I! Am! Very! Anxious!

Okay? Is everyone paying attention! I’m quite nervous, over here! About my work life…or lack thereof! About my love life! About how I’m not eating much lately, yet I continue to gain weight! Yes! A little twitchy, me!

Well. That was cathartic. On to other news, also known as “I Have, Simultaneously, Too Much Going On and Not Enough Going On, And So I Will Take Refuge In Benign Minutiae. Hey, Is That How You Spell That?”

Ladies and gentlemen: “One of the greatest privileges in my life is to be your mom because you are the greatest person to be a mom to.”That’s what my mom emailed me after I wrote my late Mother’s Day entry. There you have it. Proof she’s the best.

Also, speaking of good moms, Carl’s mom took me to the Seattle Art Museum this afternoon, and treated me to a very nice exhibit of African Art and a scrumptious lunch and a good talk. Yum. Oh, see where I said I’m not eating much lately? Scratch that. What I mean is that I’m not exercising lately. That’s different, right? Anyway, in one part of the exhibit there was a video of tribal dancing in masks projected onto one of the walls. There were about eighty bajillion school groups there today, and some of the kids (all in their plaid uniforms, which made it even sweeter) started dancing along with the dancers on the wall, if that makes sense. This one guy who was sort of enveloped in what looked, to this untrained eye, in a gigantic raffia shroud, would do a big turn. The kids would do a big turn. He’s sway back and forth. They’d sway back and forth. He’d crouch down. They’d crouch down. It was very cool…the best parts were these: the kids were totally doing it unselfconsciously…just dancing around in front of a video projected on the wall. I didn’t hear any of them laugh at each or anything. The second thing was that all the grown-ups in charge of them, their teachers and the docents, were totally fine letting them dance. Didn’t shush them or anything. It’s like everyone was all, well, hell, there’s dancing to be done, so let’s do it, okay? I wish I could explain this better, but you’ll just have to trust me when I said it took “interactive” to one of them whole new levels.

And speaking of dancing, everyone will, I’m sure, be thrilled to know that my bellydance piece is going quite well. We went over thirty minutes last night, thanks to my decision that “the spinning is taking too long.” Now that we’ve reworked it a little, our part of the dance goes something like this (you have to hum our music to get the full effect. Oh. You don’t know our music? Well, where were you last night, slacker?):

“Undulate undulate and place the arm. And hip, and hip, and loop-de-loop…and twirl a-round. Hip, and hip, and loop-de-loop and turn a-round. Spin the veil. Leaaaaan in and leaaaan out. Turn around with hand on head! And switch the veil! And come together and turn around, and turn towards the veil and turn around and frame the butt and shimmy shimmy shimmy and turn around and then somehow get down on the floor and then somehow wave arms around and then somehow get up, and then spin off with the spin that uses the arm.”

Make sense? If it doesn’t, it’s because we’re not completely done with the last bit, the floor work part. You’ll just have to imagine it.

So, we were watching a video about veil work, and I was noticing that the the dancer, with whom I’ve taken class in the past, wasn’t really doing anything super fancy with her veil. She was just sort of dancing to the music with her veil, and it looked just gorgeous. I started thinking that even though I’ve taken dance classes at many different points in my life, and always loved it, and have been bellydancing for about three years in a very half-assed way, I still don’t really know how to dance. I can certainly memorize basic steps and do a routine and follow directions, but I can’t just dance. I can’t seem to follow the music and let it tell me what to do or not even worry about being told what to do, just do it, just dance it, just feel it. I can’t shut my brain off. Last night when we were practicing, Ruby kept saying, “But don’t you hear it?” And I’d say, yes, I hear the cue, I hear the beat, I hear when I’m supposed to turn. But that’s not what she was saying; she was saying, don’t you hear what the music wants from your body and your feet and your veil? Just go and do it. It’s easy.

And I wonder, are there other things like that in life? Are there other times when you have to forget your memorization and your cue and the right beat and the right way of doing things, and all the teachers and docents watching you, and just dance on out there, right in the middle of the room, if you have to? Are there people in our lives that we can’t predict or control but with whom we can just go where they’ll take us, even if we forget the flamenco turn or we make the beat a couple of seconds late? When do you just have to let go? How do we learn how to dance?

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