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It feels redundant to write a piece about writing.

It feels redundant because now, as I do it, I am hyper aware of the words that I am typing, and how these words that speak about the action of writing will be read by you, whoever you are.

But that self-awareness is exactly the reason why, today, I am writing about writing.

To invite you to feel present through the words you put down in pen and paper and find a release for your mind and your heart. Like I do.

Dance has been my outlet for the longest time.

There was no issue, no bad mood, no difficulty or hardship that a good class or freestyle session wouldn’t take out of me. I would dance it out, as they say, and from my body all the heavy feelings and anxious thoughts and shapeless words would go.

But then, of course, 2020 came and the whole world shut down.

I found myself without much space to dance. Studios were closed and all my feelings and emotions started piling up inside of me.

At this point I had to remember that we were all going through the same shit and that throwing my words at someone would just make things worse.

But then, I found writing.

Everyone talks about journaling as a daily self-care practice, and although it is great for self-care, the imposed schedule can add pressure. Having to have something to write about daily can be frightening. It’s like having to choreograph to a song you don’t really feel like dancing to. All this is to say that I had been hesitant to start.

But I found the messy type of journaling, the sporadic type, to be the most helpful.

It is the kind that centers my whole body and that almost feels like dancing—like a good freestyle session, where the movement just makes sense. When you feel more present than ever, and you feel at home in your body.

Writing makes my mind feel like home.

Let’s try it together. As my hand holds the pen and forms each letter, I feel my head quieting down and my whole body becoming lighter.

It’s like when you’re dancing and you’ve let go of all your muscles, to the point where just breathing and jumping to the beat feels like medicine.

Lu Meija Gutierrez dances outside in a striped shirt and black pants, reaching across her body toward the floor.

I start with heavy strokes, messy lines. It does not matter; it shouldn’t be pretty. It shouldn’t make sense. Dance the big moves first.

Pour it all out in the pages (and pages and pages, depending on the day), and then, eventually, the pen will move more easily, and the letters will be shaped more neatly.  Like when you start to really listen to the music you’ve been dancing to, and you let the details from the song move you.

Eventually, the words I write become supportive words, words of love and care, words that only come after I have released all the other ones, the ones that should not hold space inside of me.

Think of it like the end of a good dance, where it no longer matters how clean your turns were, or how many eight counts you remembered. You think only of how freeing the movement was and how much you love to dance and how your body, above everything else, is there to support you. To hold you up.

After writing them out, these words don’t weigh on me anymore—but I can look back through them. It is great to see my arc in one session, or over the span of a few days. I can look back at the pages with a clear mind and with care. It’s like re-watching a dance video that brings me back to the day, reminding me of how I felt then.

Be aware of your feelings; feel them. It is okay to feel them. Care for them. Pour them all out on a page, and once they’ve left your body, tend to them with kindness.

Or scratch out the bad ones. If you don’t like a piece you’ve been dancing to, you can always find new ways to move.

 

You are in charge of your own pen and paper.