“I find my holy redemption when I put this car in drive, roll the windows down and turn up the dial”– Maren Morris
As a kid who witnessed drug, alcohol and physical abuse, it was inevitable that I would go to therapy. Any good parent would say it’s probably a good idea. Except, I was no ordinary kid. I wasn’t going to open up about what was happening on the weekends with my birth mom. I either was too clever and knew, if I told that lady what I saw, I wouldn’t get to see my mom again. Or, I didn’t even have the vocabulary or mental capacity to explain what was really going on. So instead, I manipulated my childhood therapist into convincing my step-mom to buy me sugary cereal.
Unfortunately, this pattern continued when I went to therapy over a decade later. I got her to help me break up with my boyfriend instead of telling her what I had actually gone through. Don’t get me wrong, I will try therapy again and this time tell them this is something I do. But through my life, I have found forms of therapy that have helped me through my darkest moments. I found ways to express myself and to heal myself on my own. I’m not arguing that therapy doesn’t work but there are some people who benefit more from non-traditional therapy because they can be motivated to do it from within.
Something helpful I did learn from therapy is that children who have been through trauma are more likely to suffer from ADD, ADHD and a multitude of other disorders. I couldn’t focus on one topic longer than 15 minutes. It made it harder for me in school, at home and it made it harder on my parents. The one thing that would occupy my brain for some period of time was, dance. There are tapes and tapes of me dancing around the house. Bless my step-mom, who signed me up for my first dance class when I was 7 years old. To this day, I thank whoever lives in the sky for the decision she made.
Dance turned into my everything! I was always choreographing new dances alone in my room or with my friends. I probably had a dance to every single one of Britney’s songs off her first album. When I grew up, I was going to be a professional dancer, I was sure of it. I wanted to be signed up for every possible class. At one point, I was cleaning the studio in order to substitute payment for classes because there were so many I wanted to take. Ballet was my favorite by far. It took all my focus and concentration and that was exactly what I needed. When I went to high school, all I did was dance. I would skip classes to be in the dance room, rehearsing dances over and over until they were perfect. I didn’t know how to explain what was going on in my brain or in the world around me but when I was dancing it all made sense.
Evolving Into My Creative Space
If you know anything about dancers, you know they are very creative people. If I wasn’t creating with movement, I was creating with art and writing. There would be nights where I would sit at my desk for hours drawing. I would draw random things I saw in books, or that popped in my head. If I wasn’t drawing, I was writing. I dug through the attic this past weekend and found all my old short stories. There were stories of old coke bottles, professional dancers, pregnant teenagers and random poems. Through all my creative work, music was always involved. I would get lost in lyrics that felt similar to how I felt, or tempos that were unique. I craved all things art. Any outlet that allowed me to express myself without words was my safe space. When I was creating, the world was quiet.
As I got older, dance somehow found it’s way out of my life. Though I did dance a little in college, I never became the professional dancer I thought I would be. I stopped drawing because there was less time. I stopped writing because it didn’t seem like the “cool thing” to do in college. That’s when I learned how things can go south fast. Without those outlets, without my creative space. Drinking became my outlet. Parties became my creative space. I was lost without my personal therapy. As the years went on, I signed up for more dance classes, worked out and made time to do creative things. I started having moments of clarity and peace. I started to feel like myself again and slowly started putting my life back together. Traditional therapy is great for some people, but my true therapy happens in my creative space. So for that, I thank you for reading and being a part of my therapy.