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I am currently taking a somatics course, which offers an in depth understanding and discovery of one’s own body. Part of the course requires us to conduct our own personal practice to strengthen our mind body connection. As a dancer, this concept was new to me; I spent years focusing on the technique side of movement, only paying attention to the way my body looked. I never experienced the process of authentic movement, never giving my body a chance to sink into sensation and analyze why I move the way I do. One of the strategies that has resonated with me has been embodied writing, which describes one’s intricate movements in a personal way, allowing one to discuss a movement, how they felt about it, what it meant to them, and what questions or thoughts they are left with… I experimented with my own form of embodied writing recently, regarding a fall from a few years ago that led to a painful injury. 

 

My gaze rolls upwards as bodies surround me, approaching with intention. I bend my knees slightly, preparing for the bodies to guide me through the air. This bend is a cushion for before and after my journey above the floor’s surface; it not only helps the bodies around me, it also comforts my body, bringing both preparation and stability. As my knees bend softly, my arms extend outwards to provide another point of contact for the bodies to support me from underneath. I tentatively take a few final breaths and feel the sensation of a few nervous shakes in my wrists before the motion overwhelms me. I feel a sense of power flow through my limbs; courage will carry me. My breath begins to flow deeper into my body, reaching from my chest to my toes. It’s slow, yet intense. 

All of a sudden, my body becomes weightless. I feel a sense of push and pull within my body; I want to push myself towards the ceiling, but I also feel a pulling sensation resonating from just beyond my fingers and toes. I extend through all of my limbs, reaching in all directions as invisible ropes pull me outward. The bottom of my feet curve as my toes reunite into a downward point, feeling energized by the hands pushing my ankles upwards. I want to sink into this pose, feeling grounded by the bodies underneath me. I feel a sense of excitement from the unknown, but how does my body look to the invisible audience beyond the mirror? I don’t want to break out of this place of energy to look at myself, so I picture how the shape of my body looks from the outside. My focus suddenly splits in two; I begin to juggle between how I feel and how I look. This distraction causes a brief relaxation from the posture, and I snap myself back into the reality of my physical body. My back arches as I push my stomach upwards, yet I cannot escape the hand pressed against my spine to elevate me higher… The ceiling tiles above me migrate backwards as the bodies carry me across the room.

Within the next few seconds, my feet fall towards the floor, pulling the rest of my body downwards with aggression. I feel the energy slide through my body, spilling from the tips of my toes onto the floor. The strength from under my back disappears, leaving me with emptiness and heaviness. Suddenly, I feel an internal tug of war. My legs have gravitated towards the floor, but my arms still feel connected to two bodies from behind me… Gravity pulls me downwards, but the bodies hold on to my arms. Who will win? 

One of the bodies gives up, releasing my arm into the air. It also falls victim to the force of gravity. The bodies watch as my right shoulder twists and turns as the rest of my body loses the battle. Finally, the last body gives in, and my entire body falls to the ground. A soft, tingling sensation creeps into my right shoulder, traveling through the length of my arm. The bodies help me up as my contemporary instructor yells from the corner… My shoulder begins to ache, feeling weighed down by the rest of my limbs. A pulsing sensation overwhelms me, and I sit down to ice the ball of pain circling in my shoulder.

Annabelle is a junior at Denison University, majoring in Educational Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. She enjoys journaling, finding cute coffee shops, and crafting in her free time. On campus, she serves as the social media head for Denison's chapter of Her Campus, so check out our instagram @hcdenison!
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