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Marinda: Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see your beautiful face.
Carrie Ann: Oh my God, it’s so good to see her. I got to turn the volume up. Hold on cause I can’t hear you. There we go. And then now we have to reframe because we’re all framed differently than we were just a little while ago. And both of us, you know, we’re perfectionist so I know both of us like wait, that’s not the framing. I just had.
Marinda: We’re sisters and many things. One of them being Capricorns,
Carrie Ann: which means Type A
Marinda: It’s so it’s good to see you. It’s so good to see you. My mood has lifted times a thousand. Just seeing your face. Me too. I love you so much.
Carrie Ann: Let me just tell everybody a little bit about you. For those who don’t know, this incredible human being that I’m sitting across from in this virtual world or actually maybe not so far in reality, if you really think about it energetically, we might not be so far. Marinda Davis is an incredibly talented choreographer.
And yesterday I talked about how she choreographed and so you think you can dance and I was wrong. Hopefully everyone who knows me well, maybe we got some. So you think you can dance people coming in to check you out because actually she’s worked on, I met her on dancing with the stars. She choreographed an incredible number on Julianne half, which you all remember. It was that number where Julianne was diagnosed and it was sort of horrendous. It was like your dream, right? Was incredible. But more importantly, what you did on the world of dance season two was amazing. So if you guys haven’t seen it, you have to check it out. She’s a brilliant, award-winning, poignant, powerful emotional driven choreographer who has a lot to say and it’s important messages. But more importantly, she was featured on the CW show called My Last Days.
There was a docu-series and beyond being an incredible choreographer, this series that she did is from the point of view of courageous people living with a terminal illness. Yes. So this dear, lovely human being across from me has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and we wanted to talk about what it’s like to go through this pandemic with the conditions that we have. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your condition so people can know, you know, all the autoimmune warriors will know what we’re talking about as soon as we get into it.
Marinda: Sure. So I’m going to try to do them off the top of my head. I have eight different conditions. Most of them are autoimmune. One is genetic, the genetic diseases, vascular Ehlers-Danlos, which is what kind of qualifies me as terminal.
It’s a disease that affects the collagen in your body. So essentially everything in your body is held together by collagen. So really at any moment, any of your organs could fall apart from not having the college and to hold them together. So that’s what makes that disease so dangerous. I also have lupus, Sjogren’s yes. Both of those Hashimoto’s, pots, mastocytosis inappropriate sinus tachycardia, and Cushing’s and started to know yes. Dysautonomia pots is, is the kind of the, okay, look at you. I’m a Capricorn. What were you expecting? So you did the research. Even with brain fog, I can still pull it. So I am impressed.
Carrie Ann: So how are you doing with all of this? I mean, and also recently you had surgery, right?
Marina: I did have surgery.
Carrie Ann: How are you doing?
Marinda: You know, I from lupus I went through three years of chemotherapy and I’m still on quite a bit of very dangerous drugs that have a lot of dangerous side effects. And because of that it did some significant damage to my intestines in my colon. So I had to have surgery to kind of correct that damage. And it oddly coincided with, with kind of the beginning of quarantine. So you know, this, you and I, if there’s even a suggestion of somewhere we need to be, we will figure out a way to be there and fight our way their crawling. So the fact that it was kind of a lucky in this weird way that quarantine coincided with the path of my healing because we didn’t have anywhere to be, cause we couldn’t be anywhere. So for once I, I actually followed directions and I healed on time, which I’m very grateful for. It was definitely a rough recovery.
Carrie Ann: I’m glad you’re better now. So you actually brought this to me. You reached out and said you should do an Instagram live where we talk about what it’s like to go through this with autoimmune conditions. And I do think that this time has been especially challenging. It’s especially challenging for everybody in their own unique way. But we can talk a little bit more about sort of the insider’s point of view of having autoimmune conditions and yeah. What, what’s it been like for you, first of all, how many days have you been isolated? Are you isolated and, yeah.
Marinda: So when I say this has been one of the most difficult times in my life. I’m certainly not one to gloss over the struggle cause I don’t think that services anyone. Right. and you know a lot about my life story. So for me to label it as one of the most difficult times is, is significant. And I think it’s been difficult for all the reasons that it’s been difficult for every single person going through this. But I think kind of heightened for certain reasons. One, being that because I had surgery, I was quarantining a little before everybody else, two because we’re immunocompromised and have underlying conditions. You know, our, our rules are very similar to the elderly, right? Like we can’t be anywhere near each other. So we have these very strict guidelines from our doctors. The third is I’ve been doing this alone. I live alone and you know, that’s tremendously hard. I’ve been doing it for give or take 80 days with minimal to no human contact. So and I also experienced a death of someone that I love that wasn’t COVID related, but trying to wade through that grief and, and process that on your own without like that traditional way of healing and, and celebrating a life with other people has been difficult. Yeah.
Carrie Ann: And the service or seeing all the people yes. Sharing the lost together.
Marinda: It’s been a new experience. And I know that’s been an experience for a lot of people through this. You know, you wouldn’t die. And all the autoimmune warriors know what it’s like to to be stopped. This is not unfamiliar to us in any way. On some level we’ve done this as experts. Don’t you feel like we are, we really are. I wish we weren’t, but we are. You know, and that’s the perspective I’ve been trying to inject into a lot of people. A lot of, a lot of people have texted me and just been like, how do you deal with this? Cause so many people are experiencing a loss of control for the first time. And also just, just that abrupt stop that we constantly feel. So I’ve been trying to say, imagine what it’s like when you, the only one stopped. Right? And everybody else is still going. That’s what we get a lot. Right?
Carrie Ann: And then we’re like watching the world go by and we’re like, ah, the in bed flare day.
Marinda: Yeah, we’ve got a red light and everybody else is like in the fast lane, it’s the worst. So we’re lucky. I use that term loosely, that we get to experience this collectively. You know, I’ve seen so many resources pop up, right? Whether it’s financial or mental or emotional resources or just like the ability to beam in now. Like now you can be a mental work, you can beam into events and I think like how beautiful would that have been like a year ago when you were, I couldn’t physically get to work or couldn’t physically get to an event. You know, there’s power in numbers, so everybody’s experiencing this and, and people are figuring it out. I just hope that when this is over and normal people, and I mean that by helping people get to go back into the world. And maybe for us, it’s later. I hope these sort of resources and accessibility stay present so that people like us can, can still take advantage of those and still be present even if we can’t physically get there.
Carrie Ann: Yeah, no, I think that’s so powerful. And I think what it’s doing is it’s making the world for those who have not experienced being immunocompromised or the things that, you know, anybody who’s going through some sort of health journey and there are sort of sequestered at home if they haven’t experienced that, I think people are now going to be a lot more compassionate. There’s an opportunity here for more compassion towards people who are struggling or feeling isolated. Because I think what’s fascinating about this situation is that we are all now understanding what it’s like to be totally alone in a weird way, like isolated, even if you’re with your family. Cause, even when you’re with some people, are sequestered with their families, right? That’s a whole different journey. And they could do a whole secret, I’m sure a whole series that we can do one about being sequestered alone and what that’s like. But everyone is going through an extremely challenging time. And that in that sense we’re all together because we’re all going through something that almost feels most days on half the days beyond my own ability. Yeah. And yet somehow we rise. So then it’s like, Oh, it’s overwhelming, but then I rise. Oh my God. That’s pretty incredible. There’s the hope. There’s the, there’s the faith. There’s this, you know, this wonderful feeling of like, Oh, and then back down. And that’s what it’s been for me. I, I’m, I feel just like this huge roller coaster. Has it been like that for you as well?
Marinda: Very much so. It’s up and down. It’s been quite a wide, I think. What’s kind of gotten me through it is, you know, there’s two easy, easy answers to that question. And the bigger one, I’d say like the easiest answer is sometimes I just hang onto my privilege, which is literally like I’m talking to you with a roof over my head. It’s an iPhone to you. So that’s so much. I mean, sometimes it’s all I can hang on to and that’s something to hang on to. And then there’s a quote that I love that goes, like I’ve, I’ve survived a hundred percent of my worst days so far. So sometimes I just think of like the darker days and I’m like, okay, I’m acknowledging my survival on that. And that’s powerful. But there’s been some moments, I don’t know about you, but like, they’ve just been so dark. And, and I definitely, and I’m sure you’re like this and all the warriors that are watching we’re, we’re equipped to have kind of that stamina and endurance to be in like the darkest cave, right? Metaphorically. And we will search like every crevice to find like this little flicker of light and we’ll hang on to that flicker of light for all it’s worth. And, but there have been days that I can’t find the flicker of light. And that’s to say, that’s just a metaphor for saying like, you can’t find the reason why something is happening, you know, and we’re, we’re human. So we want to understand that. So on those days this, this sentence keeps coming to me that I, that I kind of wrote down and it’s that there’s no greater illuminator to gratitude than loss. Right? correct. And that sentence has kind of been floating in my head through all the really tough days. And again, yeah, there’s no greater illuminator to gratitude than loss.
Carrie Ann: Yes, yes. Darkness to see light.
Marinda: Yes. And, and that’s just say, you know, there’s stuff in my life that tragedy, trauma, you know, that that’s so horrendous that I will never be able to find the reason for, or just like this pandemic. I think we’re upwards of 320,000 people who have passed away from it. We’ll never find the reason in that every one of those people was the center of somebody’s life. But you know, lost has, has informed who I am and the artists that I am so much. And I know that it’s informed a lot of who you are as well. And when you walk through your life with this heightened sense of gratitude of anything in anyone can be taken from you at any time. And that can sound depressing, but it’s not, it makes me hold on to everything. Like it’s the greatest gift. And you know, like the passion I have for what I do, I know it is overwhelming to a lot of people and some people can’t understand it, but it’s, it’s informed by knowing what it is to be without it.
Carrie Ann: If, yeah, no, it makes perfect sense. I also remember the last time we spoke, listen, before we shut down, I was in the process of creating a podcast and you came on as one of my guests. And it was such an amazing conversation. It was the first time we had met in person and it was so uplifting. I remember you said Oh gosh, and now, now my brain fog is hitting me full force. I just had a thought and it’ll get, yeah, it was about, we don’t have the luxury to not find a solution. I mean those, I’m paraphrasing, but that was as good as I could get with my brain. But it was like, because of the health conditions that I always believe are there in a, as everything is, is a gift. And it takes a while to figure out where the gift is. And some days you can see it and some days you can’t. And that’s all okay. I don’t think it’s meant to be an everyday gift. I think that’s also like as we’re talking about, you need the darkness to see the light at ying-yang. It’s all the things, balance, harmony, all the things that we talk about. Right. But you, I was so profoundly struck by you saying that, that cause like I consider myself somebody who always looks for the solution, always looks for the fix because I never thought you could do otherwise. And now once you said that, it was like, you made sense of so much of my life. Where did that come from for you? Like, I wanna understand like the thought process behind that. And because it’s, I think it’s so powerful and I think a lot of people will resonate with this, whether they have any illnesses or not.
Marinda: Right. I think in the sense that we don’t have control over our, our diagnoses. In many ways they control us. So it was finding what can we control, right? Like that is what keeps me sane every morning is I literally make a list in my head of, okay, what can I control today? Because having no control, it’s, it’s horrible, right? It’s a horrible feeling when you don’t have control. I mean, we have control over so little. So I think that process of, of how do I cope with something that I can’t fix? And you and I are fixers, right? So yeah, yeah. It was that process of like how, how do you deal with, with what you have, you know?
Carrie Ann: And that’s sort of, I would imagine as the catalyst of why we wanted to talk today because we’re used to the feeling of not being in control. And I feel that that is something that now a lot of people are facing. The grand illusion of control that we all thought we had. The truth is we’ve never really had that much control. What we do have control over, and it’s also being highlighted is sort of our own space, right? Because now everybody is sequestered in their own space. They have to stay in their own bubble. And what they do with their bubble outside of their own home affects other people, which is truly exactly what life on like a philosophical sense is. It’s like we are these beings and we’re just one and we’re totally independent and really all we have control over is our immediate surroundings. But also everything that we do can affect others like going out. If you’re asymptomatic right now during the pandemic, even if you don’t think you have it, and even if you’re not going to be affected by it, you could affect a whole community of people like that. And it’s, it’s fascinating that we’re getting this opportunity. And I don’t mean I don’t say that lightly. I know that we have lost so many lives. And I don’t mean it in that way. It’s just that the only way I can process and survive this is for my mind to try to find the positive. And so I’m not making light of anybody’s loss or anything like that, but the gift in it is that we get to sort of really understand what it is to be truly human. Again, we see emotional rollercoaster. We’re all experiencing all of our emotions on a daily basis nowadays,
Marinda: Right? I mean, there, there’s, this virus does not discriminate. I mean, it’s affecting everyone celebrity or not rich, poor, any race, you know any ethnicity. So we’re really experiencing something collectively as a world, not just our country as the world globally for the first time. So like you said, there’s so much opportunity for growth and, and compassion and hopefully, when, and if we go back to normal and whatever that new normal is, people can begin to walk through their lives with, with more appreciation and gratitude for the things of people that are around them. And, and more compassion for people that, that you know, don’t have an easy journey. You know.
Carrie Ann: I want to ask you if this is the case for you, but since we’ve been in the pandemic, how many days have we been in lockdown now? Like I can’t even count.
Marinda: I feel like it might be around 70.
Carrie Ann: Holy cow. Yeah. These numbers are crazy and now it almost, right. It feels like, I don’t know, it feels like, I don’t know. I’ve lost all sense of time every time on the talk. It’s funny because I do the introduction and I’m like, it’s this date and I’m, I get it wrong half the time because I, I’m so confused already at this point. And I think I don’t even get worried about it because I think everybody else is confused too. But yeah, during this time I have had a lot more flare-ups than normal. And I was wondering for me, I think it’s because there’s this constant cloud, the stress that’s always there and sometimes we’re dealing with it. Sometimes we’re not. But it’s like, it’s actually still right there attached to us at all times. This weight of uncertainty, the fear, the confusion. I mean the fear of tomorrow and like a lot of people are not working right now. A lot of people can barely put food on the table if they can at all. This uncertainty people have, people’s jobs that they used to have are not even there for them to go back to. It’s a terrible time. And I think we’re all worried about it. And even if you’re an empathetic person and it’s not happening to you, you’re feeling it. I feel that my body is constantly exhausted and I’m always just on the verge of a flare and if not in a flare, I’ve had pain all throughout this whole time. Yeah. What about you?
Marinda: Yeah, I’ve had a couple of really bad flares through this and I also feel like I feel the weight that you’re, you’re experiencing. You know, unfortunately, anxiety, you know, depression, emotion affects everything and it certainly exacerbates, it’s not the reason, but it exacerbates chronic illness and you know, it’s, it’s hard to come out from under that cloud when, when everyone’s experiencing it and you turn on the TV and you can’t ignore the reality of the situation, you know. So yeah, I’ve, I’ve found that I’ve had a lot of pain. I’m doing a lot more within the house. I’m really lucky that I have, you know, help sometimes and I can’t have those people here, so I’m doing things that I know will, will flare me for a week. But I have no choice.
Carrie Ann: It’s so true. Like we did a brief chat yesterday to kinda catch up and we were talking about how like, Oh my God, cause our hands, you know, hands hurt the rheumatoid arthritis, the weakness in the wrist. So that’s such a bummer. Cause then you’re getting things shipped from the house to the house because you can’t go to the grocery store and then it comes into big box and you’ve got to cut it. And you’ve got to carry it, but your hands don’t work, so you can’t really cut it. You can’t take it out. Oh my God. It’s like sometimes it’s so frustrating and then like you’re trying to do all the things and then you’re dropping everything cause you can’t, it’s like I just try to take my dish to the sink and it’s like a whole catastrophe. Yeah. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I laugh.
Marinda: Yeah. That’s a little of both. I mean I was, I was trying to make a recipe the other day and I couldn’t, I couldn’t open a jar of sauce and I just had to throw in the towel because I’m like, I can’t get this thing open cause my hands were so swollen.
Carrie Ann: I hear you. You know what I gotta send you this. I shop in like the senior citizen’s section of Amazon because basically when you have autoimmune conditions, all my doctors, it was like, you’re kind of like a 75-year-old. I’m like, yeah, that’s kind of how it feels. Like the pain and the things that I can do. And now the eyesight’s going, but there’s these, there’s, there’s a kit that I have to see the link for that has all these utensils that will help you open jars. Like what is this plastic mat thing that you can open any jar. And it’s definitely going to meet that. I’m going to send that to you. Okay. But what if, let’s see, what tips can you give like three of your best tips to stay out of like the full tumbling, spiraling depression?
Marinda: Yeah. I’d say my three tips would be kind of what I mentioned a second ago, is to even write it down. What can you control, right? What do you have control over today? What you eat while you drink, you know whether you meditate or not. You know, what, what can you control in your life? I do, but I only started meditating during this pandemic. So that is a gift that’s, that’s come out of this. Number two, I would say keep connecting with people, especially if you live alone. Nothing will compare to physical, human contact. Right? but face times, zoom text you know, find those connections with as many people as you can and people that don’t live alone, try to remember your friends that do live alone and check in on them. Right.
Carrie Ann: It matters when people do that. For me it’s like brightens my life, doesn’t it?
Marinda: Yes. Yes. Completely. And thirdly I would say you know, be kind to yourself just in the sense of if you’re having a day where all you can do is cry and eat popcorn on the couch and watch Grey’s Anatomy repeatedly I have to say, okay. You know if it’s, you know, you’re cleaning your whole house and, and that’s what makes you feel better. That’s okay too. If, if you’re angry, that’s okay. You know, basically just to say every emotion is okay during this. Nobody’s ever experienced anything like this and you know, it’s all okay.
Carrie Ann: Yeah. I loved your advice because that’s the write it down. I think writing it down is something that not everybody does. And I think that’s something like from your background of being an artist and an expressor, I like to call on this because we have to express all that stuff that’s going on inside it. That’s a great habit to get into that. I feel like a lot of people don’t really have access to. And to stay connected is so important. I mean, as dancers, we also know this. Anybody who’s been an athlete knows that we all exchange energy. So like, you know, when you’re running next to somebody, you could feel their energy dancing next to somebody, you know, they’re forward or backward. Like without looking, you can feel it. You know, all humans have these abilities. They’re just not as finely tuned as people that have been in physical professions. You know, and we’ve had to sort of learn these, develop these skill sets. And I just feel like people now with all this alone time and all or all the time not working and not being distracted by things that really do not define you like jobs and all the things that have sort of, we’ve lost right now, but we’re still, we’re still the beautiful human beings that we are. In fact, maybe I think maybe humans are becoming more beautiful in the sense that they’re becoming more authentic. And I see a lot of compassion happening around me. I also see a lot of ugly stuff too. I’m not going to lie and I don’t mean to dismiss it, but I see a lot of beautiful compassion. I feel that people are much more present in the moment notice. Like when you do connect, like this connection between us is a thousand times more valuable. Maybe it would have been even like three months ago because it’s, it’s, we’re not having it all the time.
Marinda: Right, right. And, and we’re not being pulled in the millions of directions that we’re normally pulled in. I’ve, I’ve, that’s like the one really beautiful thing that’s stood out to me the most of this time is just these conversations that, that are finally happening because of the time and space, you know, there is to have them and, you know.
Carrie Ann: are you teaching right now? How are you doing that and where can people find your teaching?
Marinda: I am, I’m just kind of doing everything through zoom. Like everybody is, I’m in the dance community and just kind of doing guest classes for different professional studios and studios here and there. I’m probably gonna do a class next week, open to everybody. So, you know, I would say just like check-in on social media for whenever that gets announced.
Carrie Ann: So inspirations, yes. Or inspirations. Everybody should get that inspiration. Also, you know, I was thinking about this, cause I’m, you know, waiting for the fall and hoping dancing with the stars, all it comes back and you know, with this uncertain time, nobody knows what’s going on. Right. how do you see the dance world-shifting with this new world order that we have?
Marinda: That is a great question. As we kind of just mentioned that the teaching world has changed very quickly, right? Like the teaching world professional studios, regular studios has literally shifted to zoom overnight. Dancers are moving their couch in their living room and acting like they’ve done this their entire life. I, you mentioned this yesterday, I’m going to take your quote. You said dancers are like the most adaptable creatures, right? And that’s so true. You and I, and you more than me have been enough, have been on sets enough to know that the things that are requested of us on the spot, the changes, but just any other artists, I’m sorry, but any other artists or any other genre onset would, would either have a meltdown or a tantrum. We don’t even bat our eyes. I, and we make the change and, and you know, because dance isn’t always the top priority and the arts, which I hope we change we have constantly had to adjust and adapt. So if anybody’s going to get through this, it’s, it’s the dance community. I’m not sure how we remedy like choreography in live performance, which is you know, the center of our industry. I, I’m, I’m still figuring that out. So much of what we do is, is based on connection and awareness and all that stuff. Right. so I’m not sure, but I have no doubt that we’re going to be the ones to figure it out. Like, you know, dancers are gonna figure out how to go on.
Carrie Ann: We’ll look at TikTok, I’m sorry. It’s the whole world is dancing now. Yeah. I mean they’re saying the tic talk is the platform now that has boomed the most during these quarantine times and most of what people are doing are these little dances and I cannot tell you, but you know, always people come up to me and they’re like, when are you going to do Dancing With The Stars for normal people? I’m like, well here it is now TikTok because now everybody can dance and they have a great time and no pressure. Len Bruno and I are not sitting there with paddles. It’s unsure what’s coming up. Oh it’s, it’s, it’s been a half an hour that we’ve talked. I can’t believe, it went so fast. Where does the time go? But I hope we can do this again. Me too. And before we go, is there anything else that you want to share?
Marinda: I just want to say to you, thank you for having me and you are such an inspiration to me. I said this when we filmed the podcast, but you know, society and culture tell us that as sick people we can’t be happy and successful and you defy that. You’re such an example for me to go, yes, you can have both of those things. And so thanks for loving me and being my sister and, and for just being there and all things good and hard, you know.
Carrie Ann: Oh my gosh, thank you so much. And of course I appreciate that because especially coming from you because I truly respect you and I have so much admiration for all that you do, your creativity like I’m envious in a good way. You know what I mean? Like you know that that, that when you love somebody’s work and you just like, Oh, that must have felt so good when she saw that come to life and Oh, the app, like the struggle must’ve. Oh, all of it. Like I just, I love you, I love you as a human being. I love your process. I love what you choose to present in this world, the courage that you have, the way you do it with such elegance and grace, and yet a bit of Capricorn strength. Like no one’s messing with you. Yeah. And most importantly, I’m just happy that you are healthy right now. And continuing to look, she’s this your idea, you want it to do this and so it shall be so it shall be. Hopefully. Yes. Let’s do more. Yeah, let’s do more check-ins and then I will send you the video and then you can post it. You’ll have it. I’ll have it. We can play around and have this and share it with people because I think some of the things that we talked about here could help people with or without health conditions.
Marinda: Yeah. I really hope so. I love you.
Carrie Ann: I love you. I want to hug you. Air hug. I’ll see you soon. I can’t wait until we can really hug again. Stay safe.
Marinda: Thank you. You too. Thank you. Bye.