Double negatives and the dancer

Ani was not pleased with my refusal to run this morning. I couldn’t sleep last night with it and I’m reluctant to move this morning, even though I know that movement holds the relief from the pain in the joints. It is all self-inflicted, of course… well, mostly at least. Years of dance are a double edged sword that both strengthens and damages and this morning bits of me are reminding me of that.

It will, of course, ease and disappear as the morning unfolds and I will forget the discomfort and be able to ignore it. The original cause of it… the dance… brought intense pleasure along with the pain and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. ‘Old Arthur’, the one unpredictable element, in all this, is pretty much a family member, being intimately acquainted with the joints of many a relative… so arthritis does have a hereditary component playing its part too.

I can’t help thinking how much that applies to other aspects of life though, where a situation we get ourselves into, either by choice or necessity, seems to take over; the good bits that drew us initially become overlaid with pain and though we are reluctant to make a move to end the situation, fearing loss, failure, more pain… we know that this is where the ‘cure’ lies.

We manage quite nicely to ignore the problems until they rear their head, reminding us of their existence… and then we suffer, promising ourselves that we will take action, make a move, do something to create a change. Except … the pain wears off again as the situation settles and although we know it hasn’t gone away, we can pretend it has… we can forget and shelve our concerns for a while. Till next time. And so the cycle continues.

The trouble is, of course, that like arthritis, it isn’t going to get any better while the root cause remains. I can take painkillers, numb the ache, cool the inflammation… make it less acute… but that isn’t a cure for years of wear and tear. It is only a patch on the ragged garment of time.

As with many chronic situations, there is no cure for an arthritic joint other than cutting it out and starting from scratch. But there are things that can be done to make the joints better… and oddly enough, it is within both the cause and the effect of pain that such change is found. It shouldn’t be a surprise… in both maths and language two negatives can make a positive.

With the joints the best thing is bringing the strength of movement to the muscles around them; the flexibility and strength that were learned in my dancing days and which were at least part of the cause of the problem, along with the outer and uncontrollable possibility of arthritis. Very often, with a negative situation we learn far more than we realise too. The resilience, flexibility and inner strength may be hidden behind many layers of emotion… but they are there, or we would not have survived thus far. And they are there even when it hurts. But they need kickstarting … the same way we push aching joints into movement. We had the courage to get into the situation in the first place… to take a chance… and we still have, whether we feel we do or not, the courage to face yet another chance of our own choosing and make a change.

In neither case is it easy and the longer we leave it before taking action, the less we feel we can move, the more we seize up, the stiffer and less flexible we become; the more afraid of the inevitable pain that comes with starting to dance again, both in the physical sense and its analogy. And yes, I remind myself of the dancing hippo from Fantasia these days as I push my body back towards where I want it to be… but I’d rather look ridiculous doing something than be stuck because I didn’t.

The dog, of course, just buries her head in her paws and seeks safety under the table.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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32 Responses to Double negatives and the dancer

  1. newsferret says:

    Oooops, dancing seems more dangerous than rugby in the long run as the years move on in the march of time!


  2. alienorajt says:

    Brilliant, Sue, just brilliant – and so pertinent to my situation. Thanks hugely for setting these thoughts down today. xxx


  3. Nice to meet you hear, thanks to Seumas. Great blog you have – and I relate. I LOVE to dance (though do most of it in the privacy of my house!). I’ve joined an amazing dance class where I live in New England and my heart soars during that hour. Here’s to dance and mystery in our lives (despite the aches and pains of it all…)


  4. Good piece, Sue. When I was given exercises for my back, it seemed like a life sentence as I was told I’d have to do them four times a day for the rest of my life. However, if I want to improve, I’ll just have to find the fime and do them. As far as I can see, they’re a form of yoga which is very popular here in India.


  5. you never fail to delight – I’m a chair dancer, myself

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Nothing wrong with that… I remember my mother teaching me the hand jive years ago when I was a child…and all the young women in the dance hall sitting around doing it. Dancing is inside, not outside.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mary Kendall says:

    I’m not a dancer but I’ve had bilateral knee replacement and a knee revision. Your words ring so very true. They were a good and very positive reminder for me today. Many thanks.


  7. noelleg44 says:

    Dear Sue, I feel your pain..truly! I inherited arthritis from both parents, coupled with years of abusing my joints playing all sorts of sports. Four joint replacements later, I am the bionic woman. Nothing to be done for the hands or feet, though. And the cold and dank don’t help so I’m hoping spring comes soon for us both. I admire the fact that you live your life fully and with joy, despite the pain.


  8. words4jp says:

    I live this post. When i had my first knee surgery at 19, i was told i had the joints of a 40 yr old. Well, i am going to be 50 next month. Both knees have zero cartilage and the ankles and hips sound like crispy rice cereal. And the toes – i save money on zero pedicures. Yes – 22 years of dance…. Oh well…….💃. It was – is worth every minute.


  9. I hope you feel better soon! 🙂


  10. It’s good that you have found ways to keep yourself mobile. I still have a few options to explore. Maybe there is help for me yet 🙂


  11. Mike says:

    Three words for your hips and ankles:
    Glucosamine, turmeric, stretching.


  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Sorry to hear old Arthur is bothering you. Do you do yoga? I’ve found it so helpful (for knees and back) because it is gentler than other forms of exercise, yet it builds great strength with practice.


  13. ĽAdelaide says:

    So so true… looking back at what has caused much of my pains and illness, there is not much I regret in the doing and making life happen. Always there will be struggle and reward for that struggle tho getting out of bed as I grow older and stiffer, thus hurting… well, getting out of bed sometimes isn’t exactly what my body wants to do so she simply stays there, all snuggled in warm, and reads the day away. 🙂


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