It's kinda funny, if you look at it in the right way...

I woke up this morning feeling like a truck hit me in the night, when I was sleeping in my bed, next to Chinua. I swear, some trucker lost his way. Or maybe it's just a headache, brought on by the allergies that plague me night and day. Or maybe I spent too much time in the sun yesterday, and didn't drink enough water. (Drink water, everyone! Your body needs it!)

When I wrote my last post, Renee and I were sitting in my favorite little cafe in the tiny town to the north of us, ready to drive out to an even tinier town, west of the tiny town, for our dance class with the teacher we adore. I think I feel the same way about her that I felt about my kindergarten teacher.  I remember being all five years old with my knobby knees and unruly hair and missing teeth and- Oh how I loved my beautiful kindergarten teacher. She was so BEAUTIFUL. I really have no idea what she looked like. But she was LOVELY. My dance teacher is over fifty and one of the most beautiful women that I have ever met. On the way home, Renee and I always talk about two things. How the dancing went, and how much we admire our dance teacher. ("She's so nice... did you see her skirt today? She told me that I'm improving...")

Anyways, just so you know the extent of our strangeness.  (Actually, where we are concerned, that is not even the tip of the iceburg, my friends.)

But a funny thing happened on this particular Monday evening, and it has taken me this long to recover from it enough to write about it. I started out in that funk, determined to sweat it out of me, not understanding why my skin felt like it wanted to crawl away from me or something. We began our stretching time, which is awesome, probably my favorite part of the evening, with the drums going in the background encouraging you to strrrreeeetttch that muscle just a little bit more, and then we lined up to dance. Now, there is only one place that I hate to dance in this class, and it's in the last line. Basically, we follow the teacher, dancing across the floor toward the drummers in lines of three, and then we walk back. Being in the last line equals being pinned to the dissection board to me, because everyone watches you while they wait to dance again, and since on this day I was feeling about as intelligent as a worm, I really didn't want to be in the last line. I just wanted to be swallowed up in the crowd.

This is also kind of an advanced class, and we are still beginners. So I fumbled, and I wobbled, and a couple of times I merely walked across the floor like cardboard (because, you know, cardboard walks) and I had a few breakthroughs, but somehow I managed to completely psyche myself out. The voice ranting in my head sounded something like this: Step step arm arm, no! Darn it, you are such a loser. Okay, step step arm arm, Oh my word, you are never going to be able to do this. You should be better than this, everyone is sneering at you, just look at their lips curling, wow, you look like a chicken more than a woman, how terribly clumsy and big you are.

Can you believe it? What a terrible voice! It was no wonder that I started to get tears in my eyes, and then, as the teacher picked up on the fact that I was getting more and more distraught, she began to really slow down the steps just ahead of me so that I could catch it at my pace. She encouraged me with signs to breathe, calm down, just follow her. That's when I realized that I was going to break down completely. Obviously, the only thing to do was make a run for it!

So I bolted. I grabbed my stuff and walked out the door and cried my way across the gravel parking lot and up to the top of one of the beautifully rounded hills. I sat down in the tall grass and hid up there, watching the tips of the grasses above my head, listening to the drums that I could still faintly hear.  I cried and cried, and wondered what, exactly, I was crying about. It couldn't be about dancing.

From my point at the top of the hill I could see for miles, rounded hill after rounded hill, boulders and trees and clefts. The light was beginning to fade, the sun had already set. I lay back in the grass and watched the swathe of blue sky above me, listened to the bass of the drums pounding, and barely was able to calm down, despite all this calm around me. It was as though all the stillness could not seep into me, and I thought a lot about my whirling life these days, and how sometimes the smallest thing can trigger a rockslide, how maybe I've been waiting to cry.

Not being able to dance signifies a larger lack of ability that I feel, the crushing question, can I DO this? There are so many things whirling above our heads right now. We pray to pass through this with peace, with greater joy than before. But sometimes you just have to cry, you make a fool of yourself, you leave class, and you cry like a baby.