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)