Last week, a friend called me feral. After we parted ways, she immediately sent an email explaining that when she said feral, she meant it in the “nicest possible fuzzy creature kind of way”, and she hoped I hadn’t taken offense at her remark.
No offense was taken.
A few months back, someone asked me where I teach.
I described the location, which is on the edge of town, in the last rural section of the city.
She said: “Oh, you mean out in the fields? That’s perfect for you! That’s exactly where you belong.”
No offense taken there either, although I have no idea what she meant by that statement.
And so it goes, because to be perfectly honest, there is a part of me that doesn’t quite get the nuance of living in this world in a way that is expected and understood.
Most of the time I don’t ever think about this: I am living and working, taking the beagle for her walks every day, and taking my nephew out for a hamburger and a drive in the mountains.
Minding my own business, basically.
But sometimes I wonder…am I missing something?
Is everyone else around me understanding, seeing, or getting something about this human experience that I am not?
Is that why I belong “out in the fields”?
I’m really bad at the elevator speech thing, and when I'm asked about what I do, I mumble something about dancing, and then try to change the subject as quickly as possible because the word “dance” is so loaded with people’s preconceptions, and I don’t have the language to break it down in a minute and a half while riding on the elevator.
I’m trying to get better at this though, and so the other night when a friend’s father was in town and he asked me what I do, I took a breath and repeated the elevator speech I have been working on, which includes the words dancing, improvising, presence, imagination, and curiosity,
The friends father latched onto the word dancing and said:
“So you and your friends come up with some dance steps that match the rhythm of the music your using? That sounds like a nice way to pass the time. Good for you for finding something to do that you enjoy. I bet you girls pick out great costumes for your shows.”
so I stammer, “Um, no. That’s not what I said, I….”
He turns to Glen -- who has missed this entire exchange -- before I have finished my sentence, and the two of them begin a conversation about Glen’s next furniture project: two conference tables made of Claro Walnut.
I sip my bubbly water with lime and feel like the wife from “The Hours”.
As I continue to research and navigate my way through this dancing life, I am trying, in a huge and ginormous way, to be myself —totally —and if that means being feral, it means being feral, and if that means working out in the fields, than that means working out in the fields.
It is what it is what it is.
There was a moment, a few months back, after one of my Dog Dances, when I woke up the next morning and felt a kind of freedom I have never felt before.
I felt so solid in what I was doing, that I moved through those few hours with a lightness and a grace that I haven’t matched since.
I caught a glimmer of the power and freedom that comes from following what needs to be followed whether or not it “fits” into any expectations or societal norms.
In that instance the clamor of voices in my head quieted, and I dropped into myself.
For those few hours, I made my way through the world with an acute awareness of what was going on around me.
There was no judgement there, I was simply aware -- and I was feral.
Your Dance Mission For The Week is to catch those moments when you drop into your own “feralness”.
What does it feel like?
How does it show up throughout your day?
What do you perceive and experience in this state?
Let me know how it goes, and share this newsletter, if you wish.
If you are in or around Boulder, CO this Friday, Sept 16th, stop on by and see the very first Dog Dance of the Season:
Dog Dance is a burrowing into the skin. It is a query into what lays in wait. It is a memory. It has always been there, underneath the dirt. Waiting to be unearthed, rooted out, remembered, and seen.
Friday, Sept 16th 7pm at Floorspace: 1510 Zamia Ave, #101. $5.
With Warmth and Jivey Vibes, Joanna of Joanna and The Agitators sweetly agitating/persistently upending www.joannaandtheagitators.com