• Amanda B. Cunningham

DANCE MOVES

It doesn’t matter the amount of faith we hold or the meditation we practice, we’ll still have those days we wish the skies would open and the answers to our panging questions be placed before us.


It feels like I’ve been holding my breath for quite some time now. Although the skies always deliver awe, they’ve yet to deliver what I’ve been asking for. Or maybe they have.


After a year and half of creating our life here in Charleston and for the first time in 13 years having believed I landed a place to call home, Joe voiced his desire to move back to Kentucky. Once again I find myself in the brooding comfort zone of major change. Of course this isn’t anything out of the norm for him or I. Our very relationship was built on the hull of an unstable vessel crossing an ocean. We’ve learnt heart is what drives our decisions, rarely logic.


A complex and layered decision to be made, we’ve talked it out a million times over. His confession came at a time when I was running headfirst towards contentment. I was ready to move forward on a lease to open a studio in Charleston, which would have been the culmination of many, many months of work between my business partner and myself. I landed a promotion at my day job and was thoroughly enjoying creating a local community of friendships and connections. Add in a pinch of weather, a dash of lifestyle and handful of family, I was home.


The depths of my decision-making are plentiful and abundant. When you get used to the upheaving of your life it does become easier, but never easy. His pull is simple. He feels his heart is calling him to Kentucky. A place he grew up, a place he lost and found himself more than once, a place his family has established deep roots; Kentucky is at his core.


And so we find ourselves in a tangled mess of hearts. As a millennial couple we equally want to support each other’s dreams yet follow our own. As most of us can agree, marriage is not perfect. But even through the dismay, love is driving every single decision we make. It is vitally important to love yourself as much as your partner and I respect our ability to truly want to create a balanced, realistic life with each other. If anything, it is these moments of gray that actually bond us and bring us closer together. Each layer of support creates a stronger web.


I’m not ready to give up on Charleston and I’m certainly not ready to move back to Kentucky. I will fight for what I believe I want my life to look like, and I refuse to settle for anything less. The last few months have been filled with texts and emails followed up by exchanges and conversations. Deafening on the repeat button, we are confused and frustrated. Falling back to the one thing I know true, yoga. The one thing he knows, God. We’ve found comfort in agreeing to be passengers for the moment.


Simply, I just want to know we are making the right decisions for our family and for our futures. Having lived in 6 states and 4 countries in less than 10 years, home is not a place, nor is your calling defined by a zip code. I don’t fear the change of state-lines; I fear that state-lines will change the core of us. And as I search for the words to explain that, I can’t find them.

In every heartbreak or colossal change I’ve experienced in my past, seeing the light or understanding the journey was nearly impossible in the midst of it. It’s usually not until months or years later we look back and realize everything happened exactly in the order in which it should and that we wouldn’t have changed a thing. I’m in the midst of it now though, and I can’t find clarity yet.


A couple weeks back we were at a wedding, drinking and dancing. The summer’s breeze was moist as it fell across the lake and the sun setting gave to a classic backdrop. Catching up with old friends and making new ones, I tried my best to let the band drown out the Groundhog Day question I still didn’t have an answer for. My mind was as tired as my feet and the Chardonnay was going well with the music. Yet in this silly moment of drunken conversations and dance moves, clear as day under the stars, it appeared.


He wasn’t trying to persuade me or question my motives. In a casual and laughable conversation with my always-witty brother-in-law, in between my ‘pee break’ and my ‘I need another drink break’ he grabbed my arm as I was about to run off and asked a simple yet weighty question.

“Where will you and Joe make the biggest difference in this lifetime, where are you needed most?”

The music seemed to slow and time pause…my answer was Kentucky.

Funny how when we least expect lucidity, the moment we’ve let go of needing, dancing barefoot under the stars…the skies open.