11. A Promise to the Land: I will Stay


Blog 11: October 16-19, 1996—I celebrate my 28th birthday in Albuquerque with little fanfare. I’m a year older, and I feel the pressure to become someone, especially in dance, while I’m still young. I’m running out of time to train in dance, which I fell in love with two years ago in New York City. My plan had been to go to San Francisco to pursue my passion—and now I’m considering Los Angeles as another option—yet I’m here, in the desert, injured, trying to figure out how to move on from here, while following a deeper, more spiritual call that doesn’t have anything to do with societal ambitions.

As I prepare to travel to California in a few days, a man drives into me in the intersection. My car gets smashed. A drunk man on the scene tells me I caused the accident, which makes me even more annoyed. I can’t drive with plastic rubbing on my tire, and I wonder, God, why am I being stalled? First my groin muscle pull, then my accident…What is it? Can’t I just dance?

Last night I dreamt I was running around with a dance teacher trying to figure out where to go. My dream was a daze I couldn’t get out of, even when I tried to wake up. And now, during the day, when I try to dance, I feel frustrated by my limitations. I yearn so much to dance every day, but it’s like trying to run an engine with missing parts.

There’s a battle inside me that makes me cry—it’s this accident, my groin pull, and this war between my will and something I cannot control. My natural desire is to fight it all, to do battle. I feel a need to resist because I can’t surrender without breaking down into many pieces. When I dance, I feel my groin and sit bone tender and tired as I do when I drive endlessly out onto the land, eternally hungry to take in this expansive place.

Now, after the car accident, I stop, frustrated, and literally promise the land that I will not leave her…not yet… and if I do, that I will come back shortly after. I am being asked by some force beyond me to stay for a while, despite my determination.