A (Mostly) Straight Woman’s View on the Equality Movement

Today is National Coming Out Day, so in honor of my LGBTQIA-and-whatever-else-you-might-be friends and fellow humans, here’s a post I did earlier this year expressing my view on the equality movement. Enjoy.

The Perks of Being a Gemini

Before I get into this, let me explain what I mean by “mostly straight”:

I consider myself a heterosexual female.  But I also believe that sexuality is not black and white.  There is a lot of grey area, and I for one fall smack-dab in the middle of it.

I frequently find other women attractive.  I find the female form alluring and sometimes even arousing.  I have from time to time fantasized about other women.  But I don’t consider myself bisexual.  This is primarily because I have never once been so attracted to another woman that I would consider actual sexual relations with her…except maybe Scarlett Johansson.  Because damn, she’s hot.

Some say I just haven’t met the right girl yet, but I’m inclined to think that nearly twenty-eight years of life and about eight or nine years of sexual activity have acquainted me pretty well with my own sexual…

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I’m not dead yet…

Hello, first post in almost a month!  I could give a long string of excuses as to why I haven’t posted anything since the 11th of last month, but it mostly boils down to the fact that I just haven’t fucking felt like it.  I think I’ve reached that familiar place (this is my third try at this, you know) where the novelty of blogging has worn off entirely.  I no longer feel the need to share my every thought with the internet at large, and if I do it’s usually short enough to put it on Facebook.

But I thought I’d drop a line to those of you that read regularly and might actually care about my well-being.  I have not contracted some bizarre flesh-eating virus that ate away my fingers so I can’t type anymore.  I haven’t finally won the lottery without actually buying a ticket and run off to some secluded island to be a hermit.  In the words of Monte Python, “I’m not dead yet.”  (“I don’t want to go on the cart,” is my favorite line from that sketch, BTW.  Makes me completely lose my shit every time.)

I’ve just been really busy.

I went to a wedding.  Totally rocked my Chucks and a pair of leggings under my dress during the reception, and was told by Ren that I’m the only person she knows who can pull that off.

I danced two separate performances in the same weekend.  It was nuts.

I paid for my surgery (one month and thirteen days to go).  I am now incredibly broke.

I started taking Prozac.  Only for the two weeks around my period, though.  The new lady-doctor is quite amazing; she’s having me try this is conjunction with my old birth control.  I started the white pills of the HBC today, and thanks to the Prozac have only been highly emotional the last couple of evenings.  Aunt Flo’s on her way, and I’m not a complete basket-case.  It’s awesome.

I’ve spent the last three weeks at work pouring over 326 room utilization reports, created a 22-slide presentation on said utilization reports, and given said presentation to a room full of people who I was quite certain might eat me alive if they didn’t like what I had to say.  Luckily, I was able to phrase myself in a way that said, “Here’s the problem we have, and here’s some ways that we can fix it,” instead of what I kind of really meant, “Here’s how you’re doing it wrong.”  And I not only lived to see another day, I’ve been thanked for all my hard work by four or five of them so far.  Who would have thought logic and reason would be so well received in Academia?

I’ve started learning my 9th choreography for the year.  That does not include the two I’m writing/thinking of writing in what little spare time I have, or the combos I’ve written and taught to my class (which keeps getting smaller and smaller; I like to think I’m weeding out the quitters).  I currently need to remember eight of those nine, and one more I learned at the end of last year on top of that.  How my brain can hold any more is beyond me.

In case you were wondering, I’ve been a busy girl.  I’ve even done some more stuff on top of all that, like wrote another newsletter for the dance company (available for your viewing pleasure at http://dfthnewsletter.wordpress.com/category/vol-2-issue-5/; you can also contribute to our upcoming show if you want at www.indiegogo.com/projects/dance-from-the-heart-presents-domari; the proceeds go to benefit a local Alzheimer’s research center), clocked about 32 hours of dance time just between rehearsals and classes (i.e., not including personal practice time), watched the entire first season of New Girl (loving it), and read more articles about the government shutdown than I probably should have (congress, can we all please just play nice in the sandbox together and fix our problems?  A lot of people are out of work or not getting paid for it because you’re being a bunch of two-year-olds).  Also, my nephew turned two, and I got to talk to him on the phone for about 45 seconds before he got distracted by his toys.

Maybe I’ll make an effort to write more in the next few weeks.  But for now this busy, busy girl will continue listening to She & Him and doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.  I think I’ve earned it.

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Poem: A Great Wizard’s Fall

I wrote this poem today for my big crazy magical LOTR-esque fantasy project.  Seeing as how it’s the twelfth anniversary of a day that a lot of brave men fell, you could just change the word “wizard” to “man”, and “wise” to “brave”.  Pretty accurately describes the way it felt that day.

(Side note:  I swear I came up with this on my own, but it feels oddly familiar.  Maybe it’s just reminiscent of W.H. Auden‘s Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.)

 

A Great Wizard’s Fall

The skies shall mourn

A great wizard’s fall

The rivers will quiet

No winds shall call.

The skies shall mourn

The wizard’s stumble

The fires die down

The mountains crumble.

The magician’s fall

Echoes ‘cross the land

For the skies themselves shall mourn

The death of a wise man.

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Friday Mini-Post: QOTN

No, this is not necessarily the return of the Focus-Free Friday Mini-Posts.  But it is Friday, and I had a funny to share that isn’t very long.  So this is a post on a Friday that is mini.  Maybe it will be a thing.  Maybe it won’t.  We’ll see.

Quote of the Night – Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday night in between fusion classes, the instructor told us about a fatal motorcycle wreck she and her husband passed a while back on the highway.  This led to Ren telling us about a wreck she and her husband passed once, in which a drunk driver had driven up the exit ramp and gotten on the freeway going the wrong direction, resulting in a crash with a husband and wife in their car; the wife died, and the husband only had a broken arm.  This in turn led to a brief discussion about how the married ladies amongst the group would react if their spouses died and vice versa.

It sounds really morbid, but most of this was discussed in the irreverent, humorous tone common to our discourse.  So it’s not nearly as odd as it may sound that I ended up saying:

If I died in my apartment, I just hope someone would find me before my neighbors went, “What on earth is that smell?”

To which my instructor responded, after we’d all had a good laugh:

I think if you missed rehearsal, we’d know something was up.  So we’d definitely find you before you liquefied.

Is it odd that I find that really comforting?

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Hearts and Showers and Big Thinks: The Crush Update

I haven’t written much lately (Jeez, how many times have I said that the last few months), but that’s because I’ve been thinking all the thinks and not necessarily writing all the writes…or doing all the dos for that matter.  (Incidentally, I’m rereading The Tao of Pooh.)  This is one of the many thinks I have been thinking that have been taking up all my words:

 

Up until a few weeks ago, I had kind of been avoiding my crush (who was actually in the country all along; it’s a long story that involves me remembering conversations too well and people not dating photos appropriately on Facebook). There’s really only one place I know I’ll run into him, and though I’d wanted to go by there for a while, I kept finding excuses.  Lack of time.  Lack of money.  Other things I needed to get done.  This went on for oh, I don’t know, two months or so.  And then one day I found that I didn’t have a good excuse that week.  I was going to be in the area-ish anyway.  I’d just gotten paid.  If I went home, I probably wouldn’t have gotten anything done aside from binge-reading or catching up on sleep.  So about mid-week I decided to go that Friday.

And I promptly freaked the fuck out.

I have discovered in times like these, when the freaking out is happening and I can’t determine the cause, there is really one place I know I can figure it out:  the shower.  The shower and I have a long relationship that is only partly to do with bathing.  It’s a place where I can detach from everything.  I can’t try to multitask beyond letting the conditioner soak into my hair while I shave my legs.  But none of these tasks takes immense focus, so my mind is free to wander.  It’s the perfect place to think through things that don’t make any sense.  When I have a big think to think, this sometimes results in abnormally long showers, but it’s a risk worth taking since I’m on an allocated system and don’t pay for the amount of water I actually use.

So I took my ponderings about the freak-out to the shower, and discovered something interesting:  I wasn’t necessarily afraid of being rejected.

I was afraid of what might happen if I wasn’t.

 

There are so many what-ifs.  What if he did want to go out with me, but after a few dates one or the other of us lost interest?  What if he was only interested in something casual, but I got attached (like I do)?  I have found that I cannot separate the emotional aspect of sex from the physical.  As in, I am incapable of experiencing any kind of sexual satisfaction with someone I don’t really care about (that was fun to discover, as you can probably imagine).  What if he was the polar opposite?  What if my careful asshole-screening judgment failed me, and I got shamelessly used for my lady bits?  Or worse, what if we did get to the point where the hibbity got dibbity, and I didn’t enjoy myself?

All of that pales in comparison to the last one, though.  The kicker, the real reason just deciding to go to a place where I was certain to encounter this individual left me in a near panic:

What if it worked out?  What if everything was as close to perfect as a relationship can get—right up until it ended?  What if, in the long run, things didn’t work out and I was left once again with a broken heart?

Because that’s kind of what happened the last time.

I won’t go into the details, because that’s between me and my ex.  Suffice to say that though the decision to end the relationship was mutual, the discussion that led to that decision was instigated by him at a time when I thought everything between us was okay.  It turned out for him it was really not okay, and he was just exceptionally good at hiding it.  The whole thing kind of blindsided me, and I went from happily together to miserably single in about three hours.

That breakup was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through.  And I’m still not entirely sure how I got through.  The fact that we stayed friends was a miracle (thanks in large part to the fact that neither of us dated anyone—even casually—for about a year after we broke up).  Now that I have more than three years of distance and perspective, I can see that we’re better as friends; that he and I are both happier and healthier people apart.  Through that heartbreak, I learned more about myself and what I want out of a relationship and out of life than I ever would have with him.  But even three-plus years later, sometimes it still hurts.

And my biggest fear is of it happening all over again.  I don’t see how I could survive it a second time.

 

Admitting that to myself, standing there quietly crying in my shower, made all the difference.  Just knowing that that was what I was really afraid of.  I can handle rejection, even when it stings.  But risking my fragile, weather-worn heart is a whole other ballgame.  Of course the only alternative—living the rest of my life with no possibility for romantic interaction—isn’t all that appealing either.  I don’t mind being on my own, but it’s not a situation I want to make permanent.  I’m too allergic to cats ever to own more than one; crazy-cat-lady is not a viable option in my case.  So it’s a risk I’m going to have to take.

Just processing that and going through it with myself logically calmed me down quite a bit.  I decided then that it was probably best just to be myself—not worrying about trying to be direct or bringing the situation to any abrupt resolution.  It doesn’t really matter if this guy likes me “that way” or not; he’s a cool guy and I’d like to get to know him better even if we just end up being friends.  Maybe for me, it’s better to be a bit more of a Taoist:  to just to go with the flow of things and see what happens.

 

So I went, I saw the crush, we hung out—I actually SPOKE; it was insane—and I had a really good time.  I did, however, make a disheartening discovery.  A discovery I don’t think I was intended to make;  after I overheard him imply said discovery to someone else—twice—which is only kind of eavesdropping because he knew I was standing right there—I asked him about something he’d mentioned the last time I saw him.  He looked at me all wide-eyed and said, “Wow.  You have a really good memory,” in a way that suggested he thought perhaps he should be a little more careful what he says in front of me.  Not that I would ever say anything to anyone (aside from here, where I can be mostly anonymous and hope that only the handful of people I’ve talked to about this will know who in the hell I’m talking about…unless he ends up reading this, because them I’m fucked).

Anyway.  Big discovery of that night:

My crush has a crush on one of my friends.

*facepalm*

*facepalm, facepalm, facepalm*

 

Not that I can really blame him.  This particular friend of mine is pretty freaking cute.  If I were a dude or a bit more bisexual, I’d be all over that.  She’s cute and she’s sweet, and I don’t want to describe her more for the sake of everyone’s anonymity.  She’s also seeing someone right now, so there’s that.  Granted, there’s no telling how long that will last, but at present she is unavailable.

I just don’t know.  Like I’ve said before, I like this guy.  I’m attracted to him, but I don’t know him well enough yet to think about more—beyond my hyperactive, neurotic imagination exploring every possible what-if, that is.  I’m trying really hard not to compare myself to his crush, but that’s a lot harder than it might seem.  She’s kind of amazing.  Makes it a little difficult to remember that I’m kind of amazing, too.

I’m going to go with the flow of things, letting my hopeless romantic hope just enough to keep her happy but no more than that.  I’m only entertaining the possibility, not allowing myself to think of it as anything more than possible…and trying not to bruise myself with all the facepalms…or to use up the world’s water supply thinking big thinks in the shower…

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TEACHING DANCE IS THE BEST THING EVER!

My class last night was AMAZING!  From my perspective, at any rate.  I’m assured by my coworker/dance friend that everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.  Once we got going my nerves completely dissipated; it felt like I was in my element, right where I was supposed to be.  The zumba teacher before me had to cancel, so we got to go in early and I got to give my different-styles-of-belly-dance spiel before class actually started instead of trying to do it during the shimmy drill.  I actually had a good ten or twelve people there; several of them were students waiting around for their 6pm yoga class who were like, “This class is free?  Cool!”  Most of them had never been to a belly dance class before, so inside I was steeple-ing my fingers like Mr. Burns and reveling at the impressionable young minds.  In 55 minutes, I took most of those ladies (and one gentleman) from belly dance ignorance to dancing a short combo by the end of class.  Everybody clapped at the end.  It was awesome.

And my worries about fusion music were completely wiped out; I got several compliments on the playlist.  One of the ladies on staff who attended spoke with me after class and said she’d tried a couple of belly dance classes before, but she just wasn’t all that interested in Middle Eastern music.  I share her feelings; I love to watch people dance to Arabic music but am not all that fond of listening to it on my own time.  She said she had seen the class offering and thought she’d give it one more shot, so she was really glad the music was NOT what she was expecting.  I MADE SOMEONE NOT GIVE UP ON BELLY DANCE!!!

I also had several of the younger students come up and ask for my business card (I had to give them my work one; I really need dance cards) or ask questions.  Several people seemed sad when I said we wouldn’t be having class again until the 9th since we’re off next Monday for Labor Day, and most of them said they’d definitely be back.  My coworker/dance friend said she walked out with a couple of other ladies on staff, and they told her, “That girl really knows her stuff.”  ^_^

I was so jazzed when I went home last night, I started working on the rest of the combo from this week (we only got half-way, but it’s kind of long so I expected that) and the next combo (Nelly Furtado; I can’t believe I have to wait three weeks to teach it to them!).  Today I’m working on playlists between crazy spurts of activity at work.  Not even the stupid PMDD and cramps can get me down.

Can I please just do this all the time?

 

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In which I become a dance instructor…

I did something slightly out of character for me a few months ago.  Having heard from one of my coworkers (with whom I am really friendly because we both share a love of all things belly dance) that the wellness program’s open fitness belly dance class had been cancelled because the old teacher left, I got up my gumption and emailed the kinesiology program coordinator.  I told her that I heard she didn’t have a belly dance instructor anymore, and well, I’m a belly dancer.  I’ve been dancing for five years with a primary focus in belly dance fusion, am part of a dance company, and was thinking about maybe starting to teach.  But I don’t have any experience, and because I’m non-exempt (which means I can earn comp-time/overtime, and therefore am ineligible to teach classes at work) I’d be willing to volunteer for a semester or two just to get my feet wet and see if teaching is something I actually want to do.

My class starts today at five.  I am equal parts excited and completely freaking out.

Dance has, in the last year or so, completely engulfed what used to be my boring, normal little life.  I joined the dance company, we opened a studio, I started taking more and more classes and attending more and more rehearsals and taking on side projects like my duet with Ren (we had a performance last night in which she stepped on my skirt, but no one noticed and everyone thought it was great), and and AND AND…And now, I have the additional responsibility of creating lesson plans, warm-ups, and combinations for a so far unidentified (because it’s open to all faculty, staff, and students, so they don’t have to sign up ahead of time) group of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and potentially-advanced or potentially-baby-beginner students.

And since the class is just billed as “Belly Dancing” (which for some reason makes me think I’m expected to detach my belly and it will spontaneously start doing a tap number with a tiny top hat and cane; FYI, most belly dancers just call it “belly dance”), I have a feeling they will show up expecting an hour of Arabic music led by a skinny woman with dark hair and olive skin wearing a jingly scarf around her ass.

Oh what a surprise it will be when they get chubby, white and freckly me.

I have a feeling I am not the only belly dancer who has this problem.  When I tend to tell non-belly dancer types that I am, in fact, a belly dancer, I am often met with looks of mild confusion.  Most laymen seem to have the same mental picture described above, of the classic, “traditional” belly dancer.  This is a picture I just do not fit.  Most people also wouldn’t readily know that there are a multitude of branches of belly dance—from folkloric styles to improvisational tribal to the experimental weird shit I do called fusion.  It’s something you wouldn’t be aware of if you’re not already a part of the community.

So when I went by the dance room to check that my laptop could connect to the stereo so I wouldn’t have to burn CDs and tested it on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and the kinesiology coordinator said, “That’s belly dancing music?”  I was not all that surprised.  I took a moment to remind her that I’m a fusion belly dancer, and Beats Antique is about as close to Middle-Eastern music as my collection gets.  The playlist I created for my first class (because I’m a total nerd and spent an entire week creating two and half playlists for class so far) contains such gems as Beats Antique, Wax Taylor, Zee Avi, Little People, and Cake.  There are also appearances by Melody Gardot and Alabama Shakes in the warm-up.  I am quite proud of this playlist, but part of me is like, “Oh god, what if a bunch of people show up and they’re expecting Egyptian or Cabaret or even Oriental, and they leave all mad because it wasn’t a real belly dance class!?”

Of course, that bunch of people part may not be a problem.  They didn’t get the open fitness class schedule sent out until 5:00pm Friday, so I doubt a lot of people saw it until this morning and therefore were not planning on staying this evening.  So far the only person I know will be there is the coworker who told me the old instructor left, and I told her about it a few weeks ago when we’d gotten the time finalized.  She came by this morning all excited to double check that we were starting tonight because she brought her clothes and put it on her calendar.  She’s so cute.

I know this post is kind of all over the place and flows like a big river of crap, but I’m too distracted to be cohesive.  I’m excited, and I keep reminding myself that I know what I’m doing.  That they wouldn’t have wanted me in the dance company if I wasn’t any good.  That I’ve been to a ton of classes and have heard every move described and broken down in every imaginable way, so I don’t doubt that I can explain them or answer questions.  I have planned the class so much I have the music coordinated to the appropriate amount of time for shimmies, warm-ups, drills and a short cool down.  I remind myself that my fear is simply the fear of the unknown, of not knowing how many students or what level they’ll be at or whether the class will meet their expectations.

All I can do is go and give it my best and hope for the best.  If it’s a great class, great.  If I hate teaching, I don’t have to do it again next semester.  If nobody else shows up, I get to hang out and dance with my friend for an hour.  It’s going to be fine.

Now excuse me while I run listen to my playlist again and check my lesson plan and analyze the complexity of tonight’s combo for the tenth time…

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