I did everything right. I graduated from college and got a job. There were no babies calling me mommy and drugs were called Ibuprofen. My teeth were cleaned every six months and the PCP saw me once a year for my annual physical. Women looked at me and said #adulting goals. One very specific element eluded me without my knowledge…I had no idea how to be a woman.
Grace was not something that existed for me. My mother always told me that I was too rough in my manner or too strong. Dancing was completely out of the question for me and I tended to “flop” about. Quiet, introverted, shy, and pained by the presence of people; that was me. Fortunately, world cultures captivated my attention which led me to the discovery of Middle Eastern Dance.
At one point, I was dancing at least twice a day in addition to privates, performances, and Pilates. My eyes were firmly planted on studying in Egypt. It was my life. It completely took over. Other women that were also mesmerized became my friends. We would attend workshops and different dance festivals. We would support each other at different performances in between costume fittings and hookah time. It was not long before my first full moon drum circle invitation appeared. It was the pure essence of primordial energy.
Between the natural movements and hypnotic music, the dance form helped me express what could never be put into words. Sensuality found a definition, and I was used as an example of grace during class. It was my honor to then become an instructor which helped me share the wonderful gift of this dance that was created for women by women.
In short, it taught me how to be a woman. Your mother can only show you so much if anything about this and in retrospect, I was completely lost. Bellydancing saved me from the grips of toxic masculinity and introduced me to myself on so many levels. Perhaps the most important one being was that being feminine is an art form to be celebrated every single second of every single day.
It was early Friday afternoon when I realized that there was an event that I should attend. It involved all of the things that I loved: women, art, poetry, and healing. My attire consisted of goddess material and out the door I went, daring to be social. Upon entry, it was not clear what was to be expected. People surrounded tables that had live painted bodies of art simply sitting and talking. Albums of the life of each piece of artwork lay in front of them on the table. My feet carried me to a table with questions. As I began to read it, one question leaped off the paper into me: If you were to forget the last ten years of your life, what memory would you miss and why? As my face turned to wondrous expression, the friendly MC caught me. She asked me if I would be willing to share my response to the question on stage. I smiled and responded yes.
The memory that I shared left me quite happy and flushed. Coincidentally, it did involve an artist and a lovely art gallery filled with his work. It is a memory that remains vivid to this day. It was quite exhilarating to share such a story with a gallery filled with complete strangers, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The entertainment began soon after I took my seat.
The spoken word artists were quite familiar to me. The second one in particular, Nubian, struck a chord with me from many years ago. She made a statement on stage in the middle of her performance that completely boggled my mind. It stayed with me for all of these years. Naturally, when she passed by me after the show, I made it my business to stop her and tell her how beautiful she was. She was pleasantly surprised and engaged me in polite conversation. She managed to catch my attention as I was sitting on the floor speaking to one of the works of art.
She was painted as the Queen of Hearts. Her story of survival was harsh and passionate all at the same time. She had unimaginable experiences and eventually came to realize that her sexual orientation was not focused on men. The pictures in her album had carefully been selected to depict the healing journey that is her life. The opportunity to connect with her on such a level was uplifting for me. There is something about listening to another human being as they lay their soul bare before you. The question that I asked her was, if she had the chance to know me, would she hear me or feel me. She said that she would feel me because I would probably mention something that would resonate with her. It was a powerful connection of two people sharing with one another.
Once I found my way home, I removed the rose quartz necklace and settled into a chair. My womb was happy. My spirit soared. My heart felt light, and I knew…..that I had been captivated by the seduction of the evening. Everything in me knew what I wanted to do with my life.
There are private experiences that a girl has that she never tells anyone. There are other private experiences that a girl has that are too good to keep to herself. This will be one of those posts…….
It was the Spring of 2010. Bellydance had given way to the scandalous world of pole. New sights and sounds were captivating me and a new lifestyle held me in its arms. Hip scarves, coins, and glitter, had been traded in for heels, skin, and lots of naughtiness. It was great and exactly what a repressed Lady needed to allow the abundance of her sacral chakra to manifest. That is my attempt at being subtle. Allow me to be direct: pole turned me into a Lady on the prowl.
Easter Sunday was when I received the call. An artist friend wanted me to assist him with a project. He wanted to created a brotherhood circle with a new artist in town from France. He wanted people to be able to go back and forth between the two galleries and enjoy culture: art, music, dance, food, wine. Life at its finest. Within days, I visited his gallery to get a feel for the entertainment space. I was soon taken to the gallery of the visiting artist from France.
The meeting must have caused quite a sensation amongst sensitive people. My friend told me prior to entering the gallery that I should do something that called upon Egypt of yesteryear. As my feet carried me into the all white gallery, my eyes turned to the left and there was a painting of a harpist in the court of a pharaoh. What are the chances….
After admiring the artwork, I followed the sounds of Creole and French. Apparently, the artists were having a conversation. As my eyes took in the sight of the gorgeous piece of chocolate from France, strange things began to happen. Lots of blinking was necessary because a large white light was surrounding him. I felt calm and happy at the same time. We did not exchange a lot of words because neither of us knew what to say. I had to step away for a moment to take in everything that had transpired. Who was this gorgeous foreigner and how did I end up in his presence? I was the person that was going to arrange the entertainment between both galleries?! How did I get this lucky. He immediately invited me to have a drink with him. All of us ended up in the previous gallery dancing and making general merriment well into the night. It was official. The art world had swallowed me whole.
Gallery night soon appeared. One by one all of the dancers that had been confirmed vanished for one reason or another. The entire performance segment fell onto my shoulders. With my cd in tow, I danced to my own music. It was a surreal experience for me. It was a lovely evening. People gazed upon the art with sheer admiration. Wine was poured and laughter was everywhere. As my night came to a close, I found myself in the arms of the handsome Frenchman who had captivated my attention only days before.
It was necessary for me to go home as a pole class was on my schedule for the next day. I packed the harp and left.
The next day, the handsome Frenchman invited me to visit him at his gallery. I politely declined because of pole class when it hit me. There was a very strong attraction happening between us. He was leaving for France in a matter of days, and I probably would never see him again. It would be okay for me to visit him for a nice friendly chat. Perhaps he woulds serve tea and crumpets. I decided to stop by his gallery prior to pole class in the Grove.
My hair was perfect. My outfit was also quite nice. I waltzed up to the gallery and knocked on the door. He unlocked it and allowed me to enter. I asked him if we were alone. He responded yes. There was not a lot of conversation after that. All I can say is that for the next three days, we were inseparable. Before he boarded the plane to return to France, he thanked me for a wonderful visit. I thanked him for the memory of a lifetime. This is the reason that I will always have a special place in my heart for the country of France.
Life changed before my very eyes. My mother was devastated as she buried the love of her life. That was a year ago this last week. I wondered how I wanted to spend the day. Would I have a graveyard picnic? Would I hang around my mom for no apparent reason? What would I do? As the day began at midnight, the music of Cesora Evora streamed from my laptop while I danced. It was my decision to spend the day celebrating the life that my father had and the life that he now has; music, dance, and general merriment were all in order. However, I did not know if his widow would feel the same way. After my little dance party with my father that morning, I drove to a flower shop and spoke to the owner.
She made the most beautiful bouquet of lovely baby pink roses complete with Queen Anne’s Lace. Upon entering the house, my feet carried me to my father’s office where my mother had stashed herself going through papers. I entered with a big smile on my face and handed her the flowers. She was so happy that she jumped out of her chair and hugged me. She said that I knew how to make her day. I placed the roses in a giant vase and placed them in the living room. It soon crossed my mind that I could drive to South Miami and get Henna. It was a day of celebration and the lovely art would take it to the next level. I invited my mom and my English cousin to go with me. While my hand was painted, the ladies enjoyed a cup or two at the local Starbucks. Everyone was smiling as we walked through the streets littered with boutiques and eateries.
I received so many compliments on my hand that by Friday, I decided that the other hand should be painted too. It just so happened that the same artist would be present at the Wynwood ArtWalk. As the stage lit up with lights, she free handed a completely different design on my right hand. My family ate lamb while the art was executed. We soon crossed the street to gaze at the contemporary artwork in the galleries. The crowded streets soon proved to be too much, and my family bid me adieu.
The excitement of the crowd coupled with art and music felt decadent to me as my feet sauntered me down yet another pathway.
There were bracelets everywhere. All sorts of jewelry, clothing, art, bath salts. Business cards were exchanged in the hopes that people would attend future events. Just as the thought of my bed crossed my mind, a friend informed me of her presence on the scene. We walked through the galleries which had suddenly become night clubs with paintings, and admired the jewelry which was entirely too overpriced. The jazz trio was super cool in a back lot, and we talked about the finer things in life.
The invite popped up on Facebook. There was a lot of time on my hands and it looked so very interesting. It was a spoken word night at a local fashion house that I had never heard of. Prior to the death of a dear friend, I used to attend spoken word events at a special poetry house. One Erotic Poetry Night turned fatal as I put my head to slumber. Upon waking I learned that the kind hearted owner had been shot on the premises. With his departure, I left that world for other things without ever looking back. Saturday nights used to catch me in his poetry house simply admiring the poets. This invite inspired me to do it all over again.
Upon entry into the fashion house, I knew that my feet were taking me back to a place that felt so comfortable. My presence had been made for less than five minutes, and I already knew that I would return in the near future. The smell of the incense carried me to a place of familiarity. The hostess gave me the grand tour and introduced me to the owner of the house. The kind DJ bought me a drink. The night started off on an awesome foot. As the show got started, my custom made ear plugs came in rather handy. I wanted to enjoy the show without being disgruntled by the loudness of it.
The world music began with an ancestral drumming. I had never seen such a performance in a secular setting before. It was a pleasant surprise. A vocalist began crooning over the guitar, and she looked oh so vocal. She had the body of what would be considered a true queen: she was a big girl and sang like it. Her performance was the highlight of the night. Suddenly, the strong smell of alcohol interrupted me as did the now skunk scent of the incense. A feeling of escape soon overwhelmed me. I rushed into the arms of the hostess as I saw myself out.
When I entered my sanctuary, incense was burned and an alternative radio station was found. It was my desire to recreate my previous experience. What a lovely evening. There is another poetry night that is closer to my home tomorrow evening. Will I attend?