Life’s A Dance You Learn As You Go

To me, writing is like breathing; a necessity for life. So, the fact that it has taken me this long to feel able to update my blog may be an indication of the degree of difficulty I have had in holding on to life itself. For the past several months the wish to just let go, to allow myself the luxury of that Final Rest, has been a minute-to-minute struggle. It hasn’t been a crisis as such – at least not in my eyes – and there has been a very definitive lack of urgency about it all. No mad dash towards the Ultimate Finish Line, just a steady step by step journey towards a glittering End ahead of me. It stems from walking around with a soul that is simply so tired, so emotionally exhausted that it naturally gravitates away from life. The strings I have used so many times in the past to pull myself away from the edge are either broken or have disappeared altogether.

I wrote in my last post about having a flat battery and a faulty charger, and that, to a large degree, is still how I feel. Like I am running on empty.

But I am still here, and not only that, I am here through my own very conscious decision to be so. It isn’t a case of Death all of a sudden having lost its vice like grip on me; I can still feel those cold skeletal fingers around my ankle.. but, I can also feel my other foot – the one Death has yet to reach, planted firmly, barefoot, on the soft grass. It is a defiant “I decide when I step across that line, not you.”

I have always felt that ending one’s life ought to be a decision, not impulsive acting out because things are so unbearably difficult in that one particular moment. I wouldn’t ever want my loved ones to be left wondering What if she had only just got through this crisis? Would she still have made the same choice?

I am not so naïve as to think that a ‘painless suicide’ exists – suicide always comes with pain in its wake – and I accept that whatever the intention, there will always, inevitably, be question marks forming for those left behind, but I would like to have done my best to minimise the suffering. I would like them to know that this was what I really wanted. And this is one of the reasons why I am still here today. Because I will not let go while I am in the middle of what is a very difficult period. You simply cannot make a rational, reasoned decision in the midst of chaos.

In the last week I have yet again entered one of those nightmarish periods where one flashback follows the next – ceaselessly, relentlessly. It is an incredibly painful place to exist within, a place where it feels as if nothing is my own, where I keep being pulled under the surface again and again and again, with hardly any time above water to catch my breath. And even though I know that this won’t last forever, it certainly feels endless.

In session today, P. revived the metaphor I used before of jumping into the pool, not knowing whether or not I would be able to swim, and she reiterated how it is her job to be the life guard. She said that we need to work together to create metaphorical armbands, to help me stay above water. My immediate response to that was that I taught myself to swim, without water wings, thank-you-very-much, that, in fact, I actually learned to swim under water, before I figured out how to do it with my head held above the surface.

I have often said that even though I generally learn new things quickly, I am an emotionally slow learner – but now I am sitting here, thinking that maybe it is really that I am a slow unlearner. In the months since I started seeing P. I have struggled with echoes of past relationships, with trusting P. to know her own limitations and have automatically and without thinking taken on sole responsibility for managing our relationship. I can see where this need to be in charge comes from, and I know what the original sources of those echoes are.. What I find difficult to do, however, is to make a different choice this time around. While I have needed to be solitarily strong and in control in the past, this may not still be necessary. It makes me think of a ’90s country song that goes “life’s a dance you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow”..

You need to have that balance in a relationship; to sometimes lead and sometimes follow. I am pretty good at the first, but markedly less so when it comes to the latter. And maybe, just maybe, it isn’t such a bad thing to allow someone else to lead every once in a while..?




Life’s a dance you learn as you go

Sometimes you lead

Sometimes you follow

Don’t worry about what you don’t know

Life’s a dance you learn as you go


Life’s A Dance © 1992 Shamblin & Seskin

12 responses

  1. “While I have needed to be solitarily strong and in control in the past, this may not still be necessary.” This is a terrifically important observation. If I could sum up the single lesson that my patients most often had to learn, it was this: that the lessons of the past are only useful if you are in the same situation with the same capabilities right now, in the present. If not, you must think anew and act anew. Best of luck.

  2. Hello …. Very good to read this blog. Control is so tricky – knowing when control could go (when the consequences are terrifying) is a supreme challenge. I admire how you allowing yourself to confront this. I love the notion of the dance – I think a lot about my therapy dance. Jazz rather than tightly choreographed ballet! Take care. x

  3. Hello Friend,

    I am glad to hear that you liked this post; sometimes when I sit down to write an update it is hard to know if what I write and the metaphors I use will make sense to anyone other than me, so your comment is much reassuring and very much appreciated.

    Be kind to your Self,


  4. CMT- Country Music Television – Music til the cows come home.
    Vi hade inte den kanalen hemma, det var väl bara A’Gorel som hade den?


  5. Jo, det var bara de som hade CMT. Har fortfarande kassetter där jag hållit upp bandspelaren mot TVn för att spela in låtar. Bättre än så blir det inte. Det här med ‘lossless audio files’ är bara onödiga nymodigheter. :) Kram på dig min bästa Ninisen.


  6. Reading this has me sitting here sobbing, and maybe it shouldn’t. Your writing, what you describe, is so similar to my own experiences that it’s as if you jumped inside me, ripped my soul out and splattered it onto your blog. I feel what you’re saying and talking about. I can’t really say much more–I’m speechless. Please, keep writing. It’s helping me more than you know.

  7. Thank you once again for taking the time to read and FEEL my blog. Your kind words really mean a lot to me. I am sorry that we share such difficult feelings and experiences, but I am glad that you find my blog helpful. I have been writing an update in my head for a long time now, I’ve just not felt about to convert it into an actual post on here. But hopefully in the next few days I will.

    Do be kind to yourself.


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