There is something to a physical memory. Yes, the mind remembers things: the Jabberwocky ("'Twas brillig and the slithy toves...", my college phone number (377-PUKE), the lyrics to "Jingle Bells" in Latin, the radius of a circle. But after years and years and years of dance training, practice, hammering away at technique, I can verify that the body remembers things too, all on its own. Though I'm about twenty years past my last dance class at the studio, my body remembers these things without me even thinking about them.
I can say this because in a burst of energy, I took a cardio-dance-fusion class on Saturday. As soon as the teacher began calling out stretches, it became hard to remember that I'm really not nineteen anymore, that those days are long gone. Three days later, and I can now walk up and down the stairs, mostly free from pain. Ahem. Mostly.
Those long hours in the dance studio are apparently part of my DNA, fused into me, the way a branch is grafted into a tree. You can take Ginger out of the dance studio, but you can't take the dance studio out of Ginger.
I think of these things, because life is about to change again. After two years of monthly packet deadlines, punctuated by ten-day writing residencies, I am about to graduate. Again. And while I certainly haven't yet worked my 10,000 hours advocated by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: The Story of Success, I can only hope that the hours I have spent in training, practicing, hammering away at a different kind of technique, has culminated in a new me--that the neurons in my mind have shifted a bit to welcome something new, so that the words I dance with now are not only an integral part of me, but that they are something greater than me, something more than just words.
And, maybe, just maybe writing won't be quite as painful as dancing has become.