Hindsight 2020 Vision Board!
I’m a girl who appreciates her gold stars. Okay, I’m the girl who needs her gold stars. Okay, okay, I’m the girl who demands them.
“I want my gold star!”
So I’m giving myself one.
Last night, my group Ala performed at the Samba Queen Competition. We rehearsed backstage before the show. One girl took the lead and put us on our respective sides, but she was wrong and put each group in the opposite place. This would require agreement with everyone sharing the stage. Do we switch sides in formation to compensate for the reversal in our starting positions? Or will we all navigate brand new pathways – LIVE in performance – to get to our originally rehearsed positions?
Here’s the answer. Make the quick correction to match what we set in rehearsal. No onstage collisions in the forecast.
She wouldn’t budge. It was interesting. We didn’t conflict at all. No energetic frustration, just disagreement and discussion. Suddenly, it didn’t matter to me. She was mistaken, but she was sure. And she had taken charge. I wasn’t rebuffed. I wasn’t ruffled. I was right, and feeling no need, urge, or pressure to “fix” or force anything.
I realized, that’s kinda why I do this stuff. I’m a rigid person who has spent most of my life controlling outcomes, and failing. As she directed us, wrongly, I practiced flexing a new muscle: Flexibility itself.
The group was in a state of confusion. From time to time, I’d restate that we were now on opposite sides. Discussion would follow, and the woman who took the lead, whom I like and enjoy a great deal in class, continued in charge and in the wrong.
Several other women came to me during and after, saying, “You know, I think you’re right? I did start on the other side in class.”
“Yeah, we did.”
We worked it out. One way or another, the performance would begin and end. We’d all get there somehow. I actually rolled with it.
Another woman said proudly of the collaboration, “That was very democratic of us.”
“It was!” I was proud, too.
“You know how it is. Women can sometimes get catty with each other.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “We just don’t have that kind of group.”
I’m a right fighter. I’m often technically correct. I’m very exact. I know my mark, and I know yours. Theatre suits my brain, because it’s reliable. X marks the spot.
I will lose to be right. Last night, I didn’t. It felt good to win in a new way!
Yay, Christie! Good job! Gold star!
I’m so behind in my rudimentary life skills. Better late than never, truly.
I will say, this Samba thing I’m doing is so powerful. I truly believe it calls on the best of us, and all of the women I’m studying and growing friendships with are examples of feminine power applied outside of the patriarchal dichotomy. What that means for me is an acute awareness of how my strong female voice has spent itself SCREAMING my entire life, using masculine energy, because that’s the only model we’ve had.
The world is changing. Flux is catastrophic and devastating, but it’s growth and it’s time. My belief is – my prayer is – that we will see the other side of this upheaval with more voices at the table and a new, initially unsteady alliance gaining its footing and making healthier strides for the benefit of the world.
Female power doesn’t wish to supplant male power. We want to cooperate. But we have to fight like hell first to get a seat and a voice. That’s what’s happening now. Better is to come. I believe it.
That’s what Samba teaches me.
Oh, and last night, a girl in the group chickened out of her position front and center. We have simple dresses in red, orange, or yellow, and we’d organized ourselves to avoid color clumping onstage. Like this dancer, I was in a red dress and had to take her place.
My friends were in the audience. They congratulated me after the performance. “You were the leader!”
God damn, I can’t avoid being in charge, even when I try!
I woke up Friday morning, suddenly aware that my belief that election stress hadn’t gotten to me was, in fact, a coping strategy to hide from what now feels very much like trauma! It broke my heart to see how disconnected I’d become from my emotions just to survive this shit. It was alarming, because I try to look honestly at myself and what my feelings are telling me. I was hiding from pain!
Post-election is going to be ugly, too. There will be no ideal reconciliation, or even real workability, but thank god this part is OVER. The longest, most vitriolic election in modern history. I feel like I’ve been beaten.
I ached again for the little girl who grew up in a violent home, who developed that coping mechanism just so she could breathe. I read once that Depression isn’t merely a pervasive low feeling, but the absence of all feeling, eventually the inability to feel. A person crying “the tears of the damned,” I call them, will do anything not to feel them. Not to feel. They stop being able to feel at all, even the good stuff. It’s horrible, and it comes from hiding from pain.
I would have thought that I had a special radar for noticing when that technique was creeping into my life. I didn’t see it at all! You hear the buzz words “election anxiety” everywhere, and I had perched myself above it, in very much the same way I would leave my body during violence that I thought would kill me. When I saw it – her – I ached, and went in again to be the grown-up I needed when I was a terrified little girl.
I decided that I will no longer watch any news or footage of any kind until Wednesday, and I haven’t. Of course, it’s everywhere. You can’t get away from it. But I’m not permitting the sound bytes into my life anymore. I’ll know tomorrow what happens tonight.
At one point Friday, I was praying and dancing – with my new beautiful mandala hand drum – and putting peace and healing into the meditation/energy bubble I’ve described before. I had this vision of Hillary Clinton ushering in a reconciliation era. I felt almost elated! I danced and celebrated, and put all of my love into that vision.
The next day, I woke up feeling like such an idiot! I’m so stupid! Hillary won’t be permitted to lead our national recovery. They’re going to eviscerate her! They are going to make her pay so hard! They will never stop trying to SILENCE THE WOMAN. And they want the rest of us to witness what happens when we dare to speak.
I felt like crying. I felt hopeless.
And then I didn’t. Immediately, I thanked her again. She is the only woman who could break this final fucking ceiling. Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, SHE has opened the door at last for women to be taken seriously in U.S. Presidential races.
The United States hates women as much as it hates black people. It’s shameful that it’s taken so long for a woman to break through that insistent wall of fear and desperation. Germany has Angela Merkel. England has Theresa May, and the Iron Lady was taken seriously decades ago. Israel had Golda Meir a lifetime ago! She was born in 1898!
But not here. Never here. Here, they don’t want to hear. SHUT UP, said white male privilege to every woman and every person of color. “It is the existential fear of displacement from a world that has slowly – too slowly, for too long – been chipping away at white male supremacy.” -Rolling Stone
Hillary Clinton was the woman to break through that blockade, not because her place in history is that of a peacekeeper. That woman is a warrior! She’s strong enough to take anything they say and do to her. And only that woman can handle what’s coming after she’s elected. She’s a battering ram! And she’s willing to do it.
So I’m grateful. I don’t love her perfectly. That’s a childish world view. Politics is messy business. No one is 100% happy 100% of the time. That’s dictatorship. But Hillary Clinton has accomplished things across both sides of the aisle, that make the world a better place. Deal with it.
Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see any of that ever again. This bipartisan bullshit is an attempt by the Republican party to bring down everyone if they can’t have their way, exactly as they want it. It’s so dangerous. It breaks my heart.
I can’t get bogged down by the futility of it all. I just have to believe in my ridiculous mystical bubble – and I do – and send all of my love into it. I can imagine myself into real visions of peace and cooperation, and when that sight takes the pain from my heart, I pray and pray and pray. “Let the world feel this, NOW. Let everyone who sees this in their heart send the power of their healing into the bubble, too, and make it grow!”
It goes in the bin with the other shit hippie chicks say, but it can’t hurt.
“Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”
Tonight, I will go to a belly dance class, and come home to work on my next mandala. In this way, I’ll hear none of the nonsense that I don’t need. It’s done.
I’ve found that the repetition of each rotation brings on a trance state, where the mind forgets its being-ness, and what’s inside comes up. I’ve caught myself putting hatred and anger into these beautiful lines and curves, but I catch myself and stop. That’s huge. I’m developing the ability to watch my thoughts!
I want to pour love, joy, healing, humor, and everything beautiful about my inner nugget into these drums I’ve come to love so much. They contain prayers and magic!
I danced that year with girls a grade higher than me in school. All year we prepared for the big recital in May. My favorite number was the tap dance. We were sailors, in little blue pleated skirts and matching vests, which our mothers made, worn over a white, sequined leotard. It was topped off with a sailor cap, but the best part was the big red bows on my shiny black tap shoes.
I loved those big red bows!
The big night finally arrived. I was smack dab in the center of the front row. And mom forgot my big red bows.
I was so upset!
“If you wear your biggest smile, no one will see your feet,” she promised.
I was so mad!
Of course they’d see my feet! It was TAP! Did she think I was stupid? What difference did a smile make to my shoes? I was going to be a fool, and it was all her fault!
“Just smile,” she instructed me again, “and no one will notice.”
I would never forgive her, I vowed, as Teacher readied us offstage. I walked into those bright lights near tears and shaking.
The strangest thing happened. I heard my mother’s voice and I smiled, cautiously at first. The music began, and I smiled more. I loved that dance! I loved everything about it. I loved the music. I loved the sound my tap shoes made. I loved my costume.
My smile grew.
Then I saw something, two women on the front row leaning into one another, grinning from ear to ear, looking at me. They were smiling at me! I couldn’t help it, I smiled bigger. And bigger and bigger!
They started giggling, and so did I! I’ll be damned if my feet didn’t grow wings that day. Red bows would have weighed them down.
It’s amazing how, when I’m tense or intimidated, I cannot keep rhythm! I know simple upbeats, for heaven’s sake, but I’ll be damned if all I could do today in my first rehearsal with Africa Heartwood Project was find the downbeat. Sometimes.
I learned the basic melody and lyrics to 2 songs, and in 3 hours I perform with them in a Benefit Concert for Water. One day I hope to dance, too, but tonight I’ll just smile, sing, and shake a bead-covered gourd thing. (And my tail feather… just a little.)
It’s amazing how, when I’m onstage, I relax into simple upbeats and words I don’t even know! I sang all but one of the songs, and I rocked the rhythm! The Benefit Concert for Water succeeded in raising more than enough for the bore hole at Kukwaado, as well a hand-dug well in a Liberian village, and to begin saving for a third water project. It was a great evening. I felt honored to be a part of it, and happy! It confirmed that I belong on the stage. I love performing. There’s something about a live audience that makes my spirit sing. I’ll participate with Africa Heartwood Project whenever I can, and continue auditioning until I get a musical. And another and another and another!
Turn 40! Jump out of an airplane – at last! – on my birthday, April 27th… weeeee!
Go paragliding on my bestie’s 40th – June 18th… weeeee!
Fit and Fabulous and Forty is living AWAKE and all the way. Here’s how I’ll do it:
Eat actual food… Learn a new recipe every month… Play with slowcooker and solar.
Lose this 15 pounds! No reason not to be my high school weight. Healthy, strong, trim. (Binge-eating/food addiction journal?)
Coffee and Diet Pepsi are occasional treats, not daily necessities. Green tea.
I am smoke free. Completely smoke free. Not one cigarette. Bright, clean, pink lungs!
Move to a place with more space, SUN SUN SUN, and cheaper rent (suburbs, gulp).
Surround myself with plants.
Write every day… journal… blog… poetry… vignettes… articles… Write every day.
Master circular breathing… Didge daily… Play with others… Meditate…
Pray every morning… Angels said Leaf Pose for me… Pray every morning. For reals.
Choose gratitude every day, even the bad ones. I sit peacefully at the center of my life.
Read A Course In Miracles! A miracle a day for me in two, zero, one, and three!
Study throat chakra blockage and clearing… Heal it… and others… eventually…
Get voice coach… Learn 2 each, upbeat song and ballad… Have them at the ready.
Identify and perfect 2 monologues, comedic and dramatic… At the ready…
Audition for everything… Fail gloriously!… Relish every chance to improve and learn… Have fun! ENJOY the practice! “Thank you for the chance to celebrate my craft!” I love to audition! I love to audition! I’m so good at auditioning! Can’t wait to audition!
Invest in good headshots… ? blerg… hate to spend money… Can’t my bestie just do it?
Get one paying gig… anywhere… anything… Rebuild resume… Network… PERFORM! Love the stage again. Revel in the play and laughter of rehearsal and take it seriously.
Perform with Africa Heartwood Project… traditional chorals/ basic percussion…
Get a drum of my own.
(Re)learn guitar… Progress… My wrist is tight but fine. It will stay fine. Play through it.
Play the piano. I have such a pretty little [poor neglected] piano.
Travel. Go to a new state. See a new country.
Cruise for the first time, possibly (friend’s June wedding if I’m not in a show)
New York for another wedding (and if so, all of New England!)
At least one old festival and one new festival
$ Oh yeah, money. I’m over it. Poverty is not this life’s sacred! Money. Thank you. $
Continue African Dance… Add Afro-Brazilian (Samba Fogo) and/or Zumba weekly…
Add three elements to hooping repertoire… PRACTICE… more fluid and dance-y-like…
Conquer blinding dizziness of LED hoop… Use it, silly! (smaller diameter than I like)
Get my own fire hoop… ? … At least spin again in someone else’s.
Jog the steps of the Capitol at least once a week.
GET UP GET UP GET UP! I slept the first half. Now it’s fun. Wake up and LIVE!
When you joked, “… epitaph will read, ‘Lovingly gave half her life to sleep,'” you didn’t know you were manifesting the first half, did you? Get up, little wildfire. Don’t be afraid anymore to live out loud. It is what you came here to do. Get up and do it.
“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” Emile Zola
me, too… 🙂
I only just began to understand that I can let go my Screaming Banshee and live out loud. She had a job, to protect me and insist on personal truth. I don’t need protecting anymore. Life isn’t so scary anymore. My truth is finally pleasurable. What a relief!
I freaking love 40. Happy New Year!
(P.S. Totally didn’t mean for my [first] vision board to match my bedroom. Isn’t it pretty?)
I’ve had it!
For various reasons, all of my Saturdays have been taken since Jan 28th. Naturally, I was hungry and happy to get back to African dance today. In that last class in January, and the week before, I noticed I had a hard time getting myself up off the floor. Any weight on my left wrist and, ouch!, I’d drop right back on my tush.
Today, by damn, I was going to class. A girl danced on a cast on her ankle once, for heaven’s sake. She looked a glorious fool, and good for her! I would stop by the pharmacy for a wrist brace after class… except I couldn’t even pull the blanket off of myself this morning without screaming out in pain. Grumble, grumble, a cranky way to rise. So I didn’t. I went back to sleep.
I’ll get my wrist brace Monday, and possibly make an appointment with my doc about old age and rheumatism. I have to see her about my thyroid again anyway. Waaa. Grrr.
My wrist hurts. You are spared my characteristic long-windedness. I can’t even complain!
“The morning breezes have secrets to tell you: do not go back to sleep.” -Rumi
Another day, my Sufi brother.