At 5-years old I mimicked my sister's hitch kicks to New Kids on the Block. At 9-years old I joined my first jazz class. I learned how to tap dance when I was a Follie Girl my freshman year in our production of Crazy for You. My senior year I danced to Kanye West so hard in my parent's living room that my knee popped out of place causing me to scream, my mom to think I somehow got shot in our gun-free house and my dad to think quick and pop it back into place. Point is, dancing has always been somewhere in the background of my life. But this past year, dance has been itching to take a step forward. Dancing no longer asks permission. Now, I have to dance.
When I explain to people how I am 'sexually peaking', their minds immediately travel down south to Dirtyville. Who? What? Where? When? How many times? All fun stories to tell, but the truth is, those stories wouldn't even exist without the presence of dance. My sexual peak would fall flat if I was not lifting myself and my confidence through my own movements. But that wasn't always the case. I may have learned how to Pas de bourrée and step-ball-change when I was 5, but I only just learned how to let myself go.
I remember the various dance classes I took over the years. Surrounded by mirrors, forced to look at myself and others. Comparing, competing, pointing farther, looking sharper, flexing flexier. I'd turn bright red when we had to work on our stretches as I hunched over my sad split. More embarrassing than helpful. Now if there is a mirror in the room when I dance, I try not to look. I dance to feel, not to perfect. To quote Shania Twain, when I dance 'I feel like a woman.' But not a woman burned by man or her boss or a bad hair day. I feel like woman - the creature.
Did I lose you? I've never been to Burning Man (although I fear that will change in the next few years) and every time I have to do a group sigh or breathing exercise I roll my inner eye. I'm still sarcastic and snarky when it comes to mindfulness. But now, more than both of those combined, I'm super sensual. When I dance I can't help but feel the sexual, female force within me that, until recently, only a vibrator has been able to bring out. Now I am unplugged, battery-free and using nothing but my body to create feelings of ecstasy. I feel pretty fucking grateful.
I'm also grateful because this year I found people that love dancing as much as I do. I found music that makes me feel primal. I found people that embrace all these things without so much a molecule of judgement. Thank you. In their absence I dance alone in my bedroom as my dog watches skeptically without interruption. Thank you, Remy. I dance when I am frustrated or sad or angry when the leader of our country proves himself a monster once again. Thank you, dance.
I've recently started dancing with my hair down. It gets stuck in my mouth, my eyes, it sticks to my sweating neck sometimes even trapping itself between my armpits. Afterwards, only then will I make a point to look myself in the mirror. Sometimes I look like some sort of goddess. Sometimes I look down right crazy. I see the shape of my lips outlined by the red lipstick I obsessively wear. I see my face aging in certain ways. I see my hair growing. I see the same freckles I've had since a child but now the freckles mark the face of a woman. I also see my blemishes, my tears, my brow when I'm pissed. My life isn't perfect. I am not perfect. But it has taken until now to truly love this woman I see. I love the woman I have become. The woman that my body has allowed me to become (despite still being unable to do a split).