This is me at around 3 a.m. on Bealtaine, partied-out, sweaty, exhausted, and ecstatic. I had done my ritual on Bealtaine eve, and then drove an hour to Spiddal to go to a Retro Club with some of the best 70s and 80s music I’ve heard in years, and great people who made me feel welcome. I proceeded to dance my hagish ass off for hours, chatted to some of the aforementioned lovely people, and then drove home feeling like someone had lit me on fire, in the good way. I took the picture just after stepping through the door.
A few minutes later I discovered that my period had started a full 2 1/2 days early, and so I spent Bealtaine (and the following two days) curled up with a hot-water bottle, grumpy and ache-y, and VERY far from feeling sexy and up to all sorts of things the way I should have. It’s times like these when I actually look forward to menopause!
Luckily, this is Ireland where “Bealtaine” means the whole of the month of May. So it doesn’t just all hinge on the one night and day, and there’s plenty of time for mischief. I’m a very happy hag these days, most of my time is spent running around and doing things, and dancing until I drop so I’ll stay grounded enough to not float away.
The process of slowly gaining back my strength and endurance is ongoing, and will likely take another while. I’m well past the point where I had to push myself to do exercise; these days, I have to stop myself before I do damage to my body. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, actually – you all know that Prince died about two weeks ago, and as it turns out, he wasn’t a junkie but died from complications of his medication for chronic pain, which he suffered from as a result of his dancing (here’s an article about it).
Music has been one of the few constants in my life. I’ve wanted to sing and dance since I could stand on my own feet, but a problem with my hip bones means that my lower back is fairly inflexible – other people struggle to touch their toes, I can hardly reach below my knees, and I’ll never get any better at it – so dancing professionally was out of the question.
And so I danced on my own, in my room and later in clubs. Just freestyle jumping-around, to whatever music inspires me at the time. I dance to 70s disco music and to prog metal (if you think metal is only good for headbanging, think again) and everything in between, and I often say dancing is my sanity, because it’s my way of processing my intense emotions.
It’s a sign of how much of myself I had shut down in the past years, that it was the only time in my life when I wasn’t dancing. I was numb to my emotions, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to bear it.
Now that I’m active again, I find it scary when my back hurts, or my shoulder. Often, it’s simply muscle stiffness, and that’s a good sign and means I’m getting stronger again. But other times it’s clearly just overuse, and I’m painfully aware of the fact that the years of sitting on my ass and eating crap have taken a toll on my body. I’m determined to find a way to keep moving and currently I think that building muscles is the key. There are plenty of examples of athletes of very advanced age; if you’re on Facebook, just check out the pages “Growing Bolder” and Alex Rota’s photography. I’m not going to slow down, not when I’m 70 and certainly not now. Moving my body, actually USING my body the way nature designed it, makes me way too happy to give it up.
The happiness also means that the darkness has mostly passed. I knew it would (if you remember, I wrote about it a few entries back), it was just a question of time. When I first started to truly feel my emotions again, there was a lot of shit which bubbled up with the happiness. It was quite a rollercoaster for some time, with scary lows. But now that the first wave is over, I’m beginning to settle into myself again, and the highs and lows are more manageable. I’ve always had them, it’s part of being the hag and also part of being highly sensitive, but the extremes are gone for the time being (normal people still find my emotions extreme, but they do anyway).
In the meantime, I’ve gotten so much done, I’ve been to Germany to see my dad, my sister and her man, and my dear friends Andreas and Karola. Next weekend I’ll go to London to spend a two days with my favourite Hulder! I’m not planning on sleeping, I’ll be too busy painting the town red. I’ll be home by lunchtime on Monday, and I’ll have the rest of the day off so I can catch up on sleep then.
I hope you’re having an equally beautiful month of Bealtaine!
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