August 09, 2005

Shimmey and a Shake

I'm a bit burnt out at the moment so instead of committing bloggercide I've decided to start posting random facts about myself.

I love, love, love to dance. I skipped walking and went straight to dancing. I was never put into lessons though. My mom wasn't the type. In order to take your kids to soccer, dance or gymnastics lessons you have to either wake up, put the bong away or come up with a few dollars to spend on someone other then yourself.

I'm not bitter.

I was a natural anyways. I can remember being as young as 5 and dancing for potheads at parties. I grew up in San Diego and my mom often took us to the beach for bonfire parties. We'd be there all day, sometimes into the night.

When digging up crabs and hunting for seashells grew boring I'd dance. While all these strangers sat around playing the guitar, singing, laughing, arguing all behind the influence of weed, LSD and booze, I'd dance.

I can still remember the feel of sand between my toes.

Warm. Soft. Silky.

I can still smell the air.

Tangy. Salty. Fresh.

The ocean breeze was cool, calm, addictive.

Addictive. Yes. I believe this is why we stayed the night on the beach so much. My mom was something of a gypsy with gypsy friends. I'd watch people walk around with a basket full of kittens.

I chose a black one.

Kittens don't like to dance.

I'd dance for my own amusement. It kept me busy. It kept me distracted from the world around me. The way my mom lived.

I'd get lost in my dancing. Then I'd realize half of those strangers around the bonfires sat watching me. Memorized surely not by me alone but their high, yet fixated by a little blonde girl twirling in front of a blazing fire.

I tempted the orange embers to burn me.

If no one played the guitar I would dance to the music in my mind with a deliberate rhythm. I suppose if you're high this can be a bit entrancing.

When I was about 6 my mom start dating a divorced man with two kids. His daughter lived with the mom and the little boy lived with Mike. The first time I met him he was having a party at his house.

My mom brought me as she alway did. My mom either liked getting high with her only child watching near by or she was too lazy/broke/stupid to get a babysitter. Supposedly I'd want to go since his daugther would be visiting and they just had kittens.

When we arrived I think I got to see the little girl for barely half an hour. She was supposed to be going to bed and was allowed to bring out a kitten for me to see. Why my mother didn't let me go to her room to play or even to pretend to rest, I don't know.

I just remembering sitting and watching a bong being passed around and guests of his home getting drunk. I sat near my mom, protective of her. Then I noticed she and Mike were kissing. That was enough to send me scrambling.

I found the stereo. I remember the silver stereo component with a huge silver knob. I found music I liked. Fleetwood Mac. I danced, distracted from the world around me.

Then I noticed a large bald headed biker staring at me. Learing. Too interested. With a look I had seen other men give my mother. He creeped me out. I stopped dancing. He kept encouraing me to dance again. All of them laughed and talked of what a cute little girl I was. How I was such a "natural". I hid myself in the corner and refused to come out at his request or offers for piggy back rides.

My mom would say, "Yes, she can dance like nobodies business."

It took me a long time though to realize why I'd stop dancing. I didn't like the attention at all whether I was 6 or 16. I just loved to dance. I loved to dance for ME.

In my early twenties I was drawn to belly dancing. I was going through a terrible depression at the time. I was suffering from late onset post partum depression and didn't know it until much later. Until it was too late. I had never had such intense anxiety or irrational thoughts.

I knew that after having 3 kids by the time I was 20, I was burnt out. I felt lost.

I couldn't even remember what was missing but I knew something was.

Then I saw belly dancers.

It ignited a flame in me I had tucked away. I wanted so badly to dance. To just dance everything away. But with 3 little kids, a husband both working and going to school, very little money, it was a distant dream.

An intense desire was still there though. I had this misconception of belly dancing.

It was for the gypsy kinds, something I loathed for many years after my childhood experiences.

It was for pagans. I was trying to understand my Christian faith.

It was for the viewing pleasure of men. I disliked attention from men. I hid under momness to avoid looks, comments, a jealous husband.

When I was young, religious relatives would comment that my dancing needed to be discouraged. My maternal grandparents were members of Shadow Mountain Community Church. They were not very judgemental but I still felt self conscious.

"Baptists don't dance" I remember this etched into the back of my mind. When I came to a place in my mid 20's when I rededicated my life to Christ, there was this feeling I had to give up my desire to dance. Even though every part of me wanted to move to the music.

Nice, Christian mothers don't dance. Surely, they don't belly dance.

Between the craziness of life, misconceptions and doubts, my need for dancing still lay dormant.

Apart from God, family and photography, I can't think of anything else that is such a huge part of me. I possess a complete and total passion for dance.

Sure, I had danced at home to the radio or with the kids. But it wasn't enough. I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to dance. I put the music on and danced for myself. I started looking for belly dance classes.

Just like some people can't understand my need for dancing, I can't understand when people don't feel the least bit inclined to move to the music. I can't relate at all to the absence of dancing.

Last year Richard bought me some Middle Eastern belly dance DVD's. I've been hooked ever since. It's a sensation like nothing else and it's completely for me and me alone. There's no pretense. No one to make happy. Just me and the power and rhythm of my own body.

Now, I've outgrown the DVD and will begin lessons soon. Then I hope to take the train down to Chicago to study American Tribal Belly dance at Read My Hips.

This nice, Christian mother dances. Yes, I even belly dance. I make no apologies either. If I get good enough I will even join a troop. A matter of fact, my goal is to be that good in 2 years. Just dancing for myself and watching the inspirational dance of women like Rachel Brice sets me off.

When I'm dancing shivers run down my spine. Chills run through my body.


I'm lost, but in a good way. I feel like me.