Monday, January 08, 2007

The human body moving well is beautiful

- Morocco (belly dancer)

Misery is a communicable disease – Martha Graham

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion. – Martha Graham


This post isn't going where you think it's going. I hope that you will be pleasantly surprised.

I don't believe Brittney should have removed the comment. I really believe in a ‘once it is up, it stays up’ kind of thing. We should be men and women enough to accept the consequences of what we say, hear, and read. To me, it was all a part of God teaching me a valuable lesson which I will get to in a moment.

After receiving so many positive comments both here, at the studio and on sparkpeople, the negative was eventually going to come around. It reminded me that I need to accept both with grace and humility. Now – that does not mean I have to place value on either the good or the bad. Or find my value in either the good or the bad. My value comes from who God thinks I am. For a while, I forgot that.

The problem comes when one says they are ignoring the negative comments but feed on the positive ones, going so far as to seek them out. I admit to doing that from time to time. On those occasions, I send stuff to my friends who are likely to tell me something good.

See, Friday was the condition for the perfect storm. I was feeling down about myself because my weight loss has kind of stalled and I haven't been eating what I am supposed to (which makes this whole thing rather circular). And then this happened. I could have wallowed in self-pity and eaten everything in the house. I could have deleted my blog, the video and sworn never to set virtual foot online again. Even worse, I could have decided that the one negative comment was too much to take and stop dancing.

People like Wintermute would have anyone who doesn't fit the mold to be out of the public sphere. When Mark was here after New Year's, I told him about the emails I get on almost a daily basis from other folks at who tell me that I am inspiration because I am out there dancing. I found it really surprising and had no idea how to respond to these folks other than ‘thanks and here are some suggestions for where you can get started.’ “I always thought I was too fat to do it. Maybe I will get out there and take lesson!” He said “Of course you are. You are out there living your life without fear or concern for what others think.”

Coming out of belly dancing (which is very body-friendly and accepting), I had no problem with ballroom and just went for it. Because part of my identity as a dancer was formed in a different discipline, it never occurred to me that my body would bother or offend other people.

People like Wintermute attempt to rob people like me of life through public shame and harassment. Fat people stay in there homes having been hounded for so long, made fun of, made to feel ugly and ashamed for what they look like. 18 months ago, a person like Wintermute might have succeeded with me. For a few minutes, he did.

However, it is today and it didn't work. I will not hide. I will not be ashamed. I will continue to live my life as God and I see fit, and that includes dancing. If he was bothered by that, what is he going to think when I finally perform belly dancing in public?!

One of my favorite quotes:

After our shows, the most commonly heard remark to us from our audiences are how happy we look and how happy that made them feel. That is the most important compliment to me, that we were successful in sharing the joy we feel while dancing with our audiences so much so that they feel it too! Joy is contagious! We also hear how 'we light up the room when we dance' and how 'our beaming/radiant faces are a joy to behold.' Who doesn't want/need to feel joy? That is a basic human need. - Kajira Djoumahna (belly dancer)

I will continue to live with joy.

I would like to thank Wintermute.... now, before you yell at me “WTF, PK! WHY?!”, let me explain.

Thanks to Wintermute, the Nashville blogging community came out to defend me and call a spade a spade… or in this case a jerk (and many other colorful words). It is very clear to me that this very unusual social experiment has turned into a real community. It makes me glad to be a part of such a community. It revealed his true nature – one that is ugly… uglier than any perceived unattractiveness of my physical being.

Thanks to him, many of you watched the video when you might not otherwise have done so (no offense taken). More people have now seen it than were in attendance at the original event I think. You have said many wonderful and very kind things. Thanks to the other bloggers who have viewed the video and taken the time to comment and e-mail. I appreciate it very much.

I hope that it will bring some of you out to watch my next competition (Jan 19-21 – we will be performing this number again Sunday afternoon) or even better that you will give dancing a try. You don't have to make it your hobby or.. er.. life's passion... but once you get over the initial shock of learning something new, I'm sure you will have fun. There are plenty of people who dance socially without ever having designs on competition or performing in showcases. Don't think that in order to dance, you have to take it as far as I have. You are not too fat or too old. If George Hamilton and Jerry Springer can waltz, you can too! ;)

Thanks to him, many of you who don't regularly visit my blog have stopped by. Too bad I don't post regularly anymore or else I'd ask you to stay. But do come back on occasion :) And I will do my best to make it to the next blogger meetup.

Thanks to him, he also got a spike in his sitemeter hits. Or should that be thanks to me since I was the person who posted the video that started this in the first place.

Wintermute, I would like to thank you for reminding me that I am valued by God. It is His opinion of me that really matters. And He loves me. He even loves you. My human mind is still working on why. I'm sure God will reveal it to me in the fullness of time. You also reminded me that I need to pray for lots of different people, even those that are difficult to love. I've said a prayer for you a few times over the weekend when I started to feel a little down on myself. And because God loves me just as I am, I am learning to love me just as I am.

It is because of God's grace that I don't respond to how I would have in the past - full of vitrol, anger, and hurt. I believe the general concensus is that Wintermute is any number of names and my adding to the pile doesn't do anything to advance discourse.

It has also opened up discussion on deletion polices, body image, and language - things that I never intended to happen when I posted the video.

What Wintermute has done to himself is show that his karma isn’t grounded in a good place. The fruit of his thoughts and actions are nasty. (Thought I would put that in his religious background, not just my own.) Second, somewhere on his blog he states that people respect him. I'm sure THAT will happen when he returns to NiT. I leave that up to the other readers. Treat him however you would like.

Most importantly, I would like to thank Mark (Digital Cowboy) for being there and listening to me at my most upset and speaking words of wisdom and truth to me when I needed to hear them most. Thanks, Mark, the conversation meant more than you will know.