Flo is so good at being a cat, always finding the most comfortable place to sleep.
I’m sitting on the front porch, Flo is laying next to me on the wicker bench, there’s a breeze blowing the bamboo shades which are blocking the sun, back and forth and the sound of cars going by on Route 22.
I’m thinking about how I feel about Bellydancing yesterday at the Farmers Market. I want to write about it in a way that conveys the what I’m feeling, because I know it’s important, but I’m still not sure exactly how I do feel about it.
So I sit here asking myself… How do you feel about Bellydancing Maria?
Then I remember how last night I felt like it was “another me” who danced on stage.
It had to be “another me” because the person I’ve been my whole life would never have done what I did yesterday. That person could never even clap to the beat of song, could never move her feet or body the way I did yesterday. She never let anyone see her belly, actually spent her whole life being ashamed of her stomach, which she was told, was never flat enough.
And for as long as I can remember, until I met Jon, I was made to feel, first by my parents then by my ex-husband, ashamed of my own femininity and the power of it.
But right now, I’m not feeling like there’s two versions of me, I feel like the genie has been let out of the bottle. And she’s not going back in.
The words that come to mind are self possessed.
So I looked them up. My dictionary says…calm, confident, and in control of one’s feelings; composed. That’s sounds right.
Bellydancing with Kathleen, Kat, Callie, and Trish yesterday was like walking through a portal. Like stepping into the mirror and realizing that I had been living on the wrong side.
I think, yesterday, I danced myself into my own skin.
I was doing so many things for the first time, dancing in front of an audience, dancing with a group of women I admire, showing my naked belly and wearing makeup. But, not for a moment, was I uncomfortable with who I was and what I was doing.
This doesn’t mean I did everything right. I didn’t. I did plenty of things wrong. But it’s not about right and wrong. It’s about doing and learning. Constantly.
Now I’m thinking of my mistakes with genuine curiosity, not judgment. And that is another completely new experience for me.
I don’t know what it is about Bellydancing that has made this possible.
Maybe it has something to do with the movement releasing certain chemical in the body. Maybe it’s the ancient ritual of the dance. I’m curious to understand it better, but I don’t need to know “why”. I’m already a believer.
So I guess I do know how I feel after all.
I’ll write more about Bellydancing at the Farmers Markets yesterday later. But for now here’s a video that Jon took. Some of you may have seen it already on Jon’s blog.
I was thrilled to dance with Kathleen McBrien, Kat Farnham, Callie Raspuzzi and Trish Gardner. I was a wonderful experience for me and I’m needed some time to fully absorb it all before writing about it.
We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day, in the low seventies, then, just as we were finishing up the last dance it began to rain.
“Remember,” Kathleen, our teacher said before we began the performance, “Have fun, don’t get hurt and have fun.”
There were a few things I wanted to change about my costume after our dress rehearsal last night in Bellydancing class. So this afternoon I dressed up adding some things and changing others.
Now I feel confident with my outfit and will be ready to get into it tomorrow morning.
I still have to try out the makeup. I got some more makeup this morning after talking to some of the women in my class last night. They gave me tips about things like how to keep the makeup from running when I get sweaty.
I’m thinking of dancing tomorrow as a kind of exorcism, as a way of dancing my old body image away. Somehow, that idea helps keep me from getting too nervous.
But I’m also thinking about the women I’m dancing with. This has less to do with me and more to do with us dancing together. That’s the miracle of bellydancing for me, the way we need and depend on each other to dance. We can’t do it alone. And I’m looking forward to being a part of that.
I’m going to go and work on my make up now. I’ll keep doing it till I’m comfortable with it. Till I feel confident that tomorrow morning I’ll be able to wake up, get dressed, put on my makeup and feel good about it all as I drive into Bennington Vermont.
Jon will be taking some pictures and video, so I’ll write all about it and post some pictures on Sunday.
I’ll be dancing with the Bennington Beledi Tribal Bellydancers tomorrow at the Bennington Farmers Market in Bennington Vermont from 10am-1pm.
After a glass of wine for me, and scotch for Jon, then ice cream, with make-up on my face, Jon and I decided to do a podcast. It was 9:30 pm, not our usual time for this kind of work.
We talk about Bellydancing (which is top of mind with me) and the farm and animals. We talk about Bud and our new found trust in him and what the next steps with Zelda, our aging sheep will be. We also talk about caring for the pastures and the book Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn.
So come and listen to our night time podcast called Bellydancing Week. You can listen to it here.
You can also listen to any of our podcasts, anytime, by clicking on podcast buttons at the top and bottom of my blog.
And let me know what you think….
I don’t wear make-up. I have never worn make-up. Never, in my whole life.
I don’t know how to buy it, I don’t know how to put it on. But on Saturday, when I dance with the Bennington Beledi Tribal Bellydancers, I’ll be wearing make-up and it has to look good.
Kat (aka Kitty), my friend who introduced me to Bellydancing, gave me a little bag stuffed with make-up in December when my Bellydancing class had our holiday Hafla. I wore the costume and the turban for that, but I skipped the make-up.
Someday, I thought to myself then, just not right now.
Six months later and now it’s “Someday“. So last night I got out the little bag of make-up that Kat gave me and started drawing on my face. Then I spit on a tissue and used it to rub all the make-up off.
I needed YouTube.
I chose a video where a woman, was applying eyeliner. I paused the video before she began curling her eyelashes, but got a few pointers and most of all realized that the lines didn’t have to be perfect.
Then I took the bag of make-up into the brightly lit bathroom and tried again and again and again.
I looked at the pictures of the women I dance with every week, in full make-up, on the Bennington Beledi Tribal Bellydancing website, and copied what they did.
It was the eyeshadow that made me feel old.
It seemed to bring out my wrinkles in a way that made me feel like I was trying to cover them up. I felt like an unsuccessful Cross-dresser. Because Cross-dressing is supposed to make a person feel more comfortable in their skin, not less.
I sent a picture of myself to my friend Suzy, who just happened to text me. “Well, just do what your comfortable with, she wrote back, if it’s not fun or enjoyable then keep finding what works.”
Jon said I looked like a Madi Gras Hooker. I took that as the compliment it was. But I won’t dwell there.
I like Suzy’s advice.
So, before class this evening, I’ll go back to the bathroom with my make-up bag and try to find what works for me. First I’m going to check out YouTube again and see if it’s best to put the eye shadow on first, or the eyeliner. There’s also some cover make-up in the bag, maybe I’ll get brave and see how that works too.
Tonight we have our final full dress rehearsal before Saturday’s performance. (Which is from 10am-1pm at the Bennington Farmers Market in Bennington Vermont) This morning I woke up with butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it….
Last week I took a video of a barn swallow nest and the broken egg beneath it. That nest is now abandoned. Either I missed the baby birds or they didn’t survive.
But this morning I heard the peeps of baby birds in another nest in the barn….