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Welcome Aboard!

--"Izzy, how did you start dancing?"

--"What got you into martial arts?"

--"What kind of dancer/martial artist/writer are you?

--"How do you deal with brain damage, bodily injury and 

     C-PTSD, yet still dance, write, train, live the way you do?"

--"How do you still find joy and beauty amidst pain and loss?"

--"Wow, you should write your memoirs!" 

    This Is My Story

NSFW, 18+

  • Writer's pictureBella Dancer

MASTER OF TIDES, MISTRESS OF PLAY: How Lindsey Stirling Holds My Heart - Part 7


--THE MUSE IN THE MOON: A Thank You to My Muse & My Supporters

--BRAVE ENOUGH: To Fight in the Arena & Shatter Shackes


--LOST GIRLS - Rise Again. And Again. And Once More.

--BEHIND THE VEIL - Burying Things Underground

--BEYOND THE VEIL - Dancing with Shadows & Light

...Some people say that Persephone hates every second of being trapped in the Great Below. I'm not one of them. I say that, all winter long, she skips across strange pools filled with glowworms, enticing them to create arcs of light by tiptoe. I see her singing beneath the caverns of monolith crystals and bathing in the River of Fire. I see her stealing that three-headed monster puppy from her beloved husband, and prancing with the ghosts among the asphodel...

Play is one of the most important pieces of my alchemy. It's one of the most important aspects of my life. I mean, yeah, I love my toadstools and dark chocolate. I love my moody music, my monsters, and all my dancing skeletons. But when I forget how to play, that’s when the light truly goes out. Then it doesn’t matter if I’m stuck in the Underworld or supposedly on top of the world. Nothing is quite right when I misplace my sense of humor, my mischievous grin, and my inner child.

Sometimes I have to scrounge misfit toys out of trash heap or take a lesson from the cats. It never fails. A crumpled tinfoil ball and every dangling or intriguing thing that is absolutely NOT to be swiped at, gnawed, and torn down always holds more fascination than the most expensive store bought objects officially labeled “Cat Toys.”

By now you’ve learned just how many reasons that Lindsey Stirling is one of my all-time, top, enduring Muses. (1-7) The types of music she combines make it impossible for me to refrain from dancing. Her affinity for the moon, glitter, magic, faeries, soul-searching, tales of darkness and light, journeys of pain and healing, and of course there are all the costumes, wigs, makeup, dances, amazing locations…drooooool.

But one of the biggest reasons I adore her is her propensity for storytelling, outrageous characters, and play.

At this time in my life when I have finally--at long last--blessedly!--gained access to the trauma therapy I’ve needed since I was toddler, when we’re still dealing with a pandemic and three dozen different strains of social and political shenanigans, when I’m clawing my way back out of the injury hole yet again, compounded by three troublesome rounds of surgery, and while I am 100% clueless how I will ever get back onto the shelf of Stable Income Earners, I need art and play now more than ever.

I wish I had it in me to make and share more playful art myself right now. I just don’t.

EMDR is friggin’ exhausting. It saps spoons and it processes in the background of your operating system for days after you do it. Then you get to deal with the aftermath of what you discovered in there, and battle your own bullshit habits built on outdated neurological ruts. That’s why I’m not all hyped to Get Back Out There. For the first time in my life, I’m starting to understand on a logical, cerebral, lightbulb level what my heart and instincts have known since before kindergarten: that Out There doesn’t work for me the way it is and the way I’m built.

So now what?

Where do we go when our prayers are answered but the answer is NO?

Right now in my search for those answers, I go within. And I go outside. I go on scavenger hunts, delving into the explorations of other people who are more experienced and wiser about this stuff than I am. I dive into studies about the Darkness and the Light, and hunt down how it manifests within me. I go to other people who are going through similar things, listening to what works for them and seeing if it will apply to me, then offering my breadcrumbs back.

This whole journey with Lindsey Stirling has been one of my most consistent breadcrumb trails--the ones I have followed, and now the one I have left for y’all with this bloggy ode to her. After all that soul-searching and work, there is one more crucial thing that my Muse reminds me to do: pull out my favorite foods, my favorite clothes, my favorite things. She reminds me to grab my favorite toys and PLAY.

Everybody clap along now, and of course…I hope you dance!

Yeeeee-haw, dawgies!

Okay, so I might also like saloon-girl skirts, corsets, boots, dance rivalries, and I may or may not have an addiction to stringed musical instruments.

Ummm…then there’s Pirates.

If you know anything about both Lindsey Stirling and me, then you might be aware that with us, it’s a thing.

For me, there was the Pirate Dance, Ile Goughtn Bootay that I did with my Silky Lionesses. There was the rip-roarin’ Ghost of Stephen Foster, a dance I made in corset and floofy skirts, in honor of the Memphis Pirate Crew, the Desert Roses. There is the whole Good Ship Hartebeast thing that permeates this blog, and I have been known to dress up in pirate gear at random times.

Y’all know how I am about the ocean, the sea, the stars, but you may not know what a fiend I am for ships like this:

Oooooh, my drool-ness!

Photos by Shawn Barrow

This was part of my 2004 trip to the Royal Museums Greenwich: sea, space, history, creativity! Precisely the sort of place for me to geek out. Here one of the first friends I made in Colorado showed me around London after she had moved there. On this brisk July day, we visited the National Maritime Museum (oooh…), the Queen’s House (ahhh…), the Royal Observatory (whooaaah…), we straddled the Prime Meridian (squeeee!), and explored the Cutty Sark while refraining from saying, “Yarrrr.”

Okay, we refrained from saying it too much.

Then there was the year I got to camp at Pennsic with the Huntsville Naughty Nomads and ye olde pirates down in the Swamp. Yes, where we heckled from the ginormous pirate ship. All. Night. Long. I ship you not. That thing was awesome!

For me, the pirate thing goes hand-in-fin with the mermaid thing, as we can see with The Treasure Chest tale and the Siren Dance.

Mer-costume by Sahlah Tepes

There are also a boatload of oceanic metaphors floating around here. You don’t even fathom how many yet, because we’ve barely started plumbing the depths on that one.

(You really can’t stop me. Not sorry.)

In Lindsey’s online show, she told us the tale behind the title of her book, The Only Pirate In the Room. (6) I’ll let her tell you the full story, but needless to say, this was one of those pivotal moments for my Muse. Sometimes we decide to halt, tiptoe backwards, and slink out before anybody notices the lone weirdo lurking in the doorway. But sometimes we just have to stride in and be the only pirate in the room—yarrrrr!

It never fails. Anytime I forget that, somehow Cap’n Lone Pirate Lindsey always comes yo-ho-hoing into my life to remind me that I have multiple pirate costumes, multiple mermaid costumes, a longtime skull penchant, a love of octopus hugs, a bunch of Jolly Rogers, a whole lot of rattly skeletons, and an aversion to shallow waters.

This next one's for the Squirrel, the Salty Wenches, the Octo-Hugger Monster Maker, the Sirens, the Jolly Sailor Boys, and all my Mer-Sisters. Along with The Arena and First Light, this is another song I forever plunk away at, honing it closer and closer to the day when I will know which piratey getups to wear and how to film a dance to it.


I’m gonna need a moment after that one, because I can’t not dance every time it comes on.

We will begin our segue back toward what happened the week after I blundered Through the Looking Glass and went out in search of Wonderland. Perhaps then I’ll be ready to tell you about that Yin-Yang Rabbit Hole where gladiatrices prowl amongst gladiators, where you never know which end of the Warrior/Princess binary I might swing to next, and where…

I might be strong.

I might be weak.

There might be a part of me that I won’t let you keep.

Been on this road

And come this far

Don’t need a man to hold my hand

I just want one to hold my…


--UP NEXT: 'BIRD OUTTA THE CAGE - A photo gallery of screenshots from all the dances my Stirling Muse just inspired out of me while I was writing about her, as the leaves turned gorgeous and the wind called.

--OR: I've written about a bunch of my other dance muses HERE.


Hartebeast: it's like "heart...a beast!" Yeah!


1) Lindsey Stirling

--Her website

--The wiki

--Her YouTube

--"My Story" - As told by Lindsey, set to one of my favorite self-soothing, pick me up anthems: Anchor by Mindy Gledhill

3) Lindsey Stirling's new tour and album, Artemis

4) The artemis comic book

5) Atwood Magazine's interview with Lindsey Stirling

6) Lindsey's book, The Only Pirate in the Room - yarrrrrr!

7) My Spotify collection of Lindsey Stirling songs that make me dance and swoon. I admit, I'm a bit of a Lindsey purist, but there are a few collaborations that I adore. As we will soon see.


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