Friday, May 18, 2012

Navel Gazing. Literally.

It's almost Christmas for belly dancers of Kalamazoo (meaning, the Greek Festival is nigh) and I'm starting to fret about bellies. I realize this is ridiculous, but aren't all thoughts that cross the screen?

I wish I could love my belly like Princess Farhana. I'm not quite there. I remember talking with one of the more experienced dancers for an academic paper she was writing and revealing (ha!) that I had never shown my stomach in public as an adult. "Well, it's not required," she said, almost recoiling. And when I look around at my fellow dancers, I don't see any Sport Illustrated swimsuit models with airbrushed abs or anything. I just don't feel confident.

I only know one way to fix that, and it occurred to me today, it still might not work. As a woman, you always think if you can lose enough weight, you will be perfect. But that's not true. Number one, you can never be perfect, which is perfect in itself. And it's not about weight. Is it about love?

So, I have to learn to love my own belly. Damn. I'm still getting some self-tanner before the Greek Festival. Does anyone know what kind to get so I don't turn trying-not-to-be-Irish orange?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fuck you, cancer

I try not to be angry about things, but this one really punched me in the neck. I'm not being flip - that's where my heart has moved, to my neck. It's a stupid place to keep a heart - the chest is much sturdier and well protected, but I have little control of where my emotions gather and constrict. 

And if you think about it, it's fitting. The neck controls breathing, speech, access between the brain and body. It's narrow. It's hard to hide aging there. Obviously, I am not speaking medically. 

I would like to make things fit together. I would like to be able to argue that it's not fair that good people die of cancer, or that cancer is sneaky and has a motive and intent. But it just is. There are no rules. That doesn't mean I can't raise a fist and shake it uselessly. 

Which is what I did. I thought, YEAH, NPR is finally playing some Beastie Boys bed music. Pump my fist, pull into the driveway. Whatever, middle age demographers, I'll take it. And then the newsy part where Adam Yauch has died of salivary parotid cancer at 47. 

And the unfairness starts now and musing about why the death of someone you don't know should matter. But it does matter, because he made music that I've enjoyed for half of my life. It matters because I'm 42. It matters because I've had cancer in my neck. It matters because we all have necks. 

Rest in peace. I really mean that. The rest of us will have to raise the ruckus. I'm not sure I have 25 years to see what happens. I'm not sure I ever did. Thanks for reminding me. Love.