Thursday, June 11, 2009

and another thing....

I have had it said to me outrightly and backhandedly since I have been pregnant that NOW I will understand what my true purpose on this planet is. And let me tell you I find this absolutely offensive.

I have been told that the "glamour" of my "career" (often said, let's be honest, by older men who still have a bit of a hard time with women who have "careers") is all very fine and well for a short time, but children, well, that's the real reason to exist.

Now I'm not saying that's not true for many people, but I think one's reason for existing is purpose and it matters less what that purpose is, so long as it does not intentionally harm other beings, and more that you have a purpose.

It has been insinuated that my time as a dancer should wind down now, that it was wasted or idle time in preparation for the realness of being a mother. I know I have my faults, but I also know that meandering, wasting time, being idle are not in my repertoire. I have never acted or not acted on an impulse of entitlement. I have never gone on stage just to make myself happy.

And as for the glamour of being a dancer/performer/creator....for 95% of us in the arts there is little to no glamour, unless you mean glamour in that old world magical sense. The career itself is not glamorous. For most of us it is just a lot of extremely hard work that you must do, as the cliche goes, because you are compelled to do it, not because of money or dreams of fame. Especially in Canada there is no fame in the arts. But it doesn't mean you don't pay in sweat, to paraphrase Ms. Lydia Grant. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be paid fairly for your work as an artist. And it doesn't mean that your work as an artist is less or more valuable than a parent's drive to raise a child, or a doctor's drive to safe a life.

I will continue to be brutally honest and tell you that I believe my purpose on this planet is to be as open, honest and compassionate as I can be through the vehicle of performance, and this little creature I am about to give birth to is part of that purpose, my marriage to and huge love for Dennes is part of that purpose. To turn things on their ear: Dennes and this little creature are my reasons for that purpose. When I love this much, I feel elementally drawn to put myself out raw on the stage, to interpret disparate points of history and life through my body and to try to compel people, for a moment, sink their heels into the world around them. I guess love is my purpose. Big and corny as that might sound.

So don't diminish my "glamorous career"; it is neither glamorous nor a career, it is the core of my being, not work. My purpose on this planet is to follow the core of my being where it takes me. My drive is stronger and fiercer than my muscles and bones. Don't you dare scold me or anyone else for that or I will show you my teeth.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Insecurity

I'm about to do my last dance performance before baby is born. I am awash with insecurity.

Now usually I am an insecure dancer. I trust explicitly what my heart and mind can do on stage, but it has taken me a long time to trust what my body can do and it is wavering now. I cannot feel the edge of the stage. I doubt my choices, my feet (always a source of confidence in the past).

I doubt my ability to give birth to this creature living inside me, even though women have done it for thousands of years.

Perhaps it is strange for a dancer or an athlete to go through these last weeks of pregnancy, as the body does what it must without any input or direction from one's intelligence, from one's ability to reason. It just goes. Practicing contractions, softening, deepening. As a professional 'mover' I am used to considering, deducing and compelling the body to move, to contract, to soften, to deepen. Even in improvisation there is an element of intellect participating. There is learned behaviour variegating on itself.

But my body has not been pregnant before and it is choosing, without my feedback, how to be pregnant, how to be ready to give birth.

I find this, in an objective way, very amazing. Subjectively, it scares the crap out of me. My legs dangle from my pelvis by thin threads, my pelvis vibrates like a bell that has been struck by its clapper, my feet are concerned with providing weight to the dangling legs, but seem not to care so much about the ground itself. My arms keep throwing themselves out of alignment. And yet I do not feel like an alien has taken over my body, I do not feel disassociated from myself.

Only a wee bit scared. My confidence drops back to when I was 21 and crying in ballet class every day. What am I doing here? Is any of my dancing worth watching? Worth investigating? Will I be able to uphold all the artistic and personal ideals I set out for myself throughout the pregnancy? Will the force of stating these ideals again and again be enough to make them bloom?

It worked when I broke my arm.
But this is a different beast entirely...