My Life Is Mine

When I first saw this photo, my first reaction was how 'fat' I looked in this dress. I love this dress, it's the most comfortable (though not the most form fitting I must admit) and I get a lot of compliments when I wear it. How could my reaction to such a beautiful place be so negative about myself? I'm still working on those parts of myself that is still stuck in my old way of thinking. Be kind, that's free.

When I first saw this photo, my first reaction was how 'fat' I looked in this dress. I love this dress, it's the most comfortable (though not the most form fitting I must admit) and I get a lot of compliments when I wear it. How could my reaction to such a beautiful place be so negative about myself? I'm still working on those parts of myself that is still stuck in my old way of thinking. Be kind, that's free.

The last two months has been a blur - not because I fell into a coma, OK maybe a metaphorical one. I’ve been so busy with work, dance, poetry and whatever else that I’ve been lazy in writing about it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been on so many emotional extremes, learning to deal with issues in real time that it’s taken up most of my time.

I can’t believe it’s already December, again, like wasn’t I just waking up to a new year not that long ago? I've been to a wedding, joined Toastmasters, made public my decision to close the studio, my brother and his family came to visit, more bouts of insomnia, bought a camera which cost the same as a cheap car, went on lots of bush walks, tried lots of new things. Where has this year gone? This time next year I will be in Peru, well as long as all goes to plan I guess. Also, it’s less than two weeks before our last dance show for the studio and my brain is on overload - I’ve spent most of my nights and weekends at the studio for the last three weeks. My heart, soul and creative juice has gone into this. I’m all in, and in the end I’m probably going to be a big mess because of it.

Today I had a conversation with one of dancers, almost like I was having a conversation with myself, she just had a different face. She has been struggling with an autoimmune disease that has a long list of side effects, and that’s not even with her medication. She’s only in her teenage years. We talked about the reality of what this meant for her, that there will be many things she will miss out because her body is waging a war with itself. To channel that frustration and resentment, and most of all, to be honest about it. Sometimes, life is just shit.

She also struggles to express herself emotionally, and kept a lot bottled inside. I asked how long it’s been that way - she said forever.

Even though that’s a really common response, we can’t actually protect other people from being hurt by self-sacrifice. We think we do, but it doesn’t. Bottling up all those feelings just leads to more problems down the road. It leaves you feeling resentful, frustrated, and lonely. Lonely because you think that no-one understands you. All those years telling people that you can do everything on your own, that you’re the friend everyone vents to, the good listener. I mean you can be all of those things, but save some for yourself. Be that person for you too.

A broken glass is essentially still a glass, but in a less desirable form. It’s all about perspective.

Our show’s theme is all about telling our stories - to start those hard conversations with ourselves, with family, maybe even with a total stranger that it connects to. So if you ask your studio director for a solo, she will ask you to dig into that place that is raw, vulnerable and into hidden layers that you may think is even ugly. Especially because she knows your story. A lot of girls I’ve taught are afraid to ‘look’ or ‘feel ugly’ in dance - but that is everything that this disease is doing to her body. This dance is her chance to express how she felt, in her way, but first, she has to feel those feelings, and that is the scary part of the process.

Often we spend so much time trying to convince ourselves that if the circumstances were different, we would react differently. When more often than not, our decisions and actions would just be packaged in another way. I wish I had more money, more time, more friends, more confidence...but do I really? A broken glass is essentially still a glass, but in a less desirable form. It’s all about perspective.

Whatever the life you want looks like - make that someday be one day, and one day be a day you can wake up to. Number those days until you begin to live it. Taste it. Breathe it until you weave it into your DNA. Dreams are just words when we live with our eyes closed. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear - you just have to start walking.

I am grateful now for everything that was. My life is mine, through the shit and the glory, I am grateful.

Ronna Grace Funtelar

A thirtyish storyteller, hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.