African Kicked My Ass

It was awesome!

We played 2 rhythms I don’t know, though we started class with one that has an accompaniment I am familiar with. There are 2 basic parts that carry through most rhythms. Usually, in African, one or the other pattern supports the harder accompaniment, and Quinn, who solos and holds us all together.

The second rhythm knocked me OUT! Forget it. Quinn had to modify it so I could keep up. I wasn’t the only, thank god, but man! My hands, arms, and shoulders are aching now!

Typically, in class, 4 or 5 drummers make up that week’s corp. Today, we had a full dununba section (3 separate drums and rhythms, as opposed to the one regular fella who plays a version that blends what the 3 drums would do together. Sorry, can’t explain it better than that. It’s called “ballet style”) … and 6 on djembe! I can’t tell you what it feels like to have that music pulsing through your entire body, buzzing from head to toe and shaking every cell! It’s as though you can feel the space outside your body.

On the drive home, at high noon, a huge murmuration of starlings danced overhead. It was directly above me at one stop, and so big that you could watch it in the sky and beneath, in shadow. It felt like the refracted light of crystals in a sunny room, landing on you, teasing you, flying all around you. I felt like I did in class, like I was part of something bigger than myself, like feeling the space outside of me, like sharing myself with that space and creating new energy altogether.

I’m so glad to be back!

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Cedars of Lebanon

I danced for the first time last night at Cedars of Lebanon, a gorgeous, high-end Middle Eastern restaurant in downtown Salt Lake. If felt great to get the first performance behind me, and I’ll definitely be returning!

cedars of lebanon

Shahravar’s sleeve gives me the most fantastic belly dance booty!

beginning bellies

Beginning Bellies!

And this morning I finally made it back to African! It felt so good reconnecting with my community. I really feel like all of me is back, like the girl with Jax – even before I got sick – just pushed Christie out of the way. I never imagined I’d be the kind of girl to ameliorate to the point of disappearing, for a relationship.

I’m glad to know. I’ll remember to keep in mind that cooperation is different from permitting another’s will and personality to the non-existence of my own.

I really just love my African dance community. The welcome I received there nearly brought me to tears. I feel loved. Rosie, our instructor, screamed when I walked in.

“You’re here!” she squealed, so loudly that the dancers looked up from the din of conversation, and my friends ran to me. I was embraced by these beautiful, powerful women whose ups and downs have been supported by this group, and who’ve certainly seen me through mine. I was home.

Rosie hugged me and said, “You have the best energy! I love to see you in class!”

I can’t tell you how wonderful that was to hear from old friends, people who know me, after a month spent with the stabbing, echoing words of Jax’s cruel wife.

I didn’t realize how deeply she cut, or how lasting was the wound. It was, after all, absurd. Carrie doesn’t know me, and it was her energy she revealed, not mine. But to fit in among such loving people has to mean that I, too, resonate at that frequency. In any case, all I felt was luuuuv, and then we pounded that shit for an hour and a half!

Korejuga, my favorite rhythm! How timely was that?

I’m really happy right now. It feels good to write that.

Alice Walker

“[T]he planting of trees demonstrates a clear intention to have a future and a definite disinterest in war.” (Excerpted from the short story “China.”)
tree-of-lifeAlice Walker also wrote, I read once on a book jacket, “Having been so dissatisfied with my own and the world’s shortcomings, I would have thought myself a suicide by 30.”

Me, too.

I’m paraphrasing her second sentiment. Typically, when a quote strikes me, I can Google it as it comes to mind later, to repeat ver batim, but I’ve never been able to find that one. It bothers me, because I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so understood – and okay, as a result of shared troubles – as I did in that moment.

When I finish the stack of books I collected at random from the community exchange shop I once worked in, I’m going to devote my time to her bibiography. Isn’t is remarkable that people from such disparate backgrounds, generations, and experience, can be so similarly simply human?

(I’m obsessed with leaves and trees. I’ve hand-sewn hundreds of leaves over the years and attached them to costumes of every type. I even stitched more than a hundred to a sheet to make a tent cover into a treehouse, to which I attached a dozen or more birds and butterflies. Eventually, it got too heavy for the tent to stand under its weight, and now works as a great camping blanket. It’s so beautiful. It always makes me happy.)
treehouse 2treehouse

Girls Weekend

The girls and I went for a soak in the mineral baths of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. There was a big pagan Fire and Ice Festival and I gotta say, those Idahoans can spin! There was one guy on a rolling fire staff who was as good as any I’ve seen. Before the show, the entire ensemble climbed all the way up the mountain face and lit up to alert the crowd downtown: The night has begun!

It was steep up there! From below, it looked like they were stacked one on top of the other. And how the hell did they get up there in the dark? It was really cool.

Natalia is a newer friend through my friend of a few years, Amber. My god, she makes me laugh! I haven’t laughed like that since my bestie Jordan moved 2 and-a-half years ago. Angie is Amber’s twin, and the four of us had our own private geothermal tub fenced inside a patio off our hotel room. We danced, drank, skinny-dipped and laughed for days.

Natalia and I got talking about being roommates in Portland. One of the reasons I wanted to move was to save money, and splitting costs in Portland would be pricey, but the idea is holding my interest. I visited Portland for the first time almost 2 years ago, and wanted to move there immediately. I asked my friend then, “How can I know if I’d tolerate the weather?” Her answer was that I’d just have to try it for a year.

I’d certainly invest in a therapy lamp. Anyway, lots to consider as I continue to dream and refine my intention for the move in October. Methinks a decision ought to be secure by the end of March. Six months will go fast!

Ahhh. Great weekend. Great girls.natalia and methe girls

 

Guitar Army

Last time I was in City Weekly, I unwittingly got drunk next to a reporter and told “rambling stories about [my] cats.” Our local urban rag is famous for its annual Best Of Awards, and the day it came out, FOUR people slapped the mag down in front of me.

“Christie! You got in the paper!” Unnamed, it could have been no one else.

From 2004 – when Penny unexpectedly started my family, joined 2 months later by Cricket – to 2007, I think I talked of nothing else! Our bartender and friend once said to my boyfriend, “I’ve never heard anyone talk about their cats so much, in my life.”

I believe no one ever has.

Twilight Lounge (my Cheers) won Best Assorted Clientele back then. “On any given night,” the writer quipped, “the pickled regulars might be swapping dirty jokes or telling…” said rambling stories. Pickled. Perfect!

****

This incarnation of band life is a mission by my friend to sing or play Ode to Joy in every time zone at 7pm Thursday, so that the sun will be greeted by healthy vibrations of happy intention every week, everywhere, as its Earth outpost cycles by. He has mathematical equations worked into the whole theory and, really, it’s the least we can do in our little corner of the universe.

What I’m loving about it is that, rather than sing a whole set myself, I do a song or 2 between other musicians’ set ups, when I sit down again to actually jam. I’ve never understood what that really is. It goes far beyond the how of it. Coming from musical theatre, I speak rehearsal. What is that that musicians are doing who sit together, unknown? A foreign language, that’s what!

I’m speaking my first faltering words and phrases!

So far, so good, 2018. I’m the freakin’ drummer!
city weekly

 

Best Laid Plans

Finally, after more than a year-long absence, I was going back to African dance. My body can’t do the hard-pounding moves anymore – belly dance is absolutely filling that void – but I miss the community and I miss the music.

I was so excited to drum again! As I approached the theater, I saw an old friend and started giving him shit. “No, no,” I harassed him. “Turn it around. We don’t take riff raff.”

“Why are you bringing your djembe?” he asked.

I laughed and carried on.

“No, really,” he continued. Literally, in years of knowing this dude, I’ve never had a serious conversation with him.

“Wait, what?” I asked.

“This is the Congolese workshop. Makaya [et all] is here.”

“Ah, crap,” I stopped. “See you next week.”

He tried to get me to join them, but I had the wrong drum. He was sure they had extras, but I hadn’t been there all week. Once upon a time, I did brave a weekend camp with African dancers, including Makaya, but there’s no way I would dare drum with Africans! (I took a beginning beginners class with a guy from Guinea at that camp and held my own, but let me emphasize beginning. And I’d been studying for a year with Quinn, who’s legit, trained in Africa and India, drumming for 20+ years.)

I’ve danced in these culmination classes. They’re performances for the students and teachers, as well they should be. For some reason, I’m not averse to flailing on the dance floor. I’m not good, but when I mess up I can laugh at myself and get back on track. Or just keep laughing and moving, getting high on endorphins and community.

Oh, I do miss African! I was part of that community for years. If I’d brought money, I might have risked a Fibro flare just to throw down. Instead, I came home to cuddle up with my cats and write to you all.

I’m satisfied. Someone’s purring on my tummy, another next to my head. >^..^<

I’m In Love

I never loved anything so much in my life, though I confess I got a little sick to my stomach when I whispered to this baby that I love her more than I love my cats. And I took it back.

I never loved any human so much in my life. Meet my friend Farrah, trailing angels.
farrah
Texas was wonderful. My bestie had finished her beautiful new home, and we spent the whole time sitting. No makeup, no sightseeing, just baby! Her 4-year-old and I are cut from the same cloth (dancing, imagination, go go go), but this trip was about the little one. Balance will be restored again soon, I imagine, but who can resist an infant?

It might be tricky not to give all focus to Farrah. She really is special. There’s a reason they say that! There’s a reason for the Down Syndrome hashtag, #theluckyfew. We are!

I’ll remember to more fairly split my time on subsequent visits, but this trip was for Farrah, and she healed every last piece of me. I’ve been feeling fine for months. Guys & Dolls did most of the repair work, but I come home feeling 100% myself.

My god, I was gone so long. It makes me sad to realize how unaware I was.

****

Speaking of love, I decided against it with the Viking. It was a wonderful week that we ended the night before I left for Texas. He was pissed, but I thanked him and left warmly. Tried to, anyway. He wouldn’t even walk me to the door. He wouldn’t get up from the couch. It was a shock, but confirmation of intuition. It was a real boon to get that immediately. I needed in-real-time results of trusting myself.

Since Jax, I’ve felt a sense of inner panic. I doubted I could perceive red flags, or ever would again if I had once. I didn’t trust myself or my ability to read the signs. I was also scared that I might read into things that didn’t exist, simply because my ex-boyfriend and his new bride were so abusive in the house we shared for their sick honeymoon.

This week-long affair, however, seemed to come at just the right time, when I was ready to open my heart again, and with all the ingredients to show me that I can trust myself.

How wonderful to find that I can feel twitterpated again! I had so much fun with him. In fact, it’s kind of a bummer that we can’t do all the things we had planned. He was great company, game in a way a lot of guys aren’t. He played along.

Now I’m free to hope that my next inamorato can properly worship my glorious colors.

And there’s the real beauty: I’m talking Next! I don’t see myself as put out to pasture anymore, dried up and shriveled away. I still believe there’s a match for me.

I’m not in any hurry. I have the rest of my life. I don’t need anyone’s babies. Now that I’m not using a man for a stud, I can really find someone to love. Desperation does such sad things to us. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, but it seems so clear now. I called it a “shared vision,” but I wanted a baby daddy.

Now I need nothing, and I have nothing to lose. Seems like a good way to find something.