When Dancers Aren’t Graceful

As a dancer, it’s sorta my job to have control over my body, to be in command of every muscle and fiber so that I can move through space in a physical art form. I think that’s why most people assume that dancers are graceful people offstage as well.

But for me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

dancers aren't graceful

Recently, I had to attend a photo shoot for a dance company I’d only rehearsed with twice.  I didn’t really know anyone in the company well either, so I already felt a bit self-conscious.

Now, let me pause here and state that I am not in what I would say is my “fighting shape.” It’s been over two years since I have danced consistently, and I’ve lost a bit of strength and stability, which translates to “I’m not feeling as spry as I used to.”

Given all of that, yeah, why not get in front of a camera and try to look photogenic in a room full of strangers? Sounds like a great idea! What could possibly go wrong?

Because there was no set choreography yet to capture, the photographer crammed the three other dancers of the piece and me on a tiny square of dark grey background paper, and under very little direction, asked us to improvise a bit to get some photos taken.

If you’re thinking, “Man, that sounds awkward,” you’re completely correct.

It had about the same result you’d think it would: odd, ill-composed photos with perplexed looking dancers.

To change things up a bit, the choreographer decided to have us improvise one at a time.  We were directed to perform a few movements to get about four to five photos a piece, then exit so that the next person could run on in to the frame and start dancing.

I stood on the side, waiting my turn, and when it was time, I did what I was told.

I ran on.

And as soon as my foot hit the grey paper, I started to slide.

Like, in slow motion. Limbs flailing. Unable to prevent disaster.

Down I went, like an exaggerated banana-peel-on-the-sidewalk skit, all the while screeching like an opera singer.

OoooooOOOOoooOOOOooooOOOOoaaAAAAAHHHHaaahhhoooooOOOOhhhhhhhh!!!

In any other situation, like with my last company for example, once I hit the ground and assured folks I was physically okay, everyone would have gotten a good chuckle. Heck, I might have even peed my pants a teeny bit from laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of the situation.

But in this instance, no one was laughing. Well, I kind of was. But then I quickly stopped when I realized that everyone was just staring at me, stunned, mouths agape, not sure what to make of this aging lunatic that had just flung herself on the ground like a fish out of water.

After I lay there on the floor for what felt like 24 hours, the photographer finally ran over, and I thought, “Oh, thank God, someone is coming to my aid.”

But really?  He was just trying to frantically save his background paper, smoothing out the edges and re-taping the whole thing down so that we could get on with the shoot.

The choreographer and the other dancers eventually started to make sure I was all right, and I reassured them that the only thing hurt was my pride as I lurched myself upright.

But deep down? I was mortified. Humiliated. And I certainly did not want to get my picture taken anymore.

It was all I could do not to pack up my gear, dramatically sling my bag over my shoulder, and yell “that’s it, I’m outta here!” before storming out and slamming the door behind me.

But I didn’t.

See? I tried to take the high road. The mature route. The harder option. Even though it sucked balls.

One of the dancers tried to make me feel better and tell me that it wasn’t as bad as I imagined, and that I fell very gracefully. To which, I giggled politely while hiding my tears and thanked her for trying to make me feel better.

However, the crinkled marks on the background paper told a different story of disaster and defeat.

I couldn’t high tail it out of the studio fast enough once the photo shoot was over, and having a week where I didn’t have to face the same people helped heal my wounds. So, now? I’m almost over it. Almost.

Thankfully, the photographer swears he didn’t capture my embarrassing moment on film but I am waiting for some kind of GIF of me falling over and over on a loop to make it’s way on the Internet sometime soon.

When folks like Jennifer Lawrence fall in front of an audience of millions, it’s adorable and endearing.

falldown
But when I fall in a room full of people I barely know, in a situation where I’m supposed to, you know, move like I’ve been dancing forever, I just fall flat.

Literally.

After a couple of days, I could tell the story and laugh about it. Because, c’mon, falling is pretty funny.

I guess it just goes to show that I’m never too old or too experienced to get humbled. That life will continue to knock me down, and it’s up to me to decide if I’m going to get up and storm out of the room, or stand up and get my picture taken, red-faced and all.

With grace, of course.

 

Do you have any embarrassing stories you can share to make me feel better? 

A Memo To My Kids From The Department of Fairness

A Memo To My Kids From the Department of FairnessDear Children,

It has come to our attention that you two siblings have been engaged in consistent disagreements concerning the fairness of treatment in the household with respect to each other. Such arguments have increased in frequency to the point it becomes necessary for our department to step in and act as arbitrator.

We have reviewed your recent claims and deliver the following decisions:

Claim #288: In the case of “Who Got More Time On the iPad”, your parents made a judgment call based on who got dragged to the other sibling’s extra-curricular activities more often during the week, and have tried to find the proper balance between making the non-participating sibling perform homework, and keeping them occupied enough not to drive the other parents in the cramped waiting room at the dance studio crazy.

It is our decision that all iPad use will not be tallied and accounted for in equal amounts between the two of you as per your request, as your mother does not have the mental capacity to keep track of that kind of data. Your mother has asked that you cease and desist with all further complaints on this matter until you have children of your own that you need to shuttle around town.

Claim #7191: We find that there is no point in arguing over who received more Cheetos, as it has come to our attention that neither of you completed eating your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apple slices in the first place.

Henceforth, all crunchy side dishes will remain off the table until said “growing food” portion of the lunch is completely consumed.  Once this task has been completed, you will then receive a serving of Cheetos deemed appropriate by the Preparer of the Lunches.

Furthermore, the Preparer has rejected notions of counting out equal portions of desired processed cheese snacks and requires you to just get over it already.

Claim #553095: In response to the disagreement over which party was more injured in your recent physical altercation, and thus, deserved more attention, we offer this simple piece of advice: Keep your hands to yourselves.

Claim #1469370: All decisions regarding which television show you will watch on Saturday mornings will be made at the discretion of whichever parent has had more coffee.

You will be permitted a total of two shows, with one show choice per child. Should you begin to watch Woody Woodpecker, but decide midway to agree with your sibling and watch Phinneas and Ferb, you are thereby forfeiting selection and will not be allowed to choose the next program.

Our recommendation to you? Pick a show and stick with it.

Claim # 918882947750123:  With regards to accusations of devotion equality and child preference, make no mistake. Your parents love you both equally and fiercely. You are stuck with them loving you unconditionally and thinking you are the best thing since sliced bread.

To settle future issues of this nature, please submit claims to The Department of Hugs and Kisses.

 

 

Fabulous Fall Giveaway!

September 22nd is a bittersweet date. It’s the first day of fall, which means saying goodbye to summer, sandals, and sundresses. For many, it means embracing the chance to get reacquainted with cozy sweaters, fun boots, and pumpkin-spiced everything.

And for me, it also means I turn another year old.

Yep, today is my birthday! I have big plans to spend the day doing fun things like paying bills, organizing my closet, and using the occasion as an excuse to eat something chocolatey on an hourly basis.

I know, I’m going WILD, right?

But when some fellow blogger friends suggested hosting another giveaway to start today of all days, I said “Heck yeah!” What better way to celebrate my birthday than by giving YOU a chance to win some cold hard cash?

I’m a giver like that.

First, let’s meet the the bloggers who have joined forces to offer up this Fabulous Fall Giveaway!

Fabulous Fall Giveaway

Down the left side: Jen, Jessica and Julia.  And then down the right side: JeanaeGina and Rachel.
When you get a moment, do me a big favor and go check them out!

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is participate in the Rafflecopter below. The funds will be transferred immediately via Paypal once the winner has been notified. And then, you know, the winner might want to head out and buy a new fall sweater. Or a pumpkin-spiced pumpkin. Totally up to you, winner. Go nuts.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why I Hate My Rental Car

While my car is getting put back together at the body shop after a recent collision, I’m driving a rental car that my insurance company hooked me up with. And I hate this car.

Wait, I really shouldn’t use the word “hate”.

How about, “vehemently detest.”

Rental Car

Yeah, that’s right, Gift Horse. I see your mouth. And I’m looking right at it.

Because here’s what I experienced in getting a free rental as a loaner car from my insurance company: having no say whatsoever in what I was given.

When I asked what my $40 a day coverage would get me, the rental company assured me that I would be getting a premium car.

And by premium, they probably meant that the interior is luxurious and spacious, and that they were doing me a favor by “upgrading” me to this line of rentals. So, for that, I am grateful they didn’t put me in a well-soiled box car.

But I think “premium” really means a sedan with enough leg and head room to house a small basketball team.

Let me interrupt this little rant by saying that, on a good day, when my spine is feeling sprite and lively, I stand five feet one inch tall.

Not a giant person am I.

So, when I first dipped in to the Chevy Impala after they pulled it up to the curb, I had to spend about an hour adjusting the seat and mirrors so that I could see anything, anything out of the windows.

Because this car is clearly made for someone much taller, more beefy, and perhaps even more manly than I am.

With my seat raised as high and as far forward as it can possibly go, I can’t see the tail of my car out the rear view window. Or the front of my car out the front windshield. Or any side of the car out of any window or mirror at all.

It’s like I need to sit on a freakin’ phonebook, or, even more embarrassing, a booster seat to see what I’m doing.

I am a grown adult, dammit! Though, in this case, I guess I’m taking “grown” a little too far.

You want to know what else makes me feel like a midget in this car? The window base sits higher than my shoulder, so the mere thought of resting my left arm on the ledge is nearly impossible without needing a visit to the chiropractor.  I can barely see the speedometer through the steering wheel. My head doesn’t even come in close proximity to the headrest.

I’m surprised the cops haven’t pulled me over for thinking I’m a tween who likes to break the law.

I’m sure that if I were a large male who liked to sit all low in my seat, with my legs stretched as long as they could go to air out the Family Jewels, this car would be fine and dandy.  But I am a 40-something petite mother of two who would like to be able to see if I’m about to sideswipe the minivan next to me at car line.

The engine roars at the slightest press of the gas pedal like a muscle car, making me blush with embarrassment when I start to accelerate at a green light.  I’m sorry, but that kind of horsepower just screams “I’M OVERCOMPENSATING FOR THE SIZE OF MY MAN PARTS WITH A LARGE AND INTENSELY LOUD ENGINE!”

I’ll just come right out and say it: When I drive this car, I feel compelled to sport a mullet, a muscle shirt and crank up heavy metal music in this car, with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.

Not. A. Fan.

My kids, however, love the rental car. LOVE. IT.

Mostly because it’s new and different and has a nice, clean, untouched interior. It’s probably the same feeling pioneers experienced when they came upon the western plains.

Plus, the dashboard has this weird little box in the front that goes up and down at the push of a button that my kids love to play with.

What the heck are you supposed to put in this magical little hidey hole?

Probably your weed. To hide it from the po-po, I guess.

Because it’s just that kind of a car.

I know I shouldn’t complain, considering my insurance company is footing the bill. And this massive beast of a car is only temporary.  But I’ll be more than relieved to get my old car back and kick this Impala to the curb.

Until then, does anyone have a copy of The Yellow Pages I can borrow?

 

 

Being a Germaphobe. And a Parent.

Have you heard the latest illness that could terrify a germaphobe parent like myself?

Enterovirus — EV-D68

It’s that rare respiratory virus you might have read about in your Facebook feed. The one that starts like your garden variety cold, then quickly ramps up to respiratory distress and could land your child in medical care. It’s particularly threatening to children who struggle with asthma.  And it’s popping up in the Midwest, including the state in which my children reside.

I hate seeing stuff like this.

Not because I empathize with the kids who are ill, but because it sets off all those bells and whistles in my head that make me want to douse our home and our children with sanitizer.

Germaphobe Parent

My kids do not have asthma, and they’re relatively healthy.  I should have no reason to worry.

And yet, I do. I find myself flocking to those stories like a Real Housewife to an open bar.

Parenthood is already ripe for worry enough. Is my child happy? Is my child developing normally? Will my child do okay socially? Will my child be free from bullies? Will the world be a better or worse place from them a decade from now?

Will my child need therapy later from all of the stuff I bring to the table as a parent?

Slap on health scares like this, and it’s almost enough to send me over the edge.

I get it. Kids are petri dishes. This is not the first time we’ve faced weird bugs, and it certainly won’t be the last. So, I need to get over it.

I don’t know when I got all weird about illness. I think it was dormant when I was single, but now that I have children and love them to pieces, I just don’t want to see them suffer.

So, when I read news stories like this, instead of blowing stuff like this off as a “hmmm…that’s interesting,” I let tiny bubbles of panic float around in the back of my mind. Every now and then, one of those bubbles will pop, and my mind will give in to those thoughts of worry.

Like, “Is my son sniffling too much?” or “Why is she coughing all of a sudden? WHY IS SHE COUGHING?”

And then, I catch myself. I tell myself to calm down. If my kids are truly sick, my mother’s instinct will tell me. In the meantime, I need to dial back the freak factor a few notches.

I know deep down that it does no good to worry about something that is out of my control. I also know that my kids don’t need that type of phobic parent, and I don’t want them to become germaphobes either.

All I can do is encourage my kids to wash their hands regularly and hope that all of the surfaces they’ve ever licked has helped to build a healthy immune system.

And perhaps I should disable my news notifications.

After I wipe down my phone, of course.