Sunday, October 16, 2011


Fama, that much-coveted goddess, has many faces, and fame comes in many sorts and sizes—from the one-week notoriety of the cover story to the splendor of an everlasting name.

Walter Benjamin

I have been contemplating when my story would finally come out--when someone in the press would take note of some aspect of my life and decide to do a piece on me, exposing me in such a way that I would be thrust into the advocate spotlight, sacrificing some of the stealth I enjoy.

I admit that I don't always pass as well as I like, but for the most part, people are wonderful and let me enjoy the fantasy of doing so. They are my friends and I love them all.

I thought the exposure would come through my dance. In fact, I took the stage in front of 178 people to do my solo last night, very aware that it has only been 9 months since I started taking lessons.

I practiced my heart out for the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out what I was going to do with Indian Outlaw by Tim McGraw. It was a song I wanted to do because I normally see Halloween as a time to honor my Tsalagi (Cherokee) roots.

I was making good progress. I quickly figured out the chorus routine in a matter of minutes and then I threw in The Huntress and The Bow from my private instructor. I finally filled the intervening space for the refrain with The Grapewine--a modified Grapevine. Then for the close, I did a spin and drop with undulating death throes, before returning to life to blow a kiss.

I spent an hour each day I could going over it. Then I got my flu shot last Friday. I wound up too nauseous to do anything on Tuesday except watch myself fall behind in my performance class and I had lost my balance until Thursday. Friday was a very light practice day, so I was a bit nervous by the time Saturday rolled around.

I needn't have worried. When I finally got up to perform, I just had to smile while they looked for my music, throwing a couple of shimmies with my back to the audience. I thought my routine was going to be so boring compared to what everyone else had done so far. Gorgeous Wendy had loaned me her foot-long feather earrings that tickled my chest, and suddenly the music started.

I was feeling it--the deep spiritual connection I get when I share a piece of performance art. Everything felt great and I was surprised at how wonderful the audience was, clapping the beat, whistling and hooting through the two advanced moves I had thrown in, the deathly pawl as I struggled against death, and the cheers when I rose from the dead and blew kisses to the audience, all in tune to the beat.

It was wonderful seeing kisses blown back.

During intermission, as I sought out my friends and teachers I got wonderful compliments on my performance. I was approached by someone else who had Cherokee roots and loved the song as well as my interpretation.

I was really surprised at the support. Looking back at the photos I am really astounded by the amount of energy that I brought to what I thought was going to be an over-simplified routine.

There were a number of great dancers last night. I am proud that so many of them are now my friends. Thia's annual Halloween Show is wonderful and I am so happy that she let a newbie like myself solo. She is so sweet that she invented "Best Indian" as well as other prizes to make everyone feel like a winner. I'm fortunate to have her as a teacher.

My next performance is going to be at the South Valley Carnival and Auction on November 5. I'll be doing at least two routines. I don't know if the audience will be larger that 178, but if it is, I'm ready for it. I am going to try to learn one more routine by then, so I'll have three to perform that Saturday.

Today, I had a Welcome to Womanhood moment--a urinary tract infection. Trust me, they suck. I treated myself with cranberry juice and rest.

Tomorrow, it's back to work at my day job and my private lesson afterward. Then I'm meeting a photographer for a Weekly publication. It seems that my struggle with the insurance company over my appeal left me in such a state last week that it attracted media attention.

Friday, I met with a reporter for my interview at a Thai restaurant and he is anxious to write something up and publish it. He also suggested a photographer come over to get my photo for the piece when I suggested just providing a photo. And so I shall be thrust into the limelight for simply standing up for what I know is right--for myself, and for others.

I have tried so hard to live stealth and not draw undue attention to my status, but somehow I am drawn to speak for--to advocate--my story so that others may be similarly understood.

Is it bravery or courage? No. It's simple expediency. It's need. If my appeal for surgical coverage would have been handled independently of my other medical routines instead of as an excuse to deny me coverage, I wouldn't need this exposure.

But when people do things that depress me, I only can find two actions available to my mind: I can either mire myself in the mud of despair (and trust me, it's very tempting) or I can fight back. I have no choice.

I knew this time was coming; I just didn't expect it would be here so soon.

Hugs and God Bless,