I literally have no idea what I am doing. Seriously, I have no clue. I realize this as it has been this way my entire life. I suspect this is the way it is going to be for the rest of my life as well. Why would it be any different? I look back over the span of my existence and not once have I ever felt as if I knew, truly knew, what I was doing. Even as I write this I recognize that I have never felt comfortable with my written voice.
As a young person I spent most of my time asking questions about how and why. I have a vivid memory of asking my parents what was before God. I was always inquiring about things trying to understand the unknown, the unseen and the unattainable. To this end I feel not knowing encouraged the inquisitive nature I carry with me today. For this I am grateful for not knowing but willing to ask questions.
Somewhere along the way my curiosity was squelched by don’t ask don’t tell. Recognizing my sexuality very early on reflected negatively on my inquisitive self. I became more internally focused on keeping myself secret and hidden that I left one of the best assets of myself on the shelf in the closet hidden behind imposed fear.
The culture in which I grew up in pressured normalcy. This being the traditional boy who plays sports, likes cars, likes rock and roll….etc. So when a boy like me goes to play baseball and has no clue what the damn sport is about let alone wanting to be there, stands in the outfield praying the ball won’t come to me. That same boy, the one fearful of going to bat, simply for the fear of not wanting to let his team members down. I knew nothing about baseball and yet I am supposed to like it. And yet, I still have to play.
The same is true for basketball. Clueless. I just don’t know or care about it and have no idea what the rules are, how to play or what professional teams area. To this day I could not name several professional teams. And for not knowing this, deeper this boy goes down the rabbit hole of not knowing. The deeper one goes, the more one feels ashamed for not knowing.
And this pattern continues, sport after sport. I did have some success in gymnastics and the little bit of wrestling I did. But still, always in a place of trying to figure things out when it seemed as if the other guys on the team know exactly what they were doing. They had been doing it for some time or had been taught by their fathers what these things were. Trying to keep up because I enjoyed my friends and secretly swimming in a sea of not knowing.
It wasn’t until high school when I decided to follow my hearts desire to be in theatre. I did so as a whim. I remember walking down the staircase while the director and set designer where walking up and I spoke up and introduced myself telling them I was going to audition. They smirked simply because they had no clue as to who I was since I had never been in any other musical or was even in choir.
That said, I knew nothing of singing other than I liked it and that I wanted to act. So I auditioned. And to my surprise, I got in. I got in and I got a leading role. Oh shit!!! I know nothing. Here I am in a musical, don’t know how to sing, don’t really know anything about theatre or musicals and I now have to do this. What the hell am I going to do? And look at these cast members who know so much. I can’t even read music.
The best thing about this experience was that not knowing anything allowed for me to interact and learn how to sing. The people who surrounded me accepted me anyway. They surrounded me and supported me in doing what I had no idea how to do. Because of this, I fell in love with the life of being in the theatre. Because of this, my life changed.
And so I decided to take signing lessons and found out about a whole new world called opera. I wanted to do that too. I wanted to do whatever it took to allow the voice of my heart to be heard by the rest of the world. I was willing to place myself in a position of courageous vulnerability still not knowing anything about the things I was doing or wanted to do.
As I trained further and further I realized after every audition that I needed to learn how to dance as not being able to was keeping me from getting work in the professional realm. So continuing on the path, I find myself taking a dance class. Oddly enough, a modern dance class. What the hell is this? But the people are so beautiful and the bodies are amazing! I feel amazing in my body when I am moving like this. I know I don’t look it since I am starting at such a late age, but none-the-less, the class goes one way and I go the other. Once again, living in the land of not knowing but now not caring.
So my entire college experience was one of not knowing and playing catch up. Always playing catch up seems to be the story of my life. And yet, as I look back, this is what trained my eyes to see movement the way I do. This is what trained me to heal like I do. This is what has trained me to teach as I do. This is what trained me to make dances like I do. The constant state of not knowing has forced a reality on me that I could never have figured out in a state of knowing. EBAS was created out of an injury due to not knowing my body fully or how it truly functions.
So as I stand in front of my classroom in sea of bodies, I know what it is like to not know. As a matter of fact I stand in front of my students every day not knowing. But what this forces me to do is stand in front of them and to see them. To truly see their bodies and the potential that lies within. It forces me to listen to their voices and to help them figure out what it means to learn more about this thing they love. And because we all love it, we work diligently on trying to figure it out.
Yet, with all things that are magical, there is no real knowing it. I still do not know this thing called dance. There is so much I don’t know I am not sure I should be doing what I do. The one thing I am sure of is that I know I do good. I see it in the bodies in front of me and I see it in the physical transformations of my student’s body, mind and spirit. Of all the things I don’t know, the light in their eyes and hearts I do know. And for this, I am gladly going along the path of continual not knowing. Perhaps I will stumble on some kind of intelligence. Maybe not the academic intelligence forced on us by our culture and societal norms, but a body knowledge that is the knowledge of humanity. This is I know is right for me. This I know is right for my soul.