"Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are you holding back? What are you saving for — for another time?
There are no other times.
There is only now.
— George Balanchine
Lives are changed because of silences. Because of words unspoken. Requests, desires, feelings, never articulated. We think that our actions are what shapes our future, but it is the void, the things not done, the scope of the unspeakable, unknowable ether is what weighs down upon us more than we know.
I have left many many places in my past, but as I explained to a friend the other day, the likelihood that I would have stayed put in any one of those locales had someone, the right someone, sat me down, taken me by the hand, looked me in the eye and said, "I wish you wouldn't go. Please don't. Please stay right here for a little while," is frighteningly grand.
Granted, I come across as pig-headed, as unswayable, as confident and unwavering and devil-may-care - to the point that perhaps it is my own fault that nobody ever had the guts or the grist to get in the way of one my decisions and request a serious reconsideration and reversal. Nonetheless, my life's trajectory has largely been shaped by drastic exits simply because nobody ever put up a good case, often any case, for otherwise.
Which brings me to an recent experience of a friend of mine (no, this is not a veiled tale about me). There is a person in this friend's life who was planning a move - a major one - across an ocean. My friend did not want this person to go.
Me: "Have you asked them to stay?"
Friend: "No. But isn't that a huge request? An unaskable request? Something that signifies neediness on my end. Insults them by implying I think they'd consider such a sacrifice, a redirection of their life, on my behalf?"
Me: "Maybe, but sometimes, the only reason I've left, is because nobody told me not to go."
So my friend asked. Imagine it. A life was asked to be changed. And guess what? The person in question is staying put - for a bit longer anyway.
I am not surprised.
We are so afraid of showing our need; showing our affection; our depth of care for fear of frightening away those whom we feel those things toward. But that is the true irony. For really, isn't that the grand quest we're all on anyway? Finding a person, place and thing who can furnish us with exactly that sort of unrestricted devotion.
This prevalent hesitancy and the potentially life-altering wrongness of this hesitancy reminds me of another of my favourite quotes:
"Say "I love you" to those you love. The eternal silence is long enough to be silent in, and that awaits us all."
- George Eliot
Ahh... the eternal silence. Which brings me back to my airplane theme that you've seen recently, together with the girls in dresses and the quotes from choreographers (above).
I've been taking a lot of risks lately (those of you who know me may say, 'but you always take risks' - true, but these are perhaps more directed, more *calculated* risks than usual). Risks of the heart and the deep deep soul. Taking plane rides and grand leaps of faith. Some have worked. Some not so well.
But a novel is being written (there are dancers in it - I feel eerily in sync with the zeitgeist and all the Black Swan buzz) and a venture is being formed. And if I don't hold back - well, actually, the *if* of that is almost irrelevant as I've reached a point where I don't feel I *can* hold back anymore... a sensation that makes me feel as if I've backed myself onto the right gang plank (diving board?)... a place of such overwhelming surrender because there simply is no choice.
In effect, to appropriately end with another Balanchine quote:
"I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance."
— George Balanchine
And if you have to dance, dancing then, is what you must do; the very abandon of your existence is fulfilled through the act of dance itself.
Photo is by the similarly-minded Rodney Smith, who (if you read his blog) rarely loves exactly how his photos turn out, but the process, the elements that make up the vocation of photography, is his reward.