My back arches as I yawn and swallow both of my eyes shut. Little streams slide down the sides of my cheeks. I am spread out in a star-shaped heap on the floor of our Tokyo apartment. Through a closed mouth, I gather the sound of OM in E flat—I am a blank white sheet rippling out from the center of my mind.
I begin again.
My eyes open to the ceiling as I bring myself to a seated, half lotus position—these were our eggshell ceilings, our wallpapered walls. This was our eggshell-colored home.
Not anymore. Goodbye, Tokyo.
I let the room imprint on me—on the stage of my mind. A clear, sober goodbye deserves a good amount of silence. This is the 27th time in my life that I’ve said goodbye to home.
The more I move, the less I feel the need to escape—I am a blank white sheet rippling out from the center of my mind.
I am not running. Running is for phantoms. My heartbeat slows with every breath. And I am not running.
Atlanta, GA | February 2012
I am 23 years old in the dance studio that I grew up in. My car sits alone in the parking lot through the front window. The sun rises and peaks its rays through a charcoal sky. My breath is heavy. I am sweaty. My shredded, knit leg warmers, canvas ballet shoes, and chiffon wrap skirt lay strewn across the room. I am just another piece of laundry wrapped into the fetal position. The humming from an adapter cord swells through the amps on both sides of the studio as my sobs give me nasal congestion. Both forearms cradle my forehead as I am reminded: When everything hurts, nothing really hurts anymore.
I collect my legs and torso to a full standing position. Five steps forward and I am eye to eye with the mirror. I am eye to eye with the wild-haired girl again. The red, puffy-faced, wild-haired girl that I cannot seem to escape.
My fingers pluck bobby pins from the mound of hair on top of my head. I come undone, ritually. The crazed static of flyaways transitions to locks of hair falling in pieces still wet from this morning’s shower. They fall and stick to the moisture on my shoulder blades. My two bare feet take me back to the speaker. I press play and spiral out like a comet in true Martha Graham fashion.
Sometimes I really think I should be dancing, but I have other stories to tell these days.
“Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree, intimate friends, the ego and the Self dwell in the same body.” – The Mundaka Upanishad
Self vs. self is a lifelong adventure. There is no getting out of here. When I was younger, I did not have the capacity to share all that I had experienced. I did not have a voice to share all that I felt. This is where I learned how to move.
I learned how to move a very long time ago, and now, at 29 years old, I know how to stay. I know how to move, and I know how to stay. I know how to begin again—I am a blank white sheet rippling out from the center of my mind.
Light and heavy.
We leave for Osaka the day after tomorrow. This light keeps on burning, morning after morning, and we keep building moments one after the next. All the way here in Tokyo, Japan for six months.
I move for a living— I am a moving artist.
You are intricately beautiful.
Thank you for everything.
You Know Who
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Photograph by: Tom Lupton| @tomluptonphotos