Happy Birthday this Friday!

  2. Mia says:

    This is really touching. You’ve taught me to see beyond, however weird that sounds. I’m just a kid living a kid life, but now I see beyond my little bubble of happiness. I’m glad Alex is a part of your life 🙂

    PS: Your a great writter

  3. velvet says:

    not corny. you never who can touch your life and make such impact. happy birthday c!

  4. ciarcullen says:

    Hi Velvet!!! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll try to win my necklace :o)

  5. Joyce Andersen says:

    I’m so glad you chose to repost this. I found myself thinking of your words today, and they continued to move me throughout the day.

    To be touched by someone as you have is to know joy. I really believe that.

    Joyce

  6. Marianne says:

    Do NOT… I repeat do not EVER… care what others think. It will stifle you. I live my life not caring (much) of what others think of how I act, think, feel, what I say… it will cripple you. You can’t live the life you want if you live it that way. So, YOU GO GIRL!!! I’m 55 and I’m proud of you! Happy Birthday tomorrow! And you already know I will pitch in in any way I can. Just let me know the particulars. Keep on helping Alex, he deserves it. And you deserve to just let go and DO WHAT YOU FEEL IS RIGHT! screw the haters!!

  7. tjoe says:

    cool, ciar. i thought collapsing universe was ‘converging.’ i found your post via alex wong, who was giving me a similar boost of light (til he left the show), similar feelings explained nicely by your words, here.

    i turned fortyten and seem to be experiencing more loss than ever before as well…

    best to you.

  8. Brandi says:

    I completely understand. While I wasn’t as touched by the same routine. His partnership with Twitch, Napolean and Tabitha for the “Get Outta Your Mind” routine helped me laugh when I was in a very tough place. Alex has a gift and I would love to help.

  9. Myles says:

    GO ALEX!!! I disagree that you should have taken down the aleek rules! please put them back!! This story you’ve written made me cry, alot. it was so touching and I tottally agree about mia only I am a huge fan like, HUGE! My favourite group number ever is now Every little thing she does is magic, MIA ALL THE WAY!!! but her judging, I was taken aback!!! I always have loved wade as well btw.

  10. […] Why would you want to help a stranger? August 20109 comments 5 […]

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