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05:17 pm: dancing mother's lament
This all poured out of me at about midnight last night. It's not entirely coherent, but I kinda like the pace and the meter.

* * * * *

Dancing is connected to my soul. It’s not so much that dancing speaks to my soul ― although it does ― but more that dancing allows my soul to speak. It sometimes speaks in gibberish, but that’s a matter of skill, not heart.

Dancing is being up late, looking for the mmmm and the ahhh and sometimes getting those moments of connection and compression and communication that I seek.

And then rhythm became the 140 bpm of my child in utero. A whole ’nother person inside my body! What a miracle. Really, more amazing than words.

And that rhythm was layered with another, a syncopated kick against my ribs. That’s a miracle too, but it felt somewhat less wonderful. And before long it’s get this fucking alien out of my body with a rusty fucking butter knife if you have to.

And then! THEN! Then I don’t even miss the mmm and the aaah because I have the pure bliss of my beautiful child… and months and years without sleeping through the night, never mind sleeping until 2 pm in a dance-hangover haze. And y’know, I thought I knew exhaustion. I’ve worked 6 days without sleeping. I’ve gone to dance camp and danced 16 hours a day and slept maybe 6 if I was lucky for days on end and I’ll tell you I had no fucking clue what exhaustion was. Nursing means offering up my body to have the energy sucked out of it, quite literally, and it means greatly disrupted sleep for months, even years.

New definitions now, less pleasant ones if I’m honest because I love my son and I love breastfeeding and it’s fantastic and amazing and fucking miraculous that I can provide for him, but what the fuck was I thinking, nursing for 38 months? (And how I yearn for it again. That’s it: I’m certifiable.)

My soul speaks in different ways now ― too many times, it says put on your shoes and finish your dinner eat your vegetables or you’ll have to take a vitamin your choice no TV today you watched yesterday what a mess. Perhaps it’s a nasty little piece of my soul sometimes but it’s me all right and it still speaks. It also speaks in the soft whisper and the warm baby arms around my neck and his small head tucked under my chin and jesus safe touch has nothing on this.

But I miss dancing. I had the time and energy every night. Now it’s Dr. Seuss and snuggles every night, which are wonderful too but in very different ways.

I labored to Rock House, so it has even more power for me and the urge to dance to it is more primitive and irresistible than ever.

…but I’m never at a dance. So I wrap my child in my arms until he squirms and says no more Mommy I want to play with Legos. Child! That is RAY CHARLES and you are blaspheming! He is not convinced.

I took workshops with every instructor who came to town (and traveled for many too), and private lessons with most. I scatted with Paul and Sharon, which just about killed me (probably meant it was good for me), but no one teaches connection as well as they do. Hell I had bal privates with Sylvia before she started calling it “oops dropped my towel”; she was still saying “the dorky moment I haven’t named yet.” I was a honkin' flywheel, for pete’s sake. And Steven and Virginie! Steven is such an ass, really, but has such wonderful new things every time about swingouts (never mind how often he contradicts his last great theory). And does anything feel more like being the center of the universe than dancing with Johnny or Larry for an hour? Hell, I took privates with Kelly just to work on spinning (which didn’t click for weeks thereafter, but then! THEN!) and Carolina shag with Michael, who said my pivots were great, thankyouverymuch. Can I get that embroidered on something… please?

I mean geez… dancing every night there was dancing, which was every night for a couple of years. Taking up new dances so I could embrace my inner retard again. I never got past that with Argentine Tango. Fuck that dance is hard.

And I want to get back. I plan to get back. I’ve been planning to get back for four years. But I’m going to sleep at 9 pm, not heading out the door. I’m getting up to pee at midnight, not heading out to an after-hours dance. So I wait for the summer and the occasional afternoon event, and I show up sometimes and I suck but oooh… it’s love again.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: confusedconfused


[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)

That's beautiful

Just beautiful.

[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)

thank you!

I know you get this in ways that aren't totally possible for non-nursing mothers or non-dancers.
Date:March 5th, 2009 01:21 pm (UTC)
Seek solutions -- seek balance. It's not fun to look back on what might have been when it's too late to get it back. And families sometimes suck every ounce of energy and then just a little bit more.

[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)

you know it better than most!

Thanks Mum. :)
[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
there's no sucking when you're having fun--unless you're hurting someone, which you don't. :)

If you ever want to leave Dr. Suess behind for a night and go dancing, you're always welcome to stay here. And that would probably make me go out dancing which wouldn't be a bad thing either.
[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

Aren't you back to grind, grind, grind? Would I be a good friend or a very bad one to get you out?
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
As a nursing mom - I get it. And since I've been either pregnant or nursing for well over 4 years straight - I really get it. As a casual dancer, I get missing that too. And I miss dancing and hope to get back as well some day, I miss volleyball even more. Even though my old body was starting to tell me to take it easy and I wasn't in my early 20's anymore. I miss the action, the sweat, the competitiveness, the comraderie.

But, as you say, you have this other absolutely wonderful, amazing child and have experiences with your own flesh and blood that nothing can really compare to. Maybe someday Teddy will go dancing WITH you!
[User Picture]
Date:March 11th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)

I sure hope he will!

Strangely enough, he seems to prefer dancing with Peter (who only dances when there's no one around) these days.
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