This icon was made for me by my wonderful friend Roya, and I agree with her that it is a lovely photo. But, not only do I no longer look like I did then (way back in spring of 2002) what is worse is that I can't dance as well either. I have lost a LOT.
(Then again, my *life* is actually a lot *better* now than it was then, so there's that, at least. There's been a lot of water gone under that bridge...)
I recently decided to get myself dancing again, and signed up for a drill class in Oakland. There aren't many dance classes offered in Oakland (at least not that I was able to find) and while the exercise is unquestionably good for me, I am finding the class itself just isn't that helpful. And I cringe every time I look in the mirror, which is definitely not helpful. It's just like when I first started taking lessons! But, for a different reason.
I have gotten so fat and out of shape, that not only does it take me a while to get the moves (which are usually combinations I've never done before) but I look terrible trying, which makes it all the worse. Part of this is because nobody wears skirts in the class - they wear workout wear, with a hip scarf. This is not a flattering look (at least, not on me) and usually I'm actually slightly overdressed in my plum unitard (one o those bellydancer ones with the mesh belly inset, you know) which is bad enough, but at least still bellydancer-y - but one week I went in exercise pants and a tank top (like most of the other younger-and-skinnier-than-me students wear) and I looked even more schlubby and hated the hell out of it, so it's back to the unitard. (Not to mention that I was taunted by teens in a passing car walking to bart afterwards, with a sweatshirt over the exercise pants! The little BASTARDS. One day THEY will be fat and dowdy, pushing a cart through safeway with kids hanging off of them, and I will still be a beautiful freak - an old beautiful freak, but still.)
At least the unitard is a pretty color, and a *little bit* slimming. And I look like a for crying out loud bellydancer (even if not a very good one) and not just some fat chick who can't move right!
The teacher is encouraging, but I feel like a baby elephant in this class. All her other students are slender, and most of them are younger than me. (Although, to be fair, only one of them is all that much better at it than I am.) The only place I shine is when we do the zill drills, because I'm capable of doing anything she throws at me there! It's usually various patterns - and even though most of them are unfamiliar to me, so far I have been the best zill player among the students! So I focus on creating the tone I want, and making it really sound good. That part I actually enjoy. The rest of it is painful. On Monday we did a shimmy over maya combo, which I got but didn't enjoy, though it was better than the shimmy over omi combo from the previous class - I can't see myself ever choosing to do that move, and I pulled a muscle (an oblique?) from trying to do it at double time when I didn't quite have it. I won't be making that mistake again. Ow!
I had to pay for 5 weeks at once, and next week is the last week. I don't think I'm going to renew. So I need to find a new dance class. I'm willing to travel to Berkeley, especially if it's transitable (and it looks like I'm going to have to go there unless I want to keep on with this teacher.)
Much as I hate to admit it, I want a class where we can wear skirts! I never thought it would matter, but looking at myself in the workout wear in that big mirror... ugh. Make it stop! It probably won't matter so much once I am in better shape, but for now it does.
Reading over this, I guess I need to have more patience with myself. I've been through a lot, since the time that I could just get up and dance and get my body to do what i wanted it to (even then, I wasn't as capable as I'd like). I've moved twice, gone through a divorce, as well as a tempestuous and intensely hot and cold relationship, other various life challenges, and really just about everything in my life has changed at least a little. Some parts have changed a lot! I do think I can get it back, though. I really am in a much better space, overall. I just need to find the right class.
I wanted to say that I've never been so conflicted around bellydance before... but, it's not quite true. I started in 1996 and was very seriously into it by '98 (by then I was taking multiple classes per week, and going to retreats and festivals, even travelling to them.) It caused something of a shakeup (heh heh - no pun intended, but there ya go) in my personal life - in that it was causing me to explore more of the "ooga-booga" side of life, which my then-husband totally disdained. It did not fit into his deep seated belief in SCIENCE and therefor made him question my intelligence, which seems to have been the thing he liked best about me.
So this rocked the boat quite a bit, as you can well imagine. Anyway, the conflicting feelings I had then differed from these, but in both cases, I knew I needed to work it out so that I could dance. And now, as then, I am sure that I will. It just takes time and effort, both of which I am willing to put into it.