As you know, I started drumming a couple years ago to fill the void that leaving African dance left. My community is so positive, interested, earnest, inquisitive, and joyful that I forced my body to “fight through it” far longer than Fibromyalgia wanted me to.
When I left African, I felt like a failure. I was lazy, something was wrong with me – something else, something real, something wanting in my nature, not my body. My body was always strong. I’m young. If I “can’t” do it, it’s because I’m not eating right. I’m still partying. I’m just not talented enough.
Yes, that’s all true. I’d be better at African if I’d stop all those things, but I could still hang. African dance wore me so bare, I was my authentic self. I didn’t want to let it go.
I decided to listen.
I started drumming, to keep my tie with the community. I began belly dance lessons. That’s the recipe. Drum for the beautiful people of SLC African Drum and Dance. Move your body elsewhere, somewhere gentler, more lyrical, equally challenging. Belly dance is the perfect fit, and there’s so much room for me to level up!
I give myself permission to have autoimmune disease.
Today, we played Sinte in class. We don’t do that so often, and I’m not that good. Drumming is hard! I ask for the simplest background rhythm and hold on for dear life.
But Quinn pushed me. “You know this!”
“Okay!” I agreed. It was deep down somewhere, back when I was taking lessons.
I know this!
I remembered the dance. So much in me wanted to rise up with the dancers. I could feel it in my body, and I did remember once – long ago – learning the rhythm in Quinn’s class.
By damn, I figured it out! It was a huge high, and I barely held on. I did well enough that when I fell off the beat, he harassed and teased me. (If I sucked utterly, he’d correct me and continue to lead.) I laughed a lot today.
It was a great break from the pain of Cricket’s emergency 2 days ago.
Cricket is at the end of her life. Of course I know that. She’s 14 years old in September, OBESE, and sick with random everything all her life, that sweet alien. A respectable, healthy feline life is 12-15 years. She’s given everything she has. More.
I have a vision. Perhaps it’s selfish. I just want to keep my kitty until the first cold snap. I want to build a fire in our forever home, their last home, and cuddle with them by the fire. I want to love my girls by the hearth of our home.
After that, whenever she’s ready to go, I’m ready, too. I want Lap of Love to put her gently to sleep on her own pillow, while I thank her for spending her unexpectedly long life with me. Please don’t die under my bed tonight, in pain and frightened, blind from ketoacidosis. Let me hold you in my arms by the fire.
“Thank you for being my baby. Thank you for being my teacher. Thank you for being my sister. You’re my baby. You’re my weird, interspecies lover. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you making me a mother. Thank you for teaching me love.”
I feel guilty. I can see that she’s tired. She used to be so grabby, I had to be careful not to get scratched when I took my hand away from a long spell of affection and sweet talk. Now, all the the strength she has to to give is the flick of her tail. And she gives it.
She gave me her everything.
Hold on, sweet love. I’m not asking for long. I know you’re ready to go.
Please give me a cold snap of weather. I want to snuggle by the fire.
My Cricket is dying.