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Ambi... What?

I just got off the phone with one of my therapists – yes, one of. Because my level of trauma deserves double the professional care – and we spoke at length about my long-term adoration for movement, and how my personality dictates that passion.

A little back-story here. About a decade ago, I was diagnosed with an enzyme deficiency in my blood whereby my white (or red, IDK) blood cells attack anything that they feel shouldn’t join them in my body. In short, I can’t accept blood transfusions or organ donations, and my blood is so cliqued out that I can’t even be a donor myself.

A weird little side effect of that is that my joints, while conveniently flexible, move around a lot more than they should, resulting in pain in my most used joints: my spine; hips; knees; and ankles.

My doctor recommended I keep a physically active lifestyle throughout my life.

“Sure,” I said at the time. “How hard could it be?”

“Well,” winked Covid-19. “Let me show you.”

Now, this isn’t another blog about the woes of lockdown. On the contrary. Circling back to the conversation I had with my therapist, I realise that dance, and movement, in general, had a certain, unexpected, benefit.

As an ambivert, I recognise my desire to be surrounded by people, but I also need to be able to dedicate that same amount to myself. Simultaneously, if possible.

This is where dance comes in. You could be in a class full of twenty people and not really have to interact with any of them. Instead, you get to focus on your own body and your own mind. You get to feel your muscles opening up, contracting, releasing, wringing out all the trauma that is held there.

Like, you know how someone who’s stressed may clench their jaw, bunch their shoulders up to their ears, or hold tension in their core? Trauma, baby.

All of that is just our body’s response to prepare us for fight or flight. And I don’t know about you, but I’m a fighter. Unfortunately, it isn’t socially acceptable to punch or kick the first person that pisses you off each day.

Humans really are programmed to protect ourselves from all harm, whether real or perceived (what’s up, anxiety?) so if you can’t throw a punch, why not pretend to? Why not jump around to the beat of your favourite music, squat until your quads scream, or do backbend after backbend until you resemble that infamous “bridge” the yogis like to talk about?

Hmmm, I feel like I’m actually not making it all sound as appealing as it should. So how about we look at it from this angle.

Introverted me longs for solitude. She craves a moment to herself where she can re-energise her mind and her body. Release the muscles, release the trauma, right?

Extroverted me, on the other hand, seeks human company as often as possible. She understands that where there are other humans, there is also love, contact, excitement.

Individually these are great traits to have. But combined, we can see the cracks starting to form. How can I enjoy being alone but being with people at the same time?

Simple, do solo activities in group settings.

Take your laptop to the café and watch people get on with their lives while you write your next best-seller.

Take your skates and your headphones to the park where others are playing, sunbathing, reading, what have you.

Or go to a dance class, and feel the energy in the room rise, and allow yours to rise as well. We are loosening the cords in our chakras that have been trained this past year to shut themselves off from the rest of the world.

Pre-Covid, how did you get your muscles moving? For my fellow ambiverts, how do you accommodate your desire to be alone in the company of others? For everyone else, now that the world is opening up again, what’s the first thing you and your body will do to free yourself from the trauma of enforced isolation?

I want you to really think about these questions. Hell started for a lot of us a little over a year ago, and I, for one, am as eager as sin to get out of it.

Together, as individuals, I think we can do it.

Let’s delve a little deeper into this next month.

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