Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?


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We do not see ourselves as others see us, do we? Sometimes we form a somewhat higher opinion of ourselves than is warranted in some areas, and at other times we see ourselves as having all of the possible faults, and none of the attributes-sometimes we are very hard on ourselves, and do not let ourselves shine through. We stifle ourselves, for lack of a better word. We look, but we fail to SEE. Seeing really is an ART. We can emerge, like a butterfly, from a cocoon, or possibly, we feel we could fail to metamorphosis into a butterfly? NO, we all morph into butterflies.

But, at this stage of growing up, it is important to pat ourselves on the back for jobs well done and realize that all of those jobs cannot lie on the same plane, some things have to give, to make room for the important ones. One cannot take every little thing so seriously and sometimes when you realize this and stop beating yourself over the head for it, things fall into place [

Falling in Place

AH, EXCELLENT book]

as they should  and you can just coast along, enjoying the ride for a change. It is about enjoying life, one day at a time.

You know you have to jump off, but you can become (almost) entirely relaxed about the point at which you need to jump. You can pause TIME. Use time more efficiently, when you do not worry-practice deliberately not worrying-and then you can become expert at it, like the dancer who can complete 64 beats of the feet in the air before landing-not recorded since Nijinsky, but absolutely possible to DO! Like taking your hat off when the string breaks and setting it down, with composure, dancing on, as if that were your intention all along. And eventually, it just happens, you realize there are at least two of you in there, one who knows what to do when the other has %^&*(up. You then jump as fast and as hard as you can, while you can, because you can, and you LIKE IT! LOVE IT! Bask in that power.

Appreciate every moment, but then lie down. Look up at the trees with the sun shining through them and watch the wind gently moving their boughs, rustling their leaves, do an encore. Take your bow. You deserve it. And wait for your next chance! But there have to be those moments when you enjoy the fruits of your labor, when you stop worrying about the future so much and enjoy the present. That present is NOW-in case you hadn’t noticed. Don’t apologize for being you. Be you. Make that a you you like to be though. That elephant up there loves himself. You can tell. He just does and I bet he doesn’t even think that he is an elephant!

It is necessary as a young person to pass through this phase, because it allows us to make all of these glorious mistakes, waste all of this (valuable) time feeling all kinds of feelings, sometimes losing the sense of the present, and the joy in it, with our faces pressed to the glass, and we emerge a swan ourselves in spite of all of our efforts to thwart the process! But do not let some adult like me tell you not to have and enjoy all of those feelings, too. They are yours. What would happen if we went along with the process? Did not rebel? Would we achieve more, watch time passing, be more aware of what is happening around us. Doubtful-it wouldn’t be life and adolescence and youth any other way. Is it like a sixth sense? Kind of. Knowing those who have all gone before us as we continue to go.

The process is important in all phases and one should relish those opportunities for change and excitement and new things. For knowledge. New insights will come at every turn, so turns and twists are very important. Without them, no change, no excitement, no epiphanies can occur. Motion makes change and action makes motion. It is the unstable part of youth where we begin to fear the possibility of the future passing us by-don’t let it-not-a-second! Think of all of the other possibilities! For 20 years later, those of us who do not fully live, regret what we did not do, will have unfulfilled expectations. We will remember when we could have amounted to so much, done so much, if only we had given it out all when we had all to give…..and that fear, for it is the only valid one, somehow gives us the momentum, if not the incentive, we need to move ahead, for surely nothing happens if we sit still-time passes us by as we feared.

(It is short and meant to be read out loud, spoken to hear the rhythm)

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam



  Edward FitzGerald's Translation (1889).

			1

	Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
	Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
	And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
	The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

			2

	Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
	I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
	"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
	"Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

			3

	And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
	The Tavern shouted--"Open then the Door!
	"You know how little while we have to stay,
	"And, once departed, may return no more."

			4

	Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
	The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
	Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
	Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

			*****

			5

	Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose,
	And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
	But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
	And still a Garden by the Water blows.

			6

	And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
	High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
	"Red Wine!"---the Nightingale cries to the Rose
	That yellow Cheek of hers to incarnadine.

			7

	Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
	The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
	The Bird of Time has but a little way
	To fly---and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

			8

	And look---a thousand Blossoms with the Day
	Woke---and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
	And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
	Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

			*****

			9

	But come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
	Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot!
	Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
	Or Hatim Tai cry Supper---heed them not.

			10

	With me along some Strip of Herbage strown
	That just divides the desert from the sown,
	Where name of Slave and Sultan scarce is known,
	And pity Sultan Mahmud on his Throne.
			11

	Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
	A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse---and Thou
	Beside me singing in the Wilderness---
	And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

			12

	"How sweet is mortal Sovranty!"---think some:
	Others---"How blest the Paradise to come!"
	Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
	Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!

			*****

			13

	Look to the Rose that blows about us---"Lo,
	"Laughing," she says, "into the World I blow:
	"At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
	"Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."

			14

	The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
	Turns Ashes---or it prospers; and anon,
	Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
	Lighting a little Hour or two---is gone.

			15

	And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
	And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
	Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
	As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

			16

	Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
	Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
	How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
	Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.

			*****

			17

	They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
	The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep;
	And Bahram, that great Hunter---the Wild Ass
	Stamps o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.

			18

	I sometimes think that never so red
	The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
	That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
	Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

			19

	And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
	Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean---
	Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
	From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

			20

	Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
	TO-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears---
	To-morrow?---Why, To-morrow I may be
	Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.

			*****

			21

	Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
	That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
	Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
	And one by one crept silently to Rest.

			22

	And we, that now make merry in the Room
	They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
	Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
	Descend, ourselves to make a Couch---for whom?

			23

	Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
	Before we too into the Dust descend;
	Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
	Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and---sans End!
			24

	Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
	And those that after a TO-MORROW stare,
	A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
	"Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There!"

			*****

			25

	Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
	Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
	Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
	Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

			26

	Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
	To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
	One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
	The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

			27

	Myself when young did eagerly frequent
	Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
	About it and about: but evermore
	Came out by the same Door as in I went.
			28

	With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
	And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
	And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd---
	"I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

			*****

			29

	Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
	Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
	And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
	I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

			30

	What, without asking, hither hurried whence?
	And, without asking, whither hurried hence!
	Another and another Cup to drown
	The Memory of this Impertinence!

			31

	Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
	I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
	And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
	But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.

			32

	There was a Door to which I found no Key:
	There was a Veil past which I could not see:
	Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
	There seemed---and then no more of THEE and ME.

			*****

			33

	Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
	Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide
	"Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
	And---"A blind Understanding!" Heav'n replied.

			34

	Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
	My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
	And Lip to Lip it murmur'd---"While you live
	"Drink!---for once dead you never shall return."

			35

	I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
	Articulation answer'd, once did live,
	And merry-make; and the cold Lip I kiss'd
	How many Kisses might it take---and give!

			36

	For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
	I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
	And with its all obliterated Tongue
	It murmur'd---"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"

			*****

			37

	Ah, fill the Cup:---what boots it to repeat
	How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
	Unborn TO-MORROW, and dead YESTERDAY,
	Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!

			38

	One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
	One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste---
	The Stars are setting and the Caravan
	Starts for the Dawn of Nothing---Oh, make haste!

			39

	How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
	Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
	Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
	Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

			40

	You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
	For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
	Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
	And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

			*****

			41

	For "IS" and "IS-NOT" though with Rule and Line,
	And "UP-AND-DOWN" without, I could define,
	I yet in all I only cared to know,
	Was never deep in anything but---Wine.

			42

	And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
	Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
	Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
	He bid me taste of it; and 'twas---the Grape!

			43

	The Grape that can with Logic absolute
	The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
	The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
	Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

			44

	The mighty Mahmud, the victorious Lord,
	That all the misbelieving and black Horde
	Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
	Scatters and slays with his enchanted Sword.

			*****

			45

	But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
	The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
	And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
	Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

			46

	For in and out, above, about, below,
	'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
	Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
	Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.

			47

	And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
	End in the Nothing all Things end in ---Yes---
	Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
	Thou shalt be---Nothing---Thou shalt not be less.

			48

	While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
	With old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink:
	And when the Angel with his darker Draught
	Draws up to Thee---take that, and do not shrink.

			*****

			49

	'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
	Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
	Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
	And one by one back in the Closet lays.

			50

	The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
	But Right or Left, as strikes the Player goes;
	And He that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
	*He* knows about it all---He knows---HE knows!

			51

	The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
	Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
	Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
	Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

			52

	And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
	Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
	Lift not thy hands to *It* for help---for It
	Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

			*****

			53

	With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man's knead,
	And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
	Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
	What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

			54

	I tell Thee this---When, starting from the Goal,
	Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
	Of Heav'n Parvin and Mushtara they flung,
	In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul

			55

	The Vine had struck a Fibre; which about
	If clings my Being---let the Sufi flout;
	Of my Base Metal may be filed a Key,
	That shall unlock the Door he howls without

			56

	And this I know: whether the one True Light,
	Kindle to Love, or Wrathconsume me quite,
	One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
	Better than in the Temple lost outright.

			*****

			57

	Oh, Thou, who didst with Pitfall and with Gin
	Beset the Road I was to wander in,
	Thou wilt not with Predestination round
	Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?

			58

	Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
	And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
	For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
	Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give---and take!

		KUZA-NAMA ("Book of Pots.")

			59

	Listen again. One Evening at the Close
	Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
	In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
	With the clay Population round in Rows.

			60

	And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
	Some could articulate, while others not:
	And suddenly one more impatient cried---
	"Who *is* the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"

			*****

			61

	Then said another---"Surely not in vain
	"My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
	"That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
	"Should stamp me back to common Earth again."

			62

	Another said---"Why, ne'er a peevish Boy,
	"Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
	"Shall He that *made* the Vessel in pure Love
	"And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy!"

			63

	None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
	A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
	"They sneer at me for learning all awry;
	"What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"

			64

	Said one---"Folk of a surly Tapster tell
	"And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
	"They talk of some strict Testing of us---Pish!
	"He's a Good Fellow, and 't will all be well."

			*****

			65

	Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
	"My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
	"But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
	"Methinks I might recover by-and-bye!"

			66

	So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
	One spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
	And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
	"Hark to the Porter's Shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

			67

	Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
	And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
	And in the Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
	So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.

			68

	That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
	Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
	As not a True Believer passing by
	But shall be overtaken unaware.

			*****

			69

	Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
	Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
	Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
	And sold my Reputation for a Song.

			70

	Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
	I swore---but was I sober when I swore?
	And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
	My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

			71

	And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel
	And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour---well,
	I often wonder what the Vintners buy
	One half so precious as the Goods they sell.

			72

	Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
	That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
	The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
	Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

			*****

			73

	Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
	To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
	Would not we shatter it to bits---and then
	Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

			74

	Ah, Moon of my Delight who Know'st no wane
	The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
	How oft hereafter rising shall she look
	Through this same Garden after me---in vain!

			75

	And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
	Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
	And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
	Where I made one---turn down an empty Glass!

		TAMAM SHUD (It is completed.)

			*****


Self loathing passes, too, many of the doubts, and all the uncomfortableness of the onset of maturity, with the acceptance of ourselves, but not complacency (!). We need to kick if only to make sure we still can. This process takes time and energy itself, and if we can just keep busy, active, focus our energies into the positive, second by second, minute by minute, day by day, we pass through it, and it cannot depress/suppress us so much if we use some of the indomitable will we possess innately, to repress IT, to conquer IT, and our own self-doubts. It is important however, now, to keep moving, to keep busy, and to keep dancing, pressing on, because we must go through the whole inevitable period of self-examination, self-prejudice and fault-finding in order to come through it a learned person, knowing the most about ourselves (whom we should know), a stronger person and one more grounded in who we really are and what we can really accomplish if we put our mind to it, and to finally realize that after our heartbreaks and changes, we are complex and fascinating and beautiful people, and not a shell, like the ones held up in photographs and poses, not fake and pasty pearls,, made shiny for the instant, but sea-hewn and rock hard, with mirrored finish and indomitable strength-the challenge is to be a better, stronger person and to emerge loving our faults, embracing them, and liking ourselves better for them, for they are actually our strengths-sometimes it is slow going, just a little of ourselves better each day, like washing an arm or the neck, with love, a little bit better every time, and a little more, if not love, then respect and awe, because we alone did it-made it through. It is us.

Our perseverance teaches us that we were better than we thought we were, and that there IS improvement in the way we see ourselves. Self-loving, self respecting and generous in our accomplishments to ourselves. Thankful. It requires bigger thinking. Huge thinking. And yet simple logic-a stronger brain. Some can articulate and some do not.

More importantly, we will emerge from this journey to find that we are still in the running-the race is not run, there is still time and even more importantly, more and better races, to be proud of not only how much we have accomplished, but realize we do possess that extra bit of mettle necessary to make it through the fire and survive and go again. All of this is coming, the hard part is looking it in the eye and moving forward with the courage and conviction necessary to achieve even half of what we set out to do, first we leave the gate, and then finishing up the rest of it like dessert because we finally realize we do have room and the ability! Then we look back and go, “Wow. What if I had stopped? It is about hanging on, baby. It is about the survival of the fittest, not just being super flexible and posing. It is about dancing and spirit and tenacity. A dancer is not born, a dancer is made. It is about hard work, now more than ever! It is about love, too.

I guess I was told in my twenties by my then husband, that my body changed (all the time). I couldn’t see it. I was a little vexed with him. But he was honest, though I did not (want) to realize it at the time. Sometimes I dieted, but usually I didn’t have to=the less I got on the scale or thought about it, the less I ate. Before I knew it, I was slim again. Svelte. Once told no one rocked the little black dress better! I didn’t think that day would come, but it was true. I just had not seen it all along. What a waste! Worrying about anything, never made it happen, or unhappen, but it took experience even to know that. Discipline is a part of it, but like other areas of life, you have to find solutions that work for you, aren’t really sacrifices, and it takes a while to prefer the taste of some foods over seemingly better-tasting ones. You can choose healthy and still taste good! If weird things aren’t your bag, by all means don’t eat things you don’t like. People were eating healthily before Whole Foods! Diets also aren’t meant to be permanent=that’s why you start eating better and you just learn to eat better forever. But in our teens, some people develop weird eating disorders and issues because of fad diets, body image issues, peer pressure, media, and the rest-sometimes their parents foist those problems upon them, because they want to create phobias like “your teeth will fall out!”, “you will put your eye out with that!”, “you do not want to be FAT!”. But there is fact and fiction. Nature guides us, too. That is why it is important to eat what you like, and use moderation in all things.

Teenagers do not see the rest of their lives, they only see the right now this minute and it is because of this that they are vulnerable to all sorts of things. When we realize there is a tomorrow and another slice of pizza or a bagel in the FUTURE, we do not look at the one today as if it is going to be the last one EVER! Trust me, at forty I was sick of Chicken, Beef, and Pork so Fish became much more appealing, and other options sprung up! Vegetables and other foods became interesting and playful until I was not eating very much neat all of a sudden, only sporadically. Nature must have intended it that way. Having worked in a bakery, I can say honestly that I hate baked goods! I had my fill of Napoleans, Cannoli, cakes and pies-For the most part food is ever plentiful and ever available. A cornucopia awaits, never empty! I completely gave up fad diets when I realized that I could honestly eat a favorite food once a day for the rest of my life and it would always be different, never ending, and the thought kind of bored me, like ohhh….kind of like the number of restaurants in New York-you can go to a different one three times per day, and STILL never try all of them in your whole life.

The key is to see if we want it as badly in 5 minutes or this evening, tomorrow, or on Saturdays or Sundays, teaching restraint and perspective. Mostly perspective. That way, by 6pm, tomorrow or Sunday, something nearly always looks better, and we begin to see how whimsical our choices are on the spur of the moment. When we are craving something, and fail to see how recent exercise or physical need might be the culprit-that our bodies crave certain foods, at certain times, and why. Unfortunately, I do not know a good book on this subject, but I do know of a writer who deals with it in dancers specifically. I have posted several articles by her from her blog. She is full of good advice and offers recipes and facts on food. But the information is everywhere and in our brains there is common sense. You have to eat right. Live right. Eat a wide variety-variety is the spice of life! Take care in preparing your food, eating your food and enjoying your food. Sit and eat. Don’t run and eat for then you just feel hungry and as though you haven’t eaten at all. Mealtime should be a ritual. A time to sit and relax, and eat enough. Don’t overeat. Don’t try not to eat, rather eat something good and juicy, healthy, enriching, flavorful, whatever. Eat less, but eat more! Enjoy food. It nourishes you!

We all prefer to see ourselves as we once were, whether that was a nubile young thing, a mature teenager, “in my twenties”, “before I was married,” and it goes on, so that by the time we are 51 or 94 we are able to (at least) pick and choose which body we want to be, which period we most liked and ALL of them have reasons to be liked, eventually. But we are much more than a body. I would much rather be someone, if I could, and not just her body! We just have to be mature enough it seems to finally LIKE all of them that we are, that we have been. And you will. In time. For me, it did happen young, it has happened, and now I am perhaps too comfortable with myself….Sometimes I wish I could just pick any one of those former selves and be that for a night out, a day in class, at the beach, in my paddling pool, again. But I realize I am all of those, too, and much more. I am a complete package and to extract one of those different bodies is impossible, because a human is an organism and changing all the time. Those images are literally in our mind like a snapshot in time. Our image of ourselves might be static, but we are never just as we remembered anyway. We are live actions figures and not dolls!

We really were different and changing all the time, like the sea. As women, we change daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and as different systems in our bodies take over, work on their own for different reasons, from birth through life, such as when we bring a life into the world, and as we get older, we change sometimes drastically. Would we deny our baby’s good health by fretting too much over our own self-image during gestation? Cheat the wisdom of old age? No, it would spoil the emotional moment of our lives, and risk our baby’s health. Why would we treat ourselves differently? Risk our own health? Worse?

We don’t want to interfere or to control that body too much until we are perfectly comfortable with its ebbs and flows. It can take care of itself. We just have to learn what those are. They have a rhythm too. We just have to love it and deal with it. Some cultures celebrate all those changes! Some people never learn acceptance of themselves. They do not realize these things. They do not love themselves-it isn’t the food. Their behavior is boring and repetitive and predictable. I cannot imagine thinking about it all of the time, worrying about it all of the time, wasting time feeling bad with what-ifs and denying myself things I like-in moderation.

Sometimes it takes less time to control radical changes, other times , sometimes more, but I wish I had known then what I know now-that at least is unanimous among people. In the case of adolescence, people make it through. I remember looking in the mirror in a store changing room after my first child and going, “What the???” Even that changed and healed. Passed. A few years later, back into my stride, someone commented about how (based upon my appearance) it really was true that dancer’s bodies just sprang back, at how amazing my physique was, but I saw all my faults-or were they? It was at that point that I began to think differently, realizing I was good. Okay. Better even. Like scars, maybe our faults or perceived flaws, give us a kind of character, a chance to build on them, to strengthen, to love, they are a marker of where we have been even, cliche, but true. Unavoidable and part of life, so why fret life? But, so do all of those mental phases  and other memories, which become associated with times of our lives and are woven into the fabric of US, who we become, and cannot be separated. Don’t get lint in your warp! So make the most of them, enjoy what you can, and take time to smell the flowers. Make good memories, too. Eat what you want. My mother was good at telling me not to worry. She said I did not have to worry about getting fat. She was right. At my age it is when I look into the mirror to make a physical assessment, it is not like it used to be and yet, I am surprised that I do not look as bad as I feel. Sometimes I check and make myself laugh-I am still there, I am still me. Thank GOD. There was a time when I would not always like what I saw, I was too critical. I just didn’t see me! Now I do, and I am happy to greet ME!

I see the chubby girls with glowing skin, beautiful eyes, buxom beauties, so to speak, I see the slender girls with knowledge that they meet a certain body type, and I see natural beauty in all sorts of people, and less beauty in that which is continually thrust before me in media etc. I remember once closeted in an elevator in college with a bohemian film type and he prefessed his deep regard fo me and my Rubenesque (Rubens was a painter of scantily-clad and fleshy nymphs) figure. I was not Rubenesque, but even if I was to him, I was loved! I was appalled and fairly ran from the elevator. I see the marketing industry changing and attempting to glamorize fat, and obesity in order to market fashion for it. So the focus on weight has shifted from one end of the spectrum, to try to capitalize on people being fat, in other ways, and I do not mean weight loss centers-I mean fashion and money. Keeping them fat is big business nowadays. They even try to market fat food to fat people!

I do think people need to be disciplined and eat what they need and not waste the food on the planet. I think fat is fat, and if you love a person you want them to be healthy, not fat. If someone you love gets fat, would you leave them? But that goes to values and people. We should love people not ideals. But when someone is perfectly healthy and not fat, and is just seeing fat which is not there, which is their beautiful body and that person is not fat, I am concerned with what that person is worrying about and why they think they are fat. Obesity is a health issue. Dancers are healthy….

I would tell someone they do not look fat, I would not judge, I would say, “you look fine.” I tell anyone the truth who asks. Eat right. You are healthy. You’re you. What are you worried about. You are perfectly normal. And I do not like ballet companies who only hire dancers that are of one body type because usually they are not all good dancers. Boring. If I wanted to see a lot of strings on the stage I would cover it with silly string (and save alot of money-and make a statement). Lines are not about weight, and dancing is not about weight (partnering IS), but here I might insert good partner and bad partner-people who do not want to lift their own weight, let alone other dancers. Tall girls weigh more than small girls-they just do. There is someone for everyone. Ballet is about ART and art is not about modelling or fashion-art is not pop. Art is about truth and beauty and other things. It is about strength and agility, stamina and interpretation. It is about entertainment, and not only one person’s who is creating the piece. It is for the world and the whole world is not going to judge by image. They judge by talent, ability and beauty and many other things. It is not all orgiastic claptrap and perfect bodies. That is pretentious and real art, passionate art is anything BUT pretentious! They do not want to admit it, and say, “so and so is just g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s!”, and what they mean is “I am saying the right thing.” But they speak false. If truth is beauty, and beauty is truth, how can truth be false or false be beautiful…..? That is as much posing as anything and that is not art. No matter how deep they try to make it appear to be, some of it is just like a 45 minute fashion show and I do not find that moving, or relevant-except in context possibly, or meaningful. It is certainly not a forever theme. It is not real. It is not engaging. It is not interesting. It’s not even history. It is more a political statement than anything and art is not, or should not be, politics. It is boring! Perfect bodies have not necessarily been perfect artists-they have been perfect bodies. That is all. Not always perfect dancers. Some just can barely dance! Dancers have muscles and strength. They have to. Rarely do the two combine…..I love imperfections. They are unique! If you look hard enough, everyone has them. But don’t dwell on them-look at the dancing! And keep on dancing!

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