Apparently I am the most frustrating ever and Brittany no longer wants to hear that I ran for 25 minutes straight. But that run was quite the accomplishment and needed proper acknowledgement.
I went through all my old keepsakes yesterday. The things I felt needed to be saved at 8 years old are pretty strange-- sheet music for a lap harp, the kind of valentines that doesn't require a personal note(with minnie mouse or barbie or someone like that dressed in red), a plastic set of jacks. It was funny to see my hospital bracelet from when I was five years old and broke my leg. I was going to throw it out and then I showed it to my mother and she gave me this look that made me keep it. I also found a birthday card from Giz that I still don't know how to translate. Maybe the school teacher can help me? It says, "I love you Emye/ I naoe I/ am bede/ men/ love/ you/ ney." Hmm.
At dinner we tried to decipher it. The two most likely translations we found were "I love you Emmy, I know I am bad and mean but I love you anyways." The other was "I love you Emmy. I know I am bad but men love you anyways."
I keep trying to find connections between what seems like the disparate parts of my life. Being in Asheville for Christmas, having a month to mull over things, I think I am searching for this harder.
I have made Egyptian food, listened to Amr Diab, studied Arabic, written to our newest senator about the atrocities in Gaza.
I have watched "Once," talked to the Clarkes in Ireland on web -cam, been knitting a baby blanket for some friends in Dublin who are expecting, hung out with Ciara and Paul.
I have been to Abby's to hang out with UNC people, looked for houses and part-time jobs in Chapel Hill, and eagerly checked blackboard for any spring class syllabi.
I have cranked up country music stations, been the dripolator for nice indie coffee (well, tea) multiple times, had reunions with lots of old friends.
Most areas still feel disparate. I want so badly to find ways to link them all.
This afternoon I took Giz to dance so that I could stop by the new studio and see my old teachers. Actually, Nichole, who uses to run the ballet companies and taught me, has moved on. But I wanted to see Tracey, Nichole's co-owner, my jazz teacher, who was also the stand-in mother for all of us dancers. I parked the car and went in with Giz to see the new facilities. We passed by a classroom where my friend Shannon was teaching. Shannon is four or five years older than me. She was the oldest in the companies when I was the youngest, by the time I left for Ireland she was already starting to teach classes. There were little girls lining the barres in light pink leotards. Shannon saw me and said, "Hey!" She stopped teaching and came over to me, "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" The little girls giggled. "You all have to stop doing this to me, coming in to say hi."
She cupped my face in her hands and looked at me, saying,
"You are a woman!"
I asked if Tracy would be in, she said that Tracy didn't teach on Wednesdays and I should stop by again tomorrow. And after that I had to get out of the studio, because I was feeling a wave of emotion and needed to sit down.
I got in the car and drove to the coffee shop where I am now, sipping down darjeeling and thinking about those words, "you are a woman!"
We always hear about masculinity and how men need other men to acknowledge their masculinity. But when Shannon said those words I realized that I am a woman.
And I felt lots of other sentimental things about growing up with so many women at dance that I won't share with you all, and I know people hate dancers and all the competition and the diva/prima donna crap but oh how I loved those girls and still do and sometimes would give anything to be on stage warming up for a performance with them, or even gritting my teeth through a grueling barre with them.
* * *
So there you have it. A blog post without talking about running 25 minutes or politics. But if you want me to talk to you about Gaza, I sure will.