You make me feel like dancing - Part One

originally written 09 Dec 2016

all right now. i have been writing but not posting because i have been freaking out a little bit regarding the state of my apartment. i had to leave in an emergency in the middle of the night and have not been living at home for two weeks and two days. i couldn’t tell you what is wrong except that my dog and me have been getting really sick. muscle spasms. can’t sleep. losing coordination. can’t eat. bowel problems. eye problems. ear problems. pressure throughout my body and my joints feeling like they are being crushed. i am pretty sure my dog’s joints are hurting too, judging by the way she twitches and tries to lick her joint to death to soothe it. she has scratched her ears raw at the sound we both can hear. when my poor, defenceless little doggy collapsed in front of the fridge, we left in a hurry. i had a friend pick us up after 1:15am and we have not lived at home, since. this does not do well for someone with complex ptsd, such as myself. home is everything to me. plus i work from there, never mind just live. 

i love my apartment. i finally found a good space after being renovicted last winter. and here i find myself yet again, with no where to live. if things can’t be repaired with my apartment, that means i will have to move. again. and if i move, it will be move number 47. one move for every year of life. that is messed up. it seems i have no control over my living situation, ever. and it seems i am destined to never have a stable consistent home to live. you can’t tell me otherwise because my experience is that every year pretty much for my whole life, i have had to move. and it is always beyond my control. i have been looking for my home my whole life and i am not sure i am going to find it. thankfully i do have my home within myself.

management hasn’t done a single thing to investigate the issue so i have been forced to file a dispute. i upped the anti and called the city and they are sending an electrician over, hopefully tomorrow (Friday). after i explained what i am experiencing, the ‘no’ there is nothing we can do, changed to a ‘YES’  we are sending someone in two days. that was yesterday afternoon. i sure hope they meant it and this will be over and i can get back home and back to work more fluently. this all over the place business is not conducive to working, for me. i needs my space.   at any rate, i have been trying to work on writing about dancing and what it has done for me in my life. unfortunately, my writing got highjacked by the thing in my apartment that was causing me to become delirious and brain damaged. so i couldn’t type or think of words or thoughts. now that is fucked up. but, i have some of the piece to share.

this is part one, i suppose. i’m not sure how i feel about doing a post this way but i have to do something because i am beating myself up for not working harder, even though i can’t because something in my work/live space has been in the way of progress and productivity. 

i have been trying to be more brave and open and feel like i am failing again. so i am going to be kind to myself and put myself out there just as i am. as is is the best way to be. so here you go, part one you make me feel like dancing:

a beat thumped below me in my bed asleep above the living room of the place my mom, younger brother and me lived at the time. it was the mid seventies and disco was all the way in. sensuality oozed through everything. the music moved my body in my sleep with rhythm that pulsed me awake and ready for some ‘get down’ on the dance floor at a party in our house in the middle of the night. i would struggle to open my eyelids before my eyeballs were ready to be awake. sandy, dry corneas stuck to the heavy lids that tried to open my eyes. it was too early in the morning and the sky was still dark through my bedroom window upstairs. that meant it wasn’t tomorrow yet. my bed, directly above the living room, felt the thumping beats drawing me down to where there was a loud party going on with my mom, new step-dad and all their friends. indigo light glowed in the darkness of the sky. there was this sensation in me, that the sun was going to rise soon and everybody downstairs would be dancing ‘til the break of dawn. including me, if i could get away with it. it was Friday night. no one had school or work tomorrow. “i should be sleeping.”

every time there was a a party that woke me up in the night, i would toss, turn and try to shut the noise out and sleep. i’d find myself tapping my feet against their sides on the mattress as i poorly persuaded myself back to sleep. my toes would wiggle and point stiffly with excitement, at the idea of dancing. i loved disco music because of how it made me move and how it made a lot of people have a really good time shaking their booties. i learned at a very young age how valuable it is to be able to dance among friends and bump and grind and use fancy foot work to express yourself freely and physically in a shared space. how precious it is to share dancing with people who want to hold space for movement, with you.

time after time, from the age of five years old until about 12 years old, i would be drawn out of sleep by ruckus loudness of a mixture of laughter and sounds of friends jibing each other. there would be cheering and booing all in jest and good fun, and way too much booze and drugs for anyone human. getting out of bed was easy when the sound of someone like Donna Summer started to slowly pour through the walls to make its way into my bedroom.

it was easy to slide off my mattress, purposely landing both of my bare feet onto the cool linoleum of my bedroom floor. getting up to get down was easy to the sound of Ring My Bell lubricating the way. Ring My Bell made me wanna dance during daylight, never mind in the middle of the night. i couldn’t stop myself from going down to bust a move among my young parents’ boisterous friends. i was five years old the first time i remember sneaking (not really sneaking) out of bed to go get my dance on with my mom’s friends. i felt like i belonged there with them. that is the only time i felt i ever belonged any where as a child.

my mom was into disco, funk and R&B music. she was also very much into black, American men. this was after me and my brother were born from her relationship with our Cree/Metis birth father. in the ’70s in a small Canadian, capital city that was predominantly not people of colour, interracial  relationships between men of colour and white women (and vice versa) was still pretty much openly frowned upon and racism was common. it was not unusual to be called “half-breeds” or some other racial slur including dirt or scum in reference to the colour of our skin and blood. we weren’t that brown in our skin, but our blood was mixed so that was enough for it to be okay to be called names that kept us in our place, which seemed to be below pretty much everyone.

apparently we did something really bad but nobody ever told us really, what. other than we were dirty kids and were never going to be good enough because, ”you can’t wash the Indian off your skin.” said someone who was supposed to love and protect you from insult and intentional hurt, once upon a time. so, long story short, my mom broke up with my birth dad, dated a black dude or two and then started dating the dude who would become (very quickly) my new dad. they were both really into disco music and dancing their faces off all night. my mom never really drank much but my new dad drank sometimes (often times) too much. you’d think my mom drinking less and dad drinking more, might help keep things all balanced out but nope, not generally in our house.

they fought. a lot. sometimes i thought, to the death. the nights there were parties were good nights. all kinds of fly people would arrive, and strut through the door like they owned the place their whole life. dressed head to toe in their finest duds; fabrics adorned with ornate patterns that hid birds among what appeared to only be flowers, at first glance. one guy had a jacket that if you were behind him when he would lift his arms and spread them wide, you would see a butterfly come to life, in 3D. he was called Butterfly by everyone. i never knew if that was his real name for real. i didn’t care because it was real enough, to me.

leather shoes made for dancing the night away, clicky clicked where there was no carpet or rugs on the floors of our house. soles of feet tapped and slid down and around the linoleum in the kitchen, along the hall and bathroom floors. every room that didn’t have a kid in it trying to sleep, was full of people dancing, drinking and smoking a variety of things. it was like they might pound the walls and roof of the house down, they danced so hard. but they never did. everything always seemed to be still intact when we would get up the next late morning or early afternoon. nothing would seem broken after a party; except the empty booze cans and bottles. nothing ever really seemed broken except that and my nose, from the smell of soggy ashtrays  and tea saucers being full of brown fluid made up of stale beer and the flicked off ashes of peoples’ smokes all night. there was always an overflowing goo left over from cigarette butts we would find,  butted out into everything. 

dancing was something that would possess me. involuntary movements would happen and i would go along for the ride into ecstasy. i remember as a little kid, that dancing was something powerful but i couldn’t articulate that then, of course. i recall my sense of power when i would be dancing. my sense of self esteem. it was a rare thing, that self-assuredness most kids have and the confidence to achieve the things i felt calling me in life. i felt that on the dance floor, i could do anything i wanted if i just believed hard enough. dancing gave me inner freedom even when i might not have been free.

when i was in grade two, i wanted to be a surgeon. I wanted to be a heart surgeon for some reason. i couldn’t tell you what happened to make me want that but it lasted until i was in grade four. i thought for sure i was going to be a surgeon. but then i realized that what i really wanted was to be an artist. i didn’t call it that then because i didn’t know what it was called when people make plays or tv shows and movies. i wanted to be one of the people who wrote the stories and made them happen. i wanted to learn how to play an instrument and design a stage, and perform too. i spent much of my childhood inside my own head. anything to take me away from the painful realities that were at home.

in grade four, i decided i was a dancer or performer of some sort. i tried to become that person by imagining up plays and stories, songs and dances. i loved the short period in my childhood where we had a consistent kind of place in a community where we could go to the same school for more than  one term or school year, if we were lucky. it meant having friends to grow up with on the regular for a few years. which was way better than always arriving someplace from somewhere else that wasn’t there, and being the outsider. nothing is worse than starting a new school in the middle of the last half of a school year, where most of the students have all been going their whole academic lives, already. they all know each other and have their circles and who gets to be in them. any way, skipping the gory details for now because this post is about dancing and the freedom that comes with movement.

lately; i’ve got dancing on my mind. right there, in front of my face is my brain telling my body how much it loves dancing and swaying to the music. how liberating and enlivening it feels to swing my hips and open my legs wide as i glide across a dance floor. fancy feet stepping to the beat moving my body. i get sweaty when i dance. i dance from deep inside of myself and i get lost on the dance floor. every one and no one is there but me. sometimes, if the music reaches me, i cry when i dance. i let the tears blur my vision because my eyes do not need to see my body let go of what ever it may be needing to release. blurry vision through teary eyes is good sometimes, when we need to look more closely within ourselves.  it softens our eyesight from harsh seeing, so we can gaze into our hearts with gentle vision and see where clarity of truth lives.  where we see through kinder eyes. hearts do not lie.

any way, back to dancing. it happened. that feeling i recall from when i was little, that i was a dancer. but not a dancer in the sense of a performer. a dancer in the sense of someone who feels freedom when she moves with sound . how she moves is not for anyone except for herself and anyone she may want to share with. and share because she has choice and desire. speaking of which… i have been learning how to lap dance and do strip tease privately, in my home, with my lover. to be continued…