Dancing in the rain

“Learning that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.”

That sentence is the byline of my blog. I have to admit that it’s been a lie in the most literal respect, as I have never liked the rain and wouldn’t normally choose to walk in it, let alone dance. However, life is strange and sometimes brings you experiences you didn’t know you might need or want…

Before I elaborate, as an annual update… I passed my eight year stem cell transplant anniversary in May and remain in remission and in mostly good health. By the way, my lovely humble donor (see my previous post) is now pregnant and awaiting the birth of another life in late July. I’m secretly hoping it might coincide with my own birthday, because I like patterns and connections.

Anyway, due to my permanently compromised immune system, I have been keeping myself at home since early March, before the official pandemic lockdown in England. Despite living next to a beautiful nature reserve – the reason I bought a house here – it has been difficult to take regular walks there, because the paths are narrow and many people weren’t even attempting to maintain two metres distance from me. There were also a lot more people around than usual. This often meant I had to get off the path into the bushes and sometimes stay there for several minutes, while a stream of pedestrians and cyclists passed by, not seeming to give much attention to the need for distance; often not even acknowledging me waiting for them to pass.

It made the whole experience highly anxious, when the act of walking was supposed to be for both my physical and mental well-being. I began to feel that I couldn’t safely go out. At one point, I considered getting flashing lights or a sign to let people know that I am at higher risk than most. I haven’t entirely abandoned this idea; in fact it’s an art work in progress. 

After one very sunny Sunday, when the whole world seemed to be out in the nature reserve, involving a string of encounters with thoughtless, rude people, even being told I was a stupid woman and should walk somewhere else; and culminating in being practically run off the path by a large group of men on bikes being obnoxious and shouting that it was all a hoax when challenged, I stopped walking there if there was any chance of large numbers of people. In effect, this meant not going at the weekend, or even during the week if the weather was warm and sunny.

Instead, even now, when I’m generally feeling less anxious about briefly passing people, but more people are paying even less attention to keeping distance, my preference has turned to walking when it’s grey, cloudy, cool or cold and yes, even when it’s raining. I wear my headphones and listen to a shuffled mix of music, so on any one walk, I might hear songs that make me slow down and contemplate existence; sometimes cry; fierce punky beats that get me stomping along; mixed in with upbeat, happy tunes. I tend to go with the flow and let myself be moved emotionally and physically by whatever comes on. So finally, yes, I have been dancing in the rain… and really appreciating the freedom to do so.

The metaphor of my byline has come into being in a more profound way too, where the rain is not only a passing storm, but a cloak of safety and comfort in these anxious times, rather than grim, depressing dampness, as I would have perceived it in the past. I haven’t even minded getting a bit wet.

By the way, the video above was filmed by me on one of my walks.

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6 Responses to Dancing in the rain

  1. Tina Pettifer says:

    Great to know you are still in remission. In October I will be 8 years in remission. My consultations are conducted by phone so I don’t have to risk going to the hospital.
    I wish you well for the future.
    Tina. X

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    • Jet Black says:

      Thanks, Tina. Yes, I had a clinic appointment in April, where the phlebomotomist came to my house to take blood a few days beforehand and my consultant phoned me on my usual clinic day. When all is going well and the blood tests are all fine, then it’s actually a really good way of doing things, even without a pandemic.

      Glad you’re doing well too.

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  2. Colin Bone says:

    Hi Jet

    I love the Fragile tape idea, thoughtless seems to be the norm these days but thankfully there are still lots of lovely people around.

    So pleased to see that you are finding happiness in the rain, that positive joy was expressed by Deborah who all ways took the opportunity to dance in the rain.

    I took inspiration from her doing this in one of my songs recorded under the name Nillo on the album A.D https://music.apple.com/gb/album/just-a-white-lie/1495814448?i=1495814716

    Great to hear that you are doing well and I shall look forward to next years blog entry.

    Lots of love from

    Colin

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    • Jet Black says:

      How lovely to hear from you, Colin, especially today, as I was watching Pulp in concert last night on TV and thinking about Deborah and the party. I even boasted to a friend that I’ve met Jarvis Cocker and more importantly was friends with the Deborah of the song.

      Thanks so much for commenting. I’ll check out the song. 😊

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  3. Mavis Nevill says:

    How good to hear from you again and to hear that your remission continues. Long may it be so! It is good that some of us are showing that Myeloma needn’t be the death sentence that we are told it is, I am now nearly 10 years post diagnosis. As I didn’t have a transplant the Myeloma is slowly returning, but hey! Every day is a new day. Do you ever hear news of Andy? I always think of him when I think “every day is a gift, use it wisely!”

    So sorry to hear you are deprived of your special place so can’t “dance” on the sunshine. I have been in almost total lockdown, like you, from before it became mandatory. At last I have my cleaners back and, last week, had my hair recoloured and cut. This makes me feel more human. Of course, I count myself lucky that I have my husband shielding with me.

    We are especially glad to have our cleaners back as last autumn we bought two rag doll kittens. They were supposed to be floor cats and not shed their fur. Well, I don’t think anyone told our pair! We got them to replace our dog who sadly died after 17 years with us. Neither of us are up to walking and clearing up after a dog anymore. I am sure that if we had known the pandemic was coming, and we would be ten weeks in the home with just us clearing up after them, we might have made a different decision about them.

    As I haven’t been able to get out, a friend has been making short videos of his early morning walks. I was very excited last week to have sight of a toad. I have never seen one in the wild before.

    Do keep dancing and keep on surviving. Look forward to hearing from you next year.

    Lots of love. Mavis xxx

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    • Jet Black says:

      Thank you so much, Mavis, for sharing a bit of your current life too. I have kept my cleaner coming during lockdown, but I either go out or go into one room and let her loose in the rest of the house.

      You ask about Andy, but I’m not sure who that is…?

      I’m sorry you’ve felt it necessary not to go out at all. That must be hard, even with a husband and your friend’s videos. I’ve been very picky/careful, but walking and getting out of the house occasionally was as important to my wellbeing as staying in to shield myself. I guess we all make the decisions that feel right for us. Glad you’re now able to do a few more ‘normal’ things.

      Like

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