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.