Monday, May 19, 2008

Mata-Mamma Hari

I dated this one guy for a couple years back in high school. His dad had been murdered when he and his brothers were kids, and his mom, Mary, worked hard to provide for her family.

Mary was a great provider and parent and a really nice lady. She was a 40-something strawberry blonde - pretty in an understated way, of quiet manner and gentle spirit, very pleasant and easy to talk to. We became friends.

She had the wisdom to etch out a little bit of time for herself as well. She was an active member of Parents Without Partners, and as her hobby, Mary had been taking classes and had become an accomplished belly dancer. As an advanced student, she had to write her own routines and would practice them at home. One evening, being that I was there, I was invited to watch one of her practice sessions. I was excited. I’d seen her working on her beautiful cabaret-style costumes from time to time and had wondered about her dancing. I was happy to be able to see one of her routines.

Mary came out in her costume – she seemed a little self-conscious wearing it in front of us at first – or perhaps it was only me, being the first time I’d seen a real (very sexy) belly dancing costume in person, and on my boyfriend’s mother at that. Either way though, that didn’t last. Mary proceeded to dance her routine – slow at first, and then with increasing tempo. Her tiny waist moved with power and control, her arms flowed with the ease and fluidity of the veils of her skirts, her brass zills and blue eyes flashed exotically. For those moments, quiet mild-mannered Mary became a goddess.

And from those moments on, I wanted to possess that gift.

The life of a young woman is tempestuous to say the least. That boy and I broke up and I lost touch with Mary. I didn’t know the first thing about finding a belly dancing class, even if I did have the time or money to do so. But I loved to dance. All through college and through my twenties, I went out dancing every chance I got – and the memories of Mary’s belly dancing and the unrequited dream to learn the dance stayed with me.

A few years ago my knees started bothering me when I did my preferred high-impact workouts of Tae Bo, kickboxing and the like. I started thinking about new approaches I could take for my fitness routines, of which are becoming increasingly more important as I approach middle age. I thought back to the days I knew Mary, and how much I admired her accomplished dancing to this day. I bought some videos and began to teach myself some basic moves. It was fun, sensual, and deceptively challenging physically. Unfortunately, I’m a poor self-motivator and didn’t keep with it regularly, especially with a toddler vying for my time in the evenings.

But recently, for whatever reason, I have been re-inspired. Something I can’t pinpoint has re-triggered this old dream in me, and I want to chase it. Chase it and capture it and make it mine. I have been doing some research and hunting around for classes. It took a while, and some soul searching in order to decide how far I was willing to commute, as there are no local classes in my residence of BFE. But I found one that’s both reachable and affordable. The class is offered at a real dance studio by a real belly dancer. There are also intermediate and advanced classes to move up to whenever the student is ready for a new challenge level.

My first class is tomorrow and I’m so excited I can barely stand it.

Those who know me in person might laugh at this pursuit – some even have. But I don’t care. I've seen how it can change a woman inside and out, and I want that. Many others have encouraged me enthusiastically, which fuels my fire even more. And the Hub? Well, he's always loved belly dancers anyway, so enough said ;).

Will I become as accomplished a dancer as Mary? I don’t know. But what I do know is I am making a twenty-some year old dream come true in pursuing this. I want to resculpt my body into something I can be proud of again and gain the confidence and power and femininity that belly dancers of ALL ages, sizes and skill levels seem to possess. I want to become a goddess.

I want to be a Mata-Mamma Hari! :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rapid Progression Aging Begins

Last weekend we got together with some boating friends we hadn't seen since the fall. It was extra nice because they have a son Incrediboy's age and they became great buddies out on the lake last summer.

We had a cookout and enjoyed some beverages while the boys rode bikes, dug in the sandbox, and played with wild abandon. And at some point, Buddy's little quad runner came out for show and tell.

It was a cute little thing - green as a frog and just 4 year old-sized. Buddy strapped on his ridiculously disproportionate helmet and showed Incrediboy how he could ride it. Buddy spun it effortlessly around the property a few times, and Incrediboy looked on with great longing. Buddy's Dad asked Incrediboy if he'd like to try it (after asking us first), and his eyes lit up as he nodded vigorously.

After few quick lessons and quizzes on where the gas and the brake were, Incrediboy slowly rambled about, with Daddy running behind with the kill chord, just in case. Toward the end of the ride, I knew I was in trouble.

He was very careful. The quad had a governor on it to keep a speed cap ensured. Nothing dangerous or even scary happened. But as Daddy helped him off with his helmet, I saw it. I saw the look that daredevils and speed demons have. That glow in the cheeks and glint in the eyes that means my life and my garage will in time be stuffed with motocross bikes, go carts, quad runners and motorcycles. That birth of the hunger that will lead me to be on a first name basis with everyone who works in the ER.

I try to blame this on my Hub's blood in his veins. The man who only seems happy when he's going Mach 12 with his hair on fire. But as I dabbed Bactine on two little scraped knees tonight and blew cool air on them to soothe the sting, I remembered how my own knees were not without scabs for many summers (the ENTIRE summer), and how one year I even road rashed the entire back of my leg in a cannonball-speed-skating-down-a-driveway incident gone awry.

And I realized the poor child has no hope of escaping routine injury. Thrill seeking is infused in him - from both directions.

As of today, I have very few gray hairs - but I suspect that will be changing soon.