Down to my core

classyclumsy

I’ve got pretty good balance. In yoga classes, my tree pose is perfectly passable. And that’s on one foot. So you would think I should have no trouble standing in a crowded bus, two feet planted firmly on the ground, leaning nonchalantly on the handrail, headphones in, phone in hand. Right?

Oh. So. Wrong.

It’s all going so well. I even remember to look up from my phone as we cross the Harbour Bridge – a stunning view no matter how many times you look at it. Once we are across, I scroll through my playlists looking for something to follow Post Malone’s ‘I Fall Apart’, a beautifully raw and soulful song about heartbreak. And then I enter a parallel universe where his song unwittingly becomes the soundtrack to a tragic fall from grace.  Continue reading

The Key

make a wish

“People disappoint, so set your expectations low,”
A weary soul once told me this, many moons ago.

But I was young and hopeful, so I thought I’d take a chance
And strode down Optimism Street without a second glance.

The path was rough, uneven, not at all like I had thought;
The people, dark and jaded, seemed unhappy with their lot.

Kindness always wins. I’ll keep my expectations high.
“But people disappoint,” the world said with a wistful sigh.

The further down the path I went, the more Heartache I found
And every time I tried to rise, Truth pulled me to the ground.

What’s the point? I asked the world, of trying to be true?
The world didn’t answer, it was disappointed too.

Then I met a woman with a shawl and shining eyes;
She took me to a tiny shack that she called ‘Paradise’.

She asked me why I looked so sad; I told her of my woe
That Happiness had flown away not too long ago:

I had it once, I held it tight, so tight it could not breathe.
And then I put it in a cage and begged it not to leave.

When I was out exploring, one dark and jaded day,
Someone opened up the cage and let it fly away.

I tried so hard to lock it up, to keep it safe, you see.
“Oh, my dear,” she said, “but then you gave away the key.”

People disappoint, I said, It’s no use being kind.
Every time I look for Hope, it’s Misery I find.

With shining eyes she looked straight through my dark and jaded heart;
She took my hand and led me all the way back to the start.

“Happiness,” she said, “is waiting for you every day.
But first let me show you what’s been standing in your way.”

She handed me a mirror; I was horrified to see
The one who disappointed most, staring back at me.

©2018 Seetha Dodd

Dance like everyone’s watching

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I hadn’t been to a dance class in a while. So I was really excited to walk into the dance studio again for JFH (Jazz, Funk & Hip-hop).

The class starts off with the usual 30 minute warm-up of dynamic stretches, dance moves and a (hard-) core workout that lasts an entire song. Hello, abs! We also do some walking. Yes, walking. But not the regular, right-foot in front of left-foot kind. No, my friends. This is a dance class. So we Strut. We Swagger. We channel our inner Chanel model and prance like we mean it.

The instructor (who is, by the way, amazingly talented and very JFH) tells us to imagine we have just spotted ‘a hottie’ in a club and are striding towards him. Hmm. I quickly come up with a more suitable analogy in my head. Imagine…….[insert your own fantasy].

Then it is time to learn the routine.

“This one is old-school,” the instructor says. Ooh, yay, I think, I wonder what it’s going to be. Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, maybe? That’s old-school. Perhaps too old-school. Nelly’s ‘Hot in Here’? That would be a good one to dance to. 

She plays the song. It’s Timbaland’s ‘The Way I Are’. From 2007. “It’s really old-school,” she says again. “Don’t worry if you don’t recognise it.” I look around at my fellow dancers. How old are they to not know a song from 2007, which doesn’t feel like that long ago? A quick mental calculation reveals if they were 10 in 2007 and not yet privy to the delights of hip hop music, that would make them 21. Fair enough. And yikes.

I can just about keep up with the choreography. It is not easy to:
1. shake it like a polaroid picture
2. whilst simultaneously wondering if anyone is truly ready for this jelly, and
3. keep a hip hop face on.

I love the routine and almost feel like a back-up dancer in a Beyoncé video, or better yet, like Beyoncé. I have a slight issue with the lyrics, specifically the ungrammatical title and chorus but I do believe in artistic licence so tell myself that this is no time for the Grammar Police and can you stop analysing the bloody lyrics and just try to be a little more hip hop please?

The class runs over by a few minutes so there isn’t time for an official ‘cool-down’. As the instructor presses Pause on Timbaland, she says, “We’ll finish here, but please stay if you need to stretch.” And looks straight at me whilst all the 21-year-old dancers pick up their tote bags and stroll out of the studio. (It’s 9.30pm so I suppose the night is still young for them, whereas I am thinking about a nice hot shower and a mug of green tea.)

I could take offence. I could begin a downward spiral into a pit of  paranoia and despair. But instead, I call on my inner swagger and tell myself I need to stretch because I killed those moves.

So I plonk my 40-year-old leg up on the ballet barre and stretch it like I mean it. My hamstrings will thank me in the morning.

#40isthenew21

©2018 Seetha Dodd

Shadow Play

Wayang_Pandawa

The stage is set
and behind the screen
the puppets are poised,
shadows waiting to play.

On the other side
the audience is ready
to watch the dance
of the puppets at play.

The manipulation begins.
Dance by the rules.
A firm flick of the wrist.
Puppets forced to play.

The audience claps
at the beautiful show
while the puppets are trapped
in this shadow play.

Perhaps one day
the screens will come down,
we cross into the realm
of the shadows at play.

Shatter the safety of illusion
of what is seen and not seen
but for now it remains
just shadow play. 

©2018 Seetha Dodd

110%

I gave it 110% he said
and in that one, small, quantifiable statement
there was a palpable loss of credibility.

What is 110% effort?
How can we give more than everything we have?
Was he one whole person or an extended being with superhuman capacity?

Some economist said it means overdrawing on your account of effort.
A one-off push of more than you have
then you have nothing left, or less than nothing.

But where does it stop?
Someone will give 150% and another 1000%
I tried so hard I gave a million percent.

One hundred percent!
100% is the whole, entire amount.
Any more exists in growth, money back guarantees or over-zealous home loans.

Not in effort.
If we all gave 100%
I think that would suffice.

©2018 Seetha Dodd

Perfectly Cape-able

I spent a few minutes on my Facebook feed last week scrolling through the many posts written in honour of International Women’s Day. Perhaps it was more than a few minutes, but you know how it is: one minute you are being inspired by a Maya Angelou quote and suddenly, half an hour later you’ve taken a quiz on what your spirit animal is, opened and dismissed a 21 Day Total Goddess Workout and watched a TED Talk on breaking bad habits. Without a shred of irony.

Amongst all the references to the #metoo and #timesup movements, and the many, many stories about strong women breaking through barriers, challenging the status quo and smashing glass ceilings, I found this campaign by a software company with a focus on collaboration, people and consciousness:

itwasneveradress

Axosoft’s #ItWasNeverADress campaign. Encouraging people all over the world to share their stories, continue to push boundaries and defy stereotypes. What a simple yet clever way of shifting perceptions and shattering misconceptions through one beautiful, empowering image. I’ve seen a few variations – the ‘dress’ is a lab coat, a graduation robe or, of course, a cape.

So yes, there is a Superhero in all of us. But no pressure. It doesn’t have to be a cape. If you want it to be a comfy dressing gown to spend the day on the sofa in, that’s what it is. If you want it to be a lawyer’s robe because that has been your dream ever since you first watched L.A. Law, or Ally McBeal, or Suits, that’s what it is. There are endless possibilities, and you don’t have to choose just one. Many roles, many costumes.

The point is, and I borrow the words of Paulo Coelho, that “people are capable, at any time in their lives,  of doing what they dream of.” If that dream is to change the world, wonderful. If that dream is to get through the day with a happy heart and a peaceful soul, then you’re my kind of Superhero.

We are all perfectly cape-able.

©2018 Seetha Dodd