Maybe I didn’t ask to come here. But I find myself in a ballroom some call life, trying ever so desperately to keep up with music.
I am crowded within myself, my heart hunched in a corner of this big wooden room. I try to block out the shame I see staring back at me, in a small mirror crack. The lace, this costume I must wear to get through the formality, it’s all not me. I’m trapped in a world that speaks a language I do not understand. Then, I feel the drummers shift, hear the small sounds start to stir up, see the colors forming on the dance floor, as they take position. And all at once, as quick as the skilled musician’s hands, comes a rush of movement, all limbs flying, emotion crashing, feet flapping.
And still I am wrapped in a clumsy embrace, hands grabbing in a lopsided attempt at all sanity I have left. A dance floor of a world moving so fast, how do their heads not spin, but no, they seem to have found precision in their movements, while I’m left decaying on the side in my steamy face of paint, and heady smells that only make me gag. I wish to escape, to crawl out of this lit up ballroom, into a dark grave somewhere at the side. But the music is yelling at me, and the people moving in one swift motion toward me, pulling me. This pulse.
Why must I dance?
A hand reaches out, or maybe a few, pulls me into the center of the floor, as shadows keep flying around me. Shadows and light. Up, down. Go! I can not breathe. I feel my heart running. Away, away from here, this place of noise and movement, and blinding light. And too many scents and feelings. I can’t handle this all. My body thrashes in a crazy attempt at moving. Somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe just not to get hurt by all the sweeping motions around me. I feel drunk in this heaviness of music, trying to collect the pieces of my mind, my heart, my soul, that are scattered all over, falling into the cracks of this wooden floor.
The music slows, to let the breaths catch, violins pulled back with my own heartstrings, and the blur before me takes shapes into precise colors. all the people sway, as I’m trying just to breathe between the spaces. My feet slow down, release the heat, my heart pulled back, trying to let my body move to its rhythm. As I fall within my own steps, just putting one step in front of the other, not making out all the stimuli around me. but quietly starting to hear a sound inside myself. Maybe, some hope.
The crowd has left, the wooden room a dark silhouette of sounds that once were. I strip off this cumbersome cage, I wear my own simple dress. It’s free and loose. I let my hair down from its constraints, and I close my eyes to piece together a song around me. I start humming, and feel the vibrations of my worlds be calm, all the stillness I can hold in this moment of aloneness. And so in a song of slow, I get up from my place, I find myself moving, slowly twirling with the song in my heart. I can hear the piano’s soft keys, the violin’s deep chord. Here, there are no drums, and I can see a world of hope within my lonely dance.
I don’t ache to be fierce like the ones who rush in a rushing of a world perhaps gone insane. Forgetting the moonlight of the moment, the stillness of the quiet chord struck below the earth’s ways. I feel a softness of the grass beneath my feet as I take my spin outside, underneath a darkness that smiles sown on me like rain. And my limbs move freely. My heart catches hands with my mind. In this quiet, I can hold these spaces close, I forget all my body’s doing. I don’t plan my steps. My heart leads, my soul follows.
I may not be spinning in circles until my head is dizzy. I may not be running around with them all. But I am walking, one step at a time, to a quiet dance, of a slow soul.
A slow soul, caught inside a fast world. But only for so long.