#SpeakingInDance: I Didn’t Die. And So I Dance.
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#SpeakingInDance: I Didn’t Die. And So I Dance.

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“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~ American poet and writer Maya Angelou

I looked up to the ceiling and said: “Please God, please just let me die.”

It was another night of no sleep with my heart pounding like it was about to explode. Another meal I could not hold down. I could not stand up or wear clothes because my skin hurt. I had to imagine myself outside my body to escape the pain. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror, even harder to feel the concerns of my beloved family and friends when they saw me.

I was sad and a bit angry. I thought I had done everything right. I had always done my best, tried to study hard, worked hard and I tried my best to be a good person. I thought I had everything under control. I couldn’t understand why it was happening and why none of the doctors I saw could help me. It felt like I had lost all control as I could not fix it, stop it or understand it — that bothered me just as much as the physical sufferings.

As I was standing on the edge of the roof of my apartment building looking down, it felt like someone came up behind me and gently guided me back to safety. I felt a warmth that I could not explain. It was as if God was speaking to me: “This is not your path.”

That was over seven year ago.

I have learnt that one must listen when God speaks. Some of the most bizarre things that had happened to me were exactly what I needed the most. There was often an important message.

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Performing on stage at the end-of-the-school-year performance at the Auditorium Saint Germain (Paris, France). Photo taken by Juan Manuel Abellan (Instagram @juanmanuelabellan).

If I could go back and choose whether or not to have that entire experience, the answer would be an enthusiastic “YEEEEEEEES… and a little sooner please”.

Sounds crazy? Not at all, it’s easy for me to say this now because it is obvious that I made it through. More critically, the experience helped me connect with myself and others better, and led me to the most important lesson of my life — learning to let go.

No matter how much I thought I was in control, I was not in control. At the very least, for sure I could not control the weather, my health or how other people behaved. The illusion of control caused unnecessary stress and disappointments, and took me away from the flow of life. It made me chase after things and people blindly. I needed to learn that I should have a preference and a hope. That is, however, very different from believing that I was God and could control the outcome. And when things did not turn out as I had hoped, I needed to trust, understand the message and evolve.

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Preparing for a make-up test – trying on the new Christmas colors. Photo taken by make-up artist, Wallace Woo (Instagram @dimiwally)

There is another special bonus from having survived the ordeal — my friends think I am amazing. They tell me, “You are so strong” or “You are one of the strongest people I know”. Well, I am not sure if my friends and I share the same definition of “strong”. But yes, I do have a strength from my trust in God, in the power of the universe and in my internal compass. I also have a strong appreciation for life. Not only am I able to eat, sleep and poop nowadays, I even get to follow my passion in dance.

When I dance, the chatter in my head stops. I dance for the feelings of joy, freedom, love, hope, peace, honesty, fearlessness, beauty, compassion, friendships and, most importantly, I dance as it gives me the chance to share all of that with you.

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A picture from my first solo performance, of my choreography in Jan. 2019. A piece about trials and renewals. Photo taken by Tommaso Giuntini, dance photographer (Instagram @t0mm1x)
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Patsy Lo is the founder and curator of sml Dance.  Originally from Hong Kong, Patsy worked in marketing for more than 20 years globally.  At 48, she left Apple Inc. after working for the American tech giant in various cities to become a full-time dance student in Paris, France.  She still lives in Paris, practising ballet and contemporary Graham technique.  Besides dancing more than 20 hours every week, she is also the founder of sml (@sml_dance on Instagram), which curates dance performances. The aim of the company is three fold, make dance more accessible, provide a bridge for choreographers and dancers to cross platforms, and ultimately, inspire people to reconnect within themselves and feel, move and expand more.
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