Walking on Uneven Ground.


Steady now. Step on a crack and you just might fall apart. Steady now. Steady. Step on a crack and the lines of life will show what you have been trying to hide. Step on a crack and you just might split wide open.

It takes balance to stand on solid ground. It takes balance to be just nimble enough to put one foot in front of the other and walk on out the door. It takes balance to salt the slippery parts, to gingerly step onto terra not knowing at all how firma it might- or might not- be. It takes balance to roll with it. It takes time. It takes an unwavering, exhaustive amount of courage. It takes knowing when to cha-cha, two step, tango, hip-hop from square to square, and sometimes it takes simply standing still, while still standing. Never mind looking down the road and figuring out how to walk on uneven ground. Never mind the cracks in the sidewalk. That’s all childs play if you choose the uneven path. Even if you did not intend to.

I wish I could tell you I was raised to appreciate balance, but I was not. I was raised to go and do, to become, to figure it out, to just keep going. I was raised to seize it all. I was raised to work, to know the value of money( which was also used as a power play), to understand savings, and spending. To work, work, work. To know the value of work. One parent told me to push through, to study, that A+B=C,while another parent supported my talent and creativity, told me to linger longer at the beach, to slow down,to come to terms with understanding there will be gaps in the learning and there will be times when A+B will never equal C. So I learned to live with the push me pull you tug of an unbalanced, balance.

I have no regrets. The dance of balance and unbalance led me to where I am today. It’s the 60/40 or the 70/30 split. I have come to appreciate balance that works, with days of lingering combined with non-stop work. I have come to terms with equations that never added up, or never will. The sorta yin and sorta yang in a dysfunctional yet transformative duet. I have come to appreciate the side steps, the roadblocks, the split in the path, and to appreciate the times when there is no path. I have come to appreciate 1+1=1.

I don’t know if I chose the uneven path, or if it chose me. It’s a duet of sorts that I have sung for most of my life. The unknown knowing. I listened more to my heart and the call of psyche. I listened more to what felt right. I worked hard, wished I had played harder, but here today, in the column of regrets, I have none. Even giving up piano lessons and band( second chair flute) for cheerleading. I can still do a mean herky. Go Vikes!

Uneven ground is not a single path. Uneven ground presents two challenges: take the sides of the uneven path and work towards one way, carefully watching your step, or, never take a step in either direction and stay stuck, looking at where the path begins, unsure of what lies in the middle and where the uneven parts of the path will take you. The gift of my unbalanced balance has provided sure footing, even if I took one step forward and three steps back, or if without warning, the path presented too much to handle, and I had to stop all together, letting time take care of the unevenness. Let nature step in and do her work. Give it time. Find the time. Find the balance. Change the choreography, slow it down, know when the two step becomes a cha-cha. Stand still, just long enough to lean in another direction. To be still. There is something to be said about the sheer will it takes to simply put one foot in front of the other.

I am not a professional dancer, though I took dance lessons for years. I began with ballet, and under the astute and compassionate eye of Miss Linda, it was quickly decided that ballet was not for me.

“maybe tap and jazz is more your thing?”

So tap, jazz and musical theater became my thing and off I went on uneven ground like nobody’s business. I made the dance team in college, Dancesalems, and raised more than one conservative eye brow when I chose to choreograph my final piece for the spring concert to “It’s Raining Men”by The Weather Girls. I crafted quite the costume too: A yellow slicker, which when removed( during the second thunder clap), revealed a shiny black and white high cut Danskin, black leg warmers and black spray painted Reeboks. Oh. And. I used an oversized black umbrella as my opening prop.

It should be noted, I went to a small liberal arts college for women. I thought It’s Raining Men would be a nod to what we already knew. We could sing about the Virgin Trees during convocations, but we also knew how to sneak men up the back stairs into our rooms. We could have men in our rooms, but the door had to be open and both sets of feet had to be on the floor. And we had to announce:

“man on the hall!!!,

No matter our relation to the man. No matter if by shouting ‘man on the hall’ alerted every one else to fling open their door to see who it was…….if we went about the proper procedure of signing in said man. men.

Uneven paths lead to open fields.

Uneven paths lead to more uneven paths.

Uneven paths lead to a more authentic life, though not an easy one. Uneven paths lead to sights unseen, unanswered questions, and uncertainty, but if you choose, uneven paths provide a way. Uneven paths are less traveled. I seem to have the uncanny ability to navigate the path less traveled, and I have profound appreciation for those other uneven path dwellers I have met along the way. We can blaze a trail on an uneven path, and it might take years to find the breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs be damned. I never found the breadcrumbs that led the way back. I discovered pathways that led to fields of opportunities. I found places to stop for a while, learn a little more and pick back up on the path. I found the right paths. I found the cracks and came to understand how they let in the light.

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