Apologies, this isn’t very dance related, but it’s a blog that I started that just sort of came out of no where and now that it’s done, there’s only one thing left to do. Hit publish. I hope you all can enjoy it anyway.
I have recently become aware that happiness is a state of being. I get it now. No one can tell you how to get there, for the journey will be different for each of us. I just know that when you get there it is like a wave sweeping over you and in spite of all the crappiness around you, you just seem to float above it, seemingly unaffected, waiting for it to sort itself out and go back to sea.
I was born someone who was way a head of the curve in so many ways and yet equally behind in so many others. From the age of three or four I new that I was an artist. It’s one of my earliest memories. I remember being completely enraged when my nursery school teacher got really excited and happy that a girl next to me was drawing precisely and in the lines of a coloring book. I remember looking at what I had drawn, a picture that wasn’t in the lines or even of the lines and being really angry that what I had done wasn’t as worthy of praise as well. I thought what I had drawn was pretty cool.
I didn’t truly understand this memory until college when a professor of mine recanted a story in which he realized that his calling was to photography when he himself became enraged when someone called the class he was taking on the side a “hobby”. He knew a that instant, that “hobby” was far more important to him then he had ever allowed himself to think past and it took this visceral rage to release these thoughts into his conscious mind. Once they were there, they couldn’t be removed, the idea took hold and he followed his new path.
With out articulation or the higher mind to process my own experience, the raw emotion of it clearly steered my path right into the 6th grade art class where I developed a portfolio of work to get into the arts high school and from there to two colleges specializing in the arts to a full time job that has lasted my entire career (and with a little luck the rest of it, for a long time).
How many people can boast such drive from such an early age? Not many, my guess. But being that driven and that single minded had it’s price. Despite having to draw a self portrait everyday in high school (something now I wish I had the time to do) I never looked at what I looked like. Meaning I had no real idea of what I was putting together and how it reflected on me in the real world. (A strange gesso covered collage of red hair, oil paints, baggy pants, over sized teeshirts and flannel.) When one so young is aspiring to be an artist it is rare that they take the time to look at what is worn on their skin. There is no time to take in their own beauty when it is the mission to assess and reproduce the ascetic around them. In layman’s terms, I was completely defunct in the how to be a woman, in the woman department.
It’s something I still struggle with even after going through the gauntlet of what is beauty and glamor in dance (Belly, Ballet and Ballroom) and being under the harsh light of just being someone who lives in Los Angeles. I’ve come to the conclusion that the aesthetics of dance suit me in those worlds because I have so completely amerced myself into those worlds that I have acclimated to such a level of comfort that I can truly play the part. The part about living in Los Angeles, not so much. I’m just too curvy and just too tall. But still, I think I’ve come pretty far when I try to define my personal style, even though, far too often just when I think I’ve nailed it and I think, “This is the person that I want to present myself to the world as! I’m new and different and still me and still awesome!” and the next day I catch a glimpse of what I put together and just think, “That is some sad and confused shit right there. Oh crap, it’s me.”.
The now noticeable crows feet around my eyes, yelling back at me, “SOMETHING AGE APPROPRIATE PLEASE!” (Side bar: Being in your upper 30’s and trying to find something that doesn’t make you look like a wanna-be teenager, a hipster or something out of Anne Klein’s grandmother’s closet is REALLY HARD!) I think, “You can’t fight it, you just can’t.” with a giggle. And that’s when I knew that I was in a new state of being. Because for the first time I thought back, “Well. You can only be healthy and being healthy is super healthy.” with a sense of humor as opposed to the all too familiar feelings of shame and failure.
I went on a Hawaii vacation over Christmas with a dear friend. My dear friend who happens to be studying to be a Rabi. Circumstances worked out that I wouldn’t be seeing family this year so I called up my buddy and was like, “Hey. So you’re totally cool with being out of town during the big old birth of Christ thing right?” We booked the tickets the next day.
While in Hawaii on Christmas Eve, we went to one of those “Pick-A-Pearl” vendors. They let you pick an oyster out of a bin, they crack it open in front of you and you see what kind of pearl was in it. They then charge you an arm and a leg for a setting, but I didn’t care, it was so worth it for the experience. Shelly, my African-American-blue-eye-shadowed-leopard-Santa-hat-wearing-pearl-helper, thank you for the experience! I never once flinched at the $371.48 price tag that accompanied this experience. I’ve paid more for way waa-aay worse. Yeah I’m talking about you Green Day tickets.
I picked 4 oysters. Each one popped open to reveal it’s special and unique gift; a cream one, a big gold and pink one, a white one and the last oyster came out a light silver pearl with a blue tinge. (I now call it my blueberry.) It is the most rare pearl to pop out of an oyster. Only something like 5 out of 100 will have one like this. Apparently it’s supposed to represent wisdom and some wisdom dropped on me.
In the days that followed it occurred to me that I was currently in some of the healthiest female and (just friend) male relationships that I’d ever had in my life. On the beach, while rubbing the sunscreen in, thinking, “This is it, this is how I’ll protect my skin so I won’t have more noticeable crows feet!” and giggling at the absurdity of that statement, I thought about my life ten years ago and all the mistakes that I made then and now recognizing those same mistakes happening in some others, and I realized just how important second chances really are.
Sure I’m in my late 30’s, have no prospects of finding a proper husband and could end up alone. Sure I’m constantly waiting to get fired from my job because of the economy. Sure I have not yet figured out my true fashion self yet (Although I know it now has something to do with pearls!) and sure, I have a back injury that might cripple me at any moment, but that is all somethings that could be. In my current state of being, there is no reason to be troubled with it now, even knowing that I could loose this state of being at anytime. I’m not going to cling to it, I’m just going to ride this one out. So here I sit typing my musing over my blog, eating kale chips and drinking coffee, and I’m still happy, just being happy.