Dance like no one is watching


I have had to redefine my idea of success or I should say I NEED to redefine it. When I was a teenager it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t work. I had no idea what I would do but I had every intention of doing something. I applied to one college because again it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t go to college and weirdly I decided that I would go to that particular college. I had decent grades if you completely exclude all things mathematical, zero extra curriculars (school took a lot of effort with the tutoring I required), and pretty damn good ACT scores (yay for the zone because I remember being completely surprised to find I’d taken the test at all). It wasn’t a matter of arrogance though I just really wanted to go to that school.


My first go at college life was a disaster. I went to the wrong classes constantly, I forgot to eat, I lost my wallet twice with all my identification, and my laundry is probably still in the basement. That was the first month. Then I ran away to Sweden because I thought I have a chance at love here, the kind of love that lasts forever so I went for it. When Sam and I came back to the States we first had to live with my mom because he wasn’t legal. We attended the community college but I had every intention of going back to my first school. When we finally arrived there I found out I had forgotten to properly unenroll so I had a 0 for my GPA. My GPA would be purged in 2 years so I had to wait it out. I went to the local community college in the meantine. Then I went back to my school, the only school in existence in my mind apparently lol


Writing saved my ass more than a few times. I have a severe math disability and I was failing Chemistry which was a requirement for my major. The teacher assigned us a paper worth 20% of our final grade we had to read a medical journal and create a summary. She didn’t expect us to be able to understand the journals fully because they were for doctors not students. Maybe it was my love of medicine (and all those extra medical classes I took for fun) but I understood my journal. My paper impressed the teacher enough that she didn’t even care about all the Fs I’d received. Everyone asks me how I graduated University with so many disabilities and the answer is simple I did the only thing I could do, I wrote.


I quickly realized that normal almost never worked for me. I had to be willing to do things in very strange ways even though it made me look rather foolish. I am devastatingly uncoordinated that I can walk at all is almost a violation of physics. Physically I had to do almost everything differently in order to learn. I had to be willing to take dance and karate and look completely spastic. I had to say I am dead last in this class and I am completely botching my recitals but fuck it I will dance. I had to listen to good little ballerinas whine about me and repeat to myself they will not take my passion. I had to go to class with my unflattering leotards and my body dysmorphia and my pin thin classmates and say dance like no one is watching you. I had to go to class despite exclusion in PE and bullying all through school and say I have the right to dance. I took the same classes back to back sometimes just to help information sink in. I have had to work for my successes and I consider myself lucky generally speaking. Life is constantly humbling me. I always look like an idiot. I am always a student. I am probably not as much of a coward as I think I am.


Now that I am out of school and the structure is gone I find it much harder since my head it full of chaos. I keep thinking things like a clean house is a sign of success, a perfect nutritious home-cooked meal is a sign of success, a full-time job is success, a perfect body is success now that I am not in school I have to figure out what success actually means for me. The me who doesn’t have a job, who can’t use the stove on bad seizure days, the me who has a messy house, and the me who has a healthy but imperfect body. What can I do? I can’t wait for therapy. I can’t just wait for life to begin once I am all better. I can’t wait for a cure because miracles don’t work like that. Sam suggests that I make tutorials. He believes we retain information better if we teach. So if you guys have tutorial requests that please god have nothing to do with math let me know. I say that but actually I started studying math because I thought it I studied something really really hard it might get my slow ass brain moving again. So far it hasn’t exactly worked lol I have a degree in Nutrition btw.


14 responses

  1. I am reading this and I see so much passion in you and so much strenght, like I always say.
    If you need inspiration for a tutorial, I will try to think of something, tho I consider myself pretty weird as well, so I don’t know how much my suggestion manifested would benefit others XD

  2. I had a hard time finding this post as it wasn’t linked to your poetry blog where you referenced it, but I’m glad I took the time to find it and read. I was the math kid who couldn’t write. I never bothered to memorize the formulas for the math exam because it was easier to re-derive them during the exam. But I couldn’t write or spell worth a damn. I spent years in remedial English classes until I decided that I was going to learn to write even if it killed me. It almost did. I would guess thirty years of practice every day to get to this point where I do okay. Anyway the reason I say this is to encourage you with the math. It may look ominous but you can do it. The trick is to translate the way math is taught into the way that you personally think. Once you get that then learning is just a matter of course and you will become good at it. Anyway loved “Jump” and will comment there.

    • Thank you for your encouragement! Your writing is amazing so your hardwork paid off! I had an easier time of it in one class because the teacher had the same LD I had and was able to explain it in my language so to speak. Unfortunately it seems even when I do make headway I forget everything I’ve learned and have to start from scratch. I keep starting from scratch and trying different methods one of these days it is bound to stick haha

  3. Yves, I am an idiot when it comes to math. When I was in school in one area we were learning fractions, multiplication and divisions of fractions, then in the middle of the school year, we moved and the new school was in “New Math.” My mathematical education stopped at that point because I could not understand “new math.”

    When I was reading your post, even before I got to the last part, I had a vision of you being a motivational speaker. Yes! I believe that is something you are going to be doing. And I am not kidding. Can you see yourself doing this? Because I sure can!

    • I was alright with multiplication I didn’t memorize the tables but that was alright. Division and fractions I still can’t do. I am still on a 5th grade level in maths with a little bit of algebra and integer stuff thrown in.

      How does one become a motivational speaker I have no idea haha

  4. I’m not sure how one would become a motivational speaker, but I am sure you could find out how on the internet. Check it out and see if it is something you would be interested in. Also, the teachers in the classes I was telling you about were all people that had gone through mental illness issues themselves. Possibly in Sweden you could become part of the “healing teachers”, especially since you speak English and they may need English speaking teachers.

  5. I am a complete dolt when it comes to math. Always have been. Words. Not THAT’S my thing. And art. Those things make a kind of sense to me that nothing else can. If anything, I wish I had musical talent because that’s an area I’d have fun creating in as well. I’m pretty sure I’m tone deaf and talentless in that department though.

    I admire your strength. It’s clear that you have absolutely clawed your way through life, no matter what it throws at you. I should be taking this as inspiration and converting it to energy for my own life, but I’d be lying if I said I was doing just that. I’m still waiting for life to start. Or be different. Or something. That’s a mistake, I know.

    Maybe you could do a tutorial about how to get out of bed in the morning? I’m not even kidding on that one either…

    • Getting out of bed in the morning is my specialty actually though if I sleep in at all I get sleep paralysis and end up trapped in pain in bed until someone physically wakes me so that motivates me. I will see if I can come up with anything sensible. I do that to though when I have doctor’s appointments I tend to wait for them and hope they have answers and magical solutions which they never do. Actually I never seem to get anywhere with that. Unfortunately we have to make everything happen blech where’s my damn unicorn

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